Zurgo Bellstriker - Tarkir Story

Visiting with Vorthos:  Sarkhan and Tarkir story 2.0

By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

This week on Uncharted Realms we got to see what happened to Sarkhan after he saved Ugin and blinked out of existence.  No, he did not just cease to exist, as some had predicted.  No, Sarkhan is alive and well and he has been whisked back to his own time to find Tarkir is the same…but also wildly different.


The largest single difference is the fact that the Dragons are no longer extinct.  In fact they are alive and well and wrecking house on Tarkir.  However, the dragons are now in the process of fighting each other.  We witness such an exchange when the first herd of Dragons that Sarkhan meets on Tarkir 2.0 (likely from the Temur) are attacked by dragons that are from the Mardu…or whatever is left of them.  We’ve got some Dragon on Dragon crime here folks…and that’s awesome!


However, for Sarkhan, he lands in amidst the Mardu and meets people that in the previous timeline were people he was familiar with…namely Ankle Shanker and Zurgo.  However, these two no longer remember him. Can you imagine, meeting people that you know and suddenly they are no longer the same people?  It must be awfully disconcerting and must have left Sarkhan reeling.  Furthermore, Zurgo was his nemesis…and now he doesn’t even remember who Sarkhan is, let alone that they should be enemies.  Further to that, Zurgo is no longer the Khan and it becomes clear that the social order has changed dramatically because the word “khan” is not something to tossed around lightly.  Clearly Kolaghan and the dragons are in charge and there is no longer a Khan at all.


The same has happened to the Jeskai because Narset is no longer the Khan there, but Taigam (who used to be Sultai if I keep things straight) is now in charge with Ojutai ruling over the territory and Narset is no where to be found.  Clearly all of Sarkhan’s world is crumbling because the people he came to rely on, expect, and trust have changed.  While his intended goal of saving Ugin and the dragons succeeded, the other pieces are starting to look like they are falling apart.  That isn’t good news because it leaves Sarkhan in a very precarious position and with a lot of learning to do in very short order.


What do I find interesting about this?  There will be people who critique the fact that Sarkhan still exists despite having altered the timeline so significantly.  I’m totally prepared to wash that on the grounds that Sarkhan, being a Planeswalker and having a spark, is largely removed from the ebb and flow of the normal timeline.  Come on folks, the guy can jump plane to plane…what’s a little time travel after all?


No, what I find interesting is really the disappearance of Narset.  The fact that she is no longer with the Jeskai means that she a) alive and b) likely very different.  In my mind this clearly means we’ll be seeing Narset as a Planeswalker. That isn’t really shocking, but it does appear like it might be more and more likely.  I am hoping she is full on Jeskai coloured because a three coloured Planeswalker would be amazing. I would not be surprised if one of her abilities is a similar card draw ability like Chandra.  It feels like it is an interesting, but not yet broken, design space for Red to use and Narset might be the perfect Planeswalker for it.




Also, Zurgo looks to be getting a reprinting, but he looks like he might get downsized in terms of power because his Helmsmasher variant is a house in Limited.  Zurgo Bellstriker?  Could he be used to summon Dragon Tokens to the defence of his clan?  That would be a thought.


Oh, and did anyone else catch the Vial of Dragonfire reference?  Reknowned Weaponsmith might be useful to dig up the Vial in this set because from what was described it sure looked like a fun way to burn out something.  It sort of feels like one of those artifacts that you might equip and trigger to deal a large amount of damage (I’d start at 5 and consider moving up to as high as 7)…something akin to Vial of Poison.  Because it is a vial it is unlikely to be something you can get multiple uses out of, but in some environments just the threat of activation is enough of a deterrent to hold people off. That would make him far more useful than the creator of Heart Piercer Bow in Khans which is a totally underwhelming artifact.


The last piece that crossed my mind was whether or not the dragons had remained unchanged in the 1280 years since Sarkhan saved Ugin?  Are the elder Legendary dragons of each brood still alive or do they have some sort of natural life expectancy?  Have any NEW dragon factions and brood emerged?  We only got 5 allied coloured dragons in Fate Reforged so there is a chance that we see 5 enemy coloured dragons emerge in this set.  Personally, I think that would be awesome if we started to see some rivals emerging and new social re-ordering with humans and humanoids who nor aligned with any of the clans siding with these Renegade dragons.  Perhaps that’s wishing more of a story than can jammed into one set as the last act, but I can dream.


Well, that’s all for me today.  Thanks for reading and stopping in here at Casual Encounters.  Have yourself a great MTG day.



By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

@bgray8791 on Twitter