I was proud to work at Wizards of the Coast developing Modern Horizons. We knew early on that Serra the Benevolent would make her iconic appearance, but didn't quite know what the other planeswalker should be.
We knew we wanted it to impact Modern and many designs were brainstormed and ultimately dismissed. I even submitted an infect-themed planeswalker that almost made the cut!
Today for the Star City Games® exclusive preview, I'd like to present you with a "lands matter" planeswalker: Wrenn and Six!
A two-mana planeswalker with relevant text! We've come a long way since Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded.
So what is that thing? Well, Wrenn is the being in front and Six is a Treefolk host carrying Wrenn around. Six is the sixth Treefolk, a mech-like vehicle for Wrenn to symbiotically pilot.
Wrenn and Six ticks up from three loyalty to four, conveniently putting it outside of Lightning Bolt range. Wrenn and Six's +1 immediately gains you a card, albeit a land, so you need to get a land into your graveyard by Turn 2. Wooded Foothills immediately comes to mind as the easiest land to return with Wrenn and Six, although any fetchland will do.
What are some other good lands to return?
Modern has no shortage of useful lands to return. Many of them can put themselves into the graveyard naturally through cycling them, sacrificing them, or through combat in the case of Treetop Village or Mutavault.
Wrenn and Six also protects against land destruction in this regard. Losing an Urza's Tower or Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle isn't so bad when you can relentlessly return them with your two-mana planeswalker.
Wrenn and Six is similar to Crucible of Worlds and Ramunap Excavator with a few exceptions. The obvious exception is coming down for a full mana cheaper and leaving behind a planeswalker that has to be dealt with or it'll take over the game. Note that returning a land to your hand is usually stronger than returning it straight onto the battlefield, as you now have the choice of whether to play it for your land drop for the turn or hold it for a better use.
From there you need to figure out how to utilize that land to your advantage. Seismic Assault and the new Bear Assault in Ayula's Influence are nice outlets. Cycling lands like Sheltered Thicket are ways to convert your lands into spells.
The -1 is a nightmare for small creature decks, especially when you're on the play. Noble Hierarch is quite popular, as are other one-toughness creatures like Glistener Elf and Dark Confidant. Liliana, the Last Hope was already very effective at three mana and now you can machine-gun down small creatures for a mana cheaper.
How good is the ultimate? Well, there's a lot of power in the casting cost of two being so cheap, the plus granting a virtual card, and the minus dealing damage, so the ultimate doesn't need to be amazing. Still, granting you Lightning Bolts retrace kills the opponent very quickly. Azorius Control will have a tough time countering Scapeshift every turn.
With much of Modern Horizons yet to be previewed, I'll leave it up to you to figure out the best homes for Wrenn and Six after the full set is revealed. Instead, here's a look at an upgrade to one of Legacy's best decks now utilizing Wrenn and Six.