While it’s drawing to a close, there’s plenty to be excited about from Dominaria United’s spoiler season. With powerful cards and mechanics, both new and old in the set, Dominaria United is primed to reshape several formats. Dominaria United’s spoiler season has revealed several devastating story details alongside format warping cards. With the Compleation of iconic MTG characters Ajani and the Weatherlight, Magic’s future is dark, and it’s only getting darker.
Guess Who’s Back, Back Again
Starting in Dominaria United, the Phyrexian arc is taking over Magic for the next year of sets. As a threat that rivals the power of Nicol Bolas, there’s sure to be no shortage of crushing twists and turns in Magic’s future. Just as War of the Spark killed Gideon Jura, the Phyrexian arc is sure to claim a few victims. For better or worse, however, iconic MTG characters may not be staying dead for long.
In Magic: the Gathering, it’s not entirely uncommon for a character to return from presumed death. While Gideon Jura appears gone for good, characters such as Elspeth Tirel have decided that death wasn’t for them. Instead of laying down to die, Elspeth broke out of Theros’ underworld in the fittingly named set, Theros Beyond Death. Other characters, such as The Raven Man, who’s actually Lim-Dûl, have also seemingly returned from death thanks to powerful artifacts. Even Lord Windgrace is back in Dominaria United as Soul of Windgrace.
As if Wizards of the Coast didn’t already have enough ways to resurrect characters, they’ve just come up with another. Given that Dominaria United heralds the returns of Phyrexians, it should be no surprise this method is Compleation. If you doubt its effectiveness, look no further than Ertai Resurrected, who’s back after a 21-year nap. Currently, Ertai Resurrected has yet to be officially spoiled, as instead, artists have revealed the revival.
Resurrected and Stronger Than Ever
While, technically, Ertai Resurrected has only been confirmed via art, there is also one hell of a leak going around. Coming from Wizards of the Coast themselves, it appears that the entire card list for Dominaria United was accidentally revealed ahead of schedule. While this marketing material doesn’t feature any artwork, it nevertheless confirms all card names and abilities coming in the set. Included within this list is the Phyrexian Human Wizard, Ertai Resurrected.
While Wizards quickly took down this list, captures were quickly taken and uploaded to the Internet Archive. This lets us bask in awe over every last detail about Ertai Resurrected. Those details are as follows:
Legendary Creature — Phyrexian Human Wizard
When Ertai Resurrected enters the battlefield, choose up to one —
• Counter target spell, activated ability, or triggered ability. Its controller draws a card.
• Destroy another target creature or planeswalker. Its controller draws a card.
As you might be able to tell, while somewhat expensive, Ertai Resurrected is exceptionally powerful. Offering hard removal, or a counterspell in the Command zone, Ertai Resurrected is a Dimir player’s dream. While its commander-taxed cost may make these effects less desirable, it’s nonetheless a powerful force and an interesting threat in Commander. Should a Dimir player find a consistent way to flicker this card, like Deadeye Navigator, we could have a lockdown on our hands.
The Death of an Icon
While Ertai, Lim-Dûl, and Lord Windgrace are returning in Dominaria United, one of the most iconic MTG characters seemingly has their days numbered. After being captured and Compleated, it looks like Ajani won’t survive the Phyrexian arc. This is bound to make the Phyrexian arc one of the most important in Magic’s history. However, just like Ertai, Ajani might not be staying dead.
This possibility is thanks to Magic’s recent trip to the plane of Capenna and the power of Halo. Halo is a magical substance derived from angelic essence and has incredible restorative properties. The substance is also harmful to Phyrexians, as merely holding it was enough to make Urabrask, Heretic Praetor wince. Despite being a Phyrexian Preator themselves, it appears that Urabrask will be an unlikely ally in the Phyrexian arc, potentially using Halo to their advantage.
While the full extent of Halo’s abilities is currently unknown, it seems like it’s the best bet in the multiverse to cure Compleation. While this may mean that Ajani and Tamiyo can stick around for a few more years yet, it appears resurrection isn’t on the cards for everyone. In a recent Blogatog post, Magic’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, revealed that Ertai’s revival is “a rare exception and not the opening of a floodgate.” Hopefully, this will ensure that death actually means something in Magic.