Since their debut back in Battlebond, Will and Rowan Kenrith have been a unique breath of fresh air in MTG. Carrying the age-old motif of ‘fire and ice’ and opposites in union, the Royal Scions have stood side by side as their ‘coming of age’ story has slowly unfolded before us. But are there changes coming? Is there something brewing between these inseparable twins that will shake their story to their foundations? I think so and what follows is my attempt to explain.
“No one knows where the mysterious twin Planeswalkers, Rowan and Will, came from or why they felt the need to test themselves on Valor’s Reach. But anyone who faces them in battle realizes very quickly their ability to reinforce each other’s powers is a force to be reckoned with.”
Ths was the opening bit of biography about them from Battlebond. The set was developed to introduce the ‘Two Headed Giant’ format; where two players would team up against two others. It may be a format that needs a revisting as we move into a new era of the game where we are constantly looking for new ways to play to keep things fresh. But the legendarys introduced were tag teams and none were more unique or in sync than Will and Rowan.
Two planeswalkers with ‘Partner’ aka they could both be your commander, their build made so much sense compared to their relationship and complimentary powers. But what we saw in Battlebond was just the middle of the story. They came to Kylem in order to test their power and, especially, their ability to use them in unison to their utmost potential. They meshed even further into a team; maturing as a fighting force to be reckoned with. The twins grew up even farther from their royal beginnings of Eldraine.
Yes, Eldraine, where we actually got to see their origin as the ‘Royal Scions’ of the Kenriths. Like many twins, they were in sync since birth. Their abilities, although seen as opposites, were forged together as they grew up siblings and were always at each other’s sides. As they continued to move into their teens, their personalities, like their power, moved to polar opposites. Will was the studious man of ice who found solace in books and learning. But Rowan was the fiery Spark Mage. Her power manifested on the field of battle. And she was always ready to press on into action while Will would take his time and ponder the situation before jumping in.
Their time in Eldraine was, of course, set before their time in the arenas of Kylem. Because they did not find ‘their’ spark until the end of that set, so would not have been able to travel there until after. And this SPARK was found, as with all things concerning them, together. You see, Will and Rowan have a unique connection seeing that they share a spark. Where one planeswalks, so does the other. Utterly unique in the cosmos, they, together, form one planeswalker.
But, as they begin a life changing move to the colleges of Strixhaven, they find that they will be challenged (as it should be). Probably, the first real struggle to a child’s world view comes in college. They will meet others of equal or greater power and find themselves questioning everything they had believed. This is the nature of college, after all. The child becomes an adult fully by calling into question the bedrocks that built them. And, I believe, the twins are about go thought just that.
If you haven’t read the first story arch for Strixhaven, do so. There’s some interesting developments in story for, not only, the Scions, but Professor Onyx aka Liliana, the enigmatic Kasmina, as well as, a host of new characters both professor and students.
But there are already hints that something monumental may be on the horizon for Will and Rowan Kenrith. And it begins as soon as they arrive on the plane of Arcavios. Walking through the campus, they come upon a squad duel between the elemental Prismari and the sharp-whited Silverquill. Will wants nothing to do with these petty squabbles. But Rowan jumps in with both feet, as usual, dragging her brother along with her. As son as Will gets involved, the two of them jump into their old ways. They begin to pull out the same tricks they used on both Eldraine and Kylem.
BUT SOMETHING WENT WRONG
“Will and Rowan moved as one, their magic combining as it arced toward the other students. They didn’t seem to be grinning too smugly anymore—but just before it hit the Silverquills, Rowan’s lightning flared and snapped, cutting through the ribbons of Will’s ice magic. Will frowned, but it was too late to adjust. Rowan’s attack was strong, at least; it pierced the shield of light the older Silverquill student had conjured, sending her stumbling backward.”
Will was aware of the fact that something was wrong. The old tag team move that was a sure thing didn’t pan out the same. Rowan ignored it. I mean, the attack worked, right? But Will knew there was something more to this situation; something worrisome. Rowan’s power had ‘flared and snapped’. I mean, more than usual. It was less ordered and in sync with Will’s Ice magic and broke the bonds of their magic in unison and became something different; something more.
This was the first hint that something was changing between them. And I think the story is about to take a strange, foreboding and possibly wonderful twist. Rowan is discovering more of the ferocity of her power. And the more she learns to lash out, the more she WILL lash out.
Crackle with Power is one of the other cards that showcase Rowan in her rawest form yet. Will is caught off guard at one point in the coming story with Rowan’s ability to draw from the very power of the land of Arcavios apparently called the ‘snarls’.
Maybe the mana connection with the elements here are more volatile that on Kylem or Eldraine. But something about being on this new plane has sent the Spark Mage’s power off the scale. Will’s shock turns into concern and horror, I’m sure, as Rowan appears to be ‘luminous, transcendent, terrible.’
As Rowan matures (possibly faster than Will), she finds that she can tap into the different elements of the many different planes. Like on Zendikar, the power of land seems to be again ‘off the scale’ here on Arcavios and it may be that element (forgive the pun) that takes her to the next level.
In the coming story, we may see her pull ahead of Will. This shouldn’t be such a surprise though. She’s always pushed ahead while Will took the more cautious, more studious route. This may mean, in the long run, Will will be more powerful than her. But, right now, on Strixhaven, it looks like she’s about to make a power leap of epic proportions.
And THERE lies the problem.
DARK DAYS COMING?
Becoming more comfortable with her power may mean Rowan will begin to test the limits. When this happens, she may find that turning loose of this new power tap may feel good. She is, after all, half “wicked witch”. Will the bad blood come to the surface?
It feels more and more natural, the head strong Rowan may be headed down a dark road. We still don’t know how far the School of Strixhaven will go to develop power and where their stand on moral ‘rights and wrongs’ stand. So, this type of power grab without responsibility may be encouraged.
SIDE NOTE: Does this have anything to do with MOLTEN PROPHECY Will went on about?
And, if encouraged, how far will it be ‘encouraged’? Or, once Rowan gets to the ‘point of no return’ will it matter. Rowan may be on schedule for a ‘Dark Phoenix’ event where she may become incontrollable or, at best, a darker force in the MTG vorthos. Hopefully, having Professor Onyx/Liliana guiding them into this next fight won’t exasperate this sudden shift. Hopefully, the professor has learned her lessons.
She may be tired of being held back; which is exactly what Will has done inadvertently. And the Spark mage, as it would seem, may become a more important player in the coming storylines and planes.
The catalyst will be, of course, the leadership of Strixhaven. What is their purpose and practices? Are they what they appear to be? Are they a force for good, evil or neutral? Is it their concern whether she goes ‘bad’ or is it just her ‘becoming’ that matters? Lots of questions.
And Kasmina. It always comes back to Kasmina. I’ve voiced several times that her motives are suspect. I’m not sure the ‘secret cabal’ with the mysterious motives is Strixhaven or some darker alliance. It did say in her bio for War of the Spark that they were preparing for something that DWARFS that event, so that, at least, sounds benign.
But, if they need powerful weapons in the fight against the coming evil, they may encourage Rowan, as well as others, to push themselves to nearly godlike limits for ‘the common good’.
THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS
The change coming may be a bit more innocent that all of that, hopefully. Rowan may just come to a point where she’s tired of being a part of the collective that is the Royal Scions. They have always been polar opposites, but, as they step out of the safety of home and the strict confines of the arena, they may find living life is a bit more complicated than they expected. And this may lead to the biggest change in their stories yet.
Until now, they have shared a spark. Where one goes, so does the other. But, as Rowan comes into her power and wants to explore it, will she force a division between them? Will Rowan take off for other planes and take their once shared spark with her? Will this leave Will stranded at Strixhaven? Will he care?
There is a possibility that, if Rowan takes over the spark, that they will part ways; leaving Will to continue studies while Rowan searches for her own ‘studies’ out living life. Will stays behind to finish his education and, in the long run, can become stronger than even her.
But the most obvious option is that they split the spark and both become planeswalkers in their own right. This way, we can explore their characters in the future without the other involved. They could come back together down the road and do a team up that would be satisfying. OR they could find themselves on opposite ends of a future event and possibly at war with each other. Either way, I see Wotc probably going with this final option as they can continue their stories on a new level.
Whatever happens, I see Will and Rowan parting ways after the Stixhaven set. As stated before, Will Kenrith will continue his studies and become a powerful planeswalker/mage of ice as Rowan will journey the planes; honing her skills with the spark on the field of battle.
What do YOU think? Are there options I haven’t considered? Maybe you have a different take on MTG vorthos. We would like to hear it. Message us here or on our social media and we will consider it as we continue the story of Will and Rowan and the School of Strixhaven.