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Jaya Ballard
Mother Luti
Jaya Ballard2
Race Human Planeswalker
Birthplace Terisiare, Dominaria
Lifetime ~2910-~4562; Ascended 2954 AR
Center: {R}
The Eternal Ice, The Shattered Alliance, Planar Chaos, The Purifying Fire

Earning her name as a not-so-humble task mage and an acquaintance of Jodah, the pyromancer Jaya Ballard witnessed many of the momentous events on Terisiare during the Ice Age.[1] After she became a planeswalker, her mastery of fire magic inspired the practice of monks and mercenaries across many planes.[2] Jaya was known as Mother Luti by the monks of Keral Keep in Regatha.[3]

Appearance and characteristics[ | ]

In her early years, Jaya Ballard was a hot-headed, sarcastic hero who played an important part in the plane's early history before disappearing for centuries.[4]

In later years, she resurfaced as an elderly woman with steel-grey hair. Although a pyromancer, she was rather thoughtful and controlled, utilizing her flames with a clear head, making her a direct contrast to her former student, Chandra, to whom she was teaching control. She was quite witty, still coming up with sarcastic remarks about foes who found themselves on the receiving end of her flames. In addition to pyromancy Jaya later learned how to use lightning magic.

Jaya's center was in red mana. As she planeswalked, she disappeared in a conflagration of flame. She sometimes reappeared with a flash and the smell of charcoal.[5]

History[ | ]

Early life[ | ]


Jaya before her ascension

Jaya's childhood is shrouded in mystery, but she learned to be a thief on the streets. One day, she tried to steal something from the private chambers of Archmage Eternal Jodah but was unsuccessful. Sensing magical capabilities in her, Jodah allowed Jaya to study in the School of the Unseen, but after learning a few spells she decided to set out into the world and make a living as a task mage.

During her travels, Jaya once helped Kolbjörn and received an amulet capable of summoning Freyalise. She also was instrumental in defending a Kjeldoran village from a lhurgoyf.

Eternal Ice[ | ]

Jaya later tracked Jodah to Tresserhorn after his disappearance, where he had been drugged with Fyndhorn pollen by Lim-Dûl and made to think he was a summoned creature. She rescued him, but Jodah became sick and delusional because of the pollen. Jaya summoned Freyalise, but the planeswalker wanted something in return for her aid: to use Jodah's mirror and the resources of the School of the Unseen to prepare for her World Spell. Although Jaya was in no position to offer her these tokens, she agreed on Jodah's behalf nonetheless.

Jaya was instrumental in Jodah's plans to prepare Kjeldor for the upcoming invasion by Lim-Dûl and the alliance between Kjeldor and Balduvia. During Lim-Dûl's final assault on Kjeldor, Jaya fought against Chaeska, Lim-Dûl's right hand. Jaya was successful in her battle, and later claimed Lim-Dûl's ring as a battle trophy. This ring would over the next decade make her a slave to the will of Mairsil.

During the next twenty years, Jaya was a leader of a group of mages who tried to protect the city of Kelsinko from being flooded by the rising seas without success.


The moment when Jaya ignites her spark

Shattered Alliance[ | ]

Twenty years after the casting of World Spell, Jaya suddenly appeared in the School of the Unseen to see Jodah, who she had not seen since Lim-Dûl's assault. She brought Jodah an emaciated, blackened hand of Lim-Dûl with one of its fingers removed. The finger with the ruby ring - Mairsil's ring - was missing. Jodah and Jaya set out to search for the missing ring, fearing that Jodah's ancient enemy had returned.

Their journey leads them to Tresserhorn, Kjeld, Lovisa Coldeyes's Balduvian camp, and finally to Soldev. During the journey, Jodah realized that Jaya had somewhat changed since her younger years, and she often behaved strangely. When they reached Soldev and visited the vaults of the Adnates, the truth was revealed: in the aftermath of Lim-Dûl's battle against Kjeldor and Balduvia, Jaya found the finger and the ring and decided to bring them to Jodah, hoping that they would help him.

However, she donned the ruby ring, and Mairsil the Pretender's spirit infected her mind. She cut Jodah's throat, using his blood to revive the Phyrexian war beasts. Jodah miraculously saved himself from certain death with the help of his mirror. He then battled the possessed Jaya in the debris of ruined Soldev. He managed to shatter his mirror directly into her face, triggering the "reward" from Freyalise. In the blazing inferno that followed this breakpoint Jaya's planeswalker spark flared. With a thought, she erased Mairsil's tainted presence once and for all, then planeswalked to the School of the Unseen and destroyed the rampaging war beasts there. With Jodah's help, she cut and sealed the bottomless pit that Lim-Dûl relocated there from Tresserhorn with the agreement of Gerda Äagesdotter. Finally, she helped Gerda with finding a new location for the school.

As a parting gift, Jaya gave Jodah an amulet, allowing him to remain sane despite his age, and allowing him to live as long as he willed to. She then departed Dominaria for the wider multiverse.

Presumed death[ | ]

Jodah later stated that Jaya had died in the period between the end of the Ice Age and the Mending, the cause being her recklessness and impetuousness, that "eventually cost her her life." There is some speculation that the Jodah who said this came from an alternate reality, and thus was referring to "another" Jaya.

Jaya Old

Jaya in her latter days.

Regatha[ | ]

Before the Mending, Jaya visited the plane of Regatha, imparting her wisdom and performing pyromancy. Returning two hundred years later, and having aged for nearly sixty years, she found that religion had sprung up based around her teachings, and chose to stay and nurture the community, posing as the elder Mother Luti, the matriarch of Keral Keep. A few years after Jaya's return, Chandra Nalaar arrived on the plane and began studying under her and the abbot Serenok.[6][7][8][9]

Meeting the Gatewatch[ | ]

When Jace Beleren travelled to Dominaria to meet his friends of the Gatewatch, he found Gideon travelling on a skyship with the old pyromancer.[10] After she helped defeat Belzenlok, Jaya agreed to help the Gatewatch in the fight against Nicol Bolas. She didn't take the oath, jokingly stating that she was "not a joiner".[11]

War of the Spark[ | ]

Jaya traveled with the Gatewatch to Ravnica for the final confrontation with Bolas, and immediately became trapped there due to Bolas's use of the Immortal Sun. Alongside many other planeswalkers and Ravnicans, she fought against the Eternals of Bolas' Dreadhorde.[12]

During the invasion, the trapped planeswalkers got together with Ravnican leaders to strategize. At Jace's recommendation, they decided to split up into teams to focus on specific tasks. Jace, Jaya, Teferi, and Vivien volunteered to assassinate Liliana. When they found her, Teferi warped time around her, slowing her ability to react, defend herself, or strike back at her attackers. This allowed Jaya and Vivien to badly wound her with fire, arrows, and animal spirits, although the Onakke spirits in Liliana's Chain Veil protected her. Nonetheless, they almost succeeded, but Bolas stepped in and saved Liliana by destroying the buildings they were standing on. Fortunately, Teferi saved himself and the other three planeswalkers by slowing their falls.

Jaya survived the battle and was present during the Planewide Celebration that followed. At the behest of Samut, she and Chandra cremated the bodies of the now-inactive Eternals.

Forsaken[ | ]

To protect Chandra from more grief in a direct confrontation with her former friend Liliana, Jaya secretly tracked Liliana to Dominaria and agreed to escort Kaya, Teyo and Rat to the necromancer's exact location.[13]

Dominaria United[ | ]

Jaya Ballard Death

Jaya is killed by Ajani.

In 4562 AR, Jaya attended a peace summit between the Keldons and New Benalia at Oyster Bay to end hostilities in the Ice Rime Hills.[5] The summit was interrupted when the planeswalkers Karn and Teferi revealed the threat of a New Phyrexian invasion and several of the Benalish knights were revealed as Phyrexian sleeper agents. After travelling with the other planeswalkers and Stenn to Argivia, she helped fight off the Phyrexians.[14]

Jaya traveled to Aerona, where she met with Ajani and Danitha Capashen to ask Llanowar and Benalia for help. She fought a compleated Ertai and Aron Capashen before Radha arrived to rescue the fighters from a Phyrexian dreadnought.[15] She was killed by a compleated Ajani Goldmane at the Battle of the Mana Rig.[16][17]

Legacy[ | ]

Chandra Nalaar is known to have quoted Jaya before they met. Chandra learned at the Keral Keep monastery, a fire mage training academy that was originally founded around Jaya's teachings on the plane of Regatha. The academy values, above all other things, personal freedom and individual choice. To make sure that her message and portrayal would not be misinterpreted and distorted, Jaya kept a close eye on Keral Keep under the guise of Mother Luti.

After her death, Jaya was memorialized on Shiv with four white pyramids, each containing the memories of those close to her, and an ever-burning flame.[16]

Trivia[ | ]

Artifacts acquired[ | ]

Jaya's Goggles

Jaya's Goggles.

Planeswalkers met[ | ]

Planes visited[ | ]

Gallery[ | ]

Story appearances[ | ]

Title Author Publishing date Set Setting (plane) Featuring
Offers to the Fire Doug Beyer 2015-08-05 Prologue to Battle for Zendikar Regatha Chandra Nalaar, Serenok, Jaya Ballard as "Mother Luti", Jace Beleren, Gideon Jura
Promises to Keep Doug Beyer 2015-12-02 Battle for Zendikar Regatha, Zendikar Chandra Nalaar, Gideon Jura, Ulamog, Jaya Ballard as "Mother Luti", Ob Nixilis, Kozilek
Wool Over the Eyes Alison Luhrs & Gregg Luben 2018-02-14 Rivals of Ixalan Kaladesh, Unknown Plane, Ravnica, Meditation Plane, Ixalan, Dominaria Huatli, Saheeli Rai, Angrath, Rumi, Jamira, Vraska, Nicol Bolas, Jace, Jaya Ballard, Apatzec Intli III
Return to Dominaria: Episode 8 Martha Wells 2018-05-02 Dominaria Regatha, Dominaria Chandra, Jaya Ballard, Baird, Karn
Return to Dominaria: Episode 9 Martha Wells 2018-05-09 Dominaria Dominaria Chandra, Jaya, Karn, Multani, Teferi, Gideon, Liliana, Jhoira, Tiana, Shanna Sisay, Arvad, Raff Capashen, Jace
Return to Dominaria: Episode 10 Martha Wells 2018-05-16 Dominaria Dominaria Slimefoot, Karn, Arvad, Tiana, Shanna Sisay, Raff Capashen, Jhoira, Liliana, Gideon, Teferi, Jaya, Chandra
Return to Dominaria: Episode 11 Martha Wells 2018-05-23 Dominaria Dominaria Gideon, Liliana, Jhoira, Teferi, Sayrah, Slimefoot, Arvad, Tiana, Yxarit, Iyrgth, Syl-Stalker, Chandra, Raff Capashen, Shanna Sisay, Jaya, Karn, Yargle, Whisper, Belzenlok
Return to Dominaria: Episode 12 Martha Wells 2018-05-30 Dominaria Dominaria, Ravnica Liliana, Yargle, Shanna Sisay, Arvad, Raff Capashen, Jhoira, Jaya, Tiana, Gideon, Chandra, Radha, Slimefoot, Yxarit, Muldrotha, Belzenlok, Whisper, Teferi, Karn, Urgoros, Nicol Bolas, Jace
War of the Spark: Ravnica—Old Friends and New Greg Weisman 2019-05-08 War of the Spark Ravnica Rat, Hekara, Teyo, Barrez, Nicol Bolas, the Gatewatch (Liliana, Chandra, Teferi, Jace, Gideon and Ajani), Ral, Kaya, Lavinia, Jaya, Karn
War of the Spark: Ravnica—The Path to Opulent Greg Weisman 2019-05-15 War of the Spark Ravnica Rat, Teyo, Kaya, Ral, Jaya, Gideon, Krumnen, Gan Shokta, Domri, Akamal Cray, Govan Radley, Sheeza, Jahdeera, Bombop, Vorel, Maree, Kiora, Samut, Eknet, Temmet, Neit, Haqikah, Kawit, Huatli, Saheeli, Kasmina, Oketra, Kefnet, Bontu, Rhonas, Jace
War of the Spark: Ravnica—Ashes Greg Weisman 2019-06-12 War of the Spark Ravnica Rat, the Gatewatch, Nissa, Tomik Vrona, Lavinia, Ral, Dack, Saheeli, Kaya, Hekara, Vraska, Nicol Bolas, Borborygmos, Vorel, Karn, Jaya, Boruvo, Ari Shokta, Gan Shokta, Sorin, Nahiri, Teyo, Arlinn, Bilagru, Feather, Maladola, Rakdos, Oketra, Bontu, Niv-Mizzet, Angrath, Yanling, Yanggu, Mowu, Samut, Aurelia, Exava, Lazav
Episode 2: Sand in the Hourglass Langley Hyde 2022-08-11 Dominaria United Dominaria Karn, Ajani Goldmane, Radha, Jaya Ballard, Jodah, Aron Capashen, Stenn, Teferi
Episode 3: The Locked Tower Langley Hyde 2022-08-12 Dominaria United Dominaria Karn, Jaya Ballard, Jodah, Stenn, Teferi, Shanna Sisay
Episode 4: A Brutal Blow Langley Hyde 2022-08-15 Dominaria United Dominaria Karn, Jaya Ballard, Jodah, Teferi, Shanna Sisay, Arvad, Rafwyn Capashen, Slimefoot, Tiana, Ajani Goldmane, Danitha Capashen, Meria, Aron Capashen, Ertai, Darigaaz, Jhoira, Radha
Episode 5: A Whisper in the Wind Langley Hyde 2022-08-18 Dominaria United Dominaria Teferi, Karn, Jhoira, Ertai, Ajani Goldmane, Jaya Ballard, Radha, Danitha Capashen, Sheoldred, Darigaaz, Jodah, Saheeli Rai, Elesh Norn

In-game references[ | ]

Represented in:
Associated cards:
Depicted in:
Quoted or referred to:

In-game quotes[ | ]

Name Title Source Quotation
Jaya Ballard Jaya's Greeting We have visitors? Well, it’d be rude not to give them a traditional Keral Keep welcome.
Jaya Ballard Carbonize (Eternal Masters) There's no coming back from that.
Fire Elemental (Dominaria) The best way to learn from a book on pyromancy is to burn it.
Gorilla War Cry (Alliances) The only ‘art' these beasts possess is the art of noise!
Blindblast Peril is in the eye of the beholder. At least, if your aim is good.
Jaya Ballard, task mage Chicken Egg (Unglued) That's a lotta nuggets.
Flame Rift (Modern Horizons 2) You might want to step back.
Simian Spirit Guide (Planar Chaos) All my spells smell like burnt hair lately.
Simian Spirit Guide (Masters 25) It's rarely worth questioning where the mana comes from. Just be grateful.
Sizzle (Eighth Edition) Of course you should fight fire with fire. You should fight everything with fire.
Jaya Ballard, Task Mage Browse (Alliances) Once great literature — now great litter.
Burnout (Alliances) GOTCHA!
Flare (Ice Age) I strive for elegance and speed in my work.
Gorilla Chieftain (Alliances, #94a) Oh, no — not you again?!
Gorilla Shaman (Alliances) Frankly, destruction is best left to professionals.
Incinerate (Ice Age) Yes, I think 'toast' is an appropriate description.
Inferno (Fifth Edition) Some have said there is no subtlety to destruction. You know what? They're dead.
Lava Burst (Ice Age) Overkill? This isn't a game of Kick-the-Ouphe!
Melting (Ice Age) Who needs the sun when you've got me around?
Meteor Shower (Ice Age) Eenie, meenie, minie, moe . . . oh, why not all of them?
Mystic Compass (Alliances) And I say north is where I want it to be!
Panic (Ice Age) If you'd been there, you would've run from that deer, too!
Pyroblast (Ice Age) Just the thing for those pesky water mages.
Pyroclasm (Ice Age) Leaves more room for the big ones to fight in, you know.
Pyrokinesis (Alliances) Anybody want some . . . toast?
Wall of Lava (Ice Age) Now there's something you don't see every day.
Word of Blasting (Ice Age) Walls? What walls?
Jaya Ballard, to Chandra Karplusan Hound Don't worry, they don't bite. They much prefer setting people on fire.

References[ | ]

  1. Matt Cavotta (September 7, 2006). "Jaya Ballard, Task Mage". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (April 20, 2018). "Legends from Dominaria’s past". The Official Magic: The Gathering Tumblr. Tumblr.
  3. Martha Wells (May 9, 2018). "Return to Dominaria: Episode 9". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Roy Graham (September 1, 2022). "The Legends You'll Find in Dominaria United". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b Langley Hyde (August 11, 2022). "Sand in the Hourglass". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Doug Beyer (August 5, 2015). "Offers to the Fire". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Doug Beyer (December 2, 2015). "Promises to Keep". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Martha Wells (May 2, 2018). "Return to Dominaria: Episode 8". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Martha Wells (May 9, 2018). "Return to Dominaria: Episode 9". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. R&D Narrative Team (February 14, 2018). "Wool over the Eyes". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Martha Wells (May 30, 2018). "Return to Dominaria: Episode 12". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. a b c Greg Weisman (April 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica". Del Rey.
  13. a b Greg Weisman (November 2019). "War of the Spark: Forsaken". Del Rey.
  14. Langley Hyde (August 12, 2022). "Episode 3: The Locked Tower". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Langley Hyde (August 15, 2022). "A Brutal Blow". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. a b Langley Hyde (August 18, 2022). "A Whisper in the Wind". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Jay Annelli. (2022.) Magic: The Gathering - The Visual Guide, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 978-0744061055.
  18. John Scott Tynes (July 24, 2022). "I wrote the flavor text for Ice Age". Twitter.
  19. Mark Rosewater (March 3, 2014). "Please tell me some trivia about Jaya Ballard?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  20. Mark Rosewater (September 5, 2022). "Dominaria United States of Design, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Seanan McGuire (October 26, 2022). "The Brother's War - Chapter 4: The Dark".
  22. April Stewart as Jaya Ballard. IMDB.
  23. a b c d MacKay, Jed. (2021). Magic. Vol 1, iss 9.
  24. MacKay, Jed. (2021). Magic. Vol 1, iss 5.
  25. Brady Dommermuth (November 13, 2006). "The Legends of Time Spiral". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Blake Rasmussen (March 28, 2018). "Dominaria Card of the Day: Time of Ice". Wizards of the Coast.