Vraska

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Vraska
Vraska.jpg
Demographics
Birthplace Old Rav, Undercity, Ravnica
Lifetime Mending Era
Race Gorgon Planeswalker
Colors
Center: {B}{G}

Vraska is a black and green-aligned gorgon planeswalker assassin from Ravnica. She was part of a mercenary organisation known as "the assassins of the Ochran."[1][2] Later she became the Queen of the Golgari Swarm.

Appearance and characteristics[edit | edit source]

Vraska is centered in black and green mana. She is a striking, green-scaled, woman with long, black snake-like hair tendrils. She has narrow features, and bright yellow eyes with a petrifying gaze. Like all gorgons, she likes to collect trophies.[3] Her eyes shine golden when she uses her power to turn her victims to stone.

Vraska used to be a sadistic and efficient killer, an assassin of the Ochran. She resented the order of the Azorius, thanks to her upbringing, and the world around her. To fullfill her ambitions of becoming guildmaster and restore equality within the Golgari, she aligned herself with Nicol Bolas. Caring not of her actions, she only began to see that there was still something worth cherishing within life upon being trapped on Ixalan alongside Jace Beleren. At first attempting to manipulate Jace, she soon found herself admiring his honesty and unbiased view of the world around him. By the time their journey came to an end, she looked back on her past actions with a different view, and found herself longing for the mind mage's companionship.

After the War of the Spark, she more openly works with others, even showing a moment of affection by sharing a kiss with Jace.

History[edit | edit source]

Persecuted[edit | edit source]

Vraska's life had been fairly simple in the Undercity, on the fringes of the Golgari Swarm.[4] However, on a world such as Ravnica, even a simple life can be destroyed by politics.

Isperia, then a high ranking judge of The Azorius Senate, issued a writ of mass arrest for any and all members caught bearing allegiance to the Golgari.[5] Vraska was amongst those apprehended, and they were taken to an Azorius detention compound, the place where all victims of the writ had been imprisoned. Unfortunately, the cells quickly filled beyond capacity and, vastly outnumbered by their prisoners, the Azorius were swept under the tide of a prison riot. These events became known as the Duskend Troubles.[6] Vraska and her fellow inmates were quickly ferried away to a secure location while much of the riot continued, but in the tight confines of the basement, they were trapped. Hours passed and tensions grew thick, the guards becoming nervous and abusive. Soon enough, the prisoners had taken enough from their callous jailors.

Escape[edit | edit source]

Many of the Golgari captives worked together and freed Vraska, but realizing the threat, the guards quickly turned their attentions to her. She was severely beaten and lay near death when her spark ignited, throwing her away from the world she knew. She lay in the darkness, unable to understand what had happened and much time passed before she learned to control her abilities.[7]

Assassin[edit | edit source]

Two years after her disappearance, she returned to Ravnica. In her travels, she had learned an important lesson, a creed by which to live her life. "A person should die the death they deserve." She began gathering followers in her quest to bring justice to those she felt deserved her retribution. Many died in her name, all deaths thematically linked to how they lived their lives. Amongst her many victims and those of her followers, there was always a special place for the Azorius. Slowly, she sought justice against those who had a hand in the riot, the guards, the arbiters, any who were connected to it in any way.

In between her missions of bloody vengeance, she has become something of a shadowy urban legend amongst the Golgari. She only surfaces when something stirs her interest, the exact reasoning a mystery to all involved. She chooses her missions carefully and stays well away from guild politics. Her activities have begun to gain notoriety even outside the undercity and her targets die swiftly once she commits herself. After her mission is completed, she disappears back into the aether, taking her expertise to other planes to gain experience and add to her ever growing collection of trophies.[8]

Grander plans[edit | edit source]

Vraska attempted to force Jace Beleren into her service. She gathered citizens of Ravnica whose names would be known only to a planeswalker and arranged them to spell Jace's name. It forced him into a confrontation with the assassin and she used various threats and attempts at coercion to bring him under her sway. Jace ultimately escaped her clutches and shone light onto her existence, possibly undoing everything she'd try to accomplish. It is unclear if she can ever return to the shadows now.[9] In this time, she contacted the disenfranchised among the Golgari, to rally them against Jarad and his elves. She found willing allies in the Kraul, who delved into darker necromancies to unearth the Erstwhile in their hidden catacombs beneath the Undercity.[1]

Ixalan[edit | edit source]

Captain Vraska

An agent of Bolas placed a note in the House of Ochran that invited Vraska to the Meditation Plane. Here, Nicol Bolas offered to make her the guildmaster of the Golgari and bring those to justice that preyed on the downtrodden, if she would travel to Ixalan and deliver the item stored in the Golden City of Orazca to one of his agents. To aid her in this, Bolas gifted Vraska with a Thaumatic Compass and the knowledge of sailing.

On Ixalan, Vraska posed as a member of the Brazen Coalition, serving a Lord Nicolas. Assembling her crew and her own ship named The Belligerent, she turned out to be a very democratic leader, which earned her a great deal of respect and admiration from her crew.[4]

Guided by the compass, her ship found the shipwrecked Jace in the sea.[10] Seeing that he had no memory of who he was, she spared him. Using his powers as an illusionist, she plundered ships of the Legion of Dusk.[2] Slowly, Vraska and Jace began to develop a new relationship, based on a sense of respect and attraction.[11][12] After The Golden City revealed itself, Vraska and Jace fell in its churning waters. To Vraska's horror, the shock caused Jace's memories to return, his telepathic powers causing her to witness every single memory that returned to him. Vraska was filled with fear that Jace's memories would reignite their enmity, but Jace instead forgave Vraska for her past transgressions against him.[13][14] Their friendship even stronger, they struggled on to Orazca, where they unexpectedly were confronted by a legend of their own home plane: Azor, the Lawbringer.[15] Vraska witnessed how Jace used his power as the Living Guildpact to banish the Sphinx to Useless Island.[16]

Realizing that Nicol Bolas would learn about her love for Jace if he would read her mind, Vraska asked Jace to remove all her memories of him. Jace implanted a trigger to reinstall her memories at the right moment, planning to defeat Bolas together.[17] After this, Vraska summoned Tezzeret, who removed the Immortal Sun from the plane, using his Planar Bridge. Having removed the planar barrier, Vraska planeswalked away.[17]

In Bolas' Meditation Plane, the dragon read her mind and witnessed the false memory created by Jace, in which Vraska had found Azor and turned him, along with all her challengers, into gold using the power of the Sun. Pleased, the dragon called her "Guildleader Vraska" and rewarded her with the information where Jarad was to be found. As Vraska set out to petrify Jarad, she couldn't help but feel that both she and Bolas missed something very important during their meeting.[18]

Guildmaster[edit | edit source]

Back on Ravnica, Vraska killed Jarad and established herself as guildmaster.[19][20] She was helped by the Erstwhile (which are more durable and intelligent than regular Golgari rot zombies), and the Kraul. Meanwhile, The Devkarin were bitter about this and were wanting the current Matka, Izoni to take over.

The kraul Xeddick, who was a telepath, found out about Jace's mindblock and removed it at her request.[3] She now remembered Ixalan, her friendship with Jace and her newfound righteousness. She also realized that Bolas was planning to invade Ravnica with his Eternal army, and decided to attend the guild summit.[6] To prove herself, she pledged her guild to attack the Orzhov Syndicate, in order to change its leadership. Though she was sincere when she approached Ral Zarek and Kaya, to volunteer her services and her guild in their fight against the elder dragon, she ultimately betrayed them.[21] This had led to the Rakdos emissary Hekara being killed by a Bolas-posessed Lavinia.

Vraska killed Isperia after the guild summit as payback for the suffering of her youth. After that, she continued to fight for Bolas because she was worried that she would be deposed of as Golgari's guildmaster without his help.

War of the Spark[edit | edit source]

Vraska planeswalked to Ixalan to escape from being killed by Ral Zarek for betraying their group. As a result, she was not present on Ravnica when Bolas' invasion began. However, she worried that the Golgari Swarm would fall apart without her, and she eventually decided to return to Ravnica out of concern for her people.

Upon returning home, she encountered Ral and Kaya in the Undercity, where they were trying to convince the other Golgari leaders to support their cause.[22] Despite Ral and Kaya's suspicion of the gorgon, Vraska united the Golgari once again and pledged the guild to the fight against Bolas. With the help of Ajani and his team of planeswalkers, they were able to evacuate many civilians to the tunnels beneath the city, where they would be safe from the Dreadhorde.

After that, Vraska, Ral, Kaya, Teyo, and Araithia journeyed to Rix Maadi to negotiate with Rakdos.[23] The demon lord was initially hostile due to the death of his emissary Hekara, and the blood witch Exava ordered the group to leave. However, the Orzhov representative Tomik showed up with Hekara's corpse, and the Rakdos cultists resurrected Hekara as a blood witch. After defeating Exava in a fight, Hekara used her newfound authority as a blood witch to lead the Rakdos against Bolas.

Once all ten guilds were on board, Nissa performed a ritual at the ruins of the Guildpact Chamber: with the help of a representative from each guild, she was able to repair the leylines that empowered the Living Guildpact (which had been disrupted when Bolas destroyed the Guildpact Chamber by opening his portal there). Vraska served as the representative for the Golgari Swarm.[23] Using a device that Niv-Mizzet had constructed before his death to preserve his consciousness, they were able to resurrect Niv and grant the power of the Living Guildpact to him. Niv came back to life just in time to save the others from the God-Eternal Kefnet: using his newfound power, Niv was able to completely incinerate Kefnet in a torrent of flame, although the strain of channeling enough energy to kill a god caused him to fall unconscious.

Later, Jace reunited with Vraska. He tried to restore her memories, only to find that they'd already been restored by Xeddick. Vraska confessed that even though she was fully aware of the threat Bolas posed, she still murdered Isperia in a fit of rage, despite knowing that it would help further Bolas' plans. Jace forgave her and promised to get together with her if they made it out of the war alive.[24]

Vraska survived the battle and was present during the Planewide Celebration that followed, where she and Jace finally shared a kiss. Later, she was confronted by Niv-Mizzet and the other guildmasters (with Tomik now representing the Orzhov Syndicate in Kaya's place). They decided to spare the planeswalkers who formerly worked with Bolas but defected before the battle, on the condition that they make amends by hunting down the planeswalkers who stayed loyal to Bolas or defected too late. As her penance, Vraska was assigned the task of capturing Dovin Baan.[24]

Current status[edit | edit source]

It's unclear if Vraska is still guildmaster of the Golgari Swarm, or who would have replaced her. During her absence, the elf shaman Cevraya, the Devkarin Izoni, the troll Varolz, the kraul Azdomas, and the Erstwhile leader Storrev all have claimed to have a right to the title.

Planeswalkers met[edit | edit source]

Planes visited[edit | edit source]

Story appearances[edit | edit source]

Title Author Publishing date Set Setting (plane) Featuring
The Shadows of Prahv, Part 1 Jenna Helland 2012-08-29 Return to Ravnica Ravnica Azorius Senate, Vraska
The Shadows of Prahv, Part 2 Jenna Helland 2012-09-05 Return to Ravnica Ravnica Azorius Senate, Vraska
The Azorius Ten Most Wanted Jenna Helland 2012-10-31 Return to Ravnica Ravnica Azorius Senate
The Gorgon and the Guildpact Doug Beyer 2014-03-12 Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska Ravnica Jace Beleren, Vraska

In-game references[edit | edit source]

Represented in:

Associated cards:

Depicted in:

Quoted or referred to:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b Alison Luhrs (May 31, 2017). "Pride of the Kraul". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. a b R&D Narrative Team (September 20, 2017). "The Talented Captain Vraska". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b Django Wexler (June 26, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Four.
  4. a b R&D Narrative Team (October 4, 2017). "Vraska the Unseen". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Jenna Helland (August 29, 2012). "The Shadows of Prahv, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b Django Wexler (July 11, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Six.
  7. Jenna Helland (September 5, 2012). "The Shadows of Prahv, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Vraska. Planeswalker Biography. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Doug Beyer (March 12, 2014). "The Gorgon and the Guildpact". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. R&D Narrative Team (September 6, 2017). "Jace, Alone". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. R&D Narrative Team (October 4, 2017). "Something Else Entirely". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. R&D Narrative Team (October 11, 2017). "The Race, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. R&D Narrative Team (October 18, 2017). "The Race, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. R&D Narrative Team (January 10, 2018). "The Flood". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  15. R&D Narrative Team (January 17, 2018). "Glimpse the Far Side of the Sun". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  16. R&D Narrative Team (January 24, 2018). "The Arbiter of Law Left Chaos in His Wake". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. a b R&D Narrative Team (January 31, 2018). "Sabotage". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  18. R&D Narrative Team (February 14, 2018). "Wool over the Eyes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Django Wexler (June, 2019), The Gathering Storm/Chapter Two.
  20. Nicky Drayden (November 7, 2018). "Death's Precious Moments". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Greg Weisman (April 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica". Del Rey.
  22. Greg Weisman (May 29, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Desperate Operatives". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  23. a b Greg Weisman (June 5, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Operation Desperation". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  24. a b Greg Weisman (June 12, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Ashes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.