Niv-Mizzet

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Niv-Mizzet
Niv-Mizzet.jpg
Demographics
Birthplace Ravnica
Lifetime -5,000 A.C. - present
Race Dragon Avatar
Sources
Guildpact, Dissension, Return to Ravnica: The Secretist, Part One, Gatecrash: The Secretist, Part Two, Dragon's Maze: The Secretist, Part Three, War of the Spark: Ravnica
Scryfall Search
lore:"Niv-Mizzet"

Niv-Mizzet is the temperamental dragon parun of the Izzet League on Ravnica, reborn as the Living Guildpact.

Description[edit | edit source]

Niv-Mizzet, also known as the Firemind, is 16,768 years old.[1] He is an ancient red-brown Ravnican dragon obsessed with omniscience. Despite his size, he is able to move lightly and gracefully. He has a twisting tail, long blue-fringed wings, a long neck, spined membranes around his head and long dark horns.[2]

The Firemind's intellect exceeds that of standard mortals by several echelons, and he is known for many ingenious inventions that currently serve the citizens of Ravnica, the most well known being the almost indestructible, yet easily usable and forgeable metal, mizzium.[3] Possessed of arrogance and vanity that matches his vast intellect and tremendous power, Niv-Mizzet directs the research and experiments of his countless underlings from his private laboratory at the top of the Izzet guildhall, Nivix.

Due to his extreme age, his triumph over numerous challengers, and status as a dragon wizard, Niv-Mizzet possesses knowledge that no other Ravnicans possess, including sorceries that have been lost to time and weapons whose makings have been lost.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

Born some 6,000 years before the signing of the Guildpact, little is known about the Firemind’s early history, although his ancient hunting grounds are known to include part of Utvara. His first lair is supposedly located within the area. Based upon the Ravnica Cycle storyline, which included dragon hatchlings that were meant to be Niv’s contemporaries, ancient Ravnican dragons were apparently able to speak upon birth and were born with knowledge that they could not have personally gained.[5] Niv-Mizzet is unique in that he was able to defeat all potential rivals and emerge as the last great dragon of Ravnica.

The Guildpact[edit | edit source]

Niv-Mizzet was an original signatory of the Guildpact, an epic piece of magical law that ensured cooperation among Ravnica’s diverse guilds. As the founder of the Izzet League, Niv guided his guild to uphold their initial mission, to create and maintain Ravnica’s civic works. In his thirst for knowledge, the Firemind also pushed his underlings to value experimentation and become masters of applied science and spellcraft. The Izzet League’s alternative name is fittingly known as the Magewrights. At the time of Decamillennial, Niv was one of the few paruns who remained in charge of his guild.[5]

The Firemind[edit | edit source]

The Firemind can grant an extrasensory link to his omniscience. To possess it is to be immersed in passionate brilliance. Not all Izzet are in tune with the Firemind though; the honor must be earned by passing a test or by accomplishing an extraordinary achievement. In very rare cases, the Firemind’s gift can cause delusions of grandeur and lead to what is known as “firemadness.”  Zomaj Hauc supposedly suffered from this condition in his failed attempt to revive several ancient dragon eggs and overthrow the Firemind.[5]

Absence[edit | edit source]

As time wore on, he became further and further reclusive and wasn't seen publicly for over 2500 years prior to his appearance to help the goblin master engineer Crixizix deal with the rampant nephilim. He destroyed two of them, but fled after being injured by an unforeseen attack by the nephilim, who had been empowered by consuming the flesh of a dragon. He left the battle, claiming that he was bored of the fight, for an unknown destination in the northern aeries and did not return whilst the Nephilim ran amok.

His disappearance from Ravnica seemed to be complete, as even those who were tied to the Firemind could not find him. However, he later returned as a signatory for the new guildpact negotiated by Teysa Karlov.

The Implicit Maze[edit | edit source]

Long after the Guildpact had been laid to waste, the Izzet League undertook a massive research project that spanned the Tenth District. Niv-Mizzet put many of his guild's most powerful mages, including Ral Zarek, into a scavenger hunt across and under the city in search for the secrets of the Implicit Maze. This project was progressing slowly until Jace Beleren used his powers to peer into the dragon's mind to learn the secrets that Niv-Mizzet sought.[6] Fascinated by the mindmage, Niv-Mizzet took Ral Zarek out of the Maze project to discover what Jace had learned. Partially successful in this, Zarek was sent to deliver an invitation to the other guilds, urging them to send Mazerunners to the Transguild Promenade.[7] Niv-Mizzet went to work creating the Izzet Mazerunner, a Weird made from Ice and Lightning that he called Melek. At the Transguild Promenade however, a disgruntled Zarek destroyed Melek and replaced him as the Izzet Mazerunner. Niv-Mizzet arrived at the Forum of Azor shortly after Jace Beleren used mind magic to halt the aggression between the Runners, and after a tense stand off with Jace, he left to ponder the Guildpact's return.[8]

The Interlocus[edit | edit source]

Niv-Mizzet knew about other planes and planeswalkers and had figured out that a threat to Ravnica was coming. He started an experiment (the "Interlocus") that would aid him to absorb the power of Guildpact, but he needed the help of the other guilds to pull it off.[9] A murder attempt by an unknown assailant had made his project even more urgent.[9] To work on this experiment he headed away from the main part of the city and left Ral Zarek behind as acting guildleader. Later, Nicol Bolas sent a Dimir agent to infiltrate Nivix and plant a thought in the mind of Niv-Mizzet, who had Ral turn Project Lightning Bug into a beacon to call other planeswalkers to help fight Bolas.

At the guild summit, guildmasters and representatives of all Ravnican guilds heard the request of Niv-Mizzet to change the Guildpact spell and grant him the power to fight Nicol Bolas.[4] Although he offered to leave the Izzet League and become a guardian of Ravnica, many distrusted his motives, and the meeting was adjourned. That night, Vraska met Isperia in the conference chamber. Simultaneously fulfilling Bolas's demands and achieving personal revenge, Vraska petrified the sphinx. After the delegates found out about the murder, their cooperation was dissolved and they returned to their guilds. Ral Zarek then thought up another way to achieve the Firemind's goal, using the magic of the Implicit Maze.

When Zarek made a device to fulfill Niv-Mizzet's plan of stealing the power of the Guildpact, Dovin Baan found out and played along until right before Bolas' arrival on the plane and then sabotaged the device, leaving Jace as the Living Guildpact and Niv-Mizzet without the extra power he craved.[9][10]

Death[edit | edit source]

Before the War of the Spark, Nicol Bolas slew Niv-Mizzet.[11][12] The battle was brief, leaving only Niv's charred bones behind.[1] However, the Firemind had been preparing for this. Together with Ugin, Niv-Mizzet made preparations to preserve his ghost in a device of his own design. The little silver box with delicate filigree, sparking gears and shimmering crystals could project Niv's essence above it, and would preserve his ghost for at least a hundred years. With Sarkhan Vol's assistance, the box was delivered to the Meditation Plane for safekeeping under Ugin's watch.[1] The Firemind provided clues for Jace, Vraska and Ral Zarek to bring him back.[13][14][1]

Operation Desperation[edit | edit source]

The almost impossible task of resurrecting Niv-Mizzet was to assemble representatives from each Ravnica guild and ensure their cooperation in altering the power of the Guildpact.[15] Apart from the ten representatives, Operation Desperation (the Firemind's final plan) required the leylines of Ravnica, Niv's own charred bones, and the Firemind Vessel. The vessel, a brass model of Niv-Mizzet's head, would contain his spirit when summoned from the Meditation Plane.

At the ruins of the Guildpact Chamber, Nissa Revane led the representatives through a ritual to resurrect Niv-Mizzet as the new Living Guildpact. A colorless portal - like clear water- opened up above the Firemind Vessel, and wispy smoke of blue and red emerged and descended, as if sucked down from portal to vessel. Simultaneously, the bones of the dragon began to glow with bright yellow and orange flames. The ritual attracted the attention of God-Eternal Kefnet who quickly attacked. Teyo Verada shielded the guild representatives and bystanders long enough for the ritual to be completed. When enough mana had been filtered through the participants, it coalesced around the bones and the Vessel. The blaze took shape, and Niv-Mizzet was reborn, with scales of shiny gold to match the golden glow emanating from his eyes. A decagon was seared into his chest and spheres of colored mana swirled around him.

Upon his rebirth, the Firemind incinerated Kefnet, but immediately lost consciousness from the strain of using enough power to kill a god; ironically, the same god who represented knowledge, intellect, and the magic of the mind.

The New Living Guildpact[edit | edit source]

Later, while Bolas was being attacked by the God-Eternals Oketra and Bontu under the control of Liliana Vess, Niv-Mizzet surprised Nicol Bolas by impaling the elder dragon through the back with Hazoret's spear.[16] Although Bolas managed to obliterate Oketra, and blast Niv-Mizzet away, the distraction allowed Bontu to bite Bolas and extract all of the elder dragon's sparks, including his own.[1]

After the War's end, Niv-Mizzet took up his new position of Living Guildpact with earnest, permanently relinquishing his status of Izzet guildmaster to Ral. When he boasted to Jace about the transfer of the Guildpact's power, Jace instead smiled and admitted he was happy to be rid of the responsibility, as he could travel the multiverse freely while leaving the Guildpact's power in the hands of a planebound being. Niv-Mizzet's first act as Living Guildpact was to have Ral, Vraska, and Kaya undergo penance for allying with Bolas but defecting before the War, by having them respectively hunt down Tezzeret, Dovin, and Liliana, the planeswalkers who remained loyal to Bolas or defected too late.[1]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • His original card's flavor text "(Z->)90° - (E-N²W)90°t=1" is very well known, and has led to multiple interpretations; one such is that it reads "Niv-Mizzet = 1", as when one turns the symbols in the parenthesis 90 degrees, it reads "(NIV)-(MIZZE)t=1", a possible allusion that he considers himself #1 in every aspect, or that he is the only higher dragon left in Ravnica. Mark Rosewater's comment on the "=1" part was that this means "equal 1 copy of his name".[17] Another interpretation is that his ability to tap to draw a card does 1 point of damage. It is reminiscent of the real-life equation called Euler's identity, e^(iπ) + 1 = 0, which has been called "the most famous formula in all mathematics", in which pi is an angle in radians (equivalent to 180°) plugged into Euler's formula.
  • In 2009 it was speculated that Niv-Mizzet could somehow planeswalk. This was explicitly denied by Brady Dommermuth and confirmed by Ugin in the novel War of the Spark: Ravnica.[18][1]
  • In the novel, War of the Spark: Ravnica, the "Prelude" and "Coda" are both subtitled, "Two Dragons."[1] In the "Prelude," Niv-Mizzet has died and is the "dragon spirit" conversing with Ugin also known as the "Spirit Dragon." Niv talks with Ugin about "our plan," leading readers to believe that he and Ugin had devised a strategy to defeat Nicol Bolas. In the novel's "Coda," the defeated Nicol Bolas becomes the lesser dragon who converses with his brother Ugin the "Spirit Dragon."[1]
  • Niv-Mizzet is commonly referred to as the Firemind.
  • Although Niv-Mizzet is over 16,000 years old, he is not considered an Elder Dragon.[1]

Story appearances[edit | edit source]

Title Author Publishing date Set Setting (plane) Featuring
Project Lightning Bug Doug Beyer 2015-05-27 Ravnica Jace Beleren, Ral Zarek, Niv-Mizzet, Gideon Jura
War of the Spark: Ravnica—Operation Desperation Greg Weisman 2019-06-05 War of the Spark Ravnica Rat, Teyo Verada, Kaya, Ral Zarek, Vraska, Exava, Rakdos, Tomik Vrona, Hekara, Nissa Revane, Lavinia, Borborygmos, Emmara Tandris, Vannifar, Vorel, Aurelia, Lazav, Kefnet, Niv-Mizzet
The Gathering Storm: Chapter One Django Wexler 2019-06-05 Guilds of Ravnica / Ravnica Allegiance Ravnica Nicol Bolas, Ral Zarek, Tezzeret, Niv-Mizzet
War of the Spark: Ravnica—Ashes Greg Weisman 2019-06-12 War of the Spark Ravnica Rat, Gideon Jura, Tomik Vrona, Lavinia, Ral Zarek, Jace Beleren, Chandra Nalaar, Teferi, Ajani Goldmane, Nissa Revane, Jaya Ballard, Karn, Kaya, Teyo Verada, Isperia, Dack Fayden, Saheeli Rai, Hekara, Vraska, Nicol Bolas, Borborygmos, Samut, Vorel, Sorin Markov, Nahiri, Arlinn Kord, Feather, Liliana Vess, Oketra, Rakdos, Bontu, Niv-Mizzet, Angrath, The Wanderer, Mu Yanling, Jiang Yanggu, Mowu, Vivien Reid, Aurelia, Exava, Lazav
The Gathering Storm: Chapter Ten Django Wexler 2019-08-14 Guilds of Ravnica / Ravnica Allegiance Ravnica Ral Zarek, Isperia, Dovin Baan, Hekara, Borborygmos, Aurelia, Lazav, Emmara Tandris, Kaya, Teysa Karlov, Vraska, Niv-Mizzet
The Gathering Storm: Chapter Eleven Django Wexler 2019-08-21 Guilds of Ravnica / Ravnica Allegiance Ravnica, Unknown plane Ral Zarek, Hekara, Niv-Mizzet, Aurelia, Dovin Baan, Kaya

In-game references[edit | edit source]

Represented in:

Associated cards:

Depicted in:

Quoted or referred to:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b c d e f g h i j Greg Weisman (April 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica". Del Rey
  2. Django Wexler (June, 2019), The Gathering Storm/Chapter One. Del Rey.
  3. Matt Cavotta (January 11, 2006). "Niv-Mizzet, the Fountainhead". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b Django Wexler (August 14, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Ten.
  5. a b c Cory J. Herndon. (2006.) Ravnica Cycle, Book II: Guildpact, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 978-0786939893.
  6. Doug Beyer (November 28, 2012). "Return to Ravnica: The Secretist, Part One". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Doug Beyer (Tuesday, February 26, 2013). "Gatecrash: The Secretist, Part Two". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Doug Beyer (May 22, 2013). "Dragons's Maze: The Secretist, Part Three". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. a b c James Wyatt (January 2019). "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Ravnica'" . Wizards of the Coast
  10. Greg Weisman (May 8, 2019). "War of the Spark — Old Friends and New". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Gavin Verhey (April 12, 2019). "Niv-Mizzet, No Longer Just Izzet". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Mark Rosewater (April 20, 2019). "Was there a reason we knew Niv-Mizzet was resurrected before we knew he died?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Contentious Plan
  14. Firemind Vessel
  15. Greg Weisman (June 5, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Operation Desperation". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Greg Weisman (June 12, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Ashes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater (December 10, 2007). "What Do You Know, Part II". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Brady Dommermuth (January 30, 2009). He remains on Ravnica. I will say no more.
  19. Steve Watts (April 12, 2019). "Magic: The Gathering Debuts New Card For Arena And Tabletop". Gamespot.com.