Benalia is burning. Knights have abandoned their posts, some momentarily and others gone for good. Recent small attacks have surfaced and on a plane that has seen conflicts far too often to count; a cancer is spreading again. This time is not a technological threat from a hellscape plane looking to assimilate the multiverse, but social movement slowly infesting worlds across the multiverse—from the metallic sheen of The Tangle, to the bulbous trees of Wirewood, and the lush expanses of Juroga. Elves of the multiverse, we have a problem that needs answering.

In our pride, we’ve turned a blind eye to those who represent us across the multiverse. Some believe that any of our past transgressions have been ratified and others see another plane as not their problem. The elves I speak of are the same ones we tried to removed from our ranks via bannings after Berlin so many years ago, elves seeking perfection and executing those who did not match their ideals, believing them to be unworthy. We believed that sun had set on their time, that sympathisers had been brought before committees and judged; but I am afraid to say that it not the case.

I come to you today because we must snuff out the hatred within our ranks. We must realize that while we believed the world had become a more accepting place, we’ve allowed the elves living at the heart of Lorwyn, under the guidance of Nath of the Gilt-Leaf to fester under his fascist rhetoric.

Classic to Criminal

How did we get here? How did we move from a place where elven war hero Freyalise could have literal songs written about her and her heroic defeat of the Phyrexians, and move to a climate where the Elves of Nath could thrive? To answer that we must look at how elves have been commonly portrayed and how that perception was drastically changed, making a whole people feel maligned.

For years following the Argivian Reckoning—going up to or just beyond the Mirari Saga—elves where thought of as peaceful, nature loving creatures, capable of defending their forests at all costs with their powerful Magic. Like any of the races, popular opinion was that raw power could not be found in the synergies of one race alone. That was until the Shard—a barrier between a cluster of planes and the rest of the Multiverse—was broken and planeswalkers had time to discover Nath’s homeworld of Lorwyn.

On this world elves were not peaceful, but were outwardly aggressive. Eventually, their actions were punished. But this disarmament in 2009 left many elves—of Lorwyn and other planar lineage—courting intense prejudice, the perfect spawning grounds for the charismatic words of Nath. He spoke of taking back the power the race of elf once implied, stripping the opponent of resources and building an army of elves. In these promises and the memories of what happened when popular opinion turned against Rofellos, the elves across the multiverse found strength.

The true believers within Nath’s ranks see their natural beauty as given to them by their gods as a sign of superiority, that their beauty emboldens them and justifies their crimes. What needs to be remembered is that these elves represent something we know doesn’t represent our entire culture, but that the rest of the multiverse often sees all elves as one and the same. And I can’t blame them. As a culture, we’ve prided ourselves on the beauty of our natural cosmology. But these attitudes are no longer confined strictly to the plane of Lorwyn; as word has gotten out about the acts and principles of these elves, other elves—those disenfranchised and downtrodden with their own communities, believing they have been cheated somehow—have taken up their cause. There are riots on Ravnica, as the nature-loving Selesnya find that some within their ranks believe that the crimes against nature by other citizens of the plane calls for strict justice.

Sinister Perfection

Called a “a sinister organization that is trying to worm its way into our ranks” by one elf from the Korozda—the maze of overgrown, fungus-encrusted ruins in the undercity of Ravnica—the Elves of Nath represent a facist hate-group trying to pass as a interest group looking out for the liberties of their home plane.

Their numbers were thought to have been wiped away during an event marked as The Great Aurora, a cleansing of the plane of Lorwyn, ushering in a period of twilight. But history cannot be overwritten that easily. Last week a riot broke out as the Elves of Nath marched with spears drawn, some riding on the backs of wolves, near the Stinkdrinker warren, very much announcing their presence and intent to wipe away “the eyeblights.” Similar demonstrations occurred on planes like Dominaria and Alara.

“We will not be replaced from this plane, elves have a future, we have a future of power,” Nath proclaimed the preceding morning as he led his followers through a very public rally deep within the seemingly endless expanse of The Great Forest.

“His words have power, he speaks for those of us who have long been downtrodden and seen as harmless and carefree, not respected for their natural beauty and admiration,” said one supporter at the rally.

But the races of Lorwyn look to their elves as a infestation that has been allowed to fester and grow in numbers, a plane known to outsiders as a place of whimsical peace and light-hearted fun. Now attention turn back to us, the remaining elves of the multiverse, to answer for Nath’s crimes. We must face the reality that we allowed this sinister growth to mature by simply doing nothing to act against it. We did not teach our young the importance of respecting other races. We did not understand the danger of an elf using our race’s inherent charismatic abilities to drive home an agenda. We assumed this would never matter because we would never have to return to Lorwyn again.

Nurturing Progress

I for one would like to believe that something can be done about slowing the progress of Nath’s agenda and fostering a new path of progress capable of removing the cancer Nath has placed on the race of elves. But there are a few factors that stand in the way of constructive progress:

  • The removal of Nath from his current position would just create a power vacuum, allowing for acolytes of Nath’s, such as Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen, to try to stake his claim.
  • Even the most impressive of generals, such as Ezuri, Renegade Leader, has proven to be capable of being corrupted.
  • His influences go wider than just elven kind, drawing the attention of sadistic hypnotist and cunning lethemancers, people who will bring Nath’s rhetoric back to hidden cabals and boneheaps.
  • Removing Nath doesn’t change the fact that there are elves out in the multiverse that feel their voices are not being heard, willing to try anything to get change that.

We need to face the facts. We cannot truly eradicate Nath’s influences until the sun finally sets on Lorwyn, ushering in another Great Aurora. For too long we have taken for granted that fascism was a supposed thing of the past, that it could happen to us on our soil and that by portraying it in a negative light that it would seed our culture to reject it on sight. That is no longer the case, people have put their trust into a man they may not have truly understood because they felt that they were not getting the recognition they deserved.

So I ask you, my audience, once we remove racism and bigotry from our community, how do we stop it from coming back?

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH, the EDH community, and streams on Twitch in his down time. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks. Join him for a stream at on Tuesday nights.

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