One late night at the Wizards of the Coast office, as I tried to meet a looming deadline, I typed "Mutliverse" and my brain heard the typo as "Muttleyverse." Suddenly I imagined Muttley, the sniggering little Hanna-Barbera dog, as the creator of Magic's countless fantasy worlds, handing out the planeswalker spark to lesser beings he deemed worthy. It was late, and I was punchy, and I started laughing. That's when the custodian came by to empty my trash can. Ah well, he already thinks I'm some kind of crazy office gamer hobo.
When Doug Beyer asked me to stand in this week so he could complete a couple of big, looming deadlines, I was happy to oblige, but I didn't know what to write about. Then I imagined Doug burning the midnight oil to flesh out our beloved Mutliverse, and it occurred to me that many players don't even realize how many planes we've visited.
In Magic: The Gathering, you are a planeswalker—a mage with the one-in-a-squillion power to move across the planes of the Multiverse. Sure, that's cool. But what's the use of being able to walk the planes if they're not worth visiting?
A big part of my job is to make sure they are. Since Magic began, over two dozen planes have been mentioned, explored, created, and/or destroyed. I'm guessing the average player has some familiarity with about six. So without further ado, let's take a look at the known planes of the Multiverse.
PLANES FROM THE CARDS
The plane of Dominaria is at the center of the Multiverse and has been the setting of most major Magic storylines to date, including the "Brothers' War" between Urza and Mishra, the story of the skyship Weatherlight and its crew, and the story of the warrior Kamahl. Dominaria is a huge world with many large continents and vast oceans—a world more than twice the size of Earth. Among these land masses are the locations known by most Magic players: Llanowar, Shiv, Benalia, Urborg, Tolaria, and dozens of others.
The stories that correspond to the following expansions are all set in Dominaria:
Urza's Saga (The "Urza block" story spans the planes of Serra's Realm and Phyrexia as well as Dominaria.)
Expansions: Champions of Kamigawa, Betrayers of Kamigawa, Saviors of Kamigawa
The plane of Kamigawa resembles sengoku-era Japan and actually consists of two "symbiotic" subplanes. One is the utsushiyo, the material realm of mortals, and the other is the kakuriyo, the realm of the kami. In the events of the Kamigawa story, a treacherous kami and its moonfolk conspirators convinced a powerful feudal lord to steal a kami from the kakuriyo to secure immortality for himself and peace and dominion for his subjects. This began the Kami War, in which the denizens of Kamigawa battled against their own 'gods.'
It was the damage dealt to Dominaria at the hands of planeswalkers that enabled the daimyō Konda, Lord of Eiganjo to kidnap a kami from the spirit realm. The planar-temporal rifts on Dominaria weakened the veil between Kamigawa's two halves, making Konda, Lord of Eiganjo's crime possible.
Lorwyn / Shadowmoor
Expansions: Lorwyn, Morningtide, Shadowmoor, Eventide
Lorwyn is a small, temperate plane of perpetual midsummer, where the sun never dips far below the horizon. Lorwyn is also notable for its lack of humans. The plane is dominated by its elves, who consider themselves arbiters and enforcers of natural beauty.
Shadowmoor, on the other hand, is a plane of perpetual dusk, where the sun is never directly visible, and where light seems to come from unseen sources. Shadowmoor is also devoid of humans, but on this plane, elves are the sole source of hope in the world—guardians of the precious few beautiful things and places left on the plane.
Clearly there is a relationship between these two planes, but its exact nature is unknown. A mysterious planar event called the Aurora is involved somehow, as is the powerful and elusive queen of the fae, Oona. Further details of the planes' connection have not been revealed.
Expansions: Mercadian Masques, Nemesis, Prophecy
This plane is riddled with improbabilities and inversions: Its largest city sits atop a huge inverted mountain, and goblins are at the top of the social order. Commerce is the lifeblood of Mercadia, and the elaborate diplomacy and trade agreements between the goblins and humans of Mercadia City and the merfolk of Saprazzo define the plane.
Gerrard and the crew of the Weatherlight ended up in this plane after blindly flinging themselves from Rath. They crash-landed on Mercadia, and the Weatherlight was seized by a group of pious human rebels called the Cho-Arrim. Gerrard and his allies had to make delicate deals with multiple Mercadian factions to get the ship back, secure parts for its repair, and secure safe passage out of the plane.
The heroes then discovered that the inverted mountain on which Mercadia City sits was in fact hollow, and that it housed a huge fleet of Phyrexian warships that were being built to invade Dominaria. The Kyren goblins that controlled Mercadia were in the employ of Phyrexia. After a preemptive strike against the staging ground, the Weatherlight left the plane to defend Dominaria.
Expansions: Mirrodin, Darksteel, Fifth Dawn
The artificial, metal plane of Mirrodin was created by the planeswalker Karn. It was originally called Argentum. Karn also created an artifact warden to watch over the plane while he explored the multiverse. Karn brought the planeswalker Jeska, Warrior Adept to visit his "mathematically perfect" plane, but while there the two of them unwittingly introduced a mysterious contagion to the plane—a contagion that in time could transmute metal to flesh and flesh to metal. The contagion infected the warden, who in time began to call himself Memnarch and obsessed over the absence of his creator. The contagion also infected the plane, destabilizing its interior core of pure mana and giving rise to strange metal growths called mycosynth.
The deluded Memnarch devised complex artifacts that would ensnare beings from nearby planes and transport them to Mirrodin. He transformed Mirrodin into an artificial ecosystem that could support organic life. His hope was to find a being with the planeswalker spark and seize it for himself somehow. Only then could he leave the plane and seek out Karn. Memnarch's schizophrenic mindset functioned as a kind of arcane proxy, keeping other planeswalkers—even Karn—from entering Mirrodin. In other words, Memnarch's delusions partially supplanted reality.
The elf Glissa Sunseeker had the planeswalker spark and was therefore Memnarch's target. Through her own guile and power and well as the help of her allies, Glissa defeated and destroyed Memnarch. Karn could then reenter his plane and restore order. Many denizens of Mirrodin were returned to their home planes, and Karn transformed the remains of Memnarch into the metal sphere they had once been: the Mirari.
Expansions: Urza's Saga, Urza's Legacy, Urza's Destiny, Invasion, Planeshift, Apocalypse
Phyrexia is an artificial plane of quasi-living machines created by an unnamed human planeswalker whose favored form was that of a dragon. The plane consists of nine nested spheres, each more hellish and vicious than the last, which together formed a vast and intricate artificial ecosystem.
During the decline of the Thran Empire on Dominaria, the planeswalker Dyfed took Yawgmoth to Phyrexia shortly after its creator and master had died. Dyfed also created a planar portal between Dominaria and Phyrexia. Yawgmoth saw Phyrexia as a means of saving the Thran, who were dying of a degenerative sickness caused by the powerstones that fueled their civilization. He intended to use Phyrexia's necrotic artifact-magic to "cure" the phthisis that had claimed countless Thran lives. He became Phyrexia's new master.
Fueled by Phyrexia's twisted ecology, Yawgmoth's megalomania and power grew. He came to believe that Phyrexia was the pinnacle of evolved life—that it was superior to life. The Thran became increasingly horrified by Yawgmoth's actions and their effects. War erupted between the weakened Thran and Yawgmoth's Phyrexian legions. The Thran were defeated, but not before the portal was closed, trapping Yawgmoth and the Phyrexians in their plane.
For millennia Yawgmoth sought a way to conquer Dominaria. The eventual instrument of his invasion was the artificial plane of Rath, which was designed to lay over Dominaria, bridging the gap between it and Phyrexia. The invasion was narrowly thwarted by a coalition of planeswalkers and other heroes. A group of planeswalkers decimated Phyrexia itself using eldritch 'soul bombs,' and on Dominaria, the crew of the Weatherlight used the artifacts of the Legacy to destroy Yawgmoth himself.
Rabiah the Infinite
Expansions: Arabian Nights
Once a single plane, the desert realm of Rabiah was subject to a planar event of unknown origin: one thousand nearly identical mirrors of the plane sprang into being, creating 1,001 different Rabiahs. These iterations evolved over the centuries, some independent and others interdependent.
Many elements of Rabiah are taken from the One Thousand and One Nights, but the main story depicted in Magic comics is an original story of five separate "copies" of the planeswalker Taysir, each one connected to a different color of magic, and their combined struggle against the dark sorcerer Nailah.
Expansions: Tempest, Stronghold, Exodus, Nemesis
Rath was an artificial plane created as an invasion device by Phyrexia. Its planar matter was comprised of stolen pieces of other planes, including Dominaria, held together by an artificial Phyrexian substrate called flowstone. Phyrexia appointed an "evincar" to ensure that Rath's development progressed on schedule; at various times Davvol, Volrath, and the vampire Crovax were all evincars of Rath.
The main feature of Rath was the evincar's stronghold at its center, which functioned both as a fortress and a flowstone factory. The stronghold and the mountain in which it was situated held numerous perils, including a hive of slivers and their queen, the necromantic Death Pits, and Volrath's carnivorous gardens.
The skyship Weatherlight and its crew traveled to Rath to rescue the ship's captain Sisay. Later, when the Phyrexian aggression began in earnest, Rath's purpose was fulfilled as it was laid over Dominaria like a sickly skin. The planar juxtaposition allowed a huge number of Phyrexians to enter Dominaria nearly instantaneously, beginning the Phyrexian invasion.
Expansions: Ravnica, Guildpact, Dissension
The overdeveloped, overpopulated plane of Ravnica has been completely covered with cityscape for millennia—its denizens simply squeezed out all wilderness. Now the plane is an endless maze of streets and stonework. Ravnica's past was a cyclical drama of chaos and order until the creation of the Guildpact. This magically reinforced social contract codified ten guilds, each with a different societal role and function, and each corresponding to a pair of the five colors of mana. The Guildpact kept the peace for ten millennia before it was dissolved by the machinations and power-mongering of the Azorius, Simic, and Dimir guilds.
During the last decades of the Guildpact, the spirits of the dead lingered on Ravnica, creating an ever larger "ghost quarter" called Agyrem. Although only the Izzet suspected this, the phenomenon was caused by temporal-planar damage to the nexus plane of Dominaria. Rips in the planar fabric there caused Ravnica to be temporarily separated from the rest of the Multiverse, thereby trapping the spirits of the dead on the plane.
Expansions: Urza's Saga, Urza's Legacy, Urza's Destiny
This artificial plane was created by the planeswalker Serra to exemplify her love of peace and law. It was a white-mana meditation made manifest. Its denizens included countless angels of Serra's creation as well as a smattering of beings from other planes brought there by the planeswalker herself.
When Urza fled here to escape Phyrexian pursuers, Serra and her angels nursed him back to health. But the Phyrexians found the realm and attacked, tainting it with black mana. Serra abandoned the plane, heartbroken by its corruption. One of her archangels, Radiant, assumed control of the plane in Serra's absence. But in her zeal to rid the plane of Phyrexian taint, Radiant became draconian and paranoid.
Without its creator, Serra's Realm was slowly collapsing. Urza, seeking a mana source intense enough to power the skyship Weatherlight, hastened its demise by forcibly collapsing the plane's energies into a powerstone that would fuel the Weatherlight's planeswalking engine.
Sometimes called "The Homelands" by its denizens, long ago Ulgrotha was a remote plane ravaged by wars of sorcery between planeswalkers. The plane's mana had been diminished and damaged when the planeswalker Ravi, who later became Grandmother Sengir, rang the Apocalypse Chime at the end of those ancient wars.
Later the planeswalkers Feroz and Serra decided to become Ulgrotha's caretakers, and Feroz created Feroz's Ban to protect the plane from interlopers. Some time after Feroz's death, however, the ban faded. Ulgrotha is home to Baron Sengir, a powerful vampire who controls a large swath of the plane through fear and black-aligned magic.
Deep within Sengir's castle is a portal that leads to an unknown plane—before he died Feroz speculated that a large portion of the mana available on Ulgrotha was in fact mana funneled through that portal.
PLANES FROM BOOKS, COMICS, AND COMPUTER GAMES
Azoria appears in the comic book Ice Age On the World of Magic: The Gathering, vol. 3 of 4. During a duel between the planeswalkers Freyalise and Tevesh Szat, Freyalise learns that "Azoria, a desert island plane caught in the Shard," is home to the blue mana sources on which Tevesh Szat depends. Freyalise obliterates the plane's islands to deny Tevesh Szat blue mana. Despite the similarity in name, there is no known link to the Azorius Senate of Ravnica.
"Roreca's Tale" is a story written by Richard Garfield for the 1994 Magic: The Gathering Pocket Players' Guide. In that story, the planeswalker Worzel remembers Cabralin, "a peaceful plane with lots of rolling hills and fields."
This plane is the setting of The Cursed Land, by Teri McLaren. Much of the plane's mana is bound up in the Clan Tree of Cridhe, which is destroyed by a power-mad wizard called Nohr, but later reborn through its last acorn.
In the book Planeswalker by Lynn Abbey, Urza visits Equilor, one of the oldest and most far-flung planes of the Multiverse, hoping to learn the origins of Phyrexia. Urza says Equilor exists "on the edge of time." The plane is unimaginably ancient and worn, and its mages have immense, subtle power. "Even the mountains are smoothed down, like they've been standing too long," says Urza's companion Xantcha.
Ergamon is a "small, hidden plane" with "colossal peaks and exotic fauna." It is the setting of "Roreca's Tale," a short story by Richard Garfield found in the 1994 Magic: The Gathering Pocket Players' Guide.
Urza and his companion Xantcha rendezvous with the planeswalker Manatarqua in this "abandoned world" in the novel Planeswalker by Lynn Abbey. Urza hopes that Manatarqua knows something about the origin of Phyrexia, but instead she attacks and nearly kills Xantcha. Urza then slays her.
In Teri McLaren's novel, The Cursed Land, the planeswalker Malvos is stranded on Cridhe and hopes to gather enough mana to escape the plane. Malvos makes mention of a plane called Ilcae, where he hopes to meet up with other planeswalkers.
Little is known about the plane of Kephalai beyond the totalitarian and bureaucratic character of its government. The plane features cities with gothic architecture that are surrounded by large bodies of water.
Scott McGough's Magic Legends Cycle Two consists of three books: Assassin's Blade, Emperor's Fist, and Champion's Trial. The trilogy features an enigmatic plane known only as the "meditation plane." It is a shifting, surreal place accessible only by the powerful, and only from Dominaria, and its appearance often echoes the thoughts and possible futures of those within its boundaries. Here the emperor of Madara would meet his closest advisors.
In Lynn Abbey's novel Planeswalker, Urza and his companion Xantcha settle for 30 years on the plane of Moag, "a truly hospitable world with abundant, rich soil, a broad swath of temperate climates and a wealth of vigorous cultures." After decades of peaceful life, Xantcha discovers Phyrexian agents in a fire-god cult. Urza and Xantcha flee, hoping the Phyrexians will follow and leave Moag in peace.
In J. Robert King's novel The Thran, the planeswalker Dyfed takes a guest to the plane of Pyrulea: "In every direction, a vast rain forest spread. Millennial trees trailed nets of vine and moss hundreds of feet downward to wet undergrowth. [...] North, south, east, and west, the landscape curved up and away into walls. They, in turn, joined to form a ceiling of sky. This was not merely a bowl of land but the inside of an enormous sphere." The guest was a middle-aged Thran doctor named Yawgmoth.
How many thousands of players have been bewildered by Segovian Leviathan? Leviathans are titanic creatures of the deep, so why is Segovian Leviathan no bigger than an elephant! Because Segovia is a miniature plane about 1/100 the size of Dominaria. In The Duelist magazine issue 25, Pete Venters writes, "Your average army of Segovian humans could be crushed under a single goblin's foot and the biggest Segovian dragon isn't any bigger than a Dominarian dragonfly."
Shandalar is a mana-rich plane without a fixed location in the Multiverse. Instead it wanders an irregular course through the Blind Eternities. For a time after the Brothers' War, Dominaria and eleven other planes were separated from the rest of the Multiverse. These twelve planes were known collectively as the Shard. But Shandalar's planar path could pass into and out of the Shard, and was thereby a kind of planeswalkers' escape route from the Shard. Shandalar was the setting for the 1997 Magic: The Gathering computer game by Microprose.
This plane is mentioned in passing as a place Urza and Xantcha visit in Lynn Abbey's novel Planeswalker. Nothing further is known about it.
This plane of fire, djinni, and efreeti has connections to both Rabiah the Infinite and to Dominaria. Emissaries or viziers from Wildfire have appeared in Bogardan and Suq'Ata as well as in Rabiah. The Emberwilde Order is a ruling force on Wildfire and is referenced on a few different cards, including Emberwilde Augur, Emberwilde Caliph, and Emberwilde Djinn.
At last we've reached the end of our list. I hope this catalogue has given you a broader sense of the Multiverse—and there will, of course, be many more planes to come. What's this Alara place people keep asking me about, for instance? When I find out, I'll be sure to pass along the details. (Here's a hint: It doesn't exist, exactly.)
Until then, safe 'walking.