The early excitement around this new Tibalt planeswalker caused TCGPlayer to jokingly call the new set “War of the Tibalt” on April Fool’s Day. It seems that the hype is justified. Being an uncommon planeswalker, Tibalt has a regular static ability as well as a single loyalty ability. He starts with 5 loyalty, which is a decent number for a 3 mana planeswalker. His static ability is that your opponents can’t gain life. This ability is actually a powerful one, especially in a Red deck. Some players have already suggested that he will be a sideboard card for this ability alone.
Tibalt, Rakish Instigator also has a pretty decent loyalty ability, as well: at the cost of two loyalty counters, you put a 1/1 Devil creature token into play. That token has an ability that when it dies, it deals 1 damage to any target. With the 5 loyalty that Tibalt, Rakish Instigator starts with in play, that means he can create 2 tokens and still stay on the board.
These Devil tokens are pretty much an exact match to a common from Ravnica Allegiance called Footlight Fiend. They cost either a single Black or single Red mana to cast, and have seen Standard play in the occasional Mardu Aristocrats deck. For 3 mana, you’re essentially able to create two of these Devils and are left with essentially an enchantment that prevents your opponent from gaining life.
As some players have already commented, preventing lifegain for your opponent is an ability that is on Rampaging Ferocidon, a card that was banned from Standard for being too powerful. While Ferocidon was powerful for other reasons, that’s a very relevant ability and is going to be one that hurts some decks. If for nothing else, Tibalt is good for that and creating two bodies that do something useful. Keep in mind that those tokens can deal that 1 damage to a planeswalker when they die, something that is more relevant than ever.
Tibalt, Rakish Instigator is already a card people are looking forward to playing. Whether it’s in Burn sideboards, or even works its way into main decks, this planeswalker is sure to see play. Plus, being an uncommon, it will be extremely easy to pull your playset from War of the Spark. An uncommon planeswalker with a decent metagame relevant ability that can also protect himself with tokens is a good card. While I wouldn’t dare pre-order him - he was starting out around $2 to $3 for an uncommon - he’s definitely worth picking up as copies become readily available.
Read more War of the Spark card reviews here!