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Planeswalkers

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See also Planeswalker (book).
Planeswalker symbol

Planeswalkers are among the most powerful beings in the multiverse, and are the thematic identities of the players of the game. Planeswalkers can be born at random in any sentient race, with no outward signs of their latent power. However, there is an incredibly remote chance that any given sentient, natural being will be born with a planeswalker's spark. When that being is put through a period of extreme stress—in many cases death—the spark can trigger, causing the individual to ascend and become a planeswalker. Within the game, each player is supposed to be a planeswalker, which is a point emphasized in the current marketing strategy (for example the intro packs' description refers to your opponents as such). This concept originated from the Alpha rule book. [1]

Contents

[edit] Card type

Unused planeswalker symbol meant for future-shifted cards
Comprehensive Rules
Game Concepts
Parts of a Card
Card Types
300. General
301. Artifacts
302. Creatures
303. Enchantments
304. Instants
305. Lands
306. Planeswalkers
307. Sorceries
308. Tribals
309. Planes
310. Phenomena
311. Vanguards
312. Schemes
313. Conspiracies
Zones
Turn Structure
Spells, Abilities, and Effects
Additional Rules
Multiplayer Rules
Casual Variants

Planeswalker card types were introduced in Lorwyn. [2] [3] [4] Like the player him or herself, a planeswalker card represents a powerful being that is able to move from plane to plane. [5] [6]

Planeswalkers enter the battlefield with a set number of loyalty counters, printed in the lower right of the card. A planeswalker can be attacked, like a player, or be dealt damage by an opponent redirecting the damage one of his or her spells would deal to the player controlling the planeswalker. Damage dealt to a planeswalker removes that many loyalty counters and a Planeswalker with no loyalty counters is put into the graveyard.

Planeswalkers usually have three abilities: one ability that adds loyalty counters as a cost for a small benefit, one that removes a small amount of counters as a cost for a larger effect, and one that removes a large number of loyalty counters for a big effect. The last effect is commonly referred to as the Planeswalker's Ultimate ability and usually leaves the opponent in a devastated state. The starting loyalty of a Planeswalker is commonly significantly lower than the cost of the Ultimate and a player has to build up the loyalty to access the Ultimate.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Born of the Gods)

  • 306. Planeswalkers
    • 306.1. A player who has priority may cast a planeswalker card from his or her hand during a main phase of his or her turn when the stack is empty. Casting a planeswalker as a spell uses the stack. (See rule 601, "Casting Spells.")
    • 306.2. When a planeswalker spell resolves, its controller puts it onto the battlefield under his or her control.
    • 306.3. Planeswalker subtypes are always a single word and are listed after a long dash: "Planeswalker — Jace." Each word after the dash is a separate subtype. Planeswalker subtypes are also called planeswalker types. Planeswalkers may have multiple subtypes. See rule 205.3j for the complete list of planeswalker types.
    • 306.4. If a player controls two or more planeswalkers that share a planeswalker type, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners' graveyards. This is called the "planeswalker uniqueness rule." See rule 704.
    • 306.5. Loyalty is a characteristic only planeswalkers have.
      • 306.5a The loyalty of a planeswalker not on the battlefield is equal to the number printed in its lower right corner.
      • 306.5b A planeswalker is treated as if its text box included, "This permanent enters the battlefield with a number of loyalty counters on it equal to its printed loyalty number." This ability creates a replacement effect (see rule 614.1c).
      • 306.5c The loyalty of a planeswalker on the battlefield is equal to the number of loyalty counters on it.
      • 306.5d Each planeswalker has a number of loyalty abilities, which are activated abilities with loyalty symbols in their costs. Loyalty abilities follow special rules: A player may activate a loyalty ability of a permanent he or she controls any time he or she has priority and the stack is empty during a main phase of his or her turn, but only if none of that permanent’s loyalty abilities have been activated that turn. See rule 606, "Loyalty Abilities."
    • 306.6. Planeswalkers can be attacked. (See rule 508, "Declare Attackers Step.")
    • 306.7. If noncombat damage would be dealt to a player by a source controlled by an opponent, that opponent may have that source deal that damage to a planeswalker the first player controls instead. This is a redirection effect (see rule 614.9) and is subject to the normal rules for ordering replacement effects (see rule 616). The opponent chooses whether to redirect the damage as the redirection effect is applied.
    • 306.8. Damage dealt to a planeswalker results in that many loyalty counters being removed from it.
    • 306.9. If a planeswalker's loyalty is 0, it's put into its owner's graveyard. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)

[edit] Rulings

  • Planeswalkers are permanents. You can cast one at the time you could cast a sorcery. When your planeswalker spell resolves, it enters the battlefield under your control.
  • Planeswalkers are not creatures. Spells and abilities that affect creatures won't affect them.
  • If two or more planeswalkers controlled by a player shared a subtype (such as "Jace"), the controller choose one among of them, and put the rest into their owners' graveyards as a state-based action.
    • Prior to Magic 2014, when two or more planeswalkers that share a subtype are on the battlefield, they're all put into their owners' graveyards. (Which "Legend rule" is also changed in Magic 2014 like planeswalkers)
  • Planeswalkers have loyalty. A planeswalker enters the battlefield with a number of loyalty counters on it equal to the number printed in its lower right corner. Activating one of its abilities may cause it to gain or lose loyalty counters. Damage dealt to a planeswalker causes that many loyalty counters to be removed from it. If it has no loyalty, it's put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based action.
  • Planeswalkers each have a number of activated abilities called "loyalty abilities." You can activate a loyalty ability of a planeswalker you control only at the time you could cast a sorcery and only if you haven't activated one of that planeswalker's loyalty abilities yet that turn.
  • The cost to activate a planeswalker's loyalty ability is represented by an arrow with a number inside. Up-arrows contain positive numbers, such as "+1"; this means "Put one loyalty counter on this planeswalker." Down-arrows contain negative numbers, such as "-7"; this means "Remove seven loyalty counters from this planeswalker." You can't activate a planeswalker's ability with a negative loyalty cost unless the planeswalker has at least that many loyalty counters on it.
  • Planeswalkers can't attack (unless an effect such as the one from Gideon Jura's third ability turns the planeswalker into a creature). However, they can be attacked. Each of your attacking creatures can attack your opponent or a planeswalker that player controls. You say which as you declare attackers.
  • If your planeswalkers are being attacked, you can block the attackers as normal.
  • If a creature that's attacking a planeswalker isn't blocked, it'll deal its combat damage to that planeswalker. Damage dealt to a planeswalker causes that many loyalty counters to be removed from it.
  • If a source you control would deal noncombat damage to an opponent, you may have that source deal that damage to a planeswalker that opponent controls instead. For example, although you can't target a planeswalker with Shock, you can target your opponent with Shock, and then as Shock resolves, choose to have Shock deal its 2 damage to one of your opponent's planeswalkers. (You can't split up that damage between different players and/or planeswalkers.) If you have Shock deal its damage to a planeswalker, two loyalty counters are removed from it.

[edit] Trivia

[edit] Loyalty counters

Card types
Groups Supertypes Card types Subtypes
Spell
(non-permanent)
Instant FUT Instant symbol.png Trap Arcane
Sorcery FUT Sorcery symbol.png
Permanent Basic,
Elite,
Legendary,
Snow,
World
Artifact FUT Artifact symbol.png Equipment, Fortification, Contraption
Creature FUT Creature symbol.png (…)
Enchantment FUT Enchantment symbol.png Aura, Curse, Shrine
Land FUT Land symbol.png (…)
Planeswalker FUT Planeswalker symbol.png (…)
Miscellaneous Tribal (…)
Plane (…)
Phenomenon
Ongoing Scheme
Vanguard
Conspiracy
Obsolete Mono,
Poly,
Continuous
Interrupt,
Mana Source,
Summon


[edit] Storyline

For a list of planeswalkers, see List of planeswalkers.

[edit] Current planeswalkers

The defining trait of planeswalkers is the ability to travel between separate universes with ease, while the vast majority of people throughout the multiverse are not even aware that other worlds beside their own exist.

The new breed of planeswalkers no longer display the near-omnipotence of their predecessors. While they are usually powerful mages, they are still physical beings that in general age normally, can be harmed, and need the same sustenance as other mortals. This is in stark contrast to the earlier planeswalkers. Some of them have managed to suppress or avoid some of these limitation by magical means; however, these are specific to each planeswalker.

The new breed of planeswalker manifested itself for the first time in Venser of Urborg, a Dominarian artificer who participated in the solution of the Dominarian temporal crisis. Teferi's first theory was that the rifts mutated Venser's spark, which affected his ascension.

This new breed of planeswalkers was born during the Mending, when Jeska sacrificed her life and her spark to mend all temporal rifts in the Multiverse (doing so in such a great scale was probably enabled by her former existence as Karona, the embodiment of Dominarian magic, and the fact that Dominaria is the Nexus of the Multiverse.) The Mending caused a change in the very rules of Multiverse and a change in the nature of the planeswalker sparks.

[edit] Traditional planeswalkers

Planeswalkers had incredible magical capabilities, surpassing all but the most powerful mortal wizards. Their lives could last indefinitely, and their physical forms were matters of will as they were energy projections of a center of consciousness. Through intense effort, planeswalkers could create their own artificial planes. Because of planeswalkers' prolonged life spans and immense power, some are worshipped as gods; many end up insane, or, at the very least, they come to regard the lives of mortals in low-esteem, if even at all.

A planeswalker is specifically a being who possesses a planeswalker's spark. There are other beings who, through various means, are able to travel between planes, but those are not technically considered planeswalkers (Marit Lage, the Eldrazi and the Myojin of Night's Reach are the best-known examples). Many prerevisionist characters were referred to as planeswalkers but may not technically have been; without any further information, they remain subject to debate.

[edit] Reasons for change

Pivotal for the Mending was the creative team's long-standing wish to make planeswalkers more identifiable. [5] Toning them down provided a solution that also cleared the ways for the new Planeswalker card type. [7] This in turn allowed planeswalkers to be not only the focus of the storyline but also of brand identity.

[edit] Reception

As with most changes, the reactions were mixed. Some deemed it unnecessary to kill off existing characters, arguing that they could have been altered to fit the new approach. Others felt that diminishing their powers made the characters less interesting. Additional criticism was directed at the way the Mending was handled in the Time Spiral Cycle. An open letter was written to Brady Dommermuth that summarizes these viewpoints on Phyrexia.com.[8]

Discussions on differences between the old and new planeswalkers spawned many (sometimes malicious) names for the latter type, generally to make them easier to refer to, but also to show how much they differ from the original ones. Among the most popular are "neowalkers", from Greek neos ("new"), and "Bradywalkers", named after Brady Dommermuth, creative director.

[edit] Subtypes

The current planeswalker subtypes are: Ajani, Ashiok, Bolas, Chandra, Dack, Domri, Elspeth, Garruk, Gideon, Jace, Karn, Kiora, Koth, Liliana, Nissa, Ral, Sarkhan, Sorin, Tamiyo, Tezzeret, Tibalt, Venser, Vraska, and Xenagos. If two or more planeswalkers with the same subtype are on the battlefield are controlled by a player at the same time, all but one of them will be put into owner's graveyards as a state-based action.

[edit] References

  1. John Carter. (December 25, 2004.) "The Original Magic Rulebook", MTG.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (November 05, 2007.) "Planeswalk on the Wild Side, Part I", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (November 12, 2007.) "Planeswalk on the Wild Side, Part II", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater. (August 05, 2013.) "Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mark Rosewater. (September 03, 2007.) "Planeswalker Rules. Planeswalking the Walk", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Doug Beyer. (September 10, 2007.) "The Era of the Planeswalker", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Matt Cavotta. (September 06, 2007.) "The Last Quack", MTG.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Dear Brady Dommermuth

[edit] External links

FUT Planeswalker symbol.png Nine Titans FUT Planeswalker symbol.png
Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria
Members: Bo LevarCommodore GuffDariaFreyaliseKristina of the WoodsTaysirTevesh SzatUrzaLord Windgrace
Replaced members: ParcherTeferi
Expansion sets
Invasion block: InvasionPlaneshiftApocalypse | Time Spiral block: Time SpiralPlanar ChaosFuture Sight
Novels
Invasion Cycle: Invasion, PlaneshiftApocalypse | Time Spiral Cycle: Time SpiralPlanar ChaostFuture Sight
FUT Planeswalker symbol.png "Neowalkers" FUT Planeswalker symbol.png