Planeswalkers in Core Set 2021

Michael RappProducts

Whenever a new set is released, many players look to the new Planeswalkers for deck-building inspiration. That’s not surprising: Planeswalkers are often the flashiest and most powerful cards in a set, so it is only natural to try and maximize their effectiveness. 

It’s still reasonably early in Core Set 2021 preview season, with many exciting cards still yet to be revealed. But I have what I believe to be the best homes for each of the five new Planeswalkers in Core Set 2021. Whether you enjoy playing Standard, Historic, Pioneer, or even Legacy, there’s a Planeswalker for you in the new set.

Basri Ket – Standard White Weenie

4 Alseid of Life’s Bounty
4 Faerie Guidemother
4 Giant Killer
4 Venerable Knight
4 Loyal Pegasus
4 Selfless Savior
3 Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
4 Venerated Loxodon
4 Basri Ket
2 Conclave Tribunal
3 Fight as One
3 Castle Ardenvale
17 Plains

A critical mass of cheap creatures is exactly what Basri needs. His +1 lets you attack with some amount of protection, but perhaps the best part of this ability is that it punishes opponents who try to sit behind a wall of slightly larger creatures. Like Venerated Loxodon, Basri adds some amount of power to the board instantly, but you trade a burst of counters for potentially more power over time. 

Hordeling Outburst saw ample play during its time in Standard, and that is instantly what I thought of when I read Basri’s -2. The kicker is that this Hordeling Outburst both scales if you draw it later, and can go off again in a couple of turns, adding some real burst potential to this deck. 

As is true with most Planeswalker ultimates, Basri’s will win the game in short order as long as you keep some creatures in play, which should be no real issue for this deck. 

White Weenie has struggled recently in Standard, but with the additions of Selfless Savior and Basri Ket, it finally has the tools to go under the ramp decks. 

Chandra – Legacy Moon Stompy

2 Chandra, Heart of Fire
4 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
4 Karn, the Great Creator
4 Bonecrusher Giant
3 Magus of the Moon
4 Simian Spirit Guide
3 Fiery Confluence
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Chrome Mox
3 Ensnaring Bridge
2 Trinisphere
4 Blood Moon
4 Ancient Tomb
4 City of Traitors
5 Mountain
6 Snow-Covered Mountain

Chandra, Heart of Fire was a tough one. She may not be powerful enough for the current Standard environment, and she certainly costs too much for Pioneer and Modern. However, I think she could find a home in Legacy Moon Stompy. 

This decklist was sent to me by Zac Turgeon, one of the most dedicated Moon Stompy players in the game. Chandra and Ensnaring Bridge are best friends in this deck. The first +1 ability (“Discard your hand, then exile the top three cards of your library. You may play cards exiled this way until the end of turn”) can help you find Ensnaring Bridge when you need it, and it also allows you to discard cards to stop your opponent from attacking. 

Moon Stompy often has more mana available than the average deck, so it will be able to cast most of the cards you exile with Chandra. The extra mana also makes it relatively easy to curve Ensnaring Bridge into Chandra and then empty your hand, leaving your opponent unable to attack your Chandra

The second +1 ability (“Chandra, Heart of Fire deals two damage to any target”) is more powerful than it looks. The average creature size in Legacy is relatively small, so this ability has plenty of targets. Once you’re sitting behind an Ensnaring Bridge, the ability to Shock every turn can even serve as a win condition. But it also shouldn’t be hard to win if you ultimate Chandra and get as many copies of Fiery Confluence as you can.

Liliana – Pioneer Sultai Delirium

4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
1 Emrakul, the Promised End
2 Murderous Rider
1 Walking Ballista
3 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Tireless Tracker
1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
4 Fatal Push
4 Thoughtseize
3 Traverse the Ulvenwald
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Grisly Salvage
4 Liliana, Waker of the Dead
4 Blooming Marsh
3 Breeding Pool
3 Fabled Passage
2 Forest
1 Ipnu Rivulet
2 Island
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Swamp
2 Watery Grave
1 Zagoth Triome

Sultai Delirium in Pioneer has always wanted Liliana of the Veil, and Liliana, Waker of the Dead might be just good enough. Getting cards out of your opponent’s hand while discarding the cards you need to turn on delirium is an attractive +1 for a deck that wants to grind the opponent down to nothing. Plus, you even get some free damage out of it once they’re out of cards.

Liliana, Waker of the Dead might not have a hard edict like Liliana of the Veil, but with the help of Satyr Wayfinder, Grisly Salvage, and Tamiyo, Collector of Tales, Liliana’s -3 looks a lot like Terminate, with some bonus text against Darksteel Citadel in the Ensoul match-up. While her ultimate isn’t astounding, the average case will be reanimating an Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, which will put you far ahead of your opponent. 

Teferi – Pioneer Phoenix

4 Arclight Phoenix
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Young Pyromancer
1 Ox of Agonas
4 Fiery Temper
4 Treasure Cruise
4 Lightning Axe
3 Teferi, Master of Time
4 Opt
2 Izzet Charm
4 Chart a Course
2 Wild Slash
1 Nagging Thoughts
4 Sulfur Falls
4 Steam Vents
4 Spirebluff Canals
3 Shivan Reef
5 Mountain

Arclight Phoenix has largely fallen off the map in Pioneer after being plagued by consistency issues. Faithless Looting was the biggest enabler of the Modern version of Arclight Phoenix, and it simply isn’t an option in either format. Flashing back Faithless Looting late in the game was also a huge power spike, and Phoenix decks no longer have that luxury. 

Enter Teferi, Master of Time, a Planeswalker that allows you to loot twice during each turn cycle. Shifting toward a Teferi-focused strategy will slow the deck down a bit, but the deck’s main interactive spell, Fiery Temper, also happens to synergize with Teferi. Phasing out an opponent’s creature often won’t be relevant, but it is a nice bonus. Should you manage to get Teferi to his ultimate, winning the game with two copies of Time Walk should be trivial in a deck with this much burst damage.

Garruk – Historic Gruul Aggro

4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Pelt Collector
4 Gruul Spellbreaker
4 Zhur-Taa Goblin
3 Domri’s Ambush
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Bonecrusher Giant
3 Embercleave
3 Questing Beast
1 Gallia of the Endless Dance
3 Garruk, Unleashed
4 Stomping Ground
4 Rootbound Crag
6 Mountain
9 Forest

Garruk, Unleashed slots nicely into a Gruul Aggro deck alongside Embercleave. However, unlike Embercleave, Garruk is functional with and without creatures in play, and he gets better as the game goes on. Of course, these two finishers happen to play well together: Garruk’s beast tokens can pick up an Embercleave and/or reduce its cost, or Garruk can provide an extra +3/+3 to the creature you plan to suit up. Against removal-heavy decks, Garruk keeps the creatures coming, supporting both going tall and going wide. And if you find yourself on defense, a 3/3 beast is a large enough blocker that it will often halt attacks. 


The Core Set 2021 Planeswalkers will certainly make appearances in a variety of formats. While I’m a bit sad that none of them feel right for my favorite format, Modern, it’s good to see so many varied Planeswalker designs that can have applications across a number of formats. If you have any other deck ideas for these Planeswalkers, I’d love to hear them on Twitter — let me know at @RappaciousOne!