Batman Character Analogues In Magic: The Gathering – First the Heroes

It's Batman Week here at Bleeding Cool. You may have seen a fair few posts already in our Collectibles portion of the site. However, we here in Games felt that Batman was a popular enough superhero that we decided to get our share of time looking at the hero. Throughout this week, we will be taking a leaf out of Wizards of the Coast's Godzilla Series treatment for Magic: The Gathering and applying that treatment to existing Magic cards – and of course, we will be giving our own Bat-spin on everything.

DC Comics' Batman character, in all of his masked, vigilante-style glory.
DC Comics' Batman character, in all of his masked, vigilante-style glory.

Before we do this, I want to make it known as the author of this series that these are opinions expressed solely by myself. They don't represent Wizards of the Coast, D.C. Comics, or even Bleeding Cool. Plus, I have roughly twenty analogues which I've painstakingly picked out for this series, to be doled out four at a time over the next five days. Are you ready? Let's dive!

#1. Batman

Batman is a masked vigilante, a trope that actually doesn't lend itself too well to the concepts derived from Magic: The Gathering. Consequently, we have to look at what Batman is able to do. He has no actual superpowers himself, rather relying on the merits of his own deductive intelligence and his mass of wealth inherited by his late parents. What does this glut of resources lend itself well to? Gadgets. Fortunately, this idea has a strong parallel in Magic: The Gathering, in the form of artifacts. Combine this with red and white as a color identity, as those colors are the colors of vigilante justice, and you have a pretty ideal analogue to Batman in Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer.

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer, a card from the New Phyrexia set for Magic: The Gathering.
Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer, a card from the New Phyrexia set for Magic: The Gathering.

It's pretty obvious that any sort of "gadgets" could give Jor Kadeen (and other creatures you control as well) a huge boost in combat, something that Batman also excels at. Even the ideas that Batman believes in are apparent in the flavor text for this card. From there, let's move on to…

#2. Bruce Wayne

Let me be frank with you all – this analogue would probably be the Buy-A-Box promo for whatever set has the Batman Series of cards supplementing it. Bruce Wayne is more apt than not to try and distance his image from the Batman persona that he has so carefully crafted, so that makes sense.

DC Comics' Bruce Wayne, in Batman costume sans cowl, deep in thought.
DC Comics' Bruce Wayne, in Batman costume sans cowl, deep in thought.

Of course, it's a given that the man behind the Bat would be a member of the aristocracy. Furthermore, given how difficult it can be to actually manage this Batman persona of his, a bit of that needs to shine through the facade of the character by way of the card choice. This is why I had the notion that the best analogue for Bruce Wayne would be Sorin, Lord of Innistrad.

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, a card from the Dark Ascension set from Magic: The Gathering.
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, a card from the Dark Ascension set from Magic: The Gathering.

The Vampire tokens that Sorin produces could easily be reskinned as bats from the Batcave escaping to hunt in the night. Sorin's second ability shows Bruce Wayne's aptitude for philanthropy. The third shows Batman's true colors coming through – a blatant show of justice. Batman may be the most important character in the Batman comics (hence the name!), but there's more to Batman than just Batman. This leads me to our next character in the series:

#3. Robin

I admit, coming from a gaming background more so than a comic one, I know less about Batman's sidekicks than I do about Batman or even his nemeses. That said, I do know that Dick Grayson was a circus acrobat and his family was renowned as The Flying Graysons. I also know that that's a big part of the character of that particular iteration of Robin. Further, I know there are a ton of different Robins in the Batman canon, which I can actually use to justify the next card selection.

DC Comics' Robin character, vigilant and stoic.
DC Comics' Robin character, vigilant and stoic.

I admit that I was a little bit stumped about the best card to represent Robin in this hypothetical Batman Series, but I finally settled on the following choice, after a bit of deliberation. As it were, the following card is not legendary which means that there could also be any of the various Robins in the Series if necessary, all copies of this same card – Robber of the Rich.

Robber of the Rich, a card from the Throne of Eldraine set from Magic: The Gathering.
Robber of the Rich, a card from the Throne of Eldraine set from Magic: The Gathering.

The only thing that could be held against this Robin analogue is the fact that Robber of the Rich is a Rogue. That being said, vigilantes are typically going against the law enforcement of the area by their mere nature, so it can't be that much of a stretch. The keywords of reach and haste feel right as well. The last character we will be covering today in the Batman Series is another hero, albeit one I know the least about. Let's see how this works for us!

#4. Batgirl

What little I actually know about Barbara Gordon, also known as Batgirl, comes from Alan Moore's graphic novel, The Killing Joke. It isn't a very strong depiction of Batgirl in that it's obviously very tough for her therein. But I also know that Batgirl is a powerful ally to Batman and Robin in other media.

DC Comics' Batgirl, swooping in to save the day.
DC Comics' Batgirl, swooping in to save the day.

I figure that Batgirl would have a similar skillset to Batman himself, hence the similar get-up. However, for the sake of redundancy, I don't think I'd put Batgirl as red and white with a focus on gadgetry in the context of Magic: The Gathering. After all, there has to be some sort of diversity in what cards do in a set. As a result, I considered a few different cards before coming to the conclusion that Thalia, Guardian of Thraben felt right for the Batgirl analogue.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, in the Masters 25 set from Magic: The Gathering.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, in the Masters 25 set from Magic: The Gathering.

Thali has been shown time and time again to be a fighter to the end for freedom and justice. Besides that, Thalia goes rogue against the Church of Avacyn when they bar her from doing something to combat the conspiracy that unleashes the Eldrazi Emrakul unto Innistrad, something that, if she was in the same position, I'd assume Barbara Gordon would do as well. We have just scratched the surface of this article series so far. Join us tomorrow when we delve into the Rogues' Gallery.

About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.

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