WARNING: SPOILERS CONTAINED WITHIN. If you don’t want to hear about how the Invasion Block story was concluded, read no further. Come back when you’re done with the book.
Well, a new set’s been released – and as usual, the general mass of people are chattering like excited birds over new mechanics and cool cards. Also as usual, I’ll be focusing on the storyline elements of the new set.
But because Odyssey takes place a full century after Apocalypse, I thought I’d take a look back at our recent storyline before we jump ahead. Therefore, this week, we’ll be looking back at the Rath and Invasion Block stories (Urza’s Block was actually a prelude to the other stories, and we’ll only touch on this briefly); next week, I’ll be continuing my tradition of flavor text examinations!
Looking at the list (which I have scratched out on an envelope…) of characters that played a significant role in the last three sets, I can count thirty-three. Of them, mostly all but the immortals have had Legend cards in Magic, and even the immortals have had cards created around them. So even if you’ve never read the stories, you should still have a firm grasp of who I’m talking about.
Also looking back on my list, I see nine characters are living by the end of Apocalypse. So almost 75% of the characters were bumped off by the wholesome writers at Wizards of the Coast. Some of them (like Ertai) met untimely dooms, while others (Gerrard) took all too long to kick the bucket. Let’s take a look at these players in the game of Magic’s storyline and what they did to get us where we are today. We’ll discuss them in order of when they died.
Rofellos: He was the first to be bumped off. A friend of Gerrard, this Llanowar native had spent several hundred years in Yavimaya before coming into contact with civilization. He died so long ago, I can’t even remember what happened to him! However, Gerrard always remembered him, so he must have had an impact in there somewhere.
(We’d mention Vhati il-Dal here, but he wasn’t really important at all.)
Mirri: Oh, yeah, Mirri! This cat warrior was a pugnacious companion of Gerrard on Weatherlight. She met an early fate in Rath after falling off Weatherlight (and landing on her feet), she was killed by Crovax (the Cursed), who sucked her blood like any self-respecting vampire would. I always expected her to come back from the dead; so much for that.
Starke:”Who?” you ask. He was the Weatherlight crew’s travel agent of sorts to Rath. He was a two-timing traitor who risked everything to save his daughter Takara. In the end, the shapeshifting Volrath, who had been pretending to be Takara all along, killed the blind old man. I actually feel sorry for him.
Volrath: His murder of Starke was done in his secret fort in Mercadia. When Volrath went back to Rath to reassume the position of evincar, he was shocked to find that Crovax had been completed and had taken his place. Ertai, a forerunner in the contest, had become his lackey… But what made Volrath the maddest was the fact that someone else now pulled Greven’s strings. When Volrath tried to pick the strings up again, he was discovered by Crovax and sentenced to death. With the four-armed Ertai guarding him in front of a Rathi crowd, Crovax filled Volrath’s body with flowstone nanodes, pulling him apart at the scene. I always liked Volrath. Boo!
Takara: Shortly after the assassination of Volrath, Takara, Eladamri, and Liin-Sivi (as she’s called in the books) managed to escape from the Stronghold’s prison via Belbe’s personal ambulator. (Belbe, a Phyrexian, paid shortly thereafter for this treachery with her life.) The ended up in Llanowar, and this is where Takara met her fate during the Phyrexian invasion.
Hannah: Also during the invasion, Hannah contracted one of the Phyrexian plagues. Despite all of the efforts of her best friend, Orim, she could not be healed. Gerrard, her lover, was also helpless to save her. Slowly and agonizingly, her body rotted away until finally she was dead.
Barrin: Barrin’s wife, Rayne, had been killed before in a battle of some faction of Dominarians against the invading Keldons. He also lost his school to a terrible mistake of Urza’s. The only thing he had left was his daughter, Hannah – and when he found out about her death, he went mad with rage. Taking Hannah from the place where she had been buried, Barrin put her next to his wife on the ravaged island of Tolaria. In a grievous stupor, Barrin looked in horror as Phyrexians invaded his one-time home. In an expression of sorrow and hatred, Barrin released a scouring blast (see Obliterate) that wiped Tolaria, and himself, out of existence. Barrin was by far my favorite character over the last three years of stories, and I was saddened to see him go.
Greven: I don’t know much about his death, as it happened in Planeshift, a book I was not able to read. What I do know is that, in a counterstrike on Rath itself, Greven met his fate to the Weatherlight crew.
Some Titans: Also somewhere in Planeshift, three of the nine Titans met their doom. Tevash Szat betrayed Urza, who had counted on such a possibility, and was killed for it. Daria (I think that’s his name) also lost his life during the second Phyrexian assault, as did another Titan whose name I can’t remember. Please forgive my lack of detail in this section.
Taysir: In a sudden inspiration in Phyrexia, Urza decided that the Phyrexians were perfect and that he would join their cause. (No, I didn’t see it coming either.) He killed Taysir and hightailed it to Yawgmoth (where he met Gerrard, who was trying to win back Hannah).
Commodore Guff: When the remaining Titans hightailed it back to Dominaria after nearly leveling Phyrexia, Commodore Guff explained that it’s too bad that Yawgmoth is going to take over the planet. Bo Levar angrily asked him what he meant, and Guff said something like,”Malevolent super-being invades pathetic planet with no hope of survival, and you want the good guys to win? Why would I approve it that way?” Bo Levar reminded Guff that all his books, which contain the history of the multiverse (both what has happened and what will happen), were stored in Dominaria and would be destroyed by Yawgmoth. Not able to accept this, Guff ‘walked away and began to frantically erase the history-to-be. He got a little carried away, though, and, in perhaps the story’s strangest move, he erased himself from history. Oops…
Ertai: Meanwhile, back in the Stronghold, Ertai was chasing the immortal Squee, trying to kill him. Each time Squee died, though, he would come back to life. Ertai prepared a particularly potent spell, but Squee tripped him, causing him to release the spell on himself. The battered Ertai made his way to the regeneration room. Later, Squee accidentally stumbled into this room and accidentally flipped a switch that fried Ertai. That was extremely disappointing – Ertai was my second favorite character after Barrin.
Crovax: Well, I guess it had to happen eventually. Gerrard, having beheaded Urza in the Phyrexian Arena, was granted super-human attributes with which he would be able to more easily serve Yawgmoth. But being the pansy that he is, Gerrard betrayed Yawgmoth (and nearly killed him) and was consequently ejected from Phyrexia. He met up with Crovax and they had a splendid duel that ended up with Gerrard slicing Crovax neatly in half from the skull down. As much as I disliked Crovax, he could have met a better ending than that.
Eladamri & Liin-Sivi: These two freedom fighters had gotten together on Rath and had stayed together ever since. During the final battle, they were trying to save a magnigoth treefolk from swarming Phyrexians, along with many other elves. When they saw Yawgmoth himself, in the form of a dark, all-consuming cloud approaching from the sky, they dropped from the 3,000-foot-tall tree to their fiery deaths beneath.
Multani: Multani, having served his time on Weatherlight, went back to help Yavimaya. There, he discovered that the real battle was at Urborg, from which he had just left. He begged Gaea to let him use himself as a bridge to allow the mighty Yavimaya to overlay onto Urborg in a sort of planeswalk, aiding in the final battle. Gaea silently consented, and Multani’s forces were transported at the cost of his life.
Bo Levar: Once the final battle failed and Yawgmoth hungrily rolled across Dominaria, Bo Levar went to a place he knew about when he was just an ordinary sailor before the Battle of Argoth. This place had been a haven for all folk to visit and live in during times of persecution. Bo Levar gave his life to construct an impenetrable barrier to keep Yawgmoth out. He succeeded, leaving the one sane place left in Dominaria intact.
Weatherlight: With the insertion of the Thran Tome into Weatherlight‘s engine, she took on life. She became just as real and living as Sisay or Karn. In a final strike against Yawgmoth, she flew up into space, grabbed the Null Moon (a Thran artifact that had been collecting white mana for 9,000 years), and proceeded to hurl it towards Yawgmoth. Being the all-supreme being that he is, Yawgmoth found a way to escape his fate. Weatherlight did not.
Urza & Gerrard: There is only one organ of a planeswalker – the brain. Although Urza was beheaded by Gerrard, Gerrard kept hold of Urza’s head, thus preserving his life. Urza finally realized what had to happen to overcome Yawgmoth: The greatest pieces of the Legacy had to be combined. The Mightstone and Weakstone, Urza’s eyes, and the embodiment of Yawgmoth’s first adversary, Glacian, had to be transmitted to Karn, the keeper of the Legacy, by Urza’s greatest creation, Gerrard. Gerrard had to reach into Urza’s skull, pulling out his eyes and ending Urza’s life. In placing these eyes into Karn, Gerrard released a magnificent amount of energy that burned his body away.
Yawgmoth(?): This energy, thought by Yawgmoth to be his ancient love and adversary Rebbec, pierced the demi-god’s existence. In Apocalypse, it basically states that Yawgmoth is killed by the burning beam of energy emanating from Gerrard, Karn, and Urza. However, Yawgmoth had earlier been talking of being able to return to Phyrexia, and Commodore Guff said that it could be rebuilt. Personally, I think we haven’t seen the last of Yawgmoth.
So, who survived the Apocalypse of the Phyrexian invasion and Yawgmoth’s nearly all-encompassing grasp of death? Well, our trusty captain and first mate, Sisay and Tahngarth, both live on and decide to go, along with Squee, on a simple sea voyage. Orim decides to go back to Mercadia to be wed to Cho-Manno. When asked by Sisay how she plans to get there, the best resolution of Apocalypse is brought to light: Karn (my third favorite character) is a planeswalker! He’s transporting Orim to her husband, among many other things. He’s been learning a lot about everything, and he’s even starting to get a grasp of human humor. General Grizzlegom, a minotaur, survives, as does the cat-warrior planeswalker Lord Windgrace; I assume they went back to their former lives to clean up the mess Yawgmoth left. Freyalise also survives and has erected a monument with the names of those who gave their lives to defending Dominaria from the Phyrexian invasion topped by the carved heads of Urza and Gerrard. She pledges herself to the reconstruction of Dominaria and charges all Dominarians with the same task.
So that’s how our three-year-long saga comes to a close. It’s been quite a journey, and, though there was a time when I couldn’t stand to hear the name Gerrard one more time, the whole concept turned out very well. Now, we start on a new story, with new characters and adventures. I, for one, can’t wait.