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River Heralds
Founded on Ixalan
Notable members Kopala, Kumena, Tishana, Tuvasa

The River Heralds are a merfolk nation living on the continent of Ixalan, which is located on the plane of the same name.[1]


The Heralds are at home throughout the oceans, rivers, and rain forests of the plane. They can breathe air or filter oxygen from the water. The green aligned merfolk favor the land, while the blue aligned merfolk are more at home in water.[2] The River Heralds wield the natural, raw force of nature to protect the world from disaster. Their society consists of nine tribes, each associated with a tributary of the Great River.[3]

The tribes are fragmented in bands, which are in constant competition with each other for primacy and control of the richest territory. A merfolk band consists of about a dozen individuals, led by a shaman called a Shaper.


The River Heralds were once the dominant inhabitants of Ixalan with a large power of their own, and their strength was once enough to keep the Sun Empire out of the interior.[4] Nowadays the Sun Empire is larger and more powerful, and the Heralds live a nomadic lifestyle at the fringes of the empire. They believe that the Golden City, which houses the Immortal Sun, must be kept hidden from all (even themselves).


Each Shaper has a single apprentice at any given time. Should a Shaper die, the apprentice takes over leadership of the band. If a band grows too large for its territory to support, the apprentice takes a portion of the band away to form a new band and claim a new territory. Each tribe is also led by a Shaper, who shares their name with the tribe's river.

The magic of these shamans is focused on controlling wind, water, and their jungle environment. They strive to maintain a peaceful coexistence with nature, not to conquer it or defy it. They are called Shapers for the way they alter nature around them. They also summon elementals, living creatures formed from water or tangles of jungle growth.[3][4]

The nine leading shapers are:


The River Heralds use weapons and armor made from jade.[5] They also use carved pillars of jade to mark and protect their territory. In case of danger, these transform into elementals.

Deeproot Tree[]

During their heyday, the merfolk did something they had never done before and have not done since: they built villages, and even made a sort of city of their own. The majestic Deeproot Tree is a surviving remnant of this ancient city, and it is still revered as a place where their ancestors dwelled.[4] A visit to the Deeproot Tree and its ancient spring replenishes a merfolk's connection to nature.


The River Heralds' culture is loosely based on the Maya culture.[1]


  1. a b Blake Rasmussen and Alison Luhrs (August 30, 2017). "Magic Story Podcast: Ixalan". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Explore the Planes: Ixalan
  3. a b R&D Narrative Team (September 27, 2017). "The Shapers". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b c R&D Narrative Team (November 1, 2017). "Planeswalker's Guide to Ixalan, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Nicholas Wolfram (September 8, 2017). "Exploring Ixalan – Dowsing Dagger". Wizards of the Coast.