Three-color planeswalkers are rare. As of Modern Horizons 2, there are 168 planeswalkers making up this project, and only eight of those are three-colors! When you factor in how many of those three-color walkers are UBR, it makes the others unicorn-esque.

One of the goals of this series is to find homes for cards I love that have trouble finding space elsewhere. And there have been an awful lot of dope three-color cards printed!

This entry brings us our first Esper Planeswalker and a hell of a flavor throwback. Say hello to Dakkon, Shadow Slayer!

Dakkon, Shadow Slayer, based on Chronicles legend Dakkon Blackblade, was a renowned blacksmith before being conscripted by the evil Planeswalker Geyadrone Dihada. The story is super complicated, but Dakkon Blackblade became a Planeswalker himself, and the history between the two is inextricably linked. Flavorfully, the Blackblade Reforged is already committed to Gideon Blackblade, and this Dakkon, Shadow Slayer wouldn't make sense of a reforged Blackblade Reforged anyway! He'd be too attached to the OG. So flavorfully, we have a lot of room to explore. Though we should probably involve some artifacts since that interacts favorably with Dakkon, Shadow Slayer ultimate.

Let's see what we can dig up from the bowels of history:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Dakkon, Shadow Slayer by Andy Hurst

'Dakkon, Shadow Slayer' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $203.33

Cards

Brainbite

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31706_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a card from it. That player discards that card.
Draw a card.

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Manaforce Mace

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/28565_200w.jpg

Domain — Equipped creature gets +1/+1 for each basic land type among lands you control.
Equip {3}

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Esper Battlemage

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/27661_200w.jpg

{W}, {T}: Prevent the next 2 damage that would be dealt to you this turn.
{B}, {T}: Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.

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Discovery // Dispersal

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176782_200w.jpg

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/94485_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164099_200w.jpg

Flash
Flying
You may cast historic spells as though they had flash. (Artifacts, legendaries, and Sagas are historic.)

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Dromar's Charm

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/72098_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• You gain 5 life.
• Counter target spell.
• Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.

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Twisted Reflection

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191212_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Target creature gets -6/-0 until end of turn.
• Switch target creature's power and toughness until end of turn.
Entwine {B} (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)

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Etherwrought Page

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31731_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, choose one —
• You gain 2 life.
• Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card into your graveyard.
• Each opponent loses 1 life.

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Dakkon, Shadow Slayer

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $1.55

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/239404_200w.jpg

Dakkon, Shadow Slayer enters the battlefield with a number of loyalty counters on him equal to the number of lands you control.
+1: Surveil 2.
−3: Exile target creature.
−6: You may put an artifact card from your hand or graveyard onto the battlefield.

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Stormscape Master

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7679_200w.jpg

{W}{W}, {T}: Target creature gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.
{B}{B}, {T}: Target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

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Tower Gargoyle

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128489_200w.jpg

Flying

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Dakkon Blackblade

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $178.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/3838_200w.jpg

Dakkon Blackblade's power and toughness are each equal to the number of lands you control.

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Esper Panorama

Market Price: $1.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/72106_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Esper Panorama: Search your library for a basic Plains, Island, or Swamp card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

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Esper Charm

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $0.72

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171091_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Destroy target enchantment.
• Draw two cards.
• Target player discards two cards.

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Armillary Sphere

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226853_200w.jpg

{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Armillary Sphere: Search your library for up to two basic land cards, reveal them, put them into your hand, then shuffle.

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Arcane Sanctum

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $1.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171179_200w.jpg

Arcane Sanctum enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {W}, {U}, or {B}.

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Sky Weaver

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15315_200w.jpg

{2}: Target white or black creature gains flying until end of turn. (It can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.)

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/108136_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Dromar's Cavern

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $1.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7790_200w.jpg

When Dromar's Cavern enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you return a non-Lair land you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {W}, {U}, or {B}.

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Cabal Paladin

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164097_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a historic spell, Cabal Paladin deals 2 damage to each opponent. (Artifacts, legendaries, and Sagas are historic.)

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Esper Stormblade

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31727_200w.jpg

As long as you control another multicolored permanent, Esper Stormblade gets +1/+1 and has flying.

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Rampaging Monument

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176886_200w.jpg

Trample
Rampaging Monument enters the battlefield with three +1/+1 counters on it.
Whenever you cast a multicolored spell, put a +1/+1 counter on Rampaging Monument.

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Stormscape Familiar

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/14648_200w.jpg

Flying
White spells and black spells you cast cost {1} less to cast.

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Guardians of Koilos

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162789_200w.jpg

When Guardians of Koilos enters the battlefield, you may return another target historic permanent you control to its owner's hand. (Artifacts, legendaries, and Sagas are historic.)

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Knight of Malice

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162165_200w.jpg

First strike
Hexproof from white (This creature can't be the target of white spells or abilities your opponents control.)
Knight of Malice gets +1/+0 as long as any player controls a white permanent.

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Bloodtallow Candle

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164482_200w.jpg

{6}, {T}, Sacrifice Bloodtallow Candle: Target creature gets -5/-5 until end of turn.

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Failed Inspection

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/123121_200w.jpg

Counter target spell. Draw a card, then discard a card.

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Dismantling Blow

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190756_200w.jpg

Kicker {2}{U} (You may pay an additional {2}{U} as you cast this spell.)
Destroy target artifact or enchantment. If this spell was kicked, draw two cards.

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Knight of Grace

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162203_200w.jpg

First strike
Hexproof from black (This creature can't be the target of black spells or abilities your opponents control.)
Knight of Grace gets +1/+0 as long as any player controls a black permanent.

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Rona, Disciple of Gix

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162145_200w.jpg

When Rona, Disciple of Gix enters the battlefield, you may exile target historic card from your graveyard. (Artifacts, legendaries, and Sagas are historic.)
You may cast spells from among cards exiled with Rona.
{4}, {T}: Exile the top card of your library.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/239188_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Closing Statement

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235890_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast during your end step.
Destroy target creature or planeswalker you don't control. Put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target creature you control.

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Batterbone

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/240148_200w.jpg

Living weapon (When this Equipment enters the battlefield, create a 0/0 black Phyrexian Germ creature token, then attach this to it.)
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has vigilance and lifelink.
Equip {5}

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Stormscape Battlemage

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/72287_200w.jpg

Kicker {W} and/or {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {W} and/or {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
When Stormscape Battlemage enters the battlefield, if it was kicked with its {W} kicker, you gain 3 life.
When Stormscape Battlemage enters the battlefield, if it was kicked with its {2}{B} kicker, destroy target nonblack creature. That creature can't be regenerated.

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Probe

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7599_200w.jpg

Kicker {1}{B} (You may pay an additional {1}{B} as you cast this spell.)
Draw three cards, then discard two cards. If this spell was kicked, target player discards two cards.

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Stormscape Apprentice

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7678_200w.jpg

{W}, {T}: Tap target creature.
{B}, {T}: Target player loses 1 life.

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Daring Archaeologist

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164346_200w.jpg

When Daring Archaeologist enters the battlefield, you may return target artifact card from your graveyard to your hand.
Whenever you cast a historic spell, put a +1/+1 counter on Daring Archaeologist. (Artifacts, legendaries, and Sagas are historic.)

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Prismatic Ending

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $3.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/239436_200w.jpg

Converge — Exile target nonland permanent if its mana value is less than or equal to the number of colors of mana spent to cast this spell.

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Merieke Ri Berit

Color Identity:B,U,W

Market Price: $5.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/14615_200w.jpg

Merieke Ri Berit doesn't untap during your untap step.
{T}: Gain control of target creature for as long as you control Merieke Ri Berit. When Merieke Ri Berit leaves the battlefield or becomes untapped, destroy that creature. It can't be regenerated.

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Cast Down

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226354_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonlegendary creature.

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The Game Plan

We've got a few different plans here. The first is to attack with cheap, powerful threats like Esper Stormblade, Knight of Malice, and Knight of Grace before some of the stronger cards on the higher end of the curve show up. Knight of Malice and Knight of Grace will get their buff if either player has the color specific permanents. Since we're playing both colors, the odds are good that we'll have some 3/2 knights. The second is to rely on our value engines like Rona, Disciple of Gix or Daring Archaeologist, buying time until the powerful kicker spells like Stormscape Battlemage, Probe, and Dismantling Blow come online. No matter which we choose, this deck ensures that we have plenty of plays early and late.

Most of our spell base comes from Invasion Block and Dominaria as a nod to the original UBW spells from Invasion, and since Dakkon, Shadow Slayer is from Dominaria. We've also got some contributions from Esper since the Alaran Shard and that color combination have become linked over the years, and Dakkon, Shadow Slayer ultimate needs us to care about those artifacts at least a bit.

Fortunately, the Historic mechanic from Dominaria provides a nice mechanical bridge between those worlds. Rona, Disciple of Gix plays very well with Dakkon, Shadow Slayer surveil ability, while Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage lets us play with some trickery. Cabal Paladin gives us a bit of reach, and adds some more bite to our innocuous spells.

From the Invasion angle, we're playing the entire Stormscape clan. The Stormscape Apprentice is very strong for a little one-drop as its tapper skills can dominate a game under the right circumstances. The Stormscape Familiar makes a lot of our spells a little cheaper. The Stormscape Battlemage takes a while to turn on since we're not interested in casting it until we can cover at least the black kicker. But when we can it's a potent package.

The removal suite here is solid, but weird. Twisted Reflection seemed to be a nice nod to Dakkon, Shadow Slayer changing status as hero to villain to anti-hero to something maybe in between. Cast Down, Closing Statement, and Prismatic Ending are versatile, but not without limitations. Dromar's Charm is a little tough on the mana, but all three modes are fantastic. Esper Charm can nuke an enchantment, but will much more likely draw two cards. Bloodtallow Candle is expensive to activate, but its synergies with our planeswalker ultimate, Rona, Disciple of Gix, and Daring Archaeologist made it too enticing to leave out.

The Rares

In this case, good things come in small packages. Merieke Ri Berit ability is absurdly strong. Taking a creature for no mana is definitely what we want to be doing! With Merieke Ri Berit online, our opponent's gameplan will be stymied since we're all but guaranteed to have the better board. She's a little fragile, so don't be too surprised if she bites the dust, but while she's around our opponent better get used to a feeling of frustration.

This cycle hasn't aged super well, but the Stormscape Master can still be an enormous pain in the butt for our opponents. An expensive Mother of Runes is still a dominant effect, and the side benefit of draining our opponent doesn't hurt either. I'm also a sucker for the art on this guy, and this whole cycle has a lot of sentimental value.

We have several artifacts we're excited to buy back. Bloodtallow Candle and Armillary Sphere are both early drops that sacrifice, and getting second uses out of either would be excellent. We also have Dakkon, Shadow Slayer surveil ability and the Think Tank-esque Etherwrought Page that are looking to dump options into the yard. Esper Stormblade and Tower Gargoyle will likely draw removal spells. The point is, Daring Archaeologist will likely have something it wants to hit, and between our artifacts and legendary spells it has plenty of fuel to grow.

It's difficult to convey what Magic was like to the super casuals in the mid-late 90s and very early 2000's. When I sat down to write this article, I took eight seconds and hit up Dakkon's story on Wikipedia to make sure I got the gist of it right. A quick google for "Dakkon Blackblade Lore" returned almost 15,000 hits. Back in 1997 when I first got a beat up Chronicles version of Dakkon Blackblade, there was none of that. I had absolutely zero idea about his backstory, or the lore, or the comic books. All I remembered was his name was extremely cool, and that Richard Kane Ferguson art. Dear god, that art is awesome. For a lot of casual players in the 90s, Dakkon Blackblade was a common favorite card. Truly impressive sentiment considering Dakkon isn't exactly the strongest thing around. In our build, he's our heavy hitter. We can regrow him with Rona, Disciple of Gix, send him to the air with Sky Weaver, flash him out with Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage. He'll hopefully be our closer.

Unsung Hero

Designing cards like these must be really difficult. They should have some decent abilities, but they shouldn't be so good (especially with cheap activation costs) that their caster wants to forego casting other spells for a while. Esper Battlemage rides this line nicely, I think. The white activation doesn't protect any of your creatures, so it lacks the utility of the annoying healers white was so well known for. However the healing ability blanks small creatures without having to involve the Esper Battlemage itself in combat, which is nice. And the black ability makes combat difficult on the opponent, unless their creatures are so massive that a -1/-1 is irrelevant. And it can also just blank several creatures if our opponent's army is full of little guys. Esper Battlemage isn't going to dominate the groan test the way something like Merieke Ri Berit will, but there will be plenty of occasions where our opponent just stares at the board, realizes Esper Battlemage makes it impossible for them to progress their game, and gives out a little, "hmmmph." For an Unsung Hero, that's a great reward.