Ranking Every Planeswalker with EDHREC - 2022 Edition
(Tamiyo, Compleated Sage | Art by Chris Rahn)
Hey, Everybody, It's Time For Graceful Antelope.
What? The heading isn't enough of an intro for you?
Okay, fine. Welcome back to our retrospective on 2022. Let's look at all the planeswalkers that released this past year.
Planeswalkers of 2021
- Eligible Sets: Innistrad, Crimson Vow, Crimson Vow Commander, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Neon Dynasty Commander, Streets of New Capenna, New Capenna Commander, Commander Legends: Battle of Boulder's Gate, Dominaria United, Dominaria United Commander, Unfinity, Warhammer 40k Commander
- Previous Number of Planeswalkers: 237
- New Additions from 2022: 21
- New Number of Planeswalkers: 258
I don't know why the number of mana rocks from 2022 is exactly the same as the number of planeswalkers from 2022. (Remember that we're not counting The Brothers' War since it's still too recent.) Maybe it's a grand conspiracy to make mana rocks as exciting as planeswalkers, or maybe it's just me getting lucky for once with this series. Take it as you will!
258: Space Beleren: 257 Decks
254: Comet, Stellar Pup: 508 Decks
This doesn't feel reflective of power level here. Space Beleren is not the worst planeswalker in all of EDH. Comet, Stellar Pup doesn't deserve to be rubbing shoulders with Rowan, Fearless Sparkmage. Like, are either of these particularly good in Commander? Not really, but look at the other 'walkers that occupy the bottom spots of this list. These are nowhere close to those.
I'm certainly not demanding you play these. There were some concerns when Space Beleren was released about memory issues with the piles, so if you don't wanna deal with it, that's totally cool! I'm just saying there have to be more people that like this than, like, Sorin, Vampire Lord. Scrambleverse and Dimensional Breach are a million times harder to track. I would play against these 100 times before facing a Thieves' Auction.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I don't think this can hold, frankly.
217: Sivitri, Dragon Master: 1,663 Decks
(439 Decks as a Commander, 1,224 Decks in the 99)
Dragons! Dimir Dragons, even! That's a cool idea. You could do it before with Dragonlord Silumgar, but Sivitri, Dragon Master feels like a better commander in this strategy, if for nothing else than being a tutor when you options are not quite as present as the red ones. Thumbs up here!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Now, in the 99, she doesn't seem nearly as good. There're a lot of better planeswalkers you can run in the few precious slots not devoted to Dragons.
210: Jaya, Fiery Negotiator: 1,971 Decks
It's very impressive that you can print three Jaya planeswalkers and none of them are really something I'm excited to play. Jaya, Fiery Negotiator has four abilities, but none of them seem worth protecting her long-term for (minus the ultimate that takes a million turns to get to). Well done, Wizards! My favorite Jaya is still the one from 2006..
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: And now Jaya's dead., so they can never do a Jaya I'll like again. Sucks to suck, I guess.
189: Jared Carthalion: 2,584 Decks
(1,441 Decks as a Commander. 1,143 Decks in the 99)
THE GAME'S VERY FIRST BLACK-BORDERED FIVE-COLOUR PLANESWALKER.
Jared's good bois aside, I like him. It would be very easy for Wizards to make a five-color 'walker that was just generically good and something you wanna run as the commander of whatever can cast it, but that's not what they did! 'Color matters' is a fun way to go with it.
It's fairly powerful, too. The 3/3s are good blockers, the -3 makes your stuff massive, and the ultimate is pretty meh for an ultimate, but it's still a good ability if you can swing the five-color clause on it! In the 99, or as the commander, this is a good 'walker for colors matters decks!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I'll never not think about Jared making doggos, though.
165: Elminster: 3,877 Decks
(2,529 Decks as a Commander, 1,348 Decks in the 99)
I don't understand Wizards' fascination with making scry a deck archetype. We got Eligeth, Crossroads Augur a couple years ago, which is like "haha, what a cute wacky one-off commander for this mechanic." Except no! They printed Elminster this year to make another commander for scry, and then they printed The Temporal Anchor in The Brother' War, and, like, why is there so much support for scry all of a sudden?
You wanna know what the payoff for scrying is? You get to scry. I don't need extra incentive to sculpt my draw and set up the top of my deck. I already want to do that. You gave more support to scry strategies this year than to my dumb mono-red Polymorph deck, and I'm salty about that.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: You can tell the hiatus really honed my ability to avoid talking about what I'm getting paid to talk about. Elminster is a fine Azorius planeswalker whether you're all-in on scry or not. That's all you get until we get another Transmogrify
161: Ajani, Sleeper Agent: 4,115 Decks
Cat Dad Turned Phyrexian Super Spy (Sorry to the Children) is not a planeswalker I'm super excited to play. His +1 has the classic problem where even if you're deck is 66 creatures/'walkers, you're still gonna hit land a 1/3 of the time. His -3 is fine, but not worth four mana, and the ultimate is fun (well, heartbreaking for some, I suppose), but honestly slower than a lot of ultimates that you could play. Overall, not a fan of the new look.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: If you want an Ajani for your Atraxa, Praetors' Voice deck, you're still better off with Ajani, Mentor of Heroes. Plus, then you won't scar the children.
158: Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes: 4,274 Decks
(1,598 Decks as a Commander, 2,676 Decks in the 99)
Now, Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes lives in my head for a couple reasons. One, Jake from Commander's Herald is my tour guide into the cEDH world that I cannot brave the elements to get into myself, and he covered the deck in this very good write-up. Somehow, this plus the play it's seeing in Legacy made me think it was some type of cEDH role-player.
Two, I've actually played against Minsc & Boo a fair amount, and every time, they've been a really solid and fun deck to play against. The EDHREC page has a bunch of Hydras and +1/+1 counter cards on here, but the one's I've seen slant more towards being Minsc Voltron decks with some +1/+1 counters cards as back-up. It's super fun because Minsc makes a Boo every turn, so it's easy to always keep a decent threat at the ready, and it's incredibly easy for Minsc to snap his neck and get a full grip. He's an excellent commander, and a really solid Gruel 'walker, so I expected him to top this list of 2022 'walkers.
Not at all actually; he doesn't even crack the top ten for the year. The heck? I guess I just invented a reputation for this card that doesn't exist. I did go ahead and message Jake to see how good Minsc & Boo actually were in cEDH, and he said that while they're the best Gruul commander in the format by a wide margin, they're also "still Gruul", and that apparently is a high bar to cross. So, they're super fun, but not close to the top tier. Shame on me for inventing a legacy for this card, but dang! Y'all are missing out.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I guess what we can all learn from this is that we need to play Minsc & Boo more, and by we, I mean you.
147: Karn, Living Legacy: 5,114 Decks
Karn, Living Legacy is not good. I read the card, it looked bad in EDH. I saw the Karn played, it still looked bad in EDH. None of the abilities do enough. The card is meh.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: You're entitled to your own opinion obviously, but I have more 'walkers I need to talk about, so I gotta move the ship along.
141: Chandra, Dressed to Kill: 5,395 Decks
(Lump with Karn or Jaya?)
Well, this planeswalker just doesn't seem made for us, does it? I'm sure it's fun in mono-red decks with whatever one-drops currently occupy Standard (oh, right, they reprinted Swiftspear), but having a 'walker not protect itself is a pretty large downside in EDH, especially when the primary thing it's doing is being Amanda Rock (a mana rock).
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: All these years later, and I'd still rather play Chandra Ablaze.
138: Ob Nixilis, the Adversary: 5,469 Decks
So, level one on Ob Nixilis, the Adversary is a three-mana planeswalker that does a pretty poor job protecting itself with the -2, has a pretty useless +1, and has a decent-but-unexciting ultimate that's a million turns away. Not great.
Level two is using Casualty to make two Ob Nixila! That sounds neat, but it's not like the abilities magically get better when you have two of them in play. The most that happens is the +1 gains you two life. By and large, he's still not doing much.
And then I guess level three is that you only play him when you have a seven-power flyer in play, and you use the Casualty copy as basically a three-mana draw seven? That's the most appealing use for Ob so far, and even then, that's basically just Morbid Curiosity with extra steps. If nobody can find a way to go deeper, I think I'll just be moving on at this point.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Oh wait, I know. Demon decks! We found one good strategy for him. Good for us!
127: Tasha, the Witch Queen: 5,828 Decks
(2,790 Decks as a Commander, 3,038 Decks in the 99)
I can't decide if Tasha, the Witch Queen is niche or not. Casting opponents' spells is a theme with commanders like Xanathar, Guild Kingpin or Sen Triplets that have a primary gameplan of winning off opponents' stuff. Hey, here's another card for that type of deck. Perfect!
Except I think Tasha is playable in... well, in any Dimir deck. I mean, theft cards are not uncommon in the average deck. Spelltwine, Thief of Sanity, that new Gix,, Hostage Taker, Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Mnemonic Betrayal, Chaos Wand, these and many other cards on Tasha's Commander page are just cards I might be playing in my random Lazav, Dimir Mastermind deck anyway.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: On an unrelated note, Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears became the most played planeswalker deck 'walker for reasons I cannot fathom. I'd like to assign that card a retroactive "Overplayed."
121: Tamiyo, Compleated Sage: 6,299 Decks
There's a lot to like about Tamiyo, Compleated Sage, but I don't know if there's enough to like. A four-mana limited Obzedat's Aid is fine. Not excellent, but not bad, and if she sticks around, the ultimate is a really great engine for whatever silly things you wanna cast.
It's all the little things that don't click for me here. The +1 doesn't actually get rid of anything, the -X exiles the thing you get, the ultimate is two turns away with a five-mana Tamiyo, and three turns away with a four-mana one. Anyone can remove the Spellbook, as it has no protection. These are all minor annoyances, but all these little nibbles turn me off from wanting to play this in the average Simic deck. Maybe as a superfriends card, but even still I'm not that high on it.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: She does seem fun in Adrix and Nev, Twincasters. Double recursion!
118: Sorin the Mirthless: 6,726 Decks
It's been a while since we've had a generically-good-but-not-good-enough 'walker in this series, but Sorin the Mirthless fits that mold to a T. Don't know what that is? Haven't you read this random article from almost two years ago? You should review the syllabus before you attend class.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I guess he could also be a Howling Mine-style 'walker, but none of the abilities seem worth protecting him for to be worth it.
111: Dihada, Binder of Wills: 7,135 Decks
(2,271 Decks as a Commander, 4,864 Decks in the 99)
Doesn't really matter what I say about Dihada, Binder of Wills since she's a precon commander, and therefore destined to see a ton of play for the next two years, but for the record, I like the card. The -3 is the best ability and useful in everything from Superfriends to Legends Matter. Maybe even Mardu Treasure decks, too. That, plus the surrounding abilities being good too, makes this a solid Mardu edition to the repertoire.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I have no idea who this Dihada person is, though. Apparently she's also Geyadrone Dihada, but I don't know who that is either.
109: Vivien on the Hunt: 7,170 Decks
Now, if you're playing Vivien on the Hunt, you probably are playing it for the Birthing Pod ability. If you're playing it for that reason, you probably would rather play Birthing Pod. Being cheaper and easier to protect makes Pod a better choice than this expensive and slightly more fragile planeswalker.
That said, Birthing Pod is $10, and this Vivien is $2 at time of writing, so that's a pretty good reason to run Vivien instead. She's still pretty excellent. Also, being a source of card advantage helps her out a ton, and the Rhinos are whatever, I guess. Six mana is a lot for this card, but it pays itself off pretty easily. She definitely has a place.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Get her before she spikes like Wrenn and Seven from last year.
106: Kaya, Geist Hunter: 7,364 Decks
How much do you want a three-mana, one-shot Anointed Procession?
Okay, Kaya, Geist Hunter might be more than that occasionally, but considering how bad she is at protecting itself, three-mana, one-shot Anointed Procession should be the expectation.
And like, if you're set up to make a million tokens with a Thalisse, Reverent Medium or a Myrkul, Lord of Bones, then it seems very worth it. If you're just getting like two or three extra tokens off a Prava of the Steel Legion, then I think you can do a lot better than this.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Y'know, they wanted to call the card "Kaya, Ghost Hunter", but didn't because that'd be too close to Kaya, Ghost Assassin.
103: The Wandering Emperor: 7,689 Decks
I think The Wandering Emperor falls into the Liliana of the Veil trap where she's good in other formats, and so people play her in EDH, even though the card doesn't do very much. Like, what are you hoping this card will do? Remove a thing or two? Make a Samurai? Put two or three counters or a thing? None of that feels worth the four mana on this, even if you can flash it in.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Most overplayed on this 2022 list. Fight me!
99: Elspeth Resplendent: 8,157 Decks
The only place I'm really high on Elspeth Resplendent is in a counters deck. Not like +1/+1 counters, I mean like "let's collect a bunch of weird counters for benefit", like Denry Klin, Editor in Chief. That's the place where the +1 and -3 are going to do most. Otherwise, none of the abilities seem worth the five mana here.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Have you seen the alt art for this card? Comparing it to the normal art just makes her flower thing look dopey.
80: Kaito Shizuki: 9,705 Decks
Similar to Arlinn, the Pack's Hope, people love Ninjas, so they're gonna play Kaito Shizuki just because it's a Ninja, and the design feels a lot like a Ninja. The flavor is going to secure way more wins than playability.
Also similar to Arlinn, though, I don't actually think he's that great in EDH. The phase out text is very good, basically ensuring you always get two bites at the apple, but getting two of his abilities doesn't feel that amazing. Most likely it'll be the -2 and the +1, so most of the time he's a three-mana 1/1 unblockable that draws a card? That's not the worst, but it's far from the best, and because Ninja decks don't do a great job protecting 'walkers, he's not gonna be much more than that. He's not bad, and he's on-theme for the deck, but there are better cards than Kaito.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I'll have much nicer things to say about his new version if I'm still here doing this next year.
62: Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh: 11,359 Decks
The problem with Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh is that he's competing with himself. Specifically, he's competing with every other Tezzeret that's been printed. I'd personally rank newest Tez behind Human Tez, Attempting To Be Buff Tez, and CGI Tez. I'd say he's about as powerful as Nostalgia Tez and Doesn't Understand Commas Tez.
That's already a lot of competition, and none of that is considering all the non-Tezzeret 'walkers you could play, like Daretti, Scrap Savant, or Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, or even Dack Fayden, who all do more than new Tez here. There are just soooo many artifact 'walkers, and New Tez doesn't do enough to stand out.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Sorry to be so negative to the top 'walkers. Here, we'll end on a positive. I like Vivien. Go play more Vivien!
Can We Get More Enchantment 'Walkers Please?
Ranked all the Boggart Arsonists of 2022. What do you think of this batch? Any love for the "colors matters" deck? Was I too mean to the top five 'walkers this year? Let me know in the comments! Until next week!