Well, it’s time for us to take a look at the newest Jace in the long line of blue planeswalkers!
Jace, the Living Guildpact is 2UU for a planeswalker that starts at a fantastic 5 loyalty! A planeswalker with loyalty higher than his casting cost is always a great start, and he is much further out of burn range than Nissa, Worldwaker is. Let’s take a look at his abilities.
+1: Look at the top two cards of your library. Put one of them into your graveyard.
LSV – who spoiled this card – admits that this ability is somewhere between Scry 1 and Scry 2. Being able to drop one of the two top cards of your library is good, but the discarding of one is mandatory, which might limit his playability in some cases. However, most of the time you won’t see two cards you want to draw in the same turn, most likely. There’s also no card advantage other than preventing a card from showing up next turn. It feels more reminiscent of playing Jace, Memory Adept due to the graveyard interaction of milling target player 1, but you get no hand advantage out of the ability. Kudos to the +1, but it is not better than Jace, Architect of Thought and his +1. He protects himself by dropping the power of all of your opponent’s creatures by 1 if they’re attacking you, while this Jace sort of sets up your next draw. This Jace’s protection comes in the form of his second ability, however.
-3: Return another target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand.
Bounce was very strong on Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and it’s a little higher costed on this Jace, but for good reason. JTMS’s -1 was to return any creature, while this Jace’s -3 is to bounce any other nonland permanent. Sadly, Jace cannot target himself, but it isn’t a huge deal. This form of protection is definitely better again large creatures, while Jace, Architect of Thought is better at swarms of 1/1’s due to his +1.
For example, I had a game in Commander of over a hundred 1/1 goblins against a single Jace, and I couldn’t do anything with all of my 1/1’s at all. This Jace wouldn’t be able to say anything about it. I did however have a game with a 608/608 Aquastrand Spider in my Vorel deck at one point – Jace definitely could deal with that. The main problem with this Jace is that his minus is extremely high for the size of the effect.
At -2 this would be much better, but it’s likely high due to his rather high starting loyalty. His high loyalty for protection with a plus ability that doesn’t protect him at all makes him very vulnerable and hard to find reasons to play him over Architect of Thought before he goes out.
-8: Each player shuffles his or her hand and graveyard into his or her library. You draw seven cards.
The important thing to note is that only you get to draw cards. For everyone else, you’re resetting everything but the board, and they don’t even get a new hand out of it. A one-sided Timetwister is a very, very good ability seeing as the original card is part of the Power Nine. Especially in standard, that kind of card advantage is extremely difficult for an opponent to recover from, and starting at 5 loyalty is ridiculous seeing this ability at 8. One thing I always look at with planeswalkers is the starting loyalty combined with the ultimate cost, so I can see if I can immediately ultimate with Doubling Season.
Of course, seeing as Doubling Season is not in Standard, this is again referring to Superfriends – a deck that focuses on using tons of Planeswalkers together, and Doubling Season is one of the most powerful cards combined with Planeswalkers, as they get to start with twice as much loyalty. Jace being able to hit the board at 10 loyalty and drop to two to draw me 7 cards is fantastic, let alone shuffling away everyone elses’ hands. I will, however, be doing a Reddit’s Opinion on this one, as there is a lot of backlash for this particular planeswalker.
Until next time,