MTG Mondays: Vesuva

It is everywhere you’ve ever been.” – Vesuva

Vesuva, home of the shape shifters

Good day to you all, I hope the mana flowed well in your lives this week. Tell me something, student of the arts, do you like Illusionists? I hope you do, because today we will be talking about an isle on Dominaria that is famous for its illusionists, Vesuva.

As I have mentioned, Vesuva is an island nation that is in between the Orvada Empire, a merchant empire that is a rival to Benalia, and Shanodin, home of the dryads. The nation is home to the shape shifters, a race of beings that can change their form into another being, they can become anyone they want and you can only imagine how dangerous a power like that is, in the wrong hands. Another ability that these illusionists have is that they can create a doppelganger of a person, which is basically a clone or copy of a person, but the difference is that the doppelganger has a taste for murder and death.

The Vesuvans were not spared catastrophe though, even with all their wonderful abilities. During the rift era, when all the planes in the Magic universe were affected by temporal rifts and interfering with the natural order of things, Vesuva was absolutely devastated, and the once beautiful and majestic state was reduced to nothing but rubble and death. The strange thing was, the illusion magic held, and the reflection in the water below showed Vesuva as it once stood, proud, strong, mysterious and most importantly…whole.

Vesuva, ruined. Note the water though.

Not much else is known about Vesuva but what is known is quite intriguing. The island nation, rose to greatness again like a Phoenix from the ashes. Where once was ruin and hardship, glorious buildings now stood as a testament to the will of the Vesuvan people. But something else that peaked my interest is its ruler, the Queen of Vesuva. Now I have very little knowledge of the queen herself, but it’s what’s on her head that sparked my interest, The Helm of the Host. This helm is made of a material called Rathi flowstone, but what is so significant about that you ask? Well Rath is the artificial plane that was created by the Phyrexians to stage their invasion of Dominaria, and flowstone is the material that created the plane.

Forged out of flowstone for the queen of Vesuva.” – Helm of the Host

The Queen of Vesuva wearing the Helm of the Host

Now I am no more than a storyteller and a collector of weird and wonderful tales, so I pay very little mind to idle chatter, but the queen wearing a crown made of the material from a race of beings hell bent on destroying every part of Dominaria? My question is, was the queen “gifted” this crown, or was it a spoil of battle?

So that is the history of the people of Vesuva. Not much is known about these people, but if your whole culture is based on illusion and deception, well, they will only show you what they want you to see and nothing more. A proud people that from my experience had to put up with a lot, or as much as most of the people on Dominaria. To me, they look like a nation that will have great days ahead of them and maybe they will. But that is the chapter on Vesuva and I for one hope you enjoyed it.

As always, thank you for reading!

MTG Mondays: Verdura

Each spell has its own song, and the enchantress knows the dance for each.” – Verduran Enchantress

Verduran Enchantress by Rob Alexander

May the flow of mana grant you vast bounties, friends. Good morning and welcome to yet another chapter in the history of Magic and the cultures, races and peoples that call the vast universe their home. Today we will be talking about Verdura, a beautiful and lush island on the plane of Dominaria where spell casters are plentiful.

The island of Verdura is covered in woodlands and forests as far as the eye can see, but while these forests and green areas way look wondrous and inviting, there are dangers that lurk deep in the woods. The people of Verdura are not ones to be trifled with, during my studies, I have noticed how protective they are of their lands and how fiercely they will protect what they hold dear. The people that called Verdura their home are known as Verdurans and the quirky thing about the Verdurans is that it is an extremely matriarchal society.

The females of Verduran society are known as Verduran Enchantresses, powerful magic wielders in the areas of enchantment and transformative magic. These enchantresses live well away from any male Verdurans and they are part of their own separate order. The females of Verduran society worship an entity simply known as the Avatar of Verdura, a goddess of extreme power who only divulges her name to those within the Verduran order.

Because the Verdurans are so skilled in what they do, they are highly sought after to join adventuring parties, royal courts, armies and other outfits and the Verdurans seem to have no problem hiring themselves out as mercenaries…as long as the price is right. The Verduran famously do not want gold or riches as payment, they want one of two things, either paid in land or paid in holdings. But for what they can do and the level of skill these enchantresses have, I would still put forward that a bit of land is cheap payment for the benefits one of these enchantresses would have on your party.

Verduran society seems to not look kindly on two things in particular, males and people who come looking for violence and slaughter. Males in Verduran society are treated with no respect and are sent to live in their own village on the northern coasts of Verdura. They are explicitly forbidden from travelling inland to the forests and to the dwellings of the females and if they break this rule, there is only one outcome…death.

So that is the story of the Verdura and the enchantresses that call the island their home. It is for me, equal parts beautiful and dangerous, though on my travels there, I did not get to see much of the island under the pain of death, which isn’t for me. The highly skilled enchantresses are a force that are not to be reckoned with and in my personal use of them in my green enchantment decks, they have been beneficial in giving me the power I need to drive back any planeswalkers that dare threaten me, though my abundance of lands and holdings are starting to run dry from compensating them so much for their services.

I hope you enjoyed this chapter in my vast tome and I hope to see you next time to hear another riveting tale of the wonder that is Magic the Gathering. Go now and conquer all that is before you and be the best you can be.

I hope you enjoyed my writing and as always, thank you for reading!

MTG Mondays: Shiv

“Shiv is a restless land. It heaves ash, bleeds lava, and scabs over in black obsidian.” – Seismic Shift

Shiv

Greetings Planeswalkers from near and far and welcome to the tale that I will spin you today. Shiv is a region in the lands of Dominaria. It is noted as being the most prominent source of red mana in all of Dominaria. It sits away from most other lands, out on it’s own beyond the great ocean. Because of the volume of volcanoes the waters around Shiv are at an almost constant boiling point. In the region there are a race known as Viashino, they are lizard-men for all intents and purposes and they are native to Shiv. These cunning little creatures figured out how to navigate these hostile and dangerous waters and make it out to the rest of the world but they keep their ways secret, much to the annoyance of the other people and races of Shiv.

Viashino

Apart from the Viashino there are goblin tribes, ferocious dragons and even tribes of humans known as the Ghitu. According to the Ghitu, the lands of Shiv came from an egg and that the land hardened through the fires of the volcanoes and with the eruptions of the volcanoes it shed more and more of the land until it became what is now Shiv. The Ghitu believe that the races were created from the elements of the land. They believe that they themselves were born of the fire of the volcano, the dragons were born of the air and that the Viashino were born of the earth.

Shivan inhabitants are hardened to fire, so their predators have developed alternative weaponry.” – Electryte

In the earliest days of Shiv’s civilization their lands were being exploited by the Thran Empire for the vast amount of mana that was on Shiv. The Thran Empire was a massive empire that incorporated eight city states and was extremely powerful. The Thran Empire eventually collapsed in no small part because of the Phyrexian Invasion and a civil war that broke out between those who were loyal to the Phyrexians and those that weren’t. The Thran Empire was eventually torn asunder and scattered, though their infrastructure was left behind including the mana rig, a massive structure that was used to mine the mana. The operators of the rig, being goblins who were descended from the original operators forgot how to use the rig for its actual purpose, but the goblins made a religion around the rig.

While the Phyrexian Invasion was still ravaging the lands of Dominaria, Urza, a great and powerful planeswalker was studying in a region known as Tolaria. While there, he noticed an amulet that one of his students carried. The amulet was made of Thran-Steel and the bearer was an artificer of the Ghitu named Jhoira. Urza travelled to Shiv to find out more about the origins of the amulet and the lands that created it. When he arrived, Urza went to the Viashino and eventually gained their trust and lived with them while he was on Shiv. Urza also convinced the goblin tribes to ally with the Viashino against the Phyrexian hordes that would soon be slaughtering the inhabitants of Shiv. There was one more entity that Urza had to talk too, Gherridarigaaz, who was a great and powerful dragon and the mother of Rhammidarigaaz, the future dragon leader of the Dragon Nations. With the Viashino, goblins, Ghitu and Gherridarigaaz on his side, Urza had a pretty impressive alliance at his back.

Jhoira

The Phyrexians came and they bore savage weapons and the will to fight. Jhoira, Urza’s student used the mana rig from the Thran Empire against the Phyrexians but even with the warriors, mana and powerful spell casters, Shiv seemed to be losing, badly. Teferi, another planeswalker and friend of Urza decided that it would be best to flee than to die, so using his powers, Teferi used magic called phasing, which in basic terms means phasing out of existence, to phase most of Shiv, the mana rig and Jhoira out of harms way. Eventually Phyrexia was pushed back through the various efforts of all the armies on Dominaria and the Phyrexians were destroyed, but not before leaving Dominaria utterly devastated and the same could be said about Shiv. Apart from the rampant destruction on Shiv, there was also a drought of mana caused by the time rifts. Shiv was truly on the brink of extinction. But a small glimmer of hope appeared after Teferi returned and phased back into existence the mana rig, Jhoria and the rest of Shiv, and his cost? The spark that made him a planeswalker.

Moggs, which were goblins from the artificially created plane of Rath, used by the Phyrexians to stage their invasion of Dominaria settled on Shiv and in turn altered the native goblins of Shiv and created some evolutionary changes to the Shivan goblins. Because of the Phyrexian Invasion, the dragons were all but wiped out on Shiv and the Viashino population took a massive hit. This left the goblins and the Ghitu as the dominant species on Shiv and they did not get on. A conflict broke out between both races. The main thing that both races were fighting about was who gets to control the mana rig. Before they destroyed each other, Jhoira stepped in and brokered a peace between the two races. Jhoira then went on to repair the rig and it began to produce mana and Thran steel again, to the joy of the people of Shiv.

Mogg Goblins

So what is Shiv like nowadays? Not much had changed, but the people of Shiv wanted Jhoira to be their leader as she was respected by all of the races on Shiv. Jhoira was uncomfortable with this and she decided that Shiv should be ruled equally by all of the native races. Jhoira, along with some help was a key factor in setting up the Shivan Nation and united all the races into a council. The council was to have eight members, two elders from each race and Jhoira would be an honorary ninth member of the council. Hopefully this will keep the peace in the otherwise violent and volcanic region.

“The blood of your ancestors ran heavy on this soil. Now it’s your turn to sacrifice for the glory of Shiv.”Shivan Harvest

So, that was the story of Shiv. One of savagery, unity, bloodshed and heartache. Shiv had everything set against it. A barren wasteland, races that didn’t get on, constant civil wars, drought, exploitation and brought to the point of near extinction and to not only come out of that surviving, but thriving and in a union, well, I don’t think anyone would have thought that Shiv was even capable of such feats. I hope the story of Shiv continues on and that this fragile unity may last. But this is Magic the Gathering, you never know what may be around the corner.

I hope you all enjoyed my writing, and as always, thank you for reading!

MTG Mondays: Shanodin

Moving without sound, swift figures pass through branches and undergrowth completely unhindered. One with the trees around them, the dryads of Shanodin Forest are seen only when they wish to be.” – Shanodin Dryads

Shanodin Dryads

My fellow Planeswalkers, I bid you greetings. I hope the pools of mana have been bountiful to you in the past week. Today we will be talking about the forested region known as, Shanodin. The forest is on an island in an area of Dominaria know as the The Domains.

The main inhabitants of Shanodin are the Dryad. a Dryad is a spirit of the trees. They are usually depicted as having some aspects of a tree such as branches growing out of their body or maybe bark as part of their skin. There are many different types of Dryads in Dominaria. Little is known about Shanodin as there are very few people who actually visited the area and of those who survived, no one will speak about what they witnessed inside.

The main draw to Shanodin is the Heart of Shanodin which is located in the centre of Shanodin. The Heart of Shanodin lies upon a clearing and it is surrounded by walls of brambles and Dryads. The power of the Heart is that it can apparently show someone their true inner self. A ruthless and tyrannical king named Amjad brings any who wish to serve him into the Heart of Shanodin so he can see what is their true inner self. It is there that he makes his decision on whether they will serve him or not.

Apart from that, that is really all that is know about Shanodin. An extremely short one this week, but it is fascinating to learn all the stories in the Magic universe, long or short, big or small. I doubt they will return to Shanodin anytime soon as they only ever released one card referencing Shanodin, but it would be very interesting to return to that place and discover what is so horrifying about it that no one with utter a word about what they have seen inside.

I hope you enjoyed and as always, thanks for reading!

MTG Mondays: Serra

“Rise, and I will show you how to run without flagging, fight without raging, and fly without wings.” – Serra’s Blessing

Serra

Hello everybody, apologies for missing the last few MTG Mondays. I started a new job and things were a bit crazy, but now it is all back to normal, so let’s get into it. Today we will be talking about the legendary white planeswalker, Serra. In the game Serra is noted for being all about angels and white spells.

Serra was a human planeswalker that was born on an unknown plane. Serra was noted as being quite plain looking and she could have easily been mistaken for a peasant as she was described as a woman who looked like she had borne children and done many a hard day’s work.

Serra’s real claim to fame is when the Church of Serra was founded. The Church of Serra was built during the day’s of the Sheoltun Empire, the empire that came before Benalia. The townspeople were from a mountainous region called Epityr which was under the rule of the Sheoltun Empire. They were forced to model their life based on the lives of Sheoltun people and adopt the traditions and customs of the Sheoltun people. The people of Epityr rebelled and Serra sent her angels to assist the rebellion which drove the Sheoltun Empire back. This event started the collapse of the Sheoltun Empire and paved the way for Benalia.

Serra’s Angel

Serra created a realm simply named Serra’s realm. This place was basically heaven and it was populated by the angels that Serra held so dear to her heart. There were also humans but primarily the ones who worshipped her. It is here that Serra’s “bible” was written called “The Song of All”. The song of all was all of Serra’s points of view and wisdom that she tried to pass down to future generations. The entire book is said to contain over a thousand verses, each passing a certain amount of wisdom.

The heavenly realm came to an end during, you guessed it, The Phyrexian Invasion. A very powerful planeswalker named Urza was wounded in battle against the Phyrexians and he needed respite. Serra allowed Urza to remain until he was well enough to leave which he did. There was a problem though, the Phyrexians tracked Urza to Serra’s realm. They attacked the realm and slaughtered most of Serra’s worshippers and angels. The black mana that oozed from the Phyrexians corrupted all of the realm to the point that even Serra herself could not remain. Serra had to leave and she took her followers with her. She left an archangel named Radiant behind to be the caretaker and protector of what was once regarded as heaven.

After travelling and wandering around she eventually came across another planeswalker named Feroz. Feroz was a planeswalker that travelled across the planes studying different cultures. He was one of the more unique planeswalkers in his beliefs that summoning and using creatures was immoral. Serra and Feroz met and they fell in love. The both eventually married and settled in an area called An-Havva on the plane of Ulgrotha, I will speak more on An-Havva and Ulgrotha in a later blog.

Feroz

Feroz and Serra met a vampire Lord named Baron Sengir and he told the loving couple to leave him be and do not interfere with any plans he has. Feroz and Serra did not listen to his warning and helped the Ulgrothan people protect themselves against Sengir and his wickedness. Unfortunately for all the good Feroz did, he died in a laboratory accident and left Serra heartbroken.

With all that had happened Serra had lost her will to live. Serra went back to Dominaria and settled in the village of Sursi. Serra hid her identity and wanted to live amongst the common folk. Serra was set upon by a thief who turned out to be another planeswalker. Serra was attacked and fatally wounded and while she could have healed herself, she let herself die. With the last of her strength, Serra blessed the lands around Sursi that made the land protected against dark forces.

“Serra isn’t dead. She lives on through me.” – Serra Avatar

A man named brother Angus seen her being attacked and tried to save her by distracting her attacker and making the attacker run away. While he couldn’t save her, he made her last days comfortable. On the site of her death, brother Angus built the Cathedral of Serra. It is said that the angels of Serra appear from time to time inside her Cathedral.

On Serra’s realm, Radiant took over the forces of angels that remained. Radiant was said to be proud, judgmental and was lacking the compassion, warmth and love of her mistress. Because of this, Radiant and her angelic followers were easy targets for the corrupting powers of Phyrexia. Radiant and her angelic army began a savage campaign of slaughter and death against the citizens of Serra’s realm.

Radiant

Urza returned to Serra’s realm to find out what was happening over there. What he seen was the senseless massacre of some of the holiest people of Dominaria by those who were once their protectors. Urza saved as many of the citizens of the realm as he could and as he left he collapsed the entire realm to prevent Phyrexia obtaining and corrupting the entirety of the realm.

The angel remembers her past lives like dreams. Her song held up meadows. Her blade drove back darkness. Her wings carried her across the ages. – Serra Angel

Serra’s story was one of hope and happiness and then as Phyrexia does it corrupted the story into that of tragedy, loneliness and heartbreak that eventually led to the downfall and destruction of Serra and her realm. For such an influential planeswalker and one of such renown in the Magic universe, she has one of more tragic stories of all the planeswalkers. Serra’s influence is still felt throughout the game and her cards still emerge here and there, so I would say, the tale of Serra is far from over.

I hope you enjoyed it and as always, thank you for reading.

MTG Mondays: Pashalik Mons

The thunderhead that leads in the storm.Pashalik Mons

Pashalik Mons

Good day, fellow planeswalkers. Today we will be talking about the dastardly Goblin warlord, Pashalik Mons and how he unified a horde of Goblins to attack neighboring regions which ended up having dragons getting involved.

Pashalik Mons was a goblin from a region called Rundvelt. The region was a mountainous region that was occupied by thirty villages and goblins. The goblins of Rundvelt were more dangerous than most as these goblins ended up mastering siege warfare, not only that, they even developed a society. To me, there is nothing more dangerous than a goblin who uses its brains. They were dangerous before, but then Pashalik Mons took command.

Not since the days of Pashalik Mons have the Rundvelt goblins been so united or effective.Goblin Warchief

Mons Goblin Raiders

Pashalik and his allies, the Mons Goblin Raiders invaded the neighboring region of Olesia. Olesia seemed to be a region covered in forests but not a lot is known about it. The Olesians did not like these goblins invading their land, not one bit, but they could not drive the goblins back alone. The Olesians went to their allies, the Nalathni Dragons for help. Not much is known about the Nalathni Dragons other then they were small but very intelligent dragons. The combined might of the Nalathni dragons and the warriors of Olesia drove Mons and his goblin raiders back to Rundvelt and back to the mountains.

These small but intelligent Dragons and their Olesian allies held back the tide of Pashalik Mons’s hordes of Goblin Raiders. – Nalathni Dragons

Nathalni Dragons and Olesians

There isn’t a lot more information on Pashalik Mons other than that he was a goblin warlord of Dominaria and the he invaded a region and was driven back, but to this day he is still being mentioned and referenced so maybe his story isn’t over yet. I personally hope it isn’t as there is a lot of untapped potential there. Goblins who are masters of siege and have a society? Yes please, give us more information on Mons Goblin Raiders!

A short story this week, nevertheless I hope you enjoyed it and as always, thank you for reading!

MTG Mondays: Llanowar

“After waking to the magic of Llanowar, no dreams can compare.”Vitalize

Llanowar

Hello everybody, I hope you are well and the planes of Magic are bountiful and good to you all. Today we will be talking about Llanowar, The massive forest region of Dominaria. Llanowar is close to two regions I spoke about already being Benalia and the Ironclaw Mountains.

The lush and vast lands of Llanowar spread to over a thousand miles at some parts. There are many beings that call the dense foliage of Llanowar their home but most notable are the Llanowar Elves. The Llanowar elves are fierce defenders of their forest to the point of being seen as almost xenophobic to other races. Apart from the Llanowar elves there are the Redwood Treefolk which are giant tree people (think Treebeard and the Ents) and the Aboroths which are elementals that live within the forest and have been known to attack the elves. The aboroths grow from the soil to eventually become powerful elementals.

Because of the Ice Age long ago, people outside of Llanowar were freezing to death. These people wandered through the Llanowar forest looking for firewood and any other provisions they could come across. The Llanowar elves were not happy with this and defended their homes from the scavengers. Because of this and other factors, Llanowar elves make sure to keep well away from outsiders, though they do some trading with outposts and towns. This isolation and almost xenophobic attitude has become such a strong belief that it can almost be seen as religious. The Llanowar elves believe that keeping away from other people will maintain the connection between the forest and the mysticism of nature.

Llanowar has seven elfhames, or kingdoms, each with its own ruler. Their palaces are objects of awe, wonder, and envy.” – Elfhame Palace

Elfhame Palace

The people of Llanowar live in different tribes or Elfhames, seven of them in fact. They are as follows:

  • Basiphem – The Basiphem elves live in the oldest and strongest trees of Llanowar. They see themselves as the protectors of Llanowar. The Basiphem are muscular and most weather conditions don’t bother them. A lot of Basiphem have never stood on the ground, though a lot of them died during the Phyrexian Invasion. They still blame themselves for failing to protect the forest during the Invasion.
  • Hedressel – Is the home to the druidic orders of Llanowar. No violence is allowed in Hedressel and if and when they catch trespassers, they bring them out beyond Hedressel’s border and execute them there.
  • Kelfae – The Kelfae elfhame are elves that live in waterproof canopies and form bonds with a race of creatures called Kavu. A Kelfae elf is usually given a Kavu at birth and it is usually one that was born on the same day. Another elfhame called Jubilar was utterly annihilated during the Phyrexian Invasion and the Kelfae took in the survivors and called them their own.
  • Loridalh – The Loridalh are shadowy elves that like to stick to aerial highways high in the trees. The Loridalh live in the hollow of the trees and though they have no central leadership, each tree is governed by lawspeakers and elders.
  • Riashil – The Riashil elves are pacifists and have been for many years. They buried their weapons under a tree called the Oak of Oath and practice a peaceful life. In saying that, they are one of the most isolationist elven tribes and they have no contact with the outside world. The officials of the Riashil elves are usually accompanied by their mothers.
  • Ruadach – In contrast to Riashil, the elves of Ruadach are one of the most tolerant elfhames. They openly trade with none elves and not only that, they would even marry other species. Their queen Terena who ruled for six centuries was killed during the Phyrexian Invasion and her half-elf daughter now rules Ruadach.
  • Staprion – The Staprion were the most militaristic of the Llanowar elves and where a lot of the reputation for Llanowar being so dangerous came from. They were completely devastated during the Phyrexian Invasion, to the point where all their leaders were slaughtered. They now rove Llanowar in gangs of fifty to a hundred elves called gusts and they kill any that stand in their way, including fellow Staprions.

To make sure that this way of life is followed, a particular group called the Order of the Steel Leaf was formed. The Order of the Steel Leaf was said to be brought together by a planeswalker named Freyalise, but who exactly was Freyalise? When Freyalise was a child, she was out in the cold wastelands on her own. She finally made it to a kingdom named Storgard and there was speak that she must have been more than human to survive the frozen wastes on her own. Nevertheless she was taken in and eventually became the court mage for King Miko of Storgard.

Starting out as a fire mage, Freyalise realised the power of green mana when she was almost killed by a green mage during a duel. When she ascended to become a planeswalker she chose green as her path. She helped the Fyndhorn and Llanowar elves survive the turmoil that was the ice age and eventually she became worshipped as a goddess by both factions of elves. It was because of Freyalise and a spell that she cast, the ice age ended on Dominaria, but Freyalise left. She eventually returned to Dominaria during the Phyrexian Invasion and fought for Urza. Llanowar fought bravely during the Phyrexian Invasion and rallied around the king of the Skyshroud elves, Eladamri. I will be speaking more on the events of the Phyrexian Invasion in a later blog, but know that the Llanowar elves fought bravely to drive back the forces of Phyrexia from Dominaria.

“This forest means more to the druids than their own kin. The loss of a tree is like the loss of a child.”Llanowar Druid

Llanowar went through a lot of horror and strife and the Rift Era on Dominaria didn’t help. During the Rift Era, tears in time were opening up all over Dominaria and villains from the past or events that occurred in the past were starting to happen again. Freyalise sacrificed herself and that of the Skyshroud elves to close the rift above Keld on Dominaria. The Llanowar elves were one of the first to start to heal during the great mending when the world started to right itself again. Half of the population of Llanowar were only in their adolescence.

Freyalise

There is a dark and twisted secret, forbidden to enter due to the danger that it poses. It is called the Abomination of Llanowar, and it is a mass of nercomantic magic. It was found by a Llanowar scouting party and an elf, through his foolish curiosity touched the mass of evil energy. The mass swallowed the whole party and added them to the mass. A second scout party was sent to find the first, but before they could act, they were set upon and all died bar one elf who managed to escape and tell his people about it. The area was declared forbidden and the Abomination hasn’t been seen since, becoming a myth in Llanowar.

So that is the story of Llanowar, one of the major elven factions of the MTG universe. The culture is very interesting and I find some similarities, especially with their protectiveness of the forest to the Elves of Mirkwood from J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I like the fact that there are seven subcultures, being the elfhames within this vast forest and the writers didn’t just paint them all with the one brush. They are a ferocious people who have had to put up with more than most, but it stands to them that they are not only alive, but flourishing. The Llanowar story isn’t over yet and I for one am looking forward to seeing how this story continues.

I hope you enjoyed my writing and as always, thanks for reading!

MTG Mondays: Keld

“Did the land make the Keldons? Did the Keldons make the land? Or were they simply meant for each other?” – Flame Jet

Keldon Berserker

Hello everybody, today we will be talking about the savage human warrior nation of Keld. Keld is a nation on Dominaria. It lies in the northwestern part of Aerona, and life there is nothing but harsh and because the land is so harsh and rough, the people are equally as rough. The people of Keld are feared throughout the land.

Origins

The people of Keld are savage and they differ to other humans on Dominaria, not only culturally but in terms of their physical nature. For example their skin varies in colour from grey to light blue, the reason for this is because they live in an icy wasteland that altered the pigments of their skin. They are all over six-foot tall and can reach seven feet tall. They are almost all muscled and have an incredible resistance to cold weather.

The people of Keld came from a region in the northern lands of Dominaria called, Parma. Parma was a cold and desolate wasteland populated by frost giants. A legendary warrior named Kradak took his people and lead a mass exodus down south to escape the bitter cold of Parma. As Kradak and his people continued down south they were dying from the cold and the harsh terrain and weather. His people settled near a volcano called The Mountain and Kradak heard a calling from this volcano. Kradak reached the peak of the volcano and learned to control the forces of magic and to make fire. Kradak used his new abilities to keep his people warm and alive. From this, Keld was created and Kradak was declared its first Doyen or warlord. Kradak explained his experience and teachings from the volcano and from this the Book of Keld was written which became the basis for the Keldon religion.

“The Mountain gave the flame to Kradak to light the furnaces of his people’s hearts. The wanderers became Keldons, and he the first warlord” – Keldon Warcaller

While the Keldon people are known for being savage and warlike, in recent years they have been known to try and change their ways, they have even started becoming farmers and trading with other lands. The leader of the tribe or warhost was the Doyen, but they have split the role into two, with the Doyen looking after the civil matters of the tribe and the warlord would look after matters of war. The overall leader of Keldon is known as the grand warlord.

War has come to Keld

Trumpet Blast. The Keldons go to war.

Keldon was another region that was attacked during the Phyrexian Invasion and it wasn’t spared the atrocities. The Keldon people seen the Phyrexian Invasion as the completion of a prophecy called the Keldon Twilight. The Keldon people made peace with the Skyshroud Elves and together they marched to face Phyrexia. The battle was long and costly to both sides. As the battle went on, the Keldons that were slaughtered rose from the dead through magic from Phyrexia. The undead warriors attacked their former comrades. The Doyenne, Tajamin threw her cudgel into the frozen lake on which the battle was fought and shattered the lake into a thousand pieces driving both armies into the frozen depths. Suddenly the legendary Keldon ship the Golden Argosy rose from the depths and saved thousands of lives. The Phyrexians were driven back and the Golden Argosy brought the Keldons to Urborg, the capital of the Phyrexian Foothold on Domiaria and allowed the Keldon to participate in the final battle against Phyrexia.

Apart from Phyrexia, Keld was also devastated by the time rifts caused during during clashes between planeswalkers and primal forces of the Magic The Gathering universe. The mana for the Keld magic was mostly drained and it also opened rifts that allowed Keld’s greatest enemies to return, The Gathans. Gatha was a student under Urza, but he went off on his own and started doing his own experiments in Keld which turned Keldon warriors into horrid, fiendish warriors dubbed Gathans. When the Phyrexians heard of Gatha, they wanted his knowledge but he threw himself off a cliff and killed himself to prevent the knowledge being taken by the Phyrexians. The Keldon slaughtered the rest of the Gathans. The Gathans returned through the time rifts and massacred the rest of the Keldon people. The few remaining Keldon people rallied behind a hero named Radha. Radha with the help of a Planeswalker named Teferi purged the Gathans out of Keld and rescued what was left of her kingdom.

Radha

The rifts eventually started to heal and Keld was able to start recovering from the horrific events over the last few years. Keld pulled itself together and over three centuries it become more of an industrialised state than just a plundering nomadic tribe. The Skyshroud Elves were accepted to become true people of Keld. There is a problem stirring though, some Keldons have come to believe that Keld has become weak and a shadow of its former self. There is speak of a warlord called Garna possibly looking to take the throne of Keld. Garna is a ruthless warlord and highly xenophobic, this would set Keld back into it’s old ways if Garna took control of Keld. Even though it would set Keld back, Garna is gaining followers and support albeit slowly.

The Keldons are a ferocious people are a nation that you wouldn’t want to make an enemy of. They have been through many hardships but in a way you could say they relish being miserable. The Keld value strength and they get stronger with each disaster that befalls them. I am not saying that they actively look to be attacked or slaughtered, but they do not shy away from it. They went and met the Phyrexian horde in battle, they slaughtered the Gathans. They might get hurt a lot, but through this hurt they learned to hit back twice as hard and when a Keldon hits you, you fall. They are one of the mightiest nations I have read about in MTG history, certainly one of the mightiest human nations. There story still continues to this day and there are still cards made about Keldons, so their story is nowhere near from finished. I can’t wait to learn more about the nation of Keld as the game goes on in the future.

I hope you enjoyed my writing and as always, thank you for reading.

MTG Mondays: Ironclaw Mountains

“Generations of genetic weeding have given rise to the deviously cowardly Ironclaw clan”Ironclaw Orcs

Ironclaw Orcs

Hello everybody, today we will be talking about the Ironclaw mountains, a mountain range that is or should I say was in Domiaria. The mountain range was home to many different races including orcs, goblins and dwarven clans that ended up being scattered throughout the mountain range.

Today we will be focusing on the Ironclaw orcs and their interesting history. The Ironclaw orcs are special for one reason and one reason only, they have a curse placed upon their tribe. Yes, the Ironclaw curse as it is known have made the Ironclaw tribe one of the best known orc tribes in Dominaria. The Ironclaw curse states that the Ironclaw tribes are not able to attack any force stronger than themselves. Because of this it has had a two pronged effect.

The first effect is that the Ironclaw orcs are perceived to be quite cowardly and run from almost every battle that they are in. In turn they are known as the most cowardly orc tribe that has existed on Dominaria. The second effect it had on them is the fact that because they can’t fight a stronger force, they must rely on tactics and wits to win battles. The Ironclaw orcs would retreat most of the time, study their enemies, pick out weak points and use that to their advantage. Through this, they have won many battles and established themselves as one of the strongest orc tribes in Magic the Gathering history. I will just reiterate that because it is so ridiculously contradictory: The Ironclaw orcs are the most cowardly, yet strongest orc tribe in all of Dominaria.

Later on in the lore of the Ironclaw mountains the Ironclaw mountain range is levelled by the armies of Benalia and the merfolk of Dominaria. The reason for this is because both armies had an all out war with the Ironclaw orc tribes. The mountains were renamed the Ironclaw hills and it eventually became a trading port that was inhabited by a wide variety of races including dwarves, goblins and kobolds.

“They warn the army of danger as they squawk past in swift retreat.” – Ironclaw Buzzardiers

Ironclaw Buzzardiers

So that was the history of the Ironclaw mountains and the inhabitants that lived upon it. An interesting tale about a tactical but cowardly tribe of orcs that had a terrible curse placed on them. They went from being known as one of the strongest tribes of orcs to being almost wiped out by the combined forces of the Benalish armies and the armies of the merfolk tribes. A good tale, but short. Maybe we will see more about the Ironclaw in the future.

I hope you enjoyed reading this story and as always, thanks for reading!

MTG Mondays: Hurloon

“The minotaurs of the Hurloon mountains are known for their love of battle. They are also known for their hymns to the dead, sung for friend and foe alike. These hymns can last for days, filling the mountain valleys with their low, haunting sounds”Hurloon Minotaur

Hurloon Minotaur

Hello fellow planeswalkers and welcome to my weekly lore discussion on the wonderful world of Magic the Gathering. Today we will be talking about the frozen mountainous region of Dominaria known as Hurloon and the savage but somewhat noble tribe of minotaurs that call it their home. As I mentioned Hurloon is in the northern parts of Dominaria, close to the elven realm of Llanowar and the magnificent city state of Benalia.

As I said the main group that call Hurloon their home are the minotaur. If you don’t know what a minotaur is, it is a hairy, bipedal, horned humanoid which basically has a bull’s head and a human’s body. Now that we got that out of the way, we shall continue on where these savage beasts came from. The minotaur’s home was ruined by glaciers that were ever so slowly moving and destroying their homes. The minotaurs were forced to migrate down south until they found a suitable place to live and be safe. The minotaurs continued to travel until they reached an impassible mountain range and it is here that the minotaurs found their salvation. They found caves and various other bits of shelter to take refuge and from there they called the Red Iron mountains their home. Most of the minotaurs settled in a place called the Hurloon Valley which is where their name derives from.

The Hurloon for the most part were left in peace, especially as many people just seen them as dangerous and savage, except for one man, Torsten Von Urses. Yes, Von Urses, the knight from Wrenna that went on to set up the state of Benalia saw more to the Hurloon then savage beasts that live in the mountains. This concept was absolutely staggering to Von Urses’s followers who must have thought he was a mad man. Von Urses took it a step further and travelled to where the Hurloon minotaurs lived and asked to sit with them and learn about them and about their philosophies of life, which the Hurloon accepted. Von Urses spent many years with the Hurloon and learned a great deal about them, in this case I believe he showed remarkable leadership qualities. He tried and successfully reached out to another race of people, a race that was seen as no more than being savage, brutish and uncultured.

Von Urses

It is also said that somewhere in the Hurloon mountains there are or there were Dwarven folk. The reason for this is that there is a Dwarven Hold somewhere in the mountain range that is said to hold an abundance of Red mana. Mana is the resource that planeswalkers use to cast their deadly and powerful spells. In saying that, the hold hasn’t been found yet but as far as everyone is concerned, it is up there…somewhere.

Lastly and ending on a sad note. The Hurloon mainly kept to themselves and away from others but that didn’t save them from the horrors of the Phyrexian Invasion. As the Phyrexians attacked they slaughtered all around them and the Hurloon were no different. The tribes of Minotaurs were butchered and killed, like so many on Dominaria. The Phyrexians were pushed back and defeated but not before Dominaria took a massive loss to life, but some Hurloon minotaurs still remain to this day.

“The peaks of Hurloon never fall silent”Firesong and Sunspeaker

Firesong and Sunspeaker

I believe the Hurloon story to be a tragic and sad one. They had to leave their homes due to natural disasters and travel to a land that was alien to them just to be classed as savages, until one man held out a hand of friendship. But in the end they were devastated by a war that really had nothing to do with any of them. But war claims all, even the innocent.

I hope you enjoyed my write up of the Hurloon and that you enjoy the lore series overall. As always, thanks for reading.