Thraben is the largest walled city in Innistrad, although parts of Nephalia's seaports are more densely populated. It's the seat of the Avacynian Church, built as a city of walls and various bulwarks designed to keep supernatural threats at bay. While smaller settlements are constantly under siege by monsters, the inner parts of Thraben and the Cathedral are the safest areas in Innistrad, which sometimes gives the bishops of the church a skewed perspective on how dangerous the world outside really is.
Most of the upper class resides in Thraben or in manorial estates in Nearheath. The three most important families are House Cecani (with strong ties to the Church), the scholars of House Galan, and House Lieva (known for elegant salons in town and decadent parties in the country).
Thraben's middle class are mainly clergy, merchants (known as metzalar), and artisans. The common folk have little chance for upward mobility. With the church's influence, the city maintains a high standard of cleanliness and order. There is a standing militia and the church pays a host of workers to keep the streets swept, the public gardens and grafs tended, and the riff-raff off the street. Begging is strictly prohibited, and there is a street curfew enforced by the militia. Several alms houses exist just outside the main walls of Thraben, and the church regularly sponsors "caravans" to take the needy to the sea ports, where they will ostensibly be able to find employment or trade work more easily.
- Thraben sits on a massive mesa in the middle of the Lake of Herons, a long body of water.
- Thraben Cathedral — a towering church on the eastern tip of the mesa, the spiritual center of Innistrad and former home of Avacyn. The cathedral had a forked shape reminiscent of Avacyn's spear, with two wings forming a triangular courtyard just above the Kirch Falls. The Cathedral of Avacyn was destroyed in the Battle of Thraben.
- The blessed grafs — entire city blocks devoted to burial sites.
The Walls of Thraben are a complex system of bulwarks and defense lines.
There are still remnants of older walls, which have crumbled and lost their effectiveness. But even the old walls demarcate the city into sections, some of which have a penal or ceremonial function.
- Outer Wall
The main defense of Thraben. A thick, high wall that rings the perimeter of the city. The Church has approved the expansion of the wall several times to keep the city from getting too crowded.
- Merchant's Wall
A complex of fellowship halls that forms a substantial market square. This is the center of commerce in Thraben.
- Child's Wall
The inner wall that surrounds the grounds of the Old Cathedral. Nearly as strong and tall as the outer wall, the Child's Wall has not been altered in ages. It is inscribed with the names of every child born in Innistrad. Many parents make a pilgrimage to the wall in the year after their child's birth, believing that having their child's name written on the wall will add protection to its life.
- Fang Wall
When werewolves are caught, they are executed in front of this wall. Then their fangs are removed and shoved between the crevices of the stones.
- Bloodless Wall
When vampires are caught, they are chained to this wall and left to starve to death.
Siege of Thraben
In the absence of Avacyn the sibling necromancers Gisa and Geralf Cecani dared to besiege the city. Geralf sneaked into the city before the attack to kill Lunarch Mikaeus. Later he met up with Liliana, who shortly thereafter brought Mikaeus back as a zombie. Gisa was left with tending to the siege, having gained control of Geralf's Skaabs along with her own conventional undead. The army broke the outer wall of the city before being pushed back by fire, causing Gisa to abandon the siege. Odric, a champion of the church, captured Gisa and held her imprisoned in Rider's Lock.
Battle of Thraben
Thraben was the focal point of the battle between Olivia Voldaren's vampire army and the Order of Saint Traft on one side, and Emrakul's Eldrazi and Nahiri's cultists on the other side. Olivia's and Thalia's forces were reinforced by the Gatewatch and Liliana's zombie army. The battle was won by the coalition after Sigarda killed Brisela, and Emrakul was imprisoned within Innistrad's Moon.
After the Battle for Thraben, the city was left in ruins. Cathars still patrol them but the city isn't as safe as it used to be. Gisa Cecani has taken control of the zombies left behind by Liliana Vess, and all citizens left. Gisa lives in the least-destroyed building, and wages war against her suitor Wilhelt.
At some point during this period, Wilhelt arrived at Thraben with a zombie army to try and win Gisa only for her to reject him once again. He tried to besiege the city but the ghoulcaller's forces proved to be superior. Wilhelt then left Thraben, defeated. Realizing how boring her life as the 'self-proclaimed Queen of Thraben' is, Gisa plans to abandon the city and to move in with her brother Geralf.
- Associated cards:
- Referred to:
- Builder's Blessing
- Butcher's Cleaver
- Catapult Fodder
- Courageous Outrider
- Dark Salvation
- Emrakul's Influence
- Endless Ranks of the Dead
- Erdwal Illuminator
- Evolving Wilds (Dark Ascension)
- Forge Devil (Dark Ascension)
- Malicious Intent
- Mondronen Shaman
- Odric's Outrider
- Piercing Light
- Radiant Restraints
- Ride Down
- Scourge of Geier Reach
- Sightless Ghoul
- Silverclaw Griffin
- Skirsdag High Priest
- Tree of Redemption
- Walking Corpse (Innistrad)
- James Wyatt 2016, "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Innistrad".
- Jenna Helland (June 26, 2012). "Odric, Master Tactician". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- James Wyatt (July 13, 2016). "Saint Traft and the Flight of Nightmares". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Nik Davidson (July 20, 2016). "Battle of Thraben". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ken Troop (July 27, 2016). "The Promised End". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Flavor text for Odric's Outrider
- Doug Beyer and Ari Zirulnik (September 9, 2021). "Planeswalker's Guide to Innistrad: Midnight Hunt". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.