Magic: The Gathering's new planeswalker, Oko, is one of the most exciting new additions to the game's lore in recent memory. He's a mixture of the more interesting qualities of Jace - enigmatic, brilliant, and saddled with a storied past - alongside some newer qualities, including a penchant for mischief and the ability to shapeshift. Oko is also a fey planeswalker, the first fans have ever had the pleasure of meeting on a card. Belonging to one of the most beloved tribes in all of Magic and equipped with an ability in changing his appearance that makes him an exciting new addition to the cast, it's no surprise that Oko's planeswalker card is one of the most anticipated in all of Throne of Eldraine.
Throne of Eldraine is steeped in fantasy and fable lore, spanning the Brothers Grimm to Arthurian literature. Strangely enough, for a game as diverse as Magic: The Gathering, those broad archetypes haven't been explored all that much in past sets, with the Lorwyn block coming the closest while skipping over some of the more overt references that would have been possible. While fans don't know too much about the secrets the set will hold and the mechanics it will introduce to Standard, the bread crumb trail leading to October's set release has been more than enough to have players salivating over what's to come from the popular tabletop/digital trading card game.
Luckily for our world's planeswalkers, Screen Rant has been given an opportunity straight out of a fairy tale. Today, we'll introduce players to Oko, Thief of Crowns and talk about where he might fit into both the game's lore and its Standard format. First thing's first, though - let's take a look at Oko in all of his narcissistic glory:
The first thing fans will note is how cool Oko's card looks. Artist Yongjae Choi captured what we know about Oko perfectly - the narcissism in his casual pose, the skill of balancing a dagger in his hands so casually, and the clear hatred of authority that has driven Oko throughout his life. That's without mention Oko's crown, which is by far one of the most captivating head-wear accessories in a game that is surprisingly full of them - just look at the Chain Veil, Garruk's helmet, Chandra's goggle, or Jace's iconic hood. Oko's has the potential to immediately join those symbols as immediately recognizable.
Art doesn't make a card playable, however, and a lot of Oko, Thief of Crowns is still a mystery even after seeing him for the first time now. At just 3 converted mana cost, Oko is an aggressively-costed planeswalker, which typically bodes well for the card type. That's especially true of Standard, a format that is often a fair bit slower than it's eternal counterparts. As a blue and green card, Oko is also part of a color combination that has been extremely successful over the course of Standard's last year or so, with Simic Nexus, Simic Ramp, Simic Flash, and Bant Scapeshift all being viable decks at different points in time. After rotation, a few of those decks will cease to exist, but there will be some powerful pieces left over that just scream to be built around. Cards like Nightpack Ambusher are going to be interesting heading into a smaller Standard.
With that said, Oko, Thief of Crowns will be as good as his +2 ability, which makes something called Food - a mechanic that players haven't actually been introduced to yet. Given that Oko's other abilities don't inherently protect it or generate card advantage in any way, those Food tokens will be of vital importance to just how successful he can be. The +2 will also immediately put Oko up to 6 loyalty, too. That's an absurdly high number for a 3 mana planeswalker, so Oko is dancing a fine line. If Food isn't very good or can't help Oko protect himself, he will be harder to build around, although the payoff is still certainly there. If Food is good, generates card advantage, or helps protect Oko, he's bordering on absolutely incredible!
Given the fairy tale themes in place in Throne of Eldraine, here's a guess at what Food might be: a token that gives players the option to pump or shrink a creature, probably to the tune of +1/+1 and -1/-1 respectively. That would reflect a recurring theme in fairy tale food, which is the potential for it to both help and harm. Some food gives characters life or breaks curses, while other grub in fantasy land can put people to sleep or outright poison them. If not that, then perhaps something more clear in regards to how food nourishes the body - a token that gains life or just pumps up a creature for a turn, representing gaining energy and vitality.
The other two abilities are hard to understand without context, whether it be a decklist or more of the set spoiled. Oko's abilities perfectly represent a trickster with an authority problem, though. Swapping cards is disruptive and powerful, while transforming something into a 3/3 Elk is exactly what we'd expect a shapeshifting planeswalker to do on a whim. The two abilities complement each other well, and the +1 in particular could have some cool applications, swapping out ramp artifacts or cheap creatures into something a little more meaty for the mid-to-late game. We can't wait to see how players explore Oko, Thief of Crowns, who isn't outright busted at first glance but screams for some creative minds to use him to his fullest potential.
For now, though, it's been fun speculating on just what Oko, Thief of Crowns can do. There's also the number that Wizards of the Coast gave us attached to our preview card, alongside a look at the Mythic Edition version of Oko - what in Eldraine does that 12 mean? Perhaps it could correspond with Magic: The Gathering's Throne of Eldraine set and how it references King Arthur as an inspiration. King Arthur's round table of knights was populated by exactly 12 people in some versions of the story, after all. Perhaps Oko is part of the Eldraine version of a Knight of the Round Table, and if so, he's almost certain to cause mischief and sow discord inside of it. We'll find out more soon - Wizards of the Coast is promising a major reveal on www.twitch.tv/magic on September 4.