Welcome to our 2016 52 in 52 series. This year I will be reading 52 Magic: the Gathering novels spanning two decades of Vorthos lore. Each week I’ll share my review of the book along with a synopsis for those of you who are just interested in the core of the story.

Future Sight
by Scott McGough and John Delaney

Four time rifts have been sealed. Teferi, Feryalise, Windgrace, and Karn were willing and able to make the ultimate sacrifice to seal the rifts above Shiv, Urborg, Skyshroud, and Tolaria respectively, though Teferi lost his spark and kept his life in a cruel twist of fate. Remaining are the rifts above Zhalfir, Yavimaya, Madara, and Otaria. Jeska has arrived demanding answers and looking for Karn. Teferi, Venser, and Jhoira cannot give her the answers she seeks so she storms off to Otaria to see the rift there for herself.

In Otaria Jeska meets Leshrac, which we’ll get to in a bit. Our heroes, in the meanwhile, head to Yavimaya in search of their old friend and hero of the Invasion: Multani. But the rift here has become one with Yavimaya and therefore one with Multani. After communing with Venser, Multani believes it might be possible to seal the Yavimaya rift, but they’re interrupted when Jeska decides to seal the rift over Zhalfir.

Unbeknownst to Teferi, Jhoira, and Venser, Jeska, at the recommendation of Leshrac, has battled and captured Radha and is using her nascent spark as a focus for her own power to battle the Zhalfir rift. She successfully seals it as Teferi shows up and is horrified. He and Jhoira explain to Jeska that Zhalfir had been phased out of existence and now it’s gone, never to return again, millions dead, because Jeska acted on her own. Jeska shrugs it off and argues that it’s a small price to pay to save the multiverse. Teferi is heartbroken but the crew travels to Yavimaya.

Once there Multani captures Jeska in a trap similar to one he used on Urza many millennium prior. However, Jeska has something within her preventing Multani from helping calm her down. Whether it’s Phage, Karona, Leshrac, or something else doesn’t matter. Jeska awakens and reacquires Radha and then uses her to close the rift in Yavimaya and perhaps even destroy Multani in the process (unconfirmed). The group then moves on to the next rift: Madara, knowing that Jeska will save Otaria for last.

At Madara Jeska meets Leshrac who ensnares her and steals Phage from her. Soon Nicol Bolas arrives and Leshrac tells everyone the tale of how the Madara rift, the oldest rift in the multiverse, was created when Nicol Bolas and a long-dead leviathan had the first ever planeswalker duel. Nicol Bolas and Leshrac have their own epic duel across the multiverse which Leshrac loses after being deceived by Bolas (suprise). Bolas then uses Leshrac’s spark to seal the Madara rift before he releases Jeska and Radha from their imprisonment and then leaves Dominaria.

That leaves just Otaria. Finally coming to terms with being Phage, Karona, and Jeska in one, the Pardic planeswalker takes Radha and Venser with her into the rift, willingly, and the three of them combine their efforts to finish the job once and for all. Jeska can see the whole of the multiverse as Karona defines the Otaria rift. She sees the strain that planeswalkers place on the multiverse and sees the new type of spark within Venser and Radha that will replace the old one. She releases Radha and Venser and dissipates her own spark throughout the multiverse to enact the Mending.

Overall Rating: 4.0 — And that’s how the story of Dominaria ends. Freyalise, Windgrace, Leshrac, and Jeska are dead. Jaya Ballard is confirmed dead. Karn is lost. Multani may not live. Radha returns to her warhost. Venser decides to travel the planes. Jhoira goes to find the Archmage Jodah. Teferi, left all alone, sets out for Zhalfir to make amends for all the damage he wrought as a planeswalker. Nicol Bolas… well we’ll get to that.

I gave this story a four-out-of-five rating almost entirely on the strength of its Vorthos content, but the story itself has a lot of great character moments. Radha and Venser especially overcome a lot of their character flaws. Radha, after meeting Multani and traveling to Yavimaya, is able to reconnect with her natural roots and join the green mana of Yavimaya with the red mana of Keld. Venser, after being confronted with constant conflict and discovering he’s a planeswalker, finally comes to terms with his newfound power and responsibility, casting off some of the fears that have held him back.

Ironically, despite being featured as a major character in three novels and a minor character in two others, Jeska finally has her own coming of age moment as well. Separated from her mentor Karn, Jeska is subject to the manipulations of the evil Leshrac who means to steal Phage’s corruption from within Jeska. Jeska has her own reckless nature thrown in her face as once again the multiverse is at risk because of her. Finally she discovers the inner-strength to do what she knows is right and she sacrifices her spark to trigger the Mending.

Next Week’s Book—Alara Unbroken by Doug Beyer

We depart Dominaria and follow everyone’s favorite elder dragon legend, Nicol Bolas, across the multiverse to a deep cavern beneath the world of Grixis. Bolas has “enlisted” the aid of the half-demon-half-dragon Malfegor and has some grand plans for the worlds of Grixis, Bant, Jund, Naya, and Esper that will allow him to restore much of the power he lost when Jeska mended the multiverse together.

Join me next week as we meet more of these new post-Mending planeswalkers!

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52 in 52 is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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