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Obelisk of Esper
First seen Shards of Alara
Last seen March of the Machine
Planeswalkers Ajani Goldmane, Sifa Grent, Tezzeret
Rabiah Scale 5[1]
Status Reunited; recovering from New Phyrexia's invasion
Demonym Alaran[2]

Alara is a plane in the Multiverse. It was once a serene plane with few internal conflicts, but the Sundering broke the world into the five Shards: Bant, Esper, Grixis, Jund and Naya. The event known as the Conflux reunited the shards, causing much chaos and mayhem to their respective residents.

History[ | ]

Ancient Alara[ | ]

The plane of Alara was once a single, immense plane, rich in mana and natural resources.[8] It featured kingdoms, regions, and civilizations unlike the five shard-cultures that would later inhabit it.[9] The most notable, an ancient kingdom known as Vithia, flourished in an era of peace and wisdom. The archangel Asha watched over the plane, protecting its inhabitants from the forces of Malfegor.[10]

Ancient Alarans built enormous artifacts called obelisks across the plane which focused the five colors of mana.[11] When Alara was one plane, mages channeled and filtered its rich sources of mana with these obelisks.[8] The obelisks tamed Alara's wild mana into easily manageable sources for rituals, summonings, and other spellcraft. With such powerful and reliable mana, Alara, in its early days, was one of the Multiverse’s most accommodating environments for spellcasters.

The Sundering[ | ]

Millennia before the Mending,[12] in an event later known as the Sundering, an unknown Planeswalker plundered Alara for its mana.[10] The drain on the plane's mana shattered something deep in its metaphysical structure, causing it to undergo a radical planar refraction.[8] The plane broke into shards along mana lines, diffusing into its component parts like light refracted in a prism - and shattering Alara's civilizations and ecologies along with it. Whatever agent caused this destruction abandoned what remained of the plane, its spell presumably finished.

The shards that resulted from Alara’s refraction drifted away from each other in the Blind Eternities.[8] They were planes unto themselves, but not complete — each was cut off from two different colors of mana. As the shards' mana supplies slowly replenished themselves again, this mana imbalance dramatically altered life on each world. Environments warped to match the changed mana landscape, and life changed with it. Many species fell to extinction, while new forms of life adapted and prospered. Asha, the plane's protector, sacrificed herself in battle with the demon Malfegor.[13]

Conflux[ | ]

As the shards' impending reunification approached, the Dominarian dragon planeswalker Nicol Bolas sought to use the energy the event would create to restore his power.[13] Using agents across the plane to foment chaos and destroy the obelisks that stabilized the shards, he accelerated the process until the shards merged in an event known as the Conflux.

The shards reunited, a jagged fusion of now poorly-fitting pieces. As the Conflux progressed, it became not the same Alara that had once been, but a new world, a patchwork plane composed of five distinct microverses—Alara, but reborn. As the barriers between worlds dissolved and lands overlapped in chaotic incursion zones, the denizens of the five shards ventured forth, meeting their long-lost fellow Alarans for the first time. Prejudice gripped these races that were once allies, made strangers by history and fate.

The rejoined plane flows with all five colors of mana once more. Waves of raw power crashed across the former planar boundaries, bringing long-forgotten magics to all the shards and mingling them in unprecedented ways. As the boundaries between the shards dissolved, cultures clashed, and wars ensued.[10]

Obelisk of Alara

The combined Obelisk

The forces of Esper invaded the other shards looking for carmot, an element necessary to create more of their dwindling etherium. Hordes of Grixis undead mounted an assault to maim, enslave, and drain the life energy from other shards. The warriors of Jund extended their "life hunts" to the newfound game throughout Alara's vast hunting grounds. Naya's forces followed the elves' decrees and marched out of the jungle, searching for answers to the Anima's prophetic visions. And the armies of Bant clashed with the horrors swarming over their borders, defending their homeland in the name of their guardian angels.

At the point where the five Shards met, a chaotic storm of mana came into existence: the Maelstrom. Nicol Bolas, hoping to feed on its rich mana and, in one massive ritual, restore his lost power, was ultimately stopped from destroying all of Alara by Ajani Goldmane.

In the years after the Conflux, travel between the former shards became normalized, and a new equilibrium was born across the plane.[13] Naya's leonin join Bantian orders, Esper's artificers search Jund for resources, and the living refugees of Grixis escape to surrounding lands.

Phyrexian Invasion[ | ]

Alara was targeted by Elesh Norn's Machine Legion as part of New Phyrexia's Invasion of the Multiverse.[14] Not much is known about the plane's defense, as neither Alaran natives in the compleated Ajani or the traitorous Tezzeret interacted with this particular front of the invasion. The knights of former Bant such as Rafiq were amongst the defenders, but curiously the Maelstrom itself seemed to fight on behalf of Alara.[15]

Inhabitants[ | ]

When the plane sundered, species that did not fit the colors of their shard slowly went extinct.[8] Humans were the only race that inhabited all five shards.

Flora[ | ]

  • Bloodthorn trees, short, bushy trees with long, poisonous thorns with a hook at the end.[8] If they remain in the skin too long they're fatal. Naya's humans have developed an immunity and sometimes build their settlements inside bloodthorn groves.
  • Fig trees, tended to in the walled and organized groves of Bant.[8]
  • Lianas, thick, woody vines that can grow up to five feet in diameter and lace together Naya's canopy.[8]
  • Mushrooms, a source of food for the humans of Grixis.[8]
  • Olive trees, such as the Twelve Trees of Valeron.[8]
  • Thuja trees, massive examples of which are housed in The Sun-Dappled Court.[8]
  • Tukatongue trees, the primary food staple for Jund's humans.[8] Growing on high plateaus, the tree's supple wood and tough bark helps it survive fierce winds and a marauding dragon's fiery breath. The tree's roots can be ground into a sticky paste for an unappealing, but reliable, food source. Many stone weapons are wrapped in the spiky bark. Humans live in temporary shelters made from tuka frames and covered in lizard skin.
  • Wanat Trees, the major year-round food source of Naya's elves.[8] Their nuts are high in protein and their flowers make an energy-enhancing drink.

Trivia[ | ]

Languages[ | ]

  • The five shards have mutually intelligible languages.[18]
  • Nacatl
    • Vetli translates to "poison arrows"[19]
  • The old language of Vithia
    • Grixis translates to "traitor"[20][8]
    • Angels are bantuthroi in the old tongue, which means "flesh of our volition".[18]
      • This implies that Bant translates as "Volition'.
    • This may also be the language from which Thraximundar, meaning "he who paints the earth red," derives.[8]
  • The language spoken by Jund's Viashino
    • Challik translates as "toad's tongue."[8]
  • The language spoken by Jund's Goblins
    • The phrase plikintok agat translates to "wearing a garment of rock."[8]
  • Scratchforms, a pseudo-written language and the writing system employed by the nacatl.[21] Among Wild Nacatl, scratchforms are predominantly used by shamans. The most important text set in scratchforms was the Coil.

Planeswalkers[ | ]

Native[ | ]

Visitors[ | ]

In-game references[ | ]

Represented in:
Associated cards:
Referred to:

Sources[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (August 10, 2021). "You recently answered a question about returning to Alara...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Doug Beyer (September 22, 2010). "The Terms of Engagement". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on October 4, 2022.
  3. Flavor text of Invincible Hymn (Shards of Alara).
  4. Flavor text of Etherium Abomination (Alara Reborn).
  5. Kelly Digges (October 26, 2009). "What's in a Name, Part II". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on November 30, 2021.
  6. Michael Yichao (November 4, 2015). "All the Cairns of Jund". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on November 4, 2015.
  7. Flavor text of Spearbreaker Behemoth (Shards of Alara).
  8. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae Doug Beyer & Jenna Helland (2008). A Planeswalker's Guide to Alara, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 978-0786951246
  9. Doug Beyer (December 10, 2013). "Did Bant, Esper, Grixis, Jund and Naya exist as cultural and/or political entities before Alara was split into five shards?". A Voice for Vorthos. Tumblr.
  10. a b c Doug Beyer (April 14, 2009). "A New Age for Alara". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Doug Beyer (June 10, 2009). "Graduation Day". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. (2008). Shards of Alara Player's Guide. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b c Jay Annelli (2022). Magic: The Gathering - The Visual Guide, DK. ISBN-13 978-0744061055.
  14. First Look at March of the Machine (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (February 19, 2023).
  15. Awaken the Maelstrom
  16. Wizards of the Coast (January 8th, 2010). "Premium Foil Booster". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater (February 10, 2019). "Will we ever return to Alara?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  18. a b Doug Beyer (2009), "Alara Unbroken", Wizards of the Coast
  19. Winged Coatl
  20. Doug Beyer (September 24, 2008). "Alive and Unwell". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Jenna Helland (September 10, 2008). "Running Wild". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. a b Jed MacKay (2023). Magic. Iss 22. Boom!
  23. Ral correctly guesses that Ajani is from Alara, implying that he himself has been there.
  24. a b c Greg Weisman (November 2019). "War of the Spark: Forsaken." Del Rey.