Recently, we got our first look at actual cards from the upcoming set, March of the Machine. Amongst the spoilers were three Plane cards. This means that the speculation that Planechase would be making a return in the MOM precons appears to be true. It does make sense given that many planes are coming together to deal with the Phyrexians. Given that Planechase isn’t the most common “format” in MTG, this article will serve as an introduction for new players and a refresher for longtime players.
Planechase is a game/format modifer. In addition to their regular deck, each player will have a deck of at least 10 “plane” cards, which are kept separately from their deck in the “command zone”. At the beginning of the game, the starting player turns the top card of their planar deck face up and its effects become present in the game. Anytime a player could cast a sorcery, they may roll the planar die. If it lands on the “planeswalker” symbol the player flips over the top card of their planar deck and it becomes active in place of the current one.
With this basic definition out of the way let’s break things down further and go over more rules, how the planar die works, the chaos symbol, and look at some Planechase cards.
Here I’ll elaborate further on the rules mentioned above.
Each planar card represents a plane and has two effects on it that change/augment the game in some way. These function very similarly to enchantments. When a planar card is flipped face up the top effect of the card is active. The second effect only becomes active when someone rolls a “chaos symbol” (shown to the left of the bottom ability) on the planar dice.
The Planar Deck
So, we know that each player will have a planar deck consisting of at least 10 cards. No two cards within a single planar deck may have the same name. Furthermore, each deck may contain a total of two “phenomenon” cards. Phenomenon cards have a one-time effect.
At the start of each game, the starting player flips over the top card of their planar deck and it’s static (top) effects become active. Then the game proceeds with the regular MTG rules for whatever format you’re playing. Anytime a player could cast a sorcery they can roll the “planar dice”, which has six sides.
Four sides are blank, one has a planeswalker symbol (the bottom picture), and one has a chaos symbol. If your roll lands on a blank side, nothing happens. If you roll the planeswalker symbol, the current planar card is flipped over and moved to the bottom of that planar deck. Then you get to flip over the top card of your planar deck, and its effects become active. There will only ever be one planar card active at a time. This represents “planeswalking” from one plane to another.
When someone rolls the chaos symbol, “chaos ensues” and the second ability on the active planar card will trigger and go on the stack. This means that each player gets priority and a chance to respond with effects before this effect resolves.
To roll the planar dice, you must pay an amount of mana equal to the number of times you’ve rolled the dice that turn. So, the first time you roll the dice each turn is free; The second time you roll, it costs one mana, and so on and so forth. When the player controlling the active planar card leaves the game, the next player in turn order flips the top card of their planar deck, and it becomes active.
What Do You Need To Play Planechase?
You can get everything you need to play online. You’ll need at least ten planechase cards per player. So, if you’re playing a two-player format, 20 cards would do. If you’re playing commander, you’d need 40 cards total. You can buy the prebuilt planar decks from several years ago online but they’re somewhat expensive. That said, you can purchase single planechase cards online for a few dollars each.
You’ll also need a planechase dice. However, in my experience, you can use a standard six-sided dice, with one being chaos and six being the planeswalker symbol. This means that numbers 2-5 would represent the black sides.
March of the Machine Planechase Cards
As of now, we’ve only seen one brand-new card spoiled. However, whenever there’s more you’ll find them here.
Planechase Card Gallery
Thanks to the planechase anthology released in 2018 there are currently 86 different plane cards. You can find a full gallery of them here.
Here we’ll take a look at some rules you made need to know if you’re looking to work planechase into your next MTG game or pick up the MOM precons.
Any card or ability that triggers when a player rolls a die will trigger when the planar dice is rolled. So, for example, Vrondiss, Rage of Ancients would deal one damage to himself. Here’s the official ruling:
Rolling the planar die will cause any ability that triggers whenever a player rolls one or more dice to trigger. However, any effect that refers to a numerical result of a die roll, including ones that compare the results of that roll to other rolls or to a given number, ignores the rolling of the planar die.fandom.com
The Command Zone
Players and/or cards can never interact with the planar cards themselves. If for any reason, a planar card would change to any zone other than the bottom of the planar deck when another card becomes active, it remains in the command zone instead.
I’m very surprised to see WOTC bringing planechase bach to MTG via commander precons but it’s a pleasant surprise that fits the set quite well. If you’ve never played with the game augmenting cards before it can be quite fun and a nice change of pace. It adds a great deal of chaos to the formats we know and love. Hopefully, you found today’s article helpful in understanding what it is and how it works.