Elspeth Tirel was born on an unnamed Plane that was dominated by Phyrexia. She lived amongst the human population of a tower that served as an asylum for insane Phyrexians, their lives spent as toys and distractions for their psychotic masters. When she was 13 years old a Phyrexian attacked her, igniting her Spark and Elspeth fell into the Blind Eternities. For four years she traveled the Planes until she found one she would make her home: Bant, one of the Shards of Alara.
Livin' in a Alaran Paradise
Bant was nothing less than a paradise: the romantic ideal of knighthood turned up to 11. Elspeth took up training as a squire and was knighted by the age of 20, one of the youngest knights ever. All was good until two years later another Planeswalker came crashing down onto Bant: Ajani Goldmane, fresh from the neighbouring plane of Jund. He warned her that the planes were going to combine soon, but she did not believe him and Ajani left to pursue his own goals.
Elspeth learned the truth when she and her squire Aran went to investigate a Rhox monastery, where they found a part where Bant overlapped with Grixis. The two returned to the castle they served which quickly came under attack from the Grixian forces. The battle did not go well for the knights until Aran was killed. Elspeth absolutely LOST HER SHIT and released a flash of light that turned all the undead and demons into less than dust. In a later battle she cast several buffs on Knight-General Rafiq who proceeded to tear Malfegor, the demon-dragon general of Grixis several new assholes. Having lost the pure world that was Bant, Elspeth angsted for a bit and left the plane.
Elspeth traveled to Urborg on Dominaria, where she spend her time in gladiatorial pits. Her old friend Ajani found her here, and tried to convince her that her talents were being wasted. She ignored him but accepted his gift: her armor and sword that she had left on Alara. During one of her fights she encountered a gladiator that bore the insignia of Phyrexia on his arm. The man, Koth of the Hammer, revealed he was from a Mirrodin, and the plane was under attack by Phyrexia. After recruiting her, they visited Venser whom Koth enlisted to the cause by less than friendly manners.
After a group of Nim attacked, Elspeth's mind was overtaken by visions of her past and she could not travel further. She sought refuge with a Vulshok shaman, who slapped some sense into her and essentially told her to grow a pair. She did just in time: Venser and Koth had been captured by the Phyrexians, and she freed them. The trio followed a Myr that led them into the Vault of Whispers, which in turn led them to Geth. He led the three into the world where they were ambushed by Phyrexians. The trio escaped and pressed on, encountering a group of Mirran rebels. They refused to let the planeswalkers go on, until Elspeth threatened their leader. Continuing their trek, they eventually ran into Tezzeret. The artificer was the one who sent the Myr to lead them into the Vault in the first place and tried to lead them into another trap in a surgery room. The trio was victorious once again and freed a Mirran woman named Melira, who was born without any metal being part of her body, making her immune to Phyrexia's corruption.
Bringing the woman to the rebels, Melira displayed the ability to cure those infected by Phyresis. While at the camp Tezzeret's forces attacked, and Melira went with the three Planeswalkers. After an attack Koth grew frustrated at the lack of progress and took Melira with him. Elspeth and Venser were overcome by a second attack, but not until Elspeth caused severe losses to the Phyrexians. Koth and Melira covertly freed the pair and lured Tezzeret's forces into battle with those of Glissa Sunseeker, while the rest snuck off towards their goal: the throne room.
Here they found Karn, who was nearly completely corrupted by the Phyrexian Oil. Melira's powers combined with Venser's spark purified him and brough Karn back to his feet. Teaming up with Elspeth, Koth and Melira, the four set out to cure Mirrodin.
...And failed. Karn forced her to planeswalk away to Theros, a plane from which she stole a sword, where she decided to settle down and live normal life.
...And failed because she killed a marauding hydra which led to the local Sun God, Heliod taking an interest in her. No, not in the way you're thinking, although that actually would have made some sense since Heliod is basically a mashup of Zeus and Apollo. And did you notice that those Theriad quotes from throughout the block suggest that the Sun's Champion is always a woman?
After saving the plane from a native planeswalker who had recently elevated himself to godhood by killing said new god, Elspeth was herself killed by Heliod, who saw her as a threat.
Elspeth appears on three cards. Notably, the one carrying her full name was made after her first; most Planeswalkers invert this.
Elspeth, Knight-Errant costs 4 for 4 loyalty. She has two abilities for +1 that put either a 1/1 soldier on the battlefield or gives a creature +3/+3 and flying. Her ultimate makes all non-Planeswalker permanents you control indestructible for the rest of the game.
Elspeth Tirel costs 5 for 4 loyalty, with a +2 that gives you 1 life for each creature you control, -2 gives you three 1/1 soldiers, and her ultimate (that can be cast as early as the second turn she's in play) destroys all permanents, except for lands, tokens, and Elspeth herself.
Elspeth appears again in the Theros expansion, with the title Sun's Champion. Her new card costs six mana for four starting loyalty. Her +1 loyalty ability is identical to Elspeth Tirel's -2 ability. She has a -3 ability that destroys all creatures with power 4 or greater, and her ultimate grants all of your creatures +2/+2 and flying for the rest of the game.
|Planeswalkers of Magic: The Gathering|
|Original Five:|| Ajani Goldmane - Chandra Nalaar|
Garruk Wildspeaker - Jace Beleren - Liliana Vess
|Alara:||Elspeth Tirel - Nicol Bolas - Sarkhan Vol - Tezzeret|
|Zendikar:||Gideon Jura - Nissa Revane - Sorin Markov|
|Scars of Mirrodin:||Karn - Koth of the Hammer - Venser|
|Innistrad:||Tamiyo - Tibalt|
|Return to Ravnica:||Domri Rade - Ral Zarek - Vraska|
|Theros:||Ashiok - Kiora - Xenagos|
|Tarkir:||Ugin - Narset|
|Kaladesh:||Dovin Baan - Saheeli Rai|
|Other:||Dack Fayden - Vivien Reid|
|Commander 2014:||Daretti - Freyalise - Nahiri - Ob Nixilis - Teferi|
|Pre-mending:||Bo Levar - Commodore Guff - Jaya Ballard - Urza|