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Who Is: Dack Fayden

Magic Untapped takes a look at a the greatest thief in the Magic: The Gathering multiverse, Dack Fayden. 

Video Transcript:

Welcome back to Who Is on Magic Untapped as we take a look at the origins and stories of various characters from throughout the Magic: The Gathering multiverse.

In this video, we will take a look back at one of the greatest thieves ever in Magic’s multiverse – one whose story began in Magic: The Gathering comic books, but met untimely and unceremonious end during the set War of the Spark: Dack Fayden.

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While growing up in Drakestown on the plane of Fiora, Dack Fayden showed great skill in the magical arts – even joining the magical academy where he spent much of his youth.  He rose to the top of his class and even found a best friend in his formal rival, Marsh.  And, while they were both talented, they were also cocky and liked to cause mischief.

Upon graduation, the pair went out to celebrate and wound up picking a fight with a band of ruffians.  In the scuffle, Marsh was run through with a sword.  Stunned by the sudden loss of his best friend, Dack lowered his defenses and allowed himself to be hit by a strong spell.  As he laid there smoldering on the ground next to Marsh’s slain body, something within Dack changed.

His planeswalker spark ignited.

Not fully understanding what had just happened, Dack made eventually his way back to Drakestown.  His promising future now forfeit, he takes up a life of thievery to make a liking.

While back home, he reconnects with an old childhood friend of his named Mariel.  In a short time, they found themselves very fond of one another.  He tells her of what had happened since that night after graduation and of the strange worlds he’s visited since.

She tried to join him on his adventures, but after a while found it much to dangerous and stressful for her.  The pair began to grow apart and Mariel returned home to Drakeston.  He went with her, but quickly found that there was nothing there for him.

Dack resumed adventuring.

One such adventure took him to the plane of Alkabah where he finds an artifact he’d like to… liberate… from its current owner.  The artifact, as he would find out, was not left unguarded as a Djinn appeared and beat him senseless, leaving him to be arrested and sent to prison.

During his sentence, he was tortured and his right hand stained red to permanently mark him as a thief.  Eventually, Dack was able to tap into his still-not-fully-understood gift and managed to planeswalk back home to Drakestown.

What he found when he returned was a massacre.

Corpses of his friends, family, and neighbors were littered all about the ruined town.  His shock and disgust, however, turned to intense grief when he saw among the countless dead the body of his dear Mariel.  In tears, he fled wondering if he could have saved the town – or, at least Mariel – had he stayed.

In the time that followed and, perhaps, as a way to cope with grief and guilt, Dack wandered the both Fiora and planes beyond it, honing his skills as a thief and mastering his own magical talents.

Eventually, he would settle in Ravnica where he worked his way into the plane’s network spies and thieves.  He even began to make a bit of a name for himself in Ravnica’s underbelly.  But everything changed for Dack once he stole a certain dagger from the Cult of Rakdos – a magical dagger that carried with it the memories of all who had used it.

To his shock, one such previous user who donned the dagger was responsible for the destruction of Drakestown and the murder of all whom lived there.

Through the memories embedded in the blade, Dack was able to discover that the person responsible was Sifa Grent, a planeswalker from the Grixis shard of Alara, and that the blade itself was from the plane of Innistrad.

The thief planeswalker dropped everything he was doing and traveled to Innistrad, not knowing what he may find there.

He found vampires.  Falkenrath vampires, to be specific.  He was able to drive them off, but in doing so also accidentally tipped off Sifa, who was not far away.

He also found a pair of allies in his opposition of the vampires in the cathar Ingrid Reichert and her father, Hermann, who knew where to find Sifa.  They guided him to Falkenrath Castle, but only found a single skeleton guard there.

Sifa had taken the rest to town in search of Dack and to destroy the town while doing it if so necessary.

Wanting to avoid another Drakestown, Dack and his newfound friends hastily return to town whereupon they witness Sifa gathering all of the townsfolk in the town square.  Dack was able to disrupt her plans and drive her away, but lost his chance at exacting revenge upon her.

The trio return to the castle, but don’t find Sifa.  Instead, they find copious notes and documents in languages they don’t understand.  Dack begins to tell them about planeswalkers and worlds beyond their own, but find they are not listening.  In fact, they’re not even moving.

A stasis spell had been cast on them.

The spell’s caster quickly made himself known: Sorin Markov.

Sorin was in search of an artifact known as the Ancient Fang – the very dagger that Sifa had sold to the Cult of Rakdos on Innistrad years prior and that Dack had recently liberated into his own possession.

In exchange for knowledge about Sifa, Sorin dispelled the stasis hold on the cathar and her father and Dack relinquished the dagger over to him.

Based off of what he had learned from the vampiric planeswalker, Dack bid adieu to Ingrid and Hermann as he departed for Grixis, which was still an independent shard of Alara at this point in history.

Quickly after his arrival, though, he was captured by the demon Malfegor with plans for stealing Dack’s spark for himself so that he can finally depart the tiny world of Grixis – a task the demon had tried and failed at before, causing Sifa’s ascension.

Dack, however, was able to escape and, with this knowledge, returned to Ravnica to figure out what Sifa wanted with the Cult of Rakdos and why she gave them the Fang to begin with.

When he returned, however, plots were already afoot as Rakdos cultists were searching for him.  As he worked on figuring out exactly what was going on, he discovered that invitations to the rejuvenation of Vitu-Ghazi, the massive world-tree that serves as home base for the Selesnya Conclave, were falling into the wrong hands.

He quickly deduced that Sifa was involved and had a good idea as to why.

Dack gathered a crew of fellow thieves, spies, and misfits and rushed to the tree.  They arrived just in time to confront Sifa and her forces.  A battle ensued in the boughs of the tree and Sifa was gaining the upper hand over Dack.

As the Grixis planeswalker was preparing to end the thief, she got tunnel vision and didn’t notice one of Dack’s associates rush at her with a sword.  The blade struck true and ran her through.

As Sifa lay on the tree branch bleeding out, she tries to revive herself by sapping Vitu-Ghazi’s essence, but Dack wouldn’t allow it.  He cut loose with his most powerful spell and felled his foe once and for all.

The deed done and his vendetta fulfilled, Dack began to fall into his old ways.

Following a rumor about a powerful artifact being held by the Boros Legion, he broke into Sunhome in search of it.  As luck would have it, he found himself soon surrounded by a number of angels looking to arrest him for the break-in.  In response, he grabbed the first thing he could reach and leaped from a nearby window and quickly lost his pursuers in the city crowds below.

This pilfered relic, however, was no trinket, as Dack would discover, but half of a powerful gauntlet.  In a vision, he saw the power of an ancient being and a lone island.  Now dead-set on finding the missing piece, he traveled to the plane of Theros.

Once there, he hired a ship and crew in search of the mysterious island.  Once located, they laid anchor and went to explore.

On the island, they discovered a cave filled with skeletal human remains and several petrified human-looking figures.  Dack also found the other half of the pilfered gauntlet, after which he was attacked by the gorgon, Hythonia, but was able to escape permanent harm and returned back to the ship.

The ship sets sail back to the city-state of Meletis, but is then attacked by a large kraken.  Instinctively, Dack equipped the gauntlet and felt an ancient power fill him.  With little effort, the kraken was defeated.

Back in Meletis, Dack began studying the gauntlet.  And every night since their return, he experienced nightmares.

Not understanding much of either the inscriptions on the gauntlet, nor why he was being haunted by nightmares, Dack sought insight and met a magic-user named Atha who informed him that he has been affected by a sleep curse, but that nobody knows how to cure it.

Unbeknownst to Dack, this sleep curse and the nightmares it brings are brought upon by another planeswalker, Ashiok the Dream Eater.

Not finding enough assistance among Theros’ living, the thief planeswalker decided to take things further and he ventured into Theros’ underworld.

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Now, that’s where Dack’s story ends.  At least, as far as the IDW comic books are concerned as it ended prematurely after only five issues.

BUT, Dack does show back up here and there after somehow surviving and departing from Theros’ underworld.

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Upon emerging back among Theros’ living, Dack is able to find a person who is able to cure his sleep curse in exchange for the gauntlet.  Dack agrees to the deal and, upon being cured, returns to Ravnica and his crime-fueled lifestyle.

While there, he became heavily in debt to an Orzhov pontiff named J’dashe whom had been personally financing his heists.  Dack tried to get out of it by killing him, assuming the debt would be forgiven upon J’Dashe’s demise.  As is the Orzhov way, J’Dashe returned as a ghost and Dack still owed him every bit of it.

Dack then spent the next few months on Innistrad trying to find valuable relics to help settle his debt to the ghost, but was ultimately lured back to Ravnica thanks to the lighting of the Interplanar Beacon the Izzet had been developing.  Once back, he (and all other planeswalkers who heeded the beacon’s call) found themselves trapped thanks to an artifact known as the Immortal Sun as he found himself in a struggle against the draconic planeswalker, Nicol Bolas, and his army of invading eternal warriors.

The trapped planeswalkers convened.  Dack flirted a little with Saheeli Rai and considered stealing her jewelery.  He also got close enough to Kiora’s bident without her noticing and made a quick attempt to copy the artifact’s powers.

Finally, at Jace’s recommendation, the planeswalkers split into teams with Karn, Ob Nixilis, Samut, and Dack volunteering to go through the planar bridge that Bolas’ eternals was using as a portal between Ravnica and their home plane of Amonkhet.

While on the other side, Ob-Nixilis escaped the fight and planeswalked away, but Dack distracted Tezzeret, whom was using himself as a conduit to power the bridge, allowing the others to destroy the bridge control mechanism in the cyborg planeswalker’s chest.

Considering his role in Bolas’ scheme now over, Tezzeret planeswalked away.

The planeswalkers were then paid a visit by Hazoret, Amonkhet’s last surviving deity, along with planeswalker Sarkhan Vol.  At Vol’s request, Hazoret lent them her spear to aid in their fight against Bolas.  Dack considered leaving just as Tezzeret and Ob-Nixilis had previously, but Hazoret convinced him to stay and help.

The crew returned to the war on Ravnica a little before Chandra disabled the Immortal Sun.  Rather than taking this second opportunity to flee to safety as many chose to, Dack decided to see the battle through and, when Gideon suggested they reactivate the Immortal Sun to prevent Bolas from fleeing as well, Dack voiced his support for the plan.

In the final moments of the battle, Dack found himself surrounded by a throng of eternals.  Unable to escape, he fought them off the best he could, but one managed to grab him by surprise, harvesting his spark and killing him in the process.

As he died, he had but one thought:  His departed love, Mariel.

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And that would be the end of Dack Fayden.

Sadly for fans of Dack, his one and only card is the Dack Fayden planeswalker card from Conspiracy (plus a couple of reprints).

As for why Dack doesn’t have a card in War of the Spark despite him having a key role and ultimate end in the set, it’s because card designs were made before the story was completed and, at that time, Wizards R&D had no idea that the character would a role – let alone SUCH a role – in the lore.

Such a pity.

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Thank you for watching.

Barry White

Barry White is a longtime Magic: The Gathering player, having started in 1994 shortly before the release of 'Fallen Empires.' After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno, he went on to a 15-year journalism career as a writer, reporter, and videographer for three different ABC affiliate newsrooms.