Welcome to the Travel Guide to Dominaria! If this is your first time visiting Dominaria, please be advised that the plane may be larger than you are used to at around two and a half times the size of the Earth. The plane has a history of cataclysmic events that have reshaped it again and again over the course of millennia. In this guide, I will attempt to highlight areas of interest as well as travel advisories for all the dangers that could befall you on the plane. Some of this information might be out of date due to the expansive nature of the plane and the length of time since many of these locations were visited. The most recent known cataclysm was the Time Spiral Crisis, cause by millennia of devastating magic wracking the plane and creating rifts in time and space, and we'll learn how the plane has recovered in Dominaria. The current plane profile for Dominaria is written for the Time Spiral era, but we've already learned that things have changed pretty significantly.
For those seeking to interact with deities, Dominaria has a number of local gods and avatars, although they also seem to get killed with regularity. Chief among the deities of Dominaria is Gaea, the world-soul, although there are more minor deities (real and imagined) worshiped all across the globe. Thankfully, I've sat on this article long enough for the actual updated Dominaria Map to come out! I'm going to hit each location from roughly west to east. Don't worry, if it seems hard to see right now, I'll be zooming in on each region I'm talking about. Please note: This was written before preview season, so I may miss some things that would be obvious afterwards.
After 20 years we finally have a complete Dominaria map!
Dominaria Map by Jared Blando
While Dominaria has seemed to recover from the various apocalypses heaped onto the plane over the millennia, the plane isn't without its fair share of dangers above and beyond the ordinary. The Riptide Project on Otaria resurrected a sliver hive that has since run rampant over the plane, spreading as far as Urborg and the Domains. The slivers have thus far lacked a queen and remain relatively uncoordinated, but these extremely adaptable creatures should be avoided at all costs.
The plane is littered with Phyrexian artifacts, dating all the way back to their ancient civil war with the Thran and as recently as their Invasion from a few centuries ago. These devices have been misused over the years and present a potential danger to the plane, as we've seen glistening oil turn Mirrodin into New Phyrexia. Their Mogg goblin minions are not to be taken lightly either, although recent looks at the Mogg have shown them regress from hulking brutes to slightly more menacing versions of your average goblins after centuries of interbreeding. Even Thran devices are hazardous after all this time, as the explosions caused by damaged powerstones can be catastrophic. Remnants of Thran megastructures can often be seen in the distance on Dominaria.
The Spice Islands
Art by Jared Blando
The Spice Islands exist just west of The Domains. The old Sheoltun Empire had wiped out the pirates in the region, but there has since been a resurgence in modern times. There's not really much to know about the Spice Islands outside of that, with the exception of one minor location that will probably have a much larger role in Dominaria.
Five Tolarian Academies means redundancies when one eventually explodes.
The Academy at Tolaria West by James Paick
Tolaria West was created during the renaissance following the Time Spiral crisis, named in honor the legendary Tolaria (now just ruins), it's a premiere academy of science and magical research. We generally don't know much about it yet, only that Linessa, Zephyr Mage is from there and that it's one of five Tolaria campuses in the modern day. Research into time magic has been outlawed, in a nod to the original Tolaria's infamous time machine explosion.
While not in the Spice Islands (best approximation is in the ocean southward), I figured this was the best place to talk about the original Island of Tolaria. Old Tolaria was a hidden island on Dominaria, deliberately so, to keep it safe from Phyrexia. Urza and Barrin, Master Wizard founded the Tolarian Academy in 3285 AR. Urza's Time Machine exploded in 3307 AR, creating massive time distortions all over the island. What was originally a curse turned out to be a blessing, as water from the slow time distortions decelerated one's aging, and the fast time distortions allowed research and construction to occur at a breakneck pace. The island was destroyed during the Phyrexian Invasion when Barrin cast Obliterate, but the school is once more in use under the sea.
A more detailed map of the Domains can be found here.
Art by Jared Blando
The Domains are the 'core' of Dominaria (notable for its heavy presence in core sets, and even what we've seen of Dominaria), and most of the regions you've ever heard of from Dominaria are located here. The Domains is a kind of catch-all term for the islands and continents that make up the region west of the Burning Isles. Along with Terisiare and Jamuraa it's one of the largest and most important locations on the plane.
The subcontinent of Icehaven is a large island directly to the north of Aerona that's the home of two major countries. It's a harsh, cold, mountainous region that's inhospitable for all save the most fierce of warriors. The northernmost section of the subcontinent is called Parma, and is home to fierce Ice Giants.
Keldon civilization fell until reunited by Radha.
Keldon Megaliths by Philip Straub
Keld traces their roots back to refugees fleeing the Ice Giants of Parma to the north. Their leader, Kradak, made a pact with the spirit of the land, which led to the Keldon war bond. Keldon war chiefs have a bond with their armies (called war hosts) that strengthens both based on the size of the host. They act as both mercenaries and invaders in their own right, all to prove their might. Last we saw them, around the Mending, the Keldons were undergoing a fundamental change, with Radha, Heir to Keld attempting to restore them to what they once were. It appears she has succeeded.
The Rathi Overlay during the Phyrexian Invasion placed the Rathi forest of Skyshroud (made up of what were once Llanowar Elves) into frozen mountains of Keld. Freyalise protected Skyshroud (and the elves that lived there) from the cold, and it became her home as she fed more and more Green mana into keeping it stable during the Time Spiral crisis. When Freyalise finally realized her efforts were unsustainable, she summoned all of her power back into herself and sealed the rift over Skyshroud. It's unclear if Skyshroud would be able to regrow without her presence, and the elves that lived there have since resettled or joined Radha's warhost.
The main land mass of the Domains is called Aerona, split between a north and south divided by the Hurloon mountains, home to noble minotaur tribes. It was once mostly controlled by the Sheoltun Empire; but, following the collapse of the empire, it has diversified into a number of smaller regions. The forest of Durkwood is located here, known for the large wild creatures that live there. The nation of Sursi is known for their Pegasi populations, while Foriys is known for their two-headed giants. Avenant is another martial state best known for their highly skilled archers. The Ironclaw Mountains are best known for the orc population living there.
Ancient Thran megastructures loom large over Dominaria
Art by Jonas De Ro
When the Sheoltun Empire fell, the militant nation of Benalia was formed from the remnants of their civilization. Benalia was ruled by seven clans with different responsibilities and between whom ultimate leadership of the country rotated (The History of Benalia). When Serra's Realm collapsed, Jhoira and Karn of the Weatherlight resettled the survivors here, who blended in with the locals (Time Streams, Bloodlines). However, during the Phyrexian Invasion, the country's capital, Benalia City, was slaughtered and the country was quickly overrun (Invasion). During the Time Spiral crisis, the country appeared to have reformed as New Benalia, and it's likely that the New Order of Serra (Serra's Boon) has a strong influence over this new nation.
Once known as the Caligo Forest, this region of Benalia borders the ancestral home of Liliana Vess. We know that her father was a high-ranking member of the Forward Order fighting against a mysterious enemy (likely to be the Cabal), and that the Cabal's efforts have reduced the forest to fetid swampland.
Llanowar is home to the most well-known elves in Magic.
Llanowar by Kev Walker
There isn't a magic player alive who hasn't heard of Llanowar Elves. The elves of Llanowar were a xenophobic people who worshiped Freyalise. They divided themselves into elfhames, however, one or more of those elfhames were destroyed during the Phyrexian Invasion and it's not clear what has risen in their place. The Steel Leaf are the most elite warriors of Llanowar and were instrumental in the fight against Phyrexia. The Llanowar forest is protected by a forest spirit of its own, Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer.
Islands of the Domains
The islands of the Domains are plentiful, but there are really only a handful of named islands and even fewer that ever get visited in the stories or on the cards. Verdura is an island just south of Aerona that is home to a lush woodland and female-dominated druidic culture exemplified in Verduran Enchantress. The island of Foriys is home to a unique breed of two-headed giant. Shanodin is the southern forest of an island that contains the minor nation of Oneah and the dark realm of Amjad. The Shanodin Dryads are from here. Orvada is a nation that spans the major islands of Walassa and Denawa. Walassa is home to one of the five Tolarian Academies. The nation was thought to have been wiped out, and to its north (not pictured) lies a nation of xenophobic minotaurs on Stahaan (Ashes of the Sun).
The Burning Isles
Art by Jared Blando
The Burning Isles are a located west of Northwestern Jamuraa and Corondor, and include two major islands of note: Urborg and Bogardan, known for their Black and Red mana.
Demonlord Belzenlok has taken up residence in the remains of the Stronghold.
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth by John Avon
Urborg was once a lush isle, but in modern times fell fallow and became known for its extraordinary number of liches and necromancers, who are drawn to the island's rich Black mana. This was the home of Weatherlight crew member Crovax the Cursed before he turned to Phyrexia as well as the panther planeswalker Lord Windgrace and Venser, the Sojourner. When Rath overlaid with Dominaria during the Phyrexian Invasion, the battle for Dominaria was focused here and the Rathi Stronghold was located in a volcano on the island. It was here that Yawgmoth manifested on Dominaria and where he was ultimately slain.
A large chunk of Yavimaya was transplanted here during the Invasion, creating a lush forest among the decay, and the landscape is littered with Phyrexian technology and flowstone. The Acolytes of Lord Windgrace guard against the return of Phyrexia and forbid artifice and tinkering with Phyrexian technology here. It was here that a memorial to the heroes of the Phyrexian Invasion was erected (Apocalypse).
Bogardan is a large volcanic island (like most of the Burning Isles) that is home to primitive tribes of pyromancers and powerful elemental creatures. Kaervek the Merciless hailed from here and summoned minions from Bogardan during his conquest of Jamuraa (Mirage Character Profiles). Planar portals to Wildfire existed in this region, bringing over beings like Wildfire Emissary, Djinn, and others.
You can find more detailed maps of Corondor here.
Art by Jared Blando
Corondor is another large island, this time north of the coast of Northwestern Dominaria. It's most notable for being one of the major locations on Dominaria during pre-revisionist continuity, especially the old Armada Comics line of stories, which you can read about in The History of Corondor. Kristina of the Wood's namesake Wood was here, as was the nation of Minorad, home to some of the worst historians ever thanks to all the continuity shifts in the late 90's. We haven't visited Corondor in any serious way in the twenty years since Wizards of the Coast took over modern storytelling in-house. Mangara of Corondor hailed from here, and it's from the White Woods he summoned Quirion Elves to Jamuraa. That rather large rift in the middle of the island continent is the Dueling Chasm of Golthonor, formed when Dakkon Blackblade battled Geyadrone Dihada, which was also when the Blackblade slew the Elder Dragon Piru.
The last official map of Jamuraa was from fifteen years ago!
Art by Jared Blando
Jamuraa is the largest (temperate) continent on Dominaria, but the vast majority of it is unknown to us. Most of what we know about Jamuraa is actually only a small corner on the northwestern edge of the continent, with details getting more scarce the farther away we get. The Love Song of Night and Day is particularly omnipresent in the worldbuilding of Jamuraa. Despite being the largest continent on Dominaria by far, only the sets Mirage, Visions, and Prophecy are set on Jamuraa. Central Jamuraa is dominated by a huge sea, extending south and dividing Northwestern and Northeastern Jamuraa before turning west. The southeast is consumed by the Tivan Desert, of which we know little, as this region had never previously been explored in canon (as far as I know).
When people talk about Jamuraa, they're almost always talking about Northwestern Jamuraa, specifically. Mirage, Visions, and Prophecy are all set on this section of Jamuraa. Northwest Jamuraa was once controlled entirely by the militant nation of Zhalfir, but religious strife caused the Femeref to secede (The Story of Jamuraa). The nation of Suq'Ata was founded by transplants from the plane of Rabiah (The Assassins of Suq'Ata), who built an empire on trade. Suq'Ata is notable for its Rabian-inspired architecture.
The nation of Zhalfir was known for their elite Askari knights, feared the world over. The capital of Zhalfir was Ki'Pamu, and Unyaro (of Unyaro Bees fame), the Mwonvuli Jungle, and Talruum Mountains (home to fierce minotaur warriors) all fell within the borders of what Teferi would eventually phase out. When the planeswalker Teferi phased out his island by accident, three wizards came to Jamuraa drawn by the power he unleashed. The wicked Kaervek the Merciless trapped Mangara of Corondor in an Amber Prison and unleashed a wave of conquest on the continent, uniting all three nations against him (Visions: the Backstory).
It was only a short time later that the Phyrexian Invasion began. To save his homeland, Teferi phased out Zhalfir and much of the surrounding area, leaving Suq'Ata and Femeref behind. Zhalfir was believed to be lost forever after the Mending, leaving only the Zhalfirin Void. Across the mountains lay the Great Desert, which divides Western Jamuraa into North and South.
The Legends I Cycle, Johan, Jedit, and Hazezon are all set in this section of Jamuraa (Note: even the original map is wrong, here is a corrected one), seperated by mountains and deserts from their Northwestern neighbors. The location most recognizable would be Efrava (in the Sukurvian Desert), home to tiger warriors (most notably Jedit Ojanen), however, Efrava was destroyed some time before the Mending (Jedit's Dragoons), leaving this region mostly a blank slate with the exception of a few city-states we haven't heard from in over a millennia. The modern Scarwood forest is located here, mostly due to continuity problems with the Legends I cycle. Arboria is a great forest that stretches from a Great Wall along the mountains all the way to the sea.
Madara was the site of the first planeswalker duel on Dominaria, and that duel destroyed most of the landmass of the area. During the time of the Mending, Madara had been overrun by a race of cat dragons called Nekoru. A millennia ago, Nicol Bolas ruled Madara as god-emperor, with his nation extending to the outlying islands. He had picked the spot due to the convergence of leylines and for the Talon Gates, which were the bones of his fallen foe from the aforementioned duel (Future Sight).
Northeastern Jamuraa was invaded by Keld a few hundred years ago (Prophecy). Their resources were severely depleted fighting off the Keldons, but the people the Kipamu City-States, along with the swamps of Nakaya, the Vintara forest, and the Zerapa mountains banded together to fight the threat (Dominarian Invasion Map). It's unclear how well this region fared after the war, but the fact that they still exist on the modern map bodes well.
Art by Jared Blando
Shiv is a huge island located northeast of Northeastern Jamuraa. The ancient Thran built the Mana Rig here, a giant factory for the production of powerstones and Thran metal. A large chunk of Shiv was phased out by Teferi during the Phyrexian Invasion, but was returned around three hundred years later. The continent is home to all manner of Red creatures, from goblins to dragons, but it's most notable inhabitants are the Ghitu tribe of artisans and pyromancers, from which Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain hails.
Shiv doesn't really have any mappable features other than 'volcano' and 'more volcano'.
Shiv by RK Post
Art by Jared Blando
Caliman was the setting of Portal: Second Age. It is a lonely island with a number of societies that have reached a higher level of technological advancement than most of Dominaria. The Alaborn is a warrior civilization that, without an enemy to fight for generations, descended into ornamentation rather than functionality. They are the only known civilization in Magic to develop handheld firearms, and it's all that saved them from more recent encroaching enemies. The Talas are an ocean faring merchant society still going strong in modern Dominaria. They have many advanced technologies of their own, including airships and steam powered naval vessels. The Norwood forest is home to elves and special featherwood trees used by the Talas. The swamps of Dakmor are home to scavengers following the Time Spiral crisis, likely there in the hopes of salvaging from the ancient Thran ruins (The Official Guide to Portal: Second Age).
Otaria has been working out since Odyssey block.
Art by Jared Blando
Otaria is kind of an odd duck on Dominaria. While pretty much every other land mass was known for years, the Odyssey and Onslaught blocks shifted focus to the previously unheard of Otarian continent. Most of the place was destroyed centuries ago during Karona's war, and the glimpse we saw of it in Future Sight didn't bode well. The Mirari's power mutated many of the races of Otaria, making them almost unrecognizable. It's not clear why Belzenlok moved the Cabal's seat of power to the Stronghold on Urborg.
The six novels set on Otaria include some of the best and worst of Magic fiction.
Otaria by Steven Belledin
There are just a few key locations on Otaria worth noting. The Pardic Mountains lay to the west, former home to the barbarian tribes of the same name. Skirk Ridge in the mountains was controlled by goblin tribes. The major population center was Cabal City to the east, controlled its namesake Black-aligned organization, but it was heavily damaged years ago and it's not clear if it was rebuilt by the new Cabal. Other cities, like Aphetto or Averru, have similarly unclear final fates. The Cabal's White-aligned counterpart, known as the Order, has been subsumed by the Church of Serra. The waters around Otaria are the home of the Cephalid race, a bizarre aquatic race of octopoids that view themselves the rival of the more dominant merfolk of the plane. To the south lies the Wirewood, home of elves turned into tree-like beings by the Mirari's power, as well as the Daru Plains. What's interesting is that Tamingazin, formerly believed to be its own continent, is in fact part of Otaria. It was isolated from the rest of the world by a Magewall (The Prodigal Sorcerer).
You don't want to mess with the creatures of Krosa.
Krosa by Steven Belledin
Krosa was once one of the most vital (and terrifying) forests on Dominaria, home to huge beasts made even more terrifying and massive by the Mirari's power. Kamahlite Druids, named after the barbarian who tamed the Mirari's power and made the forest his home, have worked to restore the forest over the years. The forest is home to a wide array of races, humans, elves, centaur, and the insectoid Nantuko. Baru, Fist of Krosa seems to indicate this wild forest's days aren't done.
Terisiare is my favorite location on all of Dominaria.
Art by Jared Blando
The continent of Terisiare was the birthplace of the Thran Empire and Phyrexia (The Thran). It was off the coast of Terisiare, on the island of Argoth, where Urza Planeswalker first discovered Phyrexia at the end of The Brothers' War, and where he unleashed the Sylex Blast to stop them (The Brothers' War). This blast was the source of the Ice Age on Dominaria, which lasted for a few thousand years before the planeswalker Freyalise cast the World Spell, ending the Ice Age (The Eternal Ice).
The continent was colonized by the Sheoltun Empire from Aerona at some point, but a rebellion in Epityr caused them to lose control of the eastern portion of the continent long ago. The east was primarily controlled by the Kingdom of Kjeldor and the Balduvian Barbarians. Jodah, Archmage Eternal of the School of the Unseen, together with Jaya Ballard, Task Mage united the Kjeldoran and Balduvian civilizations against Lim-Dul the Necromancer. This union would eventually form the basis of New Argive, which exists to this day. While Terisiare was once a single continent, the end of the Ice Age and the resulting flooding has separated Terisiare into several distinct land masses. Prior to Dominaria, we haven't seen an official map of the region in modern times or how precisely how the different regions line up.
The isle of Lat-Nam has always existed off the west coast of Terisiare. Home to the oldest school of magic on Dominaria, the School of the Unseen traces their lineage back to the Third Path and the college of Lat-Nam during the Brothers' War, and later the City of Shadows during Dominaria's Dark Age (when magic was outlawed). Jodah, the famed Archmage Eternal, called this land his home for thousands of years. Many magical objects and arcane tomes can be found here, although it's not clear what became of the original school and it's 3,000 years legacy after the campus was destroyed a couple decades after the Ice Age (The Shattered Alliance). In modern times, it's become the home for one of the five Tolarian Academies.
The region now known as Gulmany has never been particularly important in any stories, with the exception of Planeswalker. In that novel, the northern nation of Efuan Pincar and the rival nations of Baszerat and Morvern were slowly being infiltrated by Phyrexian Sleeper agents, and Urza, along with his companion Xantcha, began a campaign to eliminate them. The mountain range in the center of the island is called Ohran Ridge.
Not a lot is known about Almaaz, it doesn't play a large role in The Brothers' War or any of the conflicts to follow, but the pre-revisionist novel Song of Time takes place here. It is one of the larger remaining land masses in the modern day, and the best known nation was Sumifa (The Brother's War).
The Thran Empire began on Terisiare.
Ancestral Vision by John Avon
New Argive is one of the three major land masses on the Terisiare archipelago, named after the dominant nation born there after the Ice Age. The Karplusan (formerly Sardian) Mountains and Kher Ridges are both on New Argive. New Argive's universities have trained important figures in Dominaria's past, and archaeologists interested in relics of the Thran Empire, Phyrexian Invasion, and Ice Age would do well to visit here. The original Scarwood forest was here during the Dark. It disappeared later, and was possibly renamed Fyndhorn. Fyndhorn was located along the southeastern coast, where the island of Argoth once stood. Besides New Argive, the fading civilization of Korlis, which dates back to before the Brothers' War, survived there through the Mending. Many of Magic's early stories are set or focused here, including Antiquities, The Dark, Ice Age, Alliances, Coldsnap, and Urza's Saga. To the north lies the Balduvian Steppes, named for the warrior tribes that once lived there.
The Kher Ridges are the must-see destination for Thran artifacts. The capital of the ancient Thran civilization, Halcyon, was located here and the main portal to Phyrexia was located beneath the city in the Caves of Koilos. The gateway was destroyed during the Phyrexian Invasion, but the wreckage of wars old and new can be found in the sands.
The forest of Yavimaya bears special mention here. Yavimaya was born from the destruction of Argoth at the end of the Brothers' War, a sentient forest that has successfully repelled all foreign incursions. Yavimaya is home to elves, sentient apes, all manner of fey and the unique primordial beasts called Kavu. The massive trees there are called Magnigoths, which grew thousands of feet tall. The seed of the oldest and largest Magnigoth was used to build Weatherlight. While the Kavu may have originated from Yavimaya, following the Phyrexian Invasion they've been transplanted to Llanowar as mounts for the elves there. A five mile stretch of Yavimaya was transplanted to Urborg during the Invasion and still resides there in modern times.
Yavimaya is a unique sentient forest closely aligned with Dominaria's worldsoul, Gaea.
Yavimaya Coast by Anthony S. Waters
Sarpadia was once home to five vibrant civilizations before the coming of the Ice Age, but they have long since been wiped out. There were five primary civilizations, whose ruins still dot the landscape. The dwarves were wiped out first by the orcs and goblins fleeing the mountain cold, and not much is known about them. Humanity was divided into two camps: Icatia, a society that worshiped the Hand of Justice, and the Order of the Ebon Hand, who worshiped their founder, Tourach, and the Ebon Praetor. The Ebon Hand had created thrulls, creatures reanimated from dead tissue (but specifically not zombies). They were wiped out by their own creations, who bred out of control. The elves of Havenwood created the fungal Thallids as a renewable food source based on the Ebon Hand's thrulls, but were similarly unable to control them. In the surrounding oceans, the Vodalian merfolk were forced out by the Homarid hordes escaping the cold, and resettled near the Domains. In the end, the thrulls and thallids dominated the continent.
That's it! I hope you enjoyed this tour of Dominaria's highlights. There's way more than I could possibly cover in just one article, but it was fun to run down the state of things on Dominaria as we return.