War of the Spark is set to release May 3, with prereleases being held April 26, 27, and 28, but just a few days ago we received a drop of information from Wizards of the Coast. The stained glass artwork of the 36 Planeswalkers that will be featured on cards in this set. To be clear, the stained glass art will not appear on the cards. Alongside this, they also confirmed that each booster pack will contain a Planeswalker card.
So, this sets going to be kind of crazy.
36 is a lot of Planeswalkers. And what’s more, Mark Rosewater confirmed that there will be more Planeswalkers in the story than are featured on cards. We are going to see a lot of Planeswalkers in this set, and, given the circumstances, I think it’s fair to assume that a non-zero amount of them are going to die. Most of what I’m going over today is pure tin foil hat speculation, so take it with a grain of salt, but here’s what I believe is going down.
First off, let’s establish what we know about the story. Nicol Bolas is gathering Planeswalkers to Ravnica for a War of the spark. Now, we have no idea what that entails, as it could mean any number of things. It could be Bolas is attempting to rid every other Planeswalkers of their Spark so as to be the only Planeswalker left, or it could be he’s giving people Sparks so as to cause mass chaos in the multiverse. We are not sure.
I believe Bolas, alongside Ral Zarek, has discovered a way to harvest Planeswalker Sparks. This will allow Bolas to absorb those sparks in order to become stronger. I wasn’t exactly sure if this would even be possible, to absorb a spark, or what it would even do if you did. I read up on sparks and found out that they can in fact be magically transferred from one being to another, as we saw with Glissa’s spark being given to Slobad. Not only this, but sparks are what allows a Planeswalker to draw mana from multiple different planes of existence, meaning that obtaining multiple sparks could, in theory, increase the amount of mana you can draw from a plane, making you a God, which is what Nicol Bolas has been wanting since the Mending.
So, we have the motive and we have the master plan. But how does Bolas execute his master plan? Well, in order to harvest a spark, you need a Planeswalker, so we need to get as many Planeswalkers onto the same plane as possible. This can be accomplished by any number of methods. As it turns out, sparks are a piece of the aether that has a soul imprinted to it, which is why Planeswalkers can planes walk. So we could assume there’s some sort of connection between all Planeswalkers, as they all contain aether.
And if not, we saw how Nahiri was able to lure Emrakul to Innistrad. If Nahiri was able to call an Eldrazi Titan to a plane by herself, Bolas and his equivalent of the Sinister Six would have no troubles luring Planeswalkers to Ravnica.
So, we’ve lured one large order of Planeswalkers who are now here on Ravnica, and they hear that their sparks will now be harvested. This, obviously, does not go over well; And, let’s keep in mind, a lot of the Planeswalkers already had beef with each other. Up until this point, Sorin was still trapped in the Helvault for all we knew, but now he’s back, and so is Nahiri, who is the one who trapped him there.
We also have Liliana, who is controlled by Bolas currently. She will likely be used against the Gatewatch, but will undoubtedly double cross Bolas and do the ol’ switcheroo to rejoin the Gatewatch through any number of “greatness at any cost” ways. Not to mention we still have the connections with Jace and Vraska from Ixalan.
As we can see, tensions are high. Planeswalkers don’t like Planeswalkers and so they’re going to fight, and I believe a large number of them are going to die.
Set up, master plan, and execution are finished. So how does this all climax?
I believe of the largest names, Bolas, Nissa, Gideon, and Liliana will all die.
My reason stems from the 2017 San Diego Comic Con Planeswalker Promos.
This incredible mural was the art featured on the Planeswalkers cards, and it’s eerie how much of this has come true.
With Jace, we see him trapped under The Immortal Sun, being unable to Planeswalk from Ixalan.
We see Liliana with Bolas horns around her head, hinting at her entering under Bolas’ control.
We also see in Chandra’s mural is her burning the eldrazi from Zendikar.
We see holes with sand pouring through Nissa, and a massive crack gouging through Gideon.
One last piece of evidence, before I paint the picture for you. In Gideon’s stained glass art, he is wielding Blackblade Reforged, so let’s take a look back at Blacklade’s flavor text.
Gideon, Nissa, Chandra and Liliana are going to approach their final battle with Nicol Bolas. Bolas unleashes a devastating attack towards Chandra, which Nissa sacrifices herself to guard Chandra from. This causes Chandra to spiral into a fit of rage, and alongside Gideon and Liliana fight Bolas. Gideon is going to fatally wound Bolas, but not before being struck down himself. Once Bolas has died, Liliana’s pact is officially broken, and she screams in agony as she begins to rapidly age, wither, and die.
Whatever Planeswalkers remain alive after the battle has ended will surely return home, having no where else to go. The remnants of the Gatewatch, namely Teferi, Jace, and Chandra, will just begin discussing the process of rebuilding from this broken position. All that before they notice it. The cryptoliths all around Ravnica.
Bolas had planted cryptoliths in order to lure the souls of Ulamog and Kozilek to Ravnica, where they appear and begin running rampant.
The theory get’s kind of shaky at the end, but would it be a tin foil hat theory otherwise? I’m not exactly sure how War of the Spark will actually conclude, but I very much look forward to this arc finally wrapping up.