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By: pfirpfel, Michael Kuenzli
Jan 04 2010 1:16pm
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Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker


First a few words about me: I'm a 22 year old programmer / computer science student from Switzerland. My mother tongue is German, so please forgive me my simple English. I play Magic since 6th Edition and more than 2 years online. I enjoy drafting and playing wacky casual formats - like Planeswalker or Pauper Prismatic Singleton.


Without any official announcements a new item appeared in the shop - the new Planeswalker Deck Pack II. Because nobody knew any details, I bought one and did some research. Now I want to share my results!



For those who don't know the format, if you create a new account now, you get a Planeswalker Deck Pack which includes only gold-bordered cards. These are always the same, not usable in other formats and untradable. You find an introduction here.

Let's start with some lists:

The new cards are:
2 Alpha Myr
2 Axegrinder Giant
1 Borderland Behemoth
4 Bottle Gnomes
4 Bramblewood Paragon
4 Cloudcrown Oak
4 Condemn
1 Deft Duelist
3 Dispeller's Capsule
3 Dream Fracture
1 Earthquake
3 Etherium Sculptor
2 Eyes of the Wisent
2 Fountain of Youth
4 Glaze Fiend
4 Howling Mine
1 Hurricane
1 Isleback Spawn
2 Jagged Lightning -> not online in non-Planeswalker formats yet; see Gatherer
1 Jayemdae Tome
3 Kiss of the Amesha
3 Leonin Scimitar
2 Master of Etherium
1 Mirri, Cat Warrior
2 Mudbutton Torchrunner
2 Oakgnarl Warrior
2 Obsidian Battle-Axe
2 Onyx Goblet
2 Ornithopter
1 Platinum Angel
1 Razormane Masticore
2 Sharding Sphinx
1 Terminate
4 Tidehollow Strix
3 Traumatize
2 Vengeful Firebrand
4 Wall of Air
2 Wall of Swords
1 Wanderer's Twig

A lot of esper stuff! But before we discuss the new possibilities, we need to get more information what the new pack brings. For example changes to the restricted list. All new singleton cards are automatically restricted:
Borderland Behemoth
Deft Duelist
Isleback Spawn
Jayemdae Tome
Mirri, Cat Warrior
Platinum Angel
Razormane Masticore
Wanderer's Twig

The new pack brought additional copies of already restricted cards. I checked them with the deck editor and some are not restricted anymore! Here is the list:
Denizen of the Deep
Mahamoti Djinn
Mass calcify
Memory Erosion
Shivan Dragon
Talara's Battalion
Voice of All

(Elvish Piper, Loxodon Warhammer, Threaten, Wrath of God are still restricted although you have 2 copies now if you own Pack I and II)

And at last, some card quantities got upped: Air Elemental, Counterbore, Lava Axe, Memory Erosion, Naturalize, Rip-Clan Crasher, Sangrite Surge, Shock and Woolly Thoctar are available as a playset now. Then three copies of Denizen of the Deep, Mahamoti Djinn, Megrim and Persuasion as well as two exemplars of Evacuation, Mass Calcify, Nekrataal, Shivan Dragon, Talara's Battalion and Voice of All are part of the collection of a proud owner of both Planeswalker packs.

That was the dry data. Let's ponder a bit on the new possibilities. The most obvious new decks for me are a mill and an esper deck. I went for the first deck: The basic strategy of a Turbo Fog deck is to mill your opponent with cards like Traumatize, Memory Erosion and Howling Mine. The deck plays usually no creatures to make a lot of your opponent’s cards useless (like removal and combat tricks). Instead it plays mass removal and fog effects. While the mill engines are available in the Planeswalker format, the support cards are rare. For example you are only allowed to play one copy of Wrath of God. With both packs you also only have three white fogs (Holy Day) and just two cheap creature counters (Remove Soul). This led to a quite hard deck building process. After some testing I got the following list, which is not perfect at all:

Planeswalker Turbo Fog
A first attempt with the new possibilities
1 Deft Duelist
2 Goldenglow Moth
3 cards

Other Spells
4 Howling Mine
3 Kiss of the Amesha
4 Memory Erosion
3 Holy Day
3 Dream Fracture
4 Condemn
2 Remove Soul
2 Evacuation
1 Negate
3 Traumatize
1 Wrath of God
2 Unsummon
32 cards
16 Island
9 Plains
25 cards
Memory Erosion


The deck consist of 3 parts: the milling engine, cards against damage dealing strategies and lands. Because of the restriction of Wrath I have to play two Evacuation. These are quite solid. They slow down the opponent considerably and are synergistic with Memory Erosion, because they have to cast their creatures again and therefore trigger the Erosion.

Dream Fracture is the perfect milling counter and Kiss of the Amesha is very versatile. In the midgame it gives you time and options, but it can also act as finisher.

First my goal was to avoid playing creatures. Walls have the problem that they give the removal spells a nice target. Usually nobody wastes a Shock on Goldenglow Moth, so in theory it would buy me some time. In addition with the bounce spells the card can be quite good. The restricted Deft Duelist is great thanks to Shroud.


In a short test, I lost two games to an elf deck and won against black-red discard and mono-red aggro. The deck is not really consistent yet, but I'm trying to tweak it until it works.


Enough insights for today. Enjoy the challenging environment of the Planeswalker format!



I love the avatar, welcome to by Paul Leicht at Mon, 01/04/2010 - 15:49
Paul Leicht's picture

I love the avatar, welcome to Pure. :) An interesting look at a format I probably will never play (Not being one to open new accounts or buy stuff.) I imagine this would be useful for new players. If I hear anyone asking about this format Ill tell them about your article.

Looks interesting. Articles by Romann (not verified) at Mon, 01/04/2010 - 17:39
Romann's picture

Looks interesting. Articles about the Planeswalker format would be a nice addition to PureMTGO.

Nice article :) short but sound.

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