Ajani, Nacatl Pariah – Modern Horizons III

Date Reviewed:  July 8, 2024

Constructed: 4.14
Casual: 5.00
Limited: 4.50
Multiplayer: 4.00
Commander [EDH]: 3.88

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


When they announced that Modern Horizons III was going to have planeswalker origin cards in the vein of Magic Origins, Ajani was the first character I thought of. For a while, our lore knowledge of him was mostly built around his tragic origin story, connected to the death of his brother. This card obviously references that quite strongly, which is funny because said brother is represented on a different card.

Having said that, Ajani is arguably the easiest planeswalker to flip in this set, and maybe of all the origin planeswalkers. After all, creatures and removal define a lot of games of Magic; a lot of creatures with the right type have such useful abilities – including some that even involve sacrificing themselves – that you might have them in your deck just incidentally, much less in a kindred deck; and if you’re really pressed, he himself brings along a token with one toughness. And when he does flip, his abilities are very impressive. The +2 is susceptible to being interfered with by opponents, but the 0 adds pressure to opponents and creatures alike, and a mass destruction ability at just -4 is amazing when he starts at 3 loyalty. He’s very easy to underestimate, but he has the right tools to stomp all over a lot of opponents, and not just in cat kindred decks either.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 5
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 4
Commander [EDH]: 4

 James H. 


Once upon a time, Ajani was an ordinary kitty. Then he got angry. His spark igniting following his brother’s death, Ajani’s flip walker is a fun throwback to both his story and one of his more-famous outings, Ajani Vengeant.

On his own, Ajani is 3/3 of stats for 2 mana…but he flips when any other Cat dies, regardless of how, and that’s where the fun starts. Ajani, Nacatl Pariah becomes the Nacatl Avenger, churning out Cats, buffing them, and aiming potential damage along the way. His ultimate is also a real threat…he flips with 3 loyalty and can jump to 5, and the pseudo-Cataclysm can be a good way to blow a game open. He’s one of those cards that generates a lot of value in short order, and he even fits interestingly into extant Cat decks; while a lot of those are more rooted in Selesnya colors, Ajani rewards a more Naya bent nicely.

Ajani is, all in all, a self-contained value engine whose only real weakness is his early fragility; 2 toughness is not too hard to kill in Modern, but it’ll still leave behind a 2/1 if he goes down. I feel like he plays quite well and is better than he looks…and, honestly, he looks plenty scary! But being able to raise an army and buff it is always dangerous, and he’ll bring the fur and the fury.

Constructed: 4.25
Casual: 5
Limited: 4.5 (easy-ish to flip, wins games when flipped)
Multiplayer: 4
Commander [EDH]: 3.75 (probably less likely for Cats and more for red/white centered shells)

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