Magic: The Gathering Meets Pokemon: Planeswalkers as Gym Leaders
Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon have, unfortunately, never met. Too long has that been the case, and here, right now, I shall force them together in an act of stunning hubris. I alone will decide how to do so. I promise not to let this go to my head, although the use of the word hubris probably means it already has.
Not to belabor the point, but have you ever wondered what it would be like if you took key Planeswalkers from Magic: The Gathering and made them Pokemon Gym Leaders? I bet you have because that's probably why you're here.
If not, I've been thinking about it, and I've decided to put this little list together to explain my thinking. If you disagree or have other ideas, feel free to put them in the comments down below.
We're only going to talk about key Planeswalkers, the ones who have been prominent in the MtG story for years: Nissa, Chandra, Jace, Liliana, and Gideon. Although, to keep things fair and balanced, we'll also be talking about Nicol Bolas, a living embodiment of evil who straight-up murders basically everyone all the time.
Fair. And. Balanced. Because there are good people on both sides... apparently.
Magic: The Gathering Planeswalkers as Pokemon Gym Leaders
I think it's fair I quickly explain my process. While each Planeswalker does have its own color of magic, it has occasionally changed depending on the story. I think it's better to focus on the kind of magic they use, rather than the color.
That way, you get closer to the core of who they are, rather than simply which box they fit into. That, in turn, makes it easier to put them into a different box. After all, why would you put something in a box if it's already in a box?
Nissa is a green mage, apart from that one time where she was a blue-green mage. She specializes in listening to the worlds to which she planeswalks and has a deep affection for nature. Many of her spells involve bending the Earth to her will, but she tends to use a lot of vines and trees to do her bidding, too.
As a result, it's not much of a stretch to think she would be a grass-type Pokemon Gym Leader much like Erika from the Celadon Gym back in Kanto. Both of these characters are deeply in touch with the natural world and just want to help it grow. As such, her team would probably look a lot like this:
Chandra is, and will probably always be, a red mage. At a young age, she discovered a propensity for fire magic, and she's never looked back. She has the temperament to match, too, always charging in headfirst with a firm belief that anything in her way can be removed by simply adding more fire.
Red isn't just about fire, though: it's also about dragons. As such, she's a fire-type Pokemon Gym Leader like Raihan from Hammerlocke in Galar. I like to think she'd be snapping selfies if she could too, and they share a burning passion as well. Here's her team:
Jace is a blue mage; he is often seen using countermagic and messing with people's heads instead of fighting things head-on. While blue often represents water in MtG, that doesn't fit Jace at all.
Instead, given his love of mind magic, he's clearly a psychic-type Pokemon Gym Leader like Sabrina of Saffron City in Kanto. They're both incredibly talented psychics, so I think they'd get on. Here is his team:
- Mr. Mime
Liliana wields powerful black magic to summon the undead and drain the life from the living. She has a rather tragic backstory, is genuinely ancient, and also makes a lot of bad deals.
Her love of undeath definitely puts her firmly in the category of a ghost-type Pokemon Gym Leader like Fantina of Hearthome in Sinnoh. Not only do they both share a love of the afterlife, but they both have great style too. Her Pokemon would be:
Gideon is one beefy boi. He's a white mage, which is all about order. However, his magic is almost entirely just making himself invulnerable so that he can fight on the front lines.
I initially considered him as a fighting-type trainer, but I actually think he'd fit better as a steel-type Pokemon Gym Leader like Byron of Canalave Gym in Sinnoh. Both of these burly men have honed their bodies to peak condition, so they'd probably end up in a fanfic involving wrestling. And no, I'm not going to write it. Here is his team:
Each of the Planeswalkers could easily find a friend in the many Pokemon Gym Leaders we've had throughout the decades. Some of them have characters who feel incredibly similar, like Nicols Bolas and Giovanni, while others just make sense thematically, like Nessa and Kiora going surfing together.
Who would you pair up, and which ones do you think would work best as a team? Sound off in the comments and tell me why I'm right or wrong.