Until recently, I considered myself a quintessential Harry Potter fan. A “Potterhead” who knew everything from the conversion rates of sickles to galleons (17 to 1), to the wand wood of Ollivander himself (hornbeam), to the Hogwarts House of Moaning Myrtle (Ravenclaw). I even have my own custom designed wand (also made of hornbeam).
Before I started playing Magic: The Gathering, I didn’t have many other wells of deep fantasy lore locked away in my brain. But once I learned to play Magic, I found myself unable to stop. And now that both wellsprings of knowledge are jostling around in my noggin, it only makes sense to do what needs to be done:
Sort all 36 Planeswalkers in War of the Spark into their respective Hogwarts Houses.
I tend to sort people and characters based on what motivates them, borrowing heavily from the famous Sorting Hat Chats on Tumblr. What drives this character to take the actions they do? What values do they have at their core, and how do they execute on their ideas? These are the questions I have in mind when considering each planeswalker, and like the Sorting Hat itself, there are always possibilities to keep in mind.
But we’ve got a lot of names to call, so let’s start with the biggest, brashest house – Gryffindor!
Gryffindor: Leading With Your Heart
Gryffindors are known for strong, moral center. They intuitively and instinctively know what is right, and will act on those values swiftly and decisively no matter what the cost. Out of all the houses, Gryffindors are most likely to sacrifice everything in order to do what they believe is best – friends, security and even themselves. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Gryffindors are always righteous or correct. It simply means they are more likely to *believe* that they are correct because of their gut morality.
- Gideon Jura – Ever the leader, strategist and self-sacrificing hero, Gideon exemplifies the idealist Gryffindor soldier. After fighting two wars on two different planes simultaneously, wielding the Blackblade, and creating the Gatewatch, Gideon is always willing to do what it takes to save those he cares for (which is almost everyone).
- Chandra Nalaar – Not known for thinking ahead, Chandra has always been instinctive and impulsive in her magic and emotions. For Chandra, freedom to be herself, to do what feels right and befriend who she wants for friendship’s sake are her main motivations. The most emotionally authentic of the Gatewatch, Chandra wears her heart (and her anger) on her sleeve.
- Sarkhan Vol – Though Sarkhan was given the option to not bring dragons back to Tarkir, he did so because he thought – and felt – it was the right thing to do. Even though his fellow humanoids suffered as a result, Sarkhan believed that saving Ugin and restoring the dragon tempests would make for a healthier, better world. It remains to be seen if he was correct in his assessment.
- Nahiri – Though more well known for her hedrons and multiplanar vendetta against Sorin, Nahiri has always been zealous in her beliefs. Whether it be saving the Multiverse by imprisoning the Eldrazi, or luring Emrakul to Innistrad, Nahiri commits herself 100% to her cause because she believes herself to be right.
- Arlinn Kord – As a werewolf, Arlinn tried her best to hide her lycanthropic nature in order to fight with the Church of Avacyn. After changing in front of her comrades, she planeswalked and eventually brought both wolf and human aspects of herself together, united by her firm desire to protect the vulnerable citizens of Innistrad and elsewhere.
- Domri Rade – An anarchist at his core, Domri has always wanted to see the utter destruction of civilization, allowing the wild nature of Ravnica to reclaim the world and build it anew. Despite leading the Gruul, Domri doesn’t show concern for his guild’s well being, understanding that their actions to bring about the End Raze may end the clan itself. However, it’s a price he’s willing to pay to see Ravnica burn.
- Jaya Ballard – Self-assured, confident and the accidental founder of a religion, Jaya was a reckless and impetuous pyromancer in her youth, fighting everything with fire. As Mother Luti on Shandalar, Jaya continues to lead fellow pyromancers like Chandra in the tenets of personal freedom and free will.
- Kaya – Despite being a lone mercenary, Kaya has a surprisingly strong set of values surrounding the dead and what should be done about them. In her debut story, Kaya allowed the murdered ghost of her client’s mother to wreak its revenge. On Ravnica, Kaya released all of the indebted souls of the Orzhov, and dispatched the Obzedat. For Kaya, life and death must be in balance, and that is a principle she’s willing to kill (the alive or undead) for.
Ravenclaw: Living By Learning
At the core of every Ravenclaw is a love of learning. Knowledge – both acquisition and application – is the creed of a Ravenclaw, constantly building internal hypotheses and testing them against new findings. While Ravenclaws tend to be the most intellectually minded, it doesn’t mean they aren’t bereft of emotions or passion. Rather, a Ravenclaw will take their gut reaction and measure it against what they believe to be correct, based on a glut of evidence. Ravenclaws seek not just a subjective truth, but the objective truth, and will not hesitate to throw out old ideas if something new and irrefutable contradicts them.
- Jace Beleren – The consummate blue mage, Jace has always sought to learn from the people around him, gathering secrets and skills wherever he can. A tinkerer and puzzle-lover, Jace was the perfect person to figure out the hedrons of Zendikar, and the implicit maze of Ravnica. Ever curious, he even asked Vraska’s crew to learn how to shift sails and set the rigging on The Belligerent. For Jace, the pursuit of knowledge is almost always worth it.
- Tamiyo – Known as the Moon Sage, Field Researcher and Collector of Tales, Tamiyo has always been the consummate academic of the Multiverse. Her main priority is to observe and record, creating a compendium of tales for others to read and research. She has also created the Story Circle, a group of Planeswalkers who visit to tell tales and exchange information. Not a natural fighter, Tamiyo only fights when pushed to it, usually when faced with the destruction of a plane.
- Ugin – The dragon twin of Nicol Bolas, Ugin was fascinated with the world the moment he emerged from his shell. In contrast with his twin, Ugin devoted himself to learning philosophy, science and physics from the humans around him, growing to respect them for their findings. Even after sparking, Ugin took his thirst for knowledge throughout the Multiverse, discovering new and intricate ways to bind his nefarious brother.
- Narset – In one timeline, Narset was the leader of the Jeskai and devoted to preserving the ways and wisdom of her people. In another, Narset became the prized pupil of Ojutai the Dragonlord himself. In both, she retained her love of knowledge and self-improvement, constantly pushing her skills and mastery through learning. Her discovery of the previous timeline is what caused her spark to ignite, the formerly forbidden scrolls found through her insatiable curiosity.
- Ral Zarek – As a prominent member of the Izzet, Ral’s ambition was always driven by his desire for innovation and invention. In a guild that prized creativity in the experimentation process, Ral’s work and raw intelligence always put him above the rest, drawing the attention of Niv-Mizzet himself. His creation of Project Lightning Bug was the first of its kind, tracking planeswalkers coming in and out of Ravnica.
- Kasmina – A new planeswalker, little is known about Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor. Though she is blue-aligned, what seems to be important about her is her ability to spread knowledge through creating 2/2 blue wizards. We’ll have to see if more knowledge comes to light about her motivations and actions, but for now, she seems like a good fit for Ravenclaw.
- Saheeli Rai – One of the most brilliant artificers on Kaladesh (and the Multiverse), Saheeli is constantly pushing at the boundaries of artistry with her creations, winning top prizes for her work. Known for dueling other inventors, she played a key part in creating brilliant artifacts to help overthrow the Consulate during Aether Revolt.
- Dovin Baan – From his first introduction (adjusting the pictures in Jace’s Sanctum to lie straight), Dovin clearly established himself as someone always looking to improve and perfect everything around him. With his use of spy thopters and his quick mastery of Ravnican law, Dovin is always looking to gain knowledge in order to control others.
- Jiang Yianggu – Always accompanied by his excellent pupper Mowu, Jiang Yianggu is on a journey to find himself. After waking up with no knowledge of who he was or where he came from, Jiang was taken in by a village that soon fell to a plague. After finding the cure, Jiang had the option to stay with his new community, or continue to search for his true identity. His decision for true self-knowledge is what propelled him to leave, though with Mowu he’ll never be alone.
- Ashiok – The mysterious Ashiok is always looking to find the most beautiful nightmares to shape into reality. Like an artist searching for perfect materials, Ashiok roams the Multiverse to see what unique, mind-shattering horrors can be brought to life. Though Ashiok’s agenda is unclear and their motives unknown, Ashiok’s brief foray into Theros gave us an idea of how disciplined Ashiok is to realizing our deepest fears.
Hufflepuff: Loyalty, Justice, Fairness
Hufflepuffs are often the most overlooked and underestimated denizens of Hogwarts. But like the tenacious and feisty honey badger, Hufflepuffs will not hesitate to defend the communities and people they love if they are threatened. More than the other houses, Hufflepuffs are committed to the well being of their community, making sure that no one is left behind and that the most vulnerable members are taken care of. They are even handed and honest, prioritizing the dignity of every person they meet. Hufflepuffs will not hesitate to compromise their own well being for the good of their community, looking at the bigger picture rather than focusing only on a few members.
- Ajani Goldmane – Once an outcast, then a healer and then the savior of Alara, Ajani’s most powerful ability is being able to see into the hearts and souls of those around him. Using his insight, he makes it a priority to counsel and care for others, from his home tribe on Naya, to Sarkhan Vol, Elspeth and the Gatewatch. One of the most selfless Planeswalkers, Ajani is always here to help others no matter how vulnerable.
- Nissa Revane – A gifted Animist, Nissa is linked to the leylines of every plane she visits, especially her home plane of Zendikar. Through her magic Nissa is able to connect with and empathize with the land itself, as well as the life it sustains. In her Oath to join the Gatewatch, she pledges: “For the life of every plane, I will keep watch.”, a desire that shows her concern for all living things in the Multiverse.
- Teyo Verada – A shieldmage assigned to protect towns from diamond dust storms on his home plane, Teyo’s spark ignited when a particularly strong onslaught pushed him and his talents to the limit. Now on Ravnica, Teyo sends his shields out to protect his fellow planeswalkers, reflecting his commitment to keep others from harm indiscriminately.
- Huatli – Though she may have started as a Sun Empire warrior, Huatli’s adventures through Ixalan has broadened her worldview. By working together with merfolk, pirates and encountering Saint Elenda herself, Huatli now understands the dignity and relevance every faction brings to her home plane.
- Vivien Reid – Before her home plane of Skalla was destroyed, Vivien was part of a group of rangers called the Smaragdi. In the face of Bolas’s onslaught, they combined their magic with the Nura to create her Arkbow, a magical artifact that contained the life essence of every Skallan creature. Her plane destroyed by the Elder Dragon, Vivien seeks to restore the balance of nature and life to the Multiverse.
- Karn – Constructed by Urza as a sentient probe to other planes, Karn has since become known for his steadfast loyalty and deep commitment to his friends and the world he created (and unwittingly destroyed). Plagued by guilt, Karn has committed himself to reclaiming New Phyrexia for the Mirrodins – even if he has to destroy the plane itself.
- Teferi – Known for his sense of humor, time-traveling antics, and being stuck in a time bubble, Teferi has always shown a deep sense of loyalty to his home of Jamuraa on Dominaria. During one of the Phyrexian Invasions on his home plane, Teferi phased Jamuraa out of existence, saving the land and its people. He also gave up his spark to seal the time rift over Shiv, showing his devotion to the denizens of Dominaria and the greater good.
- Vraska – Despite her sphinx-killing ways, Vraska has shown herself to be a capable, compassionate leader who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring fair treatment for her people. Her fierce passion for protecting the downtrodden extends not just to the Golgari of Ravnica, but also the crew of the Belligerent on Ixalan and even the shipwrecked, malnourished Jace Beleren. She accepts Nicol Bolas’s offer not for personal gain, but for the opportunities she can give to her guild.
Slytherin: Me, Myself and I
Despite their many schemes and machinations, Slytherins are a fairly simple House to understand: “Me First”. Slytherins will unflinchingly set boundaries with people, and have no shame in fully expressing their preferences and pursuing their ambitions. A Slytherin’s greatest strength is complete knowledge of who they are, and doing whatever it takes to be true to themselves. However, this doesn’t mean Slytherins don’t care about others. Like Hufflepuffs, Slytherins do show deep loyalty – but only to the few select people they choose. Cross a Slytherin or their chosen, and you’ll face a wrath that is single-minded and vindictive in its execution.
- Liliana Vess – Liliana is the quintessential Slytherin. Cunning, intelligent, vain and independent to a fault, Liliana knows that power and self-governance is the only way she can truly be herself. Though she cares for others, Liliana doesn’t hesitate to use whatever resources she has to ensure her survival and freedom, even if it means dealing with demons.
- Davriel Cane – Davriel flounces lazily throughout the Multiverse with the appearance of a foppish dandy, making deals with demons and frequenting artisans to gather both power and excellent tea. A planeswalker of refined tastes, he takes care of his demon retinue, but prefers to keep himself removed from any large catastrophes unless directly threatened.
- Ob Nixilis – Formerly a nihilistic warlord but now a sadistic demon, Ob Nixilis’s spark ignited when the demons he summoned obeyed his deepest wish and destroyed his world. Ob believes that all ambition and life is worthless, and the only thing that matters is being the wielder of mass destruction and death.
- Nicol Bolas – From birth, Nicol Bolas has always been driven by fear – fear of being preyed upon, subjugated and killed. As a result, he has always taken every opportunity to amass power, whether it be his attempts on Alara, killing Ugin on Tarkir, and collecting the necessary artifacts and armies needed for his assault on Ravnica to complete Elder Spell. Selfish, greedy and ambitious, Nicol Bolas always puts himself first.
- Tibalt – A half-devil, half-human Planeswalker from Innistrad, Tibalt has been obsessed with inflicting pain on those around him. A former stitcher who moved on to living bodies, Tibalt delights in causing mayhem and chaos purely for his own amusement on any plane he visits.
- Tezzeret – An artificer from Alara’s Esper shard, Tezzeret learned early in life that the only way to make sure you stayed safe was by seizing power. After an abusive childhood and expulsion from Esper’s top academy, Tezzeret’s spark took him to Grixis where he pledged service to Bolas for more power. Since then, his service to Bolas has been almost constant, but not always willing.
- Sorin Markov – Sorin’s spark ignited when his grandfather’s dark ritual turned him into a vampire. A pre-Mending walker, Sorin’s main motivation has always been the preservation of Innistrad and more importantly, its vampires. From sealing away the Eldrazi to creating Avacyn, Sorin focuses on the big picture for the sake of a select few.
- Kiora – Originally from Zendikar, Kiora gained notoriety on Theros, where she sought larger and stronger sea creatures to help her battle the Eldrazi. However, she became known by various merfolk as the embodiment of the Theros sea god Thassa, and never directly disavowed that rumor. Vain, mischievous and opportunistic, Kiora’s love of deep ocean monsters is only rivaled by her love of attention.
- Angrath – We first meet Angrath on the plane of Ixalan, where he has been stuck for a very long, undisclosed time. Filled with anger and frustration, Angrath cares little for anyone or anything else on the plane, focusing only on figuring out how to get home to his daughters. Single-minded and stubborn, Angrath would let Ixalan be destroyed if he could return home.
- The Wanderer – We know almost nothing about The Wanderer, so until we do I’m going to classify her as a Beauxbatons exchange student. After all, she is wearing blue and white.
I’m sure that a lot of folks will have their own opinions on where all of these planeswalkers would be sorted. However, I think we can all agree that each one of these characters brings something new, insightful and epic to the game. As with the Wizarding World, the Multiverse is a large, multifaceted place, and it’s always fun to see how these fantasy worlds interact. As War of the Spark unfolds, I look forward to seeing how they evolve, what their fate may be, and where they’ll go next!
A consummate lover of books, tea, food and instant-speed kill spells, Michelle is a person of many passions. Her hobbies include cuddling cats, throwing pottery, and analyzing Magic lore from a literary perspective. She is also a co-host of the Vorthos comedy podcast, “The Loregoyfs,” and she comprises a full 25% of The Felidar Guardian (specifically the right hand, left ear and both scapulas). Her CMC is 2BWU, and her ETB trigger creates two 1/1 cats with lifelink and trample.