So for a change of pace, we have a two color SEVEN MANA planeswalker with 6 loyalty. This isn’t the first time they’ve done seven mana planeswalker with six loyalty of course, with Karn Liberated being a thing (fun fact, Karn was one of the first Mythics I ever opened in a pack), but it’s not an often used mana cost for walkers!
The +2 is a simple drain for 3, which can add up very quickly and put Kaya up to 8 loyalty which is quite tough to attack down.
The 0 is a Divination, but because both White and Black need stipulations on their draws, your opponent gets to scry 1 afterwards which is weird. That said, even with the Scry, drawing two cards for a 0 ability is quite powerful.
Finally, instead of an ultimate, we have a -3 which exiles any creature and enchantment, downsizes it to a 1/1 Spirit, and gives it to you! Any walker worth it’s salt should defend itself, and this is rare that it gives you two layers of defense – getting rid of a threat and producing a blocker.
All these abilities are interesting, but we can’t forget the most important part of Kaya – Hexproof. Hexproof on planeswalkers is nasty as that makes them extremely hard to kill, especially on a high loyalty planeswalker such as Kaya. That said, it’s unfortunate that Invoke Despair very neatly gets around this, but otherwise, players will have to kill Kaya the old fashioned way.
So we have three relatively powerful abilities, good loyalty, and even Hexproof, but on a two color seven mana planeswalker. So how are we feeling overall?
There is certainly a lot to like about Kaya. While this isn’t going to come down and dominate games like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon could, playing this and effectively stealing the opponent’s best card is extremely scary. Furthermore, if they don’t have anything good to steal, you can go for the resource game or just pressure their life total! This could be used as a 1-2 of late game finisher in decks like Mardu or Esper which are privy to go long anyway, and this would occupy a similar slot to Sanctuary Warden in those decks.
While promising, I do have some issues with it as well. Seven mana is a lot of mana, even for this Standard, and since aggressive decks have started picking back up, that only makes it tougher to justify playing this. Furthermore, there are a lot of cards that are naturally good against this including Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Invoke Despair as previously mentioned, or even just counterspells like Make Disappear, Negate, and Spell Pierce. Sure this card is very strong, but Sanctuary Warden can similarly dominate games, comes down a turn earlier, and is insulated from nearly every card I just mentioned that works Kaya over. What about cheating it into play? You just have better options in that regard as well with Portal to Phyrexia and, again, Sanctuary Warden. Kaya is a strong card, and it should do a massive amount of work on any board state it can resolve on, but getting it to resolve is going to be the main problem and likely what stops it from seeing widespread play.
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