Another celebration of International Women's Day (March 8) is coming up and to get in the mood for this special date that celebrates several female achievements, we decided to separate 8 women who made history and starred in impactful moments in Magic's lore!
It is important that you keep in mind that this article is not a top, and the order in which the characters are mentioned does not define whether their moments were more or less important for the game's story.
Female characters who made history in Magic lore
1. Elspeth Tirel
This planeswalker just wanted peace, but instead she was given several trials.
Elspeth has spent most of her life being haunted by childhood memories of being imprisoned by the Phyrexians and harboring a real hatred for them.
She lived and starred in several important moments in the Theros, but what we chose to highlight is part of the recent story of Phyrexia: All Will Be One.
After an intense battle with Ajani, her corrupted mentor, Elspeth found Jace activating the Sylex whose explosion would destroy the Multiverse and the Realmbreaker (the corrupted version of Kaldheim's World Tree) connected to the Blind Eternity.
At that moment, she understood the gravity of the situation, the consequences of that explosion - all the lives that would be lost, what would happen to Mirrodin and any plane. And she knew too what she should do.
Elspeth took the Silex from the blue planeswalker's hands and disappeared with it to some destination beyond the Blind Eternities, preventing several innocent planes from being destroyed by the explosion and, apparently, sacrificing herself in the process.
Nahiri was a very skilled kor, as well as being a lithomancer (a mage who controls crystals, gems, and stones) and a planeswalker from Zendikar. The kor was considered by other planeswalkers to be the most powerful among them.
There are two moments of Nahiri that we chose to highlight in this text: one of revenge and the other of heroism.
Nahiri, Sorin, and Ugin teamed up to plan how to trap the Eldrazi and used Nahiri's home plane, Zendikar, as a bait and prison for these powerful creatures. After managing to imprison them, Sorin and Ugin promised that they would help Nahiri if the Eldrazi were unsealed and left the plane.
Centuries later, the Eldrazi's imprisonment became unstable and Nahiri asked her friends for help; however, they didn't respond and luckily, she managed to restore the prison on her own.
Nahiri went to Innistrad to understand why Sorin had ignored her, but when she got there, she was informed by the vampire that the help signal never arrived and was probably absorbed by the Helvault (a monolith created by Sorin to imprison supernatural creatures on Innistrad). A fight broke out and Nahiri was imprisoned in the Helvault.
When she managed to flee back to Zendikar, Nahiri discovered that the Eldrazi were on the loose and had devastated the plane. Enraged, she resolved to get revenge on Sorin and wanted Innistrad to bleed the same way Zendikar did.
Revenge began with Nahiri using her lithomancy skills to attack the Markov Estate and imprison vampires within the building's walls. Afterward, she lured Emrakul to lay waste to the plane and had one more battle with Sorin, which ended with the vampire trapped in stone.
Her chosen moment of heroism was her sacrifice in New Phyrexia.
As soon as she arrived at the plane, Nahiri had to fight to protect Kaito and the Wanderer who were unconscious, in that battle, she was infected with phyresis and had to refuse the treatment offered by Melira, as it would delay their mission.
In a battle at Sheoldred's Colosseum, Nahiri chose to sacrifice herself so the other planeswalkers could flee, and she summoned a powerful magical blast that blew up the Colosseum, created a "passage" to the other sphere of the plane, and killed her.
Elesh Norn retrieved the corpse from the rubble and compleated the planeswalker.
“Know who you are, and claim it.”
Alesha, the first transgender character in Magic history, ruled the Mardu Horde and inspired many warriors before Sarkhan changed Tarkir's destiny.
The Mardu were a clan formed by nomadic warriors with a strong war culture, so clan members received the right to choose their names according to the glories they conquered in battles.
The name chosen was Alesha, the same as her grandmother's, and the name that marked her as a woman - the way she always saw herself, but others didn't. In the tale “Truth Names” you can check out the Mardu's ritual of names and the moment when 16-year-old Alesha chooses her name and is accepted by the clan as a woman.
Furthermore, the tale also narrates about how she was smiling while fighting powerful dragons that could easily kill her, and so she received the title "Who Smiles at Death".
Samut is a dedicated warrior who respects and protects the customs of her home plane, Amonkhet. She was the one who deciphered the message hidden in Bontu's Monument and discovered that the God-Pharaoh, better known as Nicol Bolas, was an invader. However, she contributed much more to the story of her plane.
Samut battled the Scorpion God to protect the last living goddess on the plane, Hazoret, who was struggling in battle, and this act inspired other mortals who were fleeing alongside her to do the same.
The final blow may have been dealt by the goddess Hazoret, but the honor of the battle went to Samut.
“I could not have done so without you. You, my beloved children, protected me when I needed you the most. My heart is yours. Thank you, Samut the Tested. You have seen through the Trials and bested the darkness beyond.”
- Hazoret upon Samut
As she received the goddess's thanks and recognition, Samut felt such pure, strong, and genuine joy that she was able to awaken her spark for the first time.
Even though she had a way to escape the battle against Nicol Bolas, the false God-Pharaoh, she chose to return to the home plane to protect her people.
Not only is Narset a female planeswalker who leads the Jeskai clan, she's also autistic—even though her home plane doesn't have a term for the autism spectrum.
In the original storyline, Narset guided Sarkhan Vol to Ugin's Tomb and battled Zurgo to protect the passage and prevent him from following the planeswalker. Narset's sacrifice gave Sarkan enough time to step through the gates and travel 1,280 years into Tarkir's past, thus creating the alternate timeline.
Both in the original line and in the alternative, Narset demonstrated a lot of knowledge and strength, two characteristics that marked her as a leader and master, and captivated many players who became true fans of the character.
Narset's autism was confirmed by Doug Beyer on his Tumblr.
6. Liliana Vess
Liliana Vess can be seen as a very persevering character: she's a great healer, but if that doesn't work out, she's an even better necromancer.
Yes, healer. In her origin story, we discover that she was a member of a sacred group of clerics of Dominaria who dedicated themselves to the healing arts. However, she also secretly studied necromancy because she believed that manipulating death would make her a better healer.
Liliana starred in many important moments of the lore and was present in many others, so the indecision was great, but the moment chosen to represent her here is one of liberation.
Because of her pacts, Liliana could not disobey Nicol Bolas's orders or die, and he made her the general of the Dreadhorde during the War of the Spark.
Even so, she still had a will of her own and made small "mistakes" such as controlling the eternal goddess Oketra to shoot an arrow that dropped the pegasus instead of dropping the planeswalker Gideon and preventing Eternals from entering city buildings.
When Nicol Bolas ordered her to use the gods Oketra and Bontu to crush the planeswalkers' fighting forces, Liliana turned them against Nicol Bolas and broke her contract.
If you want to feel all the magic of that moment, you can check out the trailer for “War of the Spark” below. If you prefer to read, we recommend reading the chapter Ashes, from War of the Spark: Ravnica.
Liliana was able to survive thanks to the invulnerability she received from the planeswalker Gideon, who sacrificed himself.
Thalia is a human from Innistrad who went from one of the most promising Cathars to heiress and leader of the Order of Saint Traft, the spirit of a powerful priest who possessed her to protect her from Emrakul's madness.
She fought many Eldrazi alongside the alliance formed by vampires, werewolves and humans who wanted to protect Innistrad from the eldritch onslaught. On the battlefield, the soldiers fighting alongside Thalia stared in terror at a monstrous figure with two heads and a body formed of twisted flesh, wriggling tentacles, and feathered angel wings.
That was Brisela, an Eldrazi angel created by the fusion of Bruna and Gisela. The horrible "angel thing" terrified the soldiers and Thalia went into battle against it, even though the human was scared too.
In the fight, Brisela knocked down the griffin on which Thalia was riding, and the fall caused serious injuries to the human's body. The fused angel descended toward her, ready to finish what it had started, when Sigarda stepped between them and distracted the angel-thing long enough for Traft's magic to help heal Thalia's wounds.
The battle resumed, and now the human had at her side the last angel who had not succumbed to madness. After an intense battle, Thalia managed to bury Avacyn's spear in the angel-thing's spine and drove through until hitting whatever was in the monstrosity's abdomen.
Serra was an immensely powerful human planeswalker who created her own artificial plane, populated by her angels. Her strength was recognized even in Dominaria, who founded a church to worship her as if she were a goddess. It is even said that thousands of years ago, the planeswalker visited the plane and created its first angels.
Many locals worshiped her as a goddess, even though Serra was just a strong and gentle human.
Unfortunately, she starred in a rather sad moment in Magic: the Gathering history.
After losing the man she was in love with, Serra fled to Sursi and hid among refugees. Unfortunately, she was soon attacked by an unknown planeswalker disguised as a thief.
Even though she could heal herself, Serra no longer had the will to live and used her last strength to bless the land around Sursi before taking her last breath.
The first creature cards with female illustrations
The Alpha, Beta and Unlimited sets were released in 1993 with 295 cards, of which 92 were creatures and of these, 7 cards had illustrations with female figures.
However, as elementals, shapeshifters and angels are usually represented as genderless, we cannot say with certainty that Air Elemental, Fire Elemental, Serra Angel and Vesuvan Doppelganger are cards that represent women.
To match the date, these were 8 female protagonists who marked the lore of Magic: the Gathering, but there are many others.
If you've read this far, leave your favorite character in the comments!
Which of these characters captivated you the most?
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