Ral Zarek is still holding a grudge against Jace after the events of the Dragon’s Maze, but he’s realized that he’s no match for Jace’s powerful mental magic on his own. To level the playing field, Ral creates a device he can wear that generates an artificial version of the Firemind, which Niv Mizzet has used for centuries to enhance the mental abilities of the Izzet guild.
After a hasty trial run, Ral declares the device not only a success, but even more powerful than the influence of the original Firemind. He then straps the device to his back, hooks it up to his brain, and sets up an ambush to attack Jace with his new magically augmented mental powers. At first, Jace is thrown off by the surprise attack and the sheer force of the Firemind generator, and Ral seems to have the upper hand. Jace is forced to planeswalk away in a desperate retreat, but Ral Zarek is close behind.
Without time to weigh his options, Jace planeswalks to the plane of Xiangla. Jace had previously discovered Xiangla when searching for a place where he could quiet his thoughts away from all the noisy minds of Ravnica. Though more wild than Jace generally preferred, he found the plane provided adequate solitude since the only inhabitants were the primitive anthropomorphic animal tribes that lived there.
As the less experienced planeswalker, it takes Ral longer to arrive on Xiangla, and Jace is granted the precious moments he needs to prepare for a real duel of mental magic. When Ral does arrive, Jace is finally able to fight back against his foe, and the fight begins to turn in Jace’s favor. The duel is cut short however, because Ral’s Firemind generator is pushed beyond its limits, and the faulty device begins a massive cascading failure.
Ral manages to eject the device from his back, and both Ral and Jace planeswalk away just in time to escape a catastrophic explosion that leaves a massive crater where the duel took place. Having each escaped to different planes, the conflict is put on hold and both planeswalkers go off to recuperate. Neither one is aware however, that deep below the rubble of the crater, Ral’s Nizzium-built generator remains intact, and continues to radiate its artificial Firemind magic in all directions.
What effect does the influence of the alien Firemind have on the native inhabitants of the plane? How are the ten primitive tribes transformed and shaped by the influx of mental magic? And what does it mean for the entire plane of Xiangla?
That is the central conflict for the Xiangla block. In the first set we see the tribes in their more primitive state, very soon after the Firemind was introduced. In the second set of the block, we see the ten tribes after a few generations have been affected by the Firemind, and how their world has changed.
OK, this was a long post today, so I’ll only include one card for your consideration. Let me know what you think!
Ral, Firemind Thief
Planeswalker – Ral (5)
+2: Your maximum hand size increases by 1. Deal 1 damage to target creature for each card in your hand above seven.
+1: Creatures you control gain curiosity until end of turn.
-5: Deal damage to target player equal to the number of cards in your hand.
In my next post I’ll be talking about each of the ten animal tribes, what their roles were before the Firemind was introduced, and how each of them adapts and changes with the magic. Stay tuned!
As always, I’d love to hear any thoughts or feedback.
elspethsunschampion glory-seeker recapdrake garrukked isaacfhtagn teyepoh officiallasermanexe hopelessly-vorthosian ldsplaneswalker ajani—goldmane necrogen-egregore knight-in-shining-swim-shorts ihititwithmyaxe sigmasupreme responsible-reanimation magicarasa narcissisticnihilist equalitygamer twiggygamer coldwetandmiserableorcoldandwet bottledepot hikari-the-casual daf-kayden 3dspacejesus