MAGIC: ORIGINS

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that the last core set has been announced and we’ve found out some details about it. In today’s post I plan to go over those details, why they’re important, and make some predictions. The set is called Magic: Origins and the prerelease is July 11th. The theme of the set is that it tells the origin stories of five of the Planeswalker characters; what they were like before they were planeswalkers, how their sparks ignited, and how they became the people they are today.

WHO THEY ARE AND WHY WE SHOULD CARE

The five walkers we’re going to focus on in this set are Gideon Jura, Jace Beleren, Liliana Vess, Chandra Nalaar, and Nissa Revane. For each character, the settings of the set are going to be split between their home world and the first world they planeswalked to. We have been told each of these characters were chosen because they will be important in upcoming sets, which gives us some interesting things to predict for upcoming sets.

In the time since Origins was announced, the next fall block was announced, Battle for Zendikar. In promotional art released alongside the announcement, Gideon is prominently featured. We can likely expect Nissa to show up as well, as Zendikar is her homeworld. Liliana still has to kill two of her demon masters. Jace is the Living Guildpact on Ravnica, but he’s also tied up in a half a dozen other things, like keeping Liliana and Garruk from killing each other. Chandra is trying to figure out who set her up on Zendikar (it was Bolas).

HOME WORLD AND FIRST WALK

So this set will be interesting because of how many different locations it’s going to explore. Ten different worlds will be the focus of the set. For each character, we will see a bunch of cards set on the world they were born on; and then a bunch more on the first world they planeswalked to. Some of these are known, most are not. Some of them will be old, some of them will be brand new. I suspect some of them will be worlds we’re aware of because of Planechase, but have never visited in earnest. In ads and interviews for the set, we have discovered that Gideon is from Theros. We know Nissa is from Zendikar. Every other world is unknown at this point.

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TRANSFORMERS

What’s cool about the Planeswalkers is that each one of them will get two cards in one. One of them as a legendary creature before their spark ignited, one of them as a planeswalker afterwards. Better yet, they’re the same card; each one will be printed as a Double-Faced Card. The only one we’ve seen so far is Liliana’s card, spoiled at the PAX East panel (I was there, it was super sweet!). Whenever another non-token creature you control dies, you get a 2/2 token and she exiles herself and returns transformed.

This is pretty neat because it tells the story of how her spark ignited. Her brother was sick and dying. She tried to use magic she had been experimenting with to heal him. It didn’t work, he died, and came back as a zombie. The trauma of this event ignited her spark. We can expect each other character to behave similarly, with a triggered ability that exiles and returns them transformed based on what event in the story that caused them to ascend.

Jace’s spark ignited by accident. He was practicing a spell with his teacher, and ascended without realizing it. I have no idea what to expect, but I figure a trigger based on the number of cards you’ve drawn this turn might work. Chandra was about to be executed by a group of knight templars who believed her village was hiding fugitive pyromancers. I figure a death trigger will be a straight forward way of represening this. Gideon won a fight in the back alleys of Akros against a much stronger opponent. The realization that he should have died triggered his spark. I expect him to have small stats and a Sengir Vampire like trigger.

We don’t know how Nissa ascended, so I really have no reasonable guesses. Sorry about that. Another thing I’m sorry about is that there are no other Double Faced Cards in the set. I was hoping that we would see a bunch of neat designs based on transformation in wildly different contexts than Innistrad’s horror-inspired designs. I’m a little sad not to get that opportunity, especially in a set with as much going on creatively as Origins. Be that as it may, I’m still really excited about the possibilities for the set.