War of the Spark

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War of the Spark
 
 
 
 
 
War of the Spark
WAR logo.png
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Bolas's horns over the planeswalker symbol
Design Mark Rosewater (lead)[1]
Peter Lee
Dave Humpherys
James Wyatt
Jackie Lee
Ken Nagle
Development Dave Humpherys (lead)
Ian Duke
Andrew Brown
Ken Nagle
Jules Robins
Yoni Skolnik
Gavin Verhey
Art direction Dawn Murin
Taylor Ingvarsson
Release date May 3, 2019
Themes and
mechanics
Planeswalkers, colored artifacts, hybrid mana, Vehicles
Keywords and/
or ability words
Amass, Proliferate, Affinity for artifacts, Crew
Set size 264 cards
+10 Planeswalker deck exclusives
+1 Buy-a-Box promo
Expansion code WAR[2]
Development codename Milk
Non-block expansions
Ravnica Allegiance War of the Spark N/A
Magic: The Gathering chronology
War of the Spark Mythic Edition War of the Spark Modern Horizons

War of the Spark is the 81st Magic expansion. It was released on May 3, 2019.[3][4][5] Officially, it is not part of a block. However, it is part of a series of three consecutive sets on the same world, unofficially referred to as the Guilds of Ravnica block.[6] It covers the event of the same name.

Set details[edit | edit source]

War of the Spark contains 264 cards (15 basic lands, 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares), and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all these cards. Ten additional cards are found in the set's planeswalker decks (2 mythic planeswalkers, 2 rares, 2 uncommons, 2 commons, and 2 common Guildgates). These are numbered #265/264 to #274/264. A unique Buy-a-Box promotional card numbered #275/264 is also considered to be part of the set. While all previous sets on Ravnica focused on the ten Ravnican guilds, this set focuses on the culmination of the Bolas Arc simply using the world as a backdrop.[7][8][9] Mark Rosewater calls it an "event set", meaning it is built around an event rather than the plane.[10][11] As a special feature, the set features a total of 36 planeswalkers cards (39 including the Buy-a-Box promo + 2 in the planeswalker decks.[12][13][14] Each booster pack contains a planeswalker card,[13] and all planeswalkers are new cards (no reprints).[15]

The set is accompanied by the first major paper Magic novel after an eight year break.[16]

Storyline[edit | edit source]

War of the Spark key art
“  Be there when it ends.  ”

The storyline and set will revolve around the fight between the Gatewatch and Nicol Bolas. The fight turns into an all-out planeswalker war. Dozens of powerful planeswalkers, from many disparate realities, unite against the elder dragon, who has claimed dominion over Ravnica and is perilously close to completing the Elderspell that harvests sparks and will grant him "ultimate power" and godhood. As they fight alongside the Gatewatch—led by Chandra Nalaar, Jace Beleren, and Gideon Jura—against Bolas and his relentless army of Eternals, nothing less than the fate of the multiverse is at stake.[17] Little do the Gatewatch suspect that Bolas has not only accounted for their interference, but he is practically relying on it.[18]

The cards that represent the Story Spotlights in War of the Spark are:

Magic Story[edit | edit source]

Main article: Magic Story

In addition to the novel and its sequel (both by Greg Weisman) and the prequel by Django Wexler, part of the story appeared in six Magic Story chapters written by Greg Weisman.[19] Like the books, these were published after the set had been released.

Title Author Release Date Setting Featuring
War of the Spark: Ravnica—Old Friends and New Greg Weisman 2019-05-08 Ravnica Rat, Hekara, Teyo Verada, Kaya, Ral Zarek, and many others.
War of the Spark: Ravnica—The Path to Opulent Greg Weisman 2019-05-15 Ravnica Rat, Teyo Verada, Kaya, Domri Rade and many others.
War of the Spark: Ravnica—Rallying the Reluctant Greg Weisman 2019-05-22 Ravnica Rat, Teyo Verada, Kaya, Jace Beleren, Gideon Jura and many others.
War of the Spark: Ravnica—Desperate Operatives Greg Weisman 2019-05-29 Ravnica Rat, Teyo Verada, Kaya, Ral Zarek, Trostani, Borborygmos, Vraska and many others.
War of the Spark: Ravnica—Operation Desperation Greg Weisman 2019-06-05 Ravnica Rat, Teyo Verada, Kaya, Ral Zarek, Vraska, Rakdos, Exava, Tomik Vrona and Hekara.
War of the Spark: Ravnica—Ashes Greg Weisman 2019-06-12 Ravnica Rat, Teyo Verada, Gatewatch, Dack Fayden, Liliana Vess, Vraska, Ral Zarek, Niv-Mizzet, Vorel and many others.

Basic land panorama[edit | edit source]

The following basic lands form a panorama in that order: Mountain (#261), Plains (#252), Swamp (#258), Island (#254), and Forest (#264).

WAR Basic lands panorama.png

Marketing[edit | edit source]

War of the Spark "movie-style" poster

War of the Spark is sold in regular 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card and another one being a planeswalker), single color theme boosters[20], two planeswalker decks, and the War of the Spark bundle. The planeswalker theme of the set was revealed in a teaser that featured the art of the 36 planeswalker cards with an added stained-glass effect.[21][22] The boosters feature art from Liliana and Gideon (both from the set's key art), and from Teferi, Time Raveler.[23]

It has been announced that each paper booster pack will contain a planeswalker. This doesn't apply to 8-card "Arena packs" on MTGA.[24]

Preview season told a story in "scenes". All cards previewed on a single day had a connection to a story point, an event, or a key location in roughly chronological order.[25]

Events[edit | edit source]

  • War of the Spark came online on MTG Arena on April 25, two days before prerelease.[26]
  • Prerelease took place on April 27–28, 2019, the same weekend as London MagicFest and the second Mythic Championship of the year.[27] In fact, the MagicFest at a late date was revealed to be a "Prerelease grand prix".[28][29]
  • The Magic League was omitted from War of the Spark and all seasons for the foreseeable future, according to WPN because it demanded a lot of resources from stores and Tournament Organizers (TOs) and did little to drive play.[30]
  • Magic Weekend is an experimental one-off format, with special rules curated by Magic’s design studio.[30]

Promotional cards[edit | edit source]

Japanese alternate art[edit | edit source]

Japanese alternate art promo

All 36 planeswalker have a 50% chance that the regular artwork of the planeswalker card will be replaced by an anime-style alternate art card in Japanese-language War of the Spark boosters only. The Japanese boosters were made available to retailers around the world.[32]

These cards will also be available in WPN promo packs during the Core Set 2020 play season, appearing in roughly 1:4 of packs. The alternate-art planeswalkers have only been printed in Japanese, but will appear in promo packs around the world.[32]

Tokens and emblems[edit | edit source]

The sixteenth card in the boosters is a token creature card or an emblem, with advertisements on the back side. There are a total of nineteen tokens and emblems:[33][34]

  1. {C} 2/2 Spirit creature for Ugin, the Ineffable
  2. {W} 4/4 Angel creature with flying and vigilance for Finale of Glory and Parhelion II
  3. {W} 2/2 Soldier creature with vigilance for Finale of Glory
  4. {W} 0/3 Wall creature with defender for Teyo, the Shieldmage
  5. {U} 2/2 Wizard creature for Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor
  6. {B} 1/1 Assassin creature with deathtouch and "Whenever this creature deals damage to a planeswalker, destroy that planeswalker" for Vraska, Swarm's Eminence
  7. {B} 2/2 Zombie creature for Liliana, Dreadhorde General
  8. {B} 0/0 Zombie Army creature (1 of 3) for each spell with amass
  9. {B} 0/0 Zombie Army creature (2 of 3)
  10. {B} 0/0 Zombie Army creature (3 of 3)
  11. {B} 4/4 Zombie Warrior creature with vigilance for God-Eternal Oketra
  12. {R} 1/1 Devil creature with "When this creature dies, it deals 1 damage to any target" for Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
  13. {R} 4/4 Dragon creature with flying for Sarkhan the Masterless
  14. {R} 1/1 Goblin creature for Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin
  15. {G} 2/2 Wolf creature for Arlinn, Voice of the Pack
  16. {M} 2/2 Citizen creature that is all colors for Planewide Celebration
  17. {G/W} 3/3 legendary Wolf creature named Voja, Friend to Elves for Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves
  18. {C} 1/1 Servo artifact creature for Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
  19. Emblem for Nissa, Who Shakes the World

Mythic Edition[edit | edit source]

War of the Spark Mythic Edition is a special draft-sized booster box. It contains eight masterpieces.

Themes and mechanics[edit | edit source]

The main theme of the set is planeswalkers and cards that interact with them.[35][36][37] Apart from the usual mythic rare planeswalkers, the set also features rare and uncommon planeswalkers. All of the thirty-six planeswalkers in the main set have a static or triggered ability. The 20 uncommon ones have an additional minus loyalty ability (no plus abilities).[38] The 13 rares have additional plus and minus loyalty abilities. The 4 mythic rares have three additional abilities.[39] The four mythic rare planeswalkers are the two main protagonists of the story (Liliana and Gideon), the main antagonist (Bolas), and a secondary antagonist (Tezzeret).[40] Some two-color planeswalkers show up as monocolor planeswalkers in their base color.[41] Every planeswalker has a least one signature card that represents a spell they would cast. They’re all named with the possessive,[42][37] except for Jiang Yanggu, whose signature spell is his companion Mowu, Loyal Companion.

The keyword action Proliferate from the Scars of Mirrodin block also sees a return.[43][36] When a player proliferates, he or she chooses any number of players and/or permanents with a counter on them, then puts another of those counters on these players or permanents. However, a rules change has been implemented.[36] Formerly, you had to choose a type of counter already present and added one counter of that type, now you are adding one counter of each type already present.[44]

A new mechanic is Amass. "Amass N" means put N +1/+1 counters on an Army creature you control.[45] If you don't control one, create a 0/0 black Zombie Army creature token first.[36] It appears in {U}{B}{R} because it is flavorfully connected to Bolas’s army.[46]

Crew returns, on the first-ever colored Vehicles.

Affinity for artifacts, last seen in the Mirrodin block, appears as a one-off on Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge. It reduces the mana cost of a spell by the number of artifacts that player controls.[47]

There is a small tribal theme for zombies. Some notable creature cards give bonuses to zombie tokens, depicted as members of the Dreadhorde.(Eternal Skylord, Vizier of the Scorpion, Dreadhorde Twins and Gleaming Overseer).

War of the Spark features the following limited archetypes:[48]

Card types[edit | edit source]

War of the Spark introduces the Army creature type. The Army functions together much like how R&D makes single creature cards that are flavored as a group of beings.[46]

The set also introduces the Davriel, Kasmina, and Teyo planeswalker types. The Wanderer lacks a planeswalker type.

Cycles[edit | edit source]

War of the Spark has eleven cycles.

Monocolored cycles[edit | edit source]

Cycle name Description and notes {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Uncommon planeswalkers Ten monocolored uncommon planeswalkers, two for each color. Teyo, the Shieldmage Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage Jaya, Venerated Firemage Arlinn, Voice of the Pack
The Wanderer Narset, Parter of Veils Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted Tibalt, Rakish Instigator Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter
The Gatewatch Five rare and mythic planeswalkers representing the original Gatewatch members. Each one has an "ultimate" loyalty ability, or one that cannot be activated immediately. Gideon Blackblade Jace, Wielder of Mysteries Liliana, Dreadhorde General Chandra, Fire Artisan Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Triumphs Five uncommon spells, each enhanced if you control a planeswalker of the respective type. They each depict a member of the Gatewatch and are a direct reflection of the "Defeats" from Hour of Devastation. Gideon's Triumph Jace's Triumph Liliana's Triumph Chandra's Triumph Nissa's Triumph
Gods Five mythic gods, four invading eternalized gods from Amonkhet and one native to Ravnica. God-Eternal Oketra God-Eternal Kefnet God-Eternal Bontu Ilharg, the Raze-Boar God-Eternal Rhonas
Finales Five mythic monocolored {X} sorceries, that each get a bonus effect when X ≥ 10. The names reflect the Accounting of Hours from Amonkhet. Finale of Glory Finale of Revelation Finale of Eternity Finale of Promise Finale of Devastation
Colored artifacts Five rare colored artifacts. Parhelion II Silent Submersible Bolas's Citadel Mizzium Tank Vivien's Arkbow
Legendary natives Five rare monocolor spells that represent important figures in Ravnica: four legendary creatures, and one instant that turns a land into a legendary creature. Tomik, Distinguished Advokist Fblthp, the Lost Massacre Girl Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin Awakening of Vitu-Ghazi
Bonds Five uncommon monocolored sorceries, that each represent a pairing of two guilds sharing the card's color, forming shards. Bond of Discipline ({Azorius Logo}/{Orzhov Logo}) Bond of Insight ({Dimir Logo}/{Izzet Logo}) Bond of Revival ({Rakdos Logo}/{Golgari Logo}) Bond of Passion ({Gruul Logo}/{Boros Logo}) Bond of Flourishing ({Selesnya Logo}/{Simic Logo})

Multicolored cycles[edit | edit source]

Cycle name {W/U} {U/B} {B/R} {R/G} {G/W} {W/B} {U/R} {B/G} {R/W} {G/U}
Hybrid planeswalkers Dovin, Hand of Control Ashiok, Dream Render Angrath, Captain of Chaos Samut, Tyrant Smasher Huatli, the Sun's Heart Kaya, Bane of the Dead Saheeli, Sublime Artificer Vraska, Swarm's Eminence Nahiri, Storm of Stone Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner
Description and notes: Ten uncommon planeswalkers, who each have hybrid mana in their mana costs.
Gold creatures Elite Guardmage Gleaming Overseer Mayhem Devil Rubblebelt Rioters Huatli's Raptor Cruel Celebrant Invade the City Leyline Prowler Tenth District Legionnaire Merfolk Skydiver
Description and notes: Ten uncommon gold creature spells (or in one case, a noncreature spell with amass). Each is a signpost for a draft archetype.
Gold noncreatures Dovin's Veto Tyrant's Scorn Angrath's Rampage Domri's Ambush Pledge of Unity Despark Ral's Outburst Deathsprout Heartwarming Redemption Neoform
Description and notes: Ten uncommon gold noncreature spells, each of which is a generically powerful spell that encourages drafting in its colors.

Mirrored pairs[edit | edit source]

War of the Spark has (at least) two mirrored pairs.

Reprinted cards[edit | edit source]

Functional reprints[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Card comparisons[edit | edit source]

Preconstructed decks[edit | edit source]

War of the Spark features two planeswalker decks:

Planeswalker
deck name
Colors included Planeswalker
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Gideon W B Gideon, the Oathsworn
Jace U G Jace, Arcane Strategist

Stained-glass gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. War of the Spark Credits
  2. Mark Rosewater (January 11, 2019). "Is war of the sparks set code wos or war or what...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. Magic Europe. Twitter (February 18, 2019).
  4. WPN Product info
  5. Wizards of the Coast (April 19, 2019). "War of the Spark Release Notes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater (May 18, 2018). "In the summer announcements video gavin mentions...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. Mark Rosewater (September 10, 2018). "Guild to Order, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (May 18, 2018). "Going back to ravnica is exciting but getting 3...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Mark Rosewater (May 20, 2018). "As you look to revisit ravnica three times will...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  10. Mark Rosewater (March 9, 2019). "Would that make War of the Spark a top-down set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Mark Rosewater (March 9, 2019). "If event sets are based around a single event, ...?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater (January 24, 2019). "War of the Spark is doing something incredibly crazy that has never been tried before.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. a b Chris Gleeson (March 8, 2019). "A Closer Look at the Stained-Glass Planeswalkers". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Mark Rosewater (March 8, 2019). "Is that the crazy aspect about the set that you're super excited for us you see?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (March 8, 2019). "Are we allowed to know yet if any of the 36 planeswalkers are reprints?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  16. Cameron Kunzelman (September 1, 2018). "Magic: The Gathering Returns to Novels in 2019 With Greg Weisman's Ravnica". Pastemagazine.com.
  17. War of the Spark: Ravnica (Magic: The Gathering) (Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover). Amazon.com.
  18. James Wyatt (January 2019). "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Ravnica". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Chris Gleeson (April 18, 2019). "War of the Spark Story Hype". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Jiri_One (May 2, 2019). "A Quick rundown of the new themed boosters". Reddit.
  21. Mark Rosewater (March 9, 2019). "Will it be possible to buy stained-glass artworks of the planeswalkers on shirts or posters in the future?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  22. Mark Rosewater (March 11, 2019). "You said the stained-glass planeswalkers weren't painted that way and the glass effect was added afterward.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  23. a b c d e f Chris Gleeson (April 1, 2019). "War of the Spark Promos and Packaging". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  24. MTG Arena Admin (April 2, 2019). "Preorder War of the Spark on MTG Arena". MTG Arena Forum.
  25. Blake Rasmussen (March 27, 2019). "War of Spark Preview Season Tells a Story". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Magic Deutschland. Twitter (February 15, 2019).
  27. Magic: The Gathering. Twitter (February 11, 2019).
  28. CFBEvents. Twitter (February 11, 2019).
  29. Gavin Verhey (April 23, 2019). "War of the Spark Prerelease Primer". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  30. a b Before You Schedule War of the Spark.... WPN (February 15, 2019).
  31. Magic War of the Spark : Pre-Release, Friday Event #1
  32. a b Wizards of the Coast (April 22, 2019). "Japanese Alternate-Art Planeswalkers". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Chris Gleeson (April 18, 2019). "The Tokens of War of the Spark". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  34. Tehtmi (April 30, 2019). "Token Rarity in WAR". Reddit.
  35. Mark Rosewater (March 10, 2019). "Are there cards in WAR that aren't planeswalkers but synergize with them or use mechanics that they benefit from?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  36. a b c d Matt Tabak (March 31, 2019). "War of the Spark Mechanics". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  37. a b Mark Rosewater (April 1, 2019). "Waging War of the Spark, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  38. Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "Do all the uncommon planeswalkers only have minus loyalty abilities?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  39. Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "Does every planeswalker in War of the Spark have a non-loyalty ability?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  40. Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "The 3 mythic planeswalkers?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  41. Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "I just realized that Teferi, Narset, and Dovin are all in the set. And all WU.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  42. Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "Vraska’s Finisher, Tibalt’s Ravager, Ajani’s Pridemate... is this a trend we can expect to see with the remaining PWs in the set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  43. Mark Rosewater (April 8, 2019). "Waging War of the Spark, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  44. Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "The Proliferate reminder text on Flux Channeler doesn't match the current rules". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  45. Mark Rosewater (April 15, 2019). "Waging War of the Spark, Part 3". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  46. a b Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "Why force such a mechanic into these colors?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  47. Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "AFFINITY FOR ARTIFACTS IN STANDARD?!". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  48. Dave Humpherys (April 17, 2019). "Chronicling War of the Spark Set Design". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  49. Chris Mooney (April 4, 2019). "Wanna See Something Weird?". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]