Top 10 Most Powerful Planeswalkers in Magic: the Gathering History

Depending on who you ask, Planeswalker cards either distorted the game too much, or are one of the best enhancements to Magic since their introduction in 2007. Either way, they can be controversial for their powerful abilities, recurring turn after turn, culminating in game-winning emblems.

Not all Planeswalkers are great though. Some have become ingrained into Magic pop culture while others have faded into obscurity (anyone remembers Koth?). To build our list of the top 10 most powerful Planeswalkers in Magic’s history, we considered a couple of factors:

  1. The Planeswalker has (or had) to make an impact in at least 2 formats.
  2. Planeswalker that can apply itself to various decks and strategies are considered more powerful than tribal-specific ones.

Teferi Time Raveler

Players like to call Teferi, Time Raveler the oppressor instead, because of what it doesn’t allow opponents to do. He completely stops opponents from playing Instants, resulting in them being unable to react to what Teferi’s controller is doing. 

To swing the balance of power even more, you can use Teferi to cast your Sorceries as though they were Instants, or you can bounce a non-Land Permanent to draw a card. Considering you get all that for just 3 Mana, Teferi ranks among the top of all Planeswalkers ever printed.

It was a mainstay in many Standard decks before it was finally banned. Right now it is also banned in Pioneer and Explorer formats (extensions of Standard).

Teferi, Time Ravaler is also the latest hot topic for infinite combos in Commander. Combined with the new Displacer Kitten from Commander Legends: Battle at Baldur’s Gate, you can draw out your entire Library and close out the game. 

Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Although the new Chandra, Dressed to Kill is also a strong, powerful contender to be the top Chandra in Magic’s history, our money still goes to Chandra, Torch of Defiance

A cost of 4 Mana is certainly reasonable for a Planeswalker that provides a lot of flexibility depending on the game state, and for one of the most devastating ultimate abilities (her -7 activation) out there.

Right after casting Chandra, there are so many ways to gain immediate value. Her first +1 ability gets you an extra card to play (albeit with a limitation to play it this turn), and even if you don’t, you get to deal 2 damage directly to the opponent. 

Another option is to just add 2 red Mana that you can use to cast even more spells. Chandra, Torch of Defiance can effectively be considered to cost only 2 Mana because of this. An additional 2 Mana can cast plenty of spells from Lightning Bolts to small Goblins.

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And if an opponent’s Creature is applying pressure, her -3 ability can easily deal with many threats since it deals 4 damage. Going from 3 to 4 damage is a significant boost since it can target bigger Creatures like Old Growth Troll and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar

Finally, her ultimate ability is what puts Chandra, Torch of Defiance on the map. Being able to deal 5 damage to any target just by casting a spell is back-breaking, and has to be stopped at all costs.

Oko, Thief of Crowns

When Oko made its first ever appearance in 2019’s Throne of Eldraine, it shook up the competitive scene so much that it was eventually banned in multiple formats from Legacy to Standard, essentially in every major competitive constructed format. 

What makes Oko, Thief of Crowns so powerful is not only because it costs 3 Mana, it also has no drawbacks in the form of -X abilities. Especially damaging is Oko’s 2nd ability that reads: +1: target Artifact or Creatures loses all abilities and becomes a 3/3 Elk. 

With that ability, it can nullify any threat the opponent throws at you, while letting Oko grow stronger. Afraid of that 8/7 Awoken Horror? Just turn it into a 3/3!

As the game goes on, you can even exchange control of 1 of the Food tokens you’ve created, with any of their big threats, if you haven’t already turned them into Elks.  

Garruk, Primal Hunter

Mono green Planeswalkers have not gotten as much attention because of their higher casting costs, but Garruk, Primal Hunter is a true force to be reckoned with. 

His 1st ability creates a nice 3/3 blocker while also adding a Loyalty counter. On the next turn, assuming you still have the 3/3 or a bigger Creature on the Battlefield, activating the -3 ability will draw 3 or more cards. That kind of card advantage cannot be underestimated.

Garruk’s ultimate ability isn’t something to snuff at either. Creating a 6/6 Creature token for each Land you control will leave the opponent with only 1 turn to react or win since just 6 of these 6/6 Wurms already adds up to 36 damage. 

As Garruk, Primal Hunter needs 3 green Mana, he probably works best in a mono-green or two-colour deck. It doesn’t have to be dependent on Creatures either, since Garruk is already a Creature generator. 

Karn, the Great Creator

Karn, the Great Creator also hails from the excellent War of the Spark set, where Planeswalkers come with passive abilities that don’t have to be activated. 

In Karn’s case, that passive ability is a complete shutdown of all kinds of Artifact abilities controlled by the opponents. That means no tapping of Sol Ring, Mana Vault or Mana Crypt for Mana, but even key Creatures such as Walking Ballista and Aetherflux Reservoir are also made useless.

Most players are not utilising Karn’s +1 ability since it only becomes a Creature temporarily. But the -2 is highly potent in any constructed formats outside of Commander. The ability lets you pick out any Artifact from your Sideboard or Exile zone and put it into your hand. 

This includes powerful Artifacts such as The Immortal Sun from your Sideboard. Unfortunately you’ll still have to cast them from your hand, but a Tutor ability of this kind is extremely powerful. 

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Probably the most iconic Planeswalker in Magic’s history, and for good reason. Not only is Jace 1 of the 5 key Planeswalkers in the lore, Jace the Mind Sculptor is also incredibly powerful when it comes to dictating the game.

Firstly, it has 4 possible abilities to activate, which is not often seen in newer cards. His first +1 ability is similar to a Scry 1, except that you can do it on the opponent’s Library. It can be used effectively to remove any card that the opponent had searched for and placed on top (by using Mystical Tutor), or it can remove key cards just when the opponent needs them. 

The 2nd ability might be its most abused, as it is a free Brainstorm on every activation. Sure, it doesn’t add Loyalty to Jace, but neither does it cost anything. Even Jace’s -1 ability is outstanding, as returning a big threat to the opponent’s hand repeatedly can buy you time to find the cards you need. 

Jace the Mind Sculptor is one of the most powerful Planeswalkers because of his inbuilt Brainstorm ability

And just in case the game drags on, you always have Jace’s ultimate -12 ability. It’s expensive and will take more effort to get there, but after that your opponent will have essentially no Library and no hand, which means almost 0 chance to get back into the game. 

Jace the Mind Sculptor is so good it’s scary, and will likely stay on the all-time list forever. 

Narset, Parter of Veils

The only Planeswalker on this list that is of Uncommon rarity, Narset, Parter of Veils is so damaging that some Commander playgroups have called for it to be banned. 

Her passive ability stop all opponents from drawing more than 1 card each turn, so any infinite combos that involve drawing their entire deck are immediately worthless. 

But the biggest impact comes on a turn by turn basis, as players are often trying to gain additional value by drawing more cards. Stopping them from doing so, while Narset’s controller has open access makes her one of the most powerful Planeswalkers. 

Her -2 ability is not to be underestimated either. For control decks that live on non-Creature spells (hmm.. Planeswalkers), the ability to look at the top 4 cards and place 1 of them in your hand is quite impressive, even if not at the same level as Karn, the Great Creator (who is also on this list). 

Although Narset, Parter of Veils doesn’t have an ultimate ability or any way to add more Loyalty counters (unless you have a way to Proliferate), negating opponents’ card draw is so crippling and disruptive that it has to rank as one of the most powerful Planeswalkers of all time. 

Vivien, Monster’s Advocate

Many players may not rate Vivien, Monster’s Advocate because she doesn’t have an ultimate ability, but hear us out.

Much like Garruk, Primal Hunter, Vivien, Monster’s Advocate also casts 5 Mana and can immediately put in a 3/3 Creature for a +1 activation. Being able to churn out a meaty attacker and blocker each turn really adds up. 

But what makes Vivien, Monster’s Advocate stand out as a powerful Planeswalker are her passive abilities, as well as her 2nd activation. 

Her 2 passive abilities let you look at the top card of your Library – a very useful ability because you can plan ahead and make better informed decisions. To get one step further, you can even cast Creature spells off the top of the Library. It’s like having a built-in Realmwalker into this Planeswalker

If you have a Beast Whisperer or The Great Henge on the field, Vivien, Monster’s Advocate synergises very well since every time you cast a Creature, you’ll be drawing non-Creature cards off the top of your Library

In a green deck that is heavily reliant on Creatures, Vivien, Monster’s Advocate is one of the strongest companion Planeswalkers you can find.

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

The 2nd Teferi on this list is also known as Teferi 5, because he costs 5 Mana to cast. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is the perfect poster child for control decks, as it’s not only in typical blue and white control colours, he also offers card draw, threat removal, free Mana, and an ultimate ability that will just obliterate any opponent. 

Teferi’s +1 ability gives so much, without any drawback. You’re adding Loyalty counters, drawing a card without needing to Discard, and you even get to untap 2 Lands at the end of your turn. That’s a ton of free value.

After you’ve held off the opponent for 4 more turns (that’s what control decks do), you can then activate his ultimate -8 ability. Any card you draw after doing that lets you Exile any of the opponents Permanents. That includes Lands, and getting rid of the opponent’s resources to cast any spells often means game over. 

Teferi has traditionally been a strong Planeswalker character, but Hero of Dominaria takes it one step further into the overpowered category. 

Wrenn and Six

Not everyone will have had personal experience playing with Wrenn and Six, mainly because it is one of the most expensive cards on the list, having been printed once (at least till Double Masters 2022). 

Wrenn and Six already stands out as a 2-Mana Planeswalker, but also has a nifty Lands-matter theme that synergises well with all kinds of decks in Modern, Legacy, and Commander

One way that all players abuse Wrenn and Six is by bringing back Fetch Lands from the Graveyard. By doing that, a player can use and reuse their Scalding Tarn or Misty Rainforest every turn, and that helps to filter their Mana base while thinning their deck at the same time. 

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Our last Planeswalker on this power list is not by any means the least powerful. In fact, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon has the highest casting cost of 8 Mana, but is one of the most destructive once it hits the Battlefield

Its first +2 ability can deal 3 damage to any target, easily swatting away any of the smaller threats that the opponent can put on the table. That damage can even go direct to the opponent’s life total, so even if you sit back, Ugin is a winning card all by itself.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is so strong that it can even wipe the opponent’s board even if there were 1000 Creatures. His -X ability can Exile just about any coloured Permanent that has Mana Value 6 or less. Decks that run Ugin also usually play only colourless cards, which makes any -X activation a one-sided board wipe. 

The ultimate ability – at the cost of 10 Loyalty counters – provides incredible value. Gaining 7 life, drawing 7 cards, and placing up to 7 Permanents on the Battlefield is often enough to eventually close out the game, even though it isn’t an instant finishing blow. 

One of the strongest Planeswalkers in Magic the Gathering history.

End Step

Having any one of these powerful Planeswalkers in your deck is a smart move, but running 2 together (imagine both Teferis) will spell doom. 

With over 260 Planeswalker cards around, people will have different opinions on what should be the top 10 most powerful. Are you surprised that there is no Nicol Bolas or Liliana? Let us know what you feel should be in the top 10 and we will take it into consideration!

Ted

After playing from Tempest to Urza's Saga block, Ted took a 20 year break from the game before returning to the classic Plane of Dominaria in 2018. His favourite formats are Commander, Draft, and, grudgingly, Standard.