|Commander / EDH||Legal|
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|Magic 2015 (M15)||Mythic Rare|
|Promo Set (000)||Mythic Rare|
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Planeswalker — Ajani
+1: Until end of turn, up to one target creature gets +1/+1 and gains first strike, vigilance, and lifelink.
-2: Put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control and a loyalty counter on each other planeswalker you control.
-7: 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."
Ajani Steadfast Discussion
1 month ago
EDIT: Revised versions appear below after the initial iteration.
This idea bases around Ajani during the Shards of Alara story but not his rage mindset from Ajani Vengeant and instead focuses on his abilities to bring out aspects or avatars of the strengths of his allies.
Ajani has always kinda had this sort of behavior as we see in his planeswalker forms like;
These sort of abilities have primarily manifested themselves in +1/+1 counters and often as a board wide buff or targeting multiple creatures. It works relatively well with White Wheenie strategies of many low cost efficient creatures.
However Ajani have also been shown to have abilities that are more focused. I'm thinking in the lines of Soul's Grace , Soul's Fire , Soul's Majesty , and Soul's Might - all of which are cards from Shards of Alara. To some extend it is also shown in Titanic Ultimatum . These abilities are more aligned with Naya's design of big fat creatures. I have always been disappointed that Ajani have never again shown any such ability in his future planeswalker designs and felt wanting a version that reflected these abilities.
So here goes an attempt at creating a Naya related version of Ajani Goldmane.
Ajani, Soulforger Show
Legendary Planeswalker - Ajani
+2 Create a 0/1 white Avatar creature token with Soulbond and "As long as this creature is paired with a creature, it is a non-legendary copy of that creature with Soulbond and creatures paired with this creature cannot attack or block."
-1 Choose a creature you control. Create a red Aura enchantment token named Avatar of Flame attached to the chosen creature. The token has enchant creature and "Sacrifice Avatar of Flame: Avatar of Flame deals damage equal to enchanted creature's power to any target."
-3 Choose a permanent you control. Look at the top x cards of your library, where x is equal to the total power of creatures you control plus 3. You may exile a card from among them face down, then put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order. When the chosen permanent leaves the battlefield, if the exiled card is a permanent you may put it onto the battlefield. Otherwise put it into your hand.
Sadly I couldn't get the Custom Card function to properly work.
Some issues I acknowledge right of the bat:
The abilities are rather lengthy and could be cut down to be less complicated at the expense of being less dynamic. For instance the +2 could be a static token that just copies the P/T at the time of creation. It's a lot less flavorful. So instead of manifesting a creature's soul and let that do the fighting and safeguard the actual creature, it would be more generic token creation, also with less limits. In the current wording you can in principle only have one avatar per creature but if the original creature gets removed, the magic of the avatar remains and can take on a new form whenever you have another creature enter the battlefield - which is something I like as an interaction.
Likewise the -1 could literally just be a Soul's Fire but it removes the ability to delay the damage to instant speed and the possibly to make the creature larger before blowing something up. It does however open the ability up to fizzling by removing the creature before the aura token is created.
The "ultimate" could be a fixed number of cards to look at. I was swaying a bit between a singular and a board wide application with more of an "ultimate feel" to it (obviously at a higher loyalty cost). However I figured this had a better application across formats and wouldn't be the typical EDH battle cruiser ability. It does however provide with some technical card advantage and can cheat out some powerful stuff, making it a risk removing permanents "enhanced" with a replacement. You are able to trigger it yourself but Ajani is also in colors that typically don't sacrifice their own permanents nor bounce them back to their hand. Well... green does have a slew of creatures that sacrifice themselves for lands or removal abilities, but in general these colors don't sacrifice their own. You can obviously utilize board wipes to facilitate their demise and secure you come out on top. It could be considered to change it so that you have to choose a non-artifact permanent, as many artifacts do sacrifice themselves.
I found it a bit more difficult than I imagined to create abilities that worked off of the Soul's X template that wouldn't just be incredibly powerful or incredibly bad, depending on cost and application. The concept is also heavily reliant on having creatures to be truly beneficial but I also think the abilities are strong enough to offset that drawback. The idea was to get away from the generic +1/+1 counters that in some terms signifies bringing out the power of the individual but is just so generic, boring, and done to death, and in that regard I consider this version successful.
The wording may need a helping hand, especially the +2 ability. In general tokens don't have abilities that grant them further abilities.
The flavor texts of all the Soul's X cards notes that Ajani sculpts these avatars (e.g. Soul's Majesty ) but it felt weird calling him Ajani, Soulsculptor... kinda running a bit too close to a certain other person of the Lorwyn-5.
Any feedback and suggestions are welcome.
Edit: I forgot to mention this before, but I figure this Ajani callback is destined for a supplemental product that doesn't go into Standard. First of all because he is quite powerful for typical Standard and more complex with ability keywords that is not explained directly on the card.
Ajani, Soulforger v2 Show
Legendary Planeswalker - Ajani
+2 Create a 0/1 white Avatar creature token with Soulbond and "As long as this creature is paired with a creature, it has power and toughness equal to that creature's power and toughness. It has Soulbond and "Creatures paired with this creature can't attack or block."
-1 Target creature you control deal damage equal to its power to any target.
-3 Look at the top 5 cards of your library, you may reveal a Creature, Enchantment, or Equipment from among them. If that card's converted mana cost is less than the greatest power among creatures you control, you may put it onto the battlefield. Otherwise put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
So, a revised version. I kept the +2 relatively intact for a couple reasons.
First to defend Ajani, the token is 0/1 by itself but is fully capable of chump-blocking.
Second the idea of making avatars out of your creatures to engage in combat is pseudo card-advantage although missing out on that creature's abilities (in the revised version). It also has the added benefit that if you attack with the Avatar and the Avatar dies, the original creature can block, effectively giving it Vigilance. However if the attacking creature is too big to die or gets through, the original creature cannot engage in combat - effectively making it "worse" on larger creatures. I find Vigilance on large creatures to be oppressive in terms of combat, more so than many other keywords.
Another benefit that befits red is that if the Avatar lingers unpaired, it can effectively grant Haste to new creatures.
Lastly I heavily want to avoid the "traditional Ajani pump", as that design is lazy and has been done to death.
-1 changed to straight Soul's Fire . It was the least original idea and was generally just there for a good ability that had a fair requirement.
-3 changed to a more static ability that provides some card advantage that Ajani has been known to be able to do previously; Ajani, Mentor of Heroes , Ajani Unyielding , and Ajani, Valiant Protector .
I traded Mentor of Heroes's ability to grab Planeswalkers for Equipment. Mostly because Equipment in general doesn't get much love, like Auras, but also because Ajani seems to have slumped down into a Superfriends booster segment, which I get with where his story goes after Shards of Alara but as this is set during Shards, I think it makes more sense that he favors Equipment. After all he used his dead brother's axe to make his iconic Twin Axe to seek revenge for his brother's murder.
As for the ability to cheat them onto the battlefield, remember that Ajani is 3 colors (the 3rd of that kind if we exclude the Commander planeswalkers), and it requires a creature with high power to gain a large swing from it. Ajani is also in colors that don't manipulate the top of their library... much... - looking at you Sylvan Library , Mirri's Guile , and Sensei's Divining Top .
Post scriptum; I just now noticed that all iterations of Ajani has something to do with life. Either straight life gain, lifelink or life total... Kinda breaking that format with this version.
Although I think life gain in general is a weak ability without the capabilities to utilize it as a benefactor, so in interest of keeping a 3-color Ajani relatively powerful, I'll break that trend.
2 months ago
- Swords to Plowshares > Wanderer's Strike
- Counterspell > Fuel for the Cause
- Dismember > Grim Affliction
- Brainstorm > Steady Progress
There's mana efficient budget staple Commander cards that can replace many of the very cards you think you should keep. Start with staples that are within your budget, include them first, then add "two for ones". Your right two for ones are good, but the card must be worth the mana cost for the two for one to matter. None of the cards you're explaining to me about are worth the mana cost. Over mana costed cards that have proliferate slapped on them as a one time effect are not worth it when you can play many repeatable sources of proliferate and can also get the very same one time effect from much lower cost mana efficient cards.
Dovin has a good ultimate, but that's it. Best not to play Planeswalkers just for their ultimate because it's too likely that you will not get it. Dovin's other abilities are lackluster, not worth playing. In any game you would much rather play four drop Atraxa, Tamiyo, Field Researcher or Ajani Steadfast than Dovin. Dovin is just getting in the way of other much more powerful four drops. Can't count on having Doubling Season every game to ultimate your Planeswalkers especially since you're not playing any mana efficient tutors that can get Season.
Mer-Ek Nightblade and Abzan Battle Priest are more four drops and there's too many four drops here especially since Atraxa is the four drop you want to consistently cast or a Planeswalker. Nightblade and Priest are lackluster four drops compared to the rest of the four drops; they require other cards (creatures to have a counter on them) to be decent and that's not good compared to the other four drops.
True Conviction and Plasm Capture are fine cards, but the manabase here can't support them. Their difficult mana costs are not costs you want to have to worry about in a four color deck. They aren't powerful enough as singletons to want to change your manabase or mana sources to play them.
2 months ago
Ancient Tomb , Mana Vault , and Mana Crypt are probably the hardest to replace. Tomb could probably be replaced by Crystal Vein or Svyelunite Temple or just another land, same with Flooded Strand . The mana rocks(and Mox Amber ) could be swapped with any of the mana rocks in the sideboard.
The Ajani Steadfast , Elspeth, Knight-Errant , Thassa, God of the Sea , and Venser, the Sojourner you would probably want to swap out for evasion effects ( Ghostform , Levitation , etc) or other voltrony stuff ( Sword of Vengeance and stuff).
Finally, the weird stuff that hates down creatures ( Crawlspace , Elspeth, Sun's Champion , and Retribution of the Meek ) could be replaced with another sub-theme, if you swap out the rest of that stuff as well.
To be honest, hating down big creatures is a meta build. My playgroup is a lot of non-competitive combo and big beats, and this deck can prey on both of them pretty well.
2 months ago
BMHKain: Responding in order.
I like Ajani Unyielding quite a lot. I picked Ajani, the Greathearted for the top ten though, because it's two mana cheaper, and the turn in comes down it puts more counters on your other walkers, meaning you can get some surprise ults off - same with Ajani Steadfast . Nothin' wrong with Unyielding though.
I saw the recommendations for completing the combo. They work. They don't work with your planeswalkers. What happens when you have Intruder Alarm but none of the other pieces? Or Jiang Yanggu but no creatures to put counters on? That combo doesn't synergize with your strategy of playing planeswalkers, and requires you to run three cards that don't help you unless you have both of the others. And again - you've already got an infinite combo in the deck, made up of four cards that all help you even if they're the only one you've drawn.
Kasmina's fine. I don't think she's particularly strong, since targeted removal isn't usually very prevalent in EDH, but that's up to your meta. Her looting is a good ability, but you only have access to it two times without finding ways to put extra counters on her. All in all, she's a C grade planeswalker.
Ob Nixilis is... eh. His +2 will be irritating, and he's useful to draw people's attention away from more dangerous walkers (I used Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver for the same purpose. His -2 is also good for you because a 5/5 blocker is pretty intimidating. His emblem is underwhelming - again, you can't really count on having a ton of creatures to use that emblem on. Also, as a rule of thumb - assume your enemies will not allow you to ult a planeswalker when you're evaluating its strength, because they won't. B-.
Ugin, the Ineffable is quite strong, actually. He's useful removal, he defends himself/your other walkers by making 2/2s, and he pseudo draws cards when those 2/2s die. I'd put him in, most likely. A-, for not being a way to end the game.
Will Kenrith is strong. Didn't comment on him cause I'm looking for cuts, and he's not a cut. ;)
Of the next three, Daretti and Saheeli are both quite strong as walkers to build around. I'm not sure how they'd do in a deck like this. Saheeli's strength is in making blockers when you cast spells. How often do you find yourself casting 2-3 spells per turn? My recollection of my own superfriends deck is that that was somewhat rare, and usually in the later game, as much of the deck has a high CMC. Given that the majority of your deck is 4+ mana, she may not be worth the include here. Sundial of the Infinite buys you some extra time on her ability, but that's not worth an include - it's not that powerful an effect to protect, and it's not synergizing with other cards in the deck. More rules of thumb: never put a card in a deck because it's good along with one other card in the deck. That just means it's bad unless you also get the other card.
Daretti is good for making blockers, and good removal. He's probably the best of the three you listed.
Rowan... I'm surprised to hear people dislike playing against her. She's just... not good. She makes people attack, but unless you've got some other defense going like Crawlspace , they're going to attack you. Crawlspace is good without Rowan. Rowan is not good without crawlspace.
Ashiok, Dream Render is fine. I think he's a C+ of a planeswalker in EDH. If you're facing against a combo deck or a graveyard deck he's better - if you're not, he's worse. I don't think its wrong to include him. I just don't think he's the best you've got.
Dovin, Grand Arbiter is terrible. His +1 does nothing unless you're ahead on board. His ult is basically a better Dig Through Time , which is already underwhelming, plus you have to protect him for four turns to get to it. His -1 is fine as defense, but because it's a -loyalty effect, means it doesn't help him get to his pretty-weak ult. He's easily one of the worst walkers on your list. Grade is an F.
Serra the Benevolent is in a similar boat. Her -ability makes a pretty strong creature, which is nice. Her +ability only helps Atraxa, Praetors' Voice and her own tokens though, and just makes them a bit bigger, which doesn't have much effect if you want to stay on defense. Her emblem is good, and easy to get to, but relies on a not-creature deck having creatures to be strong. Grade is D.
I do think Kiora, the Crashing Wave is stronger than Dovin, Hand of Control . I'm interested in Dovin primarily for his ability to bubble a problematic creature, which is nice defense. But unlike Kiora, Dovin has no other abilities, and his static is... fine. But not particularly strong. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is the card he reminds me of - almost unplayable outside of heavy taxes decks.
2 months ago
For the record, my top ten walkers from your deck would be (in alphabetical order):
Ajani, the Greathearted
Elspeth, Sun's Champion
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Sorin, Grim Nemesis
Tamiyo, Field Researcher
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Teferi, Temporal Archmage
Tezzeret the Seeker
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
2 months ago
Me again lol. I was looking at the selection of walkers. I noticed 2 things. With 11 creatures. You need 1 or 2 more walkers that put out blockers. Guys like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar , Garruk Wildspeaker , Sorin, Grim Nemesis fit the bill. You're also lacking walkers that put +1/+1 counters on creatures to have more to proliferate and make blockers bigger. Ajani Steadfast , Ajani, Mentor of Heroes , and Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter I personally like
3 months ago
3 months ago
Thanks! I'm glad you like the deck.
Mirari's Wake is already on the list. It's great for ramp and to buff my army a bit.
Ajani Steadfast doesn't really mesh well with a go-wide strategy. His +1 is limited to only one creature, and his ult is okay. His -2 is useful especially with other plainswalkers, but again I feel the usefulness is so limited that it's not really worth including him.
Ajani Unyielding on the other hand...I really like this one. Card draw, removal, and excessive overrun all in one card. I just don't know where I would cut for him.
Archangel of Thune could be nice and would certainly buff my tokens each turn since she'd almost always get damage in. However I'm not sure there's room for her here unless you can convince me she is more deserving of a slot than something I'm already running. Keep in mind I'm trying to keep as much of this budget as I can. I'd have to drop close to $15 on her, and I'm already doing that for a few other cards in the list.
Ajani Steadfast occurrence in decks from the last year
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.01%