Checking in on the Planeswalkers (2015)

Posted in Feature on August 19, 2015

By Mel Li

The many stories of Magic occur throughout vast stretches of time and space, and are filled with numerous different beings. They are epic tales that can span over eons and can take place on any of the myriad planes of the Multiverse. Some of these beings are allowed to pass between the many planes of the Multiverse—they are Planeswalkers. Though all of these Planeswalkers wield considerable power, they are also characters with wonderfully different and evolving histories. Today we're taking a minute to step back and see where their adventures have taken them and where they might be headed.

It's been more than a year since we last checked in on our Planeswalkers, and a lot has happened since then. We've seen unforgiving frontiers ruled by warlike khans, altered timelines, worlds ruled by dragons, the path of a predatory killer, and ominous glimpses into ancient threats nearly forgotten by time.

So whether you're being introduced to Magic's Planeswalkers for the first time or you're a returning reader looking to catch up with what's been going on, this will help sort things out.

With that, let's head through the roster of each of our known spark-active Planeswalkers!


Ajani Goldmane

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes | Art by Aaron Miller

Seeking new beginnings. Since his early days on the Naya shard of Alara, Ajani has been both a warrior and a healer. As a warrior, he proudly fights to represents his causes. But he also carries the weight of these conflicts—most recently the death of his close friend (and fellow Planeswalker) Elspeth Tirel. He now proudly wears the cloak of his fallen friend and seeks to honor her memory as a champion for the weak. Though he has always healed others, Ajani has slowly begun to heal himself.

Ajani Steadfast | Art by Chris Rahn


Ashiok

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver | Art by Karla Ortiz

In search of new and exquisite fears. A meticulous artist, Ashiok seeks new terrors from throughout the Multiverse to sculpt each victim's most perfect nightmare. We last encountered Ashiok on Theros, breathing life into nightmares within the minds of humans, other Planeswalkers, and even gods. Using these living nightmares, Ashiok colluded with Phenax, the god of deception, to doom an entire kingdom to a horrific end.


Chandra Nalaar

Chandra Nalaar | Art by Aleksi Briclot

A new role leading Keral Keep. Ever since her tumultuous childhood on Kaladesh, Chandra's passion for danger has always gotten in the way of her fitting in. Now for the first time, she's welcomed back to a place she can call "home": the fire monastery of Keral Keep on the plane of Regatha, where she first planeswalked so many years ago. The monastery is calm and comfortable, but she still longs for the rush of adventure and the sweet smell of charred foes. While she tries her best to settle down, vivid memories of Zendikar's grand landscapes and the bitterness of her manipulation at the hands of the dragon Nicol Bolas still burn brightly in her mind.


Dack Fayden

Dack Fayden | Art by Eric Duschamps

Strange dreams on Theros. Since his youth in Fiora, Dack Fayden showed a unique, innate talent for understanding artifacts and their uses. Perhaps that was the beginning of his fascination with artifacts, which led him to become the greatest thief in—well, you know. The last time we saw Dack, he finally assembled a powerful gauntlet that he . . . borrowed from a mysterious island on the plane of Theros. But his exploration of the gauntlet's abilities was cut short by the machinations of another Planeswalker—the nightmare weaver, Ashiok—who began controlling the people of the polis through their dreams. To defend himself (and his newfound prize), Dack is seeking help from others on Theros, and was last seen entering a portal to Theros's Underworld.


Daretti

Daretti, Scrap Savant | Art by Dan Scott

Struck down by the cutthroat politics of Fiora's Academy. Not too long ago, this ingenious goblin artificer had been solely focused on rising through to the ranks in the Academy of Paliano on Fiora. But just before achieving the role of "master artificer," his ascent was blocked by disapproving members of the Academy's elite. Some Academy students even whispered that Daretti's ousting came from the shadowy machinations of the Academy's current master artificer, Muzzio. Since this downfall, Daretti has discovered new frontiers of study. The ignition of his Planeswalker spark, caused by an experimental misstep, has allowed him to further explore interplanar knowledge in the field of artifice, and he has since disappeared from the public eye. Perhaps he has found new pursuits to replace his old ambitions. . .


Domri Rade

Domri Rade | Art by Tyler Jacobsen

Exploring the wilds of distant planes. When Domri Rade's Planeswalker spark ignited, he emerged far from his home plane of Ravnica in the dense Naya forests on Alara. It also triggered a profound wanderlust in the young Planeswalker, who had never seen worlds outside of city walls. Despite his travels, he still carries his Gruul spirit with him—a wild recklessness that pushes him ever further to new and unknown places.


Elspeth Tirel

Elspeth, Sun's Champion | Art by Eric Deschamps

Wandering the Underworld of Theros. Elspeth Tirel has always defined herself by honor. It was honor that lead her to accept a role as Heliod's champion to defend the plane of Theros from the threat of the upstart Planeswalker-god, Xenagos. But honor does not hold the same meaning for everyone. In fear of Elspeth's power, Heliod struck her down with her own sword, banishing her to wander Theros's Underworld. Here, most ordinary humans would be doomed to dwell in the eternal gray realm or to surrender their identities and become the Returned. But Elspeth is no ordinary human. Despite her tragic end, she still holds her reasons for upholding her honor close to her heart: her deep love for Theros, her companions, and the innocents that she has sworn to protect.

Art by Tyler Jacobsen


Freyalise

Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury | Art by Adam Paquette

A legendary sacrifice to save her people. The elf Planeswalker Freyalise is one of the plane of Dominaria's most venerated leaders. She is known as one who gives life to her followers and swift destruction to her enemies. She led the elves to survive an Ice Age, resisted the Phyrexian invasion, and finally gave her own life to save her elvish people from the time rifts that threatened to consume Dominaria. The power of her name is twofold—not only as a protector, but also as one who completely devoted her life to the elves.


Garruk Wildspeaker

Garruk, the Veil-Cursed | Art by Eric Deschamps

More monster than human. Garruk Wildspeaker has always been a fierce, predatory hunter. But under the curse of the Chain Veil, placed on him by the necromancer Liliana Vess, he has devolved into some . . . thing far more ominous. Over time, the curse twisted his mind to murderous bloodlust. Soon he no longer hunted animals, but Planeswalkers. Garruk's threat became so great that Ravnica's Living Guildpact, the Planeswalker Jace Beleren, was forced to intervene. Though Jace could not reverse the Veil's curse, he was able to slow Garruk's cursed transformation into a demonic entity by embedding a hedron into Garruk's body. Despite the hedron's containment effects, Garruk remains a threat that continues to stalk the Multiverse.

In Garruk's Wake | Art by Brad Rigney


Gideon Jura

Gideon, Champion of Justice | Art by David Rapoza

Duty-bound between planes and ceaseless battles. Since the days of his youth on the plane of Theros, the invulnerable Planeswalker Gideon Jura has been no stranger to fierce combat. But he now fights seemingly ceaseless battles on two different planes. On the plane of Zendikar, he has vowed to defend its people from destruction by the Eldrazi broods—but the monsters continue to spawn and spread their blight. At the same time, he cannot turn his back on another vow to the Boros legion on the plane of Ravnica, where he struggles in vain to try to keep order in an increasingly violent struggle between the city's goblins. Zendikar by day and Ravnica by night—neither situation has been improving. Gideon is near the breaking point, although he will be the last to admit it.


Jace Beleren

Jace Beleren | Art by Aleksi Briclot

Keeping watch over the Multiverse. Although he hesitantly agreed to uphold his role as the Living Guildpact, the enforcer of peace on the dense urban plane of Ravnica, Jace Beleren has always felt driven to study and explore the Multiverse. When his watchful eye located the cursed Planeswalker Garruk's murderous rampage across planes, Jace was able to help quell this threat by implanting a hedron into the hunter, which slowed his cursed transformation. But Jace's motives for monitoring the Multiverse are not just altruism or curiosity—he himself bears some of the responsibility for the releasing some of its greatest threats, the Eldrazi titans, onto the plane of Zendikar. Jace's worst fears are confirmed by the appearance of the Planeswalker Gideon, who brought back grim tidings from the Zendikar's desperate survivors.

Jace, the Living Guildpact | Art by Chase Stone


Karn

Karn Liberated | Art by Jason Chan

In search of defenses from the Phyrexian ascension. The silver golem Karn lost both part of his mind and his plane of Mirrodin to the sinister Phyrexian corruption. Poised at the brink of completely losing himself to the corruption, Karn was saved when his comrade, the planeswalker Venser, sacrificed his own life to transfer his Planeswalker spark to Karn and save the silver golem. Now Karn's mind is clear, and he has sworn to find a way to prevent other planes from falling to the same fate as Mirrodin—if not for himself, then to honor the sacrifice made by his fallen friend.


Kiora

Kiora, the Crashing Wave | Art by Scott M. Fisher

Armed and reinvigorated with new power. The merfolk Planeswalker Kiora departed from her home plane of Zendikar for the plane of Theros, seeking the means to fight the escalating Eldrazi threat. In her quest to lure away Theros's massive sea monsters, she found herself in a fierce clash against the plane's sea god, Thassa. Planeswalker and god fought to a standstill, both summoning the mightiest creatures of the deep to their sides. In the end, Kiora escaped the fight without forming a bond with the kraken of Arixmethes—but she did not leave Theros empty-handed. In the last moments before she planeswalked away, she stole Thassa's divine weapon: a bident infused with the sea god's power over the ocean and its creatures. Kiora's new location is currently unknown, but wherever she is, she's quite pleased with her newest "acquisition."

Kiora, the Crashing Wave | Art by Tyler Jacobsen


Koth

Koth of the Hammer | Art by Jason Chan

Leading the Mirran resistance. The geomancer Koth had once said to his companion, Elspeth,"If there is no victory, then I will fight forever." True to his word, Koth adamantly spends his days protecting survivors on his corrupted home plane that once was Mirrodin, but is now the hellscape of New Phyrexia. Together with the Sylvok healer Melira, he has dedicated his life to defending those who remain.


Liliana Vess

Liliana Vess | Art by Aleksi Briclot


Haunted by her past, hunted by a ruthless killer. All the necromancer Liliana Vess ever wanted was eternal life and control over death. She was never one for servitude. Yet she finds herself subject to those who have promised her power: the Chain Veil, the four demons of her pact, the dragon Planeswalker Nicol Bolas, and the enigmatic Raven Man. Meanwhile, the murderous hunter, Garruk, has tracked her across planes from Shandalar to Innistrad, intent on removing—or simply avenging—the Veil Curse placed on him. Overall, the situation is so dire that she's even brought herself to ask for help from her old . . . friend, Jace Beleren.

Art by Adame Minguez


Narset

Narset, Enlightened Master | Art by Magali Villeneuve

Seeking pieces of an Unwritten history. Inquisitive and bold, the Planeswalker Narset had been unable control the restlessness within herself until her great teacher, the Dragonlord Ojutai, taught her to "seek enlightenment." Narset flung herself into learning all that she could find, and became the youngest ever to be named a Master by Ojutai himself. Her continued hunger for knowledge brought her to the Dirgur archive, where she learned of Sarkhan Vol, part man and part dragon, who had changed the stream of time. Her information was confirmed when she met Sarkhan himself, who revealed more of this strange, Unwritten timeline to her. Now Narset seeks to find more pieces of this alternate Tarkir, a very different place where the dragons who rule her world had been wiped out.


Nahiri

Nahiri, the Lithomancer | Art by Eric Deschamps

Whereabouts unknown for nearly a thousand years. The kor Planeswalker Nahiri, called the Lithomancer, was one of the three Planeswalkers who first imprisoned the Eldrazi on her home plane of Zendikar over six thousand years ago. For thousands of years she silently watched over her plane, even spending some of her time with her own kor people. The most recent account of Nahiri is nearly a thousand years old now, as she singlehandedly defended her plane from a temporary re-emergence of the Eldrazi titans. But she was forced to do so alone, despite a distress call to her original Planeswalker companions and pledged guardians of the planes—the vampire Sorin Markhov and the Spirit Dragon Ugin. We last saw her planeswalking away nearly a millennium ago, in search of her mysteriously absent ally and old friend, Sorin. . .

Art by Igor Kieryluk


Nicol Bolas

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker | Art by D. Alexander Gregory

A stolen victory on Tarkir. The elder dragon Planeswalker, Nicol Bolas, enjoys nothing more than the seamless manipulations of his pawns on planes throughout the Multiverse. He has long delighted in tormenting his unwilling vassal, the dragon shaman Planeswalker Sarkhan Vol. On the plane of Tarkir, Bolas attempted to use the power of the Yasova Dragonclaw to defeat his hated enemy, the Spirit Dragon Ugin. The two dueled on Tarkir, and though Yasova afforded Bolas a great advantage, Ugin (and the dragons of Tarkir) were saved by Sarkhan's intervention. Now, unbeknownst to Bolas, Ugin lives on and Sarkhan is free from Bolas's grasp. Will these changes on Tarkir impact Bolas's grand designs? Only time will tell. . . .

Crux of Fate | Art by Michael Komarck


Nissa Revane

Nissa Revane | Art by Jaime Jones

An unending struggle against otherworldly enemies. The elf Planeswalker Nissa Revane has felt the looming threat of the Eldrazi titans trapped inside of her home plane of Zendikar since she was a child. As the hedron magic that held the Eldrazi weakened, Nissa watched increasing numbers of their brood emerge onto her beloved homeland. Convinced that the titans and their brood would leave Zendikar once released, Nissa herself had helped set them free from the Eye of Ugin. The titans emerged, and with them new swarms of their brood. But instead of leaving, they appeared to remain on Zendikar, slowly regaining their strength after their long slumber. Now, Nissa continues her relentless fight against tides of these monsters and their broodlings. Her mastery of elemental magic has allowed her to command Zendikar's land against the Eldrazi threat and earned her the title of "Shaya" ("Worldwaker") from her Zendikari allies. Her fierce dedication to the land and its people gives her strength, but will it be enough to defeat a titan?

Animist's Awakening | Art by Chris Rahn


Ob Nixilis

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled | Art by Karl Kopinski

Regaining his strength on Zendikar. Long ago, the man called Ob Nixilis was a cruel, ruthless warlord who stopped at nothing to secure victory. In his quest for power, he invoked an ancient demonic pact, releasing a cataclysm upon his plane. "Lord Nixilis" was the only survivor, and as he laughed at the devastation around him his Planeswalker spark ignited, opening new worlds of conquest before him. But his conquest of these new planes was cut short by the curse of the Chain Veil, which transformed him into a demon. In search of a cure, he traveled to Zendikar, where he met the plane’s ancient protector—the Lithomancer, Nahiri. The Lithomancer imprisoned Ob Nixilis beneath the earth and embedded a hedron into his skull, extinguishing his spark and suppressing his magic. Weakened and trapped with his fading memories of the vast freedom of the Multiverse, the demon seethed and plotted his revenge for centuries. Finally, his opportunity for escape came in an unlikely form: the Planeswalker Jace Beleren. Desperate for a means to stop Garruk Wildspeaker’s rampage, Jace extracted the suppressive hedron from Ob Nixilis in order to contain Garruk’s transformation. With the hedron removed, Ob Nixilis has been unshackled. At last he can feel his power returning, and he eagerly awaits the opportunity to regain his spark . . . and take his revenge.


Ral Zarek

Ral Zarek | Art by Eric Deschamp

Guarding secrets from the Izzet guild. The storm mage Ral Zarek is as impulsive and brilliant as the lightning he summons. Ral faced a difficult path despite his talents, growing up in a small district where he was ridiculed for his skills as a storm mage. He set his sights on the one place where he knew he could find others like him—the esteemed Izzet League of mages on the plane of Ravnica. After years of hard work, Ral was able to leave his district and achieve his dream of becoming an Izzet guildmage. But Ral is determined to fit in there as a talented mage, not as a Planeswalker anomaly, and holds his planeswalking abilities a close secret. In a strange twist of fate, he discovered another with the same secret: his old rival and Ravnica’s Living Guildpact, Jace Beleren. The two former rivals from the Implicit Maze find themselves in an unlikely alliance, concealing their identities from the watchful eye of the Izzet Leagues guildmaster, the dracogenius Niv-Mizzet.

Blast of Genius | Art by Terese Nielsen


Sarkhan Vol

Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker | Art by Daarken

An "orphan of time" reborn into freedom. The shaman Sarkhan Vol has always been enthralled by dragons. In his youth, he was fascinated by the majestic beasts, which were at that time extinct on his home plane of Tarkir. His devotion lead him to pledge servitude to the Multiverse's mightiest dragon, Nicol Bolas. Bolas sent Sarkhan to Zendikar, allegedly to keep watch over the Eye of Ugin chamber, but secretly to help unlock the Eye itself and free the Eldrazi titans imprisoned within. At the Eye, Sarkhan began to hear voices in his mind. Draconic voices, not of his master Nicol Bolas, but of the chamber's Spirit Dragon guardian, Ugin. Ugin's voice led Sarkhan to planeswalk from Zendikar back to his home plane of Tarkir, in order to "find the doorway." On Tarkir, Sarkhan's travels brought him to Narset and to the Nexus—a "doorway" through time. Sarkhan entered the Nexus, and was hurled a thousand years into the past. He emerged to witness a fateful battle between Ugin and Nicol Bolas, and realized that Ugin's death would be the key moment that changed Tarkir from a glorious world of dragons to a contentious wasteland. With this realization, Sarkhan came to the aid of the Spirit Dragon and was able to save Ugin and Tarkir's dragons, as well as his own sanity. Though his actions have altered the stream of time on Tarkir, the flow of history in the Multiverse has remained unaltered. Sarkhan is reborn in this new timeline, though in it he was never born at all.

Sarkhan Unbroken | Art by Aleksi Briclot


Sorin Markov

Sorin Markov | Art by Michael Komarck

Pulled into the affairs of the Multiverse. The vampire Planeswalker Sorin Markov was last seen far from his home plane of Innistrad, gathering key allies to address an interplanar threat: the release of the Eldrazi titans from their hedron prison on the wild plane of Zendikar. Sorin knows well the danger that these titans pose—he was one of the three Planeswalkers who originally trapped them on Zendikar. But that was thousands of years ago. Recently, the Planeswalker Nissa freed the titans in an attempt to eliminate the source of Zendikar’s pain. The Eldrazi emerged to wreak destruction over Zendikar, and Sorin fears this may be just the first of the planes they will consume. In his last encounter with the Spirit Dragon Ugin, Sorin was asked by the dragon to find the Lithomancer Nahiri, so that the power of the three combined can once again contain the titans. Things had been so much simpler when he had only one plane to protect.

Sorin, Solemn Visitor | Art by Cynthia Sheppard


Tamiyo

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage | Art by Eric Deschamps

Exploring the mysteries of Innistrad. A Soratami ("moonfolk") scholar native to the plane of Kamigawa, Tamiyo's studies have brought her across planes to Innistrad. Here she has documented the distinctive and powerful effects of Innistrad's moon on the plane's many supernatural races, from werewolves to angels. After lengthy studies, she has begun to understand the orbital patterns and effects of this celestial body, formed from rare, magically-infused silver ore.


Teferi

Teferi, Temporal Archmage | Art by Tyler Jacobsen

A brilliant temporal archmage who has sacrificed his spark. Since his youth on the plane of Dominaria, Teferi has been recognized as one of the plane's greatest mages. His talents earned him a place at the prestigious Tolarian Academy as the protégé of the Planeswalker Urza and the friend of the silver golem Karn. Here Teferi developed a fascination with the subject of time, and over years of study became adept in its manipulation. Armed with this ability, Teferi rose to defend Dominaria from Phyrexian invaders. Rather than see his homeland of Zhalfir and his friend Jhoira's homeland of Shiv laid waste by the invasion, he phased them out of the time stream. They remained out of time, safe and untouched. Years later, when a network of time rifts threatened to destroy Dominaria and planes beyond, he gave up his Planeswalker spark to seal the rifts, precipitating the Multiverse-altering event known as the Mending. He was unable to return Zhalfir to the time stream, however—a failure that would come to haunt him.


Tezzeret

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas | Art by Aleksi Briclot

Pursuing new sources of power. Although the artificer Tezzeret has pledged his loyalty to the dragon Planeswalker Nicol Bolas, he prefers to recall his pledge only when it works to his own advantage. When Bolas sent Tezzeret to investigate the corrupted plane of New Phyrexia, Tezzeret was eager to wrestle leadership of the plane from its current "Father of Machines," the silver golem Karn. But his efforts were thwarted, and he has since begun a new mission for the dragon, carefully laying out his plans from a new corner of the Multiverse. . . .


Tibalt

Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded | Art by Peter Mohrbacher

Whereabouts unknown. The half-devil Planeswalker Tibalt always took great delight in torturing his home plane of Innistrad. The pain mage's twisted experiments drew inquisitors bent on shutting him down. When they came for him, he found his Planeswalker spark and escaped. Now he is free to wander the Multiverse, following his sadistic whims and finding new worlds to torment.


Ugin

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon | Art by Chris Rahn

Awoken after many years of slumber. The enigmatic Spirit Dragon Ugin has only recently risen from his hedron cocoon after nearly a thousand years. There he lies, slowly healing and regaining his strength, saved by the hand of Sarkhan Vol after a nearly fatal battle with the elder dragon Nicol Bolas. But Ugin knows that another great power has awoken as well: the Eldrazi titans. Ugin himself helped imprison the titans and keep them slumbering six thousand years ago, with the aid of Nahiri the Lithomancer and the vampire Sorin Markhov. He knows that he must find the truth of what has happened in his long absence, and attempt to restore the delicate balance that he created so long ago.

Art by Daarken


Venser

Venser, the Sojourner | Art by Eric Deschamps

Living on through his mentor, Karn. The Planeswalker Venser always had a knack for building amazing artifacts, even from the ruined Phyrexian scraps near his home on the plane of Dominaria. Later he became close friends with one of the greatest machines on Dominaria, the silver golem Karn. After Karn's mysterious disappearance, Venser and his Planeswalker companions Koth and Elspeth entered the heart of the Phyrexian invasion—the core of Mirrodin. Here he gave his own life and his spark to free Karn from the Phyrexian corruption. He now lives on through Karn in the golem's search for ways to eliminate the Phyrexian threat.


Vraska

Vraska the Unseen | Art by Aleksi Briclot

Whereabouts unknown. We last encountered the mysterious gorgon Planeswalker Vraska in a bid to damage Jace Beleren’s power as the Living Guildpact. She secretly coordinated targeted strikes on members of Ravnica's rival guilds. But after Jace exposed her ruthless ambitions to the leaders of the other Guilds, she planeswalked away to safety. Like her countless assassins, Vraska is accustomed to gathering intel in silence—waiting to deliver the final, fatal strike.


Xenagos

Xenagos, the Reveler | Art by Jason Chan

A death that lead a flurry of questions on Theros. The gods of Theros have always been tough to handleat times petty, prideful, or contentious. Not unlike the upstart Planeswalker Xenagos. When Xenagos attempted to ascend to godhood, he was struck down by the alliance of the sun god Heliod and his champion, the Planeswalker Elspeth. But soon after Xenagos fell to his death by Elspeth's hand, Heliod turned upon his own champion. The sun god's actions did not go unnoticed by the poleis of Theros. Whispers hung in the air: Were the gods they had worshipped for so long any nobler than the Planeswalker Xenagos who had tried to overthrow the pantheon? Their once-unflinching devotion has given way to questions and new independence from the gods who had toyed with their mortal lives.


So there you have it—our short rundown of the many adventures of some of Magic's most powerful characters. The actions of these Planeswalkers shape the fate of the Multiverse, and the threads of their stories often overlap, diverge, and converge on one another. Many of the Planeswalkers' exploits will appear in our stories and on cards, while others will be elsewhere having their own adventures. If you've enjoyed the stories featured in this article, there's lots more to see in the archives of our column, Uncharted Realms, which updates every week!

Questions about Magic's story? Comments on what you'd like to see more of? Please let us know and see what others are talking about on our story-focused Tumblr account.

We're happy to help you learn about the characters and settings that we love. Thanks for joining us! 

Latest Feature Articles

FEATURE

The Artists of Magic: Winona Nelson by, Nicholas Wolfram

Where Fantasy Becomes Reality Winona Nelson's art has been with Magic for over six years now, and on behalf of the community at large, I can say we're very grateful for that. She has dem...

Learn More

Articles

Articles

Feature Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page or by clicking Yes, you are giving your consent for us to set cookies. (Learn more about cookies)

No, I want to find out more