"Bolas does not wait for you. You wait for Bolas."
- – Tezzeret, Agents of Artifice
The Lord of the Blind Eternities. The Forever Serpent. The Eldest Planeswalker. Big Evil. He actually prefers to be called Nicol Bolas because he thinks titles lose all meaning when you have pretty much all of them. He is one of the oldest, most powerful, malevolent, uncaring and destructive beings in the Multiverse. And he's a freaking dragon. He uses a powerful kind of magic that combines black with blue and red. He also possesses an ability that allows him to shatter the minds of any being he touches with but a caress.
When Dominaria had only recently been established as the Nexus of the Multiverse, roughly twenty-thousand years before the birth of Urza, a great war shook the plane. It was the war of the Elder Dragons, that saw only five survivors: Nicol Bolas, his brothers Arcades Sabboth and Chromium Rhuell, their sister Palladia-Mors and their cousin Vaevictis Asmadi. Nicol got out as top dog with a triggered Spark. Five thousand years later the plane saw its first Planeswalker Duel, where Bolas defeated a demonic leviathan. The duel reduced the continent of Madara to a third of its size and saw the creation of the Talon Gates: the leviathan's remains that allowed non-Planeswalkers to travel between the planes.
The Dragon Emperor
More than four millennia after the birth of Urza, Nicol Bolas had usurped the Madaran Empire for his own. He did this because Madara was the crossing line of the blue, black and red leylines, which Bolas needed to anchor himself to the Plane so that he would not blow it up with his mere presence. In this way he could rule Madara as its God-Emperor for 400 years. Unfortunately for him, his Imperial Champion Tetsuo Umezawa (descendant of Toshiro Umezawa of Kamigawa fame) had other plans. Because his conscience could not deal with Bolas ravaging the continent, he severed Bolas' link to the leylines while the dragon was at his Meditation Realm and eventually killed the dragon himself.
Rebirth of the Dragon
350 years after his death, Dominaria was plagued by time rifts. Piggybacking his consciousness on the Planeswalker Spark of Venser, he managed to be reborn. He dueled with Teferi, but when he was told about the nature of the rifts he left for the plane of Kamigawa.
When he returned he was challanged by Leshrac, the Walker of the Night. After a titanic battle Bolas imprisoned him in the mask of the Myojin of Night's Reach, the embodiment of black mana on Kamigawa. Bolas then threw the mask into the rift that had appeared over Madara, stopping that what he had set into motion. He then left Dominaria but was caught up with by the Mending, stripping the dragon of most of his powers.
Return to Power
Robbed of his most powerful abilities, Nicol Bolas set a series of events into motion to return himself to power. He founded an interplanar consortium, which was unfortunately usurped by Tezzeret. Enlisting Liliana Vess who in turn found an ally in Jace Beleren he tried to get the organisation back, but this plan failed when Jace opted to destroy the Consortium instead. Bolas then attempted to combine the planes of Alara into a single one and absorb its power, which succeeded even after the intervention of Ajani Goldmane who made a copy of Bolas for the dragon to fight and both he and the copy disappeared in a flash of light.
The dragon sent his servant Sarkhan Vol to the plane of Zendikar to unravel the mystery of the Eye of Ugin. He also engineered the appearances of Jace Beleren and his tsundere ladyfriend Chandra Nalaar to activate the Eye and draw the Eldrazi back into the Multiverse. Because his intervention stopped at this point, it is rumored that this was just as planned for the dragon. Ugin suspects that Bolas did this to make a distraction that could not be ignored. As for what Bolas intends to do while those who would probably try to stop him are occupied with dealing with the Eldrazi, Ugin has no idea.
Tezzeret proved to be useful even after his defeat at the hands of Jace Beleren when Bolas sent him to find the creator of Etherium, Crucius the Mad. Tezzeret did, but not in such a way that proved useful for Nicol Bolas. He in fact managed to defeat and trap the dragon with a piece of artifice. Or so he thought, until he visited the dragon on the island that served as Bolas's prison and revealed he was just a simulacrum. Tezzeret was then "recruited" by Bolas once again to go to Mirrodin to assess and observe the rise of Phyrexia as his inside man.
In Amonkhet we find out Bolas conquered a plane, and made a prosperous city into an elite zombie army making machine. Then in Hour of Devestation he shows up, destroys the city, and humbles the Gatewatch.
Interestingly enough, if you exclude the 5 Origin DFC planeswalkers, Nicol Bolas is one of nine characters represented both as a creature card and as a Planeswalker card (the others being Venser, Karn, Jaya Ballard, Xenagos, Narset, Teferi, Ob-Nixilis, and Samut). His initial incarnation as a Planeswalker card costs a whopping 8 mana in three colors, so don't expect to see too many people use him, and starts with five Loyalty counters.
The abilities from his initial incarnation as a Planeswalker card allow him to destroy a non-creature permanent for +3 loyalty, can give you control of a creature for -2 loyalty, and for -9 loyalty he deals 7 damage to a player who then discards 7 cards and sacrifices 7 permanents. Despite his high cost, when on the table he has to be dealt with, lest he fuck you up.
|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 - kaya|
|Commander 2014:||Daretti - Freyalise - Nahiri - Ob Nixilis - Teferi|
|Pre-mending:||Bo Levar - Commodore Guff - Jaya Ballard - Urza|
|Planeswalker Groups:||The Gatewatch|