Last updated on December 28, 2023
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon | Illustration by Raymond Swanland
I’m known for being a fan of Draft archetypes involving more than two colors in my decks. Until today.
Kaldheim, Strixhaven, and now Neon Dynasty were the best for 3-plus-color archetypes. But sometimes you just want to keep things simple, not mess around with too many colors, and be as straightforward as you can. Right?
I imagine WotC designers felt the same when it came to planeswalkers at some point and decided to push that idea to its limits and decided to create the first colorless planeswalker. Spoiler alert: instead of just one, Wizards printed five colorless planeswalkers.
Today I’m going to go over the best colorless planeswalkers and rank them from worst to the best and crown the best among them. Let's dive right in!
Karn, Scion of Urza | Illustration by Chase Stone
Colorless planeswalkers are planeswalkers that don't have any colored mana symbols in their casting costs. They follow the same rule as artifacts given this versatility because some are overpriced compared to what a similar card would cost if it had a color requirement.
#6. Karn, Living Legacy
It's an unfortunate truth that Karn, Living Legacy is one of the worst Karns WotC has printed. It comes in with 4 loyalty counters for 4-mana but fails to take much initiative with its available abilities simply making a tapped mana rock or giving you a card (that you also need to pay mana for).
It's ultimate creates an emblem that turns your artifacts into weapons capable of pinging any target for 1 damage. This is underwhelming to say the least and doesn't make up for the lackluster start this card has. Overall, this card fails to deliver in multiple fronts, and that makes it quite hard to find a spot for it in Standard, let alone anywhere with a higher bar like Modern or Legacy.
It's hard to say that Karn, Scion of Urza is the worst colorless planeswalker because all five are great, some just stand above the rest. Scion of Urza just happens to be the worst when compared to its running mates.
With that out of the way, this Karn is unique because it's best when built around other cards, while the colorless planeswalkers don't need a lot of effort to be good. You ideally want to build an artifact-heavy deck so that you can start creating massive Constructs left and right when this thing enters the battlefield.
But Karn is still good even if you don't and you just happen to have a high density of artifacts in your deck since its first ability is pure card advantage and the second is card selection. Definitely a win-win scenario.
Pretty great, right? So if this Karn is the worst, what could the other ones be doing to stand above it?
The other planeswalker with multiple appearances in competitive play through his printings is Ugin, and Ugin, the Ineffable shows how fearsome it can be. While this Ugin doesn't have tons of abilities, it does have one that not many planeswalkers have: a static ability that lets you play your colorless spells for cheaper.
This card synergizes better when built around, but its other two abilities are powerful. Ugin can start creating a small army that gives you card advantage when they die or gets rid of some annoying card on your opponent's side of the field.
The Ineffable doesn't have an ultimate but it compensates for that with its static.
With its second appearance of the night in the #3 spot, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon was the first version of an Ugin planeswalker to be printed. This card saw some legit gameplay in a lot of Standard decks and in Eldrazi’s prime during Modern’s early stages. The Spirit Dragon is more often seen in cubes and Commander nowadays but make no mistake; it constantly threatens to end the game on the spot every time it comes around.
While eight mana seem like a lot, the middle ability will almost entirely wipe the board, and it’ll threaten to take over the game after that if it doesn't die. And it’s cute that its ultimate ability is basically Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker‘s ability, but backwards. Instead of punishing your opponents by taking down their resources, it rewards you by giving you a fresh new hand and almost half your starting life total back.
Karn, the Great Creator might be the most popular colorless planeswalker among Commander players since a lot of players consider it borderline broken. This is because its static ability makes artifacts you don't control pretty much useless.
EDH is known for its decks that rely on mana rocks to ramp into their most potent spells. And the terrifying part really comes when you pair it with other cards to enable some broken combos, as if that wasn't bad enough. Let me show you a few.
- Karn, The Great Creator, Voltaic Construct, and Basalt Monolith creates an infinite amount of colorless mana. The idea here is to tutor Voltaic Construct from outside the game to pair it with any mana rock that adds more than two mana. Other options for this combo are Thran Dynamo, Gilded Lotus, Mana Vault, Grim Monolith, Dreamstone Hedron, and Chromatic Orrery.
- Karn, The Great Creator, Myr Turbine, and Intruder Alarm is fun because your opponents will hate it. If you target Myr Turbine with Karn, The Great Creator‘s first ability and then make a token, you can start a chain of endless amounts of creatures, untap effects, and ETB triggers all at once.
- Heartstone, Basalt Monolith, and Karn, The Great Creator produces the same result as the last combo (infinite colorless mana) but it needs a bit more effort. You need to tutor for Heartstone and then use Karn, The Great Creator’s first ability to transform Basalt Monolith into a creature. From there you get infinite mana.
- Karn, The Great Creator and Mycosynth Lattice is the most popular combo. If you manage to get both into play your opponents won't be able to tap their lands or anything that adds mana to cast their spells, forcing them to deal with your board with what they already have.
- Karn, The Great Creator, Mycosynth Lattice, and Propaganda: prevents your opponents from attacking you or playing spells. The same can be done with similar cards like Ghostly Prison.
What does the #1 colorless planeswalker have that the others don’t? In a word, tenure. Karn Liberated was the first colorless planeswalker ever printed and it's been single-handedly dominating formats ever since.
Seven mana might seem like a lot but that's an easy task to accomplish by turn 3 in decks like Eldrazi Tron. Not to mention that truly getting rid of any permanent in your opponent's hand while threatening to restart the game with you being the only one to have resources on the battlefield is truly scary. That's why this is the best colorless planeswalker when it comes to competitive play.
Karn, the Great Creator | Illustration by Wisnu Tan
To honor the king and the two runners-up, let’s take a look at a Modern deck that features all three colorless planeswalkers. The plan here is simple: get your big spells on turn 3, then win. And if you can’t just win you still have a solid plan. What I like about this list is that the top three colorless planeswalkers are featured in it.
That said the deck has a lot of depth to it, and I suggest trying it if you’re interested in Modern and you have any tournaments around the corner.
Karn Liberated | Illustration by Jason Chan
Lion's Eye Diamond
Sensei's Divining Top
Helm of Awakening
Crucible of Worlds
Rings of Brighthearth
Clock of Omens
Staff of Nin
Spine of Ish Sah
Cavern of Souls
Eye of Ugin
Hall of the Bandit Lord
Sanctum of Ugin
Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
Temple of the False God
Tomb of the Spirit Dragon
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Urza's Power Plant
Back in the day Kozilek, Butcher of Truth was one of my favorite commanders to play because it's simple but effective. Kozilek is among the cheapest of the Eldrazi and one that will provide you with tons of card draw without using a single colored mana when you cast it. And being the cheapest makes it perfect for this Turbo Ramp deck because you can just cast again without much effort if it gets killed, even potentially the next turn after it dies.
But the all-stars of this Turbo Ramp EDH deck are Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. They’re the simpler but effective planeswalkers for this kind of deck since they have one job and execute it flawlessly: act as removal.
You can easily create a sideboard around this deck if you want as well. Add Karn, The Great Creator, Ugin, the Ineffable, and Karn, Scion of Urza to have all five colorless planeswalkers stomping around. But I’ll leave that up to you since there are tons of improvements to be made here if you want to finetune this list.
Ugin, the Ineffable | Illustration by Daarken
I honestly thought there were more colorless planeswalkers when I started this list. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a new one sometime soon, but only time will tell. At least these five are very powerful, and I’d be very happy to throw them in decks where I can build around them and maximize their potential.
What do you think? Would you like for WotC to print more colorless planeswalkers? A queen of artifacts, perhaps? Let me know in the comments or over in the Draftsim Discord.
Take care, and let's meet again on the Streets of New Capenna!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: