When last we recapped the War of the Spark story in Act 2, things looked dire for Ravnica. Nicol Bolas invaded the plane with his army of zombie Eternals, and while the guilds of Ravnica rose up, they were pushed back by the mighty onslaught of the God-Eternals, old deities of Amonkhet killed and reborn under Bolas’s dark power. Act 3 brings the epic final confrontation between the Planeswalkers, led by the legendary hero Gideon Jura, and Nicol Bolas’s undead army, led by the Dreadhorde General Liliana Vess. The endgame is upon us.
With countless Planeswalkers drawn to Ravnica and trapped by the Immortal Sun, the endgame of Bolas’s plan goes into effect. It begins with the Elderspell, an ancient magic that allows Bolas to lethally rip the sparks from Planeswalkers and absorb them, reaching the godlike powers he once held.
The first victim of the Elderspell is Domri Rade, a beastmaster Planeswalker from the Gruul clan. Domri had gone from saving innocents to willingly serving Bolas after seeing the power of the God-Eternals. This would end in his own undoing.
With the Elderspell enacted, a touch from Bolas’s Eternals is all that is needed to harvest Domri’s spark and rip his soul from his body. By betraying Domri, Bolas sends a message that no one is safe from his ultimate wrath.
On the other hand, Kaya, the ghost assassin who Bolas had hired to aid in his invasion, has a change of heart. After seeing the carnage around her, Kaya pledges an oath to the Gatewatch and joins the team of protectors of the multiverse.
Witnessing the wrath of Bolas, the remaining Planeswalkers unite under one banner and mount a resistance. They launch an assault on Bolas’s citadel to enact the plan of their hero, Gideon Blackblade.
As Bolas’s army of zombie Eternals clashes with the Planeswalker resistance, there is no shortage of heroes. While it’s no surprise that members of the Gatewatch, like Jace, Ajani, Teferi and Chandra, play a huge role in the battle, the alliance against Bolas brings out many unlikely fighters.
Vraska, now in complete defiance of Bolas and completely enamored with Jace, slices through the ranks of the Eternals like one who is possessed. The Wanderer cuts down swarms of Bolas’s minions with her mystical broadsword. Davriel Cane uses his magic to summon molten demons to burn through the enemy forces. The two mysterious Walkers (Wanderer in her white garb and Cane in his black) even fight together and make it all the way to the center of the conflict.
At the same time, Teyo Verada, the teenage Planeswalker from Gobakhan, dashes around the field protecting his allies with his shields.
Even Nahiri and Sorin Markov join the fight. The two ancient Planeswalkers had ignored much of the conflict to this point as they were preoccupied in battling each other over their centuries-old blood-feud.
Nahiri uses her lithomancy to shape spikes out of stone and impales Bolas’s minions three or four at a time. The vampire bloodlord Sorin rips through the battlefield, tearing the heads off of every Eternal he can get his hands on.
While the Planeswalkers fight valiantly (and many die in the process), a small group from the resistance go on a trip to try and cut Bolas’s army off at the source.
An alliance of Planeswalkers charges through the Planar Bridge and into Amonkhet. The group consists of Dack Fayden, a master thief, Samut, a fierce Amonkheti warrior, Karn, a sentient Tolarian golem, and Ob Nixilis, a ruthless demon. Nixilis has no allegiance to either side but joins the charge anyway as a means to escape Ravnica and the Planeswalking restrictions of the Immortal Sun.
The band of misfit Planeswalkers successfully make it through the portal. Arriving on Amonkhet, they promptly defeat Tezzeret, master of the bridge, and annihilate the remaining Eternals on the desert plane. This finally puts an end to the relentless stream of undead soldiers that have been pouring into Ravnica to reinforce Bolas’s army.
On this plane, the team also encounters Sarkhan Vol, a legendary Planeswalker warrior in search of a weapon to defeat Bolas, and Hazoret, the only Amonkheti God that Bolas had not killed and turned into an Eternal. Concluding Sarkhan’s search, Hazoret hands the team her powerful spear, a weapon that Bolas himself had created.
With Ob Nixilis having already abandoned the team, the remaining warriors are joined by Sarkhan Vol and return to Ravnica with Hazoret’s spear.
Gideon Jura was born Kytheon Iora, on the Greek myth-inspired plane of Theros. He was a poor street tough and orphan who, with his band of Irregulars, stole from the rich and gave to their fellow downtrodden. After being arrested for his vigilantism, the prison warden Hixus mentored him in the law magic of Hieromancy. When his home city of Akros was attacked by cyclopes and harpies, Kytheon’s Irregulars bravely defended the city as heroes.
With his fame established, Kytheon was named a Champion of the Sun by Heliod, the Sun God. He was then tasked to slay a Titan giant belonging to the death god, Erebos. Kytheon reigned victorious over the monster and, in his hubris, foolishly threw his spear at the immortal god himself, who reflected the spear with a simple flick of his whip. While the indestructible Kytheon himself remained unharmed, his companion Irregulars dropped dead at his feet.
The trauma of this incident caused Kytheon’s spark to activate and sent him to the plane of Bant. It was here where the region’s chivalrous knights, with their foreign tongues, translated his name to Gideon Jura.
Possessed by a hero complex and a guilt-ridden deathwish, Gideon wandered the multiverse acting as a hero and a defender in many conflicts. He survived every battle, even as others fell. One such conflict led him to form The Gatewatch with several other Planeswalkers, and this ultimately led to the recruitment of the troubled necromancer, Liliana.
On their last adventure to defeat Belzenlok, the final surviving demon in Liliana’s contract, The Gatewatch acquired the Blackblade. This was a fabled sword that was used aeons ago to kill Piru, an elder dragon from a legendary lineage that is now thought to be survived by only Nicol Bolas and his brother Ugin.
Gideon now plans to use the Blackblade in a last-ditch effort to strike down Nicol Bolas, like it was once used to strike down Piru.
While the main ground forces continue their onslaught on Bolas’s Citadel, Gideon mounts a Pegasus to launch an aerial assault alongside the Boros angels. Using the Blackblade, Gideon is able to slay the God-Eternal Rhonas. He then sets his sights on Bolas himself.
As he rushes toward the Dragon-God, he is stopped by Oketra, another of Bolas’s God-Eternals and one that Gideon himself once greatly admired. Under Liliana’s control and Bolas’s command, Oketra takes aim at Gideon, draws her bow, and fires. The arrow finds its mark, piercing the heart of the Pegasus and tossing Gideon off of his airborne mount.
This blow is especially tragic for Gideon, who was a great admirer of the Gods and whose Therosian faith had been rekindled after witnessing their former glory on Amonkhet.
As Gideon falls to the ground, he is caught mid-air by Rakdos, Lord of Riots. The demon lord of the Rakdos guild is obsessed with carnage and chaos, but not when done by an invading usurper. For the first and only time, the vain demon allows Gideon to ride him into battle.
Flying in on the back of Rakdos, Gideon takes a heroic plunge towards Nicol Bolas, wielding the god-slaying Blackblade in hand.
Only to fail. Bolas knew all along that Gideon would build his plans around the Blackblade. He let him carry out his assault nonetheless, knowing full well that the sword would not be able to kill him. Bolas also cleverly knew that if The Gatewatch had its focus fixed on the Blackblade, they wouldn’t explore other methods of possibly taking him down.
With Gideon repelled, Bolas goes in for the kill.
As the Dragon-God prepares to finish Gideon, Liliana, general of Bolas’s armies, finally reaches her breaking point. In the ultimate change of heart, Liliana Vess betrays Nicol Bolas and directs his own armies to attack him. Enraged by this defiance, the Elder Dragon invokes the magic of the contract that binds her soul to him. Liliana begins to burn alive.
But before Bolas can reduce her to ash, Gideon steps in for one final act of heroism. The legendary founder of The Gatewatch makes the ultimate sacrifice and passes his indestructible aura to Liliana. As a result, Liliana survives the breach of her contract.
And Gideon Jura dies.
Overcome with rage and finally free of Bolas’s bondage, Liliana takes control of the remaining God-Eternals, Bontu and Oketra.
“You are the gods. He is the usurper. You know what to do.”
The two Eternal deities turn toward Bolas and attack. As the Dragon-God fights and repels the undead behemoths, he experiences a sudden and excruciating pain, more intense than any he’s felt in a millennium. Bolas looks down to see the two-pronged Spear of Hazoret protruding from his chest. As he turns, he sees the reborn legendary dragon Niv-Mizzet holding the weapon that Dack Fayden, Sarkhan Vol and the others had brought back from Amonkhet.
Overwhelmed and weakened by Hazoret’s spear, the Elder Dragon turns back to fight Liliana’s Gods. He is able to obliterate Oketra but cannot stop Bontu in time. The God-Eternal grabs hold of Nicol Bolas and begins harvesting his spark. In the process, Bontu absorbs the spark of every Planeswalker that was killed in the battle. The power is eventually too much for her being to handle and Bontu explodes in a burst of light.
The last remaining God-Eternal perishes, but the damage to Bolas has been done.
With Bolas having lost his spark and now completely crippled, his brother Ugin the Spirit Dragon arrives and takes him to the Meditation realm. This was the first plane that both brothers had ever planeswalked to.
Once there, Ugin reveals to Bolas that he has been a step ahead of him at all times. The Gem of Becoming, held in Bolas’ horns since he claimed it from the realm they now stood in, was actually a part of Ugin’s spirit. Ugin’s connection to the Gem gave him the ability to see Bolas’s plan at every step and allowed him to plot a way to defeat his brother alongside the vengeful Niv-Mizzet.
After Bolas had killed Niv prior to the War of the Spark, the Dragon’s spirit was stored away and held safely in the Meditation realm by Sarkhan Vol, a former slave of Bolas who was clearly out for revenge. Once Niv was revived by the magic of the ten guilds of Ravnica, he was able to wield Hazoret’s spear to defeat Bolas, all while Lilliana’s courage and Gideon’s sacrifice neutralized his army.
Now, Ugin tells Bolas he has renamed the Meditation Realm into the “Prison Realm.” He will personally stand guard here as Bolas’s jailer until the once all-powerful Dragon-God has finally and completely withered away.
Know this, brother. I am your jailer for what remains of your mortality and will make quite sure you never escape. Your schemes, your machinations… all your little dramas are at an end. The curtain has fallen. – Ugin, the Ineffable (written by Greg Weisman, War of the Spark: Ravnica)
Back on Ravnica, the War is won. While the entire plane celebrates, the Gatewatch mourns the loss of their leader, Gideon Jura. Many others were lost as well, including Dack Fayden, the valiant thief who had been instrumental in the victory on Amonkhet.
With the Immortal Sun now deactivated and Tezzeret defeated on Amonkhet, those that were held captive in Ravnica are now free. Liliana planeswalks away first, and then The Wanderer and many others disapparate shortly after.
Chandra and Jaya, the two pyromancers of the Gatewatch, return to the battlefield, where the remainder of Bolas’s zombie army stands completely still, and meticulously burn every last Eternal down to ash.
At a meeting of the remaining Planeswalkers, Niv-Mizzet, now the Living Guildpact, announces that those who assisted Bolas must be punished. While Ral Zarek, Kaya, and Vraska have been forgiven for their crimes, they are now tasked with hunting down those that caused the most damage and suffering in Ravnica.
Ral Zarek agrees to hunt down Tezzeret for his great service to Bolas in transporting his entire army to the plane. Vraska is then tasked with bringing down Dovin Baan, who had been instrumental in installing and protecting the Immortal Sun that had held all of the Planeswalkers captive. And finally, Niv-Mizzet announces to Kaya that the ten guilds would like to hire her to assassinate Liliana Vess, for her many crimes in servitude to Bolas.
When Teyo Verada asks why Liliana is still being hunted, the answer is that she took too long to switch sides and caused far too much carnage in the meantime.
On the plane of Theros, a memorial is raised to honor a hero; one who is finally at rest with his comrades.
“I don’t give a damn about the dead. I can—on rare occasions—muster up some pity for the dying. But I reserve the bulk of my sympathy for their mourners. The trials of the dead are over, their sufferings at an end. If I shed any tears, they are for those left behind, for those who carry the overwhelming guilt and loss and despair that comes with surviving when their loved ones did not.” – Angrath, the Minotaur (written by Greg Weisman, War of the Spark: Ravnica)
Gideon’s triumph and sacrifice have been immortalized in an awesome new Signature Spellbook set that accompanies the War of the Spark.
Much of the information contained within this article was not written on the cards and was instead sourced from the book “War of the Spark: Ravnica” written by Greg Weisman.
Jim Harbor is a writer of articles, plays, comics, songs and animation.