The Fire Logic of Jaya Ballard
Today is the first day of Chandra Week, and what’s a better way to begin than with a look at someone who isn’t Chandra? Oh, you say that this is probably not a great way to celebrate the spunky pyromancer? Well shame on you, citizen, because today’s article is all about Jaya Ballard, the original spunky pryomancer. Jaya is famous for her flavor text, which knocked the laughs out of people’s stomachs during Ice Age and Alliances (and a few other sets). Today we’ll be exposing ourselves to Jaya’s full-frontal commentary, arguably the most enjoyable flavor-text adventure in the Multiverse.
Fire: A User Guide
The Chandra/Jaya connection goes far beyond personality. Not coincidently, these characters are bound together in the lore through the Keral Keep on the plane of Regatha. This monastery is filled with pyromancers who once encountered Jaya Ballard and basically built a religious school of thought around her snarky jabs. You younger players may recognize Keral Keep as the place where Chandra studied pyromancy too. It’s no surprise the characters are so similar.
But before she was a plane-trotting smartass, Jaya was a task mage. These were basically wizards-for-hire that you could pay to do odd jobs. In Jaya’s case this meant performing tasks like setting things on fire or setting things really on fire. During her career, it’s not surprising that Jaya figured out a few guiding principles of pyromancy. Observe:
“I strive for elegance and speed in my work.”
“Overkill? This isn’t a game of Kick-the-Ouphe!”
“Eenie, meenie, minie, moe … oh, why not all of them?”
“Some have said there is no subtlety to destruction. You know what? They’re dead.”
I think it’s pretty clear what Jaya’s strategy is. If it can be set on fire, set it on fire. If it can’t be set on fire, set it on fire anyway.
For some reason, Jaya ran into Dominaria’s Simian people often. Big apes, snarky pyromancer, it’s a comedy recipe for delicious humor! And we’re not the only ones who are slightly confused about running into these shaggy shamans all the time. Check out the progression of Jaya’s dismissive annoyance:
“The only ‘art’ these beasts possess is the art of noise!”
“Frankly, destruction is best left to professionals.”
“Oh, no—not you again?!”
Pre-planeswalker Jaya was ripped through space-time by the time rifts, as evidenced by her card in Time Spiral, and we are given a clue about when she came from. She has one piece of flavor text in the block, and this quote is the final piece of this apery.
“All my spells smell like burnt hair lately.”
Jaya Being Jaya
Being an aggressive Red character, it’s also no wonder that Jaya hates walls. Whether she’s being surprised by them or tearing them down, there’s never a dull moment with Jaya around.
“Now there’s something you don’t see every day.”
“Walls? What walls?”
And you don’t get to be the most memorable task mage without being confident in your abilities. Or confident in your delusions of grandeur.
“And I say north is where I want it to be!”
“Who needs the sun when you’ve got me around?”
Red mages tend to be a little eccentric, and Jaya pretty much tops the charts in this regard. Forget rules, forget patterns, forget structure. Burn that ish to the ground. Jaya doesn’t need a reason to be snarky or arrogant or wrap her words in hyperbole. Jaya’s gonna Jay.
“Just the thing for those pesky water mages.”
“If you’d been there, you would’ve run from that deer, too!”
“Leaves more room for the big ones to fight in, you know.”
“Once great literature—now great litter.”
Ain’t no party like a Jaya Ballard party cuz a Jaya Ballard party don’t stop!
Except for snacks. Snacks are a good thing to stop for. Jaya has a few food-related quotes to her credit, even though one of them comes from the Un-Multiverse. So let’s end the day with some munchies!
“Yes, I think ‘toast’ is an appropriate description.”
“Anybody want some … toast?”
“That’s a lotta nuggets.”
OK, now I want chicken nuggets. Like a lot of chicken nuggets. No conclusion or anything for this article. You get the picture; Jaya is awesome and you should like her. I’m hungry. See ya, folks!