Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Planeswalker History in Magic
Planeswalkers have certainly evolved throughout their Magic history. First debuting in the Lorwyn set, they were originally all mythic raries, and you could only control one of a given type (Jace, Chandra, etc.). Now, they're simply legendary, so you can control any number as long as they're different cards, and they've trickled down to other rarities ever since the War of the Spark expansion.
With one exception as of this writing, the few dozen uncommon planeswalkers don't have any loyalty-gaining effects; are they still worth using? Find out as we explore the ten best uncommon planeswalkers in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Huatli, the Sun's Heart
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3
Like other WotS planeswalkers, Huatli has an enchantment-like passive ability in addition to her loyalty effect, having your creatures assign damage based on their toughness rather than power.
This effect isn't for every deck, but when you build around it, you can turn "weak" (but cheap) 0/3 and 0/4 blockers into deadly swingers. Huatli can't gain loyalty, but she starts out with a massive amount of seven, can spend three to gain life equal to the greatest toughness among creatures you control, and her hybrid symbol accepts either green or white mana.
9. Vraska, Swarm's Eminence
Vraska also has hybrid symbols and a nice amount of five loyalty. Her passive effect gives any of your creatures with deathtouch a +1/+1 counter when they inflict combat damage to a player or planeswalker. This works well with her loyalty effect, a -2 which creates a 1/1 token with deathtouch that destroys a planeswalker it deals damage too.
This even includes non-combat damage, if you can somehow get a token to inflict it.
8. Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor.
Kasmina doesn't have hybrid symbols, but since she only needs one blue, she still easily fits into multi-color decks. She enters with five loyalty, and makes opposing spells/abilities that target any of your creatures or planeswalkers (including herself) cost two more mana, making enemy removals expensive.
Kasmina's -2 creates a 2/2 wizard token, then draws and discard a card, a useful ability in wizard tribal decks or ones reliant on the graveyard.
7. Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
Tibalt makes good sideboard material, as his passive is deadly or useless depending on what theme you're up against, preventing opponents from gaining life. Tibalt's also good at protecting himself, able to use -2 to create a 1/1 devil token that deals one damage to any target when it dies, a decent blocker.
6. Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage
Davriel's -1 simply makes a player discard a card—if left unchecked, that's three cards over several turns. Plus, his passive deals two damage to an opponent at their upkeep if they have one or fewer cards in hand (upkeep is before draw step, so they won't have replenished their hand yet).
Great for any black deck, especially ones that can proliferate loyalty counters, Davriel is also a bargain deal, costing less than a single dollar!
5. The Wanderer
Like Tibalt, Wanderer's passive can be amazing or worthless depending on your opponent, preventing all non-combat damage that would be dealt to you or your permanents (including herself). This means opponents will want to combat Wanderer with direct attacks; luckily, she's good at removing big creatures, using -2 to exile one with four or more power.
4. Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner
With only one colored symbol and a hybrid at that, Kiora is remarkably easy to cast. Her passive effect simply lets you draw a card whenever a creature with four or more power enters your field. But her real benefit stems from her enormous loyalty, entering with seven and only spending one to untap any permanent.
Using this effect on a basic land will simply provide one mana, but you can get far more by untapping special lands like "Lotus Field" or artifacts such as "Nyx Lotus".
3. Chandra, Novice Pyromancer
Today's only card to debut in the Core 2020 set, Chandra's different from other uncommon planeswalkers; she has no passive, but she can gain loyalty with her +1, which gives elementals you control +2/+0 for the turn. She also arrives with an impressive five loyalty, and her useful -1 gives two red mana, mitigating her entrance fee. Or, her -2 hits any target for two damage, a versatile removal that can affect players, creatures, and other planeswalkers.
2. Ashiok, Dream Render
Ashiok's particularly deadly in mill themes, but he's also great for simple graveyard hate plus a powerful net: his passive prevents opponents from searching their library with both spells and abilities. Yep, they're locked out of tutors as long as Ashiok's around.
His hybrid mana symbols are nice, he arrives with five loyalty, and his impressive -1 mills four cards from a player's library, then exiles each opponent's graveyard. Not only does this work great for decking-them out, it's one of the easiest ways to eliminate graveyard threats. Plus, you can even target yourself for the mill, perhaps when you're trying to win via cards like "Jace, Wielder of Mysteries".
1. Narset, Parter of Veils
With two colored symbols and no hybrids, Narset's slightly trickier to cast than most uncommon planeswalkers, but she compensates with a devastating passive, preventing opponents from drawing more than one card each turn. Almost every deck utilizes bonus-draws to some extent, so restricting them to a single draw is pretty brutal, especially if you take advantage of it with spells like "Time Spiral".
Narset's -2 shouldn't be overlooked either, letting you add any non-creature, non-land from your deck's top four cards to hand. Ideally, if she doesn't take damage, this means Narset will provide two extra spells, then stick around with her last loyalty to ensnare opposing draws.
Are There Any Common Planeswalkers in Magic?
So, planeswalkers have gradually expanded out from mythics, now available as rares and uncommons, but are there any that are simply commons? Sort of, if you count the four test cards (not designed for competitive play) from the Mystery Booster packs: "Abian, Luvion Usurper", "Kaya, Ghost Haunter", "Personal Decoy", "Tibalt the Chaotic". But despite their designation, these cards are pretty scarce and pricey, meaning uncommons are currently the easiest planeswalkers to obtain.
I'm glad to see planeswalkers branch out, expanding their mechanics and allowing budget players access. But for now, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill