It might have come as a bit of a surprise to some people that Nissa was getting a new incarnation in the Magic 2015 Core Set. We’ve been expecting a Nissa 2.0 for quite some time, however, and here she is. Is she better than the original Nissa? In some respects, perhaps, she is.

First of all, she has two +1 abilities, which is automatically a great sign for a planeswalker, especially one with a converted mana cost of 5 and only 3 loyalty. Her first ability makes a target land you control a 4/4 Elemental creature with Trample that remains a land. This is a bit similar to the effect of Koth of the Hammer, but the major difference here is that the land remains a 4/4 creature for as long as it remains on the board. The fact that it gains trample as well is also quite relevant.

The second +1 ability allows you to untap up to four target Forests. This is extremely good. If you tap five forests to cast Nissa, then you immediately get to untap four of them, essentially making her cost one mana. Obviously this would seem only relevant in mono-Green, but keep in mind that she can also untap things such as Breeding Pool, Temple Garden, Stomping Ground, and Overgrown Tomb. While the shock-lands will no longer be in Standard after October 2014, this opens up Modern play-ability for Nissa, Worldwaker, as well.

Her ultimate is quite strong. While it’s potentially unlikely that she’ll ever reach 7 loyalty, if you do happen to ultimate her, you get to search your library for any number of basic land cards (notice not only Forests) and put them onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library. Then, those lands become 4/4 Elemental creatures with trample which are still lands.

That’s a pretty ridiculous amount of ramp, and it’s very similar to Nissa Revane‘s ultimate ability of getting all Elves from the deck onto the battlefield. The fact that they enter untapped is also quite relevant.

The only real downside to Nissa, Worldwaker is that now your lands can become vulnerable to mass removal spells. However, being 4/4’s puts them out of range of cards like Lightning Strike in Standard and Lightning Bolt in Modern. Then again, most of the time you’re going to use Nissa for her ability to untap Forests. With her second +1 she pays for herself quite quickly. Also, even though she has only 3 loyalty, because of how turn priority works, you can +1 her in response to a burn spell being played.

Best of all, in a Mono-Green Devotion deck, you’re likely not even tapping 5 lands to play her in the first place. But she is not only good in Mono-Green. Her ultimate may be best used in Mono-Green, but her first +1 affects any land you control and her second +1 affects shock lands, as well. She seems to be Modern playable, as well. There is an interesting interaction that she has with Inkmoth Nexus, as well, making Mono-Green infect more viable in Modern.

In any case, she is a Constructed playable planeswalker. She’ll also definitely see play in Mono-Green Commander decks. It will be interesting to see how Nissa pairs with the Garruk planeswalker from Magic 2015. How do you see yourself using Nissa, Worldwaker?

SolemnParty has also written a far more in-depth look at Nissa, Worldwaker that you definitely want to check out!

– Elspeth for the Win