Kiora is a merfolk planeswalker from Zendikar. When she was young she and her sister loved hearing stories about the merfolk god Cosi. They also worshiped him, for the thrill of doing something (perhaps implicitly) forbidden. Her spark ignited when she got nommed by a sea serpent. She left her home when the Eldrazi showed up and started to slurpie all of Zendikar's mana. Kiora wants to stop this so she is wandering the oceans of the multiverse and gathering an army of huge sea creatures. She went to the Theros to gain control of the fuck huge sea monsters on the plane. In the process, a large number of merfolk began to think Kiora was an avatar of the god Thassa and began to worship her. Thassa got pissed at Kiora for stealing worshippers and decided to make an example out of her. When Kiora was trying to gain control of a fuck huge sea monster with an entire city on its back, Thassa attacked. A giant battle with hundreds of tentacle monsters and sea serpents ensued. Kiora lost control of all her sea monsters and got her shit slapped in the battle, but managed to steal Thassa's magic bident that controls sea creatures, and planeswalk the fuck out. Now she has super DUPER control powers and presumably is using those powers to make an even bigger badder army of tentacled goodness. Now that she has this bident, we've seen a new Kiora card printing with new mechanics to reflect the change in fluff.
Kiora has appeared on two Magic cards so far, in the expansions Born of the Gods and Battle for Zendikar. Her Born of the Gods card costs 2GU and starts with 2 loyalty. Her +1 ability prevents all damage that one opponent's card would do until your next turn, and so can be used against any creatures that would otherwise threaten her starting loyalty (which there are many of, since she has one of the lower starting loyalty scores of any planeswalker). It's also very effective against planeswalkers who can do damage repeatedly, like Chandra Nalaar or Tibalt. She also has a -1 ability that lets you draw a card and play an additional land this turn; this mimics the card Explore from Zendikar. Drawing extra cards is always good, but without additional help, you may not be able to reliably take advantage of the extra land play; when you can, it's also a significant advantage. Her ultimate costs -5 loyalty, and gives you a 9/9 Kraken creature token every turn until the game ends or time stops. Short of playing some kind of Ghostly Prison-type card or playing an Eldrazi, there are not many ways for your opponent to keep up with that in the long game (although the new version of Ajani Goldmane can slow the tokens down rather hilariously with his ultimate).
Her new card from Battle for Zendikar is a bit different. It costs 2GU and starts with 4 loyalty. Her +1 ability untaps one creature and one land- nowhere near as powerful as her other card's +1, but pretty useful with the right tech. Her -2 ability has you mill the top four cards of your library into your graveyard, though not without nabbing a creature or land first. Situational, but useful with graveyard resources like the Sultai from Tarkir. Her ultimate costs -8, but is probably the best ability on the card, letting you have your creatures fight your opponents' as they enter the battlefield... then giving you not one, not two, but three 8/8 blue Octopus tokens. Instant win if you play your cards right, pun intended.
- Kiora first appeared in the Magic video game Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012. She was represented as the "player" of a sea monster-themed deck that the player could unlock. She proved popular among fans, which led to an actual planeswalker card that represented her in Born of the Gods.
- Kiora's name is similar to the Maori greeting phrase "kia ora" ("be well"). Wizards of the Coast claims that this similarity was unintentional.
- Kiora's art is the second Magic card inspired by The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
|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|