Last week we hit the end of Amonkhet’s story. With only twelve days until Hour of Devastation’s story starts up, it’s time to look at some of the dangling plot threads heading into the block’s second set!

#1: Will the Gatewatch Take Down Razaketh?

Guess who’s about to show up! During “Servants,” Liliana discovered that Razaketh, the third of her four demonic masters, lives behind the Gate to the Afterlife. “Judgment,” meanwhile, sees Djeru announcing that the Gate to the Afterlife is about to open as the Hours begin. So, we may be seeing Big Raz as early as the first Magic Story of Hour of Devastation on June 7.

The most surprising development leading up to Razaketh’s appearance is that Liliana has come clean with the Gatewatch about the fact that she’s here to hunt him:

So, the rest of the Gatewatch isn’t happy, but given their good-aligned tendencies, I think we can count on them to put that aside and stand with their teammate. If I was sure that the Gatewatch would get to face Razaketh before Bolas shows up, I’d give them very good odds of ridding Liliana of her third demonic master; however, if Bolas shows up first, the Gatewatch is going to have its attention split, perhaps dangerously so. And there’s reason to think Bolas is going to be arriving very shortly.

#2: What Do the Hours Mean?

So, here’s what we know about the Hours, from four pieces of flavor text, in order: Naga Oracle, Nimble-Blade Khenra, Winged Shepherd, and Dissenter’s Deliverance.

Here’s what “Servants” has to say about Razaketh’s role in the Hours:

He might appear in the first Hour of Devastation story, but it sounds like Razaketh will only emerge in the Hour of Glory. This is the second Hour, so what is the Hour of Revelation?

The most obvious solution is that it’s Nicol Bolas himself emerging from the Gate and putting the final phase of his plan into motion. And if so, this creates quite the pile of escalating problems that seems poised to split the Gatewatch up and weaken their ability to fight Bolas, as they have more fires to put out around Naktamun:

  • Hour of Revelation: Bolas arrives.
  • Hour of Glory: Razaketh arrives.
  • Hour of Promise: Hekma comes down, hordes of undead arrive.
  • Hour of Eternity: Everyone is dead?

The Gatewatch doesn’t seem to be in a bad place heading into Hour of Devastation; however, this sort of proliferation of threats is going to make them split up, which will make them weaker as they face the various threats. Overall, I’d say that it’s 60-40 that Razaketh dies rather than escaping. As for what I think will happen with Bolas? More on that later.

#3: Who Will the Block’s Fifth Planeswalker Be?

Amonkhet brought us Gideon, Nissa, and Liliana, and there will be rioting in the metaphorical streets if beloved villain Nicol Bolas doesn’t show up in Hour of Devastation. We have a little bit of information about who the fifth planeswalker will be, too: on Monday, Mark Rosewater revealed that Hour of Devastation will feature a new addition to Magic’s cast of interplanar adventurers.

At the start of Amonkhet, Wizards of the Coast’s Blake Rasmussen teased that one of my predictions for the block was correct, and it’s looking more and more like the prediction I hit was having a new planeswalker’s spark ignite during the events of the block (which would also cover the story reason for why, as Rosewater notes, the new planeswalker has been held for the second set).

If we do have a new planeswalker igniting, the most obvious options are Samut and Djeru. I’ve been on Team Djeru for a long time now, but other top Vorthos writers, including Magic Art Show co-founder Mike Linneman, swear up and down that it’s Samut. I’m starting to suspect I’ve chosen the wrong side of this debate, as being denied his chance to be made worthy at the end of Hazoret’s spear seems like it should have ignited Djeru if he did have a spark.

Samut and Djeru both have one devotion that has not been fully tested, however: their devotion to each other. Djeru risked his own worthiness to plead Samut’s case before Hazoret; Samut’s actions, have all been designed to save Djeru, who she has begged to grow old with her. My best guess is that if one sees the other about to be killed that could be the moment that ignites a spark. And while I won’t be sad if I’ve been right about Djeru all along, part of me is rooting for Samut now: she’s a good character in her own right, and she makes sense as a new character that Wizards might take a chance on bringing into a Gatewatch that is in dire need of diversity. Bolas’s meddling with her own world could certainly motivate her to help protect other worlds.

Alternatively, what if they both have sparks? Wouldn’t it be something if, say, Samut thought she saw Bolas kill Djeru (or vice verse) and this cruelty ignited her, while the God-Pharaoh’s betrayal caused Djeru’s spark to ignite, flinging him across the multiverse—perhaps to Ixilan, where Samut and the Gatewatch track him once they realize he’s alive?

#4: Is Gideon Going to Die in Hour of Devastation?

No. Next question.

Okay, okay, let’s look at Hazoret’s prophecy from the end of “Judgment” a little more closely.

“I am neither the first nor the last immortal you will cross” is the key phrase here, I think. It is possible that this is a hint that Gideon is going to fight with another Amonkhet god in the next set (and it is noteworthy that Hazoret can steal Gideon’s invulnerability), but the lack of specificity about where he would face his next immortal feels like a setup—something to scare Gideon-fans during Hour of Devastation that will actually pay off later. Bringing Gideon back to Theros has particularly rich story space, and I’ll be stunned if Wizards isn’t planning to keep him alive at least that long. Additionally, killing him after Return to Theros would make him more replaceable, as Elspeth could step into the Gatewatch’s mono-white planeswalker slot.

There’s also a pattern worth noting in the recent blocks: since we entered the Gatewatch era, one of the two blocks for the year has been a visit to a Gatewatch member’s home plane (Battle for Zendikar for Nissa in fall 2015, Kaladesh for Chandra in fall 2016, Dominaria for Liliana heavily suspected for spring 2018). With Theros (Gideon) and Vryn (Jace) receiving favorable ratings on Mark Rosewater’s Rabiah Scale (his rating system for how viable planes are for future standard-legal blocks), I would expect this pattern to continue, with blocks set on Theros and Vryn coming sometime between fall 2018 and spring 2020.

#5: How Does This Story End?

Vorthos Jay has predicted that Bolas straight-up wins. I just can’t see that being what happens. The plane of Amonkhet is dying. Bolas winning seems, much like his Alara scheme, to be something that would destroy the plane to harvest its energy for himself. The Egyptian World has been one of Magic’s most-requested future planes, and I really don’t think Wizards is going to blow up that asset quite so freely.

For now, I’m sticking with my theory that the gods will be Amonkhet’s salvation. There is a sense in the story that the gods were good—are good—but have been somehow corrupted. Nissa has also discovered that the gods are made of leylines and that she can manipulate them. Furthermore, if the three missing gods return at their full power (for a good theory about what the three missing gods might be, see Vorthos Jay), they are going to be out for blood against Bolas. I still think the story is going to end with the Gatewatch disrupting Bolas’s plan to harvest the plane, Bolas bringing the beatdown to the ill-prepared Gatewatch, and the gods coming to the rescue at the last moment.

The one thing that makes me worry that Jay might be right, though, is that the Hekma is coming down. Even if the Gatewatch can foil Bolas’s plans, they cannot protect Naktamun from the horde of undead that almost killed them the second they reached Amonkhet, and even the gods may not be enough. At the same time, though, the Curse of the Wandering seems to have been less malevolent before Bolas’s arrival: Nissa’s vision at the start of “The Writing on the Wall” shows dead animals in essence going about their undead lives rather than trying to feast upon the living. I’m not sure that this is something that the Gatewatch can fix. But it seems like something they must fix if they are going to save the plane.

Bonus Prediction

There will be a basilisk. The Trial of Strength requires initiates to steal the scale of a basilisk. Look for Rhonas’s basilisk to be on the loose during Hour of Devastation and to receive a card in the set.

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

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