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The Gatewatch

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The Gatewatch
 
 
The Gatewatch
Gatewatch cropped.png
Founding
Plane Zendikar
Timepoint Recently
Notable Members
Jace Beleren, Chandra Nalaar, Ajani Goldmane, Teferi, Kaya, Nissa Revane

The Gatewatch is a group of planeswalkers initially allied together to fight the Eldrazi on Zendikar. Their commitment is to protect the people of the Multiverse from threats that no one else can handle.[1][2] From Battle for Zendikar on, the Gatewatch became the center of Magic's storyline.[3]

Membership[edit | edit source]

The groups was founded by Gideon Jura, Jace Beleren, Chandra Nalaar, and Nissa Revane.[4]

Name Status Joined Oath Quit Note
Gideon Jura Deceased For justice and peace, I will keep watch. Sacrificed himself to save Liliana from her demonic contract.
Jace Beleren Active For the sake of the Multiverse, I will keep watch.
Chandra Nalaar Active If it means that people can live in freedom, yeah, I'll keep watch.
Nissa Revane Active For the life of every plane, I will keep watch. Left the group in protest after Gideon insisted in helping Liliana to kill her last demon. Rejoined during the War of the Spark.
Liliana Vess Quit I'll keep watch. Happy now? Left the group when Nicol Bolas gained control over her. After the Elder Dragon's defeat, she fled to avoid retribution for her part in helping Bolas during the War of the Spark.
Ajani Goldmane Active Until all have found their place, I will keep watch.
Teferi Active For the lost and forgotten, I will keep watch.
Kaya Active So everyone gets what they truly deserve, I will keep watch.

Additionally, Lavinia, Jace's assistant on Ravnica, is in charge of maintaining the Gatewatch's headquarters on that plane and knows that they are planeswalkers.

History[edit | edit source]

Zendikar[edit | edit source]

The Gatewatch was formed after the founding members together defeated the demon planeswalker Ob Nixilis on Zendikar.[5] The four planeswalkers realized that they were helpless against large threats on their own, but that they could stand against just about any force in the Multiverse by working together. Thus they swore an oath to stand together and the Gatewatch was created.[2] Jace devised a plan to bind the Eldrazi Titans Kozilek and Ulamog to Zendikar, drawing the bulk of the Titans into the plane so that their energy could be dispersed into Zendikar, killing them in the process.[6] Helped by a massive fire spell of Chandra, they succeeded.[7]

After the defeat of the Eldrazi titans, Jace and his friends were berated by Ugin for killing the ancient creatures. Ugin implied there could be consequences for the multiverse and that Sorin Markov (one of the other original Eldrazi planeswalker opponents) would be less forgiving.[8] After consultation with his friends, Jace decided to investigate Sorin's whereabouts on his homeplane Innistrad, and recruit him as an ally against Nicol Bolas and other interplanar threats.

Innistrad[edit | edit source]

On Innistrad, Jace found only madness that affected the entire plane that soon proved to be the influence of the last Eldrazi Titan Emrakul. Aided by the planeswalker Tamiyo, he returned to Zendikar to bring the rest of the Gatewatch to fight Emrakul. When Liliana Vess came to their aid with a Zombie army, her reception by the Gatewatch was poor, especially since Nissa felt the dark magic radiating from the Chain Veil.[9] While that power protected her against Emrakul's insidious influence and allowed her to attack the Titan directly, it also took a great toll on her body, leaving her near death.

When she reawakened, Emrakul had been sealed in Innistrad's moon by the Gatewatch and Tamiyo, and her wounds had been healed by the other planeswalkers. Seeing that a group of allies could be useful for her long-time plans, she decided to join the Gatewatch, albeit with the intention of directing them for her own plans.[10]

Ravnica[edit | edit source]

In the three months that followed, the Gatewatch made their headquarters on Ravnica. Thanks to the aid of Tamiyo, they received an emissary from the Consulate of Kaladesh, the Vedalken Dovin Baan. The Vedalken wanted to hire the Gatewatch to provide protection for an Inventor's fair that would take place in Ghirapur. Liliana, however, quickly made clear that the Gatewatch's intention was to combat other planeswalkers and similar extraplanar threats, not local unrest. Additionally, several influential members of the Azorius Senate of Ravnica had been petrified, leaving Jace to believe that Vraska, a rival planeswalker, could have returned. When they discovered that Chandra and Liliana had vanished, they suspected that she might have planeswalked to Kaladesh. Nissa volunteered to find them.[11]

Kaladesh[edit | edit source]

After Liliana discovered that Tezzeret was active on the plane, she alerted Jace and Gideon, who traveled to Kaladesh and met with Nissa and Chandra, as well as their new ally Ajani Goldmane. Together, the group went into the arena where Tezzeret was about to execute Renegade Prime Pia Nalaar in a quicksmithing match. When the planeswalkers confronted him, Tezzeret announced the end of the Inventor's Fair and retreated to a skyship. Discovering that their presence had been used as a distraction to confiscate the inventions displayed at the Fair and to take the inventors prisoner, the Gatewatch swore to uncover what Tezzeret had planned.[12]

The Gatewatch aided the Renegades in their rebellion against the Consulate. They were helped by Ajani Goldmane, who afterwards joined the team. Despite Ajani's plea that they should further amass allies before confronting Tezzeret and his master Nicol Bolas, the rest of the group decided to follow the artificer to Amonkhet.[13]

Amonkhet[edit | edit source]

On Amonkhet, the Gatewatch discovered that Bolas was creating an army of Eternals; highly trained fighting specialists which had been zombified while keeping their skills intact. When they confronted the dragon, they were soundly defeated. Each one fled away on their own.[14] Most of them managed to retreat to Dominaria, which Ajani had suggested as a gathering point. However Jace became trapped on Ixalan by the power of the Immortal Sun.

Dominaria[edit | edit source]

The shock of losing Jace as well as the anger towards Liliana's actions caused Nissa to leave the Gatewatch. Chandra, realizing the Gatewatch was not strong enough, also quickly left Dominaria.[15] Thus, only Gideon and Liliana were left to confront the demon Belzenlok on their own, because defeating him would free Liliana's potential that would be needed in their fight against Bolas.

Gideon and Liliana would later board onto the new Weatherlight to fight against the Cabal, ruled by Belzenlok. Later, Chandra regrouped with them. The Weatherlight's crew had wanted to find Karn, and Chandra had wanted to find Jaya Ballard, and all of this coincided in Yavimaya.

Jace, who managed to escape from Ixalan due to the Immortal Sun's removal, managed to locate his friends in the Weatherlight. After he told them the plans of Bolas, he went away to help Ajani to recruit more people.[16]

The three members of Gatewatch in the Weatherlight (Chandra, Gideon and Liliana), along with the other boarding members of new Weatherlight, notably the planeswalkers Teferi, Karn, and Jaya, managed to defeat the Cabal's Stronghold and kill Belzenlok. Then Teferi made his Oath and joined the Gatewatch. Jaya and Karn refrained from officially joining. But all of them left Dominaria to find Jace, except Liliana who fell under the control of Nicol Bolas due to her pact with the demons that he had brokered.

War of the Spark[edit | edit source]

The Gatewatch is plotted to engage Bolas on Ravnica. Little did they suspect that Bolas had not only accounted for their interference, but was practically relying on it.[17] When they traveled to Ravnica for the final confrontation, they immediately became trapped there due to Bolas's use of the Immortal Sun. Alongside many other planeswalkers and Ravnicans, they fought against the Eternals of Bolas' Dreadhorde.[18]

During the invasion, the trapped planeswalkers got together with Ravnican leaders to strategize. At Jace's recommendation, they decided to split up into teams to focus on specific tasks. Gideon, Aurelia, Angrath, and Huatli led a massive force of planeswalkers and Boros, Izzet, and Simic troops into battle against the God-Eternal Rhonas, who was leading a battalion of Eternals to destroy the gathered opposition. Gideon and Aurelia led the aerial units, while Angrath led the ground units. After battling his way to Rhonas, Gideon was able to kill the god, stabbing him in the eye with the Blackblade and draining his essence. Rhonas' lazotep shell collapsed to the ground, an empty husk.

Later, Gideon instructed Chandra to reactivate the Immortal Sun (which she had disabled), intending to use Bolas' own trap against him. He rode his pegasus toward the dragon, only for the God-Eternal Oketra to shoot the pegasus down. However, the demon lord Rakdos caught him and brought him within striking distance of Bolas. He struck Bolas in the head with Blackblade, but the sword broke against the dragon's flesh; Bolas revealed that he had enchanted Blackblade so that it would never be able to hurt another elder dragon again.[19]

Meanwhile, Jace, Jaya, Teferi, and Vivien had volunteered to assassinate Liliana. Jace had a lot of conflicting feelings about their mission: rationally, he knew that it was the right thing to do, but he still cared for her and wished that there was a way to help her. When they found Liliana, Teferi warped time around her, slowing her ability to react, defend herself, or strike back at her attackers. This allowed Jaya and Vivien to badly wound her with fire, arrows, and animal spirits, although the Onakke spirits in Liliana's Chain Veil protected her. Nonetheless, they almost succeeded, but Bolas stepped in and saved Liliana by destroying the buildings they were standing on. Fortunately, Teferi saved himself and the other three planeswalkers by slowing their falls.

After Liliana repented, Bolas used the power of the demons' contract against her. Gideon sacrificed himself to save her, using his hieromancy to take the contract and its lethal effects upon himself.[20] When Chandra tried to kill Liliana (believing she'd killed Gideon), Jace stopped her by explaining the situation. After Bolas' defeat, Jace was telepathically contacted by Ugin, who came to take Bolas to the Meditation Realm to prevent him from coming back to life on Ravnica. At Ugin's request, Jace used an illusion to hide the fact that Ugin had planeswalked away with Bolas' body, making everyone believe that the corpse had disintegrated instead.

Coincident to the events of War, Kaya joined and Nissa rejoined the Gatewatch.[21] The survivors were present during the Planewide Celebration that followed their victory.

Relations with other Planeswalkers[edit | edit source]

Name First Contact Last Contact Relation Note
Kiora Ally Kiora was part of the team that fought Kozilek and Ulamog on Zendikar, but left afterward in shame after nearly stopping their plan.
During War of the Spark, Kiora once again allied with the Gatewatch.
Ob Nixilis Neutral (former enemy; temporarily allied) Ob Nixilis fought the Gatewatch after he reignited his spark by absorbing the power of the hedron network used to seal the Eldrazi. He was later defeated by the Gatewatch and promised vengeance against them and fleed.

However, he helped the Gatewatch instead when he met them again during War of the Spark to shut-down the Planar Bridge out of self-interest. He then refused to be involved in the event again and planeswalked away.

Ugin Neutral Ugin tried to make the Gatewatch imprison the Eldrazi titans, but they destroyed the Titans instead. Ugin berated them for killing the ancient creatures instead of trapping them, fearing dire consequences for the multiverse.

During War of the Spark. Jace helped cover up Ugin's involvement in Bolas' defeat.

Tamiyo Ally Tamiyo refused to join formally but went on to pass the word of the Gatewatch's existence to other planeswalkers.
Sorin Markov Neutral Sorin rescued Jace and Tamiyo from a maddened Avacyn but considered them unimportant.

He formed a temporary truce with Nahiri and helped the Gatewatch during War of the Spark. He was one of the planeswalkers chose to stay even after the Immortal Sun is shutdown.

Dovin Baan Enemy Dovin approached the Gatewatch under the orders of the Consulate but was wary of them and several of their methods. He later fought them because he was loyal to the Consulate, and in War of the Spark he sided with Bolas against them, fighting Chandra.
Tezzeret Enemy Tezzeret is classified as an enemy of the Gatewatch, due to past involvements with Jace and Liliana as well as his actions against Chandra's family.
Saheeli Rai Ally Saheeli is an ally of the Gatewatch on Kaladesh, joining forces with them to free her friend Rashmi from Tezzeret.
During War of the Spark, Saheeli helped the Gatewatch to shutdown the Immortal Sun.
Samut Ally Samut fought alongside the Gatewatch prior to her ascension, but had no contact to them afterward.
During War of the Spark, Samut helped the Gatewatch to shutdown the Planar Bridge.
Nicol Bolas Enemy Nicol Bolas is the primary enemy of the Gatewatch. He managed to defeat them effortlessly on Amonkhet, and controlled Liliana to turn against the team to work for him instead. He was eventually defeated by the alliance of Gatewatch, Ugin, and native ravnicans during the War of the Spark.
Vraska Ally Vraska was hostile to Jace due to the past involvement with him in Ravnica, but the events that happened on Ixalan turned her an ally. As a part of their plan to sabotage Bolas, she returned to Bolas' side after Jace removed her memories of him at her request. Her memories were ultimately restored and she helped Gatewatch fight Bolas and is in a close relationship with Jace.
Karn Ally Karn fought alongside the Gatewatch against the Cabal led by Belzenlok. He refused to join the Gatewatch formally because he considered New Phyrexia as his prime enemy but agreed to join forces against Bolas.
Jaya Ballard Ally Like Karn, Jaya fought alongside the Gatewatch against the Cabal. She refused to join the Gatewatch formally but continued to join forces to fight Bolas.
Ral Zarek Ally Ral once served Nicol Bolas but turned against him during War of the Spark. Alongside with Vraska, Ral helped Jace to revive Niv-Mizzet.
Teyo Verada Ally As a newly awaken planeswalker, he helped the Gatewatch during War of the Spark. Was offered a place among Gatewatch, but did not accept and Kaya took the offer instead.
Nahiri Neutral Nahiri formed a temporary truce with Sorin and helped the Gatewatch during War of the Spark. She was one of the planeswalkers who chose to stay even after the Immortal Sun was shut-down.

Other temporary allies during War of the Spark that had no contact before or further contact afterwards are:

In the cards[edit | edit source]

Incomplete Founder Cycle[edit | edit source]

The founding members of the Gatewatch represented four of the five colors, lacking only black. This gave the impression of an incomplete cycle, although the Gatewatch is a set of thematically-linked characters, rather than a mechanically-linked set. Additionally, the only black planeswalker present, Ob Nixilis, directly opposed the group. That circumstance led to the humorous observation that Ob Nixilis was previously known as Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath, thus “completing” the cycle of oaths.[22][23][24]

Joining the Gatewatch[edit | edit source]

Any future members of the Gatewatch will have an “Oath” card printed to represent their induction to the group.[25][26]

Liliana was the first one who joined the Gatewatch after its formation. She and her oath are both black which completed the cycle. Note that the first five members of the Gatewatch are also the planeswalkers featured in Magic Origins.

Ajani was the first multicolored member of the Gatewatch. His oath was also multicolored.

In Standard[edit | edit source]

When the Gatewatch storyline was started, R&D began with the assumption that the members of the Gatewatch should always be represented on planeswalker cards in Standard. Starting with Hour of Devastation they will pull back significantly on how often Gatewatch planeswalkers appear. They’ll appear when it’s important but at a much slower rate.[27]

In-game references[edit | edit source]

Oaths:

Associated cards:

Referred to:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ethan Fleischer (December 28, 2015). "A First Time for Everything". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. a b James Wyatt (February 3, 2016). "Oath of the Gatewatch". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (January 09, 2016). "So 'The Gatewatch' is magic's Avengers or Justice League?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  4. Mark Rosewater (January 09, 2016). "Just curious if it was, at any time, designed or whether it started as four?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Doug Beyer (January 20, 2016). "Up in Flames". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Kelly Digges (February 10, 2016). "Brink of Extinction". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Doug Beyer (February 17, 2016). "Zendikar's Last Stand". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Ari Levitch, Doug Beyer, Kelly Digges and Kimberly J. Kreines (February 24, 2016). "Zendikar Resurgent". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Nik Davidson (July 20, 2016). "Battle of Thraben". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Ken Troop (July 27, 2016). "The Promised End". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Chris L'Etoile (August 29, 2016). "Homesick". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Doug Beyer (October 12, 2016). "In This Very Arena". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Magic Creative Team (February 1, 2017). "Renewal". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Ken Troop (July 26, 2017). "Hour of Devastation". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Martha Wells (March 21, 2018). "Return to Dominaria, Episode 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Martha Wells (May 9, 2018). "Return to Dominaria: Episode 9". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. James Wyatt. (January 2019.) "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Ravnica", Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Greg Weisman (April 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica". Del Rey.
  19. Tyrant's Scorn
  20. Gideon's Sacrifice
  21. Greg Weisman (June 12, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Ashes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Mark Rosewater (December 28, 2015). "Mark, why isn't there a Black planeswalker in the Gatewatch?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  23. Mark Rosewater (January 6, 2016). "Do you think everyone has forgotten...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  24. Mark Rosewater (January 09, 2016). "Why could there not have been a black card in Oath that mechanically completes the Oath cycle?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  25. Mark Rosewater (January 09, 2016). "If/when other characters join the Gatewatch in future sets, will they get an oath too?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  26. Mark Rosewater (January 09, 2016). "Is the Gatewatch only going to be those four?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  27. Mark Rosewater (April 07, 2017). "I get you want to push the Gatewatch but the same ones is a little tiring.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  28. Mark Rosewater (April 30, 2018). "Stories from Dominaria, Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.

See also[edit | edit source]