In Pre-Mending stories, planeswalkers were often sorcerers who somehow acquired the incredibly vast amount of mana required to perform the ritualistic sorcery of one's own ascension. Slaying a powerful planeswalker was one common way to acquire the necessary mana.
Following the Mending, ascension was no longer a viable option for becoming a planeswalker, making it impossible for most wizards to become planeswalkers. A very small fraction of wizards possess the qualities needed for a natural spark. Usually, its ignition is triggered by a powerful, emotionally-affecting, perspective-altering life event, often a near death experience.
As an effect of the ignition, the newly-ignited planeswalker planeswalks away for their first time: they are pulled to the Blind Eternities and then come back appearing to a random plane, and afterwards realizing their new traveling powers.
List of all explained ignitions:
|Planeswalker||Ignited on||Planeswalked to||Date||Ignition's cause|
|Ajani Goldmane||Naya||Jund||~4556 AR||Realizing the death of his brother|
|Arlinn Kord||Innistrad||Unknown||Realizing she transformed into a werewolf and had killed an angel|
|Basri Ket||Amonkhet||Unknown||Elation at winning Oketra's Trial of Solidarity.|
|Calix||Theros||Unknown||~4562||Frustration about his inability to fulfill his purpose of following Elspeth Tirel.|
|Chandra Nalaar||Kaladesh||Regatha||~4548||Striking against her executioner with pyromancy|
|Dack Fayden||Fiora||Unknown||Witnessing his friend being killed by rival mages|
|Dakkon Blackblade||Dominaria||Unknown||After Geyadrone Dihada stole his soul using the Blackblade.|
|Daretti||Fiora||Unknown||Being crippled by the explosion of one of his constructs|
|Domri Rade||Ravnica||Naya||Being buried alive as part of a Gruul ritual|
|Elspeth Tirel||A phyrexianized plane||Theros||~4545||Fleeing from the Phyrexians|
|Eskil||Dominaria||Unknown||Between -2,500 and -440||Splashed by the blood of the corrupted angel Trine.|
|Faralyn||Dominaria||Shandalar||Year 1 in by the Reckoning of the Sages of Minorad||Cast the ascension spell using mana harvested from Chromium Rhuell.|
|Freyalise||Dominaria||Unknown||~2434||Mortally wounded by Jason Carthalion.|
|Garth One-Eye||Kuthuman's realm||Unknown||Year of the 998th Festival||Cast the ascension spell using the mana harvested from slaying Kuthuman.|
|Gideon Jura||Theros||Bant||Realizing the death of his irregulars through his own hubris|
|Huatli||Ixalan||Kaladesh (uncompleted)||Under furious attack by Angrath|
|Jace Beleren||Vryn||Ravnica||Accidental planeswalk after being memory wiped|
|Jared Carthalion||Dominaria||Unknown||3980||Crushed by crumbling monoliths confronting Ravidel|
|Jaya Ballard||Dominaria||Elsewhere on Dominaria||2954||Hit by Jodah's mirror|
|Jeska||Dominaria||Unknown||4306||Being split from Karona with the Mirari|
|Karn (1st time)||Dominaria||Unknown||4205||Acquiring Urza's spark|
|Karn (2nd time)||New Phyrexia||Unknown||Acquiring Venser's spark|
|Kiora||Zendikar||Unknown||Being swallowed by a big sea serpent|
|Kuthuman||Dominaria||Unknown||Year of the 978th Festival||Cast the ascension spell using mana tributes from the Fighting Houses of Kush.|
|Liliana Vess||Dominaria||Innistrad||Turning to black mana to restrain her undead brother Josu|
|Lukka||Ikoria||Unidentified plane||~4561||Overextending the power of the Ozolith|
|Narset||Tarkir||Pulled back to Tarkir||Learning the truth about Tarkir's past|
|Nicol Bolas||Dominaria||Meditation Plane||Between -20,000 and -17,000||Rage and envy against Ugin|
|Niko Aris||Theros||Bretagard, Kaldheim||During a battle against an agent of Klothys.|
|Nissa Revane||Zendikar||Lorwyn||Witnessing Emrakul's sealed presence|
|Ob Nixilis (1st time)||A plane of eternal war||Unknown||Realizing the futility of life and mono-planar ambitions|
|Ob Nixilis (2nd time)||Zendikar||Unknown||~4559||Siphoning the power of the hedrons into himself.|
|Oko||Unknown||Unknown||Tortured by magical procedures designed to suppress his powers.|
|Ral Zarek||Ravnica||Unidentified plane||Being stabbed and finding out his lover was betraying him.|
|Ravidel||Dominaria||Unknown||2934||Being resurrected from death by Kristina of the Woods.|
|Rowan and Will Kenrith||Eldraine||Unknown||~4561||Learning the truth about their birth mother.|
|Sarkhan Vol||Tarkir||Unknown||Channeling the spirit of an ancient dragon|
|Samut||Amonkhet||Theros||~4560||Experiencing euphoria and joy after being thanked by Hazoret|
|Sifa Grent||Grixis||Unknown||Tortured by Malfegor.|
|Sorin Markov||Innistrad||Unknown||Becoming a vampire|
|Tacenda Verlasen||Innistrad||Unknown||~4561||Defeating her sister Willia, and absorbing the Bog Entity.|
|Teferi (1st time)||Dominaria||Unknown||An experiment with time and phasing gone wrong.|
|Teferi (2nd time)||Dominaria||Unknown||~4560||Restored by a Powerstone made by Jhoira.|
|Tezzeret||Esper||Grixis||Being attacked by guards after learning that the Codex Etherium was empty.|
|Teyo Verada||Gobakhan||Ravnica||~4561||Being buried alive.|
|Tibalt||Innistrad||Unknown||Feeling all the pain he had inflicted on others in his life|
|Ugin||Dominaria||Meditation Plane||Realizing his twin brother doesn't love him and is trying to manipulate him.|
|Urza||Dominaria||Unknown||63||Enduring the Sylex Blast and being resurrected by Glacian's spark through the Might and Weakstone|
|Vivien Reid||Skalla||Unknown||Seeing her world destroyed by Nicol Bolas|
|Vraska||Ravnica||A swamp on a dark plane. A tomb with no way out.||Being severely beaten by Azorius prison guards.|
|Vronos||Innistrad||Esper||Having his face scarred by werewolves|
- Forstchen, William R. (1994). Arena. Harper Prism.
- Doug Beyer (August 4, 2015). "Spark Ignition". A Voice for Vorthos. Tumblr.
- Gomez, Jeff. (1995). "The Shard". Ice Age on the World of Magic: The Gathering. Armada.
- Ethan Fleischer (June 10, 2021). "The Returning Legends of Modern Horizons 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Brandon Sanderson (2018). "Children of the Nameless". Wizards of the Coast.