With Theros on the horizon, other than flavor and mechanics, one of the big questions that the rumor community is straining to answer is about the planeswalkers of the upcoming set. Planeswalkers are always mythic, and they’re some of the marquee cards of the set they appear in. They also, not insignificantly, figure in the storyline not only of a single block but of Magic as a whole.
Theros, of course, has five gods, but Creative has always taken pains to distinguish the concept of “god” from that of “planeswalker.” Even though planeswalkers used to all have truly godlike power, the planeswalker spark is the only thing that can turn a mere mortal into a planeswalker. We’ve also seen the god card frames, resembling their realm of Nyx, the nighttime sky – planeswalkers, too, have a specific card frame which does not resemble that. So we can count on the gods being merely exceptionally powerful creatures.
Indeed, we know thanks to PAX Australia that there are three planeswalkers in the set: Elspeth is one of them, and the other two are entirely new. Since Theros does apparently have a small number of multicolor cards, none of them is restricted to being monocolor. However, because R&D wants to avoid color overlap between planeswalkers in the same set – and it would be strange to have every color represented once in a single set, necessarily only exactly one of them can be multicolor.
Elspeth herself is, of course, the one we know the most about at this point. She has a new look, evidenced by the solid handful of art pieces of her we’ve seen thus far. Given the amount of marketing material she’s appeared on, she seems to be the lead character of the set, much like Chandra was for Magic 2014. She is constantly referred to as a reluctant hero, and that repetition proves the significance of that statement – the story of Theros is probably about her coming to terms with the burden of her heroic status. She is likely to remain monowhite, despite the glut of planeswalkers in that color, because she doesn’t seem to have undergone so drastic a character change to unquestionably warrant a color alteration. Then again, if she makes peace with her destiny and allows herself to represent an organic community, she could become our first green-white planeswalker. The green god in Theros is the goddess of the hunt, and Elspeth also seems to be something of a huntress now with her brutal matchup against a Hydra, so perhaps she’s attracted that god’s patronage.
If Elspeth doesn’t turn out to be green-white, there’s always the possibility of the first known green-blue planeswalker, Kiora Atua, making her debut. Theros is known to have both Merfolk and Krakens, so the calculating summoner of the monstrosities of the depths may well call Theros home – after all, we don’t actually know her home plane for sure. She also fits neatly with the known monster theme of Theros block. Plus this is the perfect place to put a planeswalker with an ultimate ability that inspires cries of “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!”
If any other multicolor combination were to get a planeswalker in Theros, it would probably be black-red. Sarkhan the Mad was fine, but also gimmicky – with no plus abilities, he doesn’t build up to anything, just burns out over a number of turns, and his abilities are all accessible at once. That’s probably different enough from the traditional planeswalker experience that it’s due time for a new black-red character, perhaps someone tied to a ferocious volcano, which were infamous in ancient Greek lore for being the home of the forge-god Hephaestus and monstrous godlike beings such as Typhon.