We’re currently about a month and a half out from the release of Magic: The Gathering’s 81st Expansion, War of the Spark.
Mark Rosewater has called the set an “event set,” which means it will focus on a major MTG story point rather than a world, plane, or building style. Specifically, we are set to see the exciting conclusion of the Nicol Bolas story line, which has been many, many sets in the making.
The other notable piece of information we currently have regarding WAR is that the set will have a strong emphasis on planeswalkers. In fact, each pack will feature a planeswalker card and there will be a total of 36 new, unique planeswalkers included.
It looks like WotC has really pulled out all of the flavor stops for the conclusion of the Bolas arch and there will be a literal army of planeswalking Wizards who show up for the final showdown with the Dragon Mage!
It’s such a novel concept that it’s difficult to imagine what these cards will look like. Will there be common and uncommon planeswalkers? Part of what defines planeswalkers is their speciality and power. What would a common one even be?
Chase, the Mind Sculptor’s Basic Roommate from College
Staring loyalty: 4.
+1: Add the Keyword “Pumpkin Spice” to target permanent you control.
-1: Speak to the manager.
“Jace created a psychic link with Chase. ‘Please, old friend! We need your help at the final showdown with Bolas!’ Chase, responded: ‘I’m at brunch with some friends I play in a band with. Blow off your work thing and come here for bottomless mimosas.”
All kidding aside, common planeswalkers could be a big deal, as they would likely have a non-zero sum effect on the Pauper metagame, depending on how good they are.
I guess a Norin planeswalker would probably feel like an appropriately powered common planeswalker! I have no idea how all this will work, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.
War of the Spark appears to be an exciting set on multiple levels: the climax of the Bolas arch and an influx of planeswalkers the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Since we don’t know a ton about the actual cards, I thought it would be fun to speculate as to the characters from Magic history I’m most hoping to see make an appearance in planeswalker form in Spark.
Some of these characters are already known to have become planeswalkers and some are just powerful Wizards, demons, and monsters that I’d love to see “Spark it up” in War of the Spark.
There were a couple of basic criteria I used when determining my list. The first, and most obvious, is that the character cannot already have a planeswalker card, which should be pretty straightforward.
The second is that I didn’t limit myself to specifically characters who are known to have become a planeswalker in the story line. So, some of these picks are characters that I love from the fluff of the game and am rooting to ascend and be featured on a planeswalker card at some point.
Lastly, some of these characters may be currently dead. The cool thing about a story that involves time travel and a multiverse is that anybody can find their way back into the fray! So I’m less interested in what I think will happen, and more interested in which characters would be the most exciting to see in cardboard form.
I also decided to be a little fast and loose with my planeswalkers. There’s elaborate lore about which characters did, or didn’t, get a spark.
For instance, Mishra famously doesn’t become a planeswalker, despite being a powerful Wizard on multiple planes. Am I to believe he’s less powerful than Tibalt, who has the spark but is the weakest of sauce? I’d rather roll the dice on an unsparked Mishra card (with a planeswalker frame) than ever ask Tibalt to join my team!
With that being said, my list includes some entities who may not be “traditional planeswalkers” but are powerful enough in the MTG lore to deserve to operate in terms of loyalty.
It was a tricky process to refine my list to just eight characters when there are so many great ones to choose from! Be sure to let me know which fan favorites you are crossing your fingers for in War of the Spark in the comments below.
“Titania was the Maro-Sorcerer for the lush forest of Argoth that was attacked by both sides for supplies at the end of the Brothers’ War. By some she was considered to be a goddess. She was weakened due to the excessive plundering of the forests by the brothers’ armies. She tried to negotiate with both brothers, but they wouldn’t leave. She then led the permanent offensive against both armies, leading to the extinction of the most of the lifeforms in Argoth. She eventually perished after Urza activated the Golgothian Sylex during his final battle with Mishra.” – https://mtg.gamepedia.com/Titania
Titania is one of the key players in one of the overall darkest Magic story lines, the destruction of Argoth. Fighting a war on two fronts is typically not a great strategy, but you’ve got to admire the guts to go after Urza and Mishra when they refused to vacate her lands.
Titania, famous for her songs, was basically the Jenny Lewis of the pre-Ice Age multiverse.
The original prototypical green mage: big on heart, loyalty, and courage to spare, but cursed with an Achilles’ heel against magical atomic bombs and other Wrath-of-God-type incantations.
7. Tetsuo Umezawa
Tetsuo Umezawa is a character who I’d love to see appear in the final showdown with Bolas. Interestingly, Tetsuo has already bested Bolas before and it would seem wise for the current coalition to look him up before War of the Spark.
Umezawa was the champion of the empire of Madara around the time of Mirage. The emperor of Madara? You guessed, it:
Will this Jitte wielding human return to save the multiverse from the Dragon apocalypse? I hope so! I think Tetsuo, or possibly Toshiro, Umezawa could be characters we are likely to see in planeswalker form.
Gix was a Thran. I mean, he was a Demon-Thran. Or, maybe he was just a Demon… But he was still: Gix!
Gix is kind of a bad dude. He murdered both Ashnod and Glacian (Thran Wizard, not Ice Type Eevee Evolution), and was converted into a full-fledged Phyrexian Demon by none other than Yawgmoth himself. Gamepedia.com says, and I quote: “He was built of bone, machine parts, and soft meat.”
I’d love to see Gix brought back for a story line that involves going after Karn on Mirrodin/New Phyrexia. Let’s just make sure there’s some colored mana symbols on this card because Karn Liberated, Ulamog, and Gix fighting side-by-side in UrzaTron might collapse the multiverse!
If Ob Nixilis can get the spark, let’s dig up old Gix and give him a fresh coat of paint, some new soft meat, and get him into the mix.
5. Sliver Queen
Why can’t Slivers get a planeswalker spark? I mean, it’s probably better for Tribal Humans if Slivers don’t ascend, but clearly the Sliver Queen is a powerful character. She was the center of the Hivemind on Rath and an all-time fan favorite.
Once you start thinking about what a Sliver Queen planeswalker might do, it’s pretty easy to see why one existing would be so cool! There are not a ton of planeswalkers designed around tribal themes and this could be an interesting space for design to explore.
While it’s unlikely to have a Sliver Queen planeswalker in a set that doesn’t also include adequate space for a few Sliver cycles, The Queen (or some other Godlike Sliver character) is certainly something I’d love to see immortalized as a planeswalker at some point.
4. Doctor Jest
Here’s a neat one that could realistically be making an appearance in The War of the Spark. If you have ever wondered why the heck Tezzeret is still in cahoots with Bolas after all this time, look no further than Doctor Jest.
The good doctor was grafted into Tezzeret’s nervous system by Bolas himself in The Test of Metal as a measure to ensure Tezz’s loyalty. It’s been speculated that Doctor Jest is somehow related or pictured on the legendary Mindslaver.
Will Tezz ever break out of Slaver lock? If he does, will Doctor Jest also break free and run amok?
Yawgmoth is one of the most famous villains in Magic lore. He was basically the equivalent of a Thran mad scientist who was banished for his unethical experiments and took up with the Phyrexians, ultimately becoming an absurdly powerful Daemon.
Yawgmoth, The Lord of Wastes, is evil and death incarnate. He’s dead and buried:
But his nasty, corrosive powers still pollute the landscape. Bolas and Emrakul may have Yawgmoth covered in terms of overall power, but nobody comes close to touching Yawgmoth when it comes to embodying unfathomable evil and corruption. How sick would it be to Dark Ritual out a Yawgmoth!
Also, Dominaria featured the first card to actually depict the entity Yawgmoth:
Was this an Easter egg that heralds a potential return of The Ineffable One? I hope so!
Urza is Dominaria’s hometown hero. From his humble beginnings as an artificer he grew to become one of the most notable and powerful planeswalkers in Magic history and is a pivotal figure in most of the Dominaria-based lore: Antiquities War, Tolaria story line, and major battles with Yawgmoth and Phyrexia.
Urza is all about turn-3 Karn. In fact, Karn is basically his robot golem BFF. It’s a bromance for the ages, but I’ll admit it gets a little weird when Karn puts Urza’s severed head inside of himself and his planeswalker spark ignites…
A card for Urza is something that players have anxiously awaited and speculated about for over 25 years and counting. Revealing an actual design for this powerful and iconic character would be one of the most anticipated moments in Magic fluff ever.
If Urza, Himself is too much power for any one Wizard to wield, can we at least get an Urza, Severed Head card?
Serra has been floating in the flavor since day one:
Since Serra goes back to Alpha, I’ve got her as my #1 pick for a character that I’d most love to see immortalized in planeswalker form. She’s another long-shot to make it into War of the Spark, being long dead and all… but we’ve seen stranger things happen.
I hope you all enjoyed the list. It was a blast to write and I had a lot of fun going back and doing a little bit of research on some of my favorite characters throughout the history of the game. I’ll admit, I’m a little biased toward the older stuff since it’s got a strong nostalgia appeal but I really enjoy when MTG mixes a little bit of the old history in with the newer design.
There are certainly many other notable characters I’m sure that many people are excited to see play out in The War of the Spark. In particular, I think we’re likely to get some resolution to Sarkhan, Tezzeret, and also what ever happened to Garruk!?
It was hard to narrow my list down to just eight because there are so many intriguing characters throughout the history of Magic. I didn’t even find a place for Mishra on my list! I left off Emrakul and the other Eldrazi because I felt a planeswalker templated version of these creatures would somehow be less exciting than what already exists, but I wouldn’t blame anybody for wanting to see Emrakul with the big frame!
You really can’t go wrong when wishing to see a favorite character again brought back into action with a new card, especially a planeswalker-type card. One of the cool parts of planeswalker design is that casting one signifies that you are teaming up with them. So, with that being said, which MTG character(s) would you be most excited to team up with to stop Nicol Bolas?