Unmasking “The Jester”

Bradley Rose Design, Magic Story

With War of the Spark’s impending release, the Magic community is full of speculation. Will Bolas triumph? Is Mowu actually a planeswalker? Not all questions are answered so quickly, though. Some mysteries prevail to this day, such as “Who is the Raven Man?”

Another such long-standing burning inquiry – which feels especially appropriate on April Fool’s Day – is “Who is The Jester?” That’s right, The Jester of Jester’s Cap fame (and Jester’s Mask and Jester’s Scepter – we don’t talk about the Sombrero).

Thankfully, Wizards likes to leave little hints here and there for us to find. In this article, we’ll pick up what Wizards is putting down to finally unmask, decap, and disenchant The Jester’s identity.

There are several trails of evidence that each lead to separate clues. Before we arrive at the truth, let’s unfold the mystery and dive in.

Speaking of diving…

Clue #1: “The Three”

Take a look at Mist-Cloaked Herald, whose art is by Anthony Palumbo. Between its Rivals of Ixalan and Core Set 2019 printings, its flavor text lost a couple words: the three.

What else did Palumbo work on? The scheme card Know Evil, a reference to a famous three-centric proverb, from Archenemy: Nicol Bolas.

Bolas is the common denominator between Core Set 2019 and Archenemy: Nicol Bolas. Archenemy: Nicol Bolas is a supplemental product. Our third three-focused Palumbo clue card is from another supplemental set: Entourage of Trest, from Conspiracy: Take the Crown!

Entourage of Trest focuses on three individuals. Conspiracy: Take the Crown “took” Rivals of Ixalan’s monarch mechanic during development. This loops us back to the original set where Mist-Cloaked Herald was printed.

Three Palumbo cards connected together via a “three” theme. A hat trick. There are three Jester’s artifacts, including a “hat.”

Clue #2: Disenchant

Of all the artifact and enchantment removal in Magic, Disenchant was the one reprinted in Conspiracy: Take the Crown. What does the flavor text say?

“The scepter of power is fragile in a calloused hand. —Cho-Arrim saying.”

Scepter… Jester’s Scepter!

However, keen observers will note that this flavor text and art originated from another set. What set is that? Mercadian Masques. …Jester’s Mask!

Before discussing the Mask more, let’s look at some older Disenchant flavor text. The Ice Age Disenchant’s flavor text is by Sorine Relicbane, who argued with Arcum Dagsson over artifact usage.

Arcum Dagsson also used flavor text on cards to make his case. One of those cards? Jester’s Cap!

Clue #3: Golden Mask

The Jester’s Mask is made of gold. Where else have we seen masks made of gold? The masks of the Returned, Theros Zombies exited from the Underworld.

Hmm. Might be a useful thing to have while prowling around…

Clue #4: Odds & Ends

In Mark Rosewater’s “80,000 words”, he takes the reader on a tour of Wizards of the Coast via a series of photos. One of these pictures is of the statue of the The Jester!

Source: “80,000 Words” by Mark Rosewater

The words he chose to display on his whiteboard in that picture is “Odds & Ends.” Odds // Ends is a split card in Magic. This clue is an odd one, and we’ll take two paths to reach the same end. Odds // Ends itself will confirm whether we’ve followed the correct trail.

The first step is the hardest: finding the correct evidence linking to Odds // Ends. For this we look at another split card: Naughty // Nice. On this card, we see pie. What is associated with pie? Clowns! And clowns are associated with fools and jesters.

Any other clowns with pies? Yes! We see this in Just Desserts. Just Desserts features a goblin clown. Goblin! As in, there’s a goblin on Odds // Ends. We must be on the right path!

Let’s return to Naughty // Nice for just a moment. The character depicted in each of the arts is a familiar one. Yes, it’s the same person from the art of the Tenth Edition printing of Diabolic Tutor!

The art for Diabolic Tutor remained unchanged until the card was reprinted in Kaladesh. In that art, we see Liliana and Chandra paying homage to the Tenth Edition art. A black mage and a red mage. Ah, Rakdos!

What set did the Rakdos debut in? Dissension! The same set as Odds // Ends. A closer look at the Rakdos may lead us in the right direction…

Clue #5: Rakdos

Of Ravnica’s ten guilds, the Rakdos are most closely associated with jesters and performers. There are three creatures in Magic with “Jester” in the name – just as there are three Jester’s items! More importantly, two of them – Spike Jester and Demon’s Jester – have the Rakdos watermark.

Furthermore, Rakdos Ragemutt’s flavor text references the Butcher Clowns, a trio of wingless Izzet Faerie Zombies.

Izzet, you say…?

Clue #6: Red and Blue

According to Magic comics, Lim-Dûl the Necromancer once wielded the Jester’s Cap. Lim-Dûl was controlled by Mairsil the Pretender. Mairsil wanted to avenge his own defeat against Jodah.

Mairsil’s card’s mana cost requires blue, black, and red mana. Jodah’s card’s mana cost requires white, blue, and red mana. The two cards share two colors: red and blue.

Clue #7: Bubble Matrix

There’s another reference to jesters in the flavor text of Bubble Matrix. “This device was commissioned by a king who desired peace,” says Hanna of the Weatherlight crew. “Unfortunately, the royal artificer was also the king’s jester.”

The king Hanna describes sounds a lot like Conspiracy’s King Brago of the plane of Fiora. His resident artificer was Muzzio.

However, those keen on Muzzio’s artificial aptitude know that what he usually builds constructs. That’s because it wasn’t Muzzio involved with the Bubble Matrix, but it sure SEEMED like Muzzio.

The answer to who created the Bubble Matrix is the same answer to the question: How did the artifact even make it to Fiora?

The Greatest Fool in the Multiverse

The answer is Dack Fayden. Dack Fayden is The Jester.

Let’s tie all the clues together:

Clue #1 led us to Entourage of Trest – a card printed in Conspiracy: Take the Crown, set on the plane of Fiora. Dack is from Fiora.

Clue #2 connected all three of the Jester’s artifacts to the card Disenchant. Disenchant was also reprinted in Conspiracy: Take the Crown.

Clue #3, gold, pointed us to the plane of Theros. Dack is absent from War of the Spark’s thirty-six stained glass planeswalker arts, probably because he was last seen traveling to Theros’s underworld. Know what might be handy for sneaking around there? A gold mask.

Clue #4 is a sneaky hint by Mark Rosewater that The Jester and Rakdos are related.

Clue #5 further links the Rakdos and jesters. Dack had a prominent run-in with the Rakdos when he stole their Ancient Fang.

Clue #6 expands upon the tiny nod in Rakdos flavor text toward Izzet colors – Dack’s color identity.

Clue #7 points to Fiora’s Muzzio creating a Bubble Matrix. However, Dack can create duplicates of other characters, as seen in Dack’s Duplicate. Dack was able to impersonate Muzzio, steal the Bubble Matrix, and present the artifact to Brago.

Whew. Thanks for reading! The Jester’s identity is finally revealed.

To quote the IDW printing of Gaze of Granite:

“Show yourself, thief.”