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Playing M19's Planeswalkers

Now that Magic 2019 has been released, everyone is itching to try out the newest cards to see if they have a home in Standard. Planeswalkers can be some of the most impactful new cards from a new set, so this week we'll be taking a look at some new decks featuring the planeswalkers from Magic 2019.

Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants

The first deck we'll look at this week features the latest version of Ajani. Let's take a look at it.


Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants fits in very nicely alongside many of the knights in this deck. His -2 loyalty ability can return two-thirds of the creatures in this deck including Dauntless Bodyguard, which you can use as protection for any of your creatures costing more than two mana, and Paladin of Atonement, which can allow you to stay alive during a long, grindy game.

This deck also features a single copy of Vona, Butcher of Magan. This was one of my favorite cards from Ixalan, and I'm happy to see her included in this deck. Vona's ability to destroy nearly any permanent in play is very powerful and can enable you to stay in a game that you would be certain to lose even if it does come at a high price. She also happens to be a knight, so she benefits from the bonus granted by both Benalish Marshal and Valiant Knight.

Liliana, Untouched by Death

The next deck I have for you features Liliana, Untouched by Death. Unsurprisingly, it also features a zombie theme as well. Let's have a look at it.


Much like a zombie herd, once this deck starts rolling it'll be hard to stop it. Lord of the Accursed and Death Baron are both 'lords' that will give your zombies +1/+1. Death Baron also grants them all deathtouch. This deck also includes a couple of copies of Metallic Mimic as a further way to pump up zombies cast after it. So, with all of the large zombies wandering around the battlefield, it will be tough for a ground-based attack to succeed.

Liliana, Untouched by Death's -2 loyalty ability is extremely useful to deal with any flying creatures your opponent might have. Her +1 loyalty and -3 loyalty abilities work well in conjunction with each other, dropping zombies into your graveyard where they can be recast later on. It's almost as if you have an extra-large handsize since you're able to cast many different things from your graveyard. As many people have said, Liliana, Untouched by Death is a narrow planeswalker, only fitting best in a zombie shell, but that narrowness doesn't mean she's not very powerful.

Vivien Reid

The next deck I have for you features our newest planeswalker, Vivien Reid. Here it is.


While I wasn't able to find any decks that featured Vivien Rein in the main deck, she has been popping up in a number of sideboards. This is likely due to her -3 loyalty ability which destroys any artifact, enchantment, or creature with flying. Her other abilities are for finding and enhancing your creatures which doesn't combo as well with her 5-mana cost, however I think there will likely be a build soon that includes Vivien Reid alongside some sort of mana ramp that will make her shine.

This deck is a nice midrange build that will continually poke at your opponent or gum up the battlefield so that your opponent can't attack profitably. Once Glorybringer or Rekindling Phoenix comes down, you can begin to attack in the air. The late game plan is to cast Banefire, where X is at least 5 so that the damage can't be prevented in any way and it can't be countered and you can finish off your opponent.

Sarkhan, Fireblood

The next deck I have for you features Sarkhan, Fireblood, another planeswalker that has a slightly more narrow focus. Let's take a look at it.


Sarkhan, Fireblood is the latest 3-mana planeswalker to come along. As such, there are high hopes that he will find a home in Standard. While his second +1 loyalty ability pushes you in a certain direction, his first +1 loyalty ability is useful in nearly any deck. This deck, however, includes 8 dragons, so the second +1 loyalty ability works well here. If you're able to use his -7 loyalty ability and your opponent doesn't have a board wipe, you've probably won the game at that point.

This deck also includes a couple of copies of Demanding Dragon. Usually abilities that punish your opponent based on their choice of options aren't very good since they'll always choose the option that's best for them, the choices Demanding Dragon offers will make it difficult for them to feel like they're coming out ahead on the transaction. Plus, you're getting a 5/5 flying dragon for five mana, which seems pretty good in my book.

Tezzeret, Artifice Master

The final deck I have for you this week features Tezzeret, Artifice Master. Take a look at it.


Tezzeret, Artifice Master can singlehandedly get you back into a game where you're at parity with your opponent or slightly behind. His +1 loyalty ability to make a 1/1 Thopter allows you to protect himself as well as protecting your life total. His 0 loyalty ability is terrific when you control three or more artifacts, but even if you don't it's still very powerful to be able to draw an extra card basically for free. If you're able to use his ultimate -9 loyalty ability, you'll be able to bring out any permanent each turn which should help you get a victory in no time.

Don't forget that this deck also runs a full playset of Karn, Scion of Urza. Since there are a ton of cheap artifacts in the deck, if you're able to use Karn's -2 loyalty ability even once, you could have a very large construct token right away.

Wrapping Up

Planeswalkers are an exciting part of Magic for most players. With Magic 2019 having such an abundance of new planeswalkers to build around, I have a feeling the decks I've shown you today will just be the tip of the iceberg. Which Magic 2019 planeswalker are you most looking forward to playing? You can let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

— Mike Likes


Magic Core Set 2019 is Now Available!