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For the Spark mechanic, see Spark (keyword action).

A planeswalker's spark is a latent power inborn into a very small number of sentient creatures across the Multiverse, which if activated permanently turns the bearer into a planeswalker. A planeswalker is granted the ability to travel between the planes of the Multiverse. The exact mechanics of the planeswalker's spark are unknown, and many of the descriptions are prerevisionist.

Prerevisionist spark description[ | ]

Before the revisions to Magic's canon, there were several disparate depictions of planeswalkers and their powers. The first Magic novel, Arena, depicted the spark as able to be conceived through incredible amounts of mana being hoarded. A different interpretation to reconcile Arena's depiction into revisionist thought is; the planeswalkers had the spark all along and the mana merely triggered it. Depicted in the novels are instances of planeswalkers giving their spark up to live mortal lives, such as Jared Carthalion, Greensleeves, and possibly Garth One-Eye. One can have or be granted planeswalker-like powers, as was the case with Dakkon Blackblade (though there is the possibility that Dakkon always held a dormant spark).

Revisionist spark description[ | ]

Sparks occur randomly in any sapient population but not through genetics, nor can they be created artificially. A spark can be magically transferred to another, as with Glissa's spark to Slobad or used up to perform magical works such as Slobad healing Glissa. Sparks can be contained magically, as Ravidel did to Altair of Coloni or Yawgmoth did to Glacian. A spark is intangible and a part of a being's soul. A spark's link to the physical world is sometimes described as a planeswalker's "center of consciousness."

The spark is also what allows planeswalkers to use mana from multiple planes; should a spark be lost, inactive or defective, they are only able to use mana from the plane they are on.[1][2] This is evidenced by Ob Nixilis' re-ignition, as he narrates that he can use the mana from other planes.[3] This contradicts older cases of non-planeswalkers being able to siphon mana from multiple planes, such as multiple members of the Weatherlight Crew.

The planeswalker's spark is created when the Blind Eternities is imprinted on a soul as it becomes embodied in a being.[4][5] A "birthmark on the soul," left by aether.[6] In a way, Planeswalkers function as avatars of the Blind Eternities.[7] It is speculated that the lifeforce of all beings is "tethered" in the aether and that when a sentient being's life begins, there is a remote chance that the being's lifeforce will be infused with the essence of the Blind Eternities themselves. In other words, the spark is an infinitesimally small fragment of the Blind Eternities that resides within a being's "soul." That metaphysical connection to the Multiverse is what enables planeswalking for the rare few who come to know how to tap into it.[8]

A combination of Teferi's time magic and Kaya's ghost magic can allow for the safe extraction of sparks. However, given the operation was to de-compleat planeswalkers, it is unclear how relevant Karn and Melira's contributions were in regards to the sparks as opposed to cleaning phyresis. When visible, sparks are shimmering, bright orbs.

Additional powers[ | ]

Before the Mending, those with an activated planeswalker's spark had additional powers; they were almost immortal, invulnerable, granted vast magical power, and could shapeshift. While this power could lie within anyone, it was usually undetectable except by another planeswalker.[1] Planeswalkers rarely died, except at the hands of other planeswalkers.

After the Mending, the nature of a planeswalker's spark changed: they lost their invulnerability, immortality, shapeshifting and most of their additional magical power. Although some planeswalkers, such as Liliana Vess, reacquired some of these properties through other means, these properties are no longer provided by the spark itself. In spite of this, the spark still gives its owner increased magical power and skill; Teyo Verada, once a rather poor shieldmage on his homeworld of Gobakhan, found that his spellcasting became much stronger and more intuitive after his ignition.[9] Planeswalkers do retain some capacity that allows them to speak any language so that they can communicate on new planes.[10] The spark is inherently magical, meaning that any ember — or unignited planeswalker — even without magical training, has the potential for magical abilities.[11][4]

War of the Spark[ | ]

During the War of the Spark, Nicol Bolas claimed dominion over Ravnica and performed the Elderspell that harvested sparks from the many planeswalkers on the plane, which would grant him "ultimate power" and godhood.[12] Spark harvesting by his minions, the Eternals, is lethal.[13][14][15] In the end, he was desparked himself[16][17] and sealed away by Jace and Ugin.

New Phyrexian Planeswalkers[ | ]

During Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty it was revealed that Jin Gitaxias had found a way to Compleat planewalkers without losing their spark. This had made it possible for New Phyrexia to compleat multiple planeswalkers. These planeswalkers are represented by the Compleated mechanic. The list of compleated planeswalkers are:

With the concerted efforts of Karn, Melira, Kaya and Teferi, Nissa and Ajani were de-compleated, which required Venser's spark to purify the corrupted souls. Nonetheless, the vast majority of planeswalkers subsequently lost their sparks in the Desparkening, later using Omenpaths to travel across realms.[18][19][20] After the battle, Lukka, Tibalt and Tamiyo all died during the Invasion. Jace and Vraska had a mental partition that retained their core personality that let them recover after their phyresis was excised. Nahiri had her spark encased within a hedron, which she unwittingly destroyed.

In-game references[ | ]

Associated cards:
Depicted in:
Referred to:

References[ | ]

  1. a b Pete Venters, Kij Johnson, and Scott Hungerford (April 1997). "Dominian Chronicles". The Duelist #16, p.63-65
  2. Doug Beyer (August 4, 2015). "Drawing Mana". A Voice for Vorthos. Tumblr.
  3. Nik Davidson (November 25, 2015). "At Any Cost". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b Jay Annelli (2022). Magic: The Gathering - The Visual Guide, DK. ISBN-13 978-0744061055.
  5. Seanan McGuire (January 18, 2024). "Episode 10: Roots of Decay". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Magic Story Podcast: The Mending (May 3, 2018)
  7. Seanan McGuire (January 18, 2024). "Roots of Decay, the DVD extras". Seanan McGuire.
  8. You Are a Planeswalker
  9. Greg Weisman (November 2019). "War of the Spark: Forsaken". Del Rey.
  10. Doug Beyer (August 04, 2015). "Does a planeswalker's spark give planeswalkers a universal translation power?". A Voice for Vorthos. Tumblr.
  11. Doug Beyer (December 7, 2014). "The planeswalker spark is inherently magical". A Voice for Vorthos. Tumblr.
  12. Spark Harvest
  13. Mark Rosewater (April 15, 2019). "Is the process of spark harvesting lethal?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  14. Mark Rosewater (April 20, 2019). "Why do planeswalkers die when their spark leaves the body?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Greg Weisman (May 15, 2019). "War of the Spark: Ravnica – The Path to Opulent". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Despark
  17. Mark Rosewater (April 20, 2019). "Spark Harvesting is lethal, but Nicol Bolas survives losing his? What’s the difference?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  18. Grace P. Fong (May 1, 2023). "March of the Machine: The Aftermath - She Who Breaks the World". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Mark Rosewater (May 2, 2023). "Doing the Aftermath". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. WeeklyMTG - March of the Machine: The Aftermath (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (May 2, 2023).

External links[ | ]