PLANESWALKING INTO IXALAN

Posted on February 6th, 2018 / Michael

By Pedro Rauiz Estrigarriba Gestal – Co-Lead Game Designer at Oktagon for MTGPQ

Now onto part 2 of our 4 part developer blog series.  Upon looking into Planeswalker design as a whole, we wanted to try to make every Planeswalker a unique build around their character. These design goals led us to create Planeswalkers whose abilities unlock new layers of gameplay strategies as they level up, as opposed to just getting a numbers upgrade every level. Enough about design principles. Let’s check them out!

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Jace, Cunning Castaway – Blue

Jace has lost his memory and forgotten pretty much everything…including his mind-reading abilities. As such, this version of Jace is centered around Illusions and enhancing creatures. He is also a pirate here in Ixalan so… attacking is sure to be a good thing when playing with him.

A breakdown of his abilities can be found below:

  • Fight and Steal – Ability 1
    • Level 1: Creates a support that makes you discard a card to draw 2 extra ones, if a creature you control dealt combat damage at the end of your turn.
    • Level 2: Creates a support that makes you discard a card to draw 3 extra ones, if a creature you control dealt combat damage at the end of your turn.
    • Level 3: Target creature gains Unblockable until end of turn. Creates a support that makes you discard a card to draw 3 extra ones, if a creature you control dealt combat damage at the end of your turn.
    • Level 4: Target creature gains Unblockable. Creates a support that makes you discard a card to draw 3 extra ones, if a creature you control dealt combat damage at the end of your turn.
  • Illusionist’s Illusion – Ability 2
    • Level 1: Creates a Blue Illusion token that dies when it becomes a target of a spell.
    • Level 2: Creates 2 Blue Illusion tokens that die when targeted by spells.
    • Level 3: Creates 2 Blue Illusion tokens that die when targeted by spells. Also, creates a support that gives the first Illusion you control Hexproof.
    • Level 4: Creates 2 Blue Illusion tokens that die when targeted by spells. Also, creates a support that gives all Illusions you control Hexproof.
  • I’m Over Here – Ability 3
    • Level 1~4: Creates a Blue Illusion Wizard token that activates gems in order to give you an amount of Loyalty with each level.

Jace’s last ability does simply increase in power as you level it, however, this is the first time a Planeswalker’s ability fuels their other abilities. Hopefully, you enjoy this new and pirat-y version of Jace. While we are on the topic of pirates, here’s a new pirate Mythic for you to see:

Huatli, Warrior Poet – Red/White

Huatli is a brand-new Planeswalker and is a native of the world of Ixalan. She is the strongest warrior of the Sun-Empire, and rides a pretty big Dinosaur. What more could you ask for?

Her abilities’ breakdowns are right below.

  • Sun Empire’s Blessing – Ability 1
    • Level 1: Gains life equal to the lowest power among creatures you control.
    • Level 2: Gains life equal to the highest power among creatures you control.
    • Level 3: Gives your creatures a power buff and gains life equal to the highest power among creatures you control.
    • Level 4: Gives your creatures a larger power buff, and gains life equal to the highest power among creatures you control.
  • Call Dinosaur  – Ability 2
    • Level 1: Creates a Dinosaur token with Trample.
    • Level 2: Creates 2 Dinosaur tokens with Trample.
    • Level 3: Creates 2 Dinosaur tokens with Trample and a support that gives all dinosaurs you control Berserker.
    • Level 4: Creates a Sun-Blessed Mount token with Trample.
  • Sun Empire’s Rage – Ability 3
    • Level 1: Deals low damage to your creatures and medium damage to your opponents creatures.
    • Level 2: Deals low damage to your creatures and high damage to your opponent’s creatures.
    • Level 3: Deals low damage to your creatures and high damage to your opponent’s creatures. Your opponent’s creatures also lose Defender.
    • Level 4: Deals low damage to your creatures and high damage to your opponent’s creatures. Your opponent’s creatures also lose Defender, Reach and Vigilance.

Huatli’s second ability, Call Dinosaur, will eventually summon her own Mount with special artwork and ability: Whenever a Dinosaur token enters the battlefield, her mount will also get reinforced. Here’s another huge Dinosaur for you to check out!

Vraska, Relic Seeker – Black/Green

Vraska is a renowned Pirate Captain who is searching for the Immortal Sun, as per Nicol Bolas’ request. She’s also an assassin that originates from the plane of Ravnica and has a troubled history with Jace.

Let’s walk the plank and dive into her abilities!

  • Loot is Good – Ability 1
    • Level 1: Destroys a support with low shield count and finds a Treasure.
    • Level 2: Destroys a support with a medium shield count and finds a Treasure.
    • Level 3: Destroys a support your opponent controls and finds a Treasure.
    • Level 4: Destroys the support with the highest shield count and finds 2 Treasures.
  • Yarghhh!!!
    • Level 1: Creates a Pirate token with Menace.
    • Level 2: Creates Pirate tokens with Menace.
    • Level 3: Creates Pirate tokens with Menace and a support that makes pirates Explore whenever they deal damage.
    • Level 4: Creates Pirate tokens with Menace and a support that makes pirates Explore and find a Treasure whenever they deal damage.
  • Gorgon’s Gaze
    • Level 1~4: Create a support, whose power increases per level, that makes your opponent (life loss) and his creatures weaker (-1/-1) at the start of every turn.

So, Vraska was a very exciting Planeswalker to make, since we have a team member (that’s me =) ), whose favorite Planeswalker is actually Vraska. We wanted to make sure we kept her true to her incarnation as a strong pirate captain in tabletop Magic, while also keeping to our design rule of making gameplay evolve as you level the Planeswalker. While she is a pretty straightforward Planeswalker, we eventually settled on making her second ability give your Pirates relevant keywords in her colors. Finally, since she is a Pirate, check out this awesome new vehicle!

Deck Slots

While we’re on the subject of Planeswalkers, we wanted to address Deck Slots. We understand that Deck Slots, due to their price range, have been very hard to acquire. In light of that, we’ll be reducing its Mana Crystals cost from 200 MC to 150 MC and the Mana Rune price from 45,000 MR to 20,000 MR. We believe that these changes should make them more accessible, as we look for ways to expand on the Deck Slot as a whole.

Finally, we’d like to leave you guys with a new exciting Mythic for the set. It provides players a new way of interacting with opposing Planeswalkers:

Read Part 3 of our developer blog series where we get a sneak peek at the events coming to Ixalan.  Ixalan is scheduled to arrive in Magic: Puzzle Quest next week (week of Feb. 12).


2 Comments


  • […] Part 2 of our developer blog series where we dive into the Planeswalkers coming to Ixalan.  Ixalan is scheduled to arrive in Magic: […]

  • Avery Smith says:

    I’m really excited for this new set! Most of the cards spoiled seem to have really cool abilities, but the Mana costs on almost everything spoiled so far seem to be too high. I get that there team is probably trying to address some of the power creep over the last sets, but currently there’s no real incentive to play these new cards since we have much more efficient cards from other standard sets. I think this can mostly be fixed if you lower the Mana cost on basically everything, because no one wants to spend several turns gaining Mana for a tiny creature with barely relevant abilities. A general guideline I follow is to never pay more than 12 Mana for a 4/4 (unless it has a game winning ability). If I’m paying 13 Mana for a support it’s gotta do a whole lot, and if it costs more than that, it’s gotta win me the game pretty much by itself. Brewing new decks with these cards just won’t be able to compete with the decks that currently exist. They’ll be way too slow and fragile.


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