One popular archetype for commander is superfriends or planeswalker decks. Depending on the commander, there is a certain repetition of which planeswalkers are found in these decks. As of March 2020, there are 208 total planeswalkers and not all of them are viable options for decks. It makes sense that the strongest planeswalkers show up time and time again in these decks. The following is a list of ten planeswalkers that you should consider when building a superfriends deck.
As with most lists, this list is subjective. These are the top ten planeswalkers that I would consider to put in a superfriends deck. You may have different opinions. This is not a cEDH list but meant for the casual player or the edh game that will go twelve or more turns. Several planeswalkers are possibly stronger than some on this list. However, they may not be as advantageous in a superfriends deck as opposed to a different deck archetype.
For example, in black, I absolutely love Liliana of the Dark Realms. It allows me to keep a hand full of lands so that I never miss a land drop. It is removal and if your opponents somehow allow you to use her ultimate loyalty ability you will have the mana for the rest of the game and be able to cast spells at will. However, except for a mono-black planeswalker deck, this card loses a lot of its charm. As superfriends decks are often multiple colors and the majority of them are four or five-color decks the number of swamps this planeswalker can fetch can be few greatly limiting its power. With legal disclaimers out of the way onto the list.
Honorable Mention Ajani Steadfast
This card could have easily been Ajani, the Greathearted. Both have the key ability to add a loyalty counter to all our planeswalkers. Both are at four mana. The ability to proliferate your planeswalkers on a planeswalker is a powerful ability. This speeds up the clock and rushes your planeswalkers to their ultimate loyalty abilities. Your opponents will move heaven and earth to stop you from reaching these game-breaking abilities. Anything that speeds the clock up out of their control is a significant advantage.
Ajani Steadfast was chosen over Greathearted because it is in one color and thus easier to cast. He also has a +1 ability so that you can get more than two activations out of the planeswalker. Ajana Steadfast finally has an ultimate ability that will help keep your planeswalkers alive. Odds are you will not build to it but it is an option when comparing the two cards.
Honorable Mention Karn Scion of Urza`
Colorless spells are a premium in superfriends decks. The top commander for superfriends according to EDHREC is Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice a four-color deck. The next five entries for superfriends decks are five-color commanders. With intensive color decks having cards you can play and not have to worry about your mana base is significant. At four mana he is one of the cheapest planeswalkers in the game. Karn creates a token to help protect your planeswalkers even if it is on a -2 ability. He is also a source of card draw on a planeswalker that will help speed you through your deck. Unfortunately, it is a reveal ability so the table will know what is exiled. You can also count on your opponent giving you the weaker of the two cards. Although, there may be times where you can politically maneuver your opponents into giving you the card you want.
10 Nicol Bolas Dragon-God
This card loses a lot of viability because it is in Grixis colors. Three color planeswalkers require more mana fixing to be able to cast them. On top of that, the red in it’s casting cost removes it from consideration for Atraxa decks which are the most popular superfriends commander. Despite these drawbacks, The Dragon God contains a special ability that allowing him to have all the loyalty abilities of planeswalkers on the battlefield. This is incredibly strong. It’s not quite the power of The Chain Veil but an additional activation of an ability you control or to capitalize on other planeswalkers your opponents may have is impressive. One example of this is utilizing Karn Liberated’s +4 loyalty ability to gain loyalty fast so that you can use an ultimate ability faster.
While there is better creature destruction for his minus two loyalty ability, his +1 ability is pure card advantage. Not only are you drawing extra cards, but you are forcing each opponent to discard a card. It uses the word Commander Clinic likes in “each” this hits all opponents giving you a two-card swing per turn. While they are choosing what to discard over several turns this ability becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Finally, if you are able to use his ultimate ability you will use it at a time that it will end games.
9 Garruk Primal Hunter
Green Planeswalkers gain an advantage in viability for superfriends archetypes as this is the color that contains Doubling Season. The ability to double loyalty counters as planeswalkers enter the battlefield is mischievousness that can cause planeswalkers to activate their ultimate loyalty ability the turn they enter the battlefield. Garruk benefits from this and also provides card draw on a planeswalker. If you use him immediately without Doubling Season, then he will go away and act as a Harmonize. Harmonize is strong and four mana for three cards or more is worth it despite costing one more mana especially since it is on a card type in a superfriends deck you want to play.
There are also many different effects that will allow you to place more loyalty counters on Garruk ensuring he will remain around after your first turn if you need to draw cards right away. If you don’t immediately have to draw cards than a 3/3 token will help protect your planeswalkers. Garruk’s ultimate won’t win you the game as the 6/6 wurms it creates does not have haste or trample but it will help lock down your planeswalkers and protect them for explosive plays later in the game.
8 Nissa Worldwaker
This is another planeswalker that gains value because it is in green and therefore most superfriends decks can use her. Nissa Worldwaker ramps you but not in the traditional way that green ramps. The ability to untap four forests will ramp you four mana every turn she remains on the battlefield. You want to mix your ramp package with cards that fetch lands and ensure you have four forests on the battlefield. This ability is secretly powerful. Players will look to remove the flashy planeswalkers like Nicol Bolas above leaving Nissa unharmed all the while you are reaping the benefits of that extra mana each turn. Keep in mind this card untaps forests meaning that you can craft a mana base with dual and shock lands and then untap these cards even if you need colors other than green. They are still forests and eligible to be targeted.
Nissa Worldwaker is one of the few planeswalkers that does not have a negative loyalty ability. Turn after turn she will be building to her ultimate. If your opponents do recognize how deceptively strong she is then they will have to spend resources to attack her. When this happens, it is an advantage as it takes the pressure off of your other planeswalkers. In this way, Nissa is a great assist for your other superfriends.
Nissa’s ultimate loyalty ability actually gets weaker as your commander deck increases in color identity. Normally when mana bases are built the more colors in a deck usually suggest the more dual lands are included in the deck. These cards are not searchable with the ultimate ability. In addition, they become 4/4 elementals. Unless you can make them indestructible they are now susceptible to board wipes. You can be generating lots of mana but your mana base can be quickly reduced by one card from an opponent. This is never a good thing. For this reason, the ultimate loyalty ability is rarely used. If you are using it, then you are looking to win the game that turn.
7 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
White cards get some additional consideration because of the support cards in the color. Ignite the Beacon is a new addition in 2019 that tutors for a planeswalker. Djeru with Eyes Open was a white planeswalker tutor since Hour of Devastation. Then there is also Deploy the Gatewatch in Shadows over Innistrad allowing you to cheat out planeswalkers. Finally, Humility affects you less as superfriends decks rarely rely on creatures.
Unfortunately, often pure white planeswalkers are a little lacking. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion is one of the better ones. First, it creates three tokens to protect your planeswalkers. Four permanents for six mana is a nice return for when you play her. Then, when you follow up with her -3 loyalty ability to wipe the board of creatures power four or more, those tokens will remain on the battlefield. Usually, we do not count ultimate abilities as often they will not be activated. This is true of Elspeth as she is primarily a board wipe on a planeswalker. If by some chance you are able to ultimate her, then an emblem that buffs your creatures is a useful reward. Elspeth, Suns Champion is vanilla when it comes to her abilities. Still, these loyalty abilities are ones that each commander deck would like to have.
6 Narset Parter of Veils
For an uncommon, this card is strong and not because of her loyalty ability. With five loyalty you want her to sit on the battlefield as if she was an enchantment and reap the benefits of card advantage. Limiting your opponents’ card draws is strong especially since it isn’t a symmetrical effect. There is plenty of mischievousnesses you can work with this card. You can read about them here. If you are able to add a few loyalty counters or if you are desperate for a card you can use her -2 ability. Planeswalkers are noncreature and nonland cards and your deck should be filled full of them. Blue contains some proliferate effects and Atraxa contains blue in her color identity. This makes Narset a consideration for the commander that is most likely to be a superfriends deck.
5 Nissa Who Shakes the World
This is another planeswalker from War of the Spark. As a green planeswalker Nissa Who Shakes the World should see lots of play. She is a mana doubler for forests and keeps in mind dual lands that are forests can still tap for a different color and still add additional green mana to your mana pool. With her +1 ability Nissa ramps in addition to her static ability. And if you happen to have doubling season out you can make all your lands indestructible immediately. Even if not immediately this is an ultimate loyalty ability you want to build towards as you make your land creatures indestructible which adds a layer of aggression to your deck while preserving the mana base. It also allows you to place all your forests onto the battlefield allowing you to generate insane amounts of mana. This mana advantage helps you win games.
4 Ugin the Ineffable
Ugin is the third and final War of the Spark Planeswalker on this list. First, its removal on a colorless planeswalker allowing it to fit into any deck. It’s easy to cast. It also creates a token to help defend it and other planeswalkers on your battlefield. Superfriends are short on creatures so the additional tokens are welcome. The fact these tokens death is tied to drawing a card is also welcome. Ugin allows you to do so in a way that your deck wants to do it. The word death is deceptive here as it is not the game definition of death. All the token has to do is leave the battlefield. It does not need to go to the graveyard. It can be bounced destroyed and exiled and you will get the card.
This planeswalker is very simple in what it wants to do and it is effective in doing so. The static ability of colorless spells costing two less to cast can be useful if you build around it. However, Ugin is not a planeswalker you will attempt to consistently put on the battlefield so it is better to build a strong deck that contains some strong colorless spells that you would naturally want in your deck and then reap any incidental value this ability provides.
3 Teferi Temporal Archmage
While Teferi can be your commander and that creates some amazing synergies, this card is more than capable of being in your ninety-nine. He is also a card that I would tutor to your hand often. This card combos with The Chain Veil as long as you have a land that generates two or more mana you can untap three lands and The Chain Veil to activate it again until Teferi runs out of loyalty. As a commander, you can recast him and keep the chain going. Even if he is not activating The Chain Veil infinitely two additional activations in a turn is enough to create some amazing mischievousness depending on what planeswalkers are on the board.
Teferi is a superfriends planeswalker that is worth attempting to build to its ultimate loyalty ability on an explosive turn. If you have a way to flicker your planeswalkers like Aminatou, the Fateshifter or Brago, King Eternal, then Teferi will receive all the previous activations of The Chain Veil before it leaves the battlefield that turn when he returns. Doubling Season will also get you to ultimate levels of loyalty quickly. Teferi’s ultimate will allow you to play planeswalkers’ abilities at flash speed. It will also allow you to activate them on each opponent’s turn. This value will hand you the game if you did not find a way to go infinite and win the game by that point.
2 Karn LIberated
At the top of this list, playability is important. Karn will fit into any deck being a colorless card. It also will fit as a piece of a removal package pinpoint removing any offending permanent causing you or the table trouble. Think of this card as a Scour from Existence on a planeswalker. Exile is very important as it is a way to deal with some very troublesome creatures. Exiling a card from hand is not as impressive although it is a form of card advantage as well. All of this is universal and is why Karn is so high on this list. He is a utility function on steroids.
Using Karn’s Ultimate Loyalty ability is a very corner case. This is one ability that opponents will come hell or high water prevent from occurring. Players like to play commander and restarting the game after it has been going on for an hour or more can be very upsetting. If you can use this loyalty ability, be very considerate of the table and use it in a situation where you need a reset in order to win the game. These cases do happen but more often than not when this ability is available to you you already have the game in hand.
1 Ugin the Spirit Dragon
Like Karn before him on this list Ugin, The Spirit Dragon is utility. He is colorless and will fit into any deck. He will board wipe most creatures although Eldrazi will cause him some trouble. This is a tradeoff for exiling multiple permanents. However, his + loyalty ability shows better results short term than Karn Liberated. Three damage is three damage whether you throw it at someone’s face or a utility creature to disrupt an opponent’s gameplan.
When comparing Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon a lot of is a personal preference and what you value in your utility cards. What sets Ugin apart is his ultimate ability. First, drawing seven cards and then cheating seven cards onto the battlefield is stronger and useful in more situations than restarting the game. Second with Doubling Season on the battlefield you can drop Ugin and ultimate him immediately for an explosive turn. Yes, opponents in the know understand when Doubling Season hits the battlefield it needs to be dealt with immediately. Still green in planeswalker decks is very common and it is a line of play owners of Ugin should be aware of. Also, when evaluating the strength and difference between two very strong planeswalkers it is just enough to push Ugin to the top of this top ten list.
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