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Legends of Zendikar

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Welcome back, Lore Seekers! After Preparing For Zendikar Rising a couple weeks ago, today I'm going to look through the Legendary Creatures from Zendikar printed up until now. Given that Zendikar Rising is a single set, it would be impossible to fit all of these characters into a single set, so I wouldn't anticipate seeing any but a small fraction of these characters again.

Given the Eldrazi decimated the plane of Zendikar's population, it's also possible many of these characters are no longer alive, but unless they've specifically been killed 'on-screen', I'm listing them as 'alive' for the upcoming set (unless there is good reason to think otherwise).

I also won't be handling current planeswalkers this article, as talking about them requires significantly more room to breathe. Similarly, I won't be talking about the Eldrazi, as they're no longer a going concern on Zendikar (although they've left lasting repercussions). There are a lot of Legends to cover (remember, Zendikar is about to be the third plane to see three or more returns), so let's dive in.

Akiri

Akiri, Line-Slinger by David Gaillet

Status: Alive

Appearances: It's Time to Talk Commander (2016 Edition), Card References

Akiri, Line-Slinger is a flavor text character who made the jump to carded status during Commander 2016 as a Partner Commander. There's not much more two her outside of the small blurb from that set I link to above. She's a kor guide whose band was wiped out by Eldrazi, and she turned her skills to helping those escaping the Eldrazi.

Anowon

Anowon, the Ruin Sage by Dan Scott

Status: Alive, or Alive-ish

Appearances: Journey to the Eye, Awakenings, Enter the Eldrazi, Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum, Consortium Report: "The Incident at the Eye", For Zendikar, Brink of Extinction, The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

Anowon is a ruthless vampire archeologist and leader of the League of Anowon, a consortium of scholars and expeditionaries. It was Anowon who was first on to the truth about the Eldrazi before they were awoken on Zendikar. He was intimately involved with the first Zendikar block as a guide to the Eye of Ugin for several characters, but he hasn't made an appearance in person since. Last we heard of him, he had sent another vampire to bring Zendikari seeds to Nissa to potentially transplant off-plane so that something of Zendikar would remain post-Eldrazi. Anowon has a complicated backstory told in the Consortium Report above, but it's not clear how canon it is given later revelations about the nature of Zendikar's Bloodchiefs. Regardless, Anowon is a fan favorite from the original Zendikar block. According to The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Anowon was busy rebuilding his scattered League.

Ayli

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim by Cynthia Sheppard

Status: Alive

Appearances: The Believers' Pilgrimage, Card References

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim was a flavor text character in the original Zendikar block, a cleric of Kamsa (the kor deity that corresponded to Emrakul). When the Eldrazi were revealed, rather than shattering her belief, she instead embraced what she believed to be the true divinity of the plane. She and her fellow Eldrazi cultists, the Eternal Pilgrims, attempted to trap and sacrifice Jace and Jori En (more on her later) during Battle for Zendikar, but they escaped after Jace used an illusion to make the cultists believe he had set them on fire.

Bruse Tarl

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder by Anthony Palumbo

Status: Alive

Appearances: It's Time to Talk Commander (2016 Edition), Card References

Like Akiri, Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder is a Flavor Text character who made the jump to a card as a Partner Commander in Commander 2016. A part of one of Akoum's largest 'settlements', the Goma Fada caravan of nomads, Bruse is an animal wrangler known for his... boorish demeanor. His card art features a Pillarfield Ox in the background.

Drana

Status: Alive... or at least still Undead

Appearances: Memories of Blood, The Liberation of Sea Gate, Hedron Alignment, The Blight We Were Born For, Brink of Extinction, Zendikar's Last Stand, The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

Drana is the Bloodchief (or leader/progenitor) of the vampire clan known as House Kalastria. She is also, possibly, the last original Bloodchief left on Zendikar, and was the leader of the free vampires during Battle for Zendikar. She retained some distant memory of what had transformed her into a vampire, and used that to aid her in escaping the Eldrazi's thrall. After the vampires split between those who succumbed to the Eldrazi and those who remained free, Drana led the survivors to Sea Gate and joined the Zendikari alliance.

Iona

Iona, Shield of Emeria by Jason Chan

Status: Alive

Appearances: The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

Iona, Shield of Emeria is largely a background character, an angel that protected Emeria, the Sky Ruin. Faith on Zendikar is complicated, and most humans worship the angels of the plane, believing Emeria to be the supreme divinity with Iona being an archangel. According to The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Iona knew that the mortal view of Emeria was wrong, but did not wish to shatter the faith of those whose lives were hard enough on Zendikar. She joined the fight against the Eldrazi during Battle for Zendikar.

Jori En

Jori En, Ruin Diver by Igor Kieryluk

Status: Alive

Appearances: Limits, Slaughter at the Refuge, The Silent Cry, The Believers' Pilgrimage, The Survivors of Sky Rock, Revelation at the Eye, The Liberation of Sea Gate, Hedron Alignment, The Rise of Kozilek, Beneath the Surface, Brink of Extinction, Zendikar's Last Stand, Card References

Jori En, Ruin Diver was the key to the entire Battle for Zendikar story, her name appearing in more stories than almost any non-planeswalker character. She was part of an expeditionary group that discovered that the hedrons and leylines of Zendikar were likely the key to defeating the Eldrazi.

Kalitas

Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet by Todd Lockwood

Status: Alive, or as alive as a vampire gets

Appearances: Memories of Blood, At Any Cost, The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet looms large in the background lore of Zendikar, but hasn't physically appeared in any stories. The Bloodchief of House Ghet (after the previous Bloodchief was brutally killed - by Anowon according to rumor), Kalitas was not strong enough to resist the will of Ulamog, and became the de facto leader of the Eldrazi-controlled vampires of Zendikar. It's not clear what became of Kalitas and the other enthralled vampires following the Eldrazi's destruction.

Kazuul

Status: Alive

Appearances: Card References

Kazuul is an ogre who controls the easiest access to the walled continent of Murasa. He charges travelers a tribute for climbing his cliffs, and controls the lucrative network of mines underneath. There is not much else to say about him, as he hasn't appeared in any stories.

Linvala

Linvala, Keeper of Silence by Igor Kieryluk

Status: Alive

Appearances: The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

Linvala is one of the archangels worshipped by the humans of Zendikar.

Lorthos

Lorthos, the Tidemaker by Kekai Kotaki

Status: Calamari

Appearances: Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum, The Rise of Kozilek, Beneath the Surface, The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

Lorthos is one of Zendikar's great sea monsters, an octopus of gigantic proportions that called Sunder Bay of Murasa home. It was summoned in battle by Kiora to battle Kozilek, but was rent asunder by the Eldrazi Titan. Lorthos has been slightly retconned to also be the Moon Kraken (per the art book), a friend of the Tajuru Speaker Sutina, hence the appearance in the original Zendikar novel above.

Mina and Denn

Status: Alive

Appearances: Reclamation, Card Referecnes

Mina and Denn are Mul Daya elves on Zendikar. There's not a lot else about them other than they're likely one of the few remaining elves from their nation, which was devastated by the Eldrazi. They joined a group of Tajuru elves to help fight the Eldrazi.

Munda

Munda, Ambush Leader by Johannes Voss

Status: Alive

Appearances: Limits, Nissa's Quest, The Liberation of Sea Gate, Hedron Alignment, The Blight We Were Born For, Brink of Extinction, Zendikar's Last Stand, Card References

Known as Munda the Spider, Munda, Ambush Leader is a kor leader and incredibly skilled line-slinger. He is a prominent warrior among Zendikar's allied forces and appears in a number of stories, becoming a good friend to Gideon Jura.

Noyan Dar

Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper by Karl Kopinski

Status: Alive

Appearances: Shaping An Army, The Liberation of Sea Gate, Hedron Alignment, The Blight We Were Born For, Zendikar's Last Stand, The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper was a lullmage, scholar, and spy (and devotee of Cosi, the merfolk trickster god) who became the leader of Zendikari merfolk at the Coralhelm refuge. Before the Eldrazi, Noyan's life was leading him to become a potential criminal spymaster, but in the face of the Eldrazi menace he became an unlikely hero, founding the Coralhelm refuge and saving many lives. Noyan reversed his lullmage techniques and became a roilmage, teaching other mages to call on the power of the Roil rather than soothe it.

Omnath

Omnath, Locus of the Roil by Lius Lasahido

Status: Alive

Appearances: The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

Omnath is a unique legend. Despite having never appeared in a story, Omnath art has been previewed making it likely that it will soon be the second Legend in Magic to have four Legendary Creature cards (without accompanying story shenanigans, at least). Omnath was imprisoned on the continent of Ondu in ages past, bound to the Soul Stair. Omnath escaped at some point when the Eldrazi were released, and we've seen it gain additional colors every time it appears. Will that trend continue in the new set? We'll have to wait and see.

Thada Adel

Status: Potentially Alive

Appearances: The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

Thada Adel, Acquisitor is a scholar, adventurer, and leader of the Tikal Harborage. Noyan Dar is a hated rival, as Thada finds him unctuous, and the two have clashed over artifacts and expeditions over the years.

Tuktuk

Tuktuk the Explorer by Volkan Baga

Status: Goblin Poop

Appearances: The Tale of Tuktuk, The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Card References

The legendary founder of the Tuktuk tribe, Tuktuk was a goblin who was destroyed by energies released from a magical trap, but something went wrong. Tuktuk was rebuilt using the magic-imbued stone and became a sentient golem. He was killed around the time of the Eldrazi's release when his people realized he was a strong - and delicious - source of power.

Rayami

Status: Probably long dead

Appearances: Card References

Rayami, First of the Fallen is implied to be one of the first Zendikar Bloodchiefs, that is, one of the original twelve cultists transformed by Eldrazi magic to become vampires. These Bloodchiefs were the only ones who could create new vampires, as the same process from lesser vampires resulted in the zombie 'Nulls'. There is very little lore on Rayami otherwise, but it seems unlikely that other random original Bloodchiefs remain following the rise of the Eldrazi.

Tazri

Genreal Tazri by Chris Rahn

Status: Alive

Appearances: Limits, Slaughter at the Refuge, The Silent Cry, The Believers' Pilgrimage, The Survivors of Sky Rock, The Liberation of Sea Gate, Hedron Alignment, Reclamation, The Blight We Were Born For, Up in Flames, Beneath the Surface, Brink of Extinction, Zendikar's Last Stand, Zendikar Resurgent, Card References

General Tazri was a promising caravan guard until a chance encounter with a wounded angel changed her life. Choosing to end an angel's life rather than allow it to suffer being exsanguinated repeatedly by vampires, Tazri was cursed for the killing - mercy though it was. She kept the angel's halo, but her hopes and joy drained away with the curse. She became part of the Sea Gate militia, and was in the right place in time when the Eldrazi arose. Faithfully serving Vorik, the militia commander turned Zendikari general, Tazri begrudged her commander's faith in Gideon Jura, an outsider, over her.

The angel's curse was revealed to be a blessing when she was nearly killed by Kozilek's spatial distortions. The angel's halo saved her from certain death and unbound her from the curse. Restored and rejuvenated, Tazri took command of the Zendikari forces and led them to victory alongside the newly formed Gatewatch.

Wrexial

Status: Alive

Appearances: Card References

There is no lore on Wrexial, the Risen Deep, Magic's Cthulhu.

Yarok

Status: Alive

Appearances: Card References

Yarok, Soul of Desecration is an elemental of Bala Ged, representing the wasteland it had become.

Zada

Zada, Hedron Grinder by Chris Rallis

Status: Alive

Appearances: The Art of Magic: the Gathering - Zendikar, Revelation at the Eye, Card References

Zada, Hedron Grinder is a skilled rock crusher. Using the latent magic in the stone hedrons, Zada enhances herself and creates tools for the fight against the Eldrazi. With the Eldrazi threat near, Zada led a coup against her goblin chieftain, Tuktuk (a giant source of magic stone himself). The tribe destroyed and ate Tuktuk, and Zada became their new leader. Zada's innovations saved her tribe. She reasoned that the Eldrazi were unlikely to remain in the lands they had already drained, and established the first goblin haven among the wastes, called Slab Haven.

The Legend Continues

We'll see which of these Legends, if any, appear in Zendikar Rising. Next time: Flavor Gems of Double Masters!

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