Bolas’s Plan for War of the Spark

Alex KatzMagic Story

An epic battle for control of the Multiverse is about to take place on Ravnica. On one side is Nicol Bolas, a power-hungry elder dragon, and the planeswalkers who have helped him infiltrate Ravnica’s guilds. On the other is the Gatewatch, a team of planeswalkers sworn to protect the people of the Multiverse from people like Bolas. Other planeswalkers will join the fight on both sides, but the story of War of the Spark will really be about these two groups.

This is a two-part series about the major players we’re expecting to see in War of the Spark. In part one, we look at Nicol Bolas’ master plan and build a deck that puts all the pieces together.

Bolas’ Master Plan

Nicol Bolas has been a planeswalker for thousands of years. For most of that time, planeswalkers had as much magical power as gods, but an event about sixty years ago called the Mending drastically reduced planeswalkers’ power in exchange for fixing the time rifts that were threatening the structure of the Multiverse. Since the Mending, Bolas has been struggling to get his old powers back, and this time he’s come up with the most elaborate plan of all. Here’s what we know about it:

He needs the Planar Bridge, an artifact from Kaladesh that can transport inanimate objects from one plane to another, and the Immortal Sun, which prevents planeswalkers from leaving the plane it’s on.

He has an army of Eternals, zombies coated in blue stone from the plane of Amonkhet, that have kept the deadly combat abilities of the warriors they were made from.

And he’s been slowly taking over Ravnica by replacing half of its guild leaders with planeswalkers loyal to him: Dovin Baan in Azorius, Domri Rade in Gruul, Kaya in Orzhov, Vraska in Golgari, and Ral Zarek in Izzet.

Bolas also probably has more minions coming to help him: Liliana works for him now, and Tezzeret has been making sure all the pieces of the plan are in place. Putting those pieces together, here’s what it looks like Bolas is planning to do:

He’ll use the Immortal Sun to trap planeswalkers on Ravnica. Not just his enemies, either: the announcement of the War of the Spark novel suggests that Bolas will be luring as many planeswalkers into his trap as possible. To do that, he may be using Project Lightning Bug, a system Ral Zarek developed to track the movements of planeswalkers onto and off of Ravnica, which could be modified to pull them in instead.

Once his victims can no longer escape, he’ll use the Planar Bridge to move his Eternal army onto Ravnica, where the other planeswalkers will be too busy fighting for their lives to stop him from draining their magic and regaining his lost power.

Give Me Eight Walkers

The following decklist brings together all the pieces of Bolas’ plan. It uses the planeswalker abilities of Nicol Bolas and his seven minions to create an army of creature tokens, backed up by some terrifying Eternals.


4 Anointer Priest
4 Earthshaker Khenra
4 Eternal of Harsh Truths
1 Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
4 Spellweaver Eternal


1 Domri, Chaos Bringer
1 Dovin, Grand Arbiter
1 Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
1 Liliana, Death’s Majesty
1 Ral, Caller of Storms
1 Tezzeret, Artifice Master
1 Vraska, Golgari Queen

Other Spells

2 Ethereal Absolution
2 Assassin’s Trophy
2 Ixalan’s Binding
2 Chromatic Lantern


4 Gateway Plaza
4 Transguild Promenade
4 Plains
4 Island
4 Swamp
2 Mountain
2 Forest