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
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.

History[edit | edit source]

The Guildpact[edit | edit source]

The lzzet League is one of the few guilds whose founder remains its guildmaster, just as the guild continues to fulfill its original mission (even as its experiments go far beyond the guild's original mandate). Niv-Mizzet, the original and current guildmaster of the Izzet League, is a sixteen-thousand-year-old dragon.

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.

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 10th 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. 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. 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.

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.[4] A murder attempt by an unknown assailant had made his project even more urgent.[4] 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. 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.[4][5]

Death[edit | edit source]

Before the War of the Spark, Nicol Bolas slew Niv-Mizzet.[6][7] 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 build him back.[8][9][1]

Operation Desperation[edit | edit source]

The almost impossible task was to assemble representatives from each Ravnica guild, to use the power of the Guildpact, but the planeswalkers were ultimately successful.[10] Apart from the ten reprentatives, Operation Desperation (the Firemind's final plan) required the leylines of Ravnica, his own charred bones of Niv-Mizzet, 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 in 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.[11] 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".[12] 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.[13][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]

In-game references[edit | edit source]

Represented in:

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References[edit | edit source]