On Friday evening, Wizards of the Coast revealed the latest two Planeswalkers who will be appearing in Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Although one of them had already been spoiled by the leaks which have plagued the set, the other is a genuinely new card previously unseen by players.
Just who are these new MTG Planeswalkers? Let’s take a look at Kaya, Intangible Slayer, and Nahiri, the Unforgiving…
Kaya, Intangible Slayer
Kaya, Intangible Slayer is one of the five Planeswalkers who appears in Phyrexia: All Will Be One and does not get compleated. She comes with hexproof and six starting loyalty, but this is balanced out by a steep cost of seven mana. Her +2 effect deals three damage to each opponent and gives you three life. Her 0 effect allows you to draw two cards, and gives each opponent the opportunity to scry. Finally, her -3 exiles a creature or enchantment and creates a 1/1 spirit token copy of it, with flying, under your control.
This version of Kaya conveys her flavor as a spectral assassin nicely. Her -3 removal effect represents her conducting an assassination, whilst the fact that she has hexproof shows her ability to phase away and avoid trouble. Her +2 effect is also very similar to the effect of Oath of Kaya which is a nice reference.
Hexproof provides Kaya with some sturdiness, meaning opponents will have to destroy her with board wipes or attack her in combat. This will be tough going considering her very high starting loyalty. Though, to reiterate, Kaya’s exceedingly high seven mana cost is a major downside. It’s likely that this will prevent her from being playable outside of slower formats like EDH.
Kaya, Community Views
Broadly, the community seem to have written Kaya off, though she does have a few defenders:
“That -3 could be a huuuuge swing but man 7 mana is steep” –TheNotoriousJTS
“What’s up with Kaya Planeswalkers being decent until you look at their Mana costs. This is what, half of them now?”- ElectricJetDonkey
Some are arguing that Kaya could be usable in Standard if she’s cheated into play, perhaps by using a reanimator effect.
Will Kaya see any play, or will her prohibitively high Mana Value keep her out of decks? Only time will tell.
Nahiri, the Unforgiving
Unlike Kaya, Nahiri does not manage to make it through Phyrexia unchanged. Interestingly, for a Planeswalker, Nahiri has absolutely no abilities which reduce her loyalty. Her first +1 forces a creature to attack a player during the next combat step, this demonstrates how Nahiri has become corrupted and evil. The player is being pushed into the way of attacks which might otherwise target her. Her second +1 allows you to discard a card in order to draw a card. This is an underwhelming effect perhaps, but Red and White are not known for their ability to generate card advantage.
Nahiri’s 0 loyalty ability is what really makes her interesting. This ability allows you to exile a creature or equipment card from your graveyard, with mana value less than Nahiri’s loyalty, and create a copy with haste. This copy is then exiled during the next end step. This ability synergises nicely with both of her previous effects. Each of them raises her loyalty, allowing her to exile more expensive cards. The first ability keeps her safe from damage, while the second allows you to put cards into your graveyard to later be exiled and reanimated.
Nahiri costs 4 mana although, just like other compleated Planeswalkers, she can be played for one mana less, in exchange for two life and entering play with two fewer loyalty counters.
Nahiri plays into some established themes. Her ability to interact with equipment is common amongst Nahiri planeswalkers at this point. Her reanimation effects, also demonstrate the push to include more graveyard interaction in the Boros color pair which has been paticularly prominent since Strixhaven.
Nahiri, Community Views
The community seem very split on Nahiri at present. Several feel very positively about the card:
“I think this is easily the best of the walkers we’ve seen so far. It just does a lot for it’s cost, and it seems pretty good to me at 3cmc too.” – Ulfserker
“This is going to turn out to be one of those extremely underwhelming walkers on paper then an absolute chad in practice because you get an extra attacker every turn in boros aggro” – Fiskerton_Fero
Whilst others take a more negative view:
“I just don’t see a home for this, though, at least not for now. Maybe Hammertime becomes a thing in Pioneer with the new Kemba, and if its RW then this could be a consideration?” – Exploringdeathntaxes
“I’m looking at this card, and I might be wrong, but I think it may as well do literally nothing. It doesn’t make bodies, it doesn’t remove, it doesn’t give card advantage. When has a planeswalker like that EVER been good?” – Jebedia
Overall the new Nahiri card seems difficult to evaluate in a vacuum without being able to see it in action. It will definitely be fun to experiment with once it is released.