Planeswalkers are a pretty big deal in Magic: The Gathering, and Ajani Steadfast joins Nissa Worldwaker as one of the newest cards spoiled from Wizards of the Coast's upcoming expansion set Magic 2015. "Wait," you may be thinking "Didn't we just get Ajani, Mentor of Heroes in Journey Into Nyx just a few months ago?" Yes, we did. Ajani Steadfast is a new mono-colored update of our favorite hero, and will be replacing Ajani, Caller of the Pride in the core set. They all do similar things, albeit in a different fashion.
Ajani Steadfast also costs one less to cast than Ajani, Mentor of Heroes and can be played in a wider variety of decks. Let's take a look:
Ajani Steadfast - 3W
+1 Loyalty: Until end of turn, up to one target creature gets +1/+1 and gains first strike, vigilance, and lifelink.
-2 Loyalty: Put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control and a loyalty counter on each other planeswalker you control.
-7 Loyalty: You get an emblem with "If a source would deal damage to you or a planeswalker you control, prevent all but 1 of that damage."
Starting loyalty of 4
Ajani Steadfast's first ability isn't nearly as aggressive compared to some of its previous incarnations. It allows you to play it safe, attacking with a more formidable creature which will gain you life and still be in a defensive position. Creatures like Boon Satry and Loxodon Smiter become even more dangerous than before. What's interesting is that you don't even need to control a creature for you to use Ajani Steadfast's first ability.
Ajani Steadfast's second ability is incredibly powerful, with two components to break down and abuse. Adding a +1/+1 counter on "each creature you control" and a "loyalty counter on each other planeswalker you control" is a lot to digest. Abusing creatures is pretty straight forward, so we'll focus on the latter.
Some planeswalkers in Standard:
- Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
- Chandra, Pyromaster
- Domri Rade
- Elspeth, Sun's Champion
- Garruk, Caller of Beasts
- Gideon, Champion of Justice
- Jace, Architect of Thought
- Jace, Memory Adept
- Kiora, the Crashing Wave
- Liliana of the Dark Realms
- Ral Zarek
- Vraska the Unseen
- Xenagos, the Reveler
You'll want your deck packed with as many different planeswalkers as possible in order to take advantage of Ajani Steadfast, and ways to keep them alive. That most likely means running mass removal spells such as Supreme Verdict, Extinguish All Hope, or Merciless Eviction. Just watch out for Fated Retribution.
If you can build up Ajani Steadfast's loyalty high enough, his ultimate ability is pretty sweet. It won't prevent a horde of creatures from eventually nipping away at your life total, however it'll significantly slow your rival down from taking you or your planeswalkers out with just a single threat or two.
How will you use Ajani Steadfast? Please let us know in the comment section below.
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