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Literature / Time Spiral Cycle

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You may recognize this art from Undying Rage.note 

The Time Spiral Cycle is a trilogy of tie-in novels for Magic: The Gathering's Time Spiral block. It consists of three novels, all written by Scott McGough: Time Spiral, Planar Chaos, and Future Sight.

The plane of Dominaria has been through a lot over the history of Magic: the Gathering. There have been so any apocalyptic cataclysms across the plane that time itself is destabilizing, and the fabric of reality is tearing. Teferi has discovered that if these time rifts can't be repaired, not just Dominaria, but the entire multiverse will cease to exist. Uh-oh.

Teferi may be an all-powerful planeswalker, but even he can't stop this threat on his own. Can he muster his allies in time to save... everything?

This trilogy represented a key moment in the Magic: The Gathering storyline. It's the story that changed the nature of the planeswalker spark: after Future Sight, planeswalkers were no longer Physical Gods, and their canonical power level was lowered to the point that they could be printed on cards without breaking the game. Also, the cycle did its best to kill off or depower as many of the old 'walkers as it possibly could in order to further pave the way for the new batch.


The Time Spiral Cycle provides examples of the following tropes:

  • After the End
  • Apocalypse How: The entire multiverse is on the verge of collapse.
  • Badass Boast: It's sort of Radha's schtick.
  • Bald, Black Leader Guy: Teferi
  • Barbarian Hero: Radha
  • Continuity Porn: The whole premise of this cycle is to resolve the loose ends left behind in previous storylines and set up The Mending to bring down the canonical power level of planeswalkers, and it's executed with a heaping dose of Call Backs and Continuity Nods.
  • Cosmic Retcon: The Mending.
  • Depower: At the end, Teferi sacrifices his planeswalker spark to close the Shivan rift.
  • Dwindling Party: This is the trouble with using Heroic Sacrifices as your main attack plan. Every time they close a rift, they lose an ally.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Enemy Within: Jeska's struggles with the remnants of Phage that are still left inside her.
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  • Energy Being: The Weaver King, a malevolent entity that exists in a web of mental links.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Jhoira, who is still as skilled an artificer as ever.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Radha, the half-elf, half-Keldon.
  • Heroic Blue Screen of Death: Teferi, when he loses his spark.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: This is Teferi's main strategy for closing the rifts. They can be mended, but a planeswalker must give up his or her spark, and potentially his or her life as well.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Just when Leshrac thinks he's won, Nicol Bolas pulls one of these and reveals he was only faking his injuries. Leshrac's guard is down and Bolas promptly curbstomps him.
  • Kubrick Stare: Venser, on the cover of Planar Chaos.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Teferi loses his spark at the end of Time Spiral. But then again, you already knew that, because his card is an ordinary creature with the flavor text "To save this plane, he must forsake all others." Oh, and it says so right there on the back of the next book.
  • Magnetic Hero: Well, he tries, anyway. Teferi knows he needs the help of other planeswalkers to complete his mission, and he does his best to recruit as many as he can.
  • Manipulative Bastard
    • Leshrac, in the third book.
    • Teferi gets accused of it repeatedly. The other planeswalkers treat him like the second coming of Urza.
  • Physical God: Teferi (and the other 'walkers).
  • Placebotinum Effect: Venser has spent years developing a teleportation device that he calls an "ambulator". He finally manages to get it working. And it really does work, but pretty soon he's shocked when he discovers that, thanks to his latent planeswalker spark, he can teleport just fine without it.
  • Power Copying: Leshrac, thanks to the Mask of Night's Reach.
  • Put on a Bus: Multani. After Jeska abuses him to close a time rift, his essence vanishes and only his mask is left behind. He'll re-form, but there's no telling how long it will take.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Jhoira, thanks to her slow-time water, and Jodah, thanks to a dip in the Fountain of Youth.
  • Retcon: In case you thought that weirdness in Scourge was canon, Teferi affirms that he has never met this Karona person. Furthermore, Lord Windgrace assures us that Yawgmoth is definitely, definitely dead.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Venser and Jodah try to use it to get the ambulator back from Windgrace. (It doesn't work.)
  • The World Is Always Doomed


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