Planeswalkers are among the most powerful beings in the Multiverse and include some of the most iconic characters in Magic the Gathering. These beings are those few of the countless living beings born with the Planeswalker spark which allows them to travel between the countless planes of the Multiverse.
The Planeswalker spark remains latent causing no outward signs of its presence until it flares during a moment of great stress, usually when death is immanent, causing the individual to ascend as a Planeswalker.
The concept of a Planeswalker originated in the Alpha rule book. In game each player is a Planeswalker who can cast spells, summon creatures and call out other Planeswalkers to aid them.
The first mention of the Planeswalker card type came from the Future Sight cardalthough the first Planeswalker card wasn’t released until the Lorwyn set. Like the player a Planeswalker card represents a powerful being who is also able to move from plane to plane.
Planeswalkers enter the battlefield with a set number of loyalty counters, printed in the lower right of the card. A planeswalker can be attacked, like a player, or be dealt damage by an opponent redirecting the damage one of his or her spells would deal to the player controlling the planeswalker. Damage dealt to a planeswalker removes that many loyalty counters and a Planeswalker with no loyalty counters is put into the graveyard.
Planeswalkers usually have three abilities. One ability that adds loyalty counters as a cost for a small benefit, one that removes a small amount of counters as a cost for a larger effect, and removing a large number of loyalty counters for a big effect. The last effect is commonly referred to as the Planeswalker's Ultimate ability and usually leaves the opponent in a devastated state. The starting loyalty of a Planeswalker is commonly significantly lower than the cost of the Ultimate and a player has to build up the loyalty to access the Ultimate.
- 306. Planeswalkers
- 306.1. A player who has priority may cast a planeswalker card from his or her hand during a main phase of his or her turn when the stack is empty. Casting a planeswalker as a spell uses the stack. (See rule 601, "Casting Spells.")
- 306.2. When a planeswalker spell resolves, its controller puts it onto the battlefield under his or her control.
- 306.3. Planeswalker subtypes are always a single word and are listed after a long dash: "Planeswalker — Jace." Each word after the dash is a separate subtype. Planeswalker subtypes are also called planeswalker types. Planeswalkers may have multiple subtypes. See rule 205.3j for the complete list of planeswalker types.
- 306.4. If two or more planeswalkers that share a planeswalker type are on the battlefield, all are put into their owners' graveyards as a state-based action. This is called the "planeswalker uniqueness rule." See rule 704.
- 306.5. Loyalty is a characteristic only planeswalkers have.
- 306.5a The loyalty of a planeswalker not on the battlefield is equal to the number printed in its lower right corner.
- 306.5b A planeswalker is treated as if its text box included, "This permanent enters the battlefield with a number of loyalty counters on it equal to its printed loyalty number." This ability creates a replacement effect (see rule 614.1c).
- 306.5c The loyalty of a planeswalker on the battlefield is equal to the number of loyalty counters on it.
- 306.5d Each planeswalker has a number of loyalty abilities, which are activated abilities with loyalty symbols in their costs. Loyalty abilities follow special rules: A player may activate a loyalty ability of a permanent he or she controls any time he or she has priority and the stack is empty during a main phase of his or her turn, but only if none of that permanent’s loyalty abilities have been activated that turn. See rule 606, "Loyalty Abilities."
- 306.6. Planeswalkers can be attacked. (See rule 508, "Declare Attackers Step.")
- 306.7. If noncombat damage would be dealt to a player by a source controlled by an opponent, that opponent may have that source deal that damage to a planeswalker the first player controls instead. This is a redirection effect (see rule 614.9) and is subject to the normal rules for ordering replacement effects (see rule 616). The opponent chooses whether to redirect the damage as the redirection effect is applied.
- 306.8. Damage dealt to a planeswalker results in that many loyalty counters being removed from it.
- 306.9. If a planeswalker's loyalty is 0, it's put into its owner's graveyard. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
- Planeswalkers are permanents. You can cast one at the time you could cast a sorcery. When your planeswalker spell resolves, it enters the battlefield under your control.
- Planeswalkers are not creatures. Spells and abilities that affect creatures won't affect them.
- If two or more planeswalkers that share a subtype (such as "Jace") are on the battlefield, they're all put into their owners' graveyards as a state-based action.
- Planeswalkers have loyalty. A planeswalker enters the battlefield with a number of loyalty counters on it equal to the number printed in its lower right corner. Activating one of its abilities may cause it to gain or lose loyalty counters. Damage dealt to a planeswalker causes that many loyalty counters to be removed from it. If it has no loyalty, it's put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based action.
- Planeswalkers each have a number of activated abilities called "loyalty abilities." You can activate a loyalty ability of a planeswalker you control only at the time you could cast a sorcery and only if you haven't activated one of that planeswalker's loyalty abilities yet that turn.
- The cost to activate a planeswalker's loyalty ability is represented by an arrow with a number inside. Up-arrows contain positive numbers, such as "+1"; this means "Put one loyalty counter on this planeswalker." Down-arrows contain negative numbers, such as "-7"; this means "Remove seven loyalty counters from this planeswalker." You can't activate a planeswalker's ability with a negative loyalty cost unless the planeswalker has at least that many loyalty counters on it.
- Planeswalkers can't attack (unless an effect such as the one from 's third ability turns the planeswalker into a creature). However, they can be attacked. Each of your attacking creatures can attack your opponent or a planeswalker that player controls. You say which as you declare attackers.
- If your planeswalkers are being attacked, you can block the attackers as normal.
- If a creature that's attacking a planeswalker isn't blocked, it'll deal its combat damage to that planeswalker. Damage dealt to a planeswalker causes that many loyalty counters to be removed from it.
- If a source you control would deal noncombat damage to an opponent, you may have that source deal that damage to a planeswalker that opponent controls instead. For example, although you can't target a planeswalker with , you can target your opponent with Shock, and then as Shock resolves, choose to have Shock deal its 2 damage to one of your opponent's planeswalkers. (You can't split up that damage between different players and/or planeswalkers.) If you have Shock deal its damage to a planeswalker, two loyalty counters are removed from it.
Planeswalkers had incredible magical capabilities, surpassing all but the most powerful mortal wizards. Their lives could last indefinitely, and their physical forms were matters of will as they were energy projections of a center of consciousness. Through intense effort, planeswalkers could create their own artificial planes. Because of planeswalkers' prolonged life spans and immense power, some are worshipped as gods; many end up insane, or, at the very least, they come to regard the lives of mortals in low-esteem, if even at all.
The defining trait of planeswalkers is the ability to travel between separate universes with ease, while the vast majority of people throughout the multiverse are not even aware that other worlds beside their own exist.
The new breed of planeswalkers no longer display the near-omnipotence of their predecessors. While they are usually powerful mages, they are still physical beings that in general age normally, can be harmed, and need the same sustenance as other mortals. This is in stark contrast to the earlier planeswalkers. Some of them have managed to suppress or avoid some of these limitation by magical means; however, these are specific to each planeswalker.