The Tolarian Academy was both a school and a research facility on Dominaria, founded by Urza and Barrin in 3285 AR on the island of Tolaria. After the original Tolarian Academy was destroyed, campuses were built in various places on Dominaria by former students and professors of the original academy.
The original Academy was used by its founders to train an elite cadre of mages to lead Dominaria's defense in the upcoming Phyrexian Invasion and to conduct research into weapons that could be used in the war. Although originally run by Urza himself, as it expanded others such as Barrin, Jhoira, and Rayne, assumed chancellorship. Especially as Urza's mission took him on longer and further journeys throughout the planes. Notable students of the academy include Teferi, Jhoira, Gatha, Ertai, and Hanna.
The Academy was responsible for many important magical creations throughout its history. Amongst these was the discovery of slowtime water capable of letting mortals live vastly extended lifespans (as used by Barrin, Rayne, and Jhoira, among others), the creation of a time-traveling device, the eugenic manipulation of the Metathran and the Bloodline project, and the building of the Titan Engines, the Soul Bombs and the Skyship Weatherlight.
When Jhoira's life was taken by a Phyrexian sleeper agent during a Phyrexian assault in 3307 AR, Karn used Urza's time machine to go back and save her; though he succeeded, the time machine suffered a catastrophic failure, destroying the first academy and leaving Tolaria a shattered temporal landscape. This also created the Tolarian Time Rift.
Ten years later, Karn returned with Urza and Barrin to help rebuild Tolaria years later and discovered Jhoira still alive, and Teferi trapped in a slow-time bubble. Jhoira and Karn worked hard and eventually devised a method to rescue Teferi.
The original Academy was destroyed once again by the Phyrexians during the first stage of their Invasion, while Barrin destroyed the whole island along with all of its occupants while grieving the loss of his daughter Hanna.
The new Tolarian Academies
Nowadays, there exist five particularly well-known Tolarian Academies (though they are not necessarily the only ones). These are located at Tolaria West in the Spice Isles, at Lat-Nam, at Orvada (on the island of Walassa near the Burning Isles), Tolaria of the Depths underwater at the ruins where Tolaria originally stood, and a Shadow Academy that doesn't have a particular location. The latter is a secret network claimed to be linked by a pocket dimension.
Within these academies there are three main pedagogical lineages: Urzans (systematical and cynical, focusing on artifice, temporal mechanics and genetics), Barrinites (humane and ethical, focusing on sorcery, temporal mechanics, and administration), and Raynians (focusing on improvement of artifacts and recruitment). There is also a secret cult of Phyrexian sympathizers (The "Society of Mishra") and a strain of scientists performing illegal genetic experiments ("Gathans").
The primary source of income for the Tolarian academies is tuition and providing expertise to those in need of scientific or magical help. They have also branched out into more practical and immediately vital sciences like Agriculture and Aquaculture. The campuses maintain a network of regular ocean-sailing packet ships that move news and passengers from one campus to another. They hold right-of-passage agreements with a variety of (suboceanic) nations.
Famous students and faculty
- James Wyatt (2018), The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Dominaria. VIZ Media.
- Blake Rasmussen (March 26, 2018). "Dominaria Card of the Day: Wizard's Lightning and Retort". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen (March 30, 2018). "Dominaria Card of the Day: Karn's Temporal Sundering". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth (November 13, 2006). "The Legends of Time Spiral". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.