Friday, 26 July 2019 16:38

10 old-school Magic characters deserving of a card

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After more than 25 years of Magic: The Gathering, there is a surprisingly high number of old-school creatures who still lack their own cards.  We have hand-selected ten of them (a nice round number if you ask me) and highlight who they are.

Ashnod

Ashnod, Credit: WOTC/Ron Spencer

Ashnod was one of the key characters in The Brothers' War and was Mishra's apprentice.  A cruel, sadistic woman, Ashnod rarely gave human life (or any life, really) any value as can be seen in cards such as Ashnod's Altar and Ashnod's Transmogrant.  Heck, even her Battle Gearcould prove fatal to those who donned it.

Beyond being Ashnod the Uncaring, she also played a crucial role in the end of the War as she was the one who gave Urza the Golgothian Sylex, a powerful artifact that was the more-or-less nuclear option of ending the strife.  Of course, using the Sylex had a catastrophic affect on the entire world of Dominaria, changing the climate and killing off much of the plane's life as it sunk into an ice age.

While Ashnod does not technically have a legal printing of any sort, she did see print in Vanguard.  Then again, when was the last time anyone played a game of Vanguard?

Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar

Known to Magic players through flavor text on cards such as Granite Gargoyle and Lightning Axe, Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar has garnished a cult following of sorts not only because of her astronomically long name but also because of the fact that she's the author of "The Underworld Cookbook".  As the story goes, she summoned a Lord of the Pit who went by the intimidating name of Vincent.  Unable to pay her debt of summoning, she goes to work as Vincent's private chef for seven years and seven days.  During that time, she wrote the infamous "The Underworld Cookbook", part of which can be read in the flavor text for a certain card from Unhinged.

As for Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar herself being printed, Rosewater said on his blog that due to the length of her name a printing would be unlikely but should they decide to give her a card, it would likely "...be in a silver-bordered set where we’re able to make a name longer than normally fits."  After all, they've done it before.

Bo Levar

Bo Levar, Credit: WOTC/Pete Venters

One of Urza’s Nine Titans who invaded Phyrexia, Bo Levar was a Planeswalker and interplanar smuggler who transported goods across planar boundaries.  You can think of him as a sort of plane-hopping Han Solo.  And like Solo in Star Wars: Episode Seven, he’s old.  I mean, really old.

Levar, previously known as Captain Crucias, was originally a Yotian sailor-turned-businessman who actually witnessed the brothers Urza and Mishra set off the Golgothian Sylex that ended the Brother’s War.  The blast would ignite not only Urza’s planeswalker spark, but Crucias’ as well, thus starting his new life as Bo Levar.  It’s only suiting that Urza would come calling centuries later for his help in defeating the Phyrexians.  Though, as a final feat of honor as Urza began to fall under the weight of his dementia, the remaining Titans mutinied the iconic Planeswalker with Levar taking the lead in planting their remaining soul bombs to destroy the plane.

Levar’s legacy goes beyond the Titans, however, but we’ll cover that in a bit.  Levar can be seen in cards such as Planeswalker’s Mischief and Prophetic Bolt, as well as in the flavor text of the cards Gainsay (which also showcases the planeswalker in its art) and Merfolk Trickster.

Feroz 

Feroz, Credit: Armada Comics

The first of a mighty half-dozen old school Planeswalkers on this list, Feroz is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated.  Aside from reprints, he's only really had a presence in one set: Homelands.  Feroz was a planeswalker with a morality problem.  Simply put, he thought summoning sentient beings to do one's bidding was immoral (much like how a vegan might see the eating of meat to be immoral).

In a way, he's the token vegan of all Planeswalkers.  He's influence in the game as far as cards go include the sideboardable Feroz's Ban and on the flavor text of cards such as Wizard's School and Didgeridoo.  He was also the husband of Serra.  Yes, that Serra.  He's also the one responsible for slaying one of the original and most powerful Planeswalkers in Magic history, Taysir.  Or, at least, that’s what everybody thought at the time…

Greensleeves

Ashnod, Greensleeves, Credit: Harperprism

What?  You're not familiar with Greensleeves the Wizard?  Don't worry.  It's understandable as she hasn't exactly been around since the original Magic: The Gathering novels ("Whispering Woods", "Shattered Chains", and "Final Sacrifice").

A mute who was considered by many to be quite mad, Greensleeves was actually a kind woman who was able to communicate (albeit simply) through animal sounds.  Eventually she became an arch-druid at the guidance of Chaney, another arch-druid on the Domaniarian continent of Aerona.  Greensleeves herself briefly became a Planeswalker but burned out her spark as she attempted (and succeeded) at healing and protecting the island of Lat-Nam after the land was devastated by Urza's activation of the Golgothian Sylex.

While she's never been printed as a Magic card, she has been referenced on one: Giant Badger.

Guff

Guff, Credit: WOTC/John Matson

In a round-about way, Guff (also known as Commander Guff) is the Deadpool of the Magic universe.  While Deadpool is a ruthless antihero killer and Guff is essentially a librarian, they both take joy in breaking the fourth wall on a repeated basis in the books written for Magic’s Invasion block.

Like a few others on this list, Guff was recruited as one of Urza’s Nine Titans – likely due to his inexhaustible knowledge about not only the multiverse’s past, put also its future.  In fact, after the defeat of Phyrexia, Guff warned Bo Levar about the repercussions of the Titans’ actions and the fates that were to come.  At Levar’s insistence, however, Guff edited some of the more important texts containing the multiverse’s future.  Unfortunately, that didn’t change his own future as he was quickly killed by Yawgmoth’s hemisphere-spanning Death Cloud.

Guff can be seen in the art of cards such as Diversionary Tactics, Index, and Wild Research.

Oliver Farrel

Oliver Farrel, Credit: Armada Comics

Moving to the Dominarian continent of Sapardia (the setting for Fallen Empires), Oliver Farrel is a former priest of Icatia who broke ties with the Order of Leitbur over the way they handled the Order of the Ebon Hand.  Or, rather, the lack thereof.

Farrell quickly formed his own following – mostly amongst Icatia’s poorer population – who would eventually become known as Farrelites (a.k.a. the Farrelite Cult).  This cult would become group of “proud boys” filled with zealots who would prove to be most vicious and violent against anything they disagreed with.  An interesting character, Oliver Farrel would put a very different twist on the flavor and tone of white decks – especially in Commander.

Farrel gets mentions on the card Farrelite Priest and Farrel’s Zealot, as well as being a character in the Fallen Empires comic book series.

Taysir

Taysir, Credit: Armada Comics

One of the oldest (perhaps the oldest) and most powerful of Magic’s original planeswalkers, Taysir of Rabiah has played both the role of hero and villain.  During the thousandfold splintering of the plane of Rabiah.

Instead of becoming a single powerful being or having a thousand-some-odd copies of himself, Taysir was split into five single-color variants: Taysir the White (a dervish), Taysir the Blue (an infant), Taysir the Black, (the apprentice), Taysir the Red (a nomad), and Taysir the Green (a herder).  While nomad Taysir was defeated by apprentice Taysir, the remaining Taysirs eventually merged back into one to become the Planeswalker long-time Magic players are familiar with today.

Post-spark, Taysir witnessed the Ice Age on Dominaria, was killed (technically) by fellow planeswalker Feroz while on the Homelands plane of Ulgotha before being reincarnated by the Anaba Minotaurs.  Years later, he would be recruited by Urza to be one of the Nine Titans to invade Phyrexia.  Due to Urza’s Dementia, unfortunately, Taysir was slain by Urza himself.

You can find mentions of Taysir in the flavor text of cards such as Wanderlust, Samite Alchemist, and Anaba Ancestor.

Tevesh Szat

Tevesh Szat, Credit: WOTC/Glen Angus

One of early Magic’s greatest villains, the Planeswalker Tevesh Szat began on Sapardia as a just and honest man known as Tev Loneglade.  In his old age, however, he became jaded an callous as his absolute power made him bitter against the world.

While travelling near the Havenwood-Icatia border, Szat and his cherished sister, Tymolin, were attacked by Oliver Farrel and his zealots.  Tymolin was eventually killed by Farrel at some point after the battle, causing Szat to stap and transform into his fearsom serpentine-dragon form.  In this new, vicious form, Szat almost single-handedly destroyed the remaining standing empires of Sapardia in vengeance before traveling elsewhere where he would eventually meet and join forces with fellow planeswalker Leshrac in Kjeldor as the two corrupted and commanded the necromancer Lim-Dûl during the Ice Age.

After being defeated in combat by Freyalise, Szat retreated to the rogue plane of Shandalar where he was later defeated by Sahrmal, the plane’s native planeswalker.  Interestingly enough, Urza recruited him to be part of his Nine Titans – though Urza wasn’t looking for so much of an ally as he was fuel for his soul bombs.  Urza slayed Szet and used his spark energy to fuel the bombs that would eventually destroy Phyrexia.

Tevesh Szat is seen on cards such as Planeswalker’s Scorn and Confound, as well as Disciple of Tevesh Szat and Minion of Tevesh Szat.  He is also quoted in the recently-printed Dead of Winter from the Modern Horizons set.

Tourach

Finishing this list with a return trip to Sapardia, Tourach was the founder and first-ever High Priest of the Order of the Ebon Hand.  The religion worshiped the Ebon Praetor and made no secret its cult-like structure and focus.  Not too long after its founding, Tourach himself became the subject for the religion's praise and worship.

While Tourach himself has still yet to have his own card, he is quite well known due to the very powerful Hymn to Tourach and most recently had a card printed that referenced him in Time Spiral (most recently reprinted in Iconic Masters).  His religion also introduced and popularized the Thrull tribal and his Master Breeder, Endrek Sahr, even saw print in Time Spiral with reprints in both Commander 2013 and Modern Masters 2015.  The Order of the Ebon Hand's founder, however, is still lacking a playable presence.

Well, there's our list.  It was a struggle to narrow it down to just ten.  To that end, what un-printed characters in Magic: The Gathering's lore do you wish were made into playable cards?  Your favorites just might make our list next time.

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