Daily Digest: I Go Walking After Midnight

If planeswalkers are the ultimate card type and the way to gain traction in the current competitive Magic environment, why don’t we just play more of them? Ross Merriam finds a deck that walks harder than the rest!

While many people are simply counting the days on their calendar until Collected Company rotates and we are released from the shackles of tyranny imposed on Standard by Reflector Mage and Sylvan Advocate, one person is breaking from the mold and having some fun with one of the most ridiculous decks I have seen in a long time.

Seventeen planeswalkers. Nine different characters. It’s the Magic version of a Hollywood blockbuster and hopefully this movie is more Avengers and less Suicide Squad.

With that many planeswalkers, you can legitimately play two copies of Deploy the Gatewatch, which is incredibly powerful when it hits. It doesn’t happen often, but when you are activating two or more planeswalkers in a turn, the game gets out of hand quickly, often leading to comically lopsided game states. Planeswalkers naturally snowball by themselves, and that effect is amplified when they work together. You just need to get the ball rolling.

Of course, you pay a price when you pack your deck with so many expensive cards. If you find yourself too far behind by turn 4, you will never get a planeswalker to stick and your deck can look quite embarrassing. As a result I would look to add more copies of the three-mana planeswalkers, Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Liliana, the Last Hope. Their second abilities may not be very effective, but they come down early and protect your other planeswalkers while building toward game-winning ultimates.

Oath of Chandra and Oath of Liliana are also key players in the “don’t fall behind” game, removing early attackers and giving your planeswalkers some immediate value by either clocking your opponent so you’re better poised to turn the corner when the time comes or giving you a valuable blocker to let your first planeswalker or two survive that crucial initial turn.

Languish is of course the MVP here, often ending the game on the spot by giving you a turn’s reprieve or more to set up a devastating sequence of Magic’s most powerful cards. The Dragonlord Atarka may seem out of place but serves an important role by turning on the ultimates of both Nahiri, the Harbinger and Sarkhan Unbroken.

The sideboard is understandably geared toward aggressive decks, which are the most problematic. Control decks will simply fail to keep up with your threat density once your Duresses clear away any potential counterspells.

It takes a certain degree of insanity to look at Deploy the Gatewatch and say “I can make that work,” like a mad scientist who refuses to reject their delusions of grandeur in favor of reason. But you know what they say: there is a thin line between madness and genius.