|Creating Niko Aris|
Appearance and characteristics
Niko is a tan mirror-mage, sporting a long, mostly-silver ponytail and a small patch of dark facial hair. Their powers revolve around conjuring mirror-like shards of energy which they can then shape. In addition to simply piercing their targets, these shards are capable of absorbing living beings, temporarily containing them in a pocket of extradimensional space. They can trap enemies, hold people captive, or rescue allies in the heat of battle. While inside, the detainee is unable to affect the goings-on around them, though can be seen and communicated with "as though through a thick pane of glass." These shards don't hold forever; those captured are able to break out if they try hard enough.
Niko was born and raised on Theros. Early in their life, an oracle saw their future as an undefeated and highly skilled athlete. They trained as a javelin-thrower for years, but eventually began to question their destiny, and instead sought to become a hero like those of the stories and songs they had always heard. After purposefully losing a contest, they came to the realization that they could take control of their own fate.
Theros Beyond Death
During the events of the Theros Beyond Death, the ancient goddess of destiny Klothys returned from the Underworld, on a mission to reweave fate and enforce it by ensuring that people obey their prescribed future. The most notable agent she sent out was Calix, whose goal was to prevent Elspeth from leaving the Underworld, however many others were sent out after various individuals, Niko being one such target. Niko's defiance of fate, losing the contest, had set them too far off the desired path, but during this confrontation, Niko's spark ignited and they left the plane.
Niko’s first planeswalk took them to Kaldheim on the realm of Bretagard where they joined by a band of Kannah led by Fynn the Snakehunter. The group was on an urgent mission to discover the secrets of their leader’s troubling visions. Niko was quickly accepted and mentored by Kjell, a Kannah mystic. Under a truce as dictated by frith, they traveled to Jutmaw so that Fynn could consult with Orhaft Stoneback, an Omenseeker Vedrune. While the clan leaders talked, warriors from both sides were goaded into conflict by Birgi (the god of boasting) to show Niko the nature of their ways. Niko attempted to stop the fighting, but a pair of Valkyries arrived as heralds of approaching death. To prevent this, Niko successfully trapped one of them and sought help from the clan leaders. While Fynn quelled the fighting, Orhaft explained that Niko had been seen as a dark omen. Omenpaths, portals between realms, were occurring with greater frequency which indicated an approaching Doomskar. Niko offered to travel to Starnheim to seek answers and provide warning. With their approval, Niko set out on the Omenseeker ship guided by Orhaft and the imprisoned Valkyrie.
Niko arrived in Starnheim and crossed the Yetta Docks above the black lake of Valkmir. They entered the Hall of the Valkyries and briefly joined the celebrated heroes partaking in the eternal feast. Niko then made their way to the gathered Valkyries and attempted to warn them of Fynn the Snakehunter’s visions and the approaching destruction brought by Koma, the Cosmos Serpent. As the Valkyries considered Niko’s warning, the threat of multiple Doomskars appeared in the sky above just before Koma breached the realm. With the Valkyries uncertain of what to do, Niko took charge and helped them to drive Koma back through the Omenpath it had entered. Niko left the light of Starnheim behind and bravely fell through the portal in pursuit, joined by the Valkyries to the battle ahead.
Following Koma from Starnheim, Niko and the Valkyries ended up in Bretagard where they helped face the invading hordes. There, Niko saved Kaya and was saved in turn by Kaya. After the great battle, Kaya discovered that Niko was a Theros planeswalker and told them that they needed to have a conversation.
|Title||Author||Publishing date||Set||Setting (plane)||Featuring|
|Know Which Way the Wind is Blowing||Setsu Uzumé||2021-01-08||Kaldheim||Kaldheim||Niko Aris, Fynn, Birgi|
|Aim Through the Target||Setsu Uzumé||2021-01-15||Kaldheim||Kaldheim||Niko Aris, Koma|
|Episode 5: The Battle for Kaldheim||Roy Graham with contributions by Jenna Helland||2021-02-03||Kaldheim||Kaldheim||Kaya, Tyvar Kell, Arni, Fynn, Inga, Sigrid, Alrund, Hakka, Varragoth, Cosima, Harald, Halvar, Koma, Niko Aris, Esika, Vorinclex|
- Part of the reason for Niko's creation was to illustrate a blue-aligned planeswalker that focuses more on practice instead of knowledge.
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- Quoted or referred to:
- Gerritt Turner (December 14, 2020). "Creating Niko Aris". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Setsu Uzumé (January 8, 2021). "Know Which Way the Wind Is Blowing". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Setsu Uzumé (January 15, 2021). "Aim Through the Target". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Roy Graham (February 03, 2021). "Episode 5: The Battle for Kaldheim". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.