Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator
Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator

Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator – Wilds of Eldraine

Date Reviewed:  September 12, 2023

Constructed: 4
Casual: 5
Limited: 5
Multiplayer: 3.75
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


It should have figured that Ashiok would return in a set featuring a “Wicked Slumber”. And I love how they are always at most peripherally involved with the ongoing storylines – Ashiok has their own motivations and their own goals, and most of everyone else’s goals just aren’t relevant to them.

Ashiok’s new abilities are somewhat involved and rather dense, and every single one fits the title “Wicked Manipulator”: there’s always something you can do with them beyond the obvious, some kind of synergy with recent or older cards that adds up to much more than what’s written on this card. For example, their passive ability, their +1, and even their -7 are great with cards like Thassa’s Oracle (note the “target player” in the -7). If you have to go midrange and actually attack to win, the -2 gives you a solid and tricky way to do so – recall that a lot of black removal spells exile nowadays, although you still only get one bonus per combat, and it doesn’t stack with, say, Ashiok’s +1. This is the kind of card that really benefits from actively looking through your collection and finding complementary cards, and I think it has very good prospects in more than one format.

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

 James H. 


One of the ripple effects of March of the Machine was a severe culling of planeswalker numbers; for example, both Rowan and Will are back in this set, but neither are planeswalkers. Ashiok’s spark stuck around, though, and everyone’s favorite ambiguous nightmare horror mage is still around to do their thing to as many horrified people as possible. Notably, Ashiok, Wicked Manipulator is the sole planeswalker in Wilds of Eldraine, and it’s been a long time since there’s been a Standard-legal set with just one planeswalker.

The main attraction is Ashiok’s passive ability and how it plays into their other abilities, which can be very scary. While you do have more cards in your library than you have life in most cases, and you can afford to use this to eke out more advantages, keep in mind that the risk of losing cards you’re not keen on losing is real; still, this is a deceptively good ability that can pay off in the long run.

As for their other abilities, they all play well with that. The -2 makes two potentially growing threats that play well with their +1, which is aggressive card filtration. All of this feeds into their ultimate, trying to wipe out a library. This is one of those abilities that you play when you’re sure you can go for the kill, and it is certainly a decisive strike to end a game on the spot if you can set it up…and it feeds well off of what else Ashiok does, so that’s fun.

Ashiok costing five mana is the one thing I’m not as fond of; we all know that I’m not wholly enamored with planeswalkers at that price point, and Ashiok (while able to protect themselves) can sometimes struggle to mount enough pressure to force things to happen. But in a deck built around their unique talents, I feel like this is an excellent piece of the puzzle, and I suspect Ashiok might be a sleeper card in this set to some degree.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 5
Limited: 5
Multiplayer: 3.5 (their abilities only hit one player at a time, but you can still make it count)
Commander [EDH]: 4.25 (that passive can put in a lot of work)

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