Dominaria Card of the Day: Wizard's Lightning and Retort

Posted in Card Preview on March 26, 2018

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

Each day this week, we'll be looking at a card (or, in today's case, cards) that touches on some part of Dominarian history. We'll talk a bit about that history, show off the art, and discuss the flavor text. When we discuss the place in Dominarian history, we'll be using years before and after the Argivian Reckoning (AR), kind of like how we use BC and AD in the real world.

Today we're looking at two cards that have an "In the beginning . . . " kind of vibe to them: Wizard's Lightning and Wizard's Retort. First, let's look at the cards:

In particular, I want to focus on the flavor text, which answers a long-asked chicken/egg kind of question.

"The study of magic began when the first mage taught herself to throw lightning."

—Naban, dean of iteration

"The second mage learned to dissipate blasts of lightning. Threat and response: thus did the study of magic progress."

—Naban, dean of iteration

We'll meet Naban at a later date, but for now the key is understanding what this flavor text is saying—it's telling the tale of the discovery of magic on Dominaria. (Naban is not a Planeswalker, so we can be pretty certain this is about Dominaria—though knowledge of other planes is a little more likely on a plane that has been invaded by another plane.)

Whether this description of how magic was first discovered on Dominaria is a legend that has been told through the ages or an actual description of how it came to be, we do not know, but we do know that this is what is taught at the Tolarian Academies, where Naban is a dean.

Yes, Academies.

The original Tolarian Academy was destroyed, but campuses were built in various places on Dominaria by former students and professors of the original academy. There are five particularly well-known campuses (though they are not necessarily the only ones). There are academies at Tolaria West (in the Spice Isles), at Lat-Nam (on an island west of Tersiare), at Orvada (on the island of Walassa near the Burning Isles), underwater at the ruins where Tolaria originally stood, and a Shadow Academy that doesn't have a particular location. Hence the name.

Now, let's take a close-up look at that art for Wizard's Lightning and Wizard's Retort:

Wizard's Lighting
Wizard's Lighting | Art by Grzegorz Rutkowski
Wizard's Retort
Wizard's Retort | Art by Grzegorz Rutkowski

As you can probably tell, the art (both by Grzegorz Rutkowski) depicts two parts to the same story, set around the same town. Here are the descriptions Rutkowski was working with:

Wizard's Lighting

Setting: Dominaria
Color: Red spell

Location: Landscape outside a town or city; same location as Wizard's Retort.

Action: This is a large-scale shot in which we see a bolt of lightning and the town it's aimed at. We also see, small in the frame, a red-aligned wizard who has called the lightning. Given the scale, we won't see much detail on the wizard. They might be Ghitu, or they might be some other kind of red mage.

Focus: The lightning bolt and its caster
Mood: "Let a real wizard show you how it's done."

Dependency: Wizard's Retort is the second part of this story, showing a blue-aligned wizard defending the town with magic.

Wizard's Retort

Setting: Dominaria
Color: Blue spell

Location: Landscape outside a town or city; same location as Wizard's Lightning.

Action: In this shot we see a powerful counter-spell protecting an entire town from magical lightning. We also see, small in the frame, the blue-aligned wizard casting the protective magic. The magic forms a glowing blue shield above the town, and the shield absorbs a lightning bolt. The wizard is Tolarian, although we won't be able to make out much detail at this scale.

Focus: The magical shield and its caster
Mood: "Let a real wizard show you how it's done."

Dependency: Wizard's Lightning is the first part of this story, showing a red-aligned wizard calling the lightning.

And that is (maybe) (possibly) the story of how magic came to be on Dominaria.


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