Welcome, fellow reader! Today I bring you a collection of the most relevant facts and the origin of the history of Magic's oldest plane: Dominaria, which dates back to the beginning, including the Multiverse itself.
We'll go back to the beginnings of time and space of our favorite card game, in the game's richest storytelling plane.
The Big Bang
Dominia. At first, this was the first name given to what we now know as the Multiverse. Of course, in 1993 the word Multiverse was still not as familiar in pop culture as we are today, and the Alpha set itself was a collection of cards without a proper history and location, as the idea of different planes didn't yet exist, but we can say that a certain scenario at the world level could be explored.
The cards had in their titles, even if unconnected, a timid construction of what years later would come to be called Dominaria. Urza, Mishra, Llanowar Elves and Benalish Soldiers already had life. Even unconsciously, this was the birth of Dominaria as a plane.
In an article, the creative team once even commented that for years and years Dominaria would be the main location of the stories and for a long time, the Magic universe as a whole. With that, their idea was to call it Dominia, but it would be confused with the plane so big and famous that it has become, so the name Dominia was in the past and Dominaria would become one of the many planes within the Multiverse that we explored. (but, of course, the most important and famous of all).
For the next paragraphs, I bring the time in years by the Argivian Reckoning (AR), which is the primary calendar used in Dominaria so that we have an idea of the time passing between the facts. He sets the birth of the brothers Urza and Mishra to 0.
The Elder Dragon War
- 20,000 to 15,000 years before the AR
If you ask Nicol Bolas, he will surely tell you that the plane was named Dominaria by him. The Numena, an ancient group of elder mages responsible for the overthrow of the primeval dragons of Dominaria, disagree, and have claimed the name of the plane for themselves. Which of these two facts is the real, is unknown.
What we do know is that at the beginning of time, Dominaria was thrilled with the birth of the 7 elder dragons. With the beat of its wings, The Ur-Dragon gave birth to Chromium, Arcades Sabboth, Palladia-Mors, Nicol Bolas, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Vaevictis Asmadi and Piru, the Volatile.
Soon the 7 became 2, when the war decimated them. After 5,000 years of battle at the end of this part of the story, only Ugin and Bolas would be the last living elder dragons, when we have the awakening of the spark of one of the greatest villains in Magic, Nicol Bolas planeswalks and ends the war.
After the end of the war, the descendants of the elder dragons, Crosis, the Purger, Rith, Liberated Primeval, Darigaaz, the Igniter, Dromar, the Banisher and Treva, the Renewer, ruled the plane until the Numena stripped them, bringing the age of dragons to an end.
Although we don't have a set that tells this part of the story exclusively, we do have parts of it spread out in separate flavor texts and stories in several releases.
- Around 5,000 years before the AR
After the downfall of the Numena for internal feuds, there is a time gap that we have no record of between 15,000 to 5,000 years before the AR. What we have of stories are superficial, speaking of a promising empire spread across the northeast of the continent, with powerstones powering up advanced machines, but that ended up poisoning the workers nearby.
That's when a young doctor, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, tried to cure them by creating terrible monstrosities and causing a civil war with the other countries. After suffering many casualties, Yawgmoth escapes through a portal to an artificial plane (Phyrexia).
Many say he didn't run away, but was banished in the final moments. Before the Thran empire collapses, Rebbec seals the portal between Dominaria and Phyrexia, isolating the medical fanatic.
The Brothers' War
- Zero AR up to 63 years after AR
5 thousand years later, two brothers are born: Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and Urza, Lord High Artificer, fascinated by the inventions of the ancient Thran empire, investing in archaeological excavations and research. This period in history can also be called The Brothers War, which should be the time period of the future The Brothers War set.
While the eldest brother Urza ravaged the earth's resources to form an army, the youngest Mishra experimented with fusion between flesh and steel. The rivalry was such that, after a period of war, the world was destroyed with the detonation of a cataclysmic bomb (Golgothian Sylex), burying everything in ice — not before plunging the entire continent into darkness.
This lapse between the Sylex explosion and the ice age was an endless darkness, where empires fell, and diverse communities were forced to seek warmer places to try to survive.
Orcs, Goblins and Homarids left their ancestral lands as they took the place of the lands of Dwarves and Merfolks. Elves attempted to manipulate fungi to get supplies during the endless winter.
That's when, without knowing it, they ended up creating the Thallid, sentient fungi that would eventually bring them down, but eventually the entire continent was invaded by the Thrulls. In this world of darkness, only Storgard survived until the ice age. The sets that help tell part of this story are Antiquities, Fallen Empires and The Dark.
The Ice Age
- 450 to 2934 years after the AR
From the highest mountain peak to the deepest of the swamps, everything was covered in ice. Everything seemed static, frozen. For 3,000 years, this was what was observed until melting began to shape the edges of the continents that can be seen to this day. A well-known landmark of the plane.
In addition to the set of the same name Ice Age, we also have Homelands and Alliances, where we could see spring returning to the plane with the rise of the planeswalker Freyalise who cast her World Spell, thus ending the Ice Age. People long adapted to the cold had to adapt to a more temperate climate.
With the end of the Ice Age, came devastating floods and plagues, as well as the legendary Lim-Dûl the Necromancer, who built an undead army with the aim of world domination. So, an alliance is created to defeat Lim-Dûl and his army, hence the name of the expansion.
The Mirage War
- 4150 to 4195 years after AR
Many of the known stories take place in this period, several conflicts with several known actors and others not so much. In the most important events, we have the Mirage block with the three sets: Mirage, Visions and Weatherlight, illustrating much of this period. Started by a conflict between 3 powerful mages, Mangara of Corondor, Kaervek, the Spiteful and Jolrael, Empress of Beasts.
If you think the spiteful black mana represents a villain among the three, you're right. After a time of tranquility and harmony brought on by Mangara who proved to be a great diplomat, Kaervek works on Jolrael's fears and tricks her into helping to ambush and imprison Mangara in an Amber Prison.
Years later, Jolrael discovers that Kaervek would be a danger to the plane and decides to seek help from Teferi and a team of adventurers who, guided by dreams and visions, create a plane to distract the enemy so that Mangara can be freed.
As Teferi and Jolrael team up against Kaervek in a fight that weakens him and destroys what was left of his army, the adventuring band trying to reach Mangara find Sisay and her flying galleon, the Weatherlight, who help them reach Mangara, freeing him.
Then the mighty mage goes to meet Kaervek in the swamps of Uuserk, to fight the final battle. Weakened and after much struggle, what remained of Kaervek's followers isolate themselves in the great deserts or hide after their master disappears. Mangara, the Diplomat manages to rebuild everything that was torn apart by the war while he was imprisoned and Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse isolates herself in the Mwonvuli woods.
This is how this story ends, but it starts a well-known saga, Weatherlight.
Another part of the story in this same time frame is the Planeswalker War of Corondor, started by Ravidel, portrayed in the video game Magic: The Gathering - BattleMage and also in the comic book Magic: The Gathering - The Shadow Mage.
The Weatherlight Saga
After the set that gives the flying ship its name, we begin the Weatherlight saga, which brought together several adventure stories and which will give a separate article talking about so many tales, but as it plays an essential role, it is worth this paragraph to contextualize the entry in the next chapter.
At the time the epic Saga was conceived, the idea of the Multiverse wasn't yet thought of, and until then, there were two places: Dominaria and Rath, which would be overlapped and would be part of the same plane later on.
The famous Weatherlight saga is the union of three blocks: Tempest Block (Tempest, Stronghold and Exodus), the Urza block (Urza's Saga, Urza's Legacy and Urza's Destiny) and the Mercadia block (Mercadian Masques, Nemesis and Prophecy).
For three years, several stories unfold on the plane between telling stories of important characters and locations such as the Disruptive Student, later known as the great wizard Teferi in his school days, and Serra's Ascension to her Serra's Sanctum.
Urza's block also began to set the scene for the next chapter of the story, as well as gathering the artifacts that would soon give power to stop the great villain that would return: Yawgmoth!
The First Invasion
- 4205 after AR
Bringing a cloud of death across the swamps of the West, Yawgmoth's return is said to have killed billions in a matter of seconds, more than all the deaths that occurred in the Brothers' War, such was its destruction, with its new creation: Aberrations like Phyrexian Plaguelord and Phyrexian Scuta, as well as various plagues that ravaged the plane's ecosystems sowing destruction.
Yawgmoth returns from his exile, but there is resistance. Urza, already preparing for an attack of this magnitude, gathers a collection of powerful artifacts (mostly referenced in Urza's block) that creates a new resistance weapon: the Legacy Weapon.
With all these artifacts gathered, and after a failed attempt to use the Null Moon's white mana to stop Yawgmoth, Urza in his final act combines all the pieces of the Legacy, along with Gerrard Capashen's life and two more stones that were on his head. (and his own life) to create a beam that manages to defeat Yawgmoth.
It felt like everything was over. In the aftermath of the explosion, rifts opened in space-time, through which the plane's mana was drained, causing worlds to become uninhabitable again.
To illustrate this moment in history we have the Invasion block with Invasion, Planeshift and Apocalypse that culminate in this tragic end for the plane, destroyed once again.
The Time Rifts
- 4306 to 4500 after AR
Everything decomposed into acid rain, dust clouds and salt dunes. The apocalypse had arrived. As the rifts expanded, time collapsed on itself. Past and future collided. History lost its meaning, only ruins remained. The last hope for survival would require altering the entire structure of the known multiverse.
In the centuries that followed the near destruction of the plane, either by Phyrexian famine or by Urza, we had nomads and wanderers, people trying to rebuild their destroyed home and at the same time religious fanatics worshiped the Cabal searching for power.
The Numena, mages of the ancient mythological age, managed to reincarnate. Each of them was created by powerful beings like Phage the Untouchable and Akroma, Angel of Wrath who would later give rise to Karona, False God.
In this period, the Slivers emerged from the Riptide Replicator of Llawan, Cephalid Empress. They soon spread across the continent and during Karona's "birth", which was so strong that it gave birth to the Sliver Overlord.
It didn't take long for this plague to spread across the plane. Probably anyone who has been able to play the Odyssey, Torment, Judgment and later Onslaught, Legions and Scourge sets is most likely familiar with these stories and cards. Karona's appearance was another one of the disruptions that the plane suffered so drastically that life was at risk.
Closing this era is the Time Spiral block (Time Spiral, Planar Chaos and Future Sight), where everything was a complete mess.
We had mechanics and characters from the future and the past intermingling, and from various planes, like Goldmeadow Lookout, that we only came to know about on Lorwyn later on.
The Great Mending
- 4500 after AR
4500 years after the great Brothers' War, Teferi decides to return to Dominaria to try to fix things after having fled when Yawgmoth arrived (Teferi takes his entire island and simply disappears at that moment in history, practically phasing out).
He knew that only with the magic of the Great Mending could the land recover, so he gathered a group of Dominarian inhabitants, among them some planeswalkers and two of Urza's Nine Titans: Freyalise and Lord Windgrace. Besides them, Karn, Jeska, Radha, Multani, and even Nicol Bolas, supported to seal the rifts.
First, Teferi sealed Shiv's rift. Freyalise sacrifices herself and Skyshroud to seal the rift over Keld. Windgrace sacrificed himself to seal the rift over Urborg's stronghold, but it is said that a part of his soul can still be seen defending his home to this day. Karn travels back in time to seal the rift over Tolaria. He loses his spark once, ends up having a terrifying vision of a possible future, and then flees to Argentum.
Nicol Bolas sealed the rift in Madara using Leshrac as a sacrifice. And lastly, we have Jeska closing 3 rifts, the first being Zhalfir using part of Radha's life force and removing part of Jumaraa from existence.
In the second rift, Jeska sacrifices Radha to seal the rift over Yavimaya that also weakened Multani. And the last rift over Otaria that the group closed was also the most massive of the rifts, causing Jeska to die in the process, but it set off a chain reaction closing all other rifts in space-time, of all planes.
Creatures were returned to their home planes and mana returned to flowing naturally across Dominaria. The Multiverse was put back together again, but something else happened during this process: Future planeswalkers from that moment on would no longer be immortal, and they lost abilities such as being able to planeswalk more than one being with them.
Cities rebuilt, ecosystems restored, and within a few decades, Dominaria was healthier than it had been in centuries—and so it continues to this day.
- 4562 after AR
On the horizon, you can see rusty machines, taken over by plants. Memorials to ancient civilizations have become monuments in the new cities that have flourished, and life seems to have returned to normal.
Here is where the set Dominaria from 2018, and the recent Dominaria United takes place, showing the life and civilization that formed after the Mending, now stepping into how the plane begins to prepare for the second Phyrexian invasion.
Video: Building Worlds — Dominaria United:
- WOTC 1, WOTC 2, WOTC 3, Mark Rosewater
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