Ajani, Ajani, Ajani. Where do we begin? It’s not that your mother and I are mad at you, we’re just disappointed. Worried even, maybe. I know you’ve been going through a lot dealing with the loss of your good friend, Elspeth, but we’re worried about this crowd you’ve been running with nowadays.

We know how much potential you have, just look at how you used to be! But these new friends of yours….I’m afraid of the influence they might be having on you, and we don’t want you to change for the worse. Not to mention, quite frankly, your new friends aren’t exactly… constructed playable.

I know that may sound harsh, and while some casual Timmy might sleeve one of them up at FNM or jam the whole lot of them into some 5 color EDH deck, they’re never going to see play at the Pro Tour. And that’s what you want right, Ajani? Isn’t that all you ever truly dreamed of? Don’t do this to yourself! Don’t be a Tibalt, or a Living Guildpact, son. Do the right thing, cost a reasonable amount of mana, and for goodness sake, protect yourself!

Look us in the eyes Ajani, and tell us you haven’t changed for the worse!

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Where do we begin? 6 mana, son? Who has time for that! That cost is so sluggish, you’re never going to come down and make any meaningful impact, the game will already be over! If you want to make a difference, you’ve got to have a reasonable cost!

Look at Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. He comes down on turn 4 and immediately starts to dictate the pace of the game around himself. He’s a star! I know I shouldn’t write off 6 mana as being completely unplayable, after all look at Elspe…..Oh. I know you don’t like when I bring her up so suddenly, but we need to be realistic. She came down and immediately changed the course of the game, she was the best! I’ll say it, I don’t care. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion.

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A plus ability that generated loyalty by amassing not just one creature to protect her, but three separate bodies? Ample chump blockers indeed! 3 creatures were enough to force any opponent to over-commit. And when they did, BAM!, she drops the other shoe with the minus and cleans up the fatties, conveniently saving her protectors from any harm and leaving her with chump blockers!

What if you didn’t answer her? The soldiers she amassed would “hulk out”, take to the skies, and quickly take out the opponent with her emblem! Good against aggro, good against midrange, good against control. She did it all! A plus to protect her, a minus to take out threats, and a game winning ultimate. She truly was… something special.

I know. We miss her too. And I know it’s not a fair comparison and I shouldn’t put that kind of pressure on you. After all, it’s a different Standard format now, a different metagame completely. So, let’s see what you bring to the table then, I promise we’ll be objective.

The +2

+2 Reveal the top three cards of your library. Put all nonland permanent cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.” 

…THAT’S YOUR PLUS!?

I’m sorry! That was rude of me to blow up like that. I just expected…more of you, son.

Okay. So, you dig three cards deep and maybe draw a card or two. You know your old man is no math wiz, but the rate seems ‘okay’ I guess. Six mana to maybe draw one card…sheesh, I guess you go to 6 loyalty at least. That’s not the worst right? I wish we could take lands so we could cast some of these permanents we might draw, but that’s okay. Nonland permanent is pretty interesting though, better than just creatures, I suppose. Delirium makes us want to play more card types after all. More likely to have some Vessel of Nascency or some artifacts lying around in the ol’ deck. What else do you have? With such a durdly plus, I assume your minus has to protect yourself pretty well! A sweeper! Multiple tokens maybe!

The -2

-2 Exile target creature. Its controller gains life equal to its power.”

Just one target? And they gain life? So 6 mana and we maybe get two Swords to Plowshares? This is the sort of thing that makes your mother cry, son. We just thought you were better than that. You’ve never been the most defensive of planeswalkers, but we expected some kitty cat tokens maybe? Beefing up and giving a creature vigilance so they can attack and defend you? Answering maybe more than 1 creature? Anything? Whelp, you know how good Smuggler’s Copter is, and you offer us just a singular targeted sorcery-speed removal?

*Sigh*

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How is anyone suppose to keep you around in this messed up world of vehicles we live in nowadays? I won’t fault you for the life, you’re obviously the slow and midrange kind of kitty cat now. Who cares about a life or thirteen if we’re gonna win in big sweeping turns. And yes, I brought up the thirteen because I do like how you match up against Emrakul, the Promised End. At least when they take your turn they won’t have much to do because of how lackluster you are.

Hey now! I meant that in a good way! Cheer up buddy. As long as you’re at 4 or more loyalty, you’ll always be able to answer Emrakul! And that counts for something! And you even exile! That’s relevant! Look at me! Looking on the brightside! No Grapple with the Past or Liliana, the Last Hope is gonna bring her back!

Now, I know they rarely come up, and aren’t the real reason you’ll ever see play, but let’s take a look at that ultimate.

The -9

-9 Put five +1/1 counters on each creature you control and five loyalty counters on each other planeswalker you control.”

Well… I wish it was -8 instead of -9 so we could pop it off a turn earlier, but if we have any kind of board that ability is passable, I guess. But who really cares? Honestly, I should be focusing on the most important thing about you now, son.

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You stuck with the green. You didn’t wavier on color pie identity and you decided to stick with the ol’ greenies. And you know what green offers? Ishkanah, Grafwidow. If you won’t be a 6 mana planeswalker that brings along a bunch of chump blockers, then you’d best pair up with the best chump blockers in the format. Tiny little baby spiders. Cats and spiders are practically the same species (true fact), and you do curve quite nicely with her. And you can even dig for her if you’re missing the brood mother!

Maybe there is something there son… you dig for Ishkanah or Emrakul, all while permanently answering any opposing ones your opponent might be recurring…and your ultimate can make your spiders bash through theirs…

You might be the super narrow corner case mirror breaker we need!

But, you’re still grounded. Now scoot on off to your room until we might need you as a 1-of in our board for a very specific match up. Go on now!

In Modern, Infect is argued to be the best deck in the format. If you want to learn more about the matchups the deck faces, this two part series by Peter Rawlings is exactly what you want. Part 1 can be found here.

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