Lore Bits: The Infinite Consortium

Given that Ravnica is a plane composed of one large city, it would be no surprise that other organizations exist outside of the ten guilds. Without guild support though, managing such an outfit would take a lot of support and backing that is much more difficult to obtain. One organization managed to do this, by having a collective of planeswalkers in it’s employment, which in the long run is infinitely more valuable than any group that is confined to one realm. Yes, the organization that is the feature of this week’s lore bits is: The Infinite Consortium. The consortium is also the reason why I was never really expecting to see an Izzet aligned Jace in Return to Ravnica.

So what is the Infinite Consortium? Well, surprisingly enough (or not at all) the I.C. is a interplanar organization that focuses on acquiring resources from multiple planes and then selling it back to people on different realms. While the exact number of realms the Consortium has outposts on is unknown, known planes occupied include: Mercadia, Kephalai (Innistrad but less bandwagon horror motif), Aranzhur (a plane that gets mentioned once and only once), Kamigawa (a plane that already was mentioned once and doesn’t deserve another), and of course Ravnica (otherwise my opening paragraph would’ve been pretty pointless). Employees of the Consortium consist of planeswalkers, the means of transport for goods in-between realms, and natives of whichever realm a branch has been established for security, marketing, etc.

So where did the Infinite Consortium come from, and how is it relevant to our merry band of “Neowalkers”? The Infinite Consortium was founded by everyone’s favorite Elder Dragon, Nicol Bolas. Not much is known about the organization under Bolas’s rule, but it’s safe to assume the Consortium mainly existed to be the eyes and ears of Bolas throughout the Multiverse, and the wealth acquired went mostly to keep everyone doing their job. At some point, Tezzeret began working at the Ravnica cell of the Consortium after swearing loyalty to Bolas. However, Tezzeret was able to wrest control of the Consortium from Bolas, by building up his own following. With the group of pro-artificer thugs, Tezzeret was able to eliminate all administration loyal to Bolas in one strike.

Given that the saying “history repeats itself” is somewhat relevant throughout the Multiverse, Tezzeret would not remain the leader of the Infinite Consortium for very long. Jace Beleren, Wizard’s planeswalker poster-child, joined the Consortium after realizing that a steady paycheck was a much better way to make a living than the infrequent payments he made from bribing the rich and stupid after learning their secrets. However, he soon found himself strongly disagreeing with how Tezzeret ran the organization, and left the Consortium. With the help of Liliana Vess, Jace returned to confront Tezzeret at his own headquarters, located on an unknown plane (I kinda wanted Wizards to just say it was Esper, but that may have been too obvious). The fight eventually led to Kamigawa where Jace performed what is essentially his ultimate from the Mind Sculptor card, and took the information on running the Consortium from Tezzeret and put him out of commission.

So two leaders down, and now Jace is running the show from the cell located on Ravnica; except for the part where he took his little field trip to Zendikar. Truth be told though, Jace never really intended to become the new leader for the Consortium, it just happened to work out that way given the alternative. See, Liliana only helped Jace because she was hoping to get the information he got from Tezzeret, so that she could give it back to Bolas. Jace saw through this though, and left Liliana to only give Nicol Bolas the consolation prize: What was left of Tezzeret. For better or worse, nearly all of the Infinite Consortium’s outposts have shut down, and the one on Ravnica is only cell that is currently active.

So that is a very brief history on the Infinite Consortium. Now to wander into the murky waters of speculation for a little while. With an organization that specializes in information and resources from multiple planes under his command, it would make sense that Jace would return to Ravnica (heh) to try to get a better understanding of what exactly is going on with Zendikar. Of course since the Ravnica office is the only office open, they probably won’t be as much help, but it is a good starting place for gathering information. Then Jace can have an idea of what to ask the Izzet league for (if he plans on doing that at all). Overall, I wish the Infinite Consortium got a little more attention than just being in one of the novels and a couple loading screens in Duels of the Planeswalkers, but this is certainly something Wizards can come back to in the future. I know I want them to.

If you want to learn more about the Infinite Consortium, be sure to check out Agents of Artifice, by Ari Marmell. If there is also a topic within the Magic: the Gathering Mythos you wish to see discussed in a future Lore Bits, leave a comment below or tweet it to @vobpodcast. Thank you and see you next week.
-Ben

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