I’m going to try and walk your through this as my day unfolded. Only then can you understand the various avenues and rabbit holes I’ve traversed to arrive at this article. Bear with me. We’re going to cover a lot of spoilery speculation concerning March of the Machines: Aftermath and what’s to become of the planeswalkers. So hang on…
OF COURSE, SPOILERS…
Once the Phyrexians began to compleat the planeswalkers, we were sure that we were going to see a number of changes amid what’s left of the gate watch (if we can even call it that in this set). I mean, to be honest, WOTC themselves said blatantly as early as ALL WILL BE ONE that big changes were ahead and that Magic as we knew it was about to transform.
So, don’t blame us if we went off the deep end with speculation. It’s kinda what we do. Unfortunately, our bingo card for the Vorthos Apocalypse wasn’t quite as full as we planned. I mean, we got Archangel Elspeth, but I think the lore lovers had that one checked a ways back.
Nissa WAS essential to Realm Breaker, but that was about it. BUT Realm Breaker is no more so we don’t have an open conduit to the multiverse like we and u/APe28Comococo figured on. No, New Phyrexia is shunted out existence and dropped into a place outside of reality and time as the planes know it!
But the biggest shock to those interested in the story was that so many Planeswalkers not only made it through the story, but seem to be unscathed and back to action. It just seemed like most of it was just ‘fixed’ and we were supposed to ‘move on’. Even with AFTERMATH looming as a big epilogue to the whole story, there seemed to be a lot of tragedies that were just cleaned up in the end.
First and foremost were Nissa and Ajani. Ajani was found to be a sleeper agent the whole time; killing Jaya (one of the few obvious kills in the story besides all of the Praetors) and causing his friends, especially Elspeth, a lot of pain and suffering. Nissa, as mentioned earlier, was instrumental in connecting the dots as it were between New Phyrexia and the Planar Multiverse via Realm Breaker. So, just ‘fixing them’ seems a bit cheap.
However, there were sacrifices made to get them there, so it wasn’t THAT cheap. Karn gave up his spark to instill a spark back into both of them (put a pin in that one, we’ll be back). And Melira sacrificed her very life. So, I can’t say there were NO casualties.
Jace and Vraska are still on the missing list, although Jace was clearly run through with Elspeth’s fancy new sword and the Mind Mage was obviously all in concerning his compleation. There were no tricks or double agents or illusions. Jace lost his humanity to Elesh Norn and the Phyresis and so did Vraska. ALTHOUGH, that whole touching final goodbye between the two of them may not have been just the period to the sentence that is their story. It may be more of ‘but wait there’s more’!
So, we’ll wait and see on those two. Who knows, maybe that whole ‘theater of the mind’ vinette we got in the story took place in a realm outside of Elesh Norn’s reach. I don’t know. Let’s call it …maybe…a meditation realm of something. Ha! Point is, I don’t think their story is over.
Much like Tamiyo. Dead, but not done. As the Moon Mage has passed the torch to her adopted son, Nashi, who she abides with in some kind of spirit form as you can see in Nashi’s AFTERMATH card, MOON’S LEGACY. And notice he’s a shaman now.
But Nahiri was full on compleated, stormed Zendikar and compleated a Skyclave. Unfortunately, she was over come and went crashing down with the whole structure. But, before we get to AFTERMATH, we get a bit of box art with her walking side by side with Nissa like nothing ever happened.
With the Phyrexian oil being rendered ‘inert’ it should have sent those compleated into some type of dormant state awaiting orders. But I’m sure between the Halo and the New Capenna angels, Wotc can stretch the premise far enough to explain some of what happened! But we’re not ‘out of the woods’ yet!
NOW, LET’S TALK SPOILERS
Sorry if this has been a long read, but I wanted to set up my feelings when the following cards were spoiled:
This caught me off guard. Seeing these Planeswalkers adorned on creature cards shocked me. Is there something more to happen that will end the spark for now or for good? There has to be a reason we’re getting these Legendary Creature treatments of long time Planewalker staples.
Notice the planeswalker symbol over Kiora’s forehead. It’s cracked…
Maybe I was too hasty. Quite possibly, the abrupt change in the Magic Multiverse was upon us after all. Was WOTC culling the less popular planeswalkers to forge a brave new direction. Well, if you saw the graphic at the beginning, you would have noticed something crucial:
Nissa herself gets the same treatment in her own card, Resurgent Animist. For the first time in a long time, we have Nissa as a Legendary Creature. And we KNOW that Nissa was given a spark back. SO, what the hell’s going on?
A lot of the chatter online makes sense. Being compleated with Phyresis has to have SOME effect. The spark of those planeswalkers may not be lost, but temporarily shut down. Probably, by the end of this set’s story, Nissa and Ajani will be flittering across the Blind Eternities like nothing ever happened.
There’s only one problem with that theory. Samut, Kiora and Narset, as far as we know, were never compleated. So why are they kept from planeswalking?
And, to be honest, this may mean nothing at all. It may just be another blatant cash grab by giving us unique cards with planeswalkers on them that can, now, be your commander! I mean, surely WOTC didn’t do all of this to feed the EDH side of Magic the Gathering, right?
But, then, we have this little gem from AMAZON…
Leave it Amazon to let the proverbial cat out of the bag. As a part of the art they use to sell this set, we have the comment ‘Join the desparked Planeswalkers’. DESPARKED. Apparently, we weren’t jumping the gun Something happened; leaving many or all planeswalkers stuck on the Plane they ended up on (which still doesn’t explain how Nissa and Nahiri ended up together, but yeah).
But what about Nissa?
“Another boom sees the two orbs returning to Karn’s hands—one whole and pure, one crumbling.
As Melira turns her attention to Nissa’s orb, Teferi’s heart sinks. It’s flickering. Worse than that are the ash-like motes of energy falling away from it. Teferi is used to seeing things happen in slow motion; this is like watching a leaf decay right before his eyes. Lattice-holes open as the light courses through it.” -March of the Machine story: The Rhythms of Life
Something was wrong with the part of the spark that Karn gave Nissa. It was ‘flickering’ and ‘decay’ing. It could be that only Ajani got a spark that worked. Which leaves me to wonder about Teferi, Chandra and Kaya. They were all there. Why would they be effected? Are we left with a handful of Planeswalkers trying to hold the Planes together? Are we going to get stories of the individual planes being aided in their struggle to put it all back together by what’s left of a sparkless group of planeswalkers?