As I started around the time of Lorwyn, I am very familiar with Chandra Nalaar and Liliana Vess. But while I certainly love Chandra's style and Liliana's abilities in her various incarnations, no female planeswalker has ever screamed out to me the way that Elspeth Tirel did as a true champion. I know that Win Target Game's (and later Gaming Successfully's) founder has always been more than a bit fond of her, hence his screen-name Elspeth for the Win, and it seems her departure from the story-line certainly fueled his intentions to leave the game indefinitely. There were other reasons, I'm sure, but I know that was a major factor.
Personally, I haven't liked the direction that the game of Magic: the Gathering has been taking very much either. The competitive scene is brutally expensive and hyper-competitive. My favorite format, however, is growing rapidly - that being Commander. And with the new Commander 2014 decks now available to us, I finally get to play with who became my favorite planeswalker ever upon her spoiling: that is, our good old friend the Stoneforge Mystic: Nahiri, the Lithomancer.
The five planeswalkers that are featured in Commander 2014 are each able to be used as your Commander. This obviously could lead to quite the shenanigans. While I will very much likely go into greater depth about the friends joining Nahiri in her quest to become a powerful White Commander, Nahiri herself will be the primary focus of my musings here today.
Let's take a look at her loyalty-based abilities, shall we?
Her +2: Put a 1/1 white Kor Soldier creature token onto the battlefield. You may attach an Equipment you control to it.
This is an extremely solid ability. Nahiri begins her sojourn on your battlefield with 3 loyalty counters, so being able to gain 2 loyalty counters right away to bring her to 5 is very useful. Also, not only do you get a creature token that counts as a Kor and a Soldier, you also get to attach any stray Equipment you have lying about to that token. With the sort of deck that Nahiri will be commanding - as she is indeed the Stoneforge Mystic - you can imagine that equipments will be plentiful in your arsenal.
Her - 2: You may put an Equipment card from your hand or graveyard onto the battlefield.
Who doesn't love to recycle? I know that I do, being one of the greatest advocates for reuse, upcycling, et al in my "real" life. It's tricky to put her down to only 1 loyalty if you decide to use this ability right off the bat. It's likely you'll have other ways to recur your Equipments, but not necessarily directly onto the battlefield. Being able to choose from your hand or graveyard and place that choice directly onto the battlefield is very powerful. But as your Commander, I would think it unwise to depend on this particular abilities. I would only use it in dire circumstances, or if Nahiri is supplementing your deck, rather than Commanding it.
Finally her ultimate! -10: Put a colorless Equipment artifact token named Stoneforged Blade onto the battlefield. It has indestructible, “Equipped creature gets +5/+5 and has double strike,” and equip 0
Yes, that says equip 0. You can equip the Stoneforged Blade to any creature for free. Who doesn't want to give somebody +5/+5 and double strike. It will take time to build up to this ultimate ability, of course, but not only is that an extremely broken Equipment, but it is also indestructible. The only way you can deal with it is to exile it.
Overall, Nahiri is a pretty wicked planeswalker even at a casting cost of 5 mana (3WW). SHe is heavily equipment-based, of course, but that's why I love her so much. I've always loved equipment. Her +2 combines beautifully with cards like Skullclamp, which will kill your token but net you two cards from your deck. Just use that a few times, go for her ultimate ability and go to town with your best creature. I love Nahiri, and while she may not be my Commander on many occasions, her flavor, my love of artifacts (especially Equipments) and her amazing beauty will make her a Planeswalker that will forever remain close to my heart.
~ Phoenix Desertstorm is an avid female gamer who is obsessed with the Commander format of Magic: the Gathering. She also dabbles in poetry, flash fiction, and pretends to be a cat more often than she perhaps should :3