#MTGWAR is a massive crossover event book of a Magic set. I like event books when they get epic but can communicate storylines that get us invested in characters. Like, I remember the major characters of Crisis on Infinite Earths despite reading it 30 years ago.
Lady Quark, Pariah, Harbinger, the Monitor, the Anti-Monitor being the new characters who had major roles and weren’t part of the Superfriends. (I watched that as a kid.) Flash, Superman, Supergirl being major players I recognized, along with an obvious B-Lister, Psycho Pirate.
How do I know these characters? Because despite the massive cast, we had enough simple POVs, and they mattered. That was good storytelling, and that’s what I want out of #MTGWAR . So who do I think will be the main POV characters?
Bolas and Tezzeret, the loyalties of the Guild walkers in question. Ral might flip, he is too roguish to be dragged down in a scheme. Dovin might flip because of the massive disorder he’s going to contribute to, he’ll definitely have an attack of conscience.
Heel Face Turns are fun, simple and plain. I expect most of Bolas’s loyalists to flip when they see that they’re dispensable. But Bolas has planned for that, he calculates it will be too late, and he’ll be holding the best kind of deadman’s switches. (They go down, not him.)
Domri is a sad example of a capable but misguided patsy, with sympathetic drives but a tragic trust in someone who should not deserve his loyalty. He’ll stick with Bolas in the hope that his goals will be met. But if he lives, he’ll regret his hubris. And if not.. a pity.
Kaya is a distrustful sellsword, but I feel like her reforming the Orzhov and a hopefully genial relationship with Tessa will help her be the insider that jumps to the Gatewatch forces immediately. She’s too damn charming to have her story end here. She’ll empathize w/the masses.
And Vraska... well, we all know what we want with her, but having her come to her true feelings at the crucial moment, her anger at being manipulated... she is the best kept story beat overall. She and Jace need their happy ending. That’s the feel good outcome the audience wants.
Vraska deserves her happy ending. On the other hand, there’s Liliana. She is likely to be Bolas’s top lieutenant and the instrument of Ravnica’s doom, making Tezzeret look like a schmuck once he gets treated like a used tissue. Thanks, portal, your services are no longer needed.
Liliana is the longest running gambit Bolas has set up what with the Demons probably serving him. She might steal Bolas’s power at the end, or Bolas might use her as the lynchpin to regain his Oldwalker status. I am not ruling out a Bolas Win. But the Sun lock has to break.
So we’ve got the Portal, we’ve got the high traffic of PWs, we’ve got the best coffee. And Bolas can have a corrupted Guildpact working for him. But why else is Ravnica the battlefield? There’s a major thread left hanging from the original books, the Ghost Quarter.
I suspect that with the Orzhov spirit debts gone and interacting with Agyrem, a giant Twinkie, ghosts will break out a Ravnica winter and ghost apocalypse. And the Eternals will contribute by adding a lot of new spirits in slaughter, as the Sun hazes up death. Every dead = ghost
Which is not the norm at all. Some Gatewatch ally is going to have to let the dead Rest In Peace to disrupt Bolas’s ritual (one of many parts). But that won’t be Gideon’s job. He’s too meaty and doughty to handle that job.
Gideon will die, he feels his fate and divine nature upon him. But ... here’s a twist. He transforms his spark to let Ravnica have something it’s been missing for millennia... Gods. The old Guildpact becomes infused with Nyx-like nature and Ravnica v.2 has clergy and faith.
Will Gideon defeat Bolas as the physical representative and combatant for the Gatewatch, Blackblade in hand? Well, that’s the still for the DVD cover. Who knows? I don’t want to, until the book comes out and I can read it. (I wish it were on the Mothership, though.)
Anyway, Gideon will definitely have his arc come to a close. He’s a tragic hero, and he will either be redeemed, or fall valiantly, or both. There are so many players that could show up on the side of the Gatewatch, Walkers who are just trying to survive.
And if we don’t want Bolas to be a chump, we will need to have some bodies hit the floor. Casualties make epics matter. There will be a Walker body count, in addition to Ravnica’s figures of significance. So, let me proceed to that most morbid of speculation.
Tamiyo has too many ancient scrolls in her carryall. She will be the only one to be able to unseal the Unspeakable and set it on Bolas, at the ultimate cost. It will not be enough.
Ob Nixilis will show up, show resentment for Bolas, his only real rival, and Bolas will get to flex and annihilate him with a mere thought, just as Kang got played by Doom in Secret Wars. This will reinforce how badass Bolas is and how screwed the heroes are.
As I mentioned, Domri is going to die, perhaps happy with the ghost apocalypse, perhaps enraged because an eruption of dead things as the agent of the End Raze is not what he would want. It won’t matter, though.
Ajani is so tired of dealing with Bolas, who still resents being humiliated by actually losing a fight. He’s been a friend, a sage, a vengeant, and when it’s over, he’ll be sparkless, fulfilled and pass on to the divine glories. (But he can still be an object of veneration.)
Ashiok has unlocked the relationship between divinity and the spark, from observing Xenagos, and may use that to aid or hinder Bolas, but they may elude death by transcending it to become Ravnica’s black deity. I’m really eager to see what they’re up to.
Speaking of Xenagos, IIRC he lost his divinity and a shade of him skunk away into the Multiverse. I expect Bolas to promptly summon him up as part of his ritual and devour him. Some pawns are gonna get played for chumps and eaten. (Again, see Tezzeret.)
Not all the walkers show up on the Stained Glass art. That doesn’t exclude them from the story. It just means they’ll have very little camera time. Like being Bolas fodder.
Other characters who I expect to die, simply because they’ve had a good long run: Jaya. Arlinn. And also, to quote Billy Joel, Only the Good Die Young. Otherwise, it ain’t a war. Domri. Two strangers. Angrath. No One Is Safe.
Now, Divinity is a good escape clause, Wizards can come back to this in future Ravnica. But not everyone who dies will get included. Ob would not settle for it, being a former Oldwalker himself. And Bolas snuffing him out would obviate that (hur, hur).
Nissa might accept green divinity as part of planar oneness, Tamiyo wouldn’t seek it but might have it thrust upon her, and Jaya might also end up as this remaining, along with her smoking boots. (It’s only right for her mortality to go out in an Inferno.)
And that’s just the mono-colored deities. Two-color deities might also come up. Mu and her brother might become the Simic family patrons, as they die standing together and fusing while their sparks fade. (Or that might happen after happily ever after.)
Sorin is too vampire and Innistrad linked to be an Orzhov patron, unless the Orzhov choose to follow him and become “perfected” in a new Marzhov line of blood. But that could happen.
The Azorius would probably have a non-Walker god, an avatar of the reformed and reconsecrated Law instead, written anew and truly obedient to its supplicants and to the people of Ravnica. The old law was corrupt in the first place, due to Azor meddling.
Rakdos is... well, he might eat Tibalt, who yields his spark to the Demon, who becomes a Demon God instead, because plus ca change, plus la meme.
It’s more fun with side stories, not every death happens directly due to Bolas’s machinations. Sorry, Tibalt fans, the guy’s a chump. He might subsist in Rakdos’s mind, though, and he would enjoy the indirect power.
The Dimir might not actually have a deity. And they’d be fine with that, because they would have enough dirt on the priests of the mono-Blue and Black deity that they wouldn’t need to have to worship anyone. They’d just get what they want.
Niv-Mizzet would likely die rushing into Bolas early on, his soul eaten, possibly transformed later on by a Ral hack and transformed into the Draconic God of Genius, incarnating and continuing on much as before. But Bolas’s taint might linger, leaving a seed for... return.
Honestly, there’s so much story potential, M20 might be set in the War’s aftermath as Ravnica rebuilds, the guilds decimated and broken.
Vraska would likely not choose Divinity, a Swarmlike fungal entity rising as a deity. Possibly the Sisters or Jarrod re-emerging from the dust.
Boros gets a host of Angels as its deity, a nation insubstantial collective of Saints, ascended officers who fell in the line of duty. Boros is the home of the Neighborhood Hero, the Working Folks’ Guild looking out for the commoner.
I don’t see the Collective taking in a foreign spark as a deity, a reborn Ma’at Selesnya would be the most obvious new deity, except for the tree absorbing souls to create the physical passage to the Soul Realm, and Selesnya embraces its new duty as keepers of the passage.
Finally, the Gruul would not take pride in Domri falling to Bolas’s trickery, and would worship the blood ancestors and Wild. They might embrace a new red-green walker, or summon up the former inhabitant of the Temple of Abandon, answering a long dormant planar mystery. Hmm.
This is, of course, all rampant speculation and I have never been super focused on all the stories, I am a very lazy Vorthos. Continuity is not my strongest point. But I like to think I am at least a touch genre savvy. And #MTGWAR is a product of long time comic fans.
I think there is going to be a ton of compression in the story, and we need M20 to be a crucial jumping off point, both in terms of mechanics and story. And there’s no better story opportunity than after a massive leveling.
Also, if Wizards wants to keep using Ravnica as a D&D setting, which they should, they need to get Divine magic into the setting. And Magic players enjoyed God cards. We could use more down the line.
So that’s my thoughts about the storyline. Special thanks to @Justiferous, @BalefireStrix, @AEMarling, the other @loregoyfs, and other #vorthos contributors who helped lazy me come to these conclusions.
I’ve never live-tweeted an article before, so that was fun. And my page length was lighter than usual, my past editors have called my work Rizzo-like.
On the other hand, I am working without an editor, and that means typos and errors will abound. Hopefully, since all this is speculation, that's cool and the gang. I definitely hope to open and be playing Ashiok at the prerelease, because ... well, I am a fan. #mtg #MTGWAR
@threadreaderapp Unroll , would you kindly.
Xenagos slunk away, like a trapped chameleon that's trapped by its tail. He cast off his divinity, much of his power, and ran away like a scalded dog. That's my vision, anyway.
Magic must move on, so having a Walker vacuum shutting down planar travel just can’t continue. The narrative can’t handle it.
Crisis had a cast of hundreds, if not THOUSANDS, across 12 issues. And George Perez has a miraculous talent for depicting crowds and making everyone distinguishable. He could be the event comic all-star artist. Period. Up there with Kirby and Kubert, BWS in all time greats.
There will be villainous POVs, non-Walker POVs, summoned Walker POVs, and Gatewatch POVs. But we can’t go into every single head. At least in a novel. Nine or ten, tops.
Short list: Bolas, Liliana, Lavinia, Jace, Gideon, Vraska, Kaya or Teysa, Ajani, Dovin, not Karn (too self-absorbed), not Ashiok (needs enigmatic status), and six death vignettes
At least, that’s what I would do if I had, say, 280 pages of comic to fill. A novel doesn’t usually have that much room to work with, depending on author tendencies. And some stories can be moved to the mothership.
Conclave, even. Dagnabbit.
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