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Nissa Revane

Magic the Gathering
by yo go re

I'm gonna guess... Green forest guardian who communes with the trees and wants to prevent civilization from encroaching on the woods?

Nissa Revane wields green magic to muster her people and amplify their might. But recently she has begun using black mana covertly, believing it a necessary means to move the elves toward their rightful place.

The sternly beautiful Nissa Revane is a proud and ruthless nature-mage. She seeks to prove that her people, the elves, are the true heirs and best stewards of the planes of the Multiverse. Nissa prefers deeds to words, though, and she has become a master summoner of her elvish allies so their blades and arrows can do the talking.

Nissa hails from Zendikar, where her own race fights for survival against an increasingly savage ecosystem. The elves of Zendikar span many of its continents, and Nissa leads a large tribe known as the Joraga. Weakness is a luxury no one can afford on this fierce plane, and as a result Nissa despises weakness in others.

Her planar travels have taken her to other places where elves thrive or even rule, such as the sunny world of Lorwyn. There she met elves who fully embraced their role as the pinnacle of nature, using both life magic and its shadow to assert their primacy. This encounter led Nissa to experiment with black mana on her own terms, in secret, using it to complement her own elvish teachings.

And Nissa will need all the magic at her disposal to protect her elves. Zendikar is growing stranger and more hostile to its inhabitants. Nissa's quest for elvish domination of the plane will be set aside as she and her tribe fight harder and harder simply to survive in Zendikar's violent terrain.

Well, I was right about the color, at least. Elves being fantastic racists is kind of expected, so I thought the MtG creative designers would try to avoid that. I never would have guessed she hated vampires, or that she was kind of responsible for releasing the Eldrazi (think "Cthulhu's three bigger brothers") to destroy her world once again, so they do still get points for creativity.

Just as Garruk Wildspeaker wasn't based on the "Garruk Wildspeaker" card, Nissa Revane isn't based on the "Nissa Revane" card - she's based on "Nissa, Worldwaker," as pictured above. Fun fact: her face on that card is directly based on Die Antwoord's Yolandi Visser. Don't believe us? Look at the hairline. Yeah. The toy's is a bit less severe.

Her clothes are totally "Worldwaker," too. She's dressed a bit less conservatively than Chandra Nalaar, what with the bared midriff, bare arms, and plunging neckline. It's kind of funny, since Nissa's very first card was edited to cover up her boob window (she was literally the posterchild for the Duels of the Planeswalkers videogame, and the ESRB requested the change). Her outfit is, naturally, green, and a lot of the shapes of it call to mind leaves - for instance, the curving lines on her boots, her diamond-shaped kneepads, the overlapping layers of her skirt, or the vertical bands of her top. She has a wide sash belt, loops around her biceps, and a cape with a collar that Ra's al Ghul would approve of. Despite all the exposed skin on her upper body, her legs are covered - if she spends all day sitting in trees, it probably beats picking splinters out of the backs of her thighs.

Funko's Legacy Collection figures always have a significant amount of articulation, and Nissa does not buck that trend. She has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, balljointed torso, balljointed(?) hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The ankles are not rocker style, but that's mostly okay, because her skirt keeps the hips from moving very far. Although she has soft PVC "sleeves," her upper arms are not as limited as Liliana's were. The impeded legs are the real bummer, though.

Nissa has an accessory: her staff, which looks rather like Gandalf's, thanks to the intertwining, viny sculpt. It has a hook at one end, and spreads out into a wider bulb at the tip. It's a very stylish accessory, and can be held well in her right hand.

It's impressive that Magic the Gathering, a franchise that mainly advances its ongoing continuity through the less-than-verbiose medium of flavor text at the bottom of trading cards, manages to give its characters full, distinct story arcs. Nissa Revane's gone from elvish xenophobe to accidental villain to full-on protective superhero. It's a shame the toy's skirt gets in the way of the leg articulation, because other than that, she's an impressive offering.

-- 11/23/14

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