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Mardu Horde
Clan Symbol Mardu.png
Wings of the Dragon
Lore Information
Dragon Aspect Speed
Khan Zurgo Helmsmasher
(Khans of Tarkir)
(Fate Reforged)
Game Information
Colors {R}{W}{B}
Mechanics Raid
(Khans of Tarkir)
(Fate Reforged)
Creature Types Humans
Featured Sets
Khans of Tarkir, Fate Reforged
Scryfall Search

The Mardu Revealed

One of the five Clans of Tarkir, the Mardu Horde clan admires the ancient dragons' aspect of speed. Their color wedge is {R} red (focus color), {W} white and {B} black.[1][2] Their swiftness is symbolized by the wing of the dragon.[3]


The Mardu Horde are fearsome warriors that live for the heat of battle and thrive on the rocky wastes of Tarkir. The clan's main encampment is at the cliffs where an ancient dragon died.[4] They routinely conduct vicious raids against the other clans and regularly combine lightning magic and archery to strike at their enemies.[5] Shu Yun saw them as a necessary part since they spread far and wide and killed dragons that would otherwise grow to become a threat.[6]

Since the lands they inhabit offer little sustenance, the Mardu live through raiding the territories of other clans for much-needed resources. The clan is divided into the warriors and the laborers. While the warriors are the most respected social class, the laborers are generally left on their own and tend to have more representation in domestic matters than the lower classes of other clans. Although not every member of Mardu society rides to war, every Mardu abides by the warrior's code called the Edicts of Ilagra. The Edicts, inscribed on a collection of dragon-hide scrolls, govern the rules of honor and combat for Mardu warriors.[7]

  • To conquer is to eat.
  • To rule is to bleed.
  • Victory or death.

The most common coming-of-age tradition was the choosing of a warname in an act of brutal honor. This usually involves the killing of an enemy in battle. The clan member then earned a war name, a new surname that usually takes the form of a compound word (e.g. Qorin Skullcracker, Jaidar Sharptusk). A Mardu who has not yet earned a war name is a "soft heel," while one who has is worthy of the term "warrior."

New Timeline

In the new timeline, diverging from the modern one a thousand years in the past by Sarkhan Vol saving Ugin from death, Alesha attempted to save her clan by attending a meeting with the other khans, only for it to end disastrously as the dragons attacked. Thankfully, as she returned to her clan, she learned that Kolaghan, the brood leader of her lands, was not interested in leading or enslaving the Mardu, unlike the other tyrannical brood leaders, so Alesha and her warriors simply tossed her banners aside and followed the dragon as equals.[6]

In time, however, Kolaghan became increasingly brutal and domineering, forbidding words like "khan" similar to the other dragonlords. She and her brood claimed leadership over the Mardu by force, using their unpredictability to keep the non-dragons in line, creating a new Clan. Under the leadership of the dragons, the Mardu became increasingly barbaric, forsaking what honor they had possessed before.[8]


Both timelines

  • Ilagra, the founder of the Clan and the first khan.[7]
  • Alesha, a human transgender woman khan of the past.[9] In the new timeline, she abolished the Mardu, following Kolaghan's invitation for the clan's warriors to keep up with the dragon in her travels.[6]

Old timeline

  • Zurgo Helmsmasher is a vicious orc who has a vendetta against Sarkhan Vol who, as a Mardu general, lost all his men when as a consequence of ascending as a planeswalker.[5][10][11] In the new timeline, as the diminutive Zurgo Bellstriker, he rings the bell signaling the other dragons and has no memory of Sarkhan Vol ever existing.


The Mardu ability word Raid and related cards are all based around a very fast, aggressive strategy for winning.[5] Raid gives an advantageous effect if you have attacked with a creature the same turn. In Fate Reforged the Mardu Horde featured Dash, instead.[12] When you pay a card's dash cost instead of paying its mana cost, the creature will have haste, so it can attack that turn. At the beginning of the next end step, you'll return the creature from the battlefield to its owner's hand.


Example 1

Mardu Heart-Piercer {3}{R}
Creature — Human Archer
Raid — When Mardu Heart-Piercer enters the battlefield, if you attacked with a creature this turn, Mardu Heart-Piercer deals 2 damage to target creature or player.

Example 2

Goblin Heelcutter {3}{R}
Creature — Goblin Berserker
Dash {2}{R} (You may cast this spell for its dash cost. If you do, it gains haste, and it's returned from the battlefield to its owner's hand at the beginning of the next end step.)

Creature types


Relationship with the dragons

The Mardu were largely irreverent to the dragons, regarding them as vermin. In the old timeline, the Mardu held the memory of dragons with scoffing disdain, taking the extinction of the dragons as evidence of their own merit. Often, they clashed with the lightning-breathing breed of Kolaghan, who were respected for their speed. To combat these dragons, the Mardu adopted reckless tactics, like plunging on the back of a dragon from a chasm. Many would affix upward-pointing sword blades or spears to their shoulders, making them dangerous targets for diving dragons. The most daring would distract the dragons by riding in small groups, allowing the bulk of the horde to ambush the beasts.[13]



  1. Wizards of the Coast Twitter (@wizards_magic) (July 26, 2014). "The Mardu value the speed of the dragon!"
  2. Mark Rosewater (July 26, 2014). "Can you tell us about which color each clan is focused on?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. Magic Creative Team (September 10, 2014). "Planeswalker's Guide to Khans of Tarkir, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Wizards of the Coast. (2014.) Khans of Tarkir infopage
  5. a b c Wizards of the Coast (YouTube) (August 1, 2014). "Magic panel at San Diego Comic Con 2014"
  6. a b c Kelly Digges (February 18, 2015). "Khanfall". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. a b Blake Rasmussen (November 17, 2014). "The Edicts of Ilagra". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. The Magic Creative Team (March 18, 2015). "Planeswalker's Guide to Dragons of Tarkir, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. James Wyatt (January 28, 2015). "The Truth of Names". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Wizards of the Coast Twitter (@wizards_magic) (July 26, 2014). "The Mardu's Khan is Zorgo Helmsmasher"
  11. Jennifer Clarke-Wilkes (August 27, 2014). "The Madness of Sarkhan". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Matt Tabak (December 29, 2014). "Mechanics of Fate Reforged". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. The Magic Creative Team (January 7, 2015). "Planeswalker's Guide to Fate Reforged". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Wizards of the Coast (November 7, 2014). "PAX Australia Magic Panel". Wizards of the Coast.