This week’s planeswalker profile entry goes into the story of
Sorin Markov is a man of refined taste. A powerful vampire hailing from the plane of Innistrad, he older than every other Planeswalker we’ve covered combined. In his millennia of travel, he has done it all and seen it all, so he spends much of his travels finding ways to entertain himself. That is to say, when he’s not busy keeping up with the many deals and obligations he has created in his travels. Beyond the typical strengths and weaknesses afforded to him by his vampiric condition, he is a powerful mage excelling in the art of sangromancy; blood magic. He can drain sustenance from his opponents, blight them with crippling curses, and even enthrall them into his service.
Sorin’s long and twisting tale begins about 6,000 years ago on Innistrad. Sorin’s home province of Stensia was blighted by a terrible famine. Sorin’s grandfather, Edgar Markov, had been experimenting with various alchemical remedies. Given secrets by the demon Shilgengar, Edgar crafted a blood ritual that would allow a person to sustain themselves on blood. This would provide sustenance to those under the condition, and ease the burden on Stensia’s farmers.
This was a half truth; the famine was in all likelihood cause by Shilgengar, and the aging Edgar had been looking for the secret to agelessness. He was able to kill two birds with one stone, and created Innistrad’s vampire race in the process. He granted the condition to himself and then to his beloved grandson. The trauma of his transformation triggered Sorin’s spark.
Now Sorin’s life was split. On his travels, Sorin was free and able to do whatever he wanted; but whenever he returned to home, he was treated by royalty by the ever spreading vampire race of Innistrad. Centuries passed, and the vampires grew into their own culture and spread across all of Innistrad. Sorin became more and more distant from his people, finding their excesses off-putting, and spent more of his time away from home.
But while he was on Innistrad, a part of his personality rarely seen was brought forth. Normally, Sorin was an entirely self-interested man, caring little for the problems of others. Yet, seeing the way the vampires of Innistrad ravaged the human populations of the plane brought out a sense of duty in Sorin. Fearful that the continued overindulgence of the vampires would ultimately drive humans extinct, thus dooming the vampires in the process as they lost their food source, Sorin urged the vampires towards restraint. His pleas fell on deaf ears and he crafted an alternate plan.
Drawing inspiration from long-held Innistrad folklore, Sorin crafted a warrior that would help the humans of Innistrad hold their own against the monsters that would destroy them. He created the archangel Avacyn, a goddess powered by the faith people had in her. While some of the vampires saw the purpose in his designs, most of his people thought of Sorin as a traitor to his race.
The other particularly noteworthy task of Sorin’s lifetime was the war waged against the Eldrazi. The Eldrazi are a race of monsters made of aether itself. Lacking physical forms, they drifted throughout the Blind Eternities, feeding upon the mana of worlds, leaving them ruined lifeless husks. These monsters attracted the attention of Planeswalkers, and Sorin entered into an allegiance with the dragon Planeswalker Ugin and an unnamed lithomancer to defeat them.
It was not to be however, as the Eldrazi titans were too powerful, even for three Planeswalkers united. Sorin and his allies were forced to compromise. They lured the Eldrazi onto the plane of Zendikar and with much hardship, bound them to physical forms and were sealed away, ostensibly saving the multiverse, but forever altering the dynamics of the plane. The three agreed that should their seals ever fail, they would reunite on Zendikar.
Millenia later, Sorin felt the seals weakening and returned as per the agreement. Unfortunately, his partners were nowhere to be found. The landscape had changed dramatically since his last visit, due to a phenomenon of the plane known as the Roil. He recruited several locals to take him to the seal at the Eye of Ugin, among them the archaeologist Anowon and the elf warrior Nissa, herself a Planeswalker. They travel together, and ultimately made it to the Eye. Nissa unable to bring herself to trust Sorin, prevented him from repairing the seal, hoping that the Eldrazi will simply abandon the plane.
The Eldrazi Titans break free of their prison, but only Sorin and Ugin’s seals had been broken. The Eldrazi were still bound to their forms due to the Lithomancer’s seal. Sorin, filled with rage, abandoned the plane to its fate, and returned home. He couldn’t have returned soon enough. His guardian, Avacyn had gone missing, and the humans were on the losing side against the forces of darkness.
Sorin spends some time searching for Avacyn, but ultimately never makes much headway. He instead finds his time occupied striking down the most vicious of his kind. He is forced to take action against the Planeswalker thief Dack Fayden, who had gotten hold of an artifact that held dangerous sway over vampire kind. Sorin is able to retrieve the artifact in return to pointing Dack towards a witch he wished to take revenge upon.
Ultimately, his quest was rendered moot when Avacyn is returned to her post due to the machinations of the planeswalker
To find out more about Sorin you can read the Planeswalker Webcomics on Magic’s website, the novel In the Teeth of Akoum, and see him the IDW comics! To put Sorin to the test, you can find him in Zendikar, Dark Ascension, Magic 2012 and in the newly released Duel Decks; Sorin vs Tibalt!