|Birthplace||Bala Ged, Zendikar|
|Sources||Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum, see external links|
Character[edit | edit source]
Nissa was first presented as as a proud nature-mage who believed that elves are the pinnacle race of the multiverse, and the Joraga the greatest of them all. Born on Zendikar, she possesed a deep love for her home plane, originally to the exclusion of all others. She was said to have a deep seated hatred of vampires, a fear of snakes and a love for flowers. Nissa was retconned into an animist whose ties to her home plane goes beyond that of a normal shaman or even a druid. Her soul speaks to Zendikar, and the land is as much a part of her as the blood pumping inside her veins. In this view, she is much more tolerant of other races.
Lifetime[edit | edit source]
Childhood[edit | edit source]
Nissa was born in the jungles of Bala Ged and led an unremarkable childhood. That is, until her spark ignited while she was still very young. She thought nothing strange of her knowledge of the multiverse and was unabashedly curious. Unfortunately for the girl, her curiosity and behavior was anathema to the Joraga tribe to whom she had been born. Cruelly, she was exiled from her tribe and left to the unforgiving mercies of the jungles. She lived a miserable life until finally she found a new Joraga tribe willing to take her in.
With her newfound second chance, Nissa rationalized that it was for the best that her gifts lay dormant, that it was much more fulfilling to fit in with her kinsmen than to explore her abilities. Soon after she joined her new tribe, she underwent the Joraga ceremony to become an adult, eating an extremely poisonous mushroom that would stop her heart and poison her blood against vampires. She lived and earned both her stem sword staff and a place amongst her people. She sought to live her life to exemplify the Joraga ways, and very quickly she gained recognition for her adherence to her people's culture. So great were her contributions that her tribe offered her the rites to become a leader of the Joraga Council. The rite would, unfortunately, once again send her away from her beloved lands, to live and learn amongst the other elven nations of Zendikar. Nissa chose to go further than that, and turned to the endless nations of the Blind Eternities.
Retcon[edit | edit source]
As a youth, Nissa was plagued by dreams. She and her mother Meroe were the last animists, and she was the only one to still have visions. Animists are shamans who are able to communicate with all parts of land and nature. According to the Joraga chief Numa, the animists somehow angered Zendikar and had paid the price (implying that were all killed by the Roil). Meroe disagreed with his interpretation, but Numa was adamant to send them away because of the danger to the tribe. Thinking that Numa was right, that her visions were not a gift but a warning for Zendikar's retribution, Nissa packed her staff-sword and bow and slipped out of the house before her mother could notice.
After her flight, Nissa was confronted in the forest by a glowing stream of light and life that was the land’s soul. It gave her a vision of a wrongness in the land, a horrid writhing and buzzing inside of a mountain far away, and of Nissa herself confronting that danger undaunted. After the vision cleared, Nissa found out that her friend Mazik had tracked her. She explained to him that Zendikar was in pain and it wanted her help to save it. Through mesas and marshlands, the soul of Zendikar then guided them towards the danger. When they ware confronted by a pack of vampires, Nissa discovered her power to summon elementals and defeated them. When the Roil occured, she found out she was able to connect to the land itself and calm it. She could see it then; the Roil wasn’t an alien force; the Roil was Zendikar’s reaction to the dark enemy. Through the mountains, they traveled further to Akoum. There Mazik and the soul left her, leaving her alone to confront the evil in the central peak. With her newfound power, Nissa tried to obliterate it. This proved to be fruitless, and the confrontation with the unspeakable horror ignited her spark. She planeswalked away.
Lorwyn[edit | edit source]
Her planar travels took her to the sunny world of Lorwyn where elves thrived and ruled uncontested. There she met elves who fully embraced their role as the pinnacle of nature, using both life magic and its deadly shadow to assert their primacy. This encounter led Nissa to experiment with black mana on her own terms, in secret, using it to complement her own elvish teachings.
Retcon[edit | edit source]
When Nissa arrived on Lorwyn, she immediately made a connection with this plane as well. She felt a pain here as well, the coming of the Great Aurora. When she recovered she was confronted by Dwynen pack of elves, chasing eyeblights. They accepted her alien beauty, and forced her to join the hunt. After a while, she realized that Galed and Dwynen's pack was hunting and killing innocent boggarts. Just as she confronted the elves about this, the Great Aurora arrived and changed all of Lorwyn to Shadowmoor. Nissa was tempted to learn the dark secrets of the plane, but found the power to planeswalk back to Zendikar. As she tumbled into the vast space, she saw her path unravel through the eternities. It would lead her many places, but for now it would lead her home.
Nissa's further travels[edit | edit source]
Eventually, Nissa's studies abroad settled to more mundane locations. Two encounters, one on the city plane of Ravnica that terrified her, and the other to a metal world where she was taken prisoner, led her to cease her explorations and seek guidance in the Turntimber of Ondu. Here, she approached the Tajuru elves and petitioned to study with them. Speaker Sutina appointed her a Captain Leaftalker to a village north of the hometree of Mosscrack. She was met with suspicion and distrust, but she once again convinced herself she didn't care. However, there were bright sides to her time with the Tajuru. She befriended a man named Hiba and learned to enjoy music, a luxury she knew she would miss when she returned to the Joraga, who forbade such things.
Rise of the Eldrazi[edit | edit source]
Her peace was shattered when nearby villages began to go silent, and an emergency meeting was declared to determine the cause. They did not have to ponder long, as the Eldrazi brood attacked the meeting and killed Sutina shortly after it began. Left without their leader, Nissa took up the role Sutina had left for her and took her squad to investigate the nearest disappearances. It was to be a doomed mission though, costing Hiba and all but Nissa their lives. Nissa would have fallen to the brood herself, if not for the timely arrival of Sorin Markov. He liberated the vampiric slave Anowon and demanded that the two take him to the Eye of Ugin. Nissa agreed, if for nothing else to avoid facing the shame of having her squad wiped out.
Nissa and companions traveled to the nearby Graypelt Refuge to meet with another of Nissa's friends, a merfolk named Khalled, where they received a map to the Eye of Ugin in return for Anowon's texts. Khalled gave her supplies for their long journey to Akoum. Khalled provided them with whatever support he could, including a pathway stone piece of the puzzle tower Tal Terig so that they could find their way. The trio descended into the Makindi Trench and after avoiding The Roil several times, encountered an enormous band of Kor refugees. Shortly thereafter, they encountered a Kor of another kind. A babbling Kor woman traveling with a large group of goblins. Nissa and company shared their camp fire with the woman, who would only speak in bursts of ancient languages which fascinated both Sorin and Anowon. The Goblins told them that the woman was named Smara and that she was a "witch vessel" for a spirit trapped in a crystal she was carrying. They were also on their way to the Eye of Ugin, and Sorin suggested they travel together.
Eventually the mismatched group came to the Piston mountains and Zulaport beyond that. The trio decided to stay the night in Zulaport and find some way to cross the ocean in the morning, but a vampiric death attributed to their group led to them fleeing to the sea. Nissa stole a boat and summoned a massive behemoth to swim the ocean and pull the boat with it. The party soon regretted their hasty departure, as whatever food was on the boat was soon exhausted and the goblins traveling with them began to vanish one by one. Nissa could not sleep without allowing the behemoth to be dismissed and with no food or sleep, she was forced to repeat her hard learned Joraga fasting mantras to survive. During this time, Sorin finally told Nissa the nature of their mission as well as admitting to being a walker much like her. Sorin told her that the great gods of the past, and the progenitors of the brood, the Eldrazi Titans were bound beneath Tal Terig long ago, and it was his mission to make sure they stay that way. The next morning, they approached the beaches of Akoum.
It was a hazardous landing as the compatriots were to learn. The bays of Akoum were littered with shipwrecks and crystal reefs, but the greatest threat came from the Moon Kraken that ruled those waters. Brinelin demanded tribute from their boat, and Sorin casually killed one of the remaining goblins to satisfy the great creature. That tribute was found lacking, and Sorin had to reveal more of his true nature to the creature. Brinelin remembered Sorin, and was somewhat terrified to find him returned after so long, but would not let them pass. Since Sorin's intimidation had failed, Nissa gambled that her diplomacy might work. She spoke of Sutina, who had been friends with the kraken, and told Brinelin of her death. Greatly saddened by the news of his friend's death and discouraged by the return of the brood, Brinelin finally acquiesced to lead them safely through the crystal reefs.
The party soon approached Tal Terig, which was surrounded by brood, and found themselves captured by elves Nissa had never seen. They were the keepers of Ora Ondor and planned to sacrifice the group so that their sacred Kolya fruits would grow. In their madness, they had underestimated the brood, and Ora Ondor came under siege by the brood. Nissa and what remained of their party, now greatly diminished to a single goblin who traveled with Smara and the trio, escaped during the confusion and as they fled, Ora Ondor fell. The goblin, whose name was Mudheel agreed to lead them all to the Eye, for his knowledge of Akoum was better than that of Anowon, but without supplies the group soon fell to dire straits. They were saved, after finally collapsing in the wastelands, by a water scout who altruistically shared his spoils with the group. Anowon killed the man with Sorin's permission to satiate his hunger which left Nissa aghast. The small band became aware that they were being followed after this incident, and they were finally ambushed by an army of Nulls under the direction of two vampires later that night. Nissa fell during the combat, and awoke as a prisoner of the vampires. They told her that they were hunting the Mortifier, who Nissa mistakenly believed to be Anowon. They carried her for several days, all the while leaving Nissa wondering why they had left her alive, before her allies rescued her. When she tried to approach Anowon about what she had learned, he told her that she was mistaken and the true extent of Sorin's nature came to light.
Once the group arrived at the Eye of Ugin, Nissa's plans abruptly changed from what Sorin had expected. Instead of helping Sorin reinforce the spell containing the Eldrazi, she shattered the main Hedron and released the enchantment imprisoning the titans. Nissa thought the titans would flee, that they would leave Zendikar far behind them. She was wrong, and Sorin washed his hands of her and the entire plane, choosing to go about his own business once more since Nissa wouldn't heed his instructions.
Weeks later, Nissa returned to Bala Ged and appeared before the Joraga Council. She told them of what had transpired and swore to find Sorin, to drag him back to Zendikar to help with the Eldrazi menace. With that declaration, she stepped away from her beloved home and hoped there would be something to save when she returned.
Worldwaker[edit | edit source]
Two years after the Eldrazi were freed, the Joraga tribe came under attack from Ulamog and his brood. Nissa had barely survived, a band of humans saving her, apparently the only survivor of the Joraga tribe. The one who found her, a Graypelt member named Hamadi, helped her recover, and through him and his friends, Nissa, despite feeling guilty for causing the Eldrazi disaster, realized that race and tribe no longer were of utmost importance, and her magic was needed to save the Multiverse. Teaming up with Hamadi and several others, she successfully defeated a Pathrazer of Ulamog. Tapping into her roots as an elementalist and druid, she now commanded the lands of the planes in an effort to protect the Multiverse from the Eldrazi. Her new status as "Worldwaker" is a direct translation from the nickname "Shaya" given to her by Hamadi in the Graypelt tongue.
One of the Elementals that Nissa was able to summon was different because he did not return to the land after a battle. It became her companion, and she named it "Ashaya". If she was the Worldwaker, then it only made sense that the elemental was "The Awoken World". Ashaya showed Nissa that she was one with Zendikar. As long as Zendikar was in danger, so too was Nissa. And as long as the world was fighting back, so too would Nissa. It also showed how to see and manipulate the leylines of Zendikar that were connected to the Khalni Heart and use this ultimate power to use the land itself in the attack on the Eldrazi.
Zendikar's Legacy[edit | edit source]
A vampire arrived to meet Nissa after one of her battle with a brood of Ulamog. The Malakir vampire informed her that Anowon had taught him all about Nissa and planeswalkers and that she was the final hope to preserve Zendikar's legacy. He gave her seeds of Zendikar's most prominent native plants: Kolya, red mangrove, jaddi, and bloodbriar, the last of which was extinct on the plane due to the destruction of Bala Ged by Ulamog. The vampire beseeched her to take the seeds and plant them on another plane. By doing so she will carry with her the last legacy of their home plane. Before the vampire left he also informed her that Anowon had been missing for some time. With Ulamog successfully enthralling the vampires of Ghet, it is possible that the Ruin Sage has also been enthralled.
Battle for Zendikar[edit | edit source]
After a recent battle with one of Ulamog's broods, trying to save the residents of Fartree Hamlet, Ashaya was ripped apart and Nissa lost her connection to Zendikar. While stumbling around trying to reconnect with the plane, she reached Sea Gate which was almost taken over by the Eldrazi. She was rescued and then assisted several kor and merfolk in fighting more broodspawn but were nearly killed. They were rescued by Gideon Jura who had arrived to save the merfolk Jori En and bring her to Jace Beleren. She instantly recognized him as a planeswalker and assisted him in fighting through the Eldrazi. She introduced herself to him as they made their way back to their refuge camp while hoping that he might know why Zendikar was silent. However, Gideon, despite being a planeswalker, was not a Druid and as such did not understand her question. As they rested, Nissa continued trying and failing to reconnect with her home. She then decided to travel to the Khalni Heart, a place that Zendikar could have retreated to.
Nissa traveled into the depths of the devastated continent of Bala Ged and found the Khalni Heart in a Surrakar cave. Through it, she rekindled her connection to the plane—but she also ran afoul of the demon Ob Nixilis, a former Planeswalker who hoped to use the power of the Khalni Heart to reignite his spark. Flush with the elemental power of Zendikar, Nissa bested Ob Nixilis, removed the Khalni Heart to safety, and escaped with the revived Ashaya. They returned just in time at Sea Gate to join Gideon's army in its bid to reconquer the city. Jace soon arrived to teach her, Gideon and Kiora on what he had learned from Ugin. When Ulamog arrived, Gideon and Kiora with their armies attacked it to buy Nissa enough time to unearth several hidden hedrons around Sea Gate. Jace then activated the hedron's magics and trapped Ulamog. Everything looked to be smooth sailing until Ob Nixilis arrived and knocked the hedrons out of alignment to position himself between them. The demon planeswalker absorbed a massive amount of the hedron's magic which reignited his planeswalker's spark and allowed him to escape from Zendikar. Meanwhile, Ulamog was confused, battered and weakened by the network's activation, still rather immobilized, and appeared on the edge of defeat. Gideon ordered the joint army to attack and he himself leapt forward to attack the titan. Somehow in this panic, Chandra Nalaar also arrived to help. However in a final act of spite and vengeance towards Zendikar, Ob Nixilis used his newfound power to coax the second Eldrazi Titan, Kozilek from its hiding spot under the plane's crust. Kozilek's arrival completely scattered the front defensive lines. Nissa spotted the demon gloating and charged towards him in a rage. However she was not prepared for the assault of Kozilek's reality distortion. As she began to fall unconscious, Nixilis mocked her. The demon stated that if she had left him alone to take Khalni Heart's power he would have left the plane peacefully. Now, he would kill her out of spite. Nixilis mentally dominated some of Kozilek's drones and directed them to slay Nissa. After she fell unconscious, she was rescued by Jace and Gideon who were subsequently defeated by Nixilis.
Oath of the Gatewatch[edit | edit source]
Regrouping at Sea Gate, the Planeswalkers enacted a bold new plan. While Gideon's troops and Kiora's forces held the city against the fresh assault by Ulamog, Nissa called on the elemental power of the earth to raise sunken hedrons from the ground and move them into a ring around the Eldrazi titan. Jace activated the hedrons' magic, and Ulamog was trapped! Then everything collapsed. Ob Nixilis appeared, having followed Nissa from Bala Ged. He summoned Kozilek and defeated Nissa, Jace and Gideon. The three were taken to a cave and tortured. Luckily, Chandra Nalaar had arrived in Zendikar, found the trio and freed them. The four together could finally defeat Nixilis, who retreated and swore that he would travel the multiverse to find a fitting punishment for them.
The four planeswalkers realized that they were helpless against large threats on their own, but that they could stand against just about any force in the Multiverse by working together. Thus they swore an oath to stand together and the Gatewatch was created.  Seeing that he could not keep his promise to Ugin to neither harm the Eldrazi nor allowing them to escape from Zendikar, Jace decided to slay the Titans with the Gatewatch's and Kiora's help. After consulting with Nissa, he described the Ley Line pattern to her that would bind Kozilek and Ulamog to Zendikar, drawing the bulk of the Titans into the plane so that their energy could be dispersed into Zendikar, killing them in the process. To attract them, the remaining forces of Zendikar's defenders would pose as a bait.
While the plan worked at first, with Gideon keeping the Eldrazi swarms away from the army, Kiora clearing out any other swarms and Chandra supporting them, once the Eldrazi titans were anchored to Zendikar, their destructive essence threatened to assimilate Zendikar into themselves. Afraid, Kiora tried to persuade Nissa to release the Titans and allow them to flee, but Jace objected. Chandra offered to burn the Titans instead and after preventing Kiora from attacking Nissa, Jace agreed. The pyromancer then connected with the animist, allowing her to channel her pyromantic magic through Zendikar's Ley Lines directly into the titans. In one brilliant blaze of flame, Ulamog and Kozilek were incinerated and destroyed, leaving only ashes raining from Zendikar's sky.
After the defeat of the Eldrazi titans, Nissa planted the seeds of Bala Ged she once had received from the vampire straggler: Jaddi tree, Kolya tree, red magrove and bloodbriar. She was sure they would flourish on Tazeem. She wanted to stay on Zendikar to watch over its recovery, but Chandra convinced her that there would be interplanar adventures with the Gatewatch, as well. 
Shadows over Innistrad[edit | edit source]
When Jace returned from Innistrad, he brought news about the Emrakul, who had been summoned to the plane. Traveling to Innistrad, Nissa tried to communicate with the plane, but found it less receptive and more harsh and dark than other planes she had visited. With the Gatewatch assembled, they hoped to contain Emrakul in the same way they did the other titans. However, as the Ley lines were already controlled by the cryptoliths, Nissa could not use her seal that she had used on Zendikar. They decided to try and use two smaller ley lines and link them to Chandra to assault Emrakul.
The plan did not work, because the Gatewatch found themselves under constant assault from Emrakul's corrupted minions and Innistrad's ley lines did not obey Nissa in the same way those on Zendikar did. They were saved by Liliana, who arrived with an army of undead that she had raised on the way to Thraben. Despite initial objections from Nissa and Gideon, they came to work together.
While under Emrakul's mental assault, Nissa was taken in into a mind ward by Jace. Even within, Emrakul's influence reached her through her connection to Innistrad and its Ley Lines, warping the mana she channeled, until a glimpse of Jace brought her back to her senses. Once they had regained consciousness, Nissa remarked that Emrakul was too vast to be destroyed like the other two, reminiscing about the time when her spark had ignited. Taking care of the unconscious Liliana, Nissa was asked to combine her powers with that of Tamiyo, placing her sigil on Innistrad's moon and trapping Emrakul inside. Using the few ley lines that had remained uncorrupted, Nissa tried to power the spell, but would have failed if not for another spell from Tamiyo. Nissa's sigil was embranded on the moon, trapping Emrakul inside.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Nissa made her debut in the Xbox 360 game Duels of the Planeswalkers, though Nissa's art, by Jaime Jones, was slightly altered for the purposes of Duels' packaging and marketing, because the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rejected the original art for use on packaging. They felt her outfit was a bit too revealing.
In-game references[edit | edit source]
- Animist's Awakening
- Bonds of Mortality
- Call the Gatewatch
- Elemental Bond
- Emrakul's Influence
- Imprisoned in the Moon
- Lead by Example
- Natural Connection
- Nissa's Expedition
- Nissa's Judgment
- Nissa’s Pilgrimage
- Nissa's Renewal
- Nissa's Revelation
- Oath of Nissa
- Remorseless Punishment
- Splendid Reclamation
- Sword of the Animist
- Wild Instincts
- Zendikar Resurgent
Quoted or referred to:
- Boundless Realms
- Elemental Uprising
- Elvish Mystic
- Eyeblight Massacre
- Grove Rumbler
- Kozilek's Channeler
- Nissa's Chosen
- Rampaging Baloths
- Reclaiming Vines
- Swell of Growth
- Sylvan Scrying (Battle for Zendikar)
- Ulvenwald Captive / Ulvenwald Abomination
- Vendetta (Rise of the Eldrazi)
- Vine Snare
- World Queller
- Zendikar Incarnate
- Zendikar's Roil
References[edit | edit source]
- Chas Andres. (August 11, 2015.) “Mana Bonds”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Kimberly J. Kreines & Adam Lee. (July 8, 2015.) “Nissa’s Origin: Home”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Adam Lee. (June 25, 2014.) “Nissa, Worldwaker”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Kimberly J. Kreines. (August 12, 2015.) “For Zendikar”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Kimberly J. Kreines. (August 26, 2015.) “The Silent Cry”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Kimberly J. Kreines. (September 23, 2015.) “Nissa's Quest”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Kimberly J. Kreines. (October 7, 2015.) “Nissa's Resolve”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- James Wyatt. (October 28, 2015.) “The Liberation of Sea Gate”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Kimberly J. Kreines. (November 18, 2015.) “Hedron Alignment”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Kimberly J. Kreines & Nik Davidson. (December 30, 2015.) “Retaliation of Ob Nixilis”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Kimberly J. Kreines. (November 18, 2015.) “Hedron Alignment”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer. (January 20, 2016.) “Up in Flames”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- James Wyatt. (February 3, 2016.) “Oath of the Gatewatch”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Kelly Digges. (February 10, 2016.) “Brink of Extinction”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer. (February 17, 2016.) “Zendikar's Last Stand”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Ari Levitch, Doug Beyer, Kelly Digges and Kimberly J. Kreines. (February 24, 2016.) “Zendikar Resurgent”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Nik Davidson. (July 20, 2016.) “Battle of Thraben”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Ken Troop. (July 27, 2016.) “The Promised End”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer. (June 03, 2009.) "A Different Kind of Origin Story", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast. [dead link]
- Magic Arcana. (January 26, 2010.) “The Swelling Ground”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (April 27, 2010.) “Vendetta”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
[edit | edit source]
- Nissa Revane
- "Nissa Revane, New Planeswalker" — MTG Salvation
- Michael Yichao. (July 8, 2015.) “The Art of Nissa”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Michael Yichao. (August 12, 2015.) “Hints of Nissa”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.