Tarkir

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Tarkir
Tarkir
First seen: Planechase 2012
Last seen: Dragons of Tarkir
Planeswalkers: Ugin, Sarkhan Vol, Narset
Rabiah Scale: 4[1]
Status: Unknown

Tarkir is the plane where the Khans of Tarkir block takes place. It is based on the lore and history of the Mongol Empire.

History[edit | edit source]

Tarkir is the rugged home of Sarkhan Vol and Ugin, and for ages has been ravaged by ambitious warlords of five rivalling clans.

The past[edit | edit source]

Dragons were born from Ugin's elemental storms, which spawned different broods of dragons in accordance to terrain, each with their own motives and breath weapons. [2] [3]

Original timeline[edit | edit source]

In the present of the original timeline, dragons were extinct, leading to Sarkhan Vol's fascination with them as a planeswalker. They had been hunted to extinction long before Sarkhan's time.

More than a thousand years earlier, the clans had fought a war against the dragons for their own survival. After Ugin's death at the hands of Nicol Bolas, the elemental storms that gave birth to the dragons ceased and no new dragons were born, changing the tide of the war. Ultimately, the warriors of the clans were able to destroy them all.

In the centuries that followed, the five warrior clans claimed dominion over Tarkir, and are fighting over every scrap of territory. While some khans [4] are content to rule their own homelands, some wish to rule all of Tarkir. The clans have co-opted ancient draconic magic to disguise their strength and best their foes.

Alternate timeline[edit | edit source]

When Sarkhan eventually travelled back in time, he prevented the extinction of the dragons by saving Ugin after his battle with Bolas. Ugin is preserved in a hedron cocoon as he regains his strength. During this time, the elemental storms grew in intensity, with the dragons growing more numerous and powerful and eventually overtaking the clans in an event known as the "Khanfall". In the aftermath, the word "Khan" was abolished among all Clans and five dragonlords and their broods rose to dominate the humanoid races, forming new clans over the remains of the old. These new clans continued to clash with each other over territorial disputes.

Geography[edit | edit source]

Regions differ from arid desert plains to humid tropical jungles to frigid snow-covered tundra. According to Sarkhan, Tarkir has no oceans or seas. Dragonbones littered the landscape.

Known locations[edit | edit source]

  • The Salt Road, a large road that stretches through many of the clans' territories.
  • The Shifting Wastes are the deserts controlled by the Abzan Houses. In the alternate timeline they are Dromoka's domain.
    • Arashin, a city built upon a rocky hill that serves as the clan's symbolic and administrative center. The trade routes that wind through the Shifting Wastes all pass through it. Arashin is the home of the sacred First Tree and the khan.
      • In the alternate timeline, Arashin is replaced by the Great Aerie, a gigantic structure that extends and fortifies the natural defensive position of the hill. The fortress is nearly invulnerable to ground assault, and the sky is heavily patrolled by dragons and aven. Dromoka makes her roost in the Great Aerie.
    • Mer-Ek, the colossal fortress that protects Arashin. In the alternate timeline, it is incorporated into the the Great Aerie.
    • the Lookout Roost, a watchtower far in the desert that guards the border with the Sultai. It rises four hundred feet into the air, is built of a reddish stone and peopled by Vulture-aven that have been given the Roost to watch over.
      • In the alternate timeline, the Aerie of the Unfettered is the only settlement in Dromoka lands that is home only to dragons. The Unfettered owe no fealty to anyone and have no humanoids under their protection
    • Khava, a settlement two days away from Arashin.
  • The Jeskai Way and the Ojutai control the waterways of Tarkir. Part of the population is settled in one of the four main strongholds or in one of the many villages along the rivers and lakes.
    • Sage-Eye Stronghold is the prime stronghold. It is built into the side of a mountain at the edge of a bay is ringed by mountains.
      • In the alternate timeline, this is Dragon's Eye, the secondary sanctuary and roost of the dragonlord Ojutai
    • Dirgur Stronghold , built on an island in the midst of a vast lake. It is surrounded by a floating village with a network of wooden bridges.
    • Cori Mountain Stronghold, constructed inside an ancient flooded caldera. An immense and well-preserved dragon skeleton surrounds the stronghold like a perimeter fence.
      • In the alternate timeline Cori Mountain Sanctuary is the primary roost and intellectual retreat of Ojutai.
    • Riverwheel Stronghold, a white-walled fortress built into the side of a cliff. A huge waterfall flows through it.
      • In the alternate timeline this is known as Icefall. The waterfall is frozen, perhaps by the magical intervention of cold-loving Ojutai dragons.
    • Purugir, the clan's largest trading post, located in a canyon along the Salt Road.
    • Highspire Stronghold, a minor stronghold on the border.
    • The Trail of Dead Emperors, a route through the mountains marked by towering white standing stones.
    • The Dead Reckoning, a route through a treacherous swampy region with a reputation for fatalities.
  • The Sultai Brood and the Silumgar reside in large city temples, necropoleis, and pleasure palaces hidden in a massive river delta with vast, lush tropical jungles and swamps.
    • The Sagu Jungle is the ancestral home of the naga. Many enormous beasts dwell there.
    • Kheru, the central place of worship for the Sultai. In the new timeline, it is the center for arcane and scholary research among the Silumgar.
      • The Kheru Temple, from where Sidisi rules.
      • The Qarsi Palace, a sprawling, luxurious jungle paradise set on the waterways.
      • The Crocodile Pits. Those who earn the displeasure of the Sultai wind up as afternoon snacks in the crocodile pits.
    • The Gudul, a series of islands that dot the delta.
    • The Gurmag Swamps, a belt of treacherous swampland that encircles part of the Sultai / Silumgar domain.
      • Ukud Necropolis, an impressive building containing the tombs of the Sultai ancestors. Home of the Rakshasa. In the alternate timeline it serves as the resting place for the bones of Silumgar's high-ranking dragons, which he has forbidden from being raised. It also serves as a vault for his treasures.
    • the Marang River, sourced by the snowmelt of the Mardu Mountains.
      • The Marang River Fortress, near a small, steep pass where the river comes out of the mountains. In the alternate timeline, this is te seat of Silumgar's power.
      • Molderfang Falls, a sacred site where an ancient dragon known as Silumgar was felled and crashed into the river.
  • The steppes and plateaus of Tarkir are home to the seminomadic Mardu Horde and the Kolaghan.
    • Wingthrone, the Mardu fortress where a great dragon died, smashed against a cliffside.
      • Non-existent in the alternate timeline.
    • Goldengrave, a grassy expanse where many Mardu battles have been fought.
    • The Scour, a deep chasm passes through the Qal Sisma mountains in Temur territory, that continues like a scar into Mardu lands. Eroded by constant winds spiked with a fine black grit.
    • Screamreach, a system of chilly bogs and swamplands. In the new timeline, this is the favoured domain of Kolaghan.
    • Sandsteppe Gate, the connection between the lowlands and the rolling hilly meadows.
  • The Qal Sisma mountains are inhospitable, but it's the region where the nomadic Temur Frontier and the Atarka spend much of the year hunting. [5]
      • The Melting Wilds. In the alternate timeline, the arrival of Atarka, and the storms that birthed her brood, were accompanied by widespread melting of the icy reaches in the Qal Sisma Mountains. Many of the mountaintop glaciers are now gone, and sudden floods caused by rapid icemelt are frequent.
    • Karakyk Valley, a glacier-carved valley that functions as their permanent winter residence for for the coldest two months of the year.
      • Ayagor, the Dragon's Bowl. The cirque of Karakyk does not exist in the alternate timeline. Instead, the spot where Atarka first settled has become a central gathering place. Ayagor is a shallow, high valley whose ice has melted completely.
    • The Staircase of Bones, a rounded hilltop which functions as the meeting place for the various family hunting groups.
    • Qadat, the Fire Rim, home of the Efreeti. In the new timeline, it was conquered by Atarka.
    • The Dragon's Throat: a high, winding valley deep within the mountains. Winds blowing through this valley create a continuous wail that is known as the Voice of Dragons. The shamans come here to whisper to very powerful spirits.
    • Ugin's Nexus: a point, deep within the ravine where Ugin's bones rest. There, reality is always shifting and twisting. [6]

Clans[edit | edit source]

Tarkir is a plane of five warring clans, each worshipping one aspect of the dragons: [7] [8] [9]

Old timeline[edit | edit source]

Name Colors Dragon Aspect Mechanic Symbol Khan
The Abzan Houses {W}{B}{G} Endurance Outlast Scale of the dragon Anafenza, the Foremost
The Jeskai Way {U}{R}{W} Cunning Prowess Eye of the dragon Narset, Enlightened Master
The Sultai Brood {B}{G}{U} Ruthlessness Delve Fang of the dragon Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
The Mardu Horde {R}{W}{B} Speed Raid Wing of the dragon Zurgo Helmsmasher
The Temur Frontier {G}{U}{R} Savagery Ferocious Claw of the dragon Surrak Dragonclaw

New timeline[edit | edit source]

Clan name Colors Dragon Aspect Mechanic Symbol Dragonlord
Dromoka {W}{G} Endurance Bolster Scale of the dragon Dragonlord Dromoka
Ojutai {U}{W} Cunning Rebound Eye of the dragon Dragonlord Ojutai
Silumgar {B}{U} Ruthlessness Exploit Fang of the dragon Dragonlord Silumgar
Kolaghan {R}{B} Speed Dash Wing of the dragon Dragonlord Kolaghan
Atarka {G}{R} Savagery Formidable Claw of the dragon Dragonlord Atarka

Races[edit | edit source]

  • Humans: The primary humanoid race that is found in all five Clans.
  • Dragons: Born from the dragon tempests that are tied to the spirit dragon Ugin. While his death resulted in their extinction in the old timeline, in the new timeline, Ugin's salvation led them to ascended the other races of Tarkir, becoming the rulers of the plane. More information below.
  • Aven: Tarkir Aven come in shape of different birds, including vultures, ravens, rails and falcons. They are found in all clan except for the Mardu in the old timeline and appear mostly in the Ojutai and Dromoka Clans in the new timeline.
  • Ainok: Canine humanoids that survive in the harsh environments of the plane. Affiliated with the Temur and Abzan in the old timeline and chiefly with the Dromoka in the new timeline.
  • Djinn: Inhabitants of Tarkir's high peaks, affiliated with Jeskai and the Ojutai.
  • Demon: Summoned by the Sultai and the Silumgar Clans through deals with the Rakshasa.
  • Efreet: Inhabitants of Qadat, the Efreet are aligned with the Jeskai Way in the old timeline and the Atarka in the new timeline.
  • Kirin: Messengers that appear in fateful moments.
  • Goblins: Pack creatures aligned with the Temur and Mardu in the old timeline and the Kolaghan and Atarka in the new timeline.
  • Loxodons: Mammoth-like humanoids primary native to the Qal Sisma Mountains.
  • Naga: Created from humans through ancient deals with the Rakshasa, the Naga aligned with the Sultai and Silumgar Clans.
  • Orcs: Savage humanoids found primary among the Mardu, Temur and Abzan Clans in the old timeline and Kolaghan in the new.
  • Ogres: Feral humanoids aligned with the Mardu and Temur in the old timeline and the Atarka in the new timeline.
  • Phoenixes: Firebirds aligned with the Temur
  • Rakshasa: Cat-like demons, the Rakshasa are masters of dark pacts.
  • Vampires: Bloodsuckers aligned with the Sultai.
  • Yetis: Mountain-dwelling humanoid beasts.
  • Zombies: Called sibsig, they serve the Sultai and the Silumgar as army.

Dragons[edit | edit source]

Five types of dragons, each lead by a prominent and eponymous figure, existed: [10]

  • Dromoka's Brood, named after their female champion, were revered by the Abzan Houses for their endurance. They were robust, ankylosaur-like beasts well protected by scaly armor, and breathed beams of light. They were drawn to Tarkir's hot and sunlit deserts. They attacked the Abzan over their "necromantic" ways, seeing their summoning of the spirits of the ancestors as an affront to nature and life, and thus massacred them until their khan, Daghatar, was brought before Dromoka's presence in the new timeline, years after Ugin's injury. Learning why she acted as she did, he ordered the end of the Abzan kin-tree traditions, installing instead a pact with the dragons.
  • Ojutai's Brood, named after their male champion, were admired by the Jeskai Way. They were lithe, feathered winged creatures drawn to Tarkir's cold peaks, and with an icy breath. They were cunning and treacherous, forcing the Jeskai into a battle of wits for their own survival. Though Ojutai's motivation to kill the Jeskai was never made entirely clear, he and his brood established themselves as exceptionally dogmatic individuals after taking over the Jeskai, when they attacked the meeting of the khans. Accepting Shu Yun's terms of surrender, Ojutai ordered the execution of every ghostfire Jeskai warrior. Finally, as the new leader, he demanded that the records of the Jeskai were edited to rewrite history in his favor, declaring himself ruler and the Jeskai abolished. In the new timeline, Ojutai seems to have mellowed out and is much kinder and closer to the humanoids of his Clan. Even when Narset discovered the secret of his rewriting Tarkir's history the dragonlord simply smiled and encouraged her to seek further knowledge and enlightenment.
  • Silumgar's Brood, named after their male champion, were inspirational to the Sultai Brood. They were snake headed creatures with a corrosive, venomous breath, associated with the misty jungles and swamps, stealing treasure and spreading death everywhere. In the new timeline, the Sultai khan offended the Rakshasa and the Nagas, prompting them to abandon the clan, forcing them thus to make a pact with Silumgar and his brood. Tasigur betrayed the other khans by revealing to the location of their meeting, under the promise of a special place of power under Silumgar's regime. His 'reward' was to become a pet for Silumgar to display his dominance over.
  • Kolaghan's Brood, named after their female champion, were imitated by the Mardu Horde. They were slim creatures with four feathered wings and an assortment of frills and spines, capable of conjuring lightning. Taking dominion over the hills and steppes, they fought viciously against the Mardu. In the new timeline, Kolaghan and her brood initially established themselves as the sole non-tyrannical dragons, not interested in enslaving the Mardu. In time, however, the dragonlord became a fearsome leader, using violence, cruelty, and her trademark unpredictability to keep the clan in line. Unlike the Mardu, the Kolaghan follow no code of honor. Their ambitions are to raze the other Clans down and bring ruin wherever they go. The Kolaghan pine for freedom, from civilization, from limits, from any form of honor or law.
  • Atarka's Brood, named after their female champion, were honored by the Temur Frontier. They were robust, bestial dragons with antlers and horns and fur, breathing green flames. Preferring the cold slopes, they were driven by hunger alone. In the new timeline, Atarka's barely sapient mentality proved to be the salvation to the Temur, as Yasova satiated her hunger by feeding her mammoth carcasses, distracting the dragons from attacking her clan. In exchange for feeding Atarka, the humanoids are tolerated by Atarka's Brood as long as they stay useful to her.

Following the rise of the broodlords and the passage of time, the dragons matured to new levels of power, gaining the additional title of Elder. While these five dragons are no doubt the most powerful on Tarkir, the term is used separately of the Elder Dragons that once waged war across the multiverse, making them a distinct breed of dragon rather than dragons of the same caliber as those ancient creatures. [11]

Note[edit | edit source]

Tarkir was built from the plane Mongseng from Planechase 2012[12]. After the decision was made to use Mongseng as the setting for a full block, unspecified considerations led to the renaming of the plane[13].

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (November 29, 2016.) "The Rabiah Scale", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  2. Ken Nagle. (December 29, 2014.) “Designing Your Fate”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. The Magic Creative Team. (January 7, 2015.) “Planeswalker's Guide to Fate Reforged”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mike McArtor. (December 11, 2014.) “Khan You See Who I See?”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Wizards of the Coast. (2014.) Khans of Tarkir infopage
  6. Jennifer Clarke-Wilkes. (December 10, 2014.) “Journey to the Nexus”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater. (July 26, 2014.) "Can you tell us about which color each clan is focused on?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  8. MTG Talk. (July 26, 2014.) "The five clans!", MTG Talk, Tumblr.
  9. Blake Rasmussen. (September 2, 2014.) “Clan Symbols”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Kelly Digges. (February 18, 2015.) “Khanfall”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Doug Beyer. (March 2, 2015.) "Why is Silumgar an Elder Dragon?", Voice for Vorthos, Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater. (September 1, 2014.) “Khan Do Attitude, Part 1”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Mark Rosewater. (September 1, 2014.) "Can we get...", Blogatog, Tumblr.

Sources[edit | edit source]