MTG Planeswalker Reveal: Teyo Verada Joins War Of The Spark

Teyo Verada is the newest Planeswalker to join the fight in Magic: The Gathering.
Teyo Verada is the newest Planeswalker to join the fight in Magic: The Gathering. Wizards of the Coast

Magic: The Gathering’s next set, War of the Spark, concludes a story that Wizards of the Coast has been telling for over a decade. The Multiverse-shattering event introduces a number of new characters, including Teyo Verada. This rookie Planeswalker uses shield magic to help save Ravnica, both in the card game and the latest War of the Spark novel.

Player.One had the opportunity to interview both Nic Kelman, the Head of Story and Entertainment at Wizards of the Coast, and Mark Rosewater, the Head Designer of Magic, ahead of the War of the Spark release to learn more about Teyo, the new card set and what we can expect for the future of Magic: The Gathering.

NOTE: This interview has been edited lightly for length and clarity.

Player.One: War of the Spark sounds like an intense set! Does this set hold major consequences for the overall Magic story moving forward?

Nic Kelman, Head of Story and Entertainment, Wizards of the Coast: Absolutely! It’s going to be Multiverse-shattering! Not only is it the culmination of many years of Magic’s story, it’s the crescendo of Nicol Bolas’s grand plan. In fact, to say it’s going to be Multiverse-shattering may even be an understatement – it’s one story Magic fans definitely won’t want to miss!

Teyo the Shieldmage is one of the new uncommon Planeswalkers
Teyo the Shieldmage is one of the new uncommon Planeswalkers Wizards of the Coast

How does Teyo Verada use shielding magic in the context of Magic?

NK: Teyo is just finding his feet as a mage, so the basic answer to that question is: haltingly. But as he grows in power, he becomes the cornerstone of any group since he can direct and shape his shields in the midst of battle.

How much work goes into developing a new character for Magic: The Gathering? Especially one that goes beyond the playing cards and into books?

NK: An enormous amount. Several teams here coordinate – the TCG team, the digital teams, and our team, the Franchise Team – during the concepting phase. Most characters begin with a need in the TCG, but not all, and there’re a growing number being developed independent of those needs. We look at what the TCG requires the character to do and then begin ideating about backgrounds and powers. Once we have a few we like, our team develops them narratively and visually while the TCG and digital teams develop them mechanically. There’s a lot of back and forth at this stage and a lot of iteration. Finally, we hone it down to just a single concept everyone considers the winner, finish up the visual development, and lock in the biography. This can be as much as a year or more before the character actually appears anywhere. We take our characters very seriously and want them to live and breathe in as many different media formats as possible, so it takes a lot of great work from a lot of talented people!

What can we expect to see as a new gameplay addition for War of the Spark?

Mark Rosewater, Head Designer, Magic: The Gathering: The biggest mechanical addition in War of the Spark is that we’re playing around with what Planeswalker cards can do. War of the Spark will introduce a number of things:

1) There will be more Planeswalkers in this set than ever before. A normal large Magic set has three Planeswalkers. War of the Spark will have thirty-six in the main set!

2) Planeswalkers will show up in lower rarities than normal, including twenty Planeswalkers at uncommon.

3) Planeswalkers will start having enchantment-like static abilities in addition to loyalty abilities.

4) The set will have the first ever “hybrid” Planeswalkers that can be cast in one of two different colors.

5) A Planeswalker card will show up in every booster pack of the set.

It was mentioned that War of the Spark serves as the conclusion for decade-long story. Is this something Wizards is excited to finally reveal, or is it a bittersweet thing now that it is coming to a close?

NK: Everyone’s very excited about it. It’s been brewing a long time – everything for the last few years of storytelling has been leading up to this – so we’re all dying to see fans’ reactions. Wizards is very proud of how everything related to War of the Spark came out, so it’s only natural we can’t wait to share it! The best place to pick it up would be the upcoming novel Ravnica: War of the Spark by Gargoyles creator, Greg Weisman. You can already pre-order the book and the publisher, Del Rey, is also offering prequel stories by Django Wexler for free through their website.

Teyo's Lightshield is a defensive-minded creature that can strengthen another creature
Teyo's Lightshield is a defensive-minded creature that can strengthen another creature Wizards of the Coast

What is your personal favorite part of War of the Spark?

NK: I’m a big fan of the Liliana-Gideon relationship (yes, that’s a hyphen, not a slash). I’m fascinated by the fact that these two are friends when they should be at odds. It’s so interesting to me the way Liliana can’t help finding a better part of herself around Gideon precisely because he is so unselfish, but meanwhile his impact on her only reinforces Gideon’s own sense of self. I think there’s a lot of authenticity to that representation.

What do you think an inexperienced Planeswalker like Teyo’s odds are in this massive war?

NK: Uh…he’s a shield mage? So, more than some other characters I would guess! In all seriousness, War of the Spark is just that: a war. I think it’s fair to say no one’s odds of survival are high…and Teyo is no exception…

So what do you think? Are you excited to see Teyo and all the other Planeswalkers in War of the Spark? Do you think Nicol Bolas will win the war? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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