MTG LORE – An Analysis of Urza vs. Jace from Magic: The Gathering

Lore Analysis, Garruk vs. Liliana:

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Simple characters are boring. That’s why I love the complexity of many Magic: The Gathering characters. Many possible meanings can be found when we analyze the characters and their relationship to other elements within the text.

Today, I am going to analyze the characters of Urza and Jace Beleren using a method known as compare and contrast, in order to better understand their deeper meaning and significance.

Remember that when we compare and contrast, we do not do so for the purposes of just making a list of similarities and differences. That would be pointless. We examine their similarities and differences with the intent of gaining new insight into these elements, in this case Jace and Urza, an insight that we might not be able to see when looking at each character in isolation.

Let’s start with a brief overview. Urza vs. Jace – What is the deeper meaning behind two of the most prominent planeswalkers of Magic: The Gathering?

Urza was a master artificer and planeswalker originally from the plane of Dominaria, famous for the conflicts that he headed. Before becoming a planeswalker, he engaged in a lifelong war against his younger brother Mishra, a war so devastating that it was known by all of Dominaria as the Brothers’ War, and whose conclusion was so violent and devastating it shook the very core of the plane of Dominaria itself, changing its axis and thrusting the entire land into an Ice Age, an act so momentous that it even had an effect upon other nearby planes that interacted with Dominaria’s pull.

This was, amazingly, all while Urza was still a simple mortal. After the end of the Brother’s War, from which Mishra perished and Urza ascended as a god-like planeswalker, Urza devoted the next thousand years to combating the Phyrexian Empire, who had been responsible for corrupting his brother Mishra and who planned to invade Dominaria.

Jace Beleren is a blue mage who specializes in illusions and has an innate gift for telepathy. Jace has often been the pawn of other, more powerful forces: as a child, his mentor, the Sphynx Alhammaret deceived and exploited Jace throughout much of his service, and ultimately wiped most of Jace’s memory of himself. On Ravnica, the Infinite Consortium and Tezzeret forced Jace down a path that ultimately led him to being manipulated by none other than Nicol Bolas. Due to these manipulations Jace inadvertently freed the Eldrazi from their prison on Zendikar, threatening all of the multiverse.

So what do these two characters have to do with each other? In the storyline, Urza and Jace never met, they existed hundreds if not thousands of years a part from one another, and their conflicts, at least so far, do not even overlap.

The link I see between them is that both are arguably the most prominent planeswalker of their respective era, each serving as a figurehead for the game itself. Today, it is reasonable to say that Jace is the face of Magic, and yesteryear, it was Urza. Heck, the proprietary font that’s been used from Magic 2015 onward is called Beleren, so named after Jace.

So if these characters represent the larger game and its players, then by comparing and contrasting them, what might we learn about ourselves?

Interestingly, when analyzed in relation to one another, it can be interpreted that Urza, despite his character’s age, actually represents the turmoil and conflict that is typical of our teenage years, while Jace, despite his character’s young age, actual embodies the conflicts of adulthood: namely those of compromise and complacency.

Now, this is my own interpretation of the characters, and I do want to stress it is just that: my own. It is not the deeper meaning behind these characters, but one possible meaning of many. I will do my best to elaborate and explain my interpretation and point to where in the text I draw my inferences and conclusions from.

Let’s begin with active vs. reactive.

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