|Lifetime||~6,691 AC - present|
|Guildpact, Dissension, Return to Ravnica: The Secretist, Part One, Gatecrash: The Secretist, Part Two, Dragon's Maze: The Secretist, Part Three, War of the Spark: Ravnica|
Niv-Mizzet, who is commonly referred to as the Firemind, is over 16,768 years old. He is an ancient red-brown Ravnican dragon obsessed with omniscience. Despite his size, he is able to move lightly and gracefully. He has a twisting tail, long blue-fringed wings, a long neck, spined membranes around his head, and long dark horns. Niv-Mizzet was reborn as the Living Guildpact with golden scales and wings and with a decagon seared into his chest. He is one of the most brilliant beings on the plane, although his temper has cost him more than his share of charbroiled apprentices.
The Firemind's intellect exceeds that of standard mortals by several echelons, and he is known for many ingenious inventions that currently serve the citizens of Ravnica, the most well known being the almost indestructible, yet easily usable and forgeable metal, mizzium. Possessed of arrogance and vanity that matches his vast intellect and tremendous power, Niv-Mizzet directed the research and experiments of the Izzet for more than 10,000 years, often from his private laboratory at the top of the Izzet guildhall, Nivix. Known as an inquisitive and profoundly ingenious archmage, the Firemind is beyond the need for machines or contraptions to conduct his own research, experimenting instead in the realm of pure thought and magic.
Niv-Mizzet is the oldest and most cunning being on the plane of Ravnica, and his magical prowess has proven enough to cast at least a hundred spells instantaneously with only the briefest flicker of his mind, spells that would individually require the full concentration of a mortal mage. Due to his extreme age, his triumph over numerous challengers, and status as a dragon wizard, Niv-Mizzet possesses knowledge that no other Ravnicans possess, including sorceries that have been lost to time and weapons whose makings have been lost. As the new Living Guildpact, the Firemind now serves as a guardian of Ravnica itself.
Born almost 6,700 years before the signing of the Guildpact, little is known about the Firemind’s early history, although his ancient hunting grounds are known to include part of Utvara. His first lair is supposedly located within the area. Based upon the Ravnica Cycle storyline, which included dragon hatchlings that were meant to be Niv’s contemporaries, ancient Ravnican dragons were apparently able to speak upon birth and were born with the knowledge that they could not have personally gained. Niv-Mizzet is unique in that he was able to defeat all potential rivals and emerge as the last great dragon of Ravnica.
Niv-Mizzet was an original signatory of the Guildpact, an epic piece of magical law that ensured cooperation among Ravnica’s diverse guilds. As the founder of the Izzet League, Niv guided his guild to uphold their initial mission, to create and maintain Ravnica’s civic works. In his thirst for knowledge, the Firemind also pushed his underlings to value experimentation and become masters of applied science and spellcraft. The Izzet League’s alternative name is fittingly known as the Magewrights. At the time of the Decamillennial, Niv was one of the few paruns who remained in charge of his guild.
The Firemind can grant an extrasensory link to his omniscience. To possess it is to be immersed in passionate brilliance, but the connection to Niv-Mizzet’s intellect and will can make even the mightiest of magelords feel small and obeisant. Not all Izzet are in tune with the Firemind though; the honor must be earned by passing a test or by accomplishing an extraordinary achievement. In very rare cases, the Firemind’s gift can cause delusions of grandeur and lead to what is known as “firemadness.” Zomaj Hauc supposedly suffered from this condition in his failed attempt to revive several ancient dragon eggs and overthrow the Firemind.
As time wore on, he became further and further reclusive and wasn't seen publicly for over 2500 years prior to his appearance to help the goblin master engineer Crixizix deal with the rampant nephilim. He destroyed two of them but fled after being injured by an unforeseen attack by the nephilim, who had been empowered by consuming the flesh of a dragon. He left the battle, claiming that he was bored of the fight, for an unknown destination in the northern aeries and did not return whilst the Nephilim ran amok.
His disappearance from Ravnica seemed to be complete, as even those who were tied to the Firemind could not find him. However, he later returned as a signatory for the new guildpact negotiated by Teysa Karlov.
The Implicit Maze
Long after the Guildpact had been laid to waste, the Izzet League undertook a massive research project that spanned the Tenth District. Niv-Mizzet put many of his guild's most powerful mages, including Ral Zarek, into a scavenger hunt across and under the city in search for the secrets of the Implicit Maze. This project was progressing slowly until Jace Beleren used his powers to peer into the dragon's mind to learn the secrets that Niv-Mizzet sought. Fascinated by the mindmage, Niv-Mizzet took Ral Zarek out of the Maze project to discover what Jace had learned. Partially successful in this, Zarek was sent to deliver an invitation to the other guilds, urging them to send Mazerunners to the Transguild Promenade. Niv-Mizzet went to work creating the Izzet Mazerunner, a Weird made from Ice and Lightning that he called Melek. At the Transguild Promenade, however, a disgruntled Zarek destroyed Melek and replaced him as the Izzet Mazerunner. Niv-Mizzet arrived at the Forum of Azor shortly after Jace Beleren used mind magic to halt the aggression between the Runners, and after a tense stand-off with Jace, he left to ponder the Guildpact's return.
Niv-Mizzet knew about other planes and planeswalkers and had figured out that a threat to Ravnica was coming. He started an experiment (the "Interlocus") that would aid him to absorb the power of the Guildpact, but he needed the help of the other guilds to pull it off. A murder attempt by an unknown assailant had made his project even more urgent. To work on this experiment he headed away from the main part of the city and left Ral Zarek behind as acting guildleader. Later, Nicol Bolas sent a Dimir agent to infiltrate Nivix and plant a thought in the mind of Niv-Mizzet, who had Ral turn Project Lightning Bug into a beacon to call other planeswalkers to help fight Bolas.
At the guild summit, guildmasters and representatives of all Ravnican guilds heard the request of Niv-Mizzet to change the Guildpact spell and grant him the power to fight Nicol Bolas. Although he offered to leave the Izzet League and become a guardian of Ravnica, many distrusted his motives, and the meeting was adjourned. That night, Vraska met Isperia in the conference chamber. Simultaneously fulfilling Bolas's demands and achieving personal revenge, Vraska petrified the sphinx. After the delegates found out about the murder, their cooperation was dissolved and they returned to their guilds. Ral Zarek then thought up another way to achieve the Firemind's goal, using the magic of the Implicit Maze.
When Zarek made a device to fulfill Niv-Mizzet's plan of stealing the power of the Guildpact, Dovin Baan found out and played along until right before Bolas' arrival on the plane and then sabotaged the device, leaving Jace as the Living Guildpact and Niv-Mizzet without the extra power he craved. After the failure of Ral’s great machine, Niv admitted that he had again underestimated Bolas but complimented Ral for his work. As Bolas and his forces began their arrival, Ral was sent to activate the Interplanar Beacon while the Firemind flew off to delay Bolas. The Elder Dragon’s master plan had unfolded as intended.
Before the War of the Spark, Nicol Bolas slew Niv-Mizzet. Although the battle was brief, the Firemind mounted an impressive assault that demonstrated his immense thaumaturgical, mental, and physical might. Nicol Bolas and Niv-Mizzet engaged each other in epic combat that destroyed large portions of the city. The two dragons fought using a staggering array of magical, physical, and aerial attacks in which both drew blood. Bolas was even surprised when his mind-shattering touch could not penetrate the Firemind's mental barriers. As the fight wore on, Niv sensed his eventual defeat. After Niv collapsed a huge chunk of the city onto Bolas at a Simic zonot, Bolas emerged in a dark sphere of death and destruction, causing Niv to experience fear for the first time. Contemplating this strange feeling, Niv deemed it unworthy of the Firemind and brushed it aside as he roared in defiance and leaped toward his impending death. In the end, Niv-Mizzet’s skull and charred bones were all that remained.
However, the Firemind had been preparing for this. Together with Ugin, Niv-Mizzet made preparations to preserve his ghost in a device of his own design. The little silver box with delicate filigree, sparking gears, and shimmering crystals could project Niv's essence above it and would preserve his ghost for at least a hundred years. With Sarkhan Vol's assistance, the box was delivered to the Meditation Plane for safekeeping under Ugin's watch. The Firemind provided clues for Jace, Vraska and Ral Zarek to bring him back.
The almost impossible task of resurrecting Niv-Mizzet was to assemble representatives from each Ravnica guild and ensure their cooperation in altering the power of the Guildpact. Apart from the ten representatives, Operation Desperation (the Firemind's final plan) required the leylines of Ravnica, Niv's own charred bones, and the Firemind Vessel. The vessel, a brass model of Niv-Mizzet's head, would contain his spirit when summoned from the Meditation Plane.
At the ruins of the Guildpact Chamber, Nissa Revane led the representatives through a ritual to resurrect Niv-Mizzet as the new Living Guildpact. A colorless portal - like clear water - opened up above the Firemind Vessel, and wispy smoke of blue and red emerged and descended as if sucked down from portal to vessel. Simultaneously, the bones of the dragon began to glow with bright yellow and orange flames. The ritual attracted the attention of God-Eternal Kefnet who quickly attacked. Teyo Verada shielded the guild representatives and bystanders long enough for the ritual to be completed. When enough mana had been filtered through the participants, it coalesced around the bones and the Vessel. The blaze took shape, and Niv-Mizzet was reborn, with scales of shiny gold to match the golden glow emanating from his eyes. A decagon was seared into his chest and spheres of colored mana swirled around him.
Upon his rebirth, the Firemind incinerated Kefnet, but immediately lost consciousness from the strain of using enough power to kill a god; ironically, the same god who represented knowledge, intellect, and the magic of the mind.
The New Living Guildpact
Later, while Bolas was being attacked by the God-Eternals Oketra and Bontu under the control of Liliana Vess, Niv-Mizzet surprised Nicol Bolas by impaling the elder dragon through the back with Hazoret's spear. Although Bolas managed to obliterate Oketra, and blast Niv-Mizzet away, the distraction allowed Bontu to bite Bolas and extract all of the elder dragon's sparks, including his own.
After the War's end, Niv-Mizzet took up his new position of Living Guildpact in earnest, permanently relinquishing his status of Izzet guildmaster to Ral. When he boasted to Jace about the transfer of the Guildpact's power, Jace instead smiled and admitted he was happy to be rid of the responsibility, as he could travel the multiverse freely while leaving the Guildpact's power in the hands of a planebound being. Niv-Mizzet's first act as Living Guildpact was to have Ral, Vraska, and Kaya undergo penance for allying with Bolas but defecting before the War, by having them respectively hunt down Tezzeret, Dovin, and Liliana, the planeswalkers who remained loyal to Bolas or defected too late.
Niv-Mizzet later presided over a meeting of the ten guilds at the Azorius Senate House after Ral, Vraska, and Kaya returned from their assignments. Each stepped into an Azorius Verity Circle where they relayed their accounts. Kaya went first and stated that she had killed Liliana Vess, although secretly it had been an imposter. She offered the Chain Veil as proof of Liliana’s death, which had been transported by Teyo Verada using his shield magic. Teyo placed the Veil into a puzzle box for safekeeping by the Firemind. Vraska stepped forward next by offering the calcified right hand of Dovin Baan as proof of his death, but Chandra Nalaar reported that she had delivered the killing blow. With the consent of the other guilds, Vraska was credited with the kill. Unbeknownst to the others (except Lazav), Vraska had secretly staged Baan’s death on Regatha with Chandra being an unsuspecting accomplice. Finally, Ral stepped forward with the damaged etherium arm of Tezzeret but told the truth about his defeat and that Tezzeret lived. Ral’s humiliation prompted Chamberlain Maree to call for a vote of no confidence in Ral’s leadership of the Izzet. The meeting was observed by Niv-Mizzet, but the vote was unsuccessful as Ral solidified his support within the guild and remained guildmaster.
History in other media
As part of Tezzeret's scheming, Niv-Mizzet was removed from office (presumably by assassination, since he appeared later as a ghost). He was replaced by a mizzium and crystal version of himself designed by Tezzeret. The robot Niv-Mizzet presided as Chair of the Guildpact over several meetings of guildmasters. When it became clear Ravnica was doomed by Marit Lage, the robot Niv-Mizzet officially pardoned Tezzeret for war crimes on the condition that he save Ravnica from destruction.
- His original card's flavor text "(Z->)90° - (E-N²W)90°t=1" is very well known, and has led to multiple interpretations; one such is that it reads "Niv-Mizzet = 1", as when one turns the symbols in the parenthesis 90 degrees, it reads "(NIV)-(MIZZE)t=1", a possible allusion that he considers himself #1 in every aspect, or that he is the only higher dragon left in Ravnica. Mark Rosewater's comment on the "=1" part was that this means "equal 1 copy of his name". Another interpretation is that his ability to tap to draw a card does 1 point of damage. It is reminiscent of the real-life equation called Euler's identity, e^(iπ) + 1 = 0, which has been called "the most famous formula in all mathematics", in which pi is an angle in radians (equivalent to 180°) plugged into Euler's formula.
- In 2009 it was speculated that Niv-Mizzet could somehow planeswalk. This was explicitly denied by Brady Dommermuth. In the novel War of the Spark: Ravnica, Sarkhan Vol carried his spirit in a box to Ugin on the Meditation Plane. Ugin later commented to Bolas that Niv was not a planeswalker.
- In the novel, War of the Spark: Ravnica, the "Prelude" and "Coda" are both subtitled, "Two Dragons." In the "Prelude," Niv-Mizzet has died and is the "dragon spirit" conversing with Ugin also known as the "Spirit Dragon." Niv talks with Ugin about "our plan," leading readers to believe that he and Ugin had devised a strategy to defeat Nicol Bolas. In the novel's "Coda," the defeated Nicol Bolas becomes the lesser dragon who converses with his brother Ugin the "Spirit Dragon."
- Although Niv-Mizzet is over 16,000 years old, he is not considered an Elder Dragon. However, Mark Rosewater has indicated that “it’s possible he should be an Elder.”
- Dream Leash depicts a sleeping dragon under the spell of a Dimir wizard. Though the dragon looks like Niv-Mizzet, it's actually one of his many cloned dragon underlings. Niv-Mizzet likes his dragons to look like him, but the giveaway is in the scale—Niv-Mizzet himself would be at least three to four times bigger than this dragon.
- Represented in:
- Associated cards:
- Depicted in:
- Quoted or referred to:
- Burning-Tree Emissary (Double Masters 2022, #374)
- Command the Storm
- Contentious Plan
- Crackling Perimeter
- Enter the Infinite
- Gateway Plaza
- Hypersonic Dragon
- Invoke the Firemind
- Izzet Guildgate (Dragon's Maze)
- Izzet Guildgate (Guilds of Ravnica, #252)
- Izzet Signet
- Maze Rusher
- Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind
- Paralyzing Grasp
- Psychic Strike
- Serene Remembrance
- Skinbrand Goblin
- Warmind Infantry
- Greg Weisman (April 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica". Del Rey
- Django Wexler (June, 2019), The Gathering Storm/Chapter One. Del Rey.
- Rei Nakazawa (January 9, 2006). "Signing Onto the Guildpact". Magicthegathering.com.
- Matt Cavotta (January 11, 2006). "Niv-Mizzet, the Fountainhead". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer (November 28, 2012). "Return to Ravnica: The Secretist, Part One." Wizards of the Coast.
- Jay Annelli (August, 2021). "Magic: The Gathering - Planes of the Multiverse." Abrams ComicArts.
- Django Wexler (October 9, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Eighteen. Del Ray.
- Django Wexler (August 14, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Ten.
- Cory J. Herndon (2006), Ravnica Cycle, Book II: Guildpact. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 978-0786939893.
- James Wyatt (January 2019). "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Ravnica'". Wizards of the Coast
- Cory Herndon (2006), Dissension. Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer (February 26, 2013). "Gatecrash: The Secretist, Part Two." Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer (May 22, 2013). "Dragon's Maze: The Secretist, Part Three." Wizards of the Coast.
- Django Wexler (October 2, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Seventeen.
- Greg Weisman (May 8, 2019). "War of the Spark — Old Friends and New". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Gavin Verhey (April 12, 2019). "Niv-Mizzet, No Longer Just Izzet". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (April 20, 2019). "Was there a reason we knew Niv-Mizzet was resurrected before we knew he died?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Django Wexler (October 23, 2019), The Gathering Storm, Chapter Twenty, Del Rey.
- Contentious Plan
- Firemind Vessel
- Greg Weisman (June 5, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Operation Desperation". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Greg Weisman (June 12, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – Ashes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Greg Weisman (November 2019). "War of the Spark: Forsaken". Del Rey.
- Magic Comes Back to Comics (Video). Weekly MTG. YouTube (March 12, 2021).
- MacKay, Jed. (2022). Magic. Iss 15.
- MacKay, Jed. (2021). Magic. Iss 8.
- Mark Rosewater (December 10, 2007). "What Do You Know, Part II". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth (January 30, 2009). He remains on Ravnica. I will say no more.
- Mark Rosewater (March 30, 2021). "Sorry, a clarification.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Wizards of the Coast (May, 2006). "Ask Wizards - May, 2006". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Steve Watts (April 12, 2019). "Magic: The Gathering Debuts New Card For Arena And Tabletop". Gamespot.com.