Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 12 2020 12:00pm
4.666665
5764 views


Art by Wesley Burt

 SUMMARY OF CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION

 Every party needs the muscle, and the Gatewatch had Gideon. A skilled fighter of exceptional reflexes and intuition, the Greek-like warrior was also the glue of the group, friendly and jovial, with a booming laugh and more prone to physical contact than it was comfortable for most of his companions. Gideon was not just a good-natured strongman, though. Like every planeswalker, he was also a mage, specialized in the not particularly well-defined art of hieromancy, the "law magic", where you disrupt your enemies by redefining the very laws of battle, and adapt to any situation to turn it to your advantage, according to the principle that every action has an opportune response. Gideon's physical prowess and high combat intelligence were bolstered by his innate invulnerability power, a protective field that took the form of flashing white lights emerging from his skin to neutralize any blow he was aware of receiving (he could still be harmed if caught by surprise). All this concurred to make him the ultimate stand on any battlefield, morally bound by his pure white allegiance to never give up, and able to withstand enormous amounts of punishment while raining pain and death on his foes with his signature weapons: a lethal whip-blade called sural mounted on a bracer on his right forearm, and a pointed buckler on his left. Furthermore, Gideon was a natural, charismatic leader; a clear, rational voice exuding confidence, and pairing his strategical proficiency with a knack for boosting courage, enthusiasm and determination of any ally who would fight alongside him, as well as the troops placed under his command.

 While Gideon's attitude was mostly cheerful and optimistic, he had his own demons to make him occasionally sorrowful, stemming from the time he roamed the streets of Akros as the Robin Hood-esque leader of a gang of outlaw kids, with his hubris directly resulting in the death of all his buddies. On top of this life-defining bad memory, he also suffered from a conflicting relationship with religion, as faith was deeply ingrained within his soul, yet there were reasons for doubt and disillusionment in his past. In virtue of his open-armed outlook, Gideon managed to get along with everyone in the Gatewatch, despite being (justifiably) weary of Liliana's motives. He formed a working partnership with his polar opposite, withdrawn Jace, who Gideon nonetheless trusted unquestionably; and he had a soft spot for the spirited Chandra, since that time their paths had crossed during the events of The Purifying Fire. In fact, it was heavily implied that the two of them harbored romantic feelings for one another, give or take the interference of Chandra's deeper connection with Nissa.

 The in-game frequency of Gideon's planeswalker cards during his decade-long career (2010-2019) has been 0.8 per year, with a peak of 1.3 between 2015 and 2017.

 His powers, as represented on cards, include:

  • Creature form: 8 instances
  • Creature boost: 5 instances
  • Goad: 2 instances
  • Mass exile: 2 instances
  • Self-boost: 2 instances
  • Creature destruction: 1 instance
  • Damage prevention: 1 instance
  • Exile permanent: 1 instance
  • Token creation: 1 instance
  • Winlock: 1 instance

 Gideon's introductory lines from MTG Arena:

  • If it's a fight you want, then a fight you'll get.
  • The gods of this world are worthy of service.
  • Oketra, watch over me.
  • I will prove myself worthy.
  • This is a plane worth saving.
  • If you face me, you will only hurt yourself.
  • Your weapons won't help you win.
  • Virtue will always triumph.
  • Prepare to defend yourself.
  • Show me what you can do.

BIOGRAPHY

< back to top >

 When we first meet Gideon on the Ancient Greece-inspired plane of Theros, he still goes by the name of Kytheon Iora and is a thirteen-year-old waif (his mother died when he was little, his father was never in the picture), freshly sentenced to a ten-year imprisonment for theft. When he was even younger, Kytheon was meant to become a soldier, before eventually dropping out to lead the Irregulars, a gang of outlaw kids in control of the Akros neighborhood called the Foreigners' Quarter.

 Akros is a Sparta-inspired polis inhabited by a conspicuous amount of brawlers, bruisers and generally tough guys. Born into this environment, young Kytheon is one of the best fighters in his age range and beyond, and there's a method to his lawlessness, as he only steals food to sustain himself, his friends and their poverty-stricken families. His noble heart is also evidenced by his deep aversion for bullies, oppressors and prevaricators of any kind. His solution: to take them down with his powerful and well-directed fists. Kytheon is not just good at fisticuffs, though, he outright revels in the joy of the fight, it's his way of expression. Of course, being supernaturally invulnerable helps.

 

 And of course the prison environment is rife with opportunities to test little Kytheon's gifts and worldview. Aided by the powers he was born with, Kytheon quickly dispatches the thugs working for the prison's main bully, Ristos, destabilizing the internal balance of power after just one day. This attracts the attention of the wise warden Hixos, who's willing to take a chance on the boy; he hands Kytheon a dagger, challenging him to regain his freedom by killing his head jailer. When Kytheon can't do it, Hixos is pleased, and decides to take the promising kid under his wing. Every day for the following four years, Hixos, a mage himself, would instruct Kytheon in the arts of hieromancy, thus helping refine the young warrior's strategic mind, while at the same time his body was going to be shaped into extraordinary form by the brutal physical exercise of the prison's forced labor duty.

 One fateful day, an unannounced, combined attack of harpies and cyclopes threatens to crush Akros, so Hixos gives all the prisoners the chance to regain their freedom by fighting for their polis. Kytheon, by this time already blossomed into an imposing, disciplined young man, is determined to finally prove his valor to his mentor. In the chaos of the ensuing battle, he ultimately reconnects with the Irregulars, the only true family he's ever known. Together, they'll successfully stop the cyclopes from breaching the city's gates.

 After the battle, Kytheon and the Irregulars are scouting the area outside the polis for leftover assailants. Kytheon gets separated from the others, and is approached by none other than Heliod, the Theros God of the Sun, who abruptly names him his champion, hands him his otherworldly spear, and assigns him the task to kill one of Erebos's Titans. Kytheon feels overwhelmed by such an honor, and divinely validated in his virtue and devotion, in spite of the judgment he had suffered at the hands of mortals. But he should have known better than to get involved in the Gods' affairs.

 Kytheon and his friends track down and ultimately dispatch the Titan, and when Erebos himself appears on the site of the Titan's demise, it's time for the young hero to experience a handbook case of hubris: believing his newfound position as the Sun's Champion would give him the right and power to act in his god's name, he throws the Spear of Heliod at the God of the Underworld, in a misguided attempt to end him. Instead, Erebos effortlessly intercepts his brother's signature weapon and sends it crashing back amidst the group of fool mortals, generating a devastating explosion. When Kytheon, once again saved by his body's protective field, regains sight of his surroundings, everything has turned to charred ashes – including his childhood's beloved brothers-in-arms, punished by his tragic arrogance.

 The trauma of his sin is too big for the young warrior's soul to bear. A different spark violently ignites inside of him, and that brutal, hurtful landscape suddenly slips away from under his being. Still inherently attracted to pure white mana, the newborn planeswalker Kytheon finds himself on Bant, in the presence of graceful angels and armored knights, a new serenity filling his battered heart and assuaging the pain on his mind. These awe-inspiring strangers ask for his name, but they can't say it right. He doesn't correct them; leaving Theros and his previous identity behind, he becomes Gideon Jura, the person who'll devote his entire life to right Kytheon Iora's wrongs.

 Gideon's multiverse travels would later bring him to Regatha, home to a naturally occurring fountain of flame-shaped white mana, the so called "Purifying Fire", under the control of the white-aligned Order of Heliud (no relation... or is there?). The head of the Order, Walbert, only agreed to let Gideon study the mystical fire if he would in exchange complete a mission on behalf of the Order: seek and capture the rogue planeswalker Chandra, one of the wards from the pyromancer monastery of Keral Keep. Gideon tracks her down on the plane of Kephalai, where she went to steal the Dragon Scroll for the second time (as part of a very complicated chain of events set in motion by, you called it, Nicol Bolas). Gideon ultimately manages to get the upper hand on the messy fire mage, and despite starting to warming up to her (pun intended), out of a sense of duty he turns her over to Walbert and his goons, which proceed to torture her with the purpose of learning the whereabouts of the scroll. Gideon, who had kept the scroll hidden in the hope of delaying Chandra's execution, returns the scroll and witnesses the pyromancer's escape, then she follows her on the dark plane of Diraden, where the two of them have a little bonding adventure featuring vampire princes and oppressing black mana. Gideon reveals to Chandra that the Dragon Scroll originates from Zendikar, the plane with the wildest, rawest mana in the multiverse. Back on Regatha, Chandra is disappointed to learn that Gideon worked for her fascist persecutors at the Order of Heliud, and is then forced to once again give herself up to them to stop their siege of Keral Keep. Walbert plans to strip her of her powers through the Purifying Fire, but Gideon finds out the Fire has no effect on whom has no regrets; Chandra unburdens her conscience by admitting her guilt for causing (what at this point she believes has been) the death of her parents, therefore emerges from the flames unscathed, not to mention furious, which results in the rapid transformation of the Order's lair and everybody in it into a steaming pile of scorched rubble and burned flesh. Gideon survives and is aghast at this display of fiery, remorseless brutality, but Chandra's indignation can't be stopped by any moral posturing, when in fact she's the one who, before storming off, has Gideon reflect on the kind of people he allowed himself to serve only because of their righteous façade.

 After these events, Gideon decides to once again get on the trail of the impetuous pyromancer, currently headed to more pivotal encounters at the Eye of Ugin. This is where Gideon begins to look like a proper stalker, but that's probably just the effect Chandra has on big, virginal boys (there weren't many girls on the streets of Akros, apparently), especially those with a bit of a savior complex. Still, this unfruitful attempt to reconnect with the elusive redhead is the occasion for Gideon to get in touch with Zendikar, just in time to witness Emrakul's reawakening, due to the reckless actions of pretty much every single one of his future Gatewatch comrades. He senses the world is in desperate need of help, so he planeswalks to Ravnica, which he heard was the base of operations of an organization of planeswalkers with multiplanar outreach (actually the shady Infinite Consortium, which goes a long way to spell out how spectacularly fallacious all Gideon's plans are by this point).

 On the overpopulated Ravnica, he's faced with yet another world needing assistance – in fact, the tensions between the Guilds could potentially lead to a much larger body count than the entire extinction of Zendikar. He's befriended by the angel Aurelia and the Boros Legion, which share some of Gideon's goals (keeping the peace) and worldview (smashing faces to keep the peace is perfectly acceptable). While working with the Boros, though, he grows increasingly uncomfortable with Aurelia's unrestrained zeal. Plus, he feels the need to protect the "Gateless", the voiceless, endangered population that exists on Ravnica outside of the Guild structure.

 For a while, Gideon tries to be the hero of two worlds, obsessively planeswalking back and forth, Zendikar by day, Ravnica by night, applying himself without rest, to the point of overexertion. On Ravnica, he faces a bomb war between goblin gangs (Krenko, Mob Boss against the Shattergang Brothers); on Zendikar, he assists the anti-Eldrazi resistance lead by Commander Vorik, working closely with the kor Munda and the human Tazri.

 During the fall of Sea Gate, Gideon rescues the merfolk Jori En, who tells him the key for stopping the unfathomable monstrosities are the floating Hedrons; she mentions the words of her deceased companion about a "puzzle" to solve, which makes Gideon seek help from the best puzzle-solver he knows about yet never met before: the guy who currently embodied the balance between the Guilds on Ravnica; the breaker of the Implicit Maze; the Living Guildpact, Jace. The mind mage agrees to go to Zendikar, and soon embarks on a quest of his own to the Eye of Ugin, accompanied by Jori En, while Gideon stays behind to organize the Zendikari fighters and survivors, as a named successor to the dying Vorik. Key figures keep converging around him. Gideon obtains, one by one, the help of the unpredictable Kiora and her marine behemoths; of Noyan Dar and his Roil Mages; of the vampire bloodchief Drana. He stumbles upon a disheartened Nissa and take her to the headquarters they've established on the large floating island called Sky Rock. Jace and Gideon had unsuccessfully tried to get Chandra on board too, and she comes around on her own terms eventually. In the end, after Chandra and Nissa combine their powers and manage to channel the strength of an entire plane and annihilate Ulamog and Kozilek, Gideon is sure of one thing: this planeswalking team (minus Kiora, who's just crazy) should keep working together. In fact, they should swear to do it. And just like that, the Gatewatch rises. Unsurprisingly, "justice and peace" are the keywords in Gideon's oath.

 First point of order: find the third Eldrazi titan, who's missing from Zendikar. When Jace finally detects Emrakul's presence on Innistrad and alerts the others, Gideon leaves the rebuilding efforts on Zendikar in the hands of General Tazri and joins his fellow Gatewatchers. On the Gothic plane, they will get the help of Liliana, who uncharacteristically risked her life to save them all, and the crucial assistance of yet another planeswalker, the soratami Tamiyo, whose lunar expertise ultimately leads to Emrakul being sealed on Innistrad's moon. When Tamiyo politely rejects their offer to join the Gatewatch, Gideon agrees with Jace's proposal to ask Liliana instead. Gideon will remain extremely wary of the selfish, disrespectful necromancer (who nicknamed the muscular warrior "Beefslab"), though in the end, after everyone else was fed up with her manipulations, Gideon will be the only one still willing to help a desperate Liliana defeat her last demon creditor on Dominaria.

 

 Once he took the role of the Gatewatch's de facto co-leader and field commander, Gideon's story became inextricably linked to the group's own, often acting as the last line of physical defense on the field while the others are working on whatever their last madcap plan to beat their increasingly unbeatable foes entails. While living in Jace's sanctum in Ravnica, he trained his partners and strengthened his connection with Chandra, which reached a particular high point during the events of her homecoming on Kaladesh. And while pursuing Nicol Bolas on Amonkhet, Gideon's faith came back to the foreground. Since being involved with the machinations of Heliod and Erebos, Gideon has had a conflictual rapport with religion: on one hand, he's something he still feels as a part of his deeper self; on the other, he was hard for him to trust a self-defined "divine being" again, especially after facing, and defeating, so many destructive entities that could call themselves just that. His encounter with the cat goddess Oketra shifts this dichotomy, filling Gideon's heart with awe, peace and a serenity he hadn't felt in a long time. Even after vehemently disapproving Oketra's sister Bontu's ruthless culling of the initiates during the Trial of Ambition, Gideon still feels a profound connection with the white goddess (who he'll later mourn, after her demise at the hand of The Scorpion God), her simple, graceful walking among her believers, her intrinsic willingness to be there for them, so unlike the distant, inscrutable actions of the duplicitous Theros gods. This is enough for Gideon to be returned to a more manageable, uncomplicated, Renewed Faith, strengthening his path forward with the Gatewatch and the next challenges they'll have to face.

 

 Right until what'll prove to be the final fight for the brave Gideon. After Bolas resoundingly defeated the Gatewatch on his own turf on Amonkhet, the planeswalkers barely scurried away with their lives and regrouped on Dominaria. And then scattered, each going to lick their wounds in a different direction. Liliana's plan to go kill her only surviving master Belzenlok felt too blatantly self-serving to everybody, except for Gideon, who recognized the strategic advantage of having on their side a Liliana at the apex of her post-Mending powers, finally free of her diabolic contract. Together with a returned Chandra, they ultimately managed to destroy the old demon using the reforged Blackblade, which Gideon claimed as his new weapon of choice, after losing his sural on Amonkhet. Unfortunately, Liliana found herself merely switching servitude, with her contract reverting in a twist to Nicol Bolas himself, just as the Gatewatch, now reunited and improved by the addition of Teferi, was taking the momentous trip to Ravnica to stop the Elder Dragon once and for all. At this pivotal moment for the entire Multiverse, Liliana is forced to play for the opposite team.

 As the War of the Spark ravages Ravnica, Gideon rejoins his old friend Aurelia and is given command of the Boros air forces, as well as a pegasus that Aurelia has aptly named "Gideon's Promise". His contingent is sent to deal with the zombified Rhonas and his army of Eternals; Gideon's Blackblade is the right tool for the job, draining the God's essence after piercing him in the eye. Gideon's last plan is simple: reactivate the Immortal Sun, trapping Bolas on Ravnica the same way the old dragon had trapped all the planeswalkers whose sparks he intended to harvest, and then destroy their archenemy with the Blackblade. In a case of tragic irony, it's Gideon's beloved Oketra, also turned into an enslaved God-Eternal, to first try to send Gideon to his death by striking down his pegasus (Liliana, who was controlling the archer goddess all along, actually influenced this outcome, making her miss Gideon himself). The unlikely aid of a timely Rakdos saves the Therosian, who has now the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride into battle on the massive Demon Lord's back, which just goes to show how much Bolas has unintentionally created a united front opposing his reality-threatening machinations.

 Rakdos and Gideon reach Bolas, but the Blackblade is revealed to have been enchanted by the cunning dragon thousand of years prior against the eventuality of it being used to harm him, so it just shatters on contact. All is lost, until it's not. Eventually, Gideon's trust in Liliana pays off in a big way, as the necromancer decides that even her long-treasured life isn't worth leaving the Multiverse in Bolas's clutches (yeah, she tried so hard, and got so far, but in the end, it doesn't even matter). Liliana rebels! And as she does so, the contract's fail-safe kicks in, starting to burn her alive. But Gideon, knowing Liliana is now really their only hope, uses his hieromancy to take the contract's effects onto himself, thus dying in Liliana's place, and ultimately allowing the forces of Ravnica to win the war and seal a desparked Bolas away on the Meditation Realm. In his last moments, Gideon imagines to reunite with his Irregulars, and being finally forgiven, finally at peace.

 Gideon's remains have been (assumedly) taken to Theros by the Gatewatch, and a monument in his honor has been erected on his home plane. But since he didn't die there, he didn't cross into Theros's Underworld, meaning there's no coming back – he's gone for good, a full 10 on the Venser Scale. So this is the end of Gideon's story: he lived as a sometimes conflicted hero; he died with the firmly held belief of finally doing the absolute right thing.


INCARNATIONS 

1.  

  • Name: Gideon Jura   >> back to top
  • First Appearance: April 2010
  • Versions: Rise of the Eldrazi, Magic 2012, Archenemy: Nicol Bolas
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Turns to Ultimate: N/A
  • Ultimate's Power Level: N/A
  • Self-Defense: High, he can kill one threat right away, provided he caught them by surprise
  • Role: Board Controller
  • Evaluation: In that strange land that is Zendikar block's planeswalker experience, where everything is either too much (Jace, the Mind Sculptor) or too little (everything else), Gideon Jura is hands down the best design. He takes Elspeth, Knight-Errant's example of being a sweeper-resistant replacement for a finisher, and adds a nice set of creature-related abilities that do more than just help your side of the battle. In fact, when Gideon doesn't go and get his hands dirty by smashing faces with his damage-proof avatar, he's more concerned with stopping the aggro plans from the other side of the table. The Royal Assassin ability might seem a bit weird on a white card, but it's the kind of conditional killing that white often does (punishing the guilty, whereas black's limitations are typically due to its own shortcomings). And the idea that Gideon challenges all the enemies to attack himself in order to protect the player he swore allegiance to, that's a very cool display of heroic flavor, other than the kind of Fog-like ability that makes for a really decisive element for any control deck to have. And at 5 mana, he's not crazily unbalanced like some blue guy from the previous set.
  • Rating: 9

2. 

  • Name: Gideon, Champion of Justice   >> back to top
  • First Appearance: February 2013
  • Versions: Gatecrash
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Turns to Ultimate: Variable
  • Ultimate's Power Level: Auto-win
  • Self-Defense: None
  • Role: Beater
  • Evaluation: Gideon's return three years later has him going all-in on his beater impression. Which is a pity, because his strategic abilities were what made his original incarnation such a great card in the first place, and now they're entirely gone. You just keep accumulating loyalty counters on him, then swing when your Gideon is big enough for your taste. This is indeed as boring as it sounds. You might implicitly see the growing of the counter total as something that will force the opponent to attack into Gideon, thus recreating his old shtick of diverting the enemy aggression to himself; but now it's not at all guaranteed that the opponent will actually fall for that, or even care about the prospect of a bombastic ultimate that doesn't feel exactly around the corner. He's also pretty terrible against creature-light control decks.
  • Rating: 5

3.    

  • Name: Gideon, Battle-Forged (transforms from Kytheon, Hero of Akros)   >> back to top
  • First Appearance: July 2015
  • Versions: Magic Origins, San Diego Comic-Con 2015 Promo, From the Vault: Transform
  • Converted Mana Cost: 1
  • Turns to Ultimate: N/A
  • Ultimate's Power Level: N/A
  • Self-Defense: Adequate, any creature you have on the battlefield becomes an indestructible barrier behind which your Gids can hide
  • Role: Board Controller
  • Evaluation: Once young Kytheon reaches Battle-Forged status, what you get is almost a junior version of the original Gideon Jura. He's smaller when he takes creature form and doesn't keep the entire enemy team occupied, but still deflects the most problematic creature. And sure, an indestructible attacker or blocker (most likely it'll be a regular attacker that gets untapped post-combat to play defense in your turn) is not as strong a tactical option as near-unconditional removal, but it's flexible enough, and a good ability for the transformation turn, since you'll necessarily have something to untap at that point. In fact, any evaluation of this Gideon can't overlook the fact that it's for all intents and purposes a one-mana planeswalker, which is pretty amazing. As a creature, it's a strictly better Savannah Lions, although the activatable indestructibility is irrelevant in the early turns. The transformation clause feels easy enough in any deck that wants to play turn-one Lions, and then enjoy a free planeswalker plus larger indestructible beater later.
  • Rating: 8

4.  

  • Name: Gideon, Ally of Zendikar   >> back to top
  • First Appearance: October 2015
  • Versions: Battle for Zendikar, San Diego Comic-Con 2016 Promo
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Turns to Ultimate: 1
  • Ultimate's Power Level: Mild, the anthem emblem costs too much loyalty and doesn't compare too favorably with the other abilities
  • Self-Defense: Adequate, those Knights can block and trade
  • Role: Token Factory
  • Evaluation: The first Gideon to boast a regular ultimate (Gideon, Champion of Justice felt more like a win-con card you have to work towards) is also one where that ultimate doesn't have much appeal, if any. There might be a board state where spending four loyalty counters on a simple Glorious Anthem is a good idea, but most of the time you'll want to either keep churning out tokens or attack with a 5/5 indestructible dude. The card who represents Gideon's valiant efforts as the leader of the Ally troops on Zendikar is very straightforward: for the reasonable amount of four mana, it gives you a very resilient finisher and a way to build up your team in significant increments at no loyalty cost, which is not usual for planeswalkers that generate direct card advantage this way.
  • Rating: 8

5.   

  • Name: Gideon of the Trials   >> back to top
  • First Appearance: April 2017
  • Versions: Amonkhet, San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Promo, San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Promo
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Turns to Ultimate: 1
  • Ultimate's Power Level: Moderate, it prevents you from losing, but it's not that hard to circumvent (not sure it's correct to call that third ability an ultimate, but it's an emblem, after all, so it's ineradicable)
  • Self-Defense: High, one threat is essentially neutralized
  • Role: Board Controller
  • Evaluation: Gideon planeswalker cards have ranged in cost from 1 to 5 by now; it seems only right they would experiment with the paramount three-mana quota, no further shenanigans required. The result is a strong walker, as most of these Gideons have been so far. His emblem is mostly a nuisance, even in a deck with plenty of Gideon copies, and his creature form is back to his minimal 4/4 state. But his plus ability is truly excellent, capable of shutting down not just creature threats, but things like Aetherflux Reservoir as well, as demonstrated during the Standard era in which Gideon of the Trials was legal. He's not Liliana of the Veil, but he has the immediate impact on the battlefield that the better three-mana walkers are required to have, and high flexibility, being able to fit control and aggro strategies equally well.
  • Rating: 8

6. 

  • Name: Gideon, Martial Paragon   >> back to top
  • First Appearance: April 2017
  • Versions: Amonkhet (Planeswalker Deck only)
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Turns to Ultimate: 4
  • Ultimate's Power Level: Moderate, it sets up an unblockable alpha strike, but you have independently work towards populating your board for it
  • Self-Defense: Mild, if you have creatures on the board, Gideon makes sure they're untapped in front of him, but little more
  • Role: Aggro Enhancer
  • Evaluation: The Amonkhet block is the last time Gideon had a personal storyline of some relevance (the rekindling of his faith in the gods thanks to Oketra), and also the last time we've seen him incarnated in card form. That happened twice, though, because he also had a Planeswalker Deck to his name, resulting in this generically named Martial Paragon. Planeswalker Deck planeswalkers should be evaluated keeping in mind that these cards are meant to be very simple and beginner-level-looking, but not all of them are unplayable outside of their specific environment; this one kind of is, because five mana are feel too many to just give vigilance and an anthem to your team. The ultimate takes too long and is underwhelming, and body-wise, Gideon's creature form isn't even on par with his original five-mana version.
  • Rating: 4

7.    

  • Name: Gideon Blackblade   >> back to top
  • First Appearance: April 2019
  • Versions: War of the Spark, War of the Spark Japanese alternate art, War of the Spark Mythic Edition, Secret Lair Drop Promo
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Turns to Ultimate: 3
  • Ultimate's Power Level: High, it's an all-purpose removal that can't be used from the word go, but it's not too far away either, and when it's online, it's unforgiving
  • Self-Defense: None, even giving a creature vigilance is just a way to have that creature attack instead of being exclusively assigned to Gideon defense duty
  • Role: Tactical Superiority
  • Evaluation: The final incarnation of Gideon, bearing the moniker of the last weapon he'll ever brandish, is one of only three mythic planeswalkers found in the regular boosters of War of the Spark, in recognition of his role as the main protagonist of the story, alongside the anti-heroine Liliana and the antagonist Bolas. Appropriately, this is a Gideon that wants to be in the thick of battle, dropping fast and immediately taking tactical command of your military operations, letting you apply one of three types of relevant keyword boost to one of his fellow combatants, then assaulting the opponent firsthand, hitting only slightly less than the original Gideon Jura, but with the added advantage of not requiring to spend an activation in order to assume creature form. If Gideon's loyalty is left unchecked by the opponent, the ultimate happens naturally, and is a welcome piece of removal that makes this Gideon a well-rounded presence on the battlefield. White Weenie decks could hardly find better three-drops, and even control decks could profit from a sweeper-resistant finisher that can double as board control.
  • Rating: 9

8. 

  • Name: Gideon, the Oathsworn   >> back to top
  • First Appearance: April 2019
  • Versions: War of the Spark (Planeswalker Deck only)
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Turns to Ultimate: 4
  • Ultimate's Power Level: High, it's a quasi-one-sided board sweeper
  • Self-Defense: None
  • Role: Aggro Enhancer
  • Evaluation: The culmination of Gideon's life as a Magic card is accompanied by his second and last Planeswalker Deck version. This is mostly a more expensive Gideon Jura without much of a tactical value beyond being an indestructible beater in your turn, and occasionally giving some +1/+1 counters to a couple of other attackers. The fact that he can do both things at once is nice enough (as well as an external application of War of the Spark's trend of giving static and triggered abilities to planeswalkers), and at the end of the line resides the destruction of your opponents' entire host of creatures, which is achieved through Gideon's own sacrifice – a fitting ultimate for his ultimate incarnation.
  • Rating: 5

GIDEON'S CARDS

   

< back to top >

 All the non-planeswalker cards with Gideon or Kytheon in their name:

  • Gideon's Avenger is one of Gideon's trainees in the art of fighting with the sural without injuring oneself.
  • Gideon's Lawkeeper is the same as the above. Not sure where exactly these guys came from.
  • Kytheon's Irregulars are his street-urchin comrades-in-arms from Gideon's youth in Akros who died horribly because of him. Yes, Gideon, I had to remind everyone of this.
  • Kytheon's Tactics is older young Gideon successfully leading the Irregulars in defense of the Foreigners' Quarter's gate.
  • Gideon's Phalanx is the battle formation used by Gideon against the cyclopes and harpies who assaulted Akros while he was still serving time. It actually shouldn't be named after Gideon, since that name didn't exist yet.
  • Gideon's Reproach is Gideon kicking butt among the Hedrons on Zendikar, then in the reprint against Cabal enforcers on Dominaria.
  • Oath of Gideon is the moment when he felt creating the Gatewatch made sense.
  • Gideon's Intervention shows that Gids can't accept pointless sacrifices even when it's his beloved (if Bolas-brainwashed) Oketra exacting them.
  • Gideon's Resolve is Gideon taking point on Amonkhet.
  • Gideon's Defeat is our favorite Beefslab being harassed by ultimate bully Nicol Bolas, a setback that will cost him his sural.
  • Gideon's Battle Cry and Gideon's Company depict Gideon leading Boros troops against Bolas's forces on the final confrontation on Ravnica.
  • Gideon's Sacrifice and Gideon's Triumph are the two sides of the great hero's demise. 

 Gideon has had eleven Story Spotlights focusing on him. The first five consisted of the entire lot of spotlight cards featured on the Amonkhet set, depicting Gideon's faith being reborn then immediately tested by the gods' behavior:

 Then, during his final adventure in War of the Spark, six spotlight cards represent Gideon's efforts to fight Bolas on Ravnica (including his flying escapades riding pegasi and demons), as well as the fatal consequences of his unwavering determination.

   

Other cards clearly depicting him:

  • Kytheon Iora of Akros: Suppression Bonds are the hieromantic restraints conjured by Hixos to properly tame that brash Kytheon kid. Valor in Akros portrays Kytheon and the other prisoners fighting off the harpies. A different art is used for the M25 reprint. In Grasp of the Hieromancer, Kytheon he's using the hieromancy he learned from Hixos to stop the abovementioned harpies. Unfortunately it all leads to the Tragic Arrogance that will doom his friends.
  • Around the multiverse: Swift Reckoning is Gideon riding lions on Bant. Deft Dismissal is again our favorite hieromancer, this time breaking Consulate stuff on Kaladesh. In Strategic Planning, he's consulting with Jace about the best strategy to defeat Bolas; it won't go as planned.
  • Everyday heroics on Zendikar: Near-Death Experience catches Gideon during the first wave of the Eldrazi offensive, when all the Titans except Ulamog went to ground; in Lead by Example he's fighting side by side with Nissa, while in Shoulder to Shoulder he's doing the same with Tazri.
  • Strange alliances on Innistrad: Collective Effort and Give No Ground depict Gideon keeping Emrakul's spawn at bay in an unlikely yet effective team-up with Liliana's zombies. In Deploy the Gatewatch, their mistress tags along, too.
  • The Final Battle and Beyond: Trusted Pegasus is the Aurelia-gifted winged horse that Gideon rode against Bolas. And Taranika, Akroan Veteran represents the next generation of Therosians inspired by Gideon's legend; you can see a statue of Gideon/Kytheon in the background and her faith expressed in the flavor text (I know, the idea that adult Gideon's extraplanar feats are known on Theros is a bit sketchy), plus she basically "gideonizes" her comrades in arms.

 Planeswaker Deck exclusive cards: 

 The first ever mention of Kytheon Iora, establishing Gideon was from Theros, came as a last-minute Easter egg in the flavor text of the Journey into Nyx card, Desperate Stand.

GIDEON'S WEAPONRY

 Gideon's signature weapon (which he lost on Amonkhet in his fight with Bolas) is a sural, a group of flexible whip-like blades that in the real world originates from Kerala, in south-western India, and is more commonly called urumi in Malayalam language, while surul katti ("curling sword") or surul val ("curling blade") are Tamil variants. It's basically a steel whip and is considered very difficult to master, since it's pretty easy for inexperienced wielders to accidentally cut themselves. Gideon's version is mounted on an arm-guard, or bracer, and is composed of four separate blades that he occasionally lights up with hieromantic energy to make them more effective in taking hold of, disarming or outright slashing his targets. The sural's counterpart on Gideon's left arm is a buckler, a small shield worn on the forearm and with which he can parry incoming blows, push away his enemies, or stab them with the pointed end placed at its center. It's a classical companion weapon of ancient European origin. Mixing these two disparate traditions, Gideon's fighting style has a very eclectic and distinctive flair. In the last period of his life, after stealing the reforged Blackblade on Dominaria, he wielded the soul-draining sword against increasingly more imposing foes, up to Nicol Bolas himself, albeit in vain.

SIGNATURE SPELLBOOK: GIDEON

   

   


IMAGE GALLERY

As a kid on Theros, looking for righteous trouble.

On a date with Aurelia. Gideon definitely had a type.

As Commander Jura, leading Kiora, Munda et al. at the Battle of Sea Gate.

Battle-weary yet striking a pose on Zendikar, while Ulamog is like, "Is this guy for real?"

 

Keeping Chandra safe from her own flames on Kaladesh. Was there something more behind such tender embrace?

Goodbye, Gideon. You were white's own action star.


< The Planeswalker Files Central >

< back to top >