MTG Sets Will Only Have One Planeswalker Card Per Set From Now On
Mark Rosewater and company had much to say in the recent MagicCon Barcelona preview video. (The part regarding Planeswalkers starts at 50:57.) Much of it was more or less what you'd suspect. Mostly, they covered the upcoming Dr. Who set and Wilds of Eldraine. However, when discussing the new Wilds of Eldraine planeswalker Mark Rosewater casually dropped some big news - MTG sets only get one Planeswalker from now on. We'll cover exactly what he said, what the change is for, and what it means for the game. So, let's jump right in.
One Planeswalker Card Per Set?
Yep. You read that right! Starting with Wilds of Eldraine, each MTG set will only have one Planeswalker card per set. For the upcoming Eldraine set, that's, and that's it. This is quite a significant change. Here is the quote from Mr. Rosewater on the matter:
"Ok, something important about this: During the war, the phyrexian war, the desparkening happened, and what that meant was a lot of Planeswalkers lost their spark, but not all of them. Starting with this set, there is one planeswalker per set. So, Ashiok, Ashiok is the planeswalker for this set. There are other former Planeswalkers in the set but Ashiok is the only Planeswalker in the set."
So, to be clear, by "planeswalker card," they mean a planeswalker from a gameplay point of view, not a character perspective. So as an example, Will Kenrith is in the set as a character who has lost his spark, but he appears as a creature instead of a planeswalker like he was here (). The same is true of his sister, Rowan Kenrith.
Why Make This Change?
One of the other members on stage (not sure who it was based on their voice alone) had this to say about the reasoning behind the change:
"This is something brand-new... This is a big deal, and from our perspective, it lets us put a huge focus on that planeswalker - We put a lot of testing resources into them and spent a lot of time making sure they're awesome."
I actually think this change will be good moving forward. And here is why.
What Does This Change Mean For The Game?
First, because Planeswalkers are pretty powerful. And Printing less of them through Standard can't hurt if you ask me. Next, they're taking their time! Anything that makes WOTC slow its roll on cranking out MTG sets and devotes extra time to improving things is fantastic.
It should also help with storytelling and lore for future sets. When there are multiple Planeswalkers per set, there has to be a reason for them to be there, and they have to find a way to make it possible within the confines of the story. Now, usually, they limp to the barn in this department and use cheap, lazy story storytelling to get the characters they need in the same place at the same time.
With a single planeswalker in each set, you don't need to have feebly constructed stories that threaten the entire multiverse to be able to bring a plethora of walkers together. Instead, they can keep it simple and stop trying to force characters onto certain planes for the sake of card design.
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Of course, there will be fewer Planeswalkers, but that's obvious. Perhaps what's less intuitive is that there will be more legendary creatures moving forward. As I mentioned above, Will and Rowan Kenrith (who would usually appear as Planeswalkers) will be creatures. And I'd bet you a box of Commander Masters that they'll be legendary creatures.
So, not only will we be getting fewer walkers but also many more legends than usual. This is likely part of the ever-present push toward the Commander format, where legendary creatures play a crucial role.
Overall, I think this change is good. I think it helps ease the burden of storytelling that WOTC seems to struggle with so badly in the last few sets. I think it will help gameplay by making the Planeswalkers we do get better, or more balanced. For the most part, there ate a ton of powerful, sometimes broken, (looking at you Oko, Theif of Crowns &) Planeswalkers. Or they kind of suck, at least in most decks, with a relative few being generally good but not overpowered.
What are your thoughts on the change? Comment below and let me know.