Magic: The Gathering's War of the Spark trailer reveal at PAX East 2019 may have hinted at the fate of one of the most iconic planeswalkers in all of the game's lore, Liliana Vess. War of the Spark is due out on May 3, 2019, and will mark the beginning of narrative closure for one of the longest-running storylines in the popular TCG's history.
The War of the Spark expansion will feature a number of historic firsts for Magic: The Gathering. War of the Spark will have a planeswalker in every pack, a first for a game that has usually reserved that card type for the highest rarity slots available, thus making them very difficult to open. War of the Spark will also introduce 36 unique planeswalker cards into Standard, another new initiative that will drastically alter the way that people play the game in both tabletop and Magic Arena settings.
The new War of the Spark trailer debuted at Magic: The Gathering's PAX East panel earlier this morning, and features a number of elements that represent a huge step up in the marketing style of Wizards of the Coast's fledgling esport. The trailer features a rendition of Linkin Park's "In The End" that plays out over a fully-animated story clip that showcases the devastation of Ravnica as series antagonist Nicol Bolas ravages the city with his army of undead. Most importantly, though, the trailer also features Liliana Vess, the popular necromancer planeswalker, in what could be her final moments in the narrative.
It's a grim outlook for Liliana. The new War of the Spark trailer shows her tapping into the power of the Chain Veil, a powerful artifact that uses her life energy to fuel magic. As she opposes Nicol Bolas, it appears to vaporize her body as she uses it, desperately trying to fight off the Elder Dragon and use his own army against him. That she's ever in control of the army at all makes it appear that Liliana will defect to Bolas' side over the course of the narrative before having a change of heart, saving Gideon—who, coincidentally, many believed would be the character who died during this expansion—and turning the undead on their former master.
While it remains to be seen what happens to Liliana, the hype surrounding the War of the Spark trailer and the subsequent expansion has seemed to indicate we would be losing some of the characters who populate Magic's ever-growing universe. The Gatewatch, which Liliana has been a part of, was the center of the game's story for years, and it's clear that Wizards would like to move away and give other characters a chance to grow. If that's the case, Liliana's implied death—and the potential death of other major heroes—would make sense. The popularity of Magic Arena has put a lot of new viewers onto one of the best tabletop games in the world, and if there's ever been a time to shake up the story and reset it for a slew of new consumers, War of the Spark is probably it.
Source: Magic: The Gathering