Who is Vraska? | Magic Arcanum

Who is Vraska? | Magic Arcanum

Welcome to Magic Arcanum. I’m Ryan Gomez,
and I am so glad you’re here because it’s story time!
Last week we explored surprises in Magic and how they relate to the ongoing story.
Today I want to make good on my promise that Magic Arcanum will continue to talk
about the lore, so we’re gonna focus on my favorite planeswalker: Vraska. She’s
in a really interesting spot right now and it gets even better once you
understand her history, so let’s go back to her first appearance in Return to
Ravnica. Vraska the Unseen. This was our introduction to the mysterious
planeswalker who also was mentioned in the flavor text of one other card in the
whole set. Her card raised more questions than it answered and since the Magic
story was kind of hard to get into back then I think a lot of people
probably missed Vraska’s rise to power. So let’s go over all that! Okay first
thing to note, Vraska is a Gorgon which if you remember your Greek history is a
kind of monster with snakes for hair and can turn people into stone just by
looking at them and I would not mind having the snakes for hair. It would be
an improvement at this point. Gorgons are actually pretty common on Ravnica. A group of them led the Golgari Swarm for a while; the Sisters of Stone Death.
Eventually their reign came to an end though and they were replaced by a guy
named Jarad, Lich Lord. Jarad treated the Gorgons as weapons and he would only
kind of wheel them out of the shadows to deal with targets he wanted eliminated
and this upset Vraska cuz she thought she had more to offer the guild than her
unique ability to turn people into rocks and we’re gonna come back to that later!
One day a law was passed by the Azorius Senate making anyone bearing the mark of
the Golgari a criminal, so Vraska and a bunch of her friends were rounded up
and imprisoned without having actually done anything wrong. Naturally as the
prison fills up with Gorgons and zombies and insect people, riots start to break
out. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a fight with a prison guard before but
they kind of get what I can only describe as the home-field advantage.
Vraska gets beat up badly and as that’s happening her spark ignites for the
first time. Now when a planeswalker goes through intense personal trauma, their spark ignites and then they planeswalk to a
random destination. They can’t control it. They often don’t even understand what is
happening. So Vraska got away from the prison riots
only to wind up somewhere much worse. She planeswalked right into an underground
cavern with no way in or out. She survives being beaten by armed guards
just to wind up in another type of cell and it takes her a while to figure out
what happened. It’s not like there’s anyone there to explain it to her.
Eventually she realizes she’s not dead, she’s not even blind, she’s just stuck
underground somewhere…and then she works out how to planeswalk. She doesn’t go
back to Ravnica for two years though. When she does get back to Ravnica, she
sets her sights on Jace because he had become the Living Guildpact and was
kind of the representation of all the dumb laws that had gotten her arrested
in the first place. So she sets a trap for Jace planning to coerce him into
working for her. He’s too smart and doesn’t fall for it though. He ends up
kind of embarrassing Vraska and the whole thing is captured in their Duel
Deck! After that we don’t really hear much from Vraska for a little while.
She took her big swing at Jace and missed so she kind of vanishes back into
the shadows of life on Ravnica. She does make a few new friends: first were the
Kraul, a group of insect necromancers living deep beneath the city, and second
were the House of Ochran, mercenary assassins. Both are gonna be relevant on
our next visit to Ravnica but were not there yet! First Vraska gets invited to
the Meditation Realm where Nicol Bolas makes her an intriguing offer. He wants her to
go to Ixalan and retrieve an artifact. In exchange he will give her complete
control of the Golgari Swarm. Vraska takes the deal because it lets her avoid
a direct confrontation with Jarad who still rules the Golgari. So she heads
to Ixalan and becomes the captain of a pirate ship, as one does. And this is
where she encounters Jace again but this time he’s not the brilliant Living Guildpact any more; he is now a castaway and he lost all of his memories and he
doesn’t remember the fight he had with Vraska years ago. He also doesn’t
realize he lost his memories in a big fight
with Nicol Bolas, who just happened to coincidentally send Vraska to the same
plane where Jace now is after having planeswalked away from their giant
battle. So Vraska actually takes pity on Jace and invites him to join her crew of
pirates. This is where I really started to like Vraska. We get to see a side of
her that is a great leader. She takes care of her crew and they trust and
respect her. Everyone feels like a valuable part of the team and that
extends to Jace. The two of them drink tea together, they study maps together,
they work as equals. It’s a really neat twist on the cold-blooded assassin
archetype and I think it gives Vraska some much-needed character depth. So
over time, Vraska and Jace forged a friendship and even a bit of a romance,
and then they reached their quest: the Immortal Sun. But before they could reach
it, Jace fell over a waterfall and all his memories came flooding back. Vraska
was worried that Jace would become hostile towards her again once he had
those memories back of their earlier fights but instead he saw the good in
her and their friendship strengthened. With the Immortal Sun recovered, they
realized Nicol Bolas was gonna read Vraska’s memories and discover the connection to Jace. They decide to
selectively wipe Vraska’s memory with a trigger in place to restore everything
when they’re reunited back on Ravnica. This is actually pretty sad and a really
well-done piece of storytelling: they go through this whole adventure together
and become really close but then they have to lock it all away. Pleased with
the acquisition of the Immortal Sun, Nicol Bolas rewarded Vraska with the
location of Jarad, already captured and ready for her to deal with however she
sees fit. Vraska used this opportunity to seize control, something she had a bit of
experience with after serving as a captain on Ixalan. And all the things
that made her great leader there are gonna help her be a great Queen of the
Golgari, not to mention a great secret ally to Jace and the rest of the
Gatewatch. From prisoner to pirate, from unseen to being queen, Vraska has had
quite a journey, but her story is not over yet.
Things are building towards a confrontation on Ravnica and Vraska has
an army of insect necromancers and mercenary assassins. The
out of battle may come down to Jace and his ability to restore Vraska’s
memories before things become hopeless in the battle against Nicol Bolas. And that’s
why Vraska is my favorite character. Over the years she’s gone from
this kind of one-note assassin to a fair leader who is now carrying all these
secret feelings for somebody she doesn’t even really remember. Not to mention she
shows up on some really cool cards now like Assassin’s Trophy and Vraska’s
Contempt, both of which show her more destructive side, and Undercity Uprising,
which shows her leadership and the respect that she’s earned among the Golgari. So what’s your favorite Vraska card? Let me know in the comments down
below and make sure you like this video and subscribe to the channel so you
don’t miss the great stories you’ll only find here on Magic Arcanum. I’ll see you!

100 thoughts on “Who is Vraska? | Magic Arcanum

  1. Please do a "Who Is Avacyn" video! It would be cool for people to learn how she was an angel created by a Planeswalker and eventually became corrupted after battling one of Liliana's demon lords.

  2. why does almost every female character has o fall for jace? this fucking sucks, i was hoping she was going to be a badass evil mofo but shes just another tool for jace and nicol like every other shitty planeswalker

  3. Almost watched all your videos now! You are a great storyteller! I can remember all those intriguing backstories of the cards all the way back since the Rath cycle. Those starter decks still had those story books in them :)! Keep those stories coming; theres so many to tell! Cant wait for the awesome stories of the Weatherlight crew!

  4. It's pretty hard to make a character seem this ruthless and caring all at the same time.
    I agree, Vraska is awesome!!

  5. My like of Vraska first came from pulling the Golgari queen in draft, as she was the first planeswalker I obtained while getting into mtg (Technically I have Jace, Ingenious Mind Mage too, but I got him before I really got into magic), but learning about her story definitely solidified her as probably my favourite planeswalker. I'm curious to see where she goes from here.

  6. Please do a video on Ral! He is my favorite planeswalker, and the main character in the deck I bought to get into the game.

  7. What is the best way to know the lore? Read the mtg site? Books? Flavor text? How do you get to study and learn how the story progresses?

  8. relic seeker is best vraska and embodys piracy better then becket brass. she makes pirate tokens, rally the mateys. she kills stuff and provide treasure, truly a pirate thing. and her ult. is some sort of walk the plank thing xD.

  9. Theres only one was to defeat Bolas… Jace is going to have to toke those feelings from Vraska and implant them into Nicol Bolas. They Bolas is in love with Jace and they get married, with Emrakul as best man! New set: Marriage over Innistrad!

  10. Vraska killed Jace just before he restored her memory… she cries and asked her insect necromancer to reanimate Jace… so now Jace is Dimir color and is: Jace: Soyboy NPC.

  11. I don't know… doesn't anyone thinks it's a too big coincidence for Jace (after confronting Bolas) to end up on the one plane where Vraska (agent of Bolas) was sent to find the artefact ? I fear that the gorgon has a fierce revenge to take over Jace and has tricked him to break him better in front of Bolas when the final confrontation will happen… something like "our story… it was all a lie… I always wanted to take my revenge for what you did on Ravinca"

  12. Vraska's Contempt, for sure. Not only is the art beautiful but it came along just in time to deal with The Scarab God and stop me from rage quitting Magic.

  13. Can you do the back story and lore in regards to the card in war of the spark called "Massacre girl", please?

  14. Ok so maybe I missed something here, but why did Jace – with his memories restored – allow Vraska to hand the Immortal Sun over to Nicol Bolas? Does he not know what the Immortal Sun’s powers are or is he just kinda stupid playing into Bolas’ hands like that?

  15. Thanks a lot for this whole series, Ryan!
    This specific video about Vraksa inspired me to write a short orchestral symphony based on her story. 🙂

  16. Vraska is my favorite planeswalker! I'm pretty new but I already own all but one of her different planeswalkers cards!

  17. I still can't forgive her for Isperia and Azor. The fact that she gave Bolas the Immortal Sun and killed isperia (putting Dovin in command of the azorius) nullifies anything she has ever done to help the gatewatch. She doesn't even have the amnesia excuse for killing Isperia since she told Jace she remembered everything

  18. 7:00 missed the opportunity to show the cards on screen, but time may have been to short to appreciate them fully.
    Thanks a lot for your videos Ryan!

  19. I pulled Vraska relic seeker out of my first packs ever, I to admire Vraska as a complex and generally cool character Vraska relic seeker also has some really OP abilities

  20. Wait… if Jace fought Bolas, lost his memories, fell in love with Vraska, went on a mission to retrieve something for Bolas, got his memories back, realized that Bolas would read Vraska's memories….. why the hell did he let her return with the Immortal Sun and only erase her memories. Surely allowing Bolas to get the immortal sun is a terrible idea!

  21. Actually in the Greek myths gorgons didnt always have the ability to turn people into stone only one gorgon was able to and that was Medusa who personally offended Athena who "cursed" her making her a gorgon with the ability to turn people to turn people into stone

  22. I like Vraska because the first time I saw her art she was looking majestically upward and it looked amazing.

    Also she's not a human. Sick to death of human planeswalkers. Can't there be more gorgons and planeswalking spiders?

  23. Came back to this video after War of the Spark came out, it's too bad we never got the Jace/Vraska payoff, since Vraska got her memories back offscreen. 🙁

  24. My favorite card is regal gorgan it was ny first card and i now have a varaska deck with three different cards of her

  25. Favorite Vraska card? Easy: Vraska, Golgari Queen. Immediately grabbed a playset when it came out and I'm now glad it's a standard staple.

  26. I love Vraska, she sadly comes in second for me, Cause Liliana is in fact my very favourite, but her whole from assassin to fuctional mommy for a group of social rejects and freaks, makes her a very lovable "monster" 🙂

    PS: PLZ do videos on Liliana, Arlinn Kord and Sorin

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