Merry Crimbo, people of Earth! Guess what we got from R&D Claus under the magnigoth tree this year? Turns out the naysayers, the Grinches and Scrooges who said Christmas spoilers were a thing of the past, were wrong. Feast your eyes on the gift players have been begging for for three years - the mothership has spoiled Kiora Atua's first ever planeswalker card:
Kiora, the Crashing Wave 2GU
Planeswalker - Kiora (Mythic)
+1: Until your next turn, prevent all damage that would be dealt to and dealt by target permanent an opponent controls.
-1: Draw a card. You may play an additional land this turn.
-5: You get an emblem with "At the beginning of your end step, put a 9/9 blue Kraken creature token onto the battlefield."
Kiora's core flavor of a deep-sea summoner is definitely present, but some of her abilities were unexpected. Her +1 is an unusual way for her to defend herself - it's effective in very specific situations, versus control decks in particular, though it may have been more interesting if it could target your own permanents besides her as well. Her -1 might be the true heart of this card (not in the Yu-Gi-Oh sense - well maybe a little): a repeatable Explore makes ramp players weep with joy. That's not to say her ultimate - a mere five loyalty, three above her starting two! - is easily ignored; it means your opponents will run out of removal and blockers before you run out of 9/9 tokens. Overall, though her small loyalty and one-threat-at-a-time ability focus make her vulnerable to aggro decks, she seems to be a flavorful and strong planeswalker that feels green and blue without aping the Simic guild.
What do you think of our first-ever Kiora? Worth the wait? Let me know in the comments!