Magic: The Gathering Head Designer Explains Why Core Set 2019 Planeswalkers Are 'Narrow'

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Image: Wizards of the Coast/ Illus. by Svetlin Velinov

Magic: The Gathering'sCore Set 2019 featured six Planeswalker cards (Liliana, Ajani, Sarkhan, Vivien, Tezzeret, and Nicol Bolas). While most of them are seeing some play in Standard and even Modern formats, I've heard many players criticize their designs for being "too narrow" or only fitting in decks that benefit from their abilities significantly such as zombie tribal for Liliana and dragon tribal for Sarkhan. If you're wondering why they were designed that way, Magic head designer Mark Rosewater has the answer.


In a recent article on Wizards of the Coast, Rosewater highlighted some questions about Core Set 2019 from fans and provided answers for them. When a Twitter user asked about the choice of Planeswalker design in Core Set 2019, Rosewater admitted that it's a conscious decision: "Part of adding the core set back into the mix raises the overall amount of planeswalkers in Standard, so to help offset that, we're making some of the core set planeswalkers a little more niche than the average planeswalker. The idea being that they might still be tournament viable, but in a narrow range of decks."

While cards like Liliana, Untouched by Death and Sarkhan, Fireblood are made for tribal decks, Vivien Reid and Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants are more versatile but rely heavily on having a creature-heavy deck. Tezzeret, the Artifice Master is made for Artifact-heavy decks while Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is considered narrow because you need to run Grixis colors (blue, red, and black) to play it. Despite their "narrowness" however, it seems that they're seeing a good amount of play in Standard so I don't think that's a bad thing.

What do you think? Do you think Wizards of the Coast should continue making "narrow" Planeswalkers in future Magic sets?

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