An earlier draft called for Syr’Nj’s finishing move here to be the appearance of Archmage Caneghem. Caneghem would be moved out of his usual neutrality by the ripples in the astral plane HR’s presence created. And he would still be HR’s superior in sorcery, albeit the two would be close enough in power to make it a fight.

If Syr’Nj and Caneghem working together shortly after he was revealed to be an Altruist seems weird to you, well, I think we thought that’d make it surprising…but that’s part of the reason we ended up not doing it. Like, I could see it happening because the health of the mystisphere outweighs everything. But it’d be super awkward to explain in mid-battle, and Hollister and Clair’s presence would make it even more so.

Besides, HR proving vulnerable to Syr’Nj’s basic toolset because he forgot to give himself much of an “immunity to drugs” power is way funnier. And it’s closer to the point. HR keeps failing to deal with the Five partly because he keeps failing to treat them as real.

“I’m not going to let pride get in my way” is one of those bits of dialogue designed to make a character a bit more likable and respectable, and it works…but there’s also irony to it. In the end, HR is nothing but pride.