Ahoy planeswalkers! This isn’t the article I expected to write this week. I intended to write some Ixalan predictions, but I’ve found that I’m in a bit of a bind with that idea due to the various Ixalan-related leaks. I could, of course, ignore the leaks and try to run some predictions blind, but it feels like a moot exercise when the information is on the loose. On the other hand, using the leaks leaves limited room for making interesting guesses.

Rather than dwelling upon how leaks suck some of the fun out of the game, I’ve decided to expand the scope of my prediction article for this week. Hour of Devastation brought the first phase of the Gatewatch era to a close by scattering the Gatewatch to the winds. It seems like a good moment to look large-scale and make predictions about some of the big things we might see over the next couple years, as the Gatewatch (presumably) picks up the pieces and begins to regroup.

#1—We will get at least three new Gatewatch members over the next two years.

The Gatewatch dramatically underestimated Bolas, and it could have caused the deaths of any or all of them. They will be bracing for more encounters with Bolas, and that will mean following Ajani’s advice from the end of Aether Revolt: gathering more allies. As we embark upon phase two of the Gatewatch story (which I’m dubbing the Broken Gatewatch Saga), we’re going to see our heroes scattered throughout the multiverse. My suspicion is that they are going to reassemble basically one by one. The story cycling through the planes upon which the Gatewatch members landed is going to bring them into contact with a lot of other planeswalkers, and they should be looking to win allies to their cause after their resounding defeat.

And, while Dominaria might offer the perfect chance for a beloved Invasion-era planeswalker like Teferi or Karn to join the new super-team on the block, I wouldn’t sleep on Vraska. The recent story “Pride of the Kraul” paints Vraska as a champion of the downtrodden in her way. From that perspective, if she can put aside her bad blood with Jace, she makes at least as much sense as a Gatewatch member as Liliana.

#2—Dominaria will bring us the true identity of the Raven Man.

Liliana is from Dominaria, and as such I expect her to be the main character for Spring 2018’s long-awaited return to the game’s former primary setting. Based on this, I think we’re going to see some big movement in her personal story, and I think that movement is going to center upon the man who set her upon her planeswalking journey: the mysterious Raven Man, who I predict will get his own planeswalker card this Spring. (In terms of who the Raven Man might be—that sounds like a job for Jay Annelli.)

This one feels like kind of a lay-up, so I am going to toss in another Liliana-Dominaria prediction: Liliana chooses not to rally with the Gatewatch as it reassembles over the coming sets. After bowing to Bolas and in essence agreeing to serve him during the Hour of Devastation, I think she is going to shut out her Gatewatch allies for a while. Getting a whiff of Bolas’s plan when he decides it is time for her to be of use again, however, will lead to her returning to their side to help them prepare for their next showdown against Bolas.

#3—Get ready for Return to Theros in Fall 2018.

It feels like Theros is ripe for a return. It rates a three on Mark Rosewater’s Rabiah Scale, meaning it is a fairly easy plane to revisit. It will have been five years since our first visit—a little longer than the time between Innistrad and Shadows Over Innistrad. Theros has a couple of dangling plot threads that have been crying out for resolution—Dack Fayden’s feud with Ashiok, Elspeth’s stay in the underworld.

And Gideon spent his last moments on Amonkhet thinking of characters and events from his home plane. (Well, plus Chandra.) It seems to me that all roads point to Gideon heading for Theros when he leaves Amonkhet, and I would expect the action to pick up there following next summer’s core set.

#4—We will see two Gatewatch members turn back up on the same plane.

This is a longer shot, and it has a hearty dose of wishful thinking. I am predicting that the structure of the Broken Gatewatch Saga will be a series of visits to the planes various members landed upon as we see the various members regroup and find their way back together. I really hope we don’t chase the scattered Gatewatch members to five different planes. The best case would be that Wizards does three single-block plane visits 2018-2019 and that gets the original five back together after two full years of this. If each Gatewatch member lands on a different plane, then it seems more likely that one of the 2018-2019 stories will want to have two blocks, and the saga will stretch into a third year.

If I’m right about the upcoming story’s structure, then one story that changes up this formula would be a nice change of pace, and there are interesting story possibilities for certain members randomly getting stuck together. Liliana and Chandra landing on Dominaria, with Chandra furious over Lili’s betrayal? Or Chandra and Nissa landing somewhere together, allowing the story team to further develop the Gatewatch’s most interesting pairing? Or Chandra and Gideon, offering the chance for Gideon to fess up to his love for Chandra and see what happens? These are all exciting story possibilities, and I hope we see one of them.

#5—Gatewatch vs. Bolas, the Rematch, is coming on Ravnica in three years.

We got one really cool reveal at the end of the “Hour of Devastation” story: Ral Zarek is working for Bolas on Ravnica. It seems likely that Ral needs to do something to help the Planar Bridge connect to Amonkhet, and the obvious answer seems to be a bridge between Amonkhet and Ravnica. And I think that’s awesome. In many ways, this would be the perfect analog to the Weatherlight Era’s storyline: over the span of several years, the various sets built towards the Phyrexian Invasion. Bolas has now boosted his own power in Alara’s Maelstrom and provided himself with an army of impressive undead warriors.

Ravnica is one of Magic’s most popular planes and the home of the Gatewatch’s headquarters in Jace’s Sanctum. In essence, it fills the role of the heroes’ home the same way Dominaria did in the age of Urza. Ral being part of team Bolas, however, is such a fun and unexpected twist. When we last saw Ral, he seemed like a good guy overall, taking in a Rakdos show while expressing his very reasonable concerns about Jace’s handling of his duties as the Living Guildpact. Ral also has concerns about hiding his planeswalking ability from Niv-Mizzet. A Bolas takeover of the plane could bring Ral both the power and the self-determination he seeks. But does Ral really know what he’s doing here?

Alas, I think the answer is quite a ways off. The Loregoyfs (who are wonderful and you should absolutely be listening to their podcast) recently pegged Ravnica 3 for the 2018-2019 year, but I think it’s further off. The Gatewatch needs more time to regroup and expand to become a legitimate threat to Bolas. I predict the Gatewatch-Bolas rematch will be the 2020-2021 year, giving the Gatewatch two years to regroup and another year to recruit and prepare as Bolas’s invasion looms. And then, we will get the first three-set block of the Gatewatch era, exploring new territory in the latest metamorphosis that Magic design has undergone.

Now that sounds like a fun ride for the next few years.

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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