Magic: The Gathering – Who Is Ajani Goldmane? (2023)

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  • Origins And Spark
  • The Conflux
  • Elspeth And Theros
  • Joining The Gatewatch
  • Phyrexian Invasion

Ajani Goldmane is one of the earliest Planeswalkers that is depicted on Magic: The Gathering cards, appearing along with four others in the Lorwyn set. While there were plenty of Planeswalkers before him, it was many's first exposure to a Planeswalker for those who didn't read the stories, having not appeared on a printed card until Lorwyn.

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While Ajani is mostly known as a white-centered Planeswalker, he's had a long history shifted between various colors, such as his earlier years' access to red mana, and his more recent forays into green. He was born on the Plane Alara, specifically in the Naya Shard, and has traveled all around the Multiverse. Here's everything you need to know about Magic's resident cat man, Ajani.



Origins And Spark

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Ajani was born a Nacatl (the Leonin race of Naya). Unlike the others, he was born albino, his snow-white fur seen as an omen and made him an outcast to his pride. While little is known about Ajani's parents, his primary caretaker was his older brother Jazal Goldmane.

Unlike Ajani, Jazal became a respected member within the tribe, even rising up to the rank of Kha, the leader of the tribe. While Ajani was an outcast to many within the tribe, Jazal took care of him and treated him with the respect he deserved.

Ajani was capable of using magic to see into the souls of others and manifest them into avatars and spells such as Lightning Helix. Despite being the best healer within the tribe, he was still looked down upon.

During the celebration of the Breaking Of The Coil, an event breaking a stone depicting the 121 Nacatl laws, tragedy would strike. While out with his fellow pridemates, Ajani was attacked by humans and abandoned by the Nacatl. He was almost killed, but saved by Jazal.

They learn that someone was after Ajani specifically, and Jazal vows to find out who put the hit on his brother. During that night, a strange hooded figure arrived and summoned nightmares from the fire, attacking the entire pride. A call came that the Kha, Jazal, was in trouble.

Ajani rushed to him but is too late. Jazal was killed. Ajani mourned over his body, the event igniting his Planeswalker Spark, and Ajani unintentionally Planeswalkers to Jund, another Shard on Alara.

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The Conflux

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After appearing on Jund, Ajani met the Planeswalker Sarkhan Vol, who saved Ajani from an attacking dragon and explained to him what he had become. He advised him on how to Planeswalk, with Ajani jumping off a cliff and Planeswalking back to Naya, out for vengeance on whoever killed his brother. He created a new weapon, made out of the head of the axe Jazal used and his own, becoming Ajani's signature two-headed battleaxe.

Ajani confronted Tenoch, a fellow Nacatl who Ajani believes summoned the nightmares that killed Jazal. He almost succeeded in killing him by throwing him off a cliff. However, Tenoch managed to drag Ajani down with him. Tenoch's clothing was caught on the cliff, and Ajani was not so lucky. Ajani was greatly injured, and found himself Planeswalking to another Shard on Alara, Bant.

It was on Bant Ajani met one of his closest friends, Elspeth Tirel. She helped to nurse him back to health, along with fellow citizens of Bant. Ajani does not stay long, and he warned that a war would be coming soon. Afterward, he returned to Naya.

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Here, Tenoch's mother revealed that Marisi, the breaker of the coil, had something to do with the attack on Ajani's tribe. In Ajani's quest for answers, he met with Marisi, where he was told to seek the dragon Planeswalker Nicol Bolas for answers.

Ajani had only seen dragons on Jund, but failed to Planeswalk there, as the Shards of Alara were beginning to merge, the starting the Conflux event.

He is found by Zaliki, his only friend in his tribe who asked Ajani to help lead them against the dragons summoned by Sarkhan Vol, being manipulated by Bolas. He faced off with Bolas, who had ignited the Maelstorm, the culmination of the Conflux and merging of the Shards.

This caused mana to fluctuate and allowed Bolas to absorb it to regain lost power. However, Ajani cut off the mana and took in what was left from the Maelstorm. Using this, he summoned forth an avatar of Bolas and banished him off the Plane.

It was during these events that Zaliki revealed she was the one who summoned the nightmares, being manipulated by Marisi. However, Marisi had already been slain by Zaliki, leaving Ajani's quest for vengeance unresolved. He forgave Zaliki, and when Ajani was offered the position of Kha, earning the respect of the tribe, he declined, giving the title to Zaliki instead.

Ajani left his home, seeking out Elspeth.

Elspeth And Theros

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Once the Conflux ended, Ajani wished to seek out Elspeth to thank her for healing him on Bant. She found her on the plane Dominaria, fighting in a pit on Urborg. He tried to bring her back to what remained of Bant, but was unsuccessful: Elspeth had given up on her former home.. Before Ajani said his goodbye, he returned Elspeth's armor to her, something she left behind on the pllane she once called home.

Ajani tried to move on with his life, but Elspeth's self-destructive attitude was too much for him to sit idly by. He sought her out again, this time tracking her to the plane Theros. Elspeth had gone through many trials, and Ajani vowed to help her in her journey.

Together, they sought entry to the shrine of Nyx. To gain entry, they had to undergo an ordeal by one of the Theros Gods. Ajani told Elspeth to seek out Thassa, who had assisted them previously. but chose the God Erebos instead.

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Elspeth fought Xenagos, a malevolent planeswalker who had managed to ascend to godhood, inside Nyx, killing him. During Ajani and Elspeth's escape, the God Heliod appeared and fatally wounded Elspeth. Ajani escaped with her body, but was ambushed and forced to leave Elspeth behind. He does take her cloak, wearing it on his armor to honor his fallen friend.

Before leaving Theros, Ajani ventured to Heliod's Temple to tell his followers about Elspeth's murder. His words traveled through the plane, starting to cast doubt on the Gods.

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Joining The Gatewatch

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Ajani planeswalks to Kamigawa, seeking a place to mourn Elspeth. He travels to fellow Planeswalker Tamiyo's home, where he learns of the Planeswalker Tezzeret. He discovers that Tezzeret had appeared on the Kaladesh, where Ajani travels to fight against him.

On Kaladesh, Ajani joined with the Renegades, a group of rebels seeking to overthrow the corrupt Consulate, the government of the Plane.

It was here he met the Planeswalkers Chandra and Nissa, saving them from being locked in a room filled with poison. He acted as a healer to the Renegades, ensuring those who were injured would be nursed fully back to health. Ajani and the Renegades succeeded in the revolt against the Consulate, and Ajani is invited to join the Gatewatch, a group of Planeswalkers who vow to help the Multiverse from threats they cannot handle themselves. Ajani accepts the position with pride, declaring "Until all have found their place, I will keep watch."

Ajani joined during a time Nicol Bolas was making a play to conquer the Multiverse. Some Planeswalkers sought to attack him on Amonkhet, something Ajani objected to in favor of more preparations. While some did not heed Ajani's advice, Ajani sought to recruit more Planeswalkers and allies for the coming final battle with Bolas.

During the War Of The Spark, Ajani summoned hordes of avatars, modeled after his Leonin allies from both his home of Naya and Theros. He acted as a leader, encouraging the soldiers to continue their assault on Bolas. Ajani's main role was helping innocent citizens escape underground once Nicol Bolas' Dreadhorde soldiers began invading, and protecting the citizens from them.

Phyrexian Invasion

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Sometime after the War Of The Spark, Ajani found himself back on Dominaria. The Gatewatch and fellow Planeswalkers had discovered that the Praetors of New Phyrexia had managed to travel to another Plane after Kaya had encountered Vorinclex on Kaldheim. It was there they were planning the next plan of action against the newest interplanar threat.

It was also here that Ajani was reunited with Elspeth, who had managed to escape the Underworld on Theros and return to the land of the living. Ajani revealed that he had discovered Elspeth's home plane before she arrived on Bant, Capenna, a world that had survived a Phyrexian invasion in the past. Ajani requested Elspeth travel there to learn how, and Elspeth, on a search for her own answers, accepted.

While on Dominaria, it was discovered that the Phyrexians had already begun invading, creating sleeper agents to awaken when the time was right. It was here Ajani learned that his companion Tamiyo had compleated by the Praetor Jin-Gitaxias, much to his dismay.

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During a peace summit, sleeper agents revealed themselves and kidnapped a famous Dominarian soldier, Aron Capashen. Ajani giving chase to them and separating himself from his fellow allies.

It has yet to be revealed exactly how, but, at some point before returning with the Dominarians, Ajani was compleated and turned into a Phyrexian sleeper agent, himself unaware of his hidden nature.

While battling the Phyrexians on the Mana Rig, Karn revealed the Sylex, a device that could decimate the Phyrexians, originally planned for use during the first Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria. This awakened Ajani, revealing (and also discovering for himself) that he had been compleated. Though he initially tried to fight against his new mind, he was unsuccessful, and eventually gave in to his new programming.

He killed the Planeswalker Jaya and destroyed the Sylex, kidnapping Karn and taking him back to New Phyrexia. As a Phyrexian, Ajani now finally sees himself as a part of a pride again, and by compleating others, can destroy people's differences and bring them into his pride, uniting under one.

Next: Magic: The Gathering – Every Ajani Planeswalker Card, Ranked

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