Kaldheim (plane)

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Kaldheim
Snow-Covered Island.jpg
Information
First seen Planechase
Last seen Kaldheim
Status In chaos

Kaldheim is a top-down Norse mythology-inspired plane; Magic's take on what a world inspired by Vikings might look like.[1][2]

History in the game[edit | edit source]

Kaldheim was first featured on the card Skybreen in the 2009 Planechase set.[3] In the Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 game, Kaldheim was the location of the ultimate antagonist Ramaz. In 2021, it is the setting of the eponymous Kaldheim set.

Description[edit | edit source]

Kaldheim is steeped in storytelling and song, and all of its denizens share a common ethos: it is a plane of warriors who boast of their great deeds and yearn to die heroically in battle, who fight hard and celebrate harder, and where great tales pass into myth through the ages.[4]

Pivotal to the plane is the Cosmos, a "realm between" which Planeswalkers cannot cross[5] represented by a massive World Tree, from which ten separate realms hang like fruits. The realms are constantly shifting and, on occasion, may collapse unto each other. When this happens, a Doomskar occurs.[6] This causes earthquakes, destabilization, and total chaos.

There is no sun or moon in Kaldheim.[7] Light is instead provided by the realm of Starnheim. In addition, the branches of the World Tree can be seen in the skies of the realms.[8]

History[edit | edit source]

The world was born from a seed, and that seed grew into the World Tree, and everything else grew from it. Its leaves were every color imaginable, and as its branches spread out, they became worlds themselves. And once there were ten strong branches, fruit grew on the branches, and those were the Cosmos monsters. The serpent was the firstborn, and he has been growing since before the beginning of time.

At some point in the past, the Einir gods ruled the realms, but they were replaced by the Skoti, who became the new pantheon. The defeated Einir became the plane's elves.[9]

The Ten Realms[edit | edit source]

The ten realms of Kaldheim

The Ten Realms are separate mini-planes moving around the World Tree and can even collide. Each realm is loosely aligned with a color pair.

  • {W/U} Istfell, the mist-shrouded realm at the base of the World Tree. Home to the spirits of those who didn't fall in battle.
  • {U/B} Karfell, the realm of the draugr (viking zombies).
    • Skybreen, a mountain range inhabited by the last living humans of Karfell, a primitive barbarian race. Known for its scouring winds and the frigid temperatures that generate a frosty deterrent to magic.
  • {B/R} Immersturm, the land of fire, demons and constant warfare.
  • {R/G} Gnottvold, rolling hills and ancient mountains blanketed in thick forests form the home of the trolls.
  • {G/W} Bretagard, the realm of humans.
  • {W/B} Starnheim, the lofty realm of valkyries and fallen heroes.
  • {U/R} Surtland, the snowy realm of constant geological turmoil inhabited by fire and frost giants who are locked in a never-ending war.
  • {B/G} Skemfar, the shadowed forest land of wood and shadow elves.
  • {R/W} Axgard, a realm of rugged peaks and rocky flatlands. Home to the dwarves.
  • {G/U} Littjara, the mysterious realm of lakes and pine forests is home to the equally enigmatic race of shapeshifters.
  • Additional realms outside of the ten are known to exist.[8]
    • The Gods' Realm.
    • Valla, became an independent plane after splitting from the World Tree.[10]

Unknown Locations[edit | edit source]

Inhabitants[edit | edit source]

Sapient races[edit | edit source]

Other[edit | edit source]

Planeswalkers[edit | edit source]

Native[edit | edit source]

Visitors[edit | edit source]

In-game references[edit | edit source]

Referred to:

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The name "Kaldheim" literally means "cold home" in several North Germanic languages, such as Old Norse, Icelandic, and Norwegian Nynorsk. "Home" means "land", "realm" or "world" in this context, like in Old Norse Jǫtunheimr "land of the giants" or "Giants' home". The word heimr was used along with the word garðr lit. "yard" (as in Miðgarðr lit. "Midyard") in the names of various realms in Norse mythology.
  • Kaldheim is metaphysically close to Ixalan.[13][17]
  • The Ten Worlds are adapted from the Nine Realms, with some variation to expand to the ten color pairs. Whilst most have counterparts, Álfheimr and Svartálfaheimr are effectively merged in Skemfar (neither are well detailed mythologically). Niflheimr is also split into Istfell and Karfell, reflecting the parts of Niflheimr that are outside Helheim and those that are inside it, respectively. Jötunheimr is partially represented in Gnottvold and Muspelheimr is partially represented in Immersturm, but both are partially merged with Niflheimr in the realm of Surtland.
    • Surtland, in particular, appears to be a reference both to Útgarðar or Útgarðr, which is sometimes said to lie on the junction of Jötunheimr, Musphelheimr, and Niflheimr, and to Gunnungagap, which is a primordial void connecting Niflheimr and Musphelheimr across which the elements of ice and fire influence each other, giving birth to the World Tree.
    • Also, Axgard appears to take inspiration from Niðavellir, a place sometimes considered to be the same as and sometimes distinct from Svartálfaheimr, as well as Asgard in at least its name.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Blake Rasmussen (September 1, 2020). "Zendikar Debut and Announcement Day Recap". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (September 8, 2020). "Is Kaldheim a top-down Norse Mythology inspired plane?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. Doug Beyer (September 02, 2009). "The Planes of Planechase". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b Wizards of the Coast (December 14, 2020). "Welcome to the Face-Melting World of Kaldheim". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Roy Graham (January 13, 2021). "Awaken the Trolls]]". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Kaldheim Fest (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube.
  7. Setsu Uzumé (January 8, 2021). "Know Which Way the Wind is Blowing, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. a b Ari Zirulnik (January 8, 2021). "Planeswalker's Guide to Kaldheim, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Gerritt Turner (December 14, 2020). "Creating Tyvar Kell". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Ethan Fleischer (January 20, 2021). "Valla exists!". No Goblins Allowed.
  11. Mark Rosewater (January 11, 2021). "Norsing Around, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Gerritt Turner (December 14, 2020). "Creating Tyvar Kell". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b R&D Narrative Team (January 17, 2018). "Glimpse the Far Side of the Sun". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. a b Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014
  15. Procoretech (November 12, 2020). "Bored so enhancing bad photos of rubbish seems fine.. oh and, Bearded Axe". Reddit.
  16. Gerritt Turner (December 14, 2020). "Creating Niko Aris". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Alison Luhrs on Twitter

External links[edit | edit source]