This entry is part 3 of 24 in the series Unexpected Results

Posted by Brian aka ChaosMTG


I’ve decided to do things a bit differently this week, a double feature, narrative on page 1, other content on page two – page two is completely unrelated, so feel free to read them in whichever order you wish.

I had planned on putting off gameplay narrativizations for a while, but with the recent legend rule changes, this seems to be all I can do to  prevent myself from collapsing into a ranting pile of nerdrage. So, I’ve come up with my own flavor rationalization of how things now occur:


Legendary Creatures:
Creatures summoned by a planeswalker share a mental link between themselves and the planeswalker. Given the ætherformed explanation of summoning (which I don’t accept for planeswalkers), this allows multiple instances of a unique personality to exist under the control of different planeswalkers. Should another instance of the personality somehow end up linked to the planeswalker’s mind, an existential paradox is created weakening the ætherform bonds of the instance least with lesser willpower. (I’m not going to try to defend the fact that both versions of Kamahl can exist… I’ve given up on that one for now.)

Rather than summoning others to fight alongside them, planeswalkers channel their allies powers, casting their spells as though the were their own, but only a certain subset of their repertoire at any given time. Combat-wise, in-game, when a creature is ordered to attack a planeswalker, the channeling planeswalker is still the one being attacked, but rather than being hit, the planeswalker avoids the attack and in doing so weakens the strength of their connection with their partner. (For Gideon, I’m assuming his creature-ization works along the same lines as an ætherformed legendary creature.)
Translating these into an EDH environment, not much changes except for the fact that I’ve decided to have commanders function more like planeswalkers. My primary reason for this change is readability and entertainment value. Planeswalkers blurting out orders to someone fighting in their stead while still being attacked just doesn’t make for a compelling story… It also helps to explain why they don’t get death triggers.


Note: This is based off of a game played with the pre-change legend rule, I may do another post-change with two decks that care more about it. The decks used are my Zur deck (the list can be seen in Unexpected Results 002) and my 5color deck (list will be posted eventually).

This is where I’d put my title. If I had one!

Ætherfumes seeped into the air as The Champions’ Gate blinked to life; a portal, voidlike, swirling and black forced itself into existence within a massive stone ring held in position by five imposing towers. Several smaller, though still substantial, buildings filled the gaps between those that kept the ring aloft; an entire city built around the grand battlefield. Excitement poured forth from the unseen crowds within as the æther filled their lungs like fresh ozone from an oncoming storm. As the portal grew wider so did the æther flow, quickly increasing from a misty leak to a deluge of what appeared to be dark liquid oozing from the sky. From the void emerged two figures, planeswalkers, ready to do battle.

On any other plane what was about to occur would be considered a war, possibly worse. Here, though, it was an event, sport really; one ordained by the Planeswalker Sovereigns that put their lives into its creation so that other worlds would not fall victim to the devastation wrought by their kind. Within the Camikan Arena, planeswalkers could wage their wars, settle their debts, and fight out their petty squabbles; some even came just for the ecstasy of conquest. The two this day happened to be of the latter variety, there for nothing more than the joy of battle, the spoils of victory, and the entertainment of the masses.

“Well, this should be fun.” the younger of the planeswalkers called out to the other “It’s been a while since we last faced one another, hasn’t it?”

“So it has.” The elder responded bluntly as the raging æther began to subside, already beginning to reconnect to his mana bonds.

The younger proceeded to do the same. Darkened translucent visions of lands afar forced themselves into being around the arena, sculpted by the lingering fumes of æther – from trees whose leaves refracted light to the depths of the Ravnica’s undercity – a shadow of memory growing with each bond recalled.

Caelan, the younger mage, shook his head dismissively. Had he any desire to, he could easily do away with his opponent, but he came for pleasure, not business – so he might as well give the man a fighting chance. Lazily throwing off his traveling cloak he revealed distinctly Ravnican garb which, to any given passerby, would seem average enough.

“You’ve been spending too much time on that plane.” The other scolded, “Get out more often, see the multiverse – you never know what you’ll find!” he added jovially, seemingly as an invitation.

“If I could leave more often, I would… Trust me.” He sighed, lamenting the fact that guild business kept him far more occupied than he would have preferred. “But it’s certainly worth my time” he explained as he drew a bit of mana, a faint blue glow flickering to life in the diagonal stitching across his ribs and forearms, a metal charm in the shape of the hidden guild’s insignia  and a pair of interlocked golden rings materialized on a chain around the planeswalker’s neck. A flash of a white runic pattern covered the man’s body for a split second as he readied himself.

“Nice toys you’ve got there, but how about a bit of real magic?” The elder, Agala, chided, summoning a large flaming sphere in his hand, drawing æther from the gate above coalescing into a humanoid form.

“Real magic? Yes, I guess I do know some of that, but these ‘toys’ are much more fun.” Caelan replied, materializing a short staff in his hand. “Just take a look.” The scepter shone and the signet at his chest rose to meet it, casting an exaggerated shadow centered upon Agala’s worn face. “See? Fun.” The Ravnican mage laughed as he gazed into the man’s mind, both of their eyes alight with blue flames.

Agala recoiled slightly as his mind became his one once again. “Well, that certainly was fun, but how about you save that trick for those poor urchins who you actually need to make forget things?” He waved his hand casually, ending with a motion toward the figure he had summoned; it nodded acceptingly, swinging its staff in Caelan’s direction as a stream of glittering white dust wrapped around it, splitting the spell, which then enveloped the staff that held the mind altering spell.

Caelan didn’t respond to the man’s remark, the white runes shone brightly again, this time lingering. A second guild’s symbol took shape upon the chain, followed quickly by a vedalken mage of the same guild which, unfortunately was not long for the world as it was quickly cut down to size by a large zombie coming seemingly out of nowhere – the spiked beast shrieked as its bladed arm cut into his shoulder. He faltered, almost falling to his knees.

Agala laughed, he expected the boy to put up more of a fight; he was never one to go down so easily. He began to summon again, a bulky body descended from the swirling æther within the Champion’s Gate above. “No.” Spat Caelan, as he attempted to regain his composure and sending an arc of blue mana at the figure – returning it to the gate.

The ground near Agala began to glitter as he cast another spell; the gate churned overhead spewing æther and strengthening both planeswalkers’ mana bonds. The zombie lunged again at Caelan, but this time he was prepared. A blinding blast charged to meet it. Instead of connecting though, it faded. Caelan looked briefly dumbfounded – Where the creature would have been, it was no longer; which was, of course, the desired result. But the beam shouldn’t have just vanished. His eyes flicked back over to Agala who was now bathed in a similar, though rejuvenating, light. Caelan closed his eyes, sending his mind across the multiverse, as he attempted to connect to an ally. He roared, the golden rings around his neck flared and he stood up again, his wound mended.

Agala released a green flare from his hand which rose toward the gate, followed in turn by millions of colorful sparks radiating from the shadowlands behind him. Mana seemed to pour directly onto the battlefield as glimpses of memories raced across the planeswalkers’ eyes and into the umbral reality.

His mind already connected through the multiverse, Caelan decided it was time to start taking things seriously; he called upon his connection to the mad wizard, Zur. With a few slight hand motions, he was airborne and draped in a silvery blue cloak of energy.

“Not quite yet.” Agala said with a look of disapproval, a light green energy binding the boy and ripping his mind away from Zur, unintentionally strengthening his other connection.

“You’ll have to try harder than that.” The angular patterns on his body blazed draining the life from his organs, the entirety of his knowledge rushing through his mind in an attempt to grasp at the threads of the lost connection.

“Oh?” The elder planeswalker asked skeptically sending a stream of mana toward the gate, taking a chance at what might happen. A drop of æther snaked its way to the ground trailed by a cascade of golden mist. “Oh, here’s something you might recognize.” he commented, as the æther took shape or – rather – became clear; a creature hybridized by the Simic, an an elf with the body of a snake where its legs would have been.

“Let’s get rid of some of your little trinkets too, make it a bit more fair for me, eh?” The æther lingering above the ground pulled itself together and sloshed toward Caelan; becoming transparent and green – almost, but not quite, a liquid. The slime splashed itself about, drops landing on his clothes and quickly recollecting themselves around the closest magical object; the interlocked rings dissolved within the slime, the large droplet then skittering back to the host body.

Caelan snarled, he didn’t have many options at the moment… But there was one. He summoned the power of his distant ally, calling from the æther a humanoid creature with catlike features dozens of feet high, an avatar of their combined power. It let out a roar that shook even the ætherform landscapes they had crafted.

Agala smiled at the display of ferocity. “Out of options? This doesn’t seem like you at all.” He mused pulling more ideas from the æther – A being of only thought and void, a warrior with most of its body replaced by magical metal prostheses, and a sigil that floated in the air that seemed to perfect his mana bonds. The ooze returned to strike, the ooze struck twice, the first almost avoided, but splashing into Caelan’s eye and engulfing his feet as he recoiled. He loosed a scream of pain, losing his connection to the healer but regaining the one with Zur. Luckilty, he thought, the wizard would be far more helpful.

A shadow writhed over the spot Caelan had been taken out – while he was distracted Agala seemed to have been doing some summoning. He froze as he looked up and his one good eye adjusted, realizing just what the shadow was. There was no way he could take on the gorgon and without a bit of help, luckily, he had a way of making that come. Blindly, he charged forth; eye fixated on Agala and only one spell ready should anything go wrong.

Another smile, he loved seeing the boy channeling his aggressive side – it wasn’t something that came out often enough. He readied a wispy blue spell in his hand. Not about to take a chance, Caelan  blasted the spell out of the other’s hand, blowing it away before it even had a chance to become a complete thought. “Looks like you forgot something.” Agala said, directing the small void elemental to his opponent with a movement of his finger; as soon as it made contact, it vanished – taking the link to Zur along with it once again. The auramancer once again fell to his feet, attempting to salvage the magic of that last connection. Success! The enchantment took hold on his body, a deathlike presence overlaying his skeleton, his skin went pale, body temperature dropped, and eyes blackened. He could feel his life slowly flaking away. But that didn’t matter. He had the power he needed.

“Oh, is that the game we’re playing now? I think I can do that.” The shadowscape behind him distorted itself from nature to horror, mountain, branch, and blade of grass shifting into lashing black tendril.

“Eldrazi?” He had never seen one, but had heard enough that he would not allow such a thing to come to Camika. “Are you insane?” He sent a wave of swirling magic toward the tendrils, immediately returning them to their “natural” form while the magic they contained drifted away on the winds with a million flower petals.

“Others have said it before, so I might be.” Agala laughed “Why else would I do something like this?” His remaining power blinked to life; an orb of white light burst forth from his body consuming the area in nonexistence. The light subsided revealing absolutely nothing. The battleground appeared as it had been before they had arrived. Mana bonds, lost; creatures, gone; but the wounds remained.

Gradually reality returned, shadowscapes reforged, and soon Caelan was the first to act again, recalling the scepter that had been dismissed earlier and an ally from the sky; a moonfolk woman floating at the ready.

“Here’s a thought, how about you try winning without that insolent wizzard’s power? You didn’t need that anyway; I gave up on him years ago.” Agala laughed as the aerial sigil supporting his mana returned. A curtain of stars burst outward from the man, encompassing the battlefield, extending to the edge of the gate’s void.

“Really? I was thinking something the for you. I’ve seen what that hydra’s power can do, do you really think I’d let you have it?” Caelan asked, replicating the spell his opponent had just cast.

“Very well, I have other options.” he called three spheres of æther from the gate, preemptively shaping them, each taking form sequentially – an elemental of stone, vines, lava, and frozen flames, and two metallic beings – a regal sphinx, feathered wings merged into her metal torso and a minotaur with horns replaced by sculpted etherium. Each being drew the other into being, drawing further magic from the æther, one a shifting globe that seemed to take the shape of the waiting moonfolk and the other a miniscule globule that fell to the ground, quickly sprouting a sapling to life where it landed.

The creatures converged upon Caelan, he thrust the scepter toward the elemental causing it to vanish in a burst of light, the moonfolk rushed before the sphinx, giving her life to prevent it from geting close enough to hit. The hits from the minotaur and clone were easy enough to endure, nothing as penetrating or deforming as the zombie or ooze. He took a moment to recover, he thrust his hand toward the sphinx, shattering it dismissing the remnants to the æther. The runes on his body glowed brightly once again, this time supported by glowing blue runic embroidery within his garb forming the symbol of the Azorius Senate – a blast of light issued forth disintegrating minotaur and faux-Soratami.

The snake elf returned to life, soon followed by an elvish barbarian and a hungry looking vampire. The elf rushed Caelan, pushing him back a few inches but not hitting hard enough to cause any real damage but enough to distract him from the new sphinx that had appeared above him.

The sphinx didn’t matter. His power had returned. As much of his life force as he could, he poured into the magic. A single ring materialized on his chain, a memory of a woman that had taught him much about the power of enchantment flickered to life for a moment, uplifting him and letting him summon a protective sphere that would hopefully buy him enough time to find a way out. Finally, he had time. He let his mind wander through the multiverse, again searching for a connection that might help him.

Agala’s gorgon rematerialized, but now he had to find a way out – he couldn’t do anything with those enchantments protecting the boy “Well… It’s not like I haven’t done it enough already. Might as well try to get you back on your toes.” An explosion of red and white mana, streaks of white mana blast across the ground, leaving only the two enchantments protecting Caelan, the gorgon, the sphinx, and the vampire.

Caelan’s eyes glowed white as he sat calmly within his safety zone. another layer of magic wrapping its way around him, protecting his protection. Moments passed before he found another connection – A necromancer and mind destroyer. black tendrils crept out from his area, grabbing Agala and invading his mind for a few moments.  As the tendrils relinquished their grip on the mage’s mind, an angel gracefuly descended from the gate, her eyes alight with white and blue mana, intimidating but gentle.

Agala scrambled for an idea, anything would do now he summoned his mana and poured it into the sky, getting just as much back in the form of shadowscape bonds, but would that be enough? Another morphing sphere descended from the æther but was met with a swift counterspell from the much more calm Caelan. Frustrated, the elder mage did all he had left, summoning an etherium plague bird. if nothing else, it could try to defend against the oncoming angel. Caelan simply smiled. The bird rushed in, attempting to land atop the protected area. A blast of smoke, a blow left unlanded, the bird became a mirror image of the angel. The æther began crackling at their proximity. Sparks, blinding light, destruction – no – disexistence, both angels had vanished.

Agala’s mind burned he needed options. First, the mage that had sacrificed himself earlier, but that still didn’t solve the problem… “You know, I have enchantments too.” he laughed with inspiration, chaotic red energy engulfing him and rising to the æther of the gate. A spell, what was it? Caelan didn’t want to find out. he attempted to counter it but was met with disapointment when it only seemed to feed Agala’s madness the etherium minotaur had returned, bringing with it an unknown flash of light that seemed to revitalize the man. Another spell only a small bit of æther though, Caelan couldn’t react, the small bit of mana infused matter grew large and transparent, a dark figure, then lightened – a huge ghostly centaur confidently replaced the small ball of magic that had been used.

Another small bit of mana, this time attempting to form itself into the void elemental that had ripped away Zur once before – it could be trouble if it wasn’t taken care of. Caelan sent off a counterspell, hoping it would hit its target – no – but it brought him another… And another. The creature returned to the æther’s void along with the loop of countermagic it took to take it there.

Agala had one last move, what would it become? A hedron attempted to take form in the space between the two mages it warped and shifted the energy becoming unstable and dark, black mana flooded into the enchantment flooding over the battleground and everything was gone… Well, almost everything. The shadowscapes still thrived and four creatures remained; the sphinx, the gorgon, the wizard, and the centaur. Agala smiled, he’d gotten lucky – and that’s all he needed. “Sharuum, Damia, Riku, Karador. End this.”

Apologies, dear readers, if there are any blatant mistakes, I haven’t had time to properly edit this – I’ll be coming back to it throughout the day with amendments.

Series Navigation<< Unexpected Results 002 – The Three Key Card TypesUnexpected Results 004 – Duel Deck Challenge Pt.1 – ROUND 1: FIGHT! (Choosing the Commanders) [aka The First Article Where I Don’t Mention Zur or Have More Than One Page While Unintentionally Competing with Nole in the Insanely Long Title Department by Adding This Bracketed Commentary] >>

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