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Magic Switch Story

Magic: The Gathering storylines

Although Magic: The Gathering is essentially a strategy game that uses decks of cards, an intricate storyline underlies the cards released in each expansion. This storyline is shown in the game in the card art and through quotes and descriptions on the bottom of most cards (called flavor text). Novels and anthologies published by HarperPrism and Wizards of the Coast, and the comic books published by Armada Comics complete the storylines hinted at through the cards.

Storyline breakdown

The majority of Magic's story is set on the plane of Dominaria, and can be broken down into several distinct time periods each detailed in certain sets:

  • The Thran: The Thran were a race of master artificers who were destroyed by Yawgmoth and his Phyrexians (converted Thran following him) during the Thran-Phyrexian War about 5000 years before the Brothers. They are only hinted at in the game, but J. Robert King's novel The Thran explores their culture in some depth.
  • The Brothers' War: War between Urza and Mishra, two brothers who were trained by the archaeologist and artificer Tocasia in creating magical devices based on ancient Thran technology. As their power as artificers grew, so did their enmity, eventually erupting in an all-out war utilizing powerful constructs. Marshalling vast armies aided by their impressive machines (some of the old Thran Empire, some newly made) the brothers staged a series of battles. The war devastated the land of Terisiare on the plane of Dominaria and culminated in a world-devastating climax on the island of Argoth. This caused the Dark, the climate changes which led to the Fall of the Sarpadian Empires and finally to the Ice Age. The Brothers' War predated 5 color magic; it was fought with artifacts. This story is the basis for the Antiquities expansion and later the Urza's Saga Block.
  • The Dark: The devastation wrought by the Brothers led to the fall of many civilizations and the beginning of a Dark Age in Dominaria. The destruction of Argoth caused a nuclear winter that would later lead to the Dominarian Ice Age. This story is portrayed in the Fallen Empires and The Dark expansions. In this age Terisiare's survivors were bitterly opposed to magic. Tiny, insular villages dotted a wasted, goblin-infested landscape. Fanatical priests controlled a few powerful city-states. Preachers and witch-hunters hunted the countryside for the few remaining wizards. This story is fully explained in the novel The Gathering Dark by Jeff Grubb. The following Ice Age is detailed in Eternal Ice and The Shattered Alliance, also by Jeff Grubb.
  • Fallen Empires The harsh climatic changes that followed the destruction of Argoth caused the southern continent, Sarpadia, to struggle for survival. The elves and humans of Sarpadia begin breeding primitive but adaptable subspecies: saprolings and thrulls, respectively. These creatures soon turn on their creators and terrorize the people of Sarpadia. Barraged by invading orcs, goblins, and sea homarids as well as thrulls and fungus, the civilizations of Sarpadia are destroyed, and the continent falls into darkness.
  • The Ice Age: The climate-altering effects of the devastation continued leading to a global ice age. Eventually this cooling climate was reversed and life returned to normal. This story is portrayed in the Ice Age, Alliances, and Coldsnap expansions, and in the novels Eternal Ice and Shattered Alliance by Jeff Grubb. Jeff Grubb also wrote a short story "continuing" the story for Coldsnap, which is located in the Player's Guide insert you can find in a Coldsnap Fat Pack.
  • The Homelands This short story depicts the plane of Ulgrotha in which many civilizations struggle for power against the dreaded vampire the Sengir Baron. The planeswalkers Serra and Feroz turn the balance in favor of the light but are killed in battle against a crazy foreigner planeswalker. The story has no concrete ending.
  • The Phyrexian Invasion: After millennia of peace, the Phyrexians, who originate on a hellish mechanical world, invade the world of Dominaria from the pocket universe of Rath. The Phyrexian invasion divides in many sub-stories.



  • The Urza Saga: Following the destruction of Argoth, Urza becomes a planeswalker and foresees the invasion of Dominaria. Urza's travels lead the war to the peaceful universe of Serra's realm which is destroyed by Phyrexian armies; survivors of the plane flee to Dominaria and Ulgrota. In preparation for the invasion, Urza creates the Tolarian academy, a research and development laboratory-school in which he and other mighty wizards train mages for the upcoming invasion and take experiments on weaponry development, time-travel and genetic manipulation in hopes of creating a defensive army. Urza himself develops a fearful Legacy Weapon and a golem that can travel through time which combined can defeat any foe, but the time experiments lead to a time collapse and the academy ends trapped in endless time-lapses. This story arc is linked to The Thran, Antiquities, The Dark, Ice Age and Homelands and is depicted in the books The Brothers War, Planeswalker and Time Stream.
  • The Legacy: This follows the travels of many brave adventurers from all across Dominaria who, aboard Urza's vessel "The Weatherlight", seek to collect the different artifacts left by Urza and necessary to assemble the Legacy Weapon. Opposed to them, many Phyrexian allies or lords will try to stop them from their quest. This story arc is the longest in the Magic continuity and their characters are depicted in the Weatherlight, Tempest, Stronghold, Exodus, Mercadian Masques, and Nemesis card sets, later the story continues and concludes in the Invasion arc.
  • Prophecy: Parallel to the "Legacy" history, and following the Mirage and Urza's Saga histories, in Dominaria the warrior kingdom of Keld ensues war all across Jamura. Many wizards from the Tolarian academy aid the federation of Jamura and succeed in stopping the Keldon's warmongering.
  • The Invasion: War ensues; The dreaded Phyrexians came to Dominaria across many "planar portals", with the aid of Urza (who has been spending thousands of years planning a defense against the Invasion) and thanks to the efforts of the Weatherlight heroes, the Phyrexians are eventually overcome, but several civilizations are decimated or destroyed, creating social chaos in many parts of the world. At the end, the Legacy Weapon is accomplished but in using it half of the planet is destroyed bringing the Apocalypse. The Invasion itself occurs in the Invasion block, but is linked to all previous story arcs. This is illustrated in depth in a series of articles named "Remember the Weatherlight" at MTGSalvation.com by an author working under the pseudonym "VestDan."
  • Otaria: After the devastation of the Invasion, Dominaria needs time to rebuild. This part of the story takes place in Otaria, a devastated continent that was, surprisingly, the place least affected by the Invasion. It centers on Kamahl, a barbarian, and his quest to get the Mirari, a magical orb of seemingly endless power.
  • Onslaught: In this block, the story shifts to a battle between Akroma, an angel, and Phage, Kamahl's corrupted sister, who kills with a touch. Those two women raise armies behind their causes as the Mirari sits in the background of the conflict dragging Kamahl along for the ride while three older powers stir from their ancient slumber. This story is linked to Apocalypse, the last episode of the Phyrexian invasion.
  • Mirrodin: The story of Mirrodin takes place on a new, metal world, created by the planeswalker Karn and populated by races stolen from other worlds. Glissa, an elf, and her allies strive to assemble the mythical Kaldra, so that they can defeat the crazed Memnarch, who lives inside the hollow world. All the while, we learn about the history of Mirrodin, and its loose, but nonetheless present, connection to previous storylines based on Dominaria. The Mirrodin story is the first of the new year-long, three-set story arcs, having started in 2003 with the release of Moons of Mirrodin and continuing with 2004's The Darksteel Eye and The Fifth Dawn, this story is closely linked to the events of Otaria.
  • The Kami War: The plane of Kamigawa is naturally divided in two: the kakuriyo Kami world (spirit world) and the utsushiyo material world; both working and operating harmoniously until the Kami began to attack the material world twenty years before the story begins. The books follow the lone samurai Toshiro Umezawa and the princess Michiko as they try to bring peace to Kamigawa. As well as giving the game an unusual, strong Oriental feel, this storyline is interesting in that the designers deliberately tried to give the story a strong influence over the game itself. Instead of relying on the traditional "color wheel" conflict (the game of Magic: the Gathering is based on a five-point circle of allied and enemy color affiliations), the color any given card is may often be less important than whether is has a Kami or Material theme.
  • Ravnica: Ravnica is a plane covered almost entirely in cityscape. The city's ten "guilds", political organizations each based on a different two-color mana pairing, warred for a long period of time. After the conflict, a magical document, the Guildpact, was created to ensure that the plane remained at peace and that the guilds would constrain themselves to their social roles. The main storyline begins 9,999 years later, as anticipation of the decimillennial anniversary builds. The once-noble guilds have corrupted and decayed over time, and a great political gridlock is all that keeps Ravnica stable. A series of protagonists - most notably Agrus Kos, a law enforcement officer from the Boros League, and Teysa Karlov, a lawmage from the Orzhov Syndicate, uncover the plots of the various guildmasters, as well as the ambitions of the "secret guild", House Dimir. The flavor of the cards again exerted considerable influence over the mechanics of the game, encouraging players to build decks devoted to a particular guild.
  • Time Spiral: The Time Spiral block returns to a post-apocalyptic Dominaria. Teferi, a planeswalker, abandoned Urza during the Phyrexian Invasion by "phasing" (temporarily removing from reality) two landmasses known as Shiv and Zhalfir out. He returns to Dominaria to find it in a state of ruin. In addition to having been almost totally devastated by the Apocalypse, mysterious "time rifts" have opened in the skies across the plane, making planeswalking and spellcasting more difficult. Teferi wants to ensure that Zhalfir and Shiv return to Dominaria safely - however, the time rifts, and the considerably deteriorated state of the plane itself, mean that the two continents no longer "fit." Should Zhalfir and Shiv land, Dominaria and the entire Multiverse would be destroyed. The Time Spiral block was billed as Magic's nostalgia block, and would revisit themes and characters from every storyline up to the end of the Otaria arc. As the Invasion did before the time spiral story is linked to any other story arc before it, harkening back to many earlier settings and characters, even those outside of Dominaria.
  • Lorwyn: Whereas most blocks consist of three sets, it was decided to turn the 2007/08 block into two mini blocks of two sets each. The focus of the first is the plane of Lorwyn, an idyllic, perpetually sunlit world populated by a wide variety of civilised species. These tribes are generally peaceful but keen to keep to themselves. The story centers around an elf outcast named Rhys who has triggered a series of events foreseen by his mentor, Colfenor, and a flamekin pilgrim named Ashling who believes her path and Rhys's are the same. The coming Aurora, an annual event when the plane darkens and lights appear in the sky, is the key to whatever it is that Rhys needs to do.
  • Shadowmoor: Although the events depicted in this block are after the ones from Lorwyn (and technically they're the same plane), the first novel focused on short stories not related to the previous main quest. The Eventide novel is expected to continue the storyline.

Additional plots

There are numerous other smaller plots and subplots that take place in Dominaria and on the many planes of the multiverse of Dominia as well as events after the invasion of Dominaria by the Phyrexians.

  • The sets from Weatherlight up to Apocalypse follow the epic story arc of the crew of the airship Weatherlight, their trek across several planes, and their ultimate role in defending Dominaria from the Phyrexian invasion.
  • The sets from Odyssey to Scourge, set in the era of upheaval after the Invasion, involve the Dominarian continent of Otaria and the struggle between various factions for the powerful artifact known as the Mirari.
  • The sets from Mirrodin to Fifth Dawn are set in the world of Mirrodin, where artificial and natural life are inseparably entwined.
  • Several Magic: The Gathering video games have their own storylines and worlds.

Settings of Dominia

Dominia is the general name for the multiverse, which, in the books, refers to all of the infinite planes. Some of the most notable planes are as follows.

Book Titles

Harper Prism

Title Type Author release Isbn
Arena Novel William R. Forstchen 11/1994 ISBN 0-06-105424-0
Whispering Woods Novel Clayton Emery 03/1995 ISBN 0-06-105418-6
Shattered Chains Novel Clayton Emery 03/1995 ISBN 0-06-105419-4
Final Sacrifice Novel Clayton Emery 05/1995 ISBN 0-06-105420-8
The Cursed Land Novel Teri McLaren 08/1995 ISBN 0-06-105016-4
The Prodigal Sorcerer Novel Marc Sumner 11/1995 ISBN 0-06-105476-3
Ashes of the Sun Novel Hanovi Braddock 03/1996 ISBN 0-06-105649-9
Tapestries Anthology Edited by Kathy Ice 05/1996 ISBN 0-06-105308-2
Distant Planes Anthology Edited by Kathy Ice 05/1996 ISBN 0-06-105313-9
Song of Time Novel Teri McLaren 06/1996 ISBN 0-06-105622-7
And Peace Shall Sleep Novel Sonia Orin Lyris 07/1996 ISBN 0-06-105619-7
Dark Legacy Novel Robert E. Vardeman 12/1996 ISBN 0-06-105697-9

Wizards of the Coast

Title Type Cycle Author release ISBN
Brothers' War, The Novel Artifacts (I) Jeff Grubb 05/1998 ISBN 0-7869-1170-0
Rath and Storm Anthology Edited by Peter Archer 07/1998 ISBN 0-7869-1175-1
Planeswalker Novel Artifacts (II) Lynn Abbey 09/1998 ISBN 0-7869-1182-4
Colors of Magic, The Anthology Jess Lebow, ed. 02/1999 ISBN 0-7869-1323-1
Time Streams Novel Artifacts (III) J. Robert King 04/1999 ISBN 0-7869-1344-4
Gathering Dark, The Novel Ice Age (I) Jeff Grubb 06/1999 ISBN 0-7869-1357-6
Bloodlines Novel Artifacts (IV) Loren L. Coleman 08/1999 ISBN 0-7869-1380-0
Mercadian Masques Novel Masquerade Francis Lebaron 09/1999 ISBN 0-7869-1188-3
Thran, The Novel J. Robert King 12/1999 ISBN 0-7869-1600-1
Nemesis Novel Masquerade (II) Paul B. Thompson 02/2000 ISBN 0-7869-1559-5
Eternal Ice, The Novel Ice Age (II) Jeff Grubb 05/2000 ISBN 0-7869-1562-5
Myths of Magic, The Anthology Edited by Jess Lebow 06/2000 ISBN 0-7869-1529-3
Prophecy Novel Masquerade (III) Vance Moore 06/2000 ISBN 0-7869-1570-6
Invasion Novel Invasion (I) J. Robert King 10/2000 ISBN 0-7869-1438-6
Planeshift Novel Invasion (II) J. Robert King 10/2000 ISBN 0-7869-1802-0
Shattered Alliance, The Novel Ice Age (III) Jeff Grubb 12/2000 ISBN 0-7869-1403-3
Johan Novel Legends (I) Clayton Emery 04/2001 ISBN 0-7869-1803-9
Apocalypse Novel Invasion (III) J. Robert King 06/2001 ISBN 0-7869-1880-2
Dragons of Magic Anthology Edited by J. Robert King 08/2001 ISBN 0-7869-1872-1
Odyssey Novel Odyssey (I) Vance Moore 09/2001 ISBN 0-7869-1900-0
Jedit Novel Legends (II) Clayton Emery 12/2001 ISBN 0-7869-1907-8
Chainer's Torment Novel Odyssey (II) Scott McGough 01/2002 ISBN 0-7869-2696-1
Secrets of Magic, The Anthology Ed. by Jess Lebow 03/2002 ISBN 0-7869-2710-0
Judgment Novel Odyssey (III) Will McDermott 05/2002 ISBN 0-7869-2743-7
Hazezon Novel Legends (III) Clayton Emery 08/2002 ISBN 0-7869-2792-5
Onslaught Novel Onslaught (I) J. Robert King 09/2002 ISBN 0-7869-2801-8
Assassin's Blade Novel Legends 2 (I) Scott McGough 12/2002 ISBN 0-7869-2830-1
Legions Novel Onslaught (II) J. Robert King 01/2003 ISBN 0-7869-2830-1
Emperor's Fist Novel Legends 2 (II) Scott McGough 03/2003 ISBN 0-7869-2935-9
Scourge Novel Onslaught (III) J. Robert King 05/2003 ISBN 0-7869-2956-1
Monsters of Magic, The Anthology Edited by J. Robert King 08/2003 ISBN 0-7869-2983-9
Moons of Mirrodin, The Novel Mirrodin (I) Will McDermott 09/2003 ISBN 0-7869-2995-2
Champion's Trial Novel Legends 2 (III) Scott McGough 11/2003 ISBN 0-7869-3015-2
Darksteel Eye, The Novel Mirrodin (II) Jess Lebow 01/2004 ISBN 0-7869-3140-X
Fifth Dawn, The Novel Mirrodin (III) Cory Herndon 05/2004 ISBN 0-7869-3205-8
Outlaw: Champions of Kamigawa Novel Kamigawa (I) Scott McGough 09/2004 ISBN 0-7869-3357-7
Heretic: Betrayers of Kamigawa Novel Kamigawa (II) Scott McGough 01/2005 ISBN 0-7869-3575-8
Guardian: Saviors of Kamigawa Novel Kamigawa (III) Scott McGough 05/2005 ISBN 0-7869-3786-6
Ravnica: City of Guilds Novel Ravnica (I) Cory J. Herndon 09/2005 ISBN 0-7869-3792-0
Guildpact Novel Ravnica (II) Cory J. Herndon 01/2006 ISBN 0-7869-3989-3
Dissension Novel Ravnica (III) Cory J. Herndon 05/2006 ISBN 0-7869-4001-8
Time Spiral Novel Time Spiral (I) Scott McGough 10/2006 ISBN 0-7869-3988-5
Planar Chaos Novel Time Spiral (II) Scott McGough & Timothy Sanders 01/2007 ISBN 0-7869-4249-5
Future Sight Novel Time Spiral (III) Scott McGough & John Delaney 04/2007 ISBN 0-7869-4269-X
Lorwyn Novel Lorwyn (I) Cory J. Herndon & Scott McGough 09/2007 ISBN 0-7869-4292-4
Morningtide Novel Lorwyn (II) Cory J. Herndon & Scott McGough 01/2008 ISBN 0-7869-4790-X
Shadowmoor Anthology Shadowmoor (I) Edited by Peter Archer & Susan J. Morris 04/08 ISBN 0-7869-4840-X

Comics Titles

Armada (Acclaim Comics):

Title Cycle Author release
Magic: the Gathering: The Shadow Mage Planeswalker War Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Val Mayerik & James Dean Pascoe (art) 07/1995
Magic: the Gathering: The Shadow Mage (2) Planeswalker War Jeffrey Gomez (wr.) & Val Mayerik (art) 08/1995
Magic: the Gathering: The Shadow Mage (3) Planeswalker War Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Val Mayerik & Rick J Bryant (art) 09/1995
Magic: the Gathering: The Shadow Mage (4) Planeswalker War Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Val Mayerik, Rick J Bryant & Gonzalo Mayo (art) 10/1995
Ice Age on the World of Magic: the Gathering ? Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Rafael Kayanan & Rodney Ramos (art). Cover by Charles Vess 07/1995
Ice Age on the World of Magic: the Gathering (2) ? Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Rafael Kayanan & Rodney Ramos (art). Cover by Charles Vess 08/1995
Ice Age on the World of Magic: the Gathering (3) ? Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Rafael Kayanan & Rodney Ramos (art). Cover by Charles Vess 09/1995
Ice Age on the World of Magic: the Gathering (4) ? Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Rafael Kayanan & Rodney Ramos (art). Cover by Charles Vess 10/1995
Magic: the Gathering: Nightmare ? Hillary J. Bader (wr.), Anthony Castrillo & Anibal Rodriguez (art) 11/1995
Fallen Empires on the World of Magic: the Gathering ? Kevin Maples & Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Alex Maleev & Rodney Ramos (art) 09/1995
Fallen Empires on the World of Magic: the Gathering (2) ? Kevin Maples & Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Alex Maleev & Rodney Ramos (art) 10/1995
Magic: the Gathering: Wayfarer Planeswalker War/Wayfarer Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Val Mayerik, Rick J Bryant & Gonzalo Mayo (art). Cover by Michael Wm. Kaluta 11/1995
Magic: the Gathering: Wayfarer (2) Planeswalker War/Wayfarer Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Val Mayerik, Rick J Bryant & Gonzalo Mayo (art). Cover by Michael Wm. Kaluta 12/1995
Magic: the Gathering: Wayfarer (3) Planeswalker War/Wayfarer Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Val Mayerik, Rick J Bryant & Gonzalo Mayo (art). Cover by Michael Wm. Kaluta 01/1996
Magic: the Gathering: Wayfarer (4) Planeswalker War/Wayfarer Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Val Mayerik, Rick J Bryant & Gonzalo Mayo (art). Cover by Michael Wm. Kaluta 02/1996
Magic: the Gathering: Wayfarer (5) Planeswalker War/Wayfarer Jeffrey Gomez (wr.), Val Mayerik, Rick J Bryant & Gonzalo Mayo (art). Cover by Michael Wm. Kaluta 03/1996
Antiquities War on the World of Magic: the Gathering Antiquities War (1) Jerry Prosser (wr.), Paul Smith & Thomas 'Tom' Ryder (art) 11/1995
Antiquities War on the World of Magic: the Gathering Antiquities War (2) Jerry Prosser (wr.), Phil Hester & Thomas 'Tom' Ryder (art) 12/1995
Antiquities War on the World of Magic: the Gathering Antiquities War (3) Jerry Prosser (wr.), Phil Hester & Thomas 'Tom' Ryder (art) 01/1996
Antiquities War on the World of Magic: the Gathering Antiquities War (4) Jerry Prosser (wr.), Phil Hester & Thomas 'Tom' Ryder (art) 02/1996
Magic: the Gathering: Arabian Nights Arabian Nights Jeof Vita & Susan Wright (wr.), Alex Maleev & Rodney Ramos (art) 12/1995
Magic: the Gathering: Arabian Nights (2) Arabian Nights Jeof Vita & Susan Wright (wr.), Alex Maleev & Rodney Ramos (art) 12/1995
Convocations: A Magic: the Gathering Gallery - Various 01/1996
Serra Angel Anthology Margaret Weis & ? 08/1996
Homelands on the World of Magic: the Gathering Anthology D.G. Chichester (wr.) & Rebecca Guay (art) 02/1996
Legend of Jedit Ojanen on the World of Magic: the Gathering ? Kenn Bell (wr.) & David Boller (art) 03/1996
Legend of Jedit Ojanen on the World of Magic: the Gathering ? Kenn Bell (wr.) & David Boller (art) 04/1996
Magic: the Gathering: Shandalar ? David Quinn (wr.) & Bo Hampton (art) 04/1996
Magic: the Gathering: Shandalar (2) ? David Quinn (wr.) & Bo Hampton (art) 04/1996
A Magic: the Gathering Legend: Fallen Angel ? Nancy A. Collins (wr.), Don Perlin, Dennis Callero & Richard Kane Ferguson (art) 05/1996
Elder Dragons: a Magic: the Gathering Legend ? Art Holcomb (wr.) & Doug Tropea-Wheatley (art) 05/1996
Elder Dragons: a Magic: the Gathering Legend (2) ? Art Holcomb (wr.) & Doug Tropea-Wheatley (art) 05/1996
Magic: the Gathering: Dakkon Blackblade ? Jerry Prosser (wr.), Rags Morales & Barbara Kaalberg (art) 06/1996
Urza-Mishra War on the World of Magic: The Gathering ? Jerry Prosser (wr.), Tom Mandrake & Bill Sienkiewicz (art). Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz 09/1996
Urza-Mishra War on the World of Magic: The Gathering (2) ? Jerry Prosser (wr.), Tom Mandrake & Bill Sienkiewicz (art). Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz 10/1996

Dark Horse:

Title Type Cycle Author release
Gerrard’s Quest (1): Initiation Comics Gerrard’s Quest Mike Grell (wr.), Pop Mhan & Norman Lee (art) 03/1998
Gerrard’s Quest (2): Legacy Comics Gerrard’s Quest Mike Grell (wr.), Pop Mhan & Norman Lee (art) 04/1998
Gerrard’s Quest (3): Crucible Comics Gerrard’s Quest Mike Grell (wr.), Pop Mhan & Norman Lee (art) 05/1998
Gerrard’s Quest (4): Destiny Comics Gerrard’s Quest Mike Grell (wr.), Pop Mhan & Norman Lee (art) 09/1998
Gerrard’s Quest Collection Gerrard’s Quest Mike Grell (wr.), Pop Mhan & Norman Lee (art) 04/1999

External links

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