Beginner Planeswalker Guide: PlaneswalkersAugust 30, 2018
This is an ongoing series of Magic articles aimed at welcoming people into Magic: The Gathering! If you are an experienced Magic player, I hope you can use this article series to help your friends become Planeswalkers. If you are new to Magic, let me show you some things that will help you break into the game.
Now that you know the basics of how to play a game of Magic, let’s start getting into the nitty-gritty details. Before we move on to complex abilities and different formats of play, you need to be introduced to a card type I haven’t covered yet: Planeswalkers.
If you remember your role as a Magic player, you are actually considered a Planeswalker when you yield a library full of spells. You can think of Planeswalker cards as allies fighting by your side in battle. Within the lore of the Magic multiverse, Planeswalkers are the main characters.
Meet Ajani. He is the most powerful kitty in the multiverse.
You can see that Ajani has a mana cost, the same way that any spell in your deck does. Planeswalker cards are shuffled into your deck the same as any other spell and you can cast them in one of your Main Phases as soon as they are in your hand and you have the mana to pay their cost.
Planeswalkers are permanents, so they stay on the battlefield until something destroys them or they run out of loyalty counters. Loyalty counters represent their health. You can see in the bottom right corner that Ajani comes into play with 5 loyalty counters.
Each turn, you can use one of your Planeswalker’s abilities during one of your Main Phases. To use an ability, plus or minus Ajani’s loyalty equal to the ability cost.
For example, if you want to use Ajani’s first ability you would add 2 to his loyalty counter, bringing it to 7 if you just cast him this turn.
You can only use loyalty counters you already have, so you cannot use his final ability (also known as the Planeswalker’s ultimate ability) until you have at least 9 loyalty counters. If you use all of a Planeswalker’s loyalty counters, the Planeswalker will go to the graveyard, exhausted from the play.
Planeswalkers have some unique rules since they act almost as another player on your team.
- Spells and abilities can deal damage directly to a Planeswalker and will remove loyalty counters equal to the damage.
- Players can attack a Planeswalker instead of a player. This is the only time you can target a non-player with an attack. Attackers have the option of sending some creatures after the Planeswalker and some after the player, they don’t have to attack all in one direction.
- If an opponent attacks your Planeswalker, you can block in the same way you normally do. So keep blockers in mind when you have a Planeswalker on the battlefield.
- Only one of the same Planeswalker card can exist on your side of the battlefield at the same time. This means you cannot have multiple “Ajani, Wise Counselor” in play. If you have one in play and you cast another, the original Ajani will go to your graveyard. This actually makes a lot of sense when you view each Planeswalker as a unique being. It doesn’t make sense for two of them to exist at the same time.
That should be all you need to know to start recruiting some allies into your decks. There are many Planeswalkers to choose from in every color of Magic, and most Planeswalkers have multiple cards with different abilities.
Here are some of the most popular Planeswalker characters in case you wanted to see some examples:
I hope you find your favorite Planeswalker soon and the two of you become the best of friends slaying monsters all over the multiverse together.