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When you play Magic: The Gathering you are a Planeswalker in your own right. You’re a powerful spellcaster traversing the multiverse and battling those in the way of your own motivations. Along the way, you might just run into some of the marvelous and interesting characters that travel just as you do. Let’s take a look at those iconic figures and get to know them a bit better so that you can decide if they are worthy to join you on your adventures. Let’s start by just taking a look at the Gatewatch.
The Gatewatch was originally assembled to fight against an otherworldly threat known as the Eldrazi on the plane of Zendikar. You can think of them as the Avengers of the Magic multiverse. They’re going to try and tackle all those threats that the street level heroes might not be up to snuff for. Not every member listed here is currently “active duty,” but that doesn’t mean they are any less important. Sometimes you just gotta step away and do something else. You know, like visit a plane that is all about margaritas and sitting on the beach.
Gideon started out as Kytheon on the plane of Theros never knowing his father and in time losing his mother. After her death, he joined a gang and began robbing the rich Robin Hood style. After getting caught a few times, it was settled to rehabilitate the young man and teach him magic that enforced the law. At least, that was one back story. With a little revision, the prison Kytheon toiled was attacked and the warden let those willing to fight help defend. This led to one of the gods, Heliod, to champion Kytheon and send them on a quest to kill a monster of another god, Erebos. This was done, but in Kytheon’s hubris he tried to throw the spear at Erebos and Erebos deflected it, killing his friends. Distraught and ashamed, he left Theros and changed his name to Gideon.
Gideon is the white planeswalker. He is all about law and order. He is also rippppppped. That dude has abs on abs. He is gonna make your creatures super swoll as well. Thus far, not a single Planeswalker card for Gideon has been any color other than white. So, if that’s your jam then Gideon is your man.
Liliana is one of the most ambitious and complicated characters in the Gatewatch. Having struck a deal with 4 demons for power through Nicol Bolas, she sought to kill them to be free of their bargain and keep her power. Perhaps one of the most powerful necromancers, even in comparison to Nicol Bolas, Liliana had her start on Dominaria like many great Planeswalkers. In time, she would find her way to Innistrad to study and have her confidence crushed by Sorin Markov, the Vampire Lord planeswalker that held dominion over the plane. It was this return that led her to strike this bargain with Bolas, though she intended to break it as soon as possible. One of her demonic masters then tasked her with recovering a powerful artifact known as “The Chain Veil” which she did but then used it to destroy him. This did not end the best as her tattoos, given to her by this demon, wracked her with pain and bled near endlessly. Over time, she overcame two more of her demonic debtors and was left with only one on Dominaria. Here, her final master was slain, but in doing so her contract put her back in the hands of the originator: Nicol Bolas. She was his now.
Liliana is all about that lovely black sacrifice. Making opponents discard cards, creating zombie tokens, and simply stripping them of their life. If you like to play in a disruptive fashion while gaining ground through attrition, then this necromancer will certainly help you turn your foes into dust. Why wouldn’t she? Well…maybe she has other motives now.
Nissa is an elf from the plane of Zendikar and a powerful nature mage. Originally communing with the soul of her plane, Nissa found in her journies that she was able to do so on other planes such as Lorwyn. As quickly as Nissa visited another plane she returned home to discover the Eldrazi menace (Alien, outer-worldly beings from the spaces between. Very Lovecraftian especially on the plane of Innistrad). These titans had been bound within Zendikar and, perhaps foolishly, she wound up releasing them from their prisons in hopes that they would leave. In time and severe battles, Nissa would end up helping defeat two of these monstrous Eldrazi and proceed to help preserve the legacy of her plane.
As far as Green Planeswalkers go, Nissa often creates other creatures to help protect you and herself or she’ll make your creatures stronger. Typically, she will also do something in regards to your lands and help give you an advantage that way. Whether you want to make creatures bigger, get some kind of card advantage, or play with your lands differently there is some version of Nissa on the planes for you.
Chandra was born a pyromancer on the plane of Kaladesh where that type of magic was not only illegal but punishable by death. Eventually, she stole a prized scroll and none other than Jace was tasked with tracking her down and erasing her memory. After finding her, a fight broke out, but she had already given the scroll to a bunch of monks who were making copies. What a bunch of sneaky sneaks. Later, missing friends she had made on her many planeswalks, she peered upon Zendikar as they failed to imprison an Eldrazi. As these friends got captured and tortured by another planeswalker, Ob Nixilis, Chandra arrived just in time to save and set them free. She kicked around there for a while and then bounced on over to Dominaria with the rest of the Gatewatch, hurt by Nissa leaving and Liliana seemingly using them to fight her demons.
Chandra embodies red planeswalkers. She loves to do direct damage to creatures and players and give you that extra spark of mana when you need it most. If that doesn’t appeal to you, that’s okay. Not everybody wants to burn the world down. Neither does she, so maybe peer into those flames for a while. You might find something you like and she’s a great friend to have at your side.
Jace began as a simple mind mage on the plane of Vryn. It was here he was taken under the tutelage of a Sphinx playing two sides in a war. After penetrating his master’s mind, he found that his spark had ignited longer back and he had been lied to and his memories wiped over and over. Eventually, he fought his master in a telepathic duel and won, but at the cost of his memories and mind. It was then he traveled to Ravnica, the plane that likely made Jace as famous as he is. Here, Jace became the Guildpact or individual capable of understanding the needs and concerns of all the factions on Ravnica.
Jace is all about the manipulation. Manipulating their deck, drawing you cards, bouncing stuff. Just like most of the Gatewatch originals, he is the Planeswalker most associated with his color: Blue. If those kinds of tricks tickle your fancy, then some form of Jace is going to do the job for you.
Ajani was born an albino Nacatl (his race of people) which was considered a bad omen. He spent a majority of his life as an outcast on the plane of Alara. However, despite being an outcast, he was respected for his ability to use magic of the soul. In attempting to have his tribe respect him, Ajani had a moment stolen away from him by a rival and then later his brother was killed in his own home. It was this event that ignited his spark and he began to travel Alara looking for his brother’s killer. This journey would lead him to meet another planeswalker, Elspeth, and attempt to save her from herself. This would sadly not be the case for his friend and she would come to pass.
Any version of Ajani is going to help you buff your creatures or provide life gain in some way. The life gain may not be for you, but it will definitely help you if it isn’t. Most often, Ajani will tend to make your creatures stronger and give them some kind of effect related to white, like first strike or lifelink. Regardless, Ajani is a loyal character to a fault and will do the best he can to aid you.
Teferi is an ancient and exceptionally powerful planeswalker that actually lost his planeswalker spark then regained it. Having existed during the time of Urza (One of the oldest and most notable characters in the multiverse). Upon a return to Dominaria, the only way Teferi could save an area riddled with time rifts and a defeat by Nicol Bolas was to sacrifice his spark to seal a massive rift. Now, after Dominaria begins to mend itself, Teferi regained his spark through an artifact secretly held by a long-time acquaintance. Even 25 years in our timeline is nothing compared to the centuries Teferi has been around. He’s done a lot in that time, even though I’ve only talked about one big moment. Doctor Who taught me that time is all kinds of weird.
Blue and Teferi work a bit differently than Jace. While Jace is all about mental manipulation, Teferi loves to dabble in time. That might mean untapping cards, getting extra turns, or just taking all kinds of cards out of the game. If the thought of getting extra value out of your cards appeals to you, definitely take a journey with Teferi and slip through time.
There are so many planeswalkers in the multiverse. What planes excite you most and make you wish that you could planeswalk there? Let us know who you’d want to travel with and where in the comments!
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Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast