Monday, July 2, 2012

No Love for Green Planeswalkers?

I've seen an unusually high number of planeswalker control decks at the Dugout lately, and while it does bug me a little that the strategy makes so many matches go to time, it made me realize something more important. There is a growing discrepancy in how much each color has access to planeswalkers... and right now, green is getting pooped on.

These planeswalkers are legal in standard right now:
     Elspeth Tiriel
     Gideon Jura
     Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
     Jace, Memory Adept
     Koth of the Hammer
     Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded
     Chandra, the Firebrand
     Sorin Markov
     Liliana of the Veil
     Garruk, Primal Hunter
     Garruk Relentless
     Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
     Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
     Venser, the Sojourner
     Karn Liberated

If you look at raw numbers, it doesn't seem like a big deal.
     White: 2
     Blue: 2
     Red: 3
     Black: 2
     Green: 2
     Gold: 3
     Colorless: 1

If you instead focus on how many planeswalkers each color has access to, adding Karn to all five and the gold cards to each of their respective colors, the numbers get a little more unbalanced. It becomes more obvious that green is getting the short end of the stick here.
     White: 5
     Blue: 5
     Red: 4
     Black: 5
     Green: 3

But M13 is about to come out! That might help! Unfortunately, it only serves to further imbalance things. Green, blue, and red get reprints. White gets a new Ajani, black gets a new Liliana, and Nicol Bolas comes back. That brings our counts up to:
     White: 6
     Blue: 6
     Red: 5
     Black: 7
     Green: 3

When it comes to deck building, things get even trickier. Because planeswalkers are super legendary permanents, you can never have more than one in play at the same time even if the card names are different. This makes it difficult to add many different options to a single deck unless you have access to multiple planeswalker characters. Guess what?
     White: Gideon, Elspeth, Venser, Sorin, Karn, and Ajani (6 total)
     Blue: Jace, Tamiyo, Venser, Tezzeret, Karn, and Nicol Bolas (6 total)
     Red: Chandra, Koth, Tibalt, Karn, and Nicol Bolas (5 total)
     Black: Liliana, Sorin, Tezzeret, Karn, and Nicol Bolas (5 total)
     Green: Garruk and Karn (2 total)

One might think that this is just the nature of standard at the moment. After all, power balance among colors shifts with each new set, and access to certain toys shifts with time. Apparently, not so for green planeswalkers. These numbers aren't exactly unique to standard right now. Even if you count all the planeswalkers that have been printed to date, green is still behind. Check this out:
     White: Gideon, Elspeth, Venser, Sorin, Karn, and Ajani (8 cards, 6 characters)
     Blue: Jace, Tamiyo, Venser, Tezzeret, Karn, and Nicol Bolas (9 cards, 6 characters)
     Red: Chandra, Koth, Tibalt, Karn, Sarkhan Vol, and Nicol Bolas (11 cards, 6 characters)
     Black: Liliana, Sorin, Tezzeret, Karn, Sarkhan Vol, and Nicol Bolas (8 cards, 6 characters)
     Green: Garruk, Nissa, Sarkhan Vol, and Karn (6 cards, 4 characters)

I think the numbers speak for themselves. Where is the love for green?!?! I vote for at least two new green planeswalkers in Return to Ravnica block... perhaps one green and one gold. Come on Wizards of the Coast... throw the green mages a bone! And no, just tossing in a new version of Garruk is not good enough...
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