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White is the color of light, law, and holy magic. It specializes in various forms of healing and protection (such as gaining life, preventing damage, and boosting creatures' toughness scores), efficient small creatures that reinforce each other, and abilities that dictate the flow of combat. White is chivalrous: rather than kill directly, it prefers to disable non-combative foes with spells like Arrest and Oblivion Ring, but has no qualms about killing creatures during the combat phase, as seen in cards like Divine Verdict and Ballista Squad, or using occasional mass destruction to wipe the slate clean equally. Read more about white here.
- Apocalypse How: Armageddon, Wrath Of God, Balance.
- Absolute Xenophobe: White can become this in theory. See Fantastic Racism and All The Other Reindeer below.
- All the Other Reindeer: White is the color of conformity, and doesn't care for those that are different unless they try to fit in.
- Black and White Insanity: Why White characters sometimes go Knight Templar. It's the colour that least recognises moral complexity.
- Combat Medic
- Evil Twin: With Black
- Fantastic Racism: White is the color that most often rewards the use of its own color, often flavored as white looking out for its own kind and being intolerant of differences.
- Flight: With blue.
- Feathered Fiend: Because of this, it is, after Blue, the colour with the most amount of birds. Villainous Aven like Kirtar from the Mirari Saga have so far been only White, and New Phyrexia's birds are also White.
- The Fettered: Comes with the territory of law and order.
- Healing Hands: White shares the ability to gain life with green.
- Holy Hand Grenade
- Humanoid Abomination: Opposed to Black's own eldritch things, as part of their motiff of opposition. Angels, specially in later settings like Zendikar and Bant, are portrayed as alien to mortal races and quite detached (not to mention that they are actually manifestations of pure White mana). Archons are essencially nazgul that are extremistic instead of immoral.
- Ideal Hero: When white is a hero, it's this.
- Knight Templar
- Light Is Not Good: While white is pretty consistent in regards to Order vs. Chaos (Order, of course), it's fallen on different ends of the Good vs. Evil divide through Magic's history.
- Light'Em Up
- Made of Iron: See Stone Wall.
- Moral Sociopathy: At it's worst; it is always moral, but being an enemy of Red, the colour of emotions, means that, at its purest, it has no empathy. Indeed, some pure White creatures, like Angels, sometimes appear rather robotic, following their duties at the expense of everything else.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules/Screw the Rules, I Make Them: White is the color of Law, so it likes there to be rules, but it has no problem applying its rule magic unevenly.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: White, being the colour of order, can be this at its worst.
- No Cure for Evil: Averted with White characters that are evil, although curiously most White villains so far didn't had an explicit specialisation in healing magic.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The infamous Wrath effect spells, of which the vast majority are White. Several cards like Magus of the Disk show that this goes deep in White's idealogy as well; ultimate order is death, after all.
- Our Angels Are Different: They are medium-sized to large flying creatures.
- Pure Awesomeness: Shown on Awe Strike. Like Blue's Awesome Presence, it's a serious take on the idea of Pure Awesomeness.
- Purple Is the New Black: Inverted; some White cards have artwork that shows White mana spells as purple (most notable with the Zubera cycle of Kamigawa, where the White aligned Zubera has purple mana orbs around it while the Black aligned Zubera has white ones). Makes sense since violet light is the most intense light in the visible spectrum.
- Stone Wall: White has a long history of tough creatures with low power.
- The Evils of Free Will: White believes that freedom leads only to actions in destruction and self-interest. Blue has this as a prominent theme and there are shades of it in Green.
- The Power of Friendship: With Green and, sometimes, Red.
- The Power of the Sun: Its symbol.
- Rocks Fall Everybody Dies: White prefers to delay any threat, but when it decides to kill something then it kills everything.
- Rules Lawyer: White is the color of bureaucracy, so of course white has the most bureaucracy.
Blue is associated with knowledge, illusion, and mental magic. Its specialties are countermagic, drawing cards, and delaying your opponent by forcing them to replay or redraw the same cards, or skipping phases or whole turns. Because of its careful, analytical approach, blue is often reactive, and rarely rushes directly into the fray. Accordingly, its creatures tend to sacrifice brute force in favor of abilities like flying that allow them to gain an advantage in other ways. Read more about blue here.
- Above Good and Evil: Being blue often involves ignoring conventional morality in pursuit of knowledge.
- An Ice Person
- Blow You Away
- Evil Genius: A blue villain is generally this.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Blue at its worst.
- Flight: With white.
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Kraken and Leviathan: Blue gets some efficient creatures at the high end of the scale, but it isn't known for its mana acceleration, and leviathans in particular typically come with very inconvenient disadvantages.
- Lack of Empathy: The darker side of blue can be sociopathic; while other colors can at least grasp sadism or extremist insanity, Blue at its worst just doesn't give a damn about anyone.
- Master of Illusion: Some illusion creatures are unusually powerful, but have drawbacks to represent their unreality like returning themselves to your hand after each fight, or more recently, being destroying if any spell or ability even targets one of them.
- Making a Splash
- Mind Over Matter: Many of its tapping, stealing, and other manipulation effects are depicted as forms of mind control.
- Mind Rape: Blue's milling ability is often flavored as erasing memories.
- No Sell: Counterspell and it's legacy. When a player's spell is countered, throwing the card away is a common response.
- The Mole: This combo.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Blue is the only color that can consistently interact with spells on the stack. It's a bit jarring to many players, as most interactions happen with permanents already on the battlefield.
- Pure Awesomeness: Awesome Presence seems to display this.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni
- The Sociopath: At its worst.
- The Spock
- The Smart Guy
- Time Master: Blue has more powers with time than anyone.
- The Unfettered: Actually more so than any other colour; even Black tends to have empathy (even if twisted into sadism), while Blue is completely divorced from such "petty" emotions.
Black's goal is power, no matter the cost--black will do anything to win, even if it means sacrificing its own creatures or Hit Points to power its spells. Black specializes in death and decay; its power over death makes it excellent at both killing creatures and raising them from the dead to fight again. It's also the best color at attacking the opponent's hand through Mind Rape-styled discard effects, and offers Faustian bargains of powerful creatures and effects that match or exceed other colors' specialties, if you don't mind paying for the difference with something other than mana. Learn more about black here.
- Above Good and Evil: Being black means abandoning morality in the pursuit of power.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: A lot of black creature removal will destroy a creature, but only if it isn't black. Not that black actually cares about its own - it's just that black creatures are often impervious to the insanity, horror, and disease it uses to do its work.
- Byronic Hero: What black may be when it steps into the light.
- Body Horror: Anything with "Pay X life..." in it, anything Yawgmoth does, a lot of the black auras.
- Cast From Hit Points: Every color gets some, but it's black's specialty.
- Casting a Shadow
- Cold-Blooded Torture
- Dark Is Evil: The vast majority of black creatures are, in fact, evil. Either that or mindless.
- Dark Is Not Evil: While Black has many villains in its name, and is inherently ruthless, it has also some positive traits and a few characters to embody them.
- Deal with the Devil: Yawgmoth's Bargain, Necropotence, Greed, Contract From Below, and so on.
- Eldritch Abomination: Usually under the creature type "Horror" and "Nightmare".
- Equivalent Exchange: Shown on many cards, in particular those like Sign In Blood.
- Face Heel Turn: If a coalition of different-color characters is present.
- Greed and Envy: Greed is in fact a card.
- Mind Rape: Any "discard" card or "cap" effect.
- Nominal Hero: Black may help you, if you make it worth its while.
- No Sell: Black is the color of death, corruption and fear, so it's abilities usually fail against other black creatures who are already dead or corrupt, or artifact creatures who were never alive to begin with.
- The Necromancer
- Poisonous Person (along with green)
- Power At a Price: Black's specialty, whether it be discarding cards, paying life, or sacrificing creatures.
- Power of the Void: See the cards Damnation and Doom Blade.
- Religion of Evil: Many black cards, while not necessarily evil, certainly look the part.
- The Sacred Darkness: A stretch, considering that Black mana is all about corruption, but it is generally agreed that it is necessary for a natural plane to be stable (Alara could afford its absence in some shards due to the unique nature of the plane).
- Soul Power
- Swamps Are Evil: Black draws power from the festering decay of swamplands. But again, see Dark Is Not Evil.
- The Unfettered: As part of the opposite of white, where white establishes concepts of "right" and "wrong", black rejects those notions in its quest for power.
- Uriah Gambit: "Sacrifice a creature" effects, along with creatures with disabilities that hurt you.
- What Is Evil?: Black is the colour mostly inclined towards moral relativism.
Red is the color of chaos, passion, and emotion. It's aligned with the elements of fire, earth, and lightning, and it specializes in direct damage and the destruction of all things material. Red lives in the moment and rarely considers the future consequences of its actions; this theme is frequently shown through powerful but temporary advantages such as Threaten and Ball Lightning, with creatures that aren't always quite controllable once they hit the field, and with excessive bursts of mana or effects that destroy your lands in return for immediate power. Red is designed to play aggressively and win quickly, and is in danger of stalling out if it doesn't maintain the initiative. Learn more about red here.
- Apocalypse How: Decree Of Annihilation, Disaster Radius.
- Be Yourself: Red is the color of unbridled self expression.
- Breath of Fire: "Firebreathing" is a common ability where you spend red mana to pump up a creature's power. Naturally, red dragons are the most fire-prone.
- Dishing Out Dirt (along with green)
- Dragon Rider
- Don't Think, Feel: Part of its opposition to blue. In fact, overthinking and second-guessing yourself can be a serious flaw when playing red.
- Fire Is Red: Though, to be fair, as in most other spells, Red spells don't necessarily have the same colour as the colour itself, and some fire spell artwork has apropriate orange or gold flames.
- For the Evulz: Red doesn't tend to do plans, so at its worst it often produces motiveless evil. Red villains are more likely to be evil, destructive, or sadistic just because it's fun than black ones.
- Great Balls of Fire: Blaze and Fireball are the best examples.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Word of God is that dragons are the most popular creature type in the game, and each block will ensure red gets at least one, even in settings like Ravnica (where dragons are supposed to be extinct) or Innistrad (where dragons just don't fit with Gothic horror). On top of that, red's dragons get a "dragon discount": they're slightly cheaper than a red flying creature normally should be.
- Kill It with Fire: Cards such as Incinerate, Disintegrate, and Scorching Lava prevent the burnt creature from regenerating, representing the flavor of burning the body to prevent it from healing.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Red has the majority of creatures with the "cannot block" and "attacks each turn if able" abilities, and a variety of other effects like Lust for War that force creatures to charge recklessly into battle.
- Light'Em Up/Frickin' Laser Beams: Although White has domain over light, some Red spells involve piercing the enemies with beams of light, most notably Cleansing Beam.
- Lust and Wrath
- Magma Man
- The McCoy
- Our Goblins Are Different: Every set brings a new take on goblins, though you can usually count on them being self-destructively insane little buggers.
- Playing with Fire
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Red never respects laws. It becomes this when it's the good guy.
- Shock and Awe
- Stuff Blowing Up: Kaboom!
- Super Speed: Follows from Red's emphasis on freedom. Seen on cards such as Burst Of Speed and Accelerate.
- The Power of Hate
- The Power of Love: Love, like all emotions, is Red in nature. Unfortunately, given that love is nigh impossible to be mechanically manifested, such cases are exclusive to flavor.
- The Unfettered: Red will feel what it wants to feel and act how it wants to act.
- Thirsty Desert: Especially in Arabian Nights.
Green magic represents nature. Thanks to its mastery of life and growth, Green is the best color at creating swarms of token creatures, and its creatures tend to be bigger than those of other colors for the same cost, especially at the higher end of the scale. Green also has the ability to boost the size of its creatures, both temporarily and permanently, and is the best color at generating extra mana in the long term, often by playing additional lands. In recent years, it has become the second-best color at card drawing, representing a growth of the mind to match the body. Green magic is rarely subtle and often relies on brute force - while it's perfectly willing to destroy the opponent's artifacts, enchantments, and lands, Green preferred means of dealing with opposing creatures is to outmatch them in combat as nature intended. Learn more about green here.
- Anti-Air: Many. Very many. Good examples are Hurricane and Giant Spider (it has Reach, which lets it block fliers without having flying). All green creature removal only attacks flyers.
- Anti-Cavalry: Appears on Trip Line. Antiquated by the static ability Horsemanship disappearing.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: One of green's trademarks is the absurdly large creature, whether large to begin with or magically pumped up that way.
- The Beast Master
- Blow You Away: Although air is technically Blue's domain, Green wind spells are common.
- Dishing Out Dirt (along with red)
- Don't Think, Feel: Part of its opposition to blue, green strategies are often about pure smashing, with little in the way of trickery or manipulation.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Green is the domain of dangerous, hostile places like forests and jungles.
- Fertile Feet
- Gaea's Lament
- Gaea's Vengeance
- Giant Creepy Crawlies: See Attack Of The 50-Foot Whatever. Green shares this with Black.
- Green Thumb: Druids always have abilities that either generate mana or improve the use and number of your lands. Common green spells pull lands right out of your deck and into your hand or onto the field.
- Healing Hands: Green shares the ability to gain life with White.
- Hungry Jungle
- In Harmony with Nature: Many green healing and card-drawing spells are depicted this way.
- Make My Monster Grow: One of green's favorite abilities.
- Mother Nature
- Nature Hero
- No Cure for Evil: Like in White, some Green characters with healing powers can be evil.
- Poisonous Person (along with black)
- Science Is Bad: And thus, Green gets a lot of anti-artifact spells.
- Super Strength: Green has many terrifyingly large creatures, following from it's emphasis on growth.
- The Power of Friendship: With White and arguably, Red.
- The Social Darwinist: At its worst.
- Training From Hell: It's not unusual for green creatures to be permanently toughened up by getting hurt first.
- That's No Moon: Green is in love with the idea of land animation.
Regardless of whether it happened before or after the mending, the way in which a being becomes a Planeswalker is the same. Whenever a sentient being is born, there is a one in one million chance of it being born with "The Spark"--that is, the Planeswalker spark. And even then, the odds of that being triggering their ascension is also one in a million. The Spark is ignited typically in one of three ways--a near-death experience, situations of immeasurable psychological strain, or extremely deep meditation. These old-style Planeswalkers had powers comparable to most gods; they could travel to other realities with no more than a moment's concentration, they can take on any appearance they desire (though most choose to look the same as they did when they ascended), will not age or die of natural causes, no longer need to eat or sleep, and in a few cases, create their own artificial plane (and live there and practically be worshipped as gods).
One of the oldest and most powerful planeswalkers in the multiverse, the artificer Urza was first seen as a mortal in the Antiquities expansion, where he fought a bitter war against his fellow artificer and brother, Mishra. The disastrous war eventually led to the destruction of most of the continent, Mishra's death, Urza's ascension (after detonating the Golgothian Sylex, annihilating most of a continent and starting a millennia-long ice age), and the release of the lock that was keeping Phyrexia sealed away from Dominaria.
Urza, recognizing the threat of Phyrexia and blaming them for the corruption and death of his brother, began a crusade to purge them from the multiverse. His campaign spanned millennia, eventually culminating in the Weatherlight saga and the Dominarian Apocalypse.
He eventually died, victorious at last, at the end of Apocalypse.
- Anti-Hero: He causes multiple cataclysmic magical disasters that completely destroy major landmasses, creates a eugenics program to breed super-soldiers, and is an overall Manipulative Bastard who gets regular What the Hell, Hero? moments. If Yawgmoth hadn't been set as the villain from the beginning, he could be the Villain Protagonist.
- Arch Nemesis: First Mishra, and then Yawgmoth.
- Badass Grandpa
- Big Good: In the sense of leading the good guys, at least. Urza was not a nice man.
- Blind Seer: Used as a disguise.
- Cain and Abel: The conflict with his brother Mishra got a little out of control.
- The Chessmaster: Combine this with his Good Is Not Nice traits seen below, most of his gambits are only "good" because they're being used to fight Phyrexia.
- Face Heel Turn: He betrays his fellow planeswalkers and gives in to Yawgmoth once he has reached Phyrexia.
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Good Is Not Nice: Gets worse as he gets older. It reaches its peak when he didn't tell his longtime partner and friend Barrin that his daughter was dying of Phyrexian plague. It's after that point when Barrin kills himself that Urza starts to really pick up the pace.
- He Who Fights Monsters:
- "As the invasion drew closer, Urza's means began to resemble Phyrexia's end."
- One of the Invasion-cycle novels it's mentioned that over the years of fighting the Phyrexians, Urza came to admire them.
- Once he has reached Phyrexia, he finally gives up and bows before Yawgmoth.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Gerrard, the warrior he has bred to fight Yawgmoth, beheads him in the Phyrexian Arena. Somewhat of an aversion, though, because it was Gerrard beheading him that snapped him out of Yawgmoth's influence.
- Insufferable Genius
- Losing Your Head: His planeswalker powers mean that he can be beheaded and survive. His disembodied head can later be spotted relaxing in a hot tub in the non-canonical Unhinged expansion.
- Luke Nounverber: He's occasionally referred to as "Urza Planeswalker." This crosses over with Species Surname when you take into consideration that before the Mending, "Planeswalker" was less of a job description and more of an actual race.
- Mad Scientist
- Manipulative Bastard
- Mismatched Eyes: He has a red powerstone for one eye, and a green one for the other.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A poster boy.
- Not So Different: From Yawgmoth, after all.
- Numerological Motif: Major artifacts associated with Urza tend to cost exactly seven mana.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Gerrard uses his severed head as a weapon. He can't regenerate his body because Gerrard used a soul-killing weapon to behead him, but he can still talk and use his rather powerful eye-lasers.
- Set Bonus: Possibly the first example in a trading card game, the three Urza lands. Separately, they each give one mana. Together, they give seven mana. Add on an Urza's Factory and, for seven mana, you can put tokens into play. Add on his brother's factory and you can make those tokens bigger.
- The Social Darwinist
- The Unfettered
- We Can Rule Together: When Yawgmoth asks him what is his greatest desire, Urza answers that he wants to sit next to him and benefit from his knowledge and power.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He may be a dick to everyone, including his allies, but at least his efforts go towards stopping Yawgmoth. That is, until he reaches Phyrexia.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Urza gets called out at least Once an Episode.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
- Xanatos Roulette
- Anachronism Stew: Despite hailing from a Medieval European Fantasy world, Bo Levar looks like he's straight out of the British Royal Navy of the 1800s.
- Badass Mustache
- The Captain
- Heroic Sacrifice: He ends his own life to power a shield that blocked Yawgmoth's final form when it tried to kill the merfolk.
- Mundane Utility: Some old-style Planeswalkers use their power to become Genius Loci. Some use it to become as gods. Others use it to accrue unending knowledge. Bo Levar uses it to smuggle cigars from one world to another.
- The Chick: In a Closer to Earth sort of way.
- Eyepatch of Power: Covering a magical eye.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: The way she "fixes" Dominaria is actually one of the first infinite-mana combos.
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Author Avatar: Uh...see for yourself. From Apocalypse:
Madly, he erased. Madly, yes, for what editor erases so fervently the words an author has written? What editor allows his author to write a hundred thousand words only to erase ten thousand of them? Only an editor desperate to get history right.
Commodore Guff crouched upon a gnarl of basalt and feverishly applied the massive eraser to the history of the Dominarian Apocalypse. There went a sentence about the death of Eladamri. Just after, Liin Sivi[sic] no longer died, for all the way through she had been paired to him as though she were his gimp leg. And what about this paragraph where Bo Levar lights a cigar in a swamp and is blown to smithereens? Guff didn’t even erase that bit, but crumpled up the whole page and threw it into the lava that seeped from a nearby crack. What else had to go to make this goddamned trilogy work out? How about the legal material, and the dedication and acknowledgments? After all, who gives a goat’s droppings for the editor of an epic? Commodore Guff hurled those pages aside and saw them catch fire. He threw out the teaser too. It had given away the destruction of Dominaria anyway, something that was completely undecided at this point.
Commodore Guff turned his face from the ravaged book in his hand and looked skyward. “This would never have happened when I was in charge of continuity.”
- Casual Danger Dialogue: He nonchalantly acknowledges the upcoming deaths of all his comrades, and even knows that in the 'original' history, Yawgmoth wins and Dominaria is assimilated into Phyrexia. He only agrees to start erasing things when it's brought to his attention that Yawgmoth's victory would mean the destruction of his library.
- Meta Guy
- No Fourth Wall: What Deadpool is to the Marvel Universe, Guff is to Magic.
Nicol Bolas is the oldest--and perhaps the most powerful--planeswalker in the multiverse. He first appeared in the Legends cycle, where he battled Tetsuo Umezawa (a descendent of the Kamigawa block's protagonist, Toshiro Umezawa) for control of Madara. He reappeared in the Time Spiral block for a pair of epic planeswalker duels against Teferi and Leshrac, and then again to serve as an antagonist in the Shards of Alara block. He's been manipulating Magic's storyline from behind the scenes ever since. Read more about him here.
- Back From the Dead: Twice- first resurrecting himself from his death at the hands of Tetsuo Umezawa, then restoring himself to full strength during the Conflux.
- Badass Boast: His entire encounter with Ajani at the end of Alara Unbroken is basically a long one of these. Trouble is, he really is that good. Best summarized by the quote: "I've survived more apocalypses than you've had chest colds."
- The Bad Guy Wins: The stories of Shards of Alara and Zendikar are both cases of Bolas's plans coming to fruition. He encounters some hiccups along the way, but ultimately achieves his goals.
- Breakout Character: At first, Nicol Bolas was just one part of a cycle of Elder Dragons. He's the only one who most people pay attention to nowadays.
- Brought Down to Normal: And he hates it!
- The Chessmaster
- Evil Sorcerer: Up to Eleven.
- Evil Is Petty: The first thing Bolas does when becoming freed from the Meditation Realm is hunt down anyone who was descended from the man that put him there. And probably anyone they ever knew or loved for that matter. And their pets.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen
- Manipulative Bastard
- Mind Rape: Discard effects are standard for him.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Supposedly he has so many titles he doesn't even care about them anymore, most notably The Tyrant of Worlds
- No Sell: It'd be easier to count the fights Bolas has been in where he wasn't toying with his opponent.
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: A life philosophy of Bolas'.
- Numerological Motif: His final ability does seven damage to a player, makes that player sacrifice seven permanents and discard seven cards.
- Olympus Mons: The original five Elder Dragons are the ancestors of all dragons.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Immortal, supremely powerful, masterfully manipulative wizards bent on total omnipotence.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Her Realm
- Floating Continent: Throughout her realm.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Her Realm
- Have You Seen My God?: She hasn't been seen since Urza's first visit to her realm. The second time he shows up, Archangel Radiant is running things in her absence. She did it again to her worshippers on Ulgrotha, except this time she became suicidal and got herself killed.
- Light'Em Up
"Follow the light. In its absence, follow her." (2012 Core Set version of Serra Angel)
- Light Is Good
- The Mourning After: When her husband Feroz died in a freak lab accident, she lost all will to live.
Taysir of Rabiah
- The Chosen One: On Rabiah, at least.
- Cool Old Guy
- Fusion Dance: A Power Booster example. He originally had five alternate universe counterparts, one for each colour of mana, and became a planeswalker when his Black self pulled this off with all the rest.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Attempts this on Urza after Urza betrays the Nine Titans and turns to Yawgmoth. In response, Urza kills Taysir in self-defense.
- Heel Face Revolving Door: Back and forth and back and forth... To begin with, his black self was the murderous henchman of an evil wizard. After fusing with the personality and memories of his first alternate-universe-self victim, he had a Heel Face Turn and fused more peacefully with the others only to save them from said wizard. After centuries as an immortal, he slowly became a total Jerkass and then a violent villain. After dying and going through Anaba Minotaur purgatory, he came back as a good guy.
- Minor Major Character: Canonically, he was briefly the most powerful Planeswalker in the multiverse until Urza ascended, due to having five sparks instead of one, and even then he was quite powerful. Most of his time in the limelight is in the time before the Weatherlight saga, where Urza doesn't figure into things much at all, and afterwards he barely even gets mentioned. He comes back for the Invasion block, only to get killed.
- Papa Wolf: His aforementioned attacking of Urza was also in part caused by the fact that Urza's recruitment of Tevesh Szat led to his daughter being killed.
- The Red Mage: One of the few Planeswalkers to master all five colours, due to the circumstances of his ascension.
- Evil Sorceror
- Token Evil Teammate: Deconstructed. He does end up backstabbing his teammates, which is exactly what Urza wanted, because he needs an ally to drain the soul out of and use it as a bomb. (What the Hell, Hero? ensues.)
- Was Once a Man: Before ascending, he was a human named Tev. Afterwards, he looked like a lizard man's torso on an octopus's tentacles.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Unless you're an artifact.
- Genius Loci: implied that his spirit still watches over Urborg
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Panthera Awesome
- Science Is Bad: Does not like artifacts.
A blue-aligned planeswalker from Zhalfir specializing in time magic and phasing. The events of Time Spiral caused him to lose his planeswalker spark, making him mortal again.
- Bald Black Leader Guy
- Court Mage: To the court of Zhalfir, specifically.
- Delinquents: He apparently was one at the Academy, but he's since grown out of it.
- De-Power: He gave up his Planeswalker spark and became a mortal (but still very powerful) wizard in Time Spiral so that he could close the time rift over Shiv.
- Large Ham: As a planeswalker, his playfulness manifests in making everything he says and does unnecessarily impressive.
- Reasonable Authority Figure
- Time Master: And one powerful enough to warp two countries into an alternate timeline, no less.
- Trickster Archetype: Phasing in many ways resembles this.
- Tyke Bomb: Since he was noticed to have great magical potential as a child, he was trained to fight back against the Phyrexians at Urza's Tolarian Academy.
Jeska first appeared in the Odyssey block storyline as Kamahl's sister. After suffering mortal wounds at the hands of her brother's Mirari-induced insanity, she was resurrected by the Cabal during the Onslaught storyline, gaining a new life as the fearsome Phage the Untouchable. The events of Legions caused her to fuse with Akroma to form Karona, the False God. When Karona was defeated, Jeska's spark ignited and she re-emerged as a planeswalker, leaving with Karn to travel the multiverse. She later returned in Future Sight to help seal the time rifts.
- Enemy to All Living Things: As Phage, her touch causes organic matter to rot, to the extent she has to wear silk and to sleep on a bed of stone.
- Enemy Within: Jeska struggles with her alter-ego Phage, both before and after she becomes a planeswalker.
- Fiery Redhead
- Heroic Sacrifice: In Future Sight, she gives her life to seal the Otarian time rift.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Phage comes from Ancient Greek phageton, which means to consume. She's also referred to as "the Untouchable".
- Not So Different: From Akroma.
- Walking Wasteland: As Phage.
The Task Mage. She started her life as a street urchin until she stumbled upon Jodah, who took her under his wing. She didn't stay long, though, and went on to become a task mage (a term for Hired Guns). Her spark ignited after fighting a Demonic Possession by Mairsil The Pretender. She was also a figurehead of a school that Chandra, her future Expy, went to.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Jodah helps her break free of her Demonic Possession by visiting her mind and helping her ignite her spark.
- Black Magician Girl
- Deadpan Snarker
- Demonic Possession: By Mairsil the Pretender when she unknowingly takes Lim-Dul's ring which contains the Pretender's Spirit.
- Glass Cannon: Her card's last ability will, unless you give her protection from herself, kill her.
- Hell-Bent for Leather
- Large Ham: Really, Jaya would be right at home in Gurren Lagann.
- Playing with Fire: And how.
- Pyromaniac: "Of course you should fight fire with fire. You should fight everything with fire."
- Role Called: If you see her name, there's a good chance that "Task Mage" will follow it.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Well, it isn't a game of Kick-The-Ouphe...
- The Man Behind the Man: Behind Tevesh Szat and Lim-Dul during the Ice Age.
- Mega Manning: In Future Sight, he steals the black magic abilities from Nicol Bolas and Jeska/Phage.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Twice. Once in the Shard of the Twelve Worlds, and once in Phyrexia.
A planeswalker trying to enter the world of Shandalar for its unique mana, Arzakon uses the five guilds from there, each of a different color of mana, to gain three "mana taps" to summon him. He's the final boss of the 1997 Microprose Card Battle Game.
- Awesome but Impractical: A five-color deck? Granted, it's stacked with broken cards, but still...
- Deal with the Devil
- Rocks Fall Everybody Dies: He'll attack when his five minions are defeated.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: If you can't defeat him completely, he'll still be locked away. How long he stays sealed depends on how much damage you can deal to him.
During the events of the "Time Spiral" block, Dominaria was on the verge of reality tearing apart and the plane being unmade (and since Dominaria is the hub of the Magic universe, all other planes would fall soon after), mostly due to the various apocalypses the plane has been subjected to throughout the eons. The storyline ended with the the rifts healed, but at a price; many of the old-style Planeswalkers gave up their Sparks, or in some cases, their lives, to fix the problem. The nature of the Spark itself had changed as well. The odds of being born with (and igniting) The Spark were about the same, but new-style Planeswalkers aren't nearly as powerful; they're mortal, and can't planeswalk as easily as their predecessors (it usually involves a ritual of some sort). They can't create their own worlds anymore, either. They are, however, "weak" enough to be printed on Magic cards without destroying game balance, and with the exception of the "Lorwyn" block, are exclusively in the Mythic Rare rarity slot.
Ajani Goldmane is a white-aligned planeswalker. He first appeared in the storyline as a protagonist in the Shards of Alara block, where his quest to avenge the murder of his brother led him to discover the nefarious machinations of Nicol Bolas. His specialty is Soul Power: invoking and strengthening the spirits of others. Read more about him here.
- An Axe to Grind: Ajani's weapon of choice is his prized double ended axe, which his axe with his brother's axe head grafted on to the other side.
- Anti-Magic: The general purpose of Ajani's sundering magic. A more proactive example can be seen on Silence.
- Bash Brothers: Both accomplished warriors in their own rights, with Ajani's Status Buff magic, he and his brother were untouchable. Bonus Points for being literal brothers as well.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Ajani undertook many dangerous tasks upon himself to win his pride's respect, such as hunting Naya's behemoths alone. None of them worked.
- The Empath
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Good; A simple line over his missing right eye.
- Heroic Albino: Eventually. Growing up, his tribe (except for his brother) thought he was bad luck.
- Meaningful Name: His actual surname is Goldmane, it's just a coincidence that he was born platinum blonde.
- Misery Builds Character: Discussed in the flavor text for Silvercoat Lion.
- Panthera Awesome
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In his younger years. Later he calmed down.
- Soul Power: The White Magic variant.
- Status Buff: His specialty. The drawback is that he can't use such Magic on himself.
- Teach Him Anger: His brother's death started the process, and Sarkhan Vol taught him to embrace the anger as strength.
- The Red Mage: Ajani Vengeant is red/white, red taking the role "black magic" does in most video games.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: As Vengeant.
- You Killed My Brother
- You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: No you would not.
- Anime Hair: Seen in Jace's Ingenuity. His M12 card features it directly. Ironically, minimized in the Japanese Duel Decks version, which has his hood up.
- Anti-Magic: Yawn
- Blue Oni: To Chandra's Red Oni.
- Cowardly Lion: A bit, especially when he stands up against Tezzeret because of his repeated abuse and lust for power. This eventually leads Jace to wipe Tezzeret's mind.
- Enemy Mine: When he's not fighting Chandra, he's teaming up with her.
- Foe Yay: With Chandra.
- In the Hood: About half of his artwork depicts him this way.
- Levitating Lotus Position: Easy Pose while being ingenious, as befits the exercise of physic powers.
- Master of Illusion
- Mind Control Eyes: People under his control have glowing blue eyes.
- Mind Manipulation
- Mind Rape: All of his cards have had some form of this, but it shines the brightest on Jace, the Mind Sculptor's fourth ability. He also subjects Tezzeret to this in Agents of Artifice.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Many cases of this but his bumbling in Zendikar with Chandra and Sarkhan stand out the most. Of course, for that one, he has no idea somebody named Bolas has planned that.
- No Sell: Biggest example is his fight with Chandra.
- Psychic Powers
- Sympathy for the Devil: Towards Baltrice
- Artifact of Doom: The Chain Veil, which is in Vess's possession.
- Bare Your Midriff
- Bastard Girlfriend: Liliana makes no attempt to hide her less redeeming qualities. Not many people seem to have a problem with it.
- Black Magic: She specializes in Mind Rape, death magic, and necromancy.
- The Beautiful Elite: In every novel she has appeared in, there has been at least one passage describing just how ludicrously attractive she is.
- Casting a Shadow/Combat Tentacles: Without corpses for her to animate, most of her fights involve using shadowy tentacles.
- Deal with the Devil: Made a contract with four archdemons in order to gain eternal youth. Being the selfish woman she is, she decides to try to get out of it by killing them.
- Distracted by the Sexy: She invokes this against most any male opponent she faces.
- Drunk with Power: Hardly a virtuous person before hand, the Chain Veil seems to turn Liliana's less redeeming qualities Up to Eleven.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Her now long-dead brother Josu.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When she rejected the deal Nicol Bolas made with her.
- Fallen Princess: She was a daughter of a nobleman, but was disowned after she unwittingly fed her beloved brother poison she got from a mysterious Raven Man who claimed it was a cure.
- Fantastic Racism
"I come looking for demons and I find a plane full of angels. I hate angels."
- Faustian Rebellion: After obtaining the Chained Veil, she decides to oust the demons she made bargains with. Starting from the one who send her to fetch the Veil.
- Foe Yay: "I like your axe. Very manly." and "Allow me to slip into something more powerful."
- Hair Decorations: Sort of a Fridge Brilliance when you consider how self-conscious she is about her age.
- Hot Gypsy Woman/Vapor Wear: Her wardrobe.
- It's All About Me: Makes the other Black planeswalkers look humble in comparation. Except towards her brother, but he's dead now.
- Jerkass: While developing her second card, Innistrad lead developer Erik Lauer went to the creative department and asked them to give him an overview of her character, so that he could work on some abilities that would be representative of her personality. Their response?
She's a bitch.
- Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Her second ability puts any card in your library on top and reshuffles the rest of your library.
- Mind Rape: One of her abilities.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Her efforts to free Griselbrand to kill him also frees Avacyn, Innistrad's Guardian Angel. Although Liliana doesn't live in Innistrad, so she doesn't really care.
- Opera Gloves: In the Innistrad promotional art and as Liliana of the Veil.
- Power Tattoo
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Liliana uses her magic to maintain her youthful appearance and extend her lifespan. She's over a hundred years old, but she looks like she's in her twenties.
- Sadistic Choice: Liliana of the Veil's ultimate ability, which splits all the opponent's permanents into two piles and forces them to choose which pile lives and which pile dies.
- Significant Anagram: "A villainess". Word of God swears this was completely accidental.
- Slouch of Villainy: Her promo art in Innistrad.
- Soul Power: The Black Magic variant.
- Thigh-High Boots: Again, in the Innistrad promotional art and as Liliana of the Veil.
- Best Served Cold: Speaking strictly figuratively, of course. Chandra blows up The Order of Heliud's Regatha outpost. The Order was responsible for executing her village for harboring pyromancers.
- Cool Big Sis: To the children at Keral Keep.
- Depending on the Artist: Most of the Post-Mending Walkers get shafted by this, but Chandra gets it the worst. Her eye color, her hair color, how straight her hair is when not on fire, how freckley she is, and just generally how attractive she is tend to vary in virtually every appearance.
- Enemy Mine: When she's not fighting Jace, she's teaming up with him.
- Expy: Of Jaya Ballard. Chandra was implied to have been trained by Jaya from an early age, so her acting basically just like Jaya should be no surprise. Jaya is, after all, known to rub off on people who hang around her too long - including Archmage Jodah, who lamented that her influence was making him as reckless as she was.
- Fiery Redhead: Literally, as in, often depicted with flames.
- Flaming Hair
- Foe Yay: With Jace. Even more so with Gideon.
- Only the Pure of Heart: The Purifying Fire. The Order of Heliud favored executing their more notable prisoners and dissidents in the Purifying Fire, a massive wellspring of white mana on the plane of Regatha, that immolates all the guilty criminals that are thrown into it, as a way of proving their just cause. Chandra survived the experience after confessing her guilty feelings of her village's death to Gideon. It immolates the guilty.
- Playing with Fire
- Red Oni: To Jace's Blue Oni.
- Rose-Haired Girl: Her Japanese version
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Gideon. She likes him, but abhors his worldview of the greater good being more important than personal freedom.
- Unskilled but Strong: After one of her temper tantrums, the Order of Heliud came down hard on her village, because they believed they were harboring a large number of pyromancers. They didn't believe the amount of damage done was possible from a single person.
- Youthful Freckles
- An Axe to Grind
- The Beast Master
- Child Soldiers: Defied. His father sent him into the wilderness so that he wouldn't be one...
- Cool Helmet: A trophy of the feudal lord that drove him from his father and later killed him.
- The Corruption: Suffers from one after being defeated by Veil-enhanced Liliana.
- Genocide Backfire: In Garruk's backstory, the feudal lord who ruled his town tried to recruit Child Soldiers to fight his war. The young Garruk escaped into the forest, where he trained himself as a Beast Master. Years later, when he grew strong enough, he returned and killed the tyrant from his childhood.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: As Garruk Relentless.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In the original blurbs that were released when the original post-mending walkers were being spoiled, Garruk was said to enjoy the thrill of hunting fellow Planeswalkers. He is now putting this to practice with Liliana.
- Hypocrite: One of Garruk's chief problems with civilized society, is how much they lie to one another and how little consequence there is to it. He is not above lying himself in anyway, though considering he's Not Good with People, he probably considers it justified.
- Make My Monster Grow: He does this to his summons when they're not dangerous enough.
- Might Makes Right
- Mook Maker: All three of his printed cards make tokens in varying levels of effectiveness.
- Nature Hero
- Noble Savage: One of his core beliefs.
- Not Good with People
- Papa Wolf: His father is implied to be this. Garruk himself also counts as he doesn't take too kindly to people harming his animal buddies.
- Raised by Wolves: Semi. As a child, he was drafted into the military, so his father hid him in the woods. Using his Beast Master powers, he was then adopted into a family of Baloths, which are giant green horned monsters the size of monster trucks.
- Restraining Bolt: As a result of the Veil's curse.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Garruk is coming for Liliana.
- Summon Magic: He specializing in going to dangerous locales, finding the biggest meanest animals he can, beating the crap out of them, then bonding with them, allowing him to summon them at will.
- Tainted Veins: As "Garruk, the Veil-Cursed".
- The Big Guy: He's at least a full head taller than the other human Planeswalkers.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Most of the time.
- Wolverine Claws
- You Killed My Father: His father was arrested and executed for defying the local feudal lord, whom Garruk confronted for revenge later in life.
Elspeth Tirel is a planeswalker who wields White Magic. Born on a plane dominated by Phyrexia, she escaped after her spark ignited and roamed the worlds looking for a home. When she found Bant, she believed she'd found her true home; after Alara's Conflux, however, she felt that she no longer belonged, and left to roam the multiverse once more. Read more about her here.
- Blinded by the Light: As seen on Soul Parry, where Elspeth turns aside the attacks of two Nim zombies with a flash of bright white light.
- Changed My Mind, Kid: In the "Scarred" comic. She has a Heroic BSOD after a particularly horrifying encounter with some Phyrexians; after a pep talk with a Vulshok shaman who admonishes her for her cowardice, she returns to rescue Venser and Koth from one of Jin-Gitaxias's experiments.
- Cowardly Lion: She is a very strong planeswalker and really wants to help, but she finds herself more often running away than actually helping in any way.
- Despair Event Horizon: Elspeth falls dangerously close to it in Part II of "Scarred".
- The Fatalist: She thinks her version of paradise, Bant, will fall to the undead of Grixis, even as the fight isn't yet lost and Ajani tries to convince her to help him.
- A Father to Her Men: She is very dedicated to soldiers under her command and takes their well-being very seriously.
- Honor Before Reason: At first, she refuses to use her magic to defend Bant from the zombie invaders of Grixis, fighting hand-to-hand instead.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: On Bant, Elspeth decides to abandon her planeswalking and become an ordinary knight. She refuses to reveal her powerful magical abilities for fear that it would set her apart from the others.
- Knight Errant: Unlike other Knight Errants, she wants to find a home and settle there. Too bad said home doesn't last forever...
- Lady of War
- Light'Em Up
- Mook Maker: Both of her planeswalker cards can summon armies of 1/1 soldier tokens.
- Nigh Invulnerability: One of her ultimate spells shields her allies from any form of conventional damage.
- The Paladin
The dragon shaman planeswalker Sarkhan Vol was first introduced in Shards of Alara. At first, he wielded red and green magic, but under Nicol Bolas's tutelage (as well as Sanity Slippage), he's moved away from green in favor of black. Read more about him here.
- Ambiguously Brown: Sarkhan has a Slavic name, but is distinctly Asian looking.
- Breath Weapon: He can do it out of his hands no less: 
- The Dragon: To Bolas. Pun not intended.
- Dragon Rider
- Hell-Bent for Leather: As Sarkhan the Mad
- Meaningful Name: Sarkhan comes from the word "šarkan" which means dragon in the Slovak language. As a bonus, it is a popular name for guard dogs in Slavic countries, which is more or less how Bolas treats Sarkhan.
- Might Makes Right: The reason for his tribe's dragon worship.
- Sanity Slippage: After spending a long time isolated in the Eye of Ugin, he reappeared in Rise of the Eldrazi as Sarkhan the Mad.
- Scaled Up: Form of the Dragon Card, and he does this to others on Sarkhan the Mad.
- Ubermensch: Sarkhan strives to live his life unbound by the chains of civilization, believing that listening to your heart and instincts is better than the 'arbitrary' rules of society. Unfortunately this makes him quite morally dubious at times. And then he caves and becomes more of a Last Man as he submits to Nicol Bolas' will.
Originally from the Alaran shard of Esper, Tezzeret is a blue-aligned planeswalker (and an agent of Nicol Bolas) who specializes in artifice. Read more about him here.
- Appropriated Appellation: His parents never gave him a name, so he used a nickname given to him by his peers instead.
- Artificial Limbs: Like all inhabitants of Esper, parts of his body--in this case, his right arm, and later, his torso--have been replaced with etherium metal.
- Creative Sterility: Prefers to improve on other people's ideas and plans than make his own.
- Despair Event Horizon: When he discovers the true nature of Etherium in Test of Metal.
- The Dragon: To Bolas, funnily enough.
Guard: If you'd kept your mouth shut, and your eyes down, you could have lived out your pathetic, unremarkable life. No one will care that you're gone. No one will even remember you existed.
Tezzeret: No! NO! NOOOOOO!
- Freudian Excuse: Most of the dark parts of his personality are borrowed from other people.
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Hollywood Cyborg
- Might Makes Right: His father taught him this is how the world works, and it shaped his whole life. Growing up, he desired to become strong enough to never be on the 'wrong' end of this philosophy ever again.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Tezzeret was never named by his parents, so he adopted a nickname he received from his gutter rat friends. He's named after an Esper colloquialism for a shank.
- Shoot the Messenger: By sending his Mooks to bark orders at Tezzeret to go to Mirrodin while the latter is busy, Bolas basically sends those mooks to their dooms.
- Smart People Build Robots: His card effects lets him turn your artifacts into 5/5 artifact creatures.
- Son of a Whore: His mother was a prostitute.
- Villain Protagonist: How he was portrayed in Test of Metal.
- We Can Rebuild Him: What Bolas did to him after his fight with Jace.
- Weak but Skilled: By his own admission, he is not a particularly powerful mage. But he's damned clever.
Sorin Markov is a black-aligned vampire planeswalker who specializes in Blood Magic. He was one of the three planeswalkers who created the seal to trap the Eldrazi in Zendikar. He first appeared in the Zendikar block as a protagonist, working (grudgingly) with Nissa Revane to try and re-seal the Eldrazi in the Eye of Ugin. He hails from Innistrad, and is a member of the Markov vampire family, although estranged. In the Innistrad block story, he returns to his home-plane to find it ravaged due to the absence of Avacyn, Innistrad's guardian angel ( whom he created). Read more about him here.
- Big Good: His schemes and powerful magics have been instrumental in maintaining the (relative) peace and harmony on not one but two planes. See Dark Is Not Evil below.
- Blood Magic
- Dark Is Not Evil: He is scheming, paranoid and eats people to survive, but tried as much as possible to fight the Eldrazi on Zendikar and preserve the Balance Between Good and Evil on Innistrad.
- Deadpan Snarker: Being functionally immortal will do that to you.
- The Hedonist: When he doesn't have any important matters to deal with, he usually just seeks pleasure and excitement. This is apparently a trait of Innistrad vampires.
- Hell-Bent for Leather
- Immortality: Type II. Innistradi vampires are not undead, merely ageless. This was initiated by Sorin's grandfather, Edgar, who wanted to live forever, and thus made a pact with the demon Shilgengar and created Innistrad's vampires.
- I Hate You Vampire Granddad: Possibly, as he was traumatized by being turned into a vampire by his granddad, not to mention that he has yet to be permitted to return to the Markov Manor.
- Magic Knight: That sword he has isn't just for show.
- Mind Control: Sorin's ultimate ability, with or without Necromancy.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much/Black Sheep: He hates his kin for being murderous, over-indulgent vampires, while they in turn hate him for creating Avacyn.
- Our Vampires Are Different
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Sorin is the one of the oldest Planeswalkers in existence, second only to Nicol Bolas.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After Nissa screws up his plan to reseal the Eldrazi in Zendikar, he breaks his alliance with her and the Elves, and leaves the realm to its doom.
- Super Strength: Innistrad vampires have physical strength roughly double that of an equivalent human.
- Transformation Trauma: His planeswalker spark ignited when his grandfather transformed him into one of Innistrad's first vampires.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy
- Why Did It Have To Be Heights?:
Nissa Revane wields green magic to muster her people and amplify their might. Recently, she has begun using black mana covertly, believing it a necessary means to move the elves toward their rightful place.
- Absolute Cleavage
- The Beautiful Elite
- Black Magic/Green Thumb: Combines both to great effect.
- Holier Than Thou
- Might Makes Right
- Nature Hero
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Due to her distrust of vampires, she sabotages Sorin's attempt to activate a device which turns out to be the final lock to the Eldrazi's prison.
- Noble Bigot: Like all elves of the Joraga tribe, she considers the elves to be the rightful heirs of nature and believes they have the right to tell other races how to live. Unlike her compatriots, she's not above working with the mud races for the greater good, such as preventing the Eldritch Abomination apocalypse. She is also willing to learn from their respective talents and worldviews.
- Our Elves Are Better
- Summon Magic: She has her own personal guards for this.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Actual snakes. Which is quite humorous given that snakes are among the least harmful things on her home plane.
- Yin-Yang Bomb
Gideon Jura is a planeswalker who wields White Magic. Unlike most planeswalkers, Gideon doesn’t hesitate to enter combat. He also practices hieromancy, the magic of holy justice.
- Canon Immigrant: Gideon was originally created by author Laura Resnick as an original character for The Purifying Fire. The creative team liked him enough to give him his own card.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome
- Defeat Means Friendship: If the intro to Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 is any indication, he's rather good at this. On either end.
- He Who Fights Monsters: The intro to Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 has him ruminating that he became a massive asshole, "blinded by my own self-righteousness," to the point where he is labeled a tyrant.
- Heel Face Turn: He quits The Order after learning that they murdered Chandra's village for hiding her identity as a pyromancer.
- The Hero: For Magic Core Set 2012.
- Knight Templar: Until he learned the evil of his ways and was redeemed.
- Meat Shield: A specialty magic of his is a form of mind magic that makes his enemies unable to perceive any threat but Gideon.
- Nigh Invulnerability: Can grant himself this via magic for a limited amount of time.
- To Be Lawful or Good: His adventures with the free-spirited Chandra Nalaar cause him to question the righteousness of the organization he's been working for.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Chandra. He likes her, but doesn't like her chaotic, self-serving nature.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist
- Whip It Good: More specifically, his Weapon of Choice is a whiplike Urumi. (Gideon's weapon is also sometimes called a sural.)
Koth of the Hammer
Koth is a Vulshok planeswalker who wields red magic. His specialty is geomancy, spells that move mountains, shatter stone and melt iron. His earth magic has a special strength in it that allows him to purify metal, which reflects Koth’s own inner desire to bring peace and harmony to his people.
- Awesome McCoolname: For all intents and purposes "Of the Hammer" is actually Koth's surname. Vulshok take their monikers from their respective tribes.
- Dishing Out Dirt
- Good Is Not Nice
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- Recursive Acronym
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Koth is the Red Oni to Venser's Blue Oni in the Scars of Mirrodin novel.
- The Magnificent: The Hammer in his name refers to his tribe.
- The Penance: Koth has carved the Phyrexian emblem into his right wrist so that he will never forget what they've done to his home world.
- That's No Moon: His first and last abilities.
- Volcanic Veins
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Like all Vulshok men, he generally prefers to wear a loincloth.
Venser, the Sojourner
Venser is a planeswalker originally from Urborg who wields Blue and White Magic. His specialty is teleportation magic and building his own unique and powerful artifacts. Venser is brilliant and able to think fast on his feet to find a way out of any sticky situation he encounters. He relies on his knowledge of artifice and teleportation to pave his way through the Multiverse, where he satisfies his boundless curiosity of all things mechanical.
- Cool Helmet
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Foil: To Tezzeret. Where Tezzeret has Creative Sterility, Venser can't stop building things. Where Tezzeret turned to black mana, Venser turned to white. Tezzeret sided with Phyrexians, Venser aided the Mirrans. Tezzeret lived. Venser died.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Sacrifices himself to save Karn at the end of the Scars of Mirrodin block novel.
- Heroic Willpower: Ignited his Planeswalker spark by working tirelessly to stop temporal distortions around Dominaria and by building new inventions.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Koth's Red Oni.
- The Smart Guy: In the Scars of Mirrodin storyline, Venser is the logical, sciencey member of the lead trio. A telling moment is how in an early encounter with Phyrexian horrors, his instinct is to take samples and study them.
- Space and Time Master: Following in Teferi's footsteps, he can send things into the future (that is, to the end of your turn), send creatures directly to the enemy (make them unblockable), and erase things from existence (his emblem).
- Stock Sound Effects: The sound he makes when he teleports is "Tpff!"
- Teleporters and Transporters
- Ur Example: The first of the new breed of planeswalkers.
A sentient silver golem created by Urza to help with time travel experiments, Karn eventually joined the crew of the Weatherlight. Upon Urza's death, Karn inherited the Mightstone and Weakstone, and integrating them into his body caused him to ascend as the first known artifact planeswalker.
- Actual Pacifist: He's depicted in the art of the Tempest edition of Pacifism. And if he participates in combat, he gets -4/+4, making him a 0/8 unless you've modified him in some way. Until the 'Invasion' cycle, he was such a staunch pacifist that Volrath tortured him by locking him in a flowstone room filled with goblins and then shifting the flowstone to make him crush them with his own weight. But during 'Invasion,' he realizes that remaining pacifist will indirectly harm to those he wishes to protect.
Karn: Enough! If I must kill the guilty to save the innocent, then I will kill!
- And Then John Was a Zombie: The Phyrexians attempt to do this to him. And everything else. But since he was created to destroy Phyrexia, it's especially symbolic that they tried to do it to him.
- Artificial Intelligence
- Embarrassing Nickname: Before he got his name, the young and mischievous Teferi nicknamed him Arty Shovelhead.
- Fallen Hero: With the Phyrexian invasion of Mirrodin, the Phyrexians adopted him as their new Father of Machines. Eventually, he managed to escape their clutches, but not before the plane was lost.
- Genocide Dilemma: He was created to destroy the Phyrexians, who (if you've followed this far) aren't very nice. He's also a pacifist.
- Gentle Giant
- Heart Drive: His Heartstone, which originally belonged to Xantcha.
- Literal Change of Heart: In Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn, Venser saves Karn from the Phyrexians by giving Karn his heart, and with it, his planeswalker spark.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Karn's own heartstone drips with the Phyrexian Oil, which can infect entire planes if left unchecked. Most recently this happened with Karn's own plane of Argentum, turning it into Mirrodin and giving way for the rebirth of Phyrexia. It's implied he left this oil on every plane he traveled to, which is many.
- The Messiah: He's played this role to both the good guys and the Phyrexians.
- Nice Guy
- Non-Elemental: As a creature of artifice (golem), he's by nature outside the traditional color alignment.
- Person of Mass Destruction: When he became the Legacy Weapon.
- Time Master/Reset Button: His last ability is to restart the game, with everything he's exiled with his other abilities sent "back" to the beginning, on your side.
A recently revealed planeswalker, Kiora Atua is a merfolk planeswalker who commands the powers of the depths. Kiora venerates the huge creatures of the sea—krakens, leviathans, and other denizens of the inky depths—because for her they are evidence that even the most persistent forces can be endured: time, water, predation, and darkness. Kiora is a blue- and green-aligned Planeswalker. She seems calm and wise, but her dreams are bizarre beyond imagining.
- The Beast Master
- Cloudcuckoolander: Her dreams are said to be very weird.
- Jerkass: On the official Magic the Gathering Facebook page, Wizards mentioned that Kiora is "VERY mean".
- Our Mermaids Are Different
- Sea Monster: Summoning these seems to be her specialty.
The greatest thief in all the multiverse. Being sure never to stay in a place until he wears out his welcome, Dack Fayden uses his specialty, psychometry, to pry into any artifact he comes across, and learn everything about it. This also gives him some amount of prophetic visions. Using these talents, Dack travels from plane to plane, swiping whatever he sets his eyes on, not for wealth or for the thrill, but for knowledge. He is on the prowl for Sifa Grent, a planeswalker responsible for the annihilation of his hometown.
- Doomed Hometown
- Gentleman Thief
- Stealth Pun: His right arm is a bright red color up to his elbow. At some point, he must have been caught red handed.
- Technopath: Of a sort. He can "see" into the spells the make up any artifact he touches, allowing him to gain and understand the knowledge of how it was made, and what it can be used for.
Hailing from the city-plane of Ravnica and a former member of the Izzet League, Ral Zarek is a Blue and Red aligned planeswalker who debuted in the Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 expansion. Not much is currently known about him.
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
A moonfolk planeswalker hailing from Kamigawa, Tamiyo is a blue-aligned planeswalker who believes that all planes hold a mystery that sets it apart from each other. She came to Innistrad to research the interesting magical properties of its silver moon.
- Lunacy: Her academic obsession in Innistrad.
Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded
Hailing from Innistrad, Tibalt began his career as a skaberen - a Blue aligned Mad Scientist necromancer - but he lacked the talent for corpse reanimation. This incited feelings of rage, and thus he turned to experiments on living beings. Feeling empowered, he became a sadist, and the cruelty of his experiments attracted devils. Eventually, the cathars discovered his evil and tried to arrest him. In rage, he casted a spell that fused him with the devils, igniting his spark in the process. Now half-human half-devil, he is free to do as he pleases in the multiverse. Notable for being the first pure-Red villain since pre-revisionist.
- From Nobody to Nightmare
- Half-Human Hybrid
- Mad Scientist: An unusual example, since he is Red rather than Blue. Then again, he is only in it For the Evulz.
- Our Demons Are Different: Innistrad devils are Red aligned, wingless, and are basically internet trolls Up to Eleven. Tibalt is all of those, though he is presumably more intelligent than a regular devil.
- Playing with Fire: Being Red aligned, it's a given.
Phyrexia and Mirrodin
Life is ephemeral. Phyrexia is eternal.
Perhaps the most iconic, notorious, beloved, and horrifying bad guys of the whole franchise, Phyrexia began in Magic's early days as a flesh hating cult, and since then has been fleshed out as one of the most disturbing and complex factions of the Multiverse.
Phyrexia was originally a dying, swampy plane designed by a dragon planeswalker. Later came Yawgmoth, which alongside the members of his civilization that were banished alongside him after a series of events in his homeworld, turned the plane into a world of nine layers that can best be described as Hell. The Phyrexian civilization was a well-structured, organised dictatorship that had a vicious, semi-religious philosophy that declared that flesh was imperfect and should be replaced by metal in various manners of Body Horror, turning the altered creatures into unrecognisable monstrosities. Worshipping machines (but only those made by Yawgmoth; the rest are heretical mockeries), the Phyrexians tried to take over Dominaria, but were ultimately defeated and their plane destroyed.
However, the process of phyresis required an oil created by Yawgmoth himself, an oil that infects creatures and changes their minds, making them want to become Phyrexians. Karn's "heart" had a bit of this oil in it, and it infected his created plane Mirrodin. It infected the guardian of the plane, Memnarch, leading him to become insane, and once he died the organisms of the plane became vulnerable to the oil's influence, resulting in the rebirth of Phyrexia.
The Ineffable, a.k.a. Yawgmoth
- Affably Evil: As a human. A learned, charming man with a penchant for hygiene who becomes a nearly invincible creature and plans to create a brand new order. He's basically Dominaria's Mayor Wilkins, only without the Morality Pet.
- Agent Scully: He provides the snarking quote for Black Box.
- A God Am I: In fact, he actually becomes the god of Phyrexia, so he's way less delusional than most of the examples of this trope.
- Badass Boast: An entire chapter of Apocalypse novel is dedicated to this.
- Badass Normal: When he was a human, before becoming a Badass Abnormal.
- Big Bad
- CCG Importance Dissonance: Despite being one of the most powerful beings--perhaps the most powerful--in the whole Multiverse, Yawgmoth never obtained his own card (although, that'd be like printing a card of God in, say, Top Trumps). He is, however, related to the (in)famous pair of powerful banned/restricted cards, Yawgmoth's Will and Yawgmoth's Bargain.
- Celibate Villain: Maybe it didn't help that the woman he loved sealed him in another dimension for 9,000 years.
- The Chessmaster
- Dark Is Evil
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- The Thran is dedicated to Dmitri Shostakovich, who, the author states, "survived a real-life Yawgmoth".
- The structure of Phyrexia is composed of nine progressively smaller hollow planets resting inside one another, with each sphere having a specific function and Yawgmoth residing in the ninth innermost sphere. Replace Phyrexia with Hell and Yawgmoth with Satan, and you have Inferno.
- Eldritch Abomination
- Emperor Scientist
- Evil Genius/Mad Scientist/Wicked Cultured
- Evilutionary Biologist
- Exact Words: During The Thran, he vows to cure one of the infected rioters of his disease. He does so, and the cure works...but Yawgmoth then injects him with poison as punishment for his crimes.
- Fog of Doom: His appearance on Dominaria.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Despite becoming the most powerful being in the Multiverse, he resents planeswalker since he doesn't have the spark. Thinking such powers are generated by a gland, he dissects a planeswalker in order to find it.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: See CCG Importance Dissonance. Not only does he not have his own card, he's never depicted in any art in his true form, with the sole picture of him being when he was a human. The closest we have is Yawgmoth's Bargain.
- I Have Many Names: The Ineffable, The Father of the Machines, The Lord of Wastes...
- The Scottish Trope: ...just don't use his real one.
- Just Think of the Potential: When he found out a cure for phthisis.
- Killed Off for Real: The current story team seems very intent on making sure he never makes a comeback. While Scourge features a scene showing him wounded, but alive, that's since been retconned with at least two Take Thats in the Time Spiral block (Windgrace states that he has confirmed Yawgmoth as dead, and Urborg is known as the Tomb of Yawgmoth), and the leaders of Phyrexia are now explicitly the Praetors.
- Knight Templar: Is obsessed with reaching perfection for Phyrexia.
- Kynos Hellenikos: Phyresis.
- Machine Worship/Cybernetics Eat Your Soul/Mechanical Lifeforms/Organic Technology
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast
- A Nazi by Any Other Name
- Nigh Invulnerable
- No Cure for Evil: It has been stated very clearly that he was a skilled surgeon, not healer. Science Is Bad, so we still get our villain.
- Nothing Is Scarier: See He Who Must Not Be Seen.
- The Perfectionist
- Physical God
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Caused by being Sealed In A Can.
- The Scottish Trope: It's generally considered bad luck to speak his true name, hence the various euphemisms. Some fans, particularly Phyrexian symphasisers, have taken up this custom. It doesn't seem to have any supernatural repercussions, though.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: For nine millennia.
- Start of Darkness: The Thran.
- Straw Vulcan: In The Thran.
- Ultimate Evil: Until the end of Apocalypse.
- Utopia Justifies the Means
- Villain Protagonist: In The Thran. The book has several main characters, but there's no question as to who ends up the most important.
- Visionary Villain
- Was Once a Man: Not only Yawgmoth himself, but most of the Phyrexians. Many of which do not resemble the organisms they were made from. At all.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: During The Thran. Also, from his point of view, invading Dominaria is a way to improve it.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: He despises Gerrard's request to have Hanna back if he defeats Urza in the arena because he sees love as a weakness.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form
Yawgmoth's original praetor and right hand man. Originally called to Dominaria by Urza and Mishra through a portal in the caves of Koilos. His priests corrupted Mishra and used him as a pawn to try and take the plane over. Urza was able to drive him back...well, most of him; the portal closed before he was all the way through, severing his claw. He was tortured for a thousand years for his failure to take Dominaria, and was eventually shunted into an unstable temporal portal of his own creation. Whether he still exists is unknown.
- And I Must Scream: If he survived his final battle with Urza, this is likely his final reward.
- The Dragon: Yawgmoth's first.
- Holier Than Thou: "We decide who is worthy of our works."
- Karmic Transformation: He is introduced as a remorseless killer, and is eventually transformed to appear as the monster that he is. Unfortunately, for Phyrexians in general this is almost always considered Cool and Unusual Punishment or Cursed with Awesome, at the absolute worst.
- Knight Templar
The original evincar of Rath. Was eventually replaced.
- Achilles Heel: Davvol's Phyrexian boss gives him a skullcap which is impenetrable except for a small circular indentation at the back. Davvol correctly suspects that this weak point was deliberately engineered to allow him to be killed once he's outlived his usefulness.
- The Chew Toy
- Doomed by Canon: He appeared as Evincar of Rath in Urza's Legacy, a prequel to the Weatherlight Saga, in which we already saw Rath ruled by a different Evincar.
Born Vuel, son of Sidar Kondo in Jamuraa. He failed his ritual rite of passage due to machinations of agents of Rath, and was saved from death by his adopted brother, Gerrard, which he took as a Fate Worse Than Death, as he was disowned by his clan for his failure. The agents of Rath (Yawgmoth and the Phyrexians) stoked his newfound enmity of Gerrard and made him Volrath, evincar (ruler) of Rath. Years later, he kidnapped Captain Sisay of the Weatherlight, hoping to lure the Legacy to the plane and destroy it and its heir (Gerrard again). When the gambit failed, he shapeshifted into his agent's daughter to attempt to destroy them from within. Failing this, he killed his agent and returned to Rath...where he was captured and executed by the new evincar of Rath, Crovax.
- Arch Enemy: To Gerrard.
- Cain and Abel: With Gerrard.
- The Dragon: To Yawgmoth. Had one himself in Greven il-Vec.
- Evil Former Friend: To (guess who?) Gerrard.
- You Have Failed Me: Yawgmoth's response to Volrath's twice failure to kill Gerrard and procure the Legacy? Give Rath to Crovax and let him execute Volrath in the most hideous way possible.
A cursed noble from Urborg who eventually becomes Evincar of Rath and leader of the Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria.
- Death Equals Redemption: After his (Crovax's) death, Gerrard sees both his and Selenia's spirits finally reuniting, free of their corruption.
- The Dragon: To Yawgmoth.
- Face Heel Turn
- Fallen Hero
- Love Makes You Crazy
- Not So Different: From Gerrard
- Our Vampires Are Different: He became one as the final part of a curse.
- Tragic Villain: When he was forced to kill the love of his life (an angel named Selenia), the corruption that had taken control of her did the same to him. He continues his service to Yawgmoth because he "gave" Selenia back to him, albeit in the form of an artificial copy.
The Phyrexian general in Invasion. A half-human half-spider hybrid with mechanical augmentations and a great lust for battle and death.
- Ax Crazy
- Bald Woman
- The Dragon: To Crovax.
- Hero-Killer: Her card revolves around destroying legendary creatures.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming
- You Have Failed Me: Her eventual end.
Not all Phyrexians were turned into machines; some were made humanoid spies. One of said spies, Xantcha, rebelled against her masters, and became a hero, allying herself to Urza.
- Artificial Human
- Dark Is Not Evil: Quite a beloved character, in fact.
- Defector From Decadence
- Floating in A Bubble: Urza implanted a cyst in her stomach that allows her to yawn a giant bubble out of her mouth, which she can use to fly around in. It's rather disgusting, actually.
- Heroic Sacrifice: She sacrifices herself to defeat Gix and save Urza.
- Morality Pet: To Urza. She's his anchor to sanity.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much
- No Biological Sex: Though she self-identifies as female following her Mind Rape by Gix, she is biologically neuter.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else: She's a sleeper agent.
- You Are Number Six: "Xantcha" is a Phyrexian number.
A fallen angel and Crovax's love, Crovax ultimately saw her betray the crew of the Weatherlight and killed her for doing so, fulfilling the curse that he would fight evil and join it. In the Planar Chaos alternate timeline, Mirri kills Selenia and becomes the evincar instead, and Crovax becomes a hero.
- Apocalypse Maiden
- Light Is Not Good: Still retains white mana, despite having some black added.
- Replacement Goldfish: The "copy" Yawgmoth created after her death.
- Thanatos Gambit: She had to die to fulfill Crovax's curse.
The world of Mirrodin is a mishmash of life and metal, populated by as many or more machines as organic life. Even the creatures there have metal within them. Since metal is colorless, the plane finds its mana sources in its suns/moons, five giant glowing satellites that glow with each of the five colors.
- Body Horror
- The Chessmaster: He has spies on almost every corner of the world, and said world is just a large machine working toward his purposes.
- Mad Scientist
- Technopath/ The Assimilator: His special abilities are the abiltiies to convert permanents into artifacts and then take control of them.
Raksha Golden Cub
- The Hero
- King of Beasts
- The Leader: Of the leonin faction.
- Panthera Awesome
- Walking Shirtless Scene: He wears shoulder and arms protection, but leaves his chest exposed.
After its infection began to spread, many of Mirrodin's natives gathered in the lower layers of the world, and transformed themselves into Phyrexians. After a long period of time rebuilding, they emerged and battled the Mirrans, sparking a war that ended with the compleation of Mirrodin into New Phyrexia.
Unlike the mono-black Old Phyrexia, this one has all colours of Magic under its control, and has factions for each colour, each of them with a Praetor (essencially a lord) guiding it. The White faction is the Machine Orthodoxy, the Blue faction is the Progress Engine, the Red faction is responsible for the mass production of weapons (and is secretly hiding the surviving resistance members), the Green faction wants to turn the plane in a savage sentient-less world where only the strong thrive, and the Black faction is just a bunch of Starscreams trying to usurp the throne, with no observable function to the rest of Phyrexia.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Welcome to New Phyrexia, folks.
- Body Horror
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Elesh Norn is Choleric, Jin-Gitaxias is Melancholic, Sheoldred is Phlegmatic, Vorinclex is Sanguine and Urabrask is Supine. Appropriately, the praetors of opposed temperaments dislike each other.
- The Perfectionist: Each praetor is obsessed by reaching their perfect view of Phyrexia.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: While the praetors work together to conquest the whole Mirrodin, they clearly despise each other's vision of New Phyrexia. Vorinclex and Jin-Gitaxias stand out the most.
Jin-Gitaxias: "I despise Vorinclex and his slobberings about ‘evolution.' Only I know true progress."
Vorinclex: "Dead or alive, my creations are stronger than Jin-Gitaxias's septic minions."
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Especially from Elesh Norn and Jin-Gitaxias' point of view.
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
The White Praetor. Leads the theocratic faction known as the Machine Orthodoxy.
"Your creations are effective, Sheoldred; but we must unite the flesh, not merely flay it."
- Beneath the Mask: It's unclear how much she really believes in her doctrine and how much she's twisting the teachings for her own benefit. Ironically, she's the only praetor to wear an actual mask.
- Faceless Mooks: Members of the Machine Orthodoxy cover their faces in the porcelain-like metal that forms their shells.
- Flaying Alive: Getting rid of skin is the first step to become a white Phyrexian.
- The Fundamentalist
- High Priestess
- Holier Than Thou
- Impractically Fancy Outfit: It's not entirely clear how she manages to fit her gargantuan head boomerang through doors.
- Knight Templar
- Lean and Mean: Not as lean as Jin-Gitaxias, but still counts.
- Light Is Not Good
- Machine Worship: One of the most literal applications of this trope.
- Meaningful Name: "Elesh" is a Hindu names that means "monarch", and Norns are female characters in Norse mythology who rule the destiny of gods and men. It suits well her High Priest position.
- Moral Sociopathy: All Phyrexians think that their Nightmare Fuel inducing procedures of Body Horror infliction while the victims are still alive are to be done, but she takes this Up to Eleven, truly believing that her factions horrifying mutilations and brainwashing are for the greater good. Furthermore, the fact that she is an expert at manipulation and deceit further indicates her nature as The Sociopath.
- Obfuscating Stupidity/Insanity: She appears to be a delirious, insane religious lunatic, but she's actually a rather clever manipulative bitch.
- Principles Zealot
- Religion of Evil: The Machine Orthodoxy.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them: Secretly twists and subverts her own teachings for personal benefit.
- Sinister Minister
- Undying Loyalty: To Karn, so long as he's the Father of Machines.
- White Mask of Doom
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
The Blue Praetor. Leads the Phyrexian R&D department known as the Progress Engine.
- Awesome but Impractical: True of most of the Praetor cycle, but he's the most so at ten mana. If you can get him out (reanimation works), he'll draw you seven cards every turn and reduce your opponents' hand sizes to zero. Victory is almost guaranteed after that.
- Awesome McCoolname
- Bright Is Not Good: His residence, Lumengrid, is a pretty place filled with blue light from Mirrodin's Blue Sun and he and his servants have pristine silver metal on their bodies, but they're evil.
- Chrome Champion
- Emperor Scientist: Of his faction.
- Evil Genius
- Just Think of the Potential
- Knight Templar: Is obsessed with perfecting Phyrexia.
- Lean and Mean
- Machine Worship: Some flavor texts have him referring to his works as "blessing".
- Mad Scientist
- Mechanical Lifeforms
- The Red Mage: Besides Blue mana he apparently can make use of Black mana and White mana, as implied in the page on the Planeswalker's Guide to New Phyrexia.
- The Starscream: He also plots against Karn, although he doesn't mind if someone else takes the throne so long as said person is competent.
- Totalitarian Utilitarian: While Elesh Norn focuses on the the words of the Argent Etchings, Jin-Gitaxias puts the results, or the "Great Synthesis" first. Strangely enough, the two of them get along well.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His aim is to create the perfect New Phyrexia. At any cost.
Sheoldred, the Whispering One
The Black Praetor. Maintains her position by out-backstabbing the other members of the Seven Steel Thanes.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder
- Dark Is Evil
- Flaying Alive: As seen in cards like Skinrender, her faction is prone to this.
- Knowledge Broker
- Manipulative Bitch
- Meaningful Name/Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Sheol is Hebrew for "hell".
- Necromancer: Appearently she has "necromantic visions".
- Our Centaurs Are Different: She has a humanoid upperbody attached to an enormous spider like creature.
- Puppeteer Parasite
- The Starscream: She's survived and dominated the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder-fest that is Black Phyrexia by being a better, more well-informed Starscream than the rest.
Urabrask the Hidden
The Red Praetor and leader of the Quiet Furnace.
- Dark Chick
- Even Evil Has Standards
- Mad Artist: It is implied that he wants to turn Mirrodin/New Phyrexia into what he considers aesthetically pleasing.
- Our Dragons Are Different: His appearence has led to the speculation that he is a "compleated" furnace dragon (a species that once occured in Mirrodin).
- Token Good Teammate: He and his entire faction are, due to their red mana, not entirely bound to Phyrexian will and are capable of compassion. He's betraying the rest of the Phyrexians (that is, betraying them a different reason than wanting the big chair for himself) by allowing Mirran refugees to hide within his territory, and banned the other factions from entering.
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
The Green Praetor and boss of the Vicious Swarm.
- The Brute
- Don't Think, Feel: He wants to eliminate sentience and turn the whole Mirrodin into a lawless predatory ground.
- Dumb Muscle: At least, that's how Jin-Gitaxias sees him. Given what Vorinclex's plan is, the blue Praetor couldn't be much wrong.
- Evilutionary Biologist
- Large and In Charge
- Meaningful Name/Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Vore" is a suffix related to eating.
- The Social Darwinist
- Villainous Glutton
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Once the mighty lord of the Vault of Whispers, he was overthrown after trying to pull a You Have Failed Me on the wrong minion. After spending some time as nothing more than an undead talking head, he became a collaborator with the Phyrexians in exchange for a new body. He is now trying to claw his way back up to the top of the heap, a task complicated by all the other Phyrexians who are also vying for the position.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Punished his incompetent minion Yert by feeding him to a vampire. Result: Yert became a vampire, gaining both the strength and motivation to overthrow Geth.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen
- Les Collaborateurs: And he brought along the entire Moriok tribe of humans with him.
- Losing Your Head
- Magically-Binding Contract: His primary weapon. If you break it, he owns your soul.
- Sickly Green Glow: Seen in Promise of Power.
- Token Evil Teammate: To Glissa, during the time after his overthrow and before the Phyrexian invasion
Glissa Sunseeker/Glissa the Traitor
- Brought Down to Normal: For a while she was a planeswalker, but she lost her spark after nearly dying in a fight against.
- The Dragon: To Vorinclex.
- Face Heel Turn
- Fallen Hero
- Luke Nounverber
- Our Elves Are Better
- Tragic Villain
The Mirran Resistance
Over time, all of Mirrodin unites against Phyrexia, except those already infected. As one can see, the Mirran faction becomes smaller, but, as one might expect, individual Mirran cards become stronger against infect decks. For planeswalkers on the Mirran side, check out the planeswalker section.
Traditional Mirran mechanics such as imprint and artifact interaction remain, with first strike and double strike being more Mirran than Phyrexian to the end.
- Body Horror: A much milder example; the Mirrans will amputate and subsequently burn infected limbs, rather than become Phyrexian.
- The Missing Faction: There are almost no black-aligned Mirran resistance members in New Phyrexia. Most, if not all, of them have fallen to the Phyrexian contagion.
Melira, Sylvok Outcast
- All of the Other Reindeer: She was rejected because she didn't have metal growing out of her like other Mirrans. This proves to be a blessing in New Phyrexia.
- The Immune
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Literally. As long as she's in play, you can't get poison counters, and other creatures you control can't get -1/-1 counters.
- The Medic
Kemba, Kha Regent
Thrun, the Last Troll
- Last of His Kind: With a title like "the last troll", yeah.
- The Spiny: With hexproof and regeneration, it's easy to see why he's the last troll.
Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer
- Determinator: His flavor text says it all.
- Badass Beard
- Because Destiny Says So: He has a lot of destiny to back him up, but he'd rather it not.
- Cain and Abel: With Volrath.
- CCG Importance Dissonance: Despite his importance in the story arc, his card is quite weak.
- Face Heel Turn: He bows to Yawgmoth and agrees to fight with Urza to death in order to get Hanna's back.
- The Hero: But not The Captain.
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Love Makes You Crazy: In Apocalypse, until this, which leads to...
- ... Shattering the Illusion
- Turned Against Their Masters: In Apocalypse, he beheads Urza.
- Back From the Dead: Turns out it was Yawgmoth's bluff.
- Badass Bookworm: She was the daughter of Barrin, master of Tolarian Academy.
- Killed Off for Real
- The Smart Guy
- Wrench Wench
- The Big Guy
- Blood Knight
- Body Horror: As a result of mutations done by Volrath
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Especially if Squee is annoying him.
- Hot-Blooded: He's the most impulsive and aggressive member of the crew.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
Squee, Goblin Nabob
- Back From the Dead: Unfortunately, it's a part of Yawgmoth's reward to Crovax. See Nigh Invulnerability.
- Our Goblins Are Different
- Nigh Invulnerability: Post-Face Heel Turn Crovax amuses himself by killing Squee repeatedly and watching him come back to life.
- Plucky Comic Relief
- Teen Genius: At least, for goblin standards.
Orim, Samite Healer
Ertai, Wizard Adept/Ertai the Corrupted
- Body Horror: A side effect of his being "healed" by black mana and mutated by Crovax.
- Face Heel Turn
- Small Name, Big Ego: Oh, so much.
- Smug Snake
- The Dragon: To Crovax.
- Took a Level In Badass
- Took a Level In Jerkass
Mirri, Cat Warrior
- Butt Monkey: She has an unrequited crush on her childhood friend Gerrard. She loses nearly all of the fights she's in. She dies fighting Crovax after he gets cursed. She's barely even mentioned after her death. And then, in the Time Spiral block, she's the one who gets cursed and becomes evincar of Rath while Crovax, the man who killed her in the original timeline, lives and becomes a hero. When even multiple timelines conspire to ensure you never have anything remotely resembling a happy ending, you know the multiverse hates your guts.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend
Guilds of Ravnica
Azorius Senate: White and Blue (article here.)
Logic & Power (Blue), and/or Law & Order (White). What other being would be interested in law and order than those interested in logic and power? The Azorius Senate is the legislative body of Ravnica. Their goal is to control the city with law-magic and maintain order--at any cost.
- Calling Your Attacks: Forecast in a nutshell.
- The Evils of Free Will
- Knight Templar: Any mean is justified to prevent any non-static activity on Ravnica. Their guild mechanic, Forecast, allows them to maintain the status quo by re-using the same spell every turn.
- Light Is Not Good: Augustin IV was from this guild and one of the antagonists in the Ravnica novels. The rest of the guild are not really that much better; they're only in check because their obsession with bureaucracy keeps them perpetually occupied.
- Moral Sociopathy: Rather chillingly obsessed with laws and order and not the least bit caring for the people of Ravnica.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Cemented by their guildhouse's flavor text: Prahv, where much work is done to make sure nothing is accomplished.
- Principles Zealot
- To Be Lawful or Good
- Vast Bureaucracy
So, what do you get when you combine the equalizers (white) and those who want power at any cost (black)? You get the Orzhov Syndicate, a "religious" organization which resembles a mafia more than a church. They manage business and commerce in the city by means of a protection racket--authorized businesses pay taxes to the Orzhov, and unauthorized businesses risk being shut down or worse. Ability-wise: Haunt is perfect for either, because it takes black's ability to manipulate the game from the graveyard. Strategy-wise: Bleeding to death; slowly and painfully. The Orzhov takes white's ability to slow down the entire game and let the opponent be chiseled away, bit by bit. Plus you probably owe them money.
- Corrupt Church
- Dark Is Not Evil/Light Is Not Good: Plays both roles, with the main organisation being assholes but with some members like Teysa Karlov being more decent people. Of course, given the nature of the guild, Light Is Good and Dark Is Evil is also present.
- The Mafia
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Path of Inspiration
- Religion of Evil: The organization that comes closer to it on Ravnica.
- Soul Power: Both White and Black are the colours most associated with spirits, so naturally these guys have complete mastery in this type of magic.
House Dimir: Blue and Black (article here.)
The blue-black House Dimir is not interested in sharing information. In fact, they like secrets so much that they decided to conceal their very existence. As far as most of Ravnica's citizens know, there are only nine guilds, and that's just the way their leader, the mind-leeching vampire Szadek, likes it. As master mind mages, the Dimir have domain over both players' hands and libraries, with the ability to manipulate spells before they're even cast by discarding, rearranging, or milling them. Their guild mechanic Transmute is just one example, allowing Dimir mages to exchange spells in their hand for other spells from their deck.
- Big Brother Is Watching
- Blatant Lies: If you ask any Dimir member about Dimir, you'll just hear that Dimir does not exist.
- Mind Rape: Cards like Szadek (the Dimir leader) and Glimpse the Unthinkable are this in spades.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Their ghosts are employed as spies, cutpurses and assassins.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Go after your minds instead of your blood. And have names that sound like the the word for "buttocks" in several Slavic languages.
- The Worm That Walks: Mindleech Mass is a pile of mind-sucking leeches. A similar creature features prominently in the Ravnica novel.
The Izzet are the main researchers in Ravnica. Science, engineering, and other similar topics fall to them. They even have exclusive dominion over something called Meta-magic (or the study of magic itself). Through this, they have the ability called Replicate, which allows a spell on the stack to be copied over as many times a player wishes. This combines blue's knowledge of magic and red's love for instant gratification. The guild's leader and founder is the vain but brilliant Niv-Mizzet the Firemind, the last dragon on Ravnica (in theory).
- Absent-Minded Professor
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: An In-Depth Look At The Izze-Hey, Look At That!
- Cloudcuckoolander: All other Guilds have a goal (even Gruul). The Izzet do crazy stuff like this to themselves for the lulz (and science).
- Exact Words: This card's flavor.
- For Science!
- Impossible Genius: To quote An In-Depth Look at The Izze-Hey, Look At That!:
"Niv-Mizzet is the smartest living thing on the plane of Ravnica. This does not mean his SAT score would be 1 higher than the second smartest being. This means that he is so smart that he could, using #2 lead of course, fill in his little ovals in such a pattern that, when scanned by the computer, would reprogram it, giving him a perfect score and everybody else a zero, then the computer would shut off its fans, overheat, and burst into flames. Oh, and he'd be able to do this in the time it takes the other testers to open their booklets. Then he would burn everyone in the room wearing sweat pants thinking it would help them stay comfortable and, therefore, test better. Morons. (And yes, he can read minds - so he can spare the poor shmo who wears sweat pants because he thinks they're cool. He can… but he doesn't. Why stop the barbecue!)"
- Insufferable Genius: Niv-Mizzet is known for its incredible knowledge as well for its unquenchable vanity.
- Mad Scientist
- Our Dragons Are Different: The most intelligent being on the planet is the last dragon, Niv-Mizzet, who is also arrogant and vain.
Cult of Rakdos: Black and Red (article here.)
For the Cult of Rakdos, the whole world is a party. The kind of party where you die. Led and founded by the demon Rakdos the Defiler, this guild is a sadomasochistic cult that thrives on causing pain and chaos just for the thrill of it. Their hedonistic outlook leads them to care very little about how many cards they need to discard or creatures they need to sacrifice to do what they want. This is exemplified in their Hellbent mechanic--when you've exhausted all the cards in your hand, that's just an excuse to party even harder! And by "party" we mean "kill people". Despite their penchant for causing mayhem, the other guilds tolerate the Rakdos Cultists because they run a useful slave trade that provides the rest of the city with cheap labor.
- Always Chaotic Evil: They do nothing but atrocity after atrocity.
- Big Red Devil: Rakdos himself.
- Circus of Fear: Their cards have a circus motif.
- Combat Sadomasochist: Perhaps best exemplified by Bond of Agony. They like torture so much that they'll torture themselves along with their victims. Torture for everybody!
- For the Evulz
- The Hedonist
- It Amused Me
- Nietzsche Wannabe
- Religion of Evil: Well, they are a cult, and they do murder people as part of being a cult.
- Too Kinky to Torture
The green-black Golgari Swarm has embraced the dichotomy of life and death. Life and death are a natural cycle, and the Golgari see Necromancy as an extension of that cycle. The graveyard is just another resource to the Golgari, a philosophy which manifests itself in their guild mechanic, Dredge, which allows them to harvest and re-use spells from their graveyard while simultaneously cultivating that graveyard with new spells to dredge. Of course, their role in Ravnican society is more than just raising zombies: they're also farmers who supply most of the food for the rest of the plane. (And they always have very good fertilizer.)
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Guild leadership in the Golgari is always contested.
- Dark Is Not Evil: While in the story the Golgari suffered from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder among their leaders and Savra actually went along the Dimir's plans, the truth is that most Golgari were merely the ravnican analogue of farmers and were otherwise barely involved with the larger conflict. Eventually, their leader was replaced by a much more decent person, Jarad, which reforms the group's ways alongside his son.
- Meaningful Name: Golgari is derived from Golgotha.
- Night of the Living Mooks
Gruul Clans: Red and Green (article here.)
The red-green Gruul Clans are a collection of loosely-organized barbarian tribes who scorn civilization, preferring to live free in what's left of Ravnica's wilderness. They're not much for inaction, which is why their guild mechanic Bloodthirst rewards players who take an active role in the game, actually drawing blood from their opponents instead of sitting around thinking about it.
- Barbarian Hero
- Barbarian Tribe: And the Burning Tree is merely the largest one.
- Don't Think, Feel
- Meaningful Name: Borborygmos is derived from borborygmus, which is the growling and rumbling noises that one's stomach and intestines make.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- Slave Race: How the Orzhov Syndicate think of them.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: They are really good at smashing stuff, so that's pretty much how they solve all of their problems.
The Boros Legion are responsible for much of the law enforcement in Ravnica. They combine white's desire for order with red's passion, creating a passion for justice as they see it. Being of the law, they have to go by the rule "if it affects one, it affects all". And so, like modern law, they will arrest and execute anything they see as a danger, and empower anything they see as helpful (regardless of what that being is fighting for). This is reflected in their guild mechanic, Radiance. Through it, the guild can affect everyone/everything that shares a color with the target.
- Always Gets His Man: Agrus Kos.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: Played for Drama when, at the end of Ravnica when the Dimir and Golgari team up to try and take over the world, Sunhome and all the angels mysteriously disappear, and aren't seen again until the end of Guildpact. Crashing into Prahv.
Selesnya Conclave: Green and White (article here.)
The Conclave loves to help one another. They all have the ability Convoke; which uses green's mana acceleration and white's equalizing. With that, a spell can be played much cheaper at the cost of tapping a few creatures.
- Assimilation Plot: Brainwash people into joining their ranks.
- Hive Mind: All the members of the Conclave can hear its song in their heads.
- The Evils of Free Will
- The Needs of the Many
- Well-Intentioned Extremist
The Simic Combine blue's lust for knowledge and "improvement" and green's love of life. Like other green-based guilds, they focus on creatures more than anything else. Their ability, Graft, allows strength and life to be moved to any incoming creature. Once a creature is complete, they are sellable to the mass market. But, like the Izzet, they aren't satisfied with just one; or rather with just one type. So, they continue to create new and "improved" versions of nature.
- Bio Augmentation
- Closer to Earth: Than the Izzet. This isn't saying much.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Momir Vig.
- Gone Horribly Right: Mocked in this card.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke
- Just Think of the Potential: As opposed to Izzet's For Science!.
- Mad Scientist: They're the "obsessive" kind, instead of the Izzet's "amiable madman" kind.
- The Medic: Their original purpose.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: They will make your life better (for a certain value thereof) whether you like it or not.
Lorwyn and Shadowmoor
Dubbed The Last Yew, he is one of the oldest Treefolk in Lorwyn and has foreseen the coming of the Great Aurora, which will plunge the bright Lorwyn into the dark Shadowmoor, wiping out the memories of their inhabitants. He is killed some time prior to that event, but leaves behind a sapling which carries his memories until after Shadowmoor comes.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Sapling is one of the few Black aligned protagonists.
- Good Is Not Nice: The closest thing to a Big Good in the setting. A Big Good that manipulates the crap out of everyone.
- Last of His Kind
- Thanatos Gambit
- Unexplained Recovery: Although somewhat not as himself; The sapling is called a she.
The queen of the faeries. She is another of the few individuals aware of the Great Aurora, and in fact is immune to it.
- Big Bad: The Eventide novel eventually paints her as this.
- Hive Queen
- Large and In Charge: The largest being among the fae. Also, unlike her minions, who are insectoid, she appears as a woman covered in flowers.
A giant who is yet another one to be aware of the Great Aurora. She manages to resist the effect of the aurora unlike her kin and thus is the only giant in Shadowmoor who keeps her memories of Lorwyn intact.
- Cassandra Truth: Her flavor text reads: Night after night, Rosheen babbled about a bygone sunlit world, her every word dismissed as a madwoman's ravings.
Toshiro Umezawa, or "Toshi" for short, is the black-aligned protagonist of the Kamigawa saga. Toshi's only true loyalty is to himself, and he'll never fight when it's possible to bargain. Luckily for the rest of Kamigawa, it's currently in his best interest to save the world.
- Anti-Hero: Toshi is selfish and underhanded, and his first instinct upon rescuing the princess is to ransom her.
- Badass: Makes use of intelligence, strength, kanji magic and more to do things from imprisoning powerful snow spirits to slaughtering onis. He appearently also does pretty fine without sight, up to travelling for miles following the smell of a swamp
- Badass Boast: See To the Pain.
- Blood Brothers: Toshi is the founder of the Hyozan Reckoners, a gang of Blood Brothers bound by magical oath to brutally avenge the death of any other member.
- Casting a Shadow: Got fused with the Shadow Gate, allowing him to move around freely in all of Kamigawa's shadows.
- Dark Is Not Evil: A prominent example of black taking a heroic role in the storyline.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Just Whistle: Toshi negotiates a bargain of this nature with a giant moth whose life he saved.
- Handicapped Badass: At the end of Saviors, the Myojin of Night's Reach blinds him.
- Political Hero: The quintessential example. In an early scene, he joins a group of assassins contracted to kill the ogre Hidetsugu. While the other assassins jump into the fray, Toshi hangs back. After all his companions are dead, he calmly approaches Hidetsugu and offers to become Blood Brothers instead. (It works.)
- Sealed Badass in a Can: The yuki-onna. Toshi does the sealing.
- To the Pain: Modus operandi of the Hyozan Reckoners. Toshi delivers a particularly Badass Boast to Kobo's murderer:
We will kill you.
We will burn your fields, steal your treasure, destroy your house, and enslave your children. We will murder your spouse, poison your pets, and blaspheme on the graves of your ancestors. We will do all this, and the only way to avoid it is if we cannot find you.
We've already found you.
Konda, Lord of Eiganjo
Takeshi Konda is the ruler of a vast empire spanning most of Kamigawa. Seeking immortality, he committed a great crime that triggered the spirit war and eventually drove him to madness.
- Black Eyes of Crazy: Konda's eyes are the only visual indication of his transformation. They change color and begin to swivel around randomly.
- The Caligula: He's quite mad to begin with, and when Toshi steals his precious Power Source, he goes into full crazy mode and devotes the full resources of his empire to its pursuit.
- The Emperor
- A God Am I: Konda fancies himself the all-powerful eternal ruler of the realm.
- Light Is Not Good: Despite all of this, he is still pure White. In fact, to this day he retains the honour of being the only White villain to be the Big Bad of a setting, even if he is not as horrible a Knight Templar as posterior White villains have been. For added bonus see his depiction in Reverence.
- Nigh Invulnerable
- Parental Neglect: He cares more about his power than he does about his daughter, and rarely ever speaks to her or spends time with her.
- Sanity Slippage: He becomes more and more obsessed as the trilogy progresses.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
That Which Was Taken/The Taken One/Kyodai
A fragment of the soul of O-Kagachi, stolen from the spirit realm by Lord Konda in order to perform a ritual that would make him invincible.
- Artifact of Attraction: Especially pronounced in Saviors of Kamigawa, where Konda and O-Kagachi himself both go on huge-scale rampages chasing after their prize.
- Barrier Maiden: She and Michiko team up after the war to become the new guardians of the barrier between the mortal and spirit realms.
- Fusion Dance: With Michiko
- MacGuffin Girl: Takes a human form when Toshi releases her from the stone disc towards the end of the war.
Many aeons ago, Alara was a single, whole plane. Then, a cataclysmic event known as The Sundering occurred, which ended with the plane fractured and stripped of all its mana. Over time, the plane fractured and separated into five sub-planes, known as the Shards. Each of the five Shards regained mana over time, but with a twist. Only three of the five colors of mana returned--one dominant color and its two allied colors. Each Shard is defined not only by what mana they have but the traits of the other two colors they don't have. Throughout the events of the Shards of Alara block, the planes drifted back together, bringing massive culture shock with conflicting ways of life and finally all-out war. It turns out Nicol Bolas was behind The Sundering, as he sought out the plane as a new base of operations after the disastrous events of Time Spiral. He planted spies in each of the five Shards, sowing dissension and mistrust wherever they went.
Bant: White, with green and blue
Bant is a world where White mana reigns supreme--its own virtues, combined with the absent forces of chaos and selfish ambition, have made this Shard an exemplar of law and order. The architecture is straight out of a Medieval European Fantasy, complete with Knights in Shining Armor, glory and honor in battle, and expansive castles. The planeswalker Elspeth Tirel discovered Bant, and soon made it her adoptive home, never desiring to planeswalk ever again. Because it lacks black and red mana, there is no unnatural death, no disease, no natural disasters and no anarchy. However, there is also no creativity, and almost no offensive magic (there is nighttime on Bant and the people have enough access to heat and fire to warm their homes, cook their food and forge their weapons, but that's about it). Because of the importance placed on honorable combat, Bant's keyword ability is Exalted, which makes creatures more powerful if they attack alone.
- Arcadia: The "wilderness" is mostly non-threatening; even the forests resemble well-maintained gardens.
- Badass Bookworm: The Rhox
- Combat by Champion: The main form of combat on Bant. It's even reflected in their exalted mechanic.
- The Chew Toy: With the exception of Naya, all of the shards turn their aggressive energies towards Bant after the conflux.
- Creative Sterility
- Fantastic Caste System: Acquiring sigils through valiant deeds is one way of moving up in the social standing, but it's very difficult.
- Knight in Shining Armor: All over the place, with Rafiq of the Many the exemplar.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Taken to its logical extreme; combat on Bant is so honor bound that some suits of armor don't even have coverage on their backs.
- Light Is Good: Bant is probably the most conspicuous example of this trope being played straight since the Weatherlight Saga. It's not a utopia, but it's still the safest place to live in pre-Conflux Alara.
- Our Angels Are Different: More willing to charge into battle; fits in with the holy justice theme of the Shard
- Redshirt Army: The nations' armies are primarily "Mortar caste" (commoners who have yet to earn a sigil)
- Warrior Poet: The Rhox, rhino-people who are part-philosopher-part-martial-artist.
Esper: Blue, with white and black
An intellectual's dream come true, the Blue-dominated Shard of Esper is all about the pursuit of knowledge and technological advancement. However, the absence of green and red mean that emotion and instinct are completely under the control of Blue. Even the nature parts of Blue are controlled and documented like pieces of data; the night sky resembles a star chart, with every subtle nuance documented and accounted for, as are the tides and the winds (in fact, there are only 23 possible wind currents on the plane). White lends its desire for order and structure, but it also brings in the subversion and deceptive techniques of black. The pride of the plane is a highly malleable and durable metal known as Etherium, which often times is implanted into a body in place of the much-aligned flesh...and the supply is running out. Tezzeret calls this plane home, but stumbling upon an ancient conspiracy led to his near-death...and the ignition of his Planeswalker Spark. Esper doesn't have a keyword mechanic to call its own; its main gimmick is that every creature native to Esper is an artifact creature (this also introduced the notion of colored artifacts to Magic).
- Alien Sky: The skies of Esper are geometrical.
- Ancient Conspiracy: "The noble work of our order is to infuse all life on Esper with etherium. Our goal will be reached more rapidly if new life is ... suppressed." Tezzeret's stumbling upon this leads him to ascend to Planeswalkerdom and seek answers elsewhere.
- Hollywood Cyborg: Use a metallic substance with numerous useful properties called etherium in making themselves human/mechanical hybrids.
Grixis: Black, with blue and red
After the Shards developed their mana deficiencies, the people grew desperate and lost hope. With the rise of demon lords and death spreading, one king attempted to barter with the new dark lords. This ended predictably (the last of the civilized nations were overrun). Thus, the shard was given the name "Grixis", after an old-language word meaning "traitor." Without the presence of new life energy (green) and protection (white), the necromancers and demons of Grixis make use of beings that have died over and over in their armies, leading to their special keyword ability Unearth.
- Despair Event Horizon: Once the last of the human nations fell, that was it.
- La Résistance: The Vithian holdouts, who use red and blue magic to try to survive.
- Meaningful Name: "Grixis" means "traitor."
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Thraximundar, "He who paints the earth red."
- Zombie Apocalypse: The result of one.
Jund: Red, with black and green
On Jund, natural selection is the order of the day. On Jund, only the strong survive. The savage Shard of Jund is cruel and merciless, with each other living being acts as a food source for something else. Living to see another day means killing something that was going to kill you first. Civility? Order? Those will not help you (and don't last long on the plane anyway). Getting stronger from consuming prey is the hallmark of Jund's keyword ability, devour. At the very top of this food chain? Dragons. They are the ultimate predator, whose power and majesty ultimately drove the Planeswalker Sarkhan Vol to the plane, where he wished to worship them akin to gods.
- Blood Knight: All over the place.
- Let's Meet the Meat: The goblins of Jund consider it an honor to be eaten by mighty creatures.
- Mooks: Devour, which makes the creature larger depending on how many other creatures you sacrifice when casting it, and can do other things. Your smaller creatures are quite expendable.
- One Million BC: A lot of the geography seems to fit this.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Seated firmly atop the Jund food chain
Naya: Green, with red and white
If Green was allowed to have its way and follow it to its logical conclusion, nature would grow completely unchecked by opposing forces. That's exactly what happened on Naya. Similar to Jund, only the strong survive, but with white in place of black, there is reverence in place of bloodlust. Several sentient races live among the massive jungles of Naya, their rank primarily determined by what part they live in. Humans live among the jungle floor, the Nactal (a race of catlike warriors) take up the middle, with the elves sitting high in the treetops. This is the start of the Planeswalker Ajani's journey (indeed, this version of Ajani is him when he is young). When he meets Sarkhan Vol, he leads him to Jund, where his desire for vengeance retribution lead him to awaken a stronger power in him, triggered by a volcanic ritual, which gives him access to red mana). Like Esper, there isn't a keyword ability for Naya to call its own; however, its gimmick depends on big creatures; the bigger the better, specifically, creatures with power 5 or higher.
- Bigger Is Better
- Blind Seer: Mayael the Anima.
- Nature Hero: It fits the setting, since Naya is all forest.
The guardian archangel of the plane. Created by Sorin Markov, she was tasked with protecting mankind from the many monsters of Innistrad, but she was accidently trapped within a mountain of silver known as Helvaut. The story of Innistrad is about how mankind almost became extinct during her imprisonment, as the holy magic she offered the clergy and the cathars (holy warriors) faded. She returned in the Avacyn Restored storyline thanks to the machinations of Liliana Vess.
- Big Good: Of her world
- Blade on a Stick: Her moonsilver spear.
- Celestial Paragons and Archangels: The goddess of her world.
- Comeback Mechanic: A rare In-Universe example. According to Word of God, since Avacyn was created to maintain balance, the more dire things are for Innistrad's humans, the more powerful Avacyn becomes.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus
- Dark Is Not Evil: Sorin created her in his own image, with bleached white hair and black clothes (not to mention her deathly pale skin and black eyeliner and lipstick), but she is the protector of Innistrad's humans.
- Dea Ex Homine: She was created by Sorin Markov, after all, even if Sorin was already a planeswalker when he made her.
- Flying Brick
- Hell-Bent for Leather
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Got trapped in the rock she used to trap demons. A rare heroic example, therefore.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Her specialty.
- Lunacy: She is essentially a moon goddess. Her whole church is based on lunar worship, her symbol is a stylised heron (which is associated with the Innistrad's moon because its craters look like a heron), and her holy magic is associated with the moon.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Her special ability projects this unto all creatures you control
- Our Angels Are Different: Innistrad's angels are usually your typical sort (by that, we mean winged women with white robes, not the biblical things), but she is a gothic woman that governs the plane's White Magic and all that entails; when she's gone, holy magic becomes weaker, and her servant angels disappear.
- Sealed Evil in a Duel: She was trapped in the Helvault during her duel with Griselbrand, and now the only way to release her is to set all the trapped demons free with her.
- Sealed Good in a Can
- Thigh-High Boots
Gisa and Geralf
Once nobles, these twins were banished to the moorlands. Geralf is a skaaberen (a blue-aligned Mad Scientist specializing in Flesh Golems) and Gisa a ghoulcaller (a black-aligned necromancer); both wage war against each other with undead hordes. They eventually invaded Thraben during Avacyn's imprisonment, resulting in the Lunarch's death.
- Butt Monkey: Geralf verges on this.
- Fallen Princess: Both of them were once nobles.
- Necromancer: Both of them, though Gisa is more traditional Black Magic using one.
- Sibling Rivalry
- The Sociopath: Both seem to lack empathy, though Geralf fits the model more closely, what with his egomania and so.
Mikaeus The Lunarch
The chief of Avacyn's church. Killed by Geralf and made a zombie.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: He is reanimated as a zombie in Dark Ascension.
- Crisis of Faith: When Avacyn disappears. He has no idea what to do.
- High Priest
- Save Your Deity: Considered, and ultimately Averted--he decides to cover up Avacyn's disappearance and keep the Helvault intact to prevent the demons from escaping.
Sorin's grandfather, the world's first vampire, who made a pact with a demon in other to achieve immortality for him and his grandson. Unfortunately, Sorin was traumatized, and feeling guilty over the actions his vampire brethren inflicted on Innistrad's humans, Edgar's grandson created Avacyn, ensuring vampires would be pushed back. This made Edgar bitter, and to this day Sorin is not welcome in the family manor.
- Big Bad: Creative introduced him as such in commentaries. So far, he has done very little, if anything, to warrant such a reputation.
- Deal with the Devil
- Monster Progenitor: He is the first vampire in Innistrad. His grandson Sorin is the second.
- Our Vampires Are Different: They're not undead and they're the result of demonic magic.
A young Cathar rapidly rising in the ranks as humanity's defenses crumble, Thalia has become the new Guardian of Thraben in the wake of her mentor Mikaeus's death, and seems to be the last human to lead the fight against the ever-growing power of Innistrad's monsters.
- Badass Normal: Thalia's not a mage or divinely empowered, but you have to be a badass to still be fighting with the Cathars at this point in Innistrad's history.
- Determinator: Steadfastly refuses to give up in the face of increasingly hopeless odds.
- Kill It with Fire: Her orders to evacuate the outer ring of Thraben and pull down all the thatch available in the face of a Zombie Apocalypse convince most of the soldiers she's lost her wits, but she proceeds to nearly kill Geralf and Gisa's entire army with a single match.
- Lady of War: Very pretty, and her First Strike ability and low toughness indicates she fights more with her wits and finesse than brute strength.
- Sadistic Choice: Break the Helvault, betraying your final duty and risking whatever disaster Mikaeus wanted to avert, or watch her comrades get eaten alive by Liliana's ghouls? Thankfully giving in to Liliana's demands and destroying the Helvault may well have saved humanity from extinction.
One of the demon lords of Innistrad, object of worship by the Skirsdag cult, and one of the demons who claims ownership of Liliana's soul. He is the quarry Liliana has come to the plane to fight against...but nobody can seem to figure out where he is. Griselbrand was trapped in the Helvault along with Avacyn after his gambit to release the demons within and/or trap Avacyn forever went sour. When the Helvault shattered, Griselbrand escaped and quietly retreated to bide his time for future mischief. Unfortunately for him, Liliana followed him.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Before Avacyn Restored even came out, it was revealed that Griselbrand is killed shortly after his release by Liliana.
- God of Evil: As far as the Skirsdag are concerned, anyway.
- Sealed Evil in a Duel
- Smug Snake: His arrogance is mentioned repeatedly in the fluff, but things don't really go the way he planned. It's mentioned he underestimated Liliana quite a lot before she destroyed him easily with the Chain Veil.
- The Chessmaster: He had an elaborate plan to defeat the angels and bring the demons to power. His death has set the scheme back a bit.
- Villain Exit Stage Left: He knows better than to stick around when Avacyn's heavenly host gathers and divine magic goes into overdrive, but escaping his doomed plan doesn't save him from Liliana...
- We Will Meet Again: Or not.
A powerful demon lord who was sealed in a magical blade called Elbrus. He is infamous for killing Saint Traft.
- Artifact of Doom: He's sealed inside Elbrus, the Binding Blade.
- Dark Is Evil: Like all of Innistrad's demons, Withengar is made of pure black mana.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Take a look at his card art.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Withengar can't die, but he can be trapped inside of a magic knife called Elbrus. He was stuck in there for a very long time.
- Magic Mirror: From Freyalise. This is the same mirror which he uses to ignite Jaya's spark.
- My Skull Runneth Over: And thus he has a magical trinket that he periodically uses to store some of his memories.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Of course.
Ixidor, Reality Sculptor
Formerly a colliseum participant in Otaria together with his wife, Nivea. The two of them faced off with Phage in the tournament, resulting in Nivea's death and Ixidor's exile. He later discovered that he could transform his fantasies into reality, and thus used it to create Akroma and wage war against Phage.
- Reality Warper: What do you expect when his title is Reality Sculptor?
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against Phage, using Akroma.
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
An angel created by Ixidor in order to avenge his wife's death at the hands of Phage the Untouchable. One of the main characters in Onslaught block.
- Badass Creed: "No rest. No mercy. No matter what."
- A God Am I: After Ixidor's death, she starts her own religion.
- Fusion Dance: With Phage and Zagorka, to make Karona.
- Knight Templar: From her point of view, everything is good when done against Phage.
- Light Is Not Good
- Mary Sue: An in-universe example. She was created by Ixidor as an idealized homage to his dead lover, and existed primarily to lay waste to his enemies.
- Moral Sociopathy: Only really cares about the fall of Phage. While the goal is good, the methods not only aren't, but she also doesn't really care about anybody or anything other than her creator.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Angel of Wrath." Would YOU stick around to piss off someone named "Angel of Wrath?"
- Our Angels Are Different
- Replacement Goldfish
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Hence the epithet "Angel of Wrath".
- We Can Rebuild Him: Akroma loses both her legs after a particularly nasty brawl with Phage. Ixidor replaces them with the lower body of a panther.
The Eldrazi Titans
Emrakul, Kozilek, and Ulamog are the three Cosmic Horror progenitors of the Eldritch Abomination Eldrazi race. They were sealed away in Zendikar for eons, but the events of Rise of the Eldrazi released them to devour planes once more.
- Arc Number: The number three shows up a lot in their storyline: Three titans, three planeswalkers seal them, and three planeswalkers open that seal.
- Bigger Is Better: The entire logic behind Rise of the Eldrazi; the cheapest Eldrazi costs seven mana.
- Cursed with Awesome: The ability that shuffle your graveyard back into your library when they die also shuts down cards like Zombify that would help you cheat them into play sooner.
- Simultaneously, unlike other "Shuffle back into deck" cards, this one lets you reuse some cards (after some time) and renders mill decks completely powerless against you.
- Daylight Horror
- Eldritch Abomination
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: Signature of Kozilek and its brood lineage.
- Face Heel Turn: It That Betrays is called that for a reason.
- Floating Continent: Emrakul is one.
- Mind Rape: Their mere presence can cause insanity, if you aren't ripped to shreds by the warped reality around them. And of course, there are always more active methods.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: They spawn lots of brood lineage.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Emrakul is immune to most colored magic. Ulamog is indestructible. Kozilek doesn't have any comparable protection ability, but 12 toughness is pretty hefty anyway. And of course, they shuffle back into your deck when they die...
- Non-Elemental: They're above such worldly concepts as the colors of mana.
- Outside Context Villain
- Plane Eater
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Eldrazi were locked away on Zendikar by a trio of planeswalkers.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Worshipped as gods by the natives of Zendikar. Before they knew its true nature of course.
- Walking Wasteland: Their mere presence warps and destroys everything around them, as illustrated quite nicely in All Is Dust and Disaster Radius. This story particularly describes Emrakul's world-wrecking capability.
- White Mask of Doom: Signature of Ulamog and its brood.
- World-Wrecking Wave: They can do this. Seen in All Is Dust and Consume the Meek.
Urza's brother, born on the last day of the year Urza was born (Urza being born on the first day). They fought over possession of a stone.
- And I Must Scream: His status in the seventh sphere of Phyrexia. Of course, if Yawgmoth wasn't just tricking Urza.
- Cain and Abel: With Urza
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Ironic Hell: If Yawgmoth is to be believed, he's in Phyrexia being tortured for using Phyrexian technology.
- That's No Moon: The first land to be animated on its own bears his name.
- Tragic Villain