March of the Machine Madness Planeswalkers Power Ranking

March of the Machine: Planeswalkers Power Ranking

Chris CornejoMagic Story

Welcome to March of the Machine Madness, where we’re taking the next week to ask you which Magic characters would win in a fight. Considering March of the Machine is taking us all over the multiverse, forcing characters against each other in mortal combat, we thought the timing was perfect.

However, we would never just pit two characters against each other, head-to-head, and ask you to pick based on personal preference. No, we’re sure you’ll be using the most strict, canon-driven reasoning when you vote on our Twitter.

But just in case you’re not up-to-date on Magic’s lore, we decided to do a power ranking that breaks down each contender’s strengths, weaknesses and feats. We’ll also mention their cards, too, since it’s hard to separate story from gameplay sometimes.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at who is competing on behalf of the Planeswalkers we all know and love!

No. 8: Kaito Shizuki

Kaito is a relatively new character from Kamigawa, although he already has had a big presence in the story. Trained as a samurai and now a ninja. He has telekinetic abilities and a kami companion in Himoto (also known as Pompom), who inhabits a robotic tanuki. Kaito is closely entwined with the Wandering Emperor, being her childhood friend and now wartime ally.  

Against the Phyrexians, Kaito has had some mixed results. His evasive abilities let him survive and avoid infection… but he wasn’t the most effective on offense. While the Sylex mission didn’t go according to plan, he (with a giant assist from his friend the Emperor) did ably defend Kamigawa from Tamiyo and the Phyrexians. He also help fight off Tezzeret and Jin-Gitaxias during the Neon Dynasty story, but obviously Tamiyo’s fate shows he couldn’t quite finish the job.

Kaito’s abilities as a planeswalker in Magic lean heavily into his ninja background, as he quietly draws cards and creates small creatures that are either heavily evasive or otherwise problematic to deal with in combat. He’s only had two iterations as a card so far, but at least one of them (his initial appearance on Kaito Shizuki) was a staple of one of the premiere decks in Standard at the time.

No. 7: Tyvar Kell 

Tyvar hails from Kaldheim and is the younger brother of King Harald — so he’s a pretty big deal in his homeland. He is a boisterous, gregarious brawler who revels in combat and grand adventures. He’s not solely out for glory, however, as he’s more focused on a good story. He’s just as happy witnessing his allies do something amazing as he would be doing it himself.

He has power over his surrounding environment, able to think quickly on his feet and shape the tide of any battle in his favor.

While he was a part of the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to use the Filigree Sylex on New Phyrexia, Tytvar acquitted himself well on the mission, taking down Tibalt in single combat while protecting and rallying his planeswalker allies even in the face of what seemed like near-certain defeat.

After the start of the invasion, he returned to Kaldheim and helped his brother beat back the Phyrexian forces in all ten realms of that plane. This included punching a compleated Koma to death.

Tyvar has had two on-card appearances in Magic so far — on the eponymous Tyvar Kell and Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler. His first mono-green version was heavily elf-focused, and while a welcome addition to Commander decks featuring that creature type, he didn’t make much of an impact elsewhere.

Jubilant Brawler, while not exactly lighting the world aflame, has found some decent utility on the fringes of various formats. He helps to power out various combos even faster than they would normally be able to manage.

No. 6: Koth 

Koth is a native of Mirrodin and, to put it lightly, has had a rough go of it recently. A large, imposing man, he has geomantic powers, able to purify and shape ores and metals nearly at will — which is pretty handy on a plane like Mirrodin. 

Koth has been embroiled in the conflict on New Phyrexia since it began, becoming a leader in the Mirran resistance early on. He took part in the quest for Karn (the storyline of Scars of Mirrodin block) and has been front and center in nearly every major battle on Mirrodin/New Phyrexia we’ve seen depicted.

Despite that mostly not working out super well, he has kept the fires of the resistance burning in the face of increasingly hopeless odds. He also helped during the mission of the Filigree Sylex by leading the remaining Mirrans in the assault on Realmbreaker. Koth also got to take part in the final battle between the New Phyrexians and the newly re-phased realm of Zhalfir. 

Koth, despite being in the game for a while, has only appeared directly on two cards — Koth of the Hammer and Koth, Fire of Resistance.

Koth of the Hammer has been a powerhouse in various red decks in multiple formats, his popularity waxing and waning as the way those decks are built shifts back and forth over time. Fire of Resistance currently has a spot as a nice top-end threat in Standard Red Deck Wins decks, although he has yet to break through elsewhere.

No. 5: Kaya Cassir 

Kaya hails from the plane of Tolvada and found work as a particularly effective assassin. Her powers of incorporeality aided that work greatly, allowing her to bypass walls and doors while also granting her the ability to harm spirits and ghosts — an ability that helped her become the Orzhov guildmaster on Ravnica.

She also has the unique ability to take a passenger with her when she planeswalks, although the process of doing so leaves both her and her passenger worse for wear for a little while.  

Kaya was instrumental in the Invasion of New Phyrexia storyline. She helped Teferi work on the Temporal Anchor to go back to the Brothers’ War, aided in the ill-fated Filigree Sylex mission and helped defend Kamigawa and Theros during the invasion. She has proven repeatedly that she’s persistent and almost impossible to stop when she sets out to achieve something.

Kaya has appeared on six different Planeswalker cards (seven, if you count a playtest card from the Mystery boosters). Her original appearance in Conspiracy: Take the Crown was somewhat hindered by appearing in a supplemental set, meaning it wasn’t legal outside of Commander and Eternal formats.

Since then, she’s had a couple of breakout version. Kaya, Orzhov Usurper was part of a top-tier Esper control deck in Standard and Kaya the Usurper was… also part of a different top-tier Esper control deck in Standard. Her current iteration, Kaya, Intangible Slayer, doesn’t lack for power, but has yet to find a home in competitive formats.

No. 4: Wrenn 

Wrenn is a dryad from an unknown plane, and like all dryads in Magic, needs to be bonded to a tree in order to survive. Unlike other dryads, Wrenn is not limited to bonding with a single tree in her life, and normal trees cannot even sustain a bond with her due to the magical fire contained within her heart.

She requires bonding with a treefolk and can only planeswalk when so bonded — a loophole in the normal “you can only planeswalk yourself” rule. She has had a number of host trees over the course of her life, parting with each when they desire to plant roots once again. 

Wrenn played a pivotal role in the New Phyrexian invasion. As close friends with Teferi due to a previous adventure, she helped defend him when he was in the temporal anchor and later merged with Realmbreaker, swapping Zhalfir with New Phyrexia and ending the Phyrexian invasion, seemingly sacrificing herself in the process.

An acorn remained in the ashes she left behind, and Teferi currently has possession of it. But even if it killed her, Wrenn’s ability to accomplish what Teferi couldn’t in hundreds of years makes her a powerhouse.

Wrenn has appeared on two cards so far, and will be making a third appearance in March of the Machine with Wrenn and Realmbreaker. Wrenn and Six originally appeared in Modern Horizons and was immediately impactful — so much so that she has since been banned in Legacy and still regularly appears in Modern decks. Wrenn and Seven was a strong card in several green-based standard decks, and Wrenn and Realmbreaker have been at the center of speculation on how much of a splash she will create upon release. 

No. 3: Teferi Akosa 

By far the character here who has been around in the game the longest, Teferi has weathered a lot throughout his time. His whole story would take up several pages, as he was originally a pre-Mending planeswalker who has lost and gained his spark more than once. Time is also his area of expertise, as he can control its flow. He tries to avoid violence when able, using his powers more to aid his allies than hurt his foes.

Teferi was a leader of the Gatewatch in the fight against New Phyrexia, rallying Dominarian forces and using the Temporal Anchor to travel back to the Brothers’ War to figure out the secrets of the Sylex. Plus, it was his bond with Wrenn and ties to the phased-out Zhalfir that led to Phyrexia’s ultimate defeat. 

Teferi has appeared on many cards throughout Magic, including being one of the few planeswalkers to have appeared as a creature, as well. As a Planeswalker, he has regularly been a staple. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria dominated in control decks in various formats, Teferi, Time Raveler was banned in multiple formats and most other iterations of are near auto-includes in most control-based decks of any Standard format they appear in.

No. 2: Chandra Nalaar 

Chandra Nalaar hails from Kaladesh, and is a pyromancer through and through. Brash, impulsive and living with a chip on her shoulder when it comes to most authority figures, she is nonetheless a valuable part of the Gatewatch and a loyal friend. She is also one of the original “Lorwyn Five” planeswalkers to appear in the game and is filled to the brim with power she must often keep in check. 

Chandra has been entwined deeply in the main storylines of Magic for quite some time and took a central part in the battles of the New Phyrexian invasion in March of the Machine. Upon learning of the disastrous outcome of the Filigree Sylex strike force, she was the only planeswalker openly willing to return to New Phyrexia to continue the fight there. Ultimately joined by Wrenn, she met up with Koth and helped escort the dryad to Realmbreaker, drawing attention from a completed Nissa Revane. 

Chandra has had more Planeswalker cards than anyone else on this list, which have ranged in power from near misses to format-defining staples. Chandra, Awakened Inferno and Chandra, Torch of Defiance have probably been her two most successful outings, although early contenders like Chandra Ablaze and role-playing versions like Chandra, Novice Pyromancer have also carved out nice niches in Standard formats over the years. 

No. 1: Elspeth Tirel 

Elspeth Tirel is originally from Capenna (now New Capenna, fittingly enough), a plane overrun by the original Phyrexians. Her spark igniting while being tortured and she ended up in Bant for a time, taking on the trappings and demeanor of the noble knights found there. Her powers are somewhat nebulous, centering around community and protection, helping to build armies and bolster allies.

She’s a deft warrior in her own right, wielding a variety of weapons (well, usually the same weapon taking various forms) with deadly expertise. She also killed a god, once, and came back to life herself.

Elspeth has been involved with the Phyrexians for as long as she can remember, fleeing from them as a child, helping find Karn in Scars block and helping figure out the effectiveness of Halo against them in New Capenna. She aided in the Filigree Sylex mission, ultimately averting a potentially multi-genocidal disaster by taking the detonating bomb into the blind eternities.

This action and the resulting blast resulted in her ascension to her archangel form — her Capennan roots finally revealing her true power and explaining how she had been immune to Phyrexian Oil all this time. She was then instrumental in allowing Wrenn to bond with Realmbreaker, leading to the ultimate defeat of New Phyrexia.

Elspeth has appeared six times on Planeswalker cards, with her seventh angelic iteration coming in March of the Machine. Her original appearance as Elspeth, Kinght-Errant was a powerhouse in aggro and midrange decks of the time, and her iteration as Sun’s Champion in Theros block is still arguably one of the best mono-white planeswalkers ever printed.

Elspeth Resplendent from Streets of New Capenna is still a major piece of white-based control decks in Standard at the moment, and Archangel Elspeth is poised to make a big impact when March releases. 

End step

That’s it for the our plane-hopping heroes! And now that you know them all better, you can vote for the first round of battles on our Twitter right now. Don’t forget to read up on our other power rankings and check back throughout the week to make sure your pick makes it all the way to the end!

Also, if you’re looking to prepare for March of the Machine in real life, you can find everything you need through our pre-order, today!