Are We Waving Goodbye To Dominaria?

Mark Rosewater informed us that the next big expansion, Mirrodin, will not take place on Dominaria. But we’ve got a little problem: So much happened in Legions that has to be dealt with – there’s such great possibility left open to Scourge that I can hardly believe that all the ends will be tied together. I see two main possibilities that might appear in Scourge to try to bring some finality to our long visit on Dominaria… And one of them is that it might be destroyed.

My last article concluded with,”Scourge promises to be a truly exciting story – who can guess what’s going to happen?… I’m going to attempt to do just that next week.”

Okay, so it’s been more than a week since I’ve had more than eight consecutive minutes to sit and write – the important thing is that I’m making these predictions before the release of Scourge! (If you missed my last article, you might want to check it out before continuing with this one. Also, as usual, spoilers abound in this article… so only read it if you seek to learn about the Magic storyline.)

Let’s review where Legions leaves off: Phage the Untouchable, Akroma, Angel of Wrath, and Zagorka (who has no card yet) have combined into one powerful lifeform, shining with an alluring brilliance which draws towards it all who see it. Most of those who experience that light are on top of a recently-formed living monolith that used to be known as the city Sanctum. Living words arisen from the city speak of a prophecy involving a world war of three gods, each of which has a”mother” as part of that new being shining above the landscape. All in all, a great deal lies in store for us in Scourge.

But, before we can take a look at that”great deal,” we have to know why it shall exist. I refer to a comment made by Mark Rosewater several weeks ago about the next big expansion. He informed us that the next big expansion, Mirrodin, shall not take place on Dominaria (the first time that’s happened since Nemesis, which was basically all set in Rath and Mercadia). But we’ve got a little problem: So much happened in Legions that has to be dealt with – there’s such great possibility left open to Scourge that I can hardly believe that all the ends will be tied together. Bu, however much they decide to cover, I see two main possibilities that might appear in Scourge to try to bring some finality to our long visit on Dominaria. Basically, either Dominaria will be destroyed, or it won’t. (Genius, eh?)

The first possibility is my least favorite – but with recent daring endeavors by Wizards such as an all-creature set and the redesign of the Magic card itself, I do believe that it is possible. Sure, the end of the world has been predicted several times before… But this time, they could mean it. What I’m trying to say is that in this great war about to be released upon Dominaria (and with the surety that we won’t be in Dominaria during the next set), the place where it all began may be brought to an end. Although this may be wild speculation, there are certainly real dangers that could validate the theory. For instance, in the past several sets, the world has been in true danger of destruction twice: Once when Yawgmoth invaded with all the force of Phyrexia and once when thousands of miles-long deathwurms were unleashed upon the defenseless populace of Otaria.

In the first instance, Yawgmoth should most certainly have won that war. If Wizards was planning to move on from Dominaria, they should have done it after Apocalypse because the way Yawgmoth was defeated is downright ridiculous. I mean, the Weatherlight, with sentience achieved, smashed the friggin’ moon into Yawgmoth – and he didn’t die. Armies couldn’t stop him, and planeswalkers couldn’t stop him. That moon hurt, but he survived. Apocalypse seems to suggest that he was killed by lava when his portal back to Phyrexia was sealed up. All in all, a pretty disappointing end to perhaps the most powerful character in Magic history.

With the ultimate might of Yawgmoth understood, try to picture the second threat to the world: Phage. For every person she kills, a spark of darkness grows within her. In Judgment, those sparks were released as gargantuan beasts that could only be picked off one at a time by Akroma. Akroma herself calculated that, at her rate of killing the beasts and their rate of expansion, they would cover the world in a matter of time. Only by pushing all the deathwurms (except one) back into Jeska (making her Phage again) could the world be saved from that threat.

Yawgmoth. Defeated by dwarves.

Phage. Unstoppable.

Yawgmoth. Immortal demi-god who embodied an entire world.

Phage. One woman.

Both of them. Nearly conquered the world.

Yawgmoth. Dead.

Phage. Alive, yet at least three times as powerful.

Does anyone else see the problem? Here’s Phage, with enough evil in her to take out Dominaria by herself, and she’s just been combined with the beast of a beast Akroma and the wily Zagorka to create the ultimate mother of three gods (after giving birth to one herself). Before, she just had to touch someone to kill them – imagine what she can do now? Add into the mix the other three gods (Kuberr, Ixidor, and this new god of war), and we’ve got quite a mess. Who knows how powerful each one of them can be? However powerful that is, we at least know that Kuberr should be stronger than the First – who was supposed to be even more potent than Phage! There really is quite a lot of destructive power floating around here – definitely enough to ruin the world if Continuity decided to do so. Maybe they goofed in Apocalypse and are trying to get it right.

Allow me to make that a segue into a little side speculation: Ever since Odyssey, I’ve been wondering if there was some connection between the First and Yawgmoth. Aside from controlling all of Phyrexia, Yawgmoth’s main power was his ability to cause death at the mere touch of his mistlike form. Strangely, the mysterious First has just such an ability. As the Odyssey and Onslaught Cycles grew, I came to realize that Kuberr does actually exist, though in a hidden and weak form. So, I hypothesize now whether Kuberr is in some way related to Yawgmoth – perhaps as the defeated demi-god himself.

Anyway, it’s obvious that there’s a possibility of the destruction of Dominaria in Scourge. The pieces are in place, and we’ve seen what crazy directions Magic is able to turn recently. But, owing to the fact that Dominaria is probably too dear to too many players for this to happen, it’s probably more likely that it’ll stick around for future sets to utilize. In this case, some less exciting though more pregnant situations arise. Regardless of how this huge”war” is going to happen (and whether it even takes place), if there’s still a Dominaria at the end of Scourge, there are going to be tons of loose ends.

I believe that this track of loose ends is where the story will go, and, though it will be frustrating for a while, it may prove to be richer than we could dream. Personally, I love stumbling upon references in the Odyssey/Onslaught cycles to the times of Urza, mainly because I enjoyed the characters of Urza and Yawgmoth so much. Since all the way back to The Thran, I’ve been hoping to find some hint of Glacian (the man who was turned into the Mightstone/Weakstone and later became Urza’s eyes) in Urza. Now, I look for hints of Urza in Kamahl’s sword, which came from Urza’s staff. Of course, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for references to Karn (who became a planeswalker) and Squee, Goblin Nabob (who is, after all, immortal). And, the biggest mystery I’ve been waiting to see resolves is where and when Teferi’s island comes back into existence. Provided there’s still a Dominaria to go back to in a few sets, these loose ends could provide a lot of growing potential for the story, and Wizards would be wise to keep them around for use should players get nostalgic (like me!).

Meanwhile, I guess what I’m trying to get around to saying is that Scourge will probably be an exciting book, but nothing of great importance will probably come out of it. I mean, Apocalypse was the most important book for years, bringing to a close what had taken so long to build up… And the novels were able to pick up and move on with hardly a hitch (which I think is a shame). What could Scourge bring that could out-do Apocalypse? (If you wish this not to be a rhetorical question, please refer to my fourth paragraph.)

So, that’s what I predict: Total annihilation or tons of loose ends. Will Slash and Waistcoat become planeswalkers? Or will they die in battle? Or will we know? Or, will we be left with the surety that they, along with billions of others, perished in a worldwide conflict? I suppose we’ll all have to wait and find out.

In the meantime, watch out for Karn materializing on Teferi’s island with a Glacian-possessed Volrath claiming dominion over Mercadia! Or not.

Daniel Crane

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