Kaya is a Planeswalker from Magic: The Gathering, specializing in White and Black mana. She often appears as a dark-skinned woman in her 30s with black frizzy hair. Her specialty is assassination, particularly ghost assassination. She has the power to turn parts of her body and weapons she is holding into spectral, incorporeal blades that can stab anything, even ghosts. She can also turn her entire body incorporeal, but doing so causes her heart to stop, so she can't do it for very long. She had a brief stint as the Orzhov Syndicate guildmaster, after she killed off the entire Obdezat as part of a deal with Nicol Bolas. Her time as guildmaster was shortlived, however, with Tomik stepping in as the new guildmaster.
Enter the Ghost StabberEdit
Kaya first appeared in Fiora during the events of Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Here, she was fulfilling an assassination contract to kill a nobleman's mother's ghost, who was haunting him. In the field of work, however, Kaya learned of the nobleman's shady and scummy dealings, and instead left him to die at the hands of the very ghost she was sent to kill. Afterwards, she got another contract from Marchesa, backstabber and Tzeenchian mastermind to stab the ghostly King Brago. This time she actually stabbed a ghost to death, fulfilling her contract to the letter.
After successfully stabbing Brago, Nicol Bolas approached her. In exchange for repairing a tear in the sky of her home plane, Kaya would stab the Obdezat and claim their place as the new Orzhov guildmaster. After getting the support of Teysa Karlov, who had attempted a coup of the ghost council and failed, Kaya put the ghost council to the knife, slaughtering them easily. However, as she reveled in her victory, she began to feel very heavy. As it turns out, there was a clause in the Guildpact that caused every single debt and contract that the Orzhov currently had outstanding to be thrust upon her, which is exactly what Bolas was hoping for. Under the burden, Bolas hoped that Kaya would struggle long enough under his manipulative thumb so that he could fully enact his plan to take over Ravnica.
As it turns out, being able to stab ghosts doesn't exactly make you good at maneuvering bureaucracy. Most of the ruling council hated her, especially after she hiked everyone's tithes up because she let all of the ghosts run amok from their debts. Teysa abandoned Kaya to her own fate, and it seemed like Kaya herself was up next on the chopping block. There was even an attempt on her life by a random Orzhov priest who called her a traitor. In a chance encounter though, she met with Tomik, lover of Ral Zarek and a former apprentice of Teysa Karlov. He revealed to her that every single member of the Orzhov ruling council had an outstanding debt to the Karlov manor, so in exchange for arresting Teysa, Kaya struck a deal with the ruling council to nullify their debts. This proved extremely popular with the council, and Kaya was able to keep her position.
Eventually, Bolas reappeared to enact his master plan to take over Ravnica and become a god. With this betrayal, Kaya fully renounced her deal with Bolas, and spent most of her time trying to rally forces from the other guilds. Alongside Rat, Tomik, and Teyo, the company of walkers (and Tomik) prodded and convinced the other guildmasters to lend their troops to fight the Eternals. Things happen and Bolas is beaten down. She parties with the other walkers, and joins up with the Gatewatch, as an atonement for working with Bolas. Niv-Mizzet, now the full leader of Ravnica, set her to a new task: stab Liliana Vess on pain of death.
With the burden of every single Orzhov debt looming over her, Kaya wasn't exactly in any condition to planeswalk. However, Tomik posits that if Kaya gave him ownership of the Orzhov, she wouldn't have to deal with those debts. She obliges, and gets to hunting down Liliana with Teyo and Rat. They find her at the Vess estate, enslaved by a pretender Liliana Vess who they agree to help kill, if it means they could bring Liliana to justice. Rat steals a magical artifact that the imposter was using to gain power, and smashes it, revealing a djinn that was trapped inside. Kaya attempts to apply her ghost stabbing skills, but gets pummeled away. In the end, she merely kills the imposter.
After grilling Liliana for a while, the trio of planeswalkers agrees that she has changed, and was clearly repentant. Liliana hands Kaya the chain veil as proof of her "death", and she changes her name to Ana Iora. The group then decide to go finally fix that tear in the sky, since it kind of was a long time coming. Except... not really? According to Mark Rosewater, Tolvada is a 10 on the Rabiah Scale, as apparently, Tolvada was destroyed. You're going to have to decide on whether or not you want to take Mark's word or the words of an infamously bad book. Either way, we're not seeing Tolvada anytime soon.
Kaya has appeared on 3 different cards (and a playtester card) so far.
Her first incarnation, Kaya, Ghost Assassin, details her time while on Fiora. A 2 generic, 1 white, 1 black mana 5 loyalty walker. Her 0 exiles herself, or up to 1 other creature, and returns them back to the battlefield on the beginning of your next upkeep at the cost of 2 life. This is probably the weirdest form of planeswalker protection currently in print, as you can't kill something that isn't on the board! Her -1 pings each opponent for 2 and gives you 2. Her -2 causes every opponent to discard a card and you draw a card. As she was designed with Conspiracy: Take the Crown in mind, Kaya, Ghost Assassin focuses on making lots of people groan incrementally and consistently. She's also tricky to deal with, because unless you target her with direct removal, she can keep looping herself and resetting her loyalty.
Her second incarnation, Kaya, Orzhov Usurper, very clearly details her time as the Orzhov guildmaster. A 1 generic, 1 white, 1 black mana 3 loyalty walker. Her +1 exiles up to two cards from a single graveyard, and gives you 2 life as long as you exiled a creature. Her -1 exiles any nonland permanent with CMC 1 or lower. Her Ultimate at -5 deals damage to target player equal to the number of cards in exile, and you gain that much life. A very graveyard-centric walker, Kaya, Orzhov Usurper is here to make sure that your opponents don't do anything funny with their yards. Don't expect to be reanimating anything while she is on the field. She has seen a recent resurgence in standard, after the release of the graveyard-centric set: Theros Beyond Death.
Her third incarnation, Kaya, Bane of the Dead details her time hopping from guild to guild during War of the Spark. One of the lower rarity walkers, she appears as a 3 generic, 3 black/white hybrid mana 7 loyalty walker. Her passive nullifies the effects of Hexproof for all of your opponents. Her one ability at -3 simply exiles any creature. Designed with limited in mind, Kaya doesn't exactly bring much to the competitive table, as she is super expensive to get out. However, if you manage to draft her, she is a decent source of removal for those lacking it.
Kaya also has an accompanying Oath, representing her joining the Gatewatch. It may also be the only Oath that has seen competitive play. At 1 generic, 1 white, 1 black mana, Oath of Kaya comes down and Helixes anything, which is already pretty good. In addition, Oath of Kaya punishes opponents who go after your walkers, pinging your opponents for 2 and you gaining 2 every time they try and attack a walker with a creature.
|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 - Davriel Cane|
|Return to Ravnica:||Domri Rade - Ral Zarek - Vraska|
|Theros:||Ashiok - Kiora - Xenagos - Calix|
|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|