Update (March 8th, 2019): Wizards Of The Coast have revealed the full stained glass art for each Planeswalker on the tower.
The Planeswalkers in the article are as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:
- Samut, Nicol Bolas, Ashiok
- Elspeth, Domri, Teyo Verada
- Ral Zarek, Tamiyo, Karn
- Jaya Balard, Tibalt, Mu Yanling
- Kiora, Sorin, Teferi
- Angrath, Dovin Baan, Ajani
- Arlinn Kord, Ob Nixilius, Jiang Yanggu
- Huatli, Sarkhan, Saheeli
- Narset, Nahiri, Ugin
- Davriel Cane, Vraska, Kaya
- Jace, Gideon, Liliana
- Nissa, Chandra, Vivien Reid
Original article follows:
Wizards Of The Coast has finally announced the new expansion set, War of the Spark, that will culminate the storyline of the Gatewatch and the infamous dragon Nicol Bolas. On February 15th, the Magic: the Gathering official YouTube channel released the teaser trailer for the expansion, featuring an ominous, dark tower and several clues as to what the new set has in store for MTG fans.
In the trailer, the camera pans around a grim-looking tower, showing off stained glass windows depicting different Planeswalkers to the sounds of melancholy piano and heavy rain. The camera then focuses on three windows depicting two members of the Gatewatch, Jace Beleran and Gideon Jura, and one former member, Liliana Vess. The center of Gideon's breastplate is then broken by a dark wind that enters the tower and slowly snuffs out the candles of a chandelier hanging in the center. The trailer ends by announcing the new expansion will be available for prerelease on April 27th.
Which Planeswalkers Did We See?
Besides the overall dark tone, there's some very interesting details in this trailer that give us some clues as to how the story of Nicol Bolas and the Gatewatch will conclude. First, is the choice of Planeswalkers for the three focal stained glass windows. The three characters depicted have a long and complicated history. Jace and Liliana were once lovers until she betrayed him under the influence of Nicol Bolas, with whom she had a pact to help her regain the powers of necromancy she lost in the Mending. Although she later made amends with Jace and the other members of the Gatewatch, Liliana was ultimately forced to leave the alliance due to Bolas' control.
Liliana and Gideon also have a bit of a complicated relationship. Although the two Planewalkers first clashed, Gideon later became Liliana's only ally within the Gatewatch when she tried to free herself from her pact and defeat her brother, who was turned into a lich. Jace and Gideon, of course, have known and fought beside each other for years as two of the four founding members of the Gatewatch.
Besides those three, a few other Planeswalkers can be glimpsed in the windows: Tibalt, Ugin, Karn, Nissa, Chandra, Ob Nixilis, Sarkhan, and Nahiri are all (more or less visible); the rest are a bit too blurry right now to know for sure.
The biggest Planeswalker missing from the windows is Garruk, but he hasn't been seen in the storyline for quite a while, anyway.
Who Will Fall?
Since the trailer focused on these three Planeswalkers, it seems pretty safe to assume that the story of War of the Spark will center around their storylines and relationships with each other. It will be especially interesting to see whether Liliana is able to free herself from Nicol Bolas' control, or whether she plays a hand in the Gatewatch's destruction. Although, since the wind did enter the tower through Gideon's breastplate, it's possible the Gatewatch's stalwart commander will be the one to fall under the dragon's influence and spell out destruction for his companions.
And destruction, or the threat of it at least, does seem to be on the horizon from the mood of the trailer and the visual metaphor of the candles being extinguished. At the end, only one candle remains lit before also succumbing to the power of the wind. Finally, all the candles are extinguished, and their smoke curls up in the shape of Nicol Bolas' horns.
Hopefully, the Gatewatch will be able to finally overcome this threat and defeat the dragon once and for all, but this grim trailer doesn't bode well for them. The full War of the Spark collection, including a new novel called Ravnica, that describes the history of Nicol Bolas in Ravnica thus far, a tie-in board game called Ravnica: Inquisition, and a new content package for the Magic: the Gathering Arena digital game, will arrive this spring.