This is part eight, the final part in our series exploring the life of Gideon Jura. Part one. Part two. Part three. Part four. Part five. Part six. Part seven.

Gideon Jura was a hero like no other. We see it in Jace:

Eyes widened, jaws set. They understood their task, he was certain of that. But were they actually prepared to perform it?

What would Gideon say?

Jace smiled. Of course.

“For Zendikar,” he said, raising one fist in the air. It felt thin to him, lacking Gideon’s armored fist, his baritone war cry, his iron conviction.

None of that mattered. The soldiers shouted as one voice, holding their weapons aloft.

“For Zendikar!”


A single spell could drain the life from the soldiers and add their walking corpses to her retinue, and she had no doubt she could do it. Mana surged in  like bile, fueled by her hatred of Tezzeret, ready for the battle to come. Killing these soldiers would be easy—but, strangely, that had not been her plan. Perhaps Jace and—she shuddered a little—and General Meat-Shield are rubbing off on me.


“You’re good,” Chandra said, once the airship’s path was clear. “Ever consider bringing those talents beyond Kaladesh? We could use you.” She thumped a hand on her forehead. “Crap, I sound just like Gideon.”


Nissa knew exactly what Chandra was talking about: the speech Gideon had made when they had come out of Ob Nixilis’s cave and seen the world on the brink of destruction. Gideon’s words came back to Nissa: “We need to be committed…to standing together against all the forces that threaten the Multiverse. No one else can do it. This is the task that falls to us, because of our power. Because of our sparks.”

And countless others he barely knew:

Perhaps for just that reason, Dack decided then and there that he would return. He was far from perfect—by his own lights, he was a thief and no hero. But compared with Bolas, Tezzeret and Ob Nixilis, Dack Fayden was Gideon-freaking-Jura! He would not abandon his adopted world now.

How to sum up the life of such a man? What words are there to even begin? I guess we can only start at his own beginning—for Gideon Jura was made, not born.

The Gideon we know was frozen in time, and it made him a tragic figure. As the young man Kytheon, he made a terrible decision; and his family paid the price for it. The death of Kytheon’s Irregulars changed him so completely, he chose to accept a new name. That name became a mask he would hide behind for the rest of his life.

Mad with regret, Gideon denied or repressed his own desires at every opportunity, sacrificing them in the name of the greater good. No matter how far he traveled or what victories he won, Gideon was always the young man kneeling in the dirt of Theros, soaked in his friends’ blood and slowly realizing what he had done. Death was not the only redemption available to Gideon; it was just the only redemption he would accept.

And yet, that manic guilt spurred him on to greatness. Gideon Jura was every inch the Eldrazi-slicing, demon-slaying, self-sacrificing action hero he appeared to be. Gideon was huge and ferociously strong, which combined with his martial skill and hieromancy to make him an invincible warrior. Though Gideon led multiple armies in his life, he was an army of one. He cut through hordes of eldrazi, vampires, and zombies with his own two hands. If you needed someone to make a last-second dramatic entrance, do a kick-flip off a dragon’s crown, then punch a hydra to death and modestly insist “it was nothing,” there could be no substitute for Gideon Jura.

But people were drawn to Gideon because of his goodness, not his strength. Gideon was filled with the most remarkable love for all living people, which seemed to have no limit. He was a super-empath, and only needed to know you existed to love you more than he loved himself. Gideon abided no cruelty, tolerated no injustice, and never passed by a single person in trouble without stopping to endanger himself. He showed mercy to his enemies, partnered with vampires and necromancers, and leapt to friendship in both victory and defeat. From Amonkhet to Zendikar, people followed him into even the most hopeless of battles because they knew he would never give up on them or leave them behind. In fleeing from his own past, Gideon accidentally became the most selfless hero in the Multiverse. He was the champion we needed, the one we had done nothing to deserve.

Gideon’s greatest legacy was the effect he had on the people around him. In preparing for this article series, I thought back to many of Gideon’s conversations that I remembered as some of the most poignant and moving scenes in the entire Magic Story. Few of them actually made it into these articles, because when I re-read them, I realized they were moments of profound development and maturity for the other person in the conversation, but told us nothing new about Gideon. He was just being himself: bringing hope, light, and purpose to everyone he met. What may have been a life-changing moment for someone else was just a few moments of encouragement from him, something he did a hundred times a day. Gideon’s passion and assurance was so titanic, it exerted a kind of gravity on everyone around him: you could not help but stand a little straighter and hold your head high when the Champion of Justice passed you by.

And the most incredible thing about Gideon’s pervasive good influence was that he didn’t use it to control anyone else. The color White makes rules and then expects everyone to follow them: we’ve seen other White characters demand everyone else submit to their judgment and standards, or be branded villains or evildoers. Perhaps because of his Red side, that austere and imperious flavor of White was foreign to his nature. Gideon respected the rest of the Gatewatch’s beliefs and convictions. Rather than forcing them to conform to his own, he helped them live up to their own ideals.

Jace Beleren was Blue, but was chained to his insecurities and self-loathing. Gideon helped him live into Blue’s belief that you are whoever you choose to be. Liliana was Black, but was also terrified of dying. Gideon helped her see that fear is for the weak, and the strong would rather die than submit to another’s will. Red swears by freedom and self-confidence, but Chandra constantly second-guessed her decisions. With Gideon’s help, she stopped caring about the opinions of others and learned to follow her own heart without regret. Though she was Green, Nissa led a solitary existence before joining the Gatewatch. Gideon helped draw her out of her shell and embrace Green’s belief in symbiotic relationships. He didn’t try and change them; he guided them into becoming better versions of themselves. And if a little White happened to rub off on them along the way, it was a simple consequence of wanting what Gideon had.

But for all its beauty and nobility, I fear that Gideon’s involuntary uplifting made his own life all the more heartbreaking. Gideon helped his allies face their demons, but he never could face his own. While his friends grew around him, he stayed rooted in the exact same place, one eye ever turned towards the ghosts of his fallen Irregulars. The Gatewatch is filled with dynamic characters: only Gideon has stayed the same.

In every tragedy, there is always one moment where it could all have been avoided. Where, if a single different choice was made, fate could be defied and a new future wrested from its grip. In Gideon’s tale, I think it was the moment on Kaladesh where he considered telling Chandra about his past. Sharing that pain would have relieved Gideon of an incredible burden, and Chandra would have been so understanding. With her help, and the help of the others, Gideon may have found peace in life. Instead, Gideon recoiled at the last second, and spent the rest of his days giving others what he refused to give himself.

I think going forward, the Magic community will mostly remember Gideon by his awesome moments. They will think of him tackling Ulamog, or wrestling with Ob Nixilis. They will picture him sheltering Chandra as she goes nuclear, duelling Belzenlok one-on-one, and of course, riding the demon Rakdos through Ravnican skies to confront a Dragon-God. In doing so, I think they will miss Gideon’s most important accomplishments. I have already written about the amazing transformation his influence wrought on Jace Beleren; and I know if I ever write about Chandra, Nissa, or Liliana, I will have to stop and talk about how Gideon made them more. Because Gideon brought out the best in everyone; through his magnetic charisma, unfailing courage, gentle heart, and his great, booming laugh.

His triumph came not from victory over his enemies, but the salvation of those who survived.

Rest in peace, Gideon Jura! In life, his example raised up a legion of heroes. In death, may his story inspire legions more.

David Walley is only a recent fan of Magic: The Gathering, but a lifelong spectator to stories. After discovering the Magic Story earlier this year, he was greatly impressed by both its strength and subtlety. In his articles, he endeavors to expand the Vorthos community by showcasing the story’s excellence to the average Magic fan.

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