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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Venser, the Sojourner
Image from Wizards.com

 Venser, the Sojourner
- Scars of Mirrodin

Reviewed Aug. 22, 2016

Constructed: 3.13
Casual: 5.00
Limited: 4.75
Multiplayer: 4.00
Commander [EDH]: 4.13

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

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Card of the Day Reviews 

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Venser, the Sojourner
I've always really liked the armored-but-head-exposed look for fantasy characters. Almost every one of my characters in RPG video games dresses like that. I think I'm still spiritually in the 60s or 70s, when long hair was the norm for everyone. There's nothing old-school about Venser's abilities, of course - he's most clearly intended to be an additional card advantage engine for a deck based on the flickering mechanic, which has only been really pushed in the last few years. And while his -1 ability is actually very effective at closing out any game, it's almost worth waiting for his ultimate so you can cast a Whitemane Lion multiple times a turn, return it with its own ability, and exile all your opponent's lands in the process. 
Constructed: 3/5
Casual: 5/5
Limited: 5/5
Multiplayer: 4/5
EDH/Commander: 4/5

James H.

Venser, the Sojourner (8/22)
There are some planeswalkers that are incredibly up-front with how they operate and what they do. For example, all three iterations of Elspeth crank out lots of soldier tokens and smash face that way. All Chandras burninate things. Jace revolves around card advantage and manipulating the library. Venser…well, he's less straightforward.
His +2 is one of the more unusual planeswalker abilities: you blink out a permanent you own and get it back at the end of the turn. This has a lot of healthy applications: you can flicker something with coming-into-play or leaving-play triggers (like Reveillark, Stonehorn Dignitary, or any of the other Evoke elementals from Lorwyn), or you can get back something an opponent absconded with.  It’s one that begs to be built around, and it also has the advantage of pushing him out of burn range. His -1 can end the game if you’ve amassed an army (making creatures unblockable will do that), and the only downside there is that Azorius colors aren't great at building an army. His ultimate is pretty soul-crushing (exile permanents on casting spells) in all, and he gets there faster than most planeswalkers do (fourth turn out, absent any other effects).

Venser's major issue is that he's in a bit of a “dead zone" for planeswalkers. Five mana is probably the worst cost for a planeswalker: they’re stuck in hand a bit longer, and they're not nearly as powerful as their six-mana brethren. He also has the issue of not protecting himself on an empty board: Venser needs support to do his job.
Venser's always been one of my favorite cards (both aesthetically and mechanically); while it's sad that he won't get another planeswalker (probably), this is still a unique and powerful card for him to have.
Constructed: 3.25 
Casual: 5
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 4
Commander: 4.25

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