Magic’s story may be delivered through an unusual medium, to say the least – it’s the longest-running original episodic fantasy narrative to be told primarily through trading cards – but it has to keep its audience in suspense sometimes regardless. That means the main characters have to feel like they’re facing real adversity, with challenges they struggle with, sometimes overcoming them and sometimes failing, and, occasionally, somebody has to die.
A handful of planeswalkers with main-character-status exposure have died “onscreen” in the course of the most recent era of Magic story. Venser, most infamously of all, died in the ending of the Scars of Mirrodin block story. Xenagos, too, got himself killed in the climactic battle of the Theros storyline. And, after much more character establishment than either of the former, Elspeth was murdered after slaying Xenagos, betrayed by her own patron, the arrogant and prideful Heliod. So Creative doesn’t shy away from ending planeswalkers’ multiverse-traveling stories bloodily.
The salient question, then, is: Who’s next? Well, let’s first consider who seems to be safe for sure. Koth has a long time ahead of him, considering that among the Mirran resistance leadership, both Venser and Elspeth are, of course, dead, and Ezuri is worse than that – compleated and working for the other side. Creative probably wants to give the Mirrans a little bit of hope so that our next return to Mirrodin isn’t a foregone conclusion, and between Koth and the defector Praetor, Urabrask, it’s hard to count the Mirrans out even with the plane’s change of name.
For that matter, count all the “ancient” planeswalkers – pre-Mending guys who are orders of magnitude stronger than your average planeswalker, who bend storylines around themselves, i.e. Karn, Bolas, and Ugin – as unkillable for the time being, unless we’re back on Tarkir in the near future and we see a rematch of the Bolas-Ugin duel that Sarkhan intervened in.
Sarkhan himself? Also probably off the table as far as dying is concerned. Sooner or later, there will be another plane along the lines of Jund or Tarkir where Dragons play a super-prominent role, and it wouldn’t be the same without the Dragonmaster Fanboy to gawp at them.
Now onto who’s being set up to kick the bucket. Liliana in particular has a bullseye on her back. Let’s look at the facts: She got into a tiff with Garruk, it kind of got dragged out, as is the necromantic drama queen’s way, and essentially she massively messed up her resolution of the issue. On Innistrad, Lili put the Curse of the Chain Veil on the brutish hunter, which took him out of commission entirely – oh, wait, no, it actually turned Garruk into a much stronger, more feral and blood-hungry, corrupted version of himself whose remaining scraps of mind are focused entirely on hating her. So if some set preview shows Lili and Garruk in the same block, you can bet your bottom dollar one of them isn’t making it out alive.
Besides Liliana, it’s not clear whose personal storyline puts them in the most danger, but Ral in particular has some loose ends that could turn out badly for him. He is, for starters, from Ravnica, and a proud Izzet member, which means that he has a lot of enemies from the get-go. He also failed to interfere in the Implicit Maze in such a way that Melek, and hence Niv, won the Living Guildpact prize, and Niv-Mizzet isn’t known to be the most forgiving or understanding boss.