The next chapter in Magic: The Gathering’s swath of game expansions is returning to the steampunk-ian fan-favorite realm of Ravnica, a land of fancy architecture, intrigue, and equally fancy spellweaving. But it also means some familiar characters are making a return—and io9 has an exclusive look at one of them!
Two new Planeswalker decks will release alongside the new expansion Guilds of Ravnica next month, including one focusing on the Ravnican planeswalker Ral Zarek, who specializes in red and blue spells from Magic’s multi-color roster of cards. First introduced in the digital game Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012, Ral’s made a few appearances in Ravnica-themed cards before, like in the expansions Gatecrash and Dragon’s Maze. But his appearance in Guilds marks the first time he’s actually gotten his own Planeswalker deck. Here’s a brief character description to catch you up on his history:
Ral Zarek is an ambitious Izzet guildmage whose mind crackles with the same chaotic brilliance as the electricity he wields. He’s clever enough to hide the fact that he’s a Planeswalker from the genius dragon Niv-Mizzet, even as they work closely together. And when a problem demands a more direct solution, he’s also happy to blast it with a bolt of magical lightning.
Ral was last seen on the plane of Ravnica, where he was masterminding Project Lightning Bug—an experiment that allowed him to track Planeswalker movement to and from Ravnica. He was working with Jace Beleren while keeping Niv-Mizzet, the Izzet League’s guildmaster, from discovering the outcomes of his work and the truth about Planeswalkers. When Jace learned of the villainous Tezzeret’s appearance on Kaladesh, Ral urged him not go, but Jace departed nonetheless. Unbeknownst to Jace, Ral has a yet-to-be-revealed tie to Tezzeret and his master, Nicol Bolas.
And here’s more of Ral’s cards from his upcoming deck, including high-res versions of the wonderful art on each:
Guilds of Ravnica launches October 5.