Friday, 10 September 2021 08:00

Who is... Nicol Bolas? (Pt. 8 - Schemes on Zendikar and Kaladesh)

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Who is... Nicol Bolas? (Pt. 8 - Schemes on Zendikar and Kaladesh) WOTC/MAGIC UNTAPPED

Welcome to the second season in Magic Untapped's "Who Is..." series.

In this ten-part series, we explore the origins of the dragon who would become one of Magic: The Gathering's greatest antagonists, Nicol Bolas. In this eighth episode, Nicol Bolas executes schemes on both Zendikar and Kaladesh with varying results.

Enjoy the show.

Video transcript:

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Welcome back to this second season of “Who Is” on Magic Untapped.  I’m Barry White.

When we last saw Nicol Bolas, he had grown immensely in power from the events surrounding Alara’s conflux.  Now, a new and even more powerful energy draws his attention to the plane of Zendikar.

More on that in just a moment…

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On the ancient plane of Zendikar, a hidden evil lays in wait.  This evil, radiant with immense power, draws the attention of one Nicol Bolas to the plane.

In an underground cavern, the draconic planeswalker discovers an artifact that bares a certain familiarity to him.  Noticing the handiwork of his twin brother, Ugin, Bolas realizes what this artifact, know as the Eye of Ugin, is for.  It’s the lock that imprisons a great and powerful force – a lock that could only be undone through the presence of three planeswalkers and the Ugin’s colorless ghost flame.

Realizing that a jailbreak would likely draw countless planeswalkers to the locale to combat the threat, Bolas surmises that he would be able to use it as a diversion as he harvested the sparks from the gathered planeswalkers and absorb the power into himself.

Bolas assigns one of his servants, the planeswalker Sarkhan Vol, to guard it.  Shortly afterwards, the pyromancer Chandra Nalaar and Jace Beleren discover the cavern by following a map they mysteriously found on another plane.  When the duo confront Vol in the cavern, they find that their colored magic is absorbed by the Eye.  Chandra altars her strategy and, rather than using her red-based magic, successfully uses a colorless flame spell against their foe, the effect of which knocks all three planeswalkers unconscious and, unbeknownst to them, greatly weakens the lock.

Unfortunately for Bolas’ plans, the Eye of Ugin wasn’t weakened enough to break.  His ideal scenario not playing out as planned, Bolas turns his attention to other options.

Seeking new tools, Bolas sends another of his agents, the artificer Tezzeret, to the plane of Kaladesh where a great inventor’s fair and competition is to be held.  Using funds supplied by his “benefactor,” Tezzeret bribes the ruling Consulate into appointing him Head Judge at the fair.  As such, he is afforded the opportunity to closely inspect and learn about all of the creations there.  Ultimately, he awards an elvish inventor named Rashmi as the fair’s winner due to his immense interest in the device on which she is working and abruptly ends the festivities as the threat of revolt by those who oppose the Consulate looms.

Citing the threat of revolution imminent, Tezzeret is assigned special emergency powers by the Consulate.  He uses his newfound authority to redirect much of the city’s power, a force known as Aether, to his experiments Rashmi’s creation.  At his direction and intense insistence, she finishes what turns out to be a device that creates a bridge with which one could travel from one plane to another.  Tezzeret then dismisses her, claiming the Planar Bridge for his own.

As revolution hits the streets outside, Tezzeret is inside the Aether Spire tending to the Bridge.  Liliana Vess, the planeswalker for whom Nicol Bolas had bartered a deal, arrives.  Unaware that Vess no longer pays allegiance to his draconic overlord, he assumes that she is simply there to check on his progress.  He quickly realizes his error as the two fight, Vess now claiming allegiance to the Gatewatch – a band of planeswalkers seeking to defend planes against extraplanar threats.

Using the power of the Chain Veil, an artifact she had claimed while in the rogue plane of Shandalar some time prior, Vess claims victory over Tezzeret.  In pain, the artificer reveals Bolas’ location as that of Amonkhet.  Before she could finish him off, however, two other Gatewatch members, Chandra Nalaar and Gideon Jura, arrive, crashing into and essentially destroying the Planar Bridge device.

With his tail between his legs, Tezzeret escapes.  But, not before snatching up the core of the Planar Bridge device, which was still intact and undamaged.

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So now Nicol Bolas’ agent, Tezzeret, possesses the means with which non-planeswalkers can travel from plane to plane, but what is the draconic planeswalker’s plans for it?  After all, he can personally travel from plane to plane on a whim.

Well, things are going to come to a head next time in the penultimate episode of this season of “Who Is” on Magic Untapped.

I’m Barry White.  Thanks for watching.