In a special one-two punch of a day, there are two new Magic: the Gathering stories– one comic and one novella– available right now. These stories, set within the vast Multiverse that serves as the primary source of lore for the popular trading card game, are all set to dominate any time you aren’t spending wrapping presents or slinging spells.
On the comics side of things, publisher IDW released Magic: the Gathering: Chandra #1. Written by The Wilds writer Vita Ayala and drawn by Harvey Tolibao, who has previously done work for Marvel and DC, Chandra follows the eponymous pyromancer and Planeswalker as she takes up a fight against mysterious new foes and enemies from her past. The plot of this book up until now has been somewhat shrouded in mystery (though the cover to a future issue revealed the return of another popular Magic character), but with the team assembled on this book, Chandra is sure to set your world ablaze.
Secondly, in a surprise drop, Wizards of the Coast very recently announced that they had partnered with Brandon Sanderson, the award-winning fantasy writer of books such as Legion and Skyward, to produce a brand new Magic novella, free of cost to readers. Entitled Children of the Nameless, this story marks yet another new frontier for Magic‘s rapidly expanding storytelling initiatives because rather than following previously established Planeswalker characters, Children of the Nameless features a lead Planeswalker “created and designed by Sanderson.”
The synopsis is as follows:
“Since the day she was born, Tacenda has been both blessed and cursed. Blessed by a powerful protection spell of unknown origin, she has warded her family and friends against any number of horrors over her 15 years. Cursed because the horrors which visit her small Kessig village are both numerous and frequent. Then, one night, for no reason she can fathom, her sacred song of protection fails. Seeking revenge on the man she believes responsible for the failure and the consequent destruction of everything she loves, she breaks into the manor of the local lord, a known consorter with demons. There she discovers the beginnings of an even greater mystery…starting with the fact the Lord of the Manor is anything but local…”
Children of the Nameless is set on Innistrad, one of the most popular worlds Magic: the Gathering has ever created. Strongly influenced by gothic horror tropes like vampires, werewolves, and eldritch abominations, Innistrad has been the focus of multiple Magic card game expansions. This latest return to the plane is sure to excite fans who want to learn more about the world– let alone this mysterious masked figure Sanderson has created.
On his website, Sanderson went into further detail about the origins of Children of the Nameless. Initially approached as part of Magic the Gathering‘s 25th anniversary marketing push, Sanderson decided to write Children of the Nameless for free on the condition that he be given creative freedom and that his portion of any proceeds produced by his story’s collection in hypothetical future books be donated to charity.
According to Sanderson, Children of the Nameless is approachable even without knowledge of Innistrad or Magic more generally. Initially conceived as a vessel for a “horror/fantasy hybrid” story he had had “brewing” in his head for years, Children of the Nameless, works completely well within Magic‘s continuity without being creatively restricted by it. In fact, Wizards was so accommodating to Sanderson that in his blog FAQ, he stated:
Q: Will these characters or places get their own cards?
A: That’s up to the card design team to decide. I worked primarily with the creative team, and can’t really say when/if cards related to this story will appear in the game. (Though a little bird tells me that fans should keep an eye on upcoming sets.)
Children of the Nameless is available for free at MTGstory.com.
Alex is the New Media Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at First Second, Top Cow, and Papercutz. He primarily covers DC Comics and Magic: the Gathering.