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Magic:The Gathering Planeswalkers

Updated on March 24, 2011
The Original Planeswalkers
The Original Planeswalkers

The Planeswalkers in Magic

In the game Magic: The Gathering, planeswalkers are powerful allies that a player can call upon to fight by their side. The cards themselves have some of the most powerful effects in the game, allowing players to essentially cast a free spell each turn as long as the planeswalker remains in play. Planeswalkers enter the battlefield with a certain number of loyalty counters, which players can immediately move up or down depending on which of the planeswalkers’ abilities they use first. Loyalty counters are essentially “life” counters on planeswalkers, which are treated more like players than creatures. Most planeswalkers have a less powerful ability which increases their loyalty, a more powerful ability that decreases their loyalty, and an ultimate ability which will likely shift the game state to one which is strongly in your favor at the cost of your walkers life.

For better or worse, Magic: The Gathering planeswalkers are a significant force in the Magic meta-game and are featured prominently in almost every tournament winning standard deck. However, few people are aware that Magic: The Gathering planeswalkers are also a very important part of the magic storyline. Each planeswalker has their own in depth backstory, which is reflected in their abilities. Originally, there were only five planeswalkers, however, as time has progressed, new planeswalkers have been added and will likely continue to be added as the games storyline progresses.

Original Planeswalkers

The original cycle of Magic: The Gathering planeswalkers were first printed during the Lorwyn block as rares. These walkers have since been reprinted in each core set as chase mythic rares.

Ajani Goldmane
Ajani Goldmane

Ajani Goldmane

Ajani is a powerful albino Leonin, a race of cat-people found throughout the magic universe, whose magic originally focused on healing and increasing the strength of others, but later came to incorporate elements of rage and revenge. Ajani lived most of his early life as a pariah within his own tribe due to his albino complexion, but remained dedicated to the tribe and inspired because of its leader, his older brother, Jazal. When Jazal was murdered, Ajani’s planeswalker spark ignited and he began to roam the plains, utilizing his magic to help stabilize the world around him.

An alternate version of Ajani Goldmane, Ajani Vengeant, whose card was printed during the Shards of Alara block, represents a younger Ajani. Around this time period, Ajani met the dark planeswalker of Jund, Sarkhan Vol, who taught him how to turn his rage regarding his brother’s death into powerful magic. He used this magic to look for his brother’s killers until his new home plane of Naya became threatened by encroaching darkness and his efforts were needed elsewhere.

Jace Beleren
Jace Beleren

Jace Beleren

Driven by his seemingly unending desire to learn, Jace Beleren is a powerful telepathic mage. His magic is primarily driven by his thirst for knowledge, and in the game, his abilities center around securing card advantage. As a youth, Jace attended a magical academy, where he developed his natural skills in mind magic. These skills allow Jace to peer into the minds of others, to manipulate their memories, and even to locate planeswalkers on other planes of existence. To satisfy his hunger to learn more, Jace wanders about in the void which connects all the planes of existence in the magic universe, hunting for hidden knowledge and long forgotten lore which may help him learn still more.

An alternate version of Jace Beleren, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, was printed during the Zendikar block, and quickly became one of the most influential and coveted cards in magic. This version of Jace represents a time in which Jace is driven to the point of near madness by temptation to use his knowledge to exploit others. This can be seen in his abilities, which present a number of ways for player ally to take over the board state.

Lilliana Vess
Lilliana Vess

Liliana Vess

A powerful and ambitious necromancer with decades of honing her skills behind her, Lilianna remains forever young due to a pact made with a powerful demon lord. Liliana’s abilities center on creating disadvantages for her opponents in order to further her own interests. Her charisma is unmatched and she often uses it to manipulate others. In order to expand her own powers, Liliana has made alliances with a number of different planeswalkers. She was once romantically involved with Jace Belleren, but ultimately betrayed him to further her own interests. Since forming her deadly alliance with the demon lord, Liliana has sought to rid herself of the demons influence, and many of her actions have been driven by that goal. Liliana trusts no one, and tends to believe the rest of the world is as driven by blind ambition as she is.  It is believed that Liliana will play a major role in the fall 2011 set “Innistrad.”

Garruck Wildspeaker
Garruck Wildspeaker

Garruk WildSpeaker

The talented son of a mage on his own plane, Garruk was forced to run away from his family and to find refuge in the forest so that he would not be conscripted into the army of an evil dictator. During his time in the forest, Garruck learned to harmonize himself with nature. He became a gifted hunter, aspiring to become the ultimate predator. When his planeswalker spark ignited, he used his powers to pursue the hunt on other planes as well. Garruck’s abilities center on the efficient use of nature to create power, whether that power is better utilizing mana, or creating powerful creatures to hunt by his side. Garruck has travelled from plane to plane, seeking ever larger and more evasive game in his unending hunt. During his planar travels, one of his beasts was killed by Liliana Vess, and when he confronted her, she put a powerful curse on him. In order to find the cure for his curse, Garruck began a hunt for Vess.

Chandra Nalaar
Chandra Nalaar

Chandra Nalaar

To the casual observer, Chandra Nalaar looks somewhat like the angry teenager planeswalker; she is rash and prone to lash out at any authority which attempts to tell her what to do. However, Chandra’s distrust of authority is likely the result of her youth. Chandra was born in a rural village on a plane where fire-magic is strictly prohibited. Her continued use of fire-magic resulted in the execution of her family and her entire village. From that time forth, she wandered the planes, seeking a place where she could live freely and practice the art of fire-magic which came so naturally to her. Chandra’s powers focus on channeling her rage in order to damage her foes.

An alternate version of Chandra Nalaar is the card Chandra Ablaze. This card represents a version of Chandra after she has survived a painful cleansing ritual meant to strip her of her magical powers. The ritual was imposed upon her by an ouephe she had angered while using her magic. Chandra emerged from the ritual more powerful than ever, and the card represents new abilities which she uses to protect her freedom and the freedoms of those around her. It also represents her unbending distrust of people who would tell her what to do, as at this time, she stated unambiguously that those who practice order-governed white magic, including her once ally Gideon Jura, were her enemies.


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