Ahoy planeswalkers! Welcome to Scry 5, where we will peer through the mists of time to try glimpsing the future of Magic!

C’mon, Return to Theros! I miss Elspeth.

In this column, I’m going to be coming to you every two weeks with a mix of speculation about where Magic Story is heading, both in the short term and in the long term, and more traditional Vorthos content, reflecting on the flavor and the storytelling aspects of Magic’s latest releases.

As is customary for a first column, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I played Magic on and off throughout my childhood, with Invasion being my last set. Even back then I had always loved the storytelling aspect of the game– my copy of the novel based on Nemesis was my prized Christmas gift one year. After Invasion I took a long hiatus, during which I became a college student, a grad student, a husband, a banker, and then, finally, Ph.D. student studying theater history.

I came back to the game during Dragons of Tarkir, started getting into Magic Story during Origins, and have become very invested in this aspect of the game. I should probably note up-front that, divisive though they are in the Magic community, I am a big Gatewatch fan, and my writing is apt to be colored by the excitement of someone who has bought into the story; I will certainly critique from time to time, as my background in theater has given me quite strong opinions about storytelling, but don’t expect too much negativity from my little corner of the site.

This column begins during the lull between the end of Aether Revolt’s story and the start of Amonkhet’s, so this seems like a fine time for a little speculation. So, here are five planeswalkers (beyond the obvious ones) that I think we might see show up in Amonkhet or Hour of Devastation!

Does making Amonkhet predictions mean I’m an Augur of Bolas?

So, here are the things we know: the Gatewatch (minus Ajani) is going to Amonkhet, and Liliana and Gideon, as the faces of the planeswalker decks, will be getting new planeswalker cards. It would be the ultimate troll if Wizards took us to Amonkhet but didn’t give us Nicol Bolas, and the Atlazan leak suggests ol’ Nic will be in Hour of Devastation. But who else will get cards and play a role in this set’s story?

As a starting point, let’s take a look at the most recent sets. Over the last couple blocks (since the shift to a two-block paradigm with six planeswalkers per block rather than five), Wizards seems to be striving for a rough balance where each color has at least one mono-color planeswalker or two multi-color planeswalkers per block. Assuming we get Gideon, Liliana, and Nicol Bolas, that leaves three planeswalker slots open for the block with the following color distribution:

White: 1.0
Blue: 0.5
Black: 1.5
Red: 0.5
Green: 0.0

Green seems poised to be an odd color in this block. Nissa, Vital Force is too new; we’ve also seen Tamiyo, Kiora, Arlinn, and Ajani recently (not to mention that none of them make particular sense to be showing up on Amonkhet); and there’s little reason to think Sarkhan’s going to tempt fate by putting himself back in Bolas’s sights. Garruk would be interesting—wouldn’t that be a twist if the Gatewatch actually had to save the plane by helping to protect Bolas from the multiverse’s ultimate big game hunter? But with the story teases focusing upon the impending return of Amonkhet’s god-pharaoh, it seems more likely that Bolas will be the source of the devastation rather than its target.

That leaves only two known, living planeswalkers with a partial green color identity who might make sense here: Vraska and Domri Rade. There’s reason to believe Vraska is working for Bolas; she may have been able to leave Ravnica undetected by Ral Zarek’s Project Lightning Bug by going to Bolas’s Meditation Realm. However, she also seems to be one of the characters on the leaked Atlazan booster packs. If those are real, that means she will have a key role in that story and won’t be getting a new card until this fall.

That leaves Domri Rade who . . . might actually be right at home on Amonkhet. He was last known to be indulging his interplanar wanderlust, and his beast-master power set seems like it would be right at home in a harsh, unforgiving world like Amonkhet seems to be. His spot on the packaging for Modern Masters 2017, which has been widely criticized as unexciting since its announcement, might make more sense if it’s part of the lead-up to his return in a standard-legal set.

Another planeswalker getting a lot of buzz for Amonkhet is Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. Ashiok is widely suspected to be native to the plane. Their outfit could jive with an Ancient Egypt-inspired aesthetic, and the horns where we would expect Ashiok to have a face, could be connected to Bolas’s own horns that loom all over the plane. Their studying the magic of the gods on Theros could be another hint that they’re from Amonkhet, a world that seems to have gods of its own. Each of the first three blocks of the Gatewatch era have featured an antagonistic planeswalker in the first set—Ob Nixilis in Battle for Zendikar, Nahiri in Shadows Over Innistrad, Dovin Baan in Kaladesh. Ashiok could be the smart pick to fill that role for Amonkhet.

As for the third planeswalker? It bears remembering that we’ve had a new planeswalkers introduced in every block since Llorwyn except for Battle for Zendikar. Given the paucity of green planeswalkers that make sense for this block, we might see a new planeswalker who is at least partially green (and maybe even mono-green).

Domri, Ashiok, and a new planeswalker who is at least partially green would give us a good color balance for planeswalkers in this block– a little heavy on black, but black was planeswalker-light in Kaladesh– so let’s call this the smart money lineup:

Amonkhet: Gideon, Liliana, Ashiok, Domri (or new green planeswalker)
Hour of Devastation: Nicol Bolas, new green planeswalker (or Domri)

If I had to make a bet on what the planeswalkers for the block would be, this feels like the most probable slate. That said, I did promise five planeswalkers to keep an eye out for on Amonkhet in this article, and there are a couple of other planeswalkers who I think might make sense in this block. Let’s call these two my wild cards.

One is Koth. Wizards recently reminded us he’s alive with the new Phyrexian Arena art from Conspiracy 2, and given Nicol Bolas’s concerns about the Phyrexians, maybe Bolas has helped Koth escape from New Phyrexia (for a price, of course). There are other reasons to think we might be seeing more of Koth soon: he’s a well-liked character, he’s second only to Nicol Bolas in terms of how long it’s been since his last planeswalker card, and despite his long absence he is featured in Magic Puzzle Quest. I’m not sure if Amonkhet is the exact right spot for his return, but he’s got to be coming soon, and he’s a slam dunk inductee to the Gatewatch when he does return, so I could see Wizards finding a spot for him in this story.

I’d also keep an eye on Kaya. Given Amonkhet’s obsession with being “worthy” in the afterlife, her ghost-hunting abilities might actually make sense to come from this plane. Her brief premiere in Conspiracy 2 might have been just enough lead time to test-market her for a greater role in the story of Magic. It’s clear from comments by Kelly Digges and Monique Jones about Kaya that Wizards has bigger plans for her, and I’d certainly love to see her turn up in the main story.

There you have it! Four known planeswalkers and a theory about another new planeswalker: the characters my divinations tell me are the best bets to fill the last three planeswalker slots for Amonkhet!

You might notice a certain someone is prominently absent from my list. I have reason to believe that Mr. Beleren’s going to have to wait for the fall set before he gets the chance to sculpt minds once more. To see this theory and more, be sure to come back in two weeks, when I share five further Amonkhet predictions, right here at Hipsters of the Coast!

Beck Holden is a Ph.D. student in theater who lives in the greater Boston area. He enjoys drafting, brewing for standard, and playing 8-Rack in modern. He also writes intermittently about actually playing Magic at beholdplaneswalker.wordpress.com.

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