Ikoria is a land of conflict – Monsters vs Monsters, Monsters vs Cities, and Monsters vs Humans… if you’re on this plane, get ready for some behemoths all up in your business!
In a world filled with monsters, you can expect a diverse range of species. Ikoria is unique in that it doesn’t just have a dozen different creature types – because of mutations from the mysterious crystals found all over the plane, some monsters can have up to three different creature types. You like cats? How about an Elemental-Dinosaur-Cat!
Only an exceptional landscape could produce such magnificent creatures – and this is where the triomes of Ikoria come into feature. The triomes are five distinct geographical regions on the plane, each with its own topography, dominant clade of monsters and a resident apex monster. As the name suggests, the triomes are habitats where three different sources of mana intersect. It is this convergence of magic that lends to each biome its unique look and clade of creatures.
The terrain of Zagoth is characterised by its lush rainforests with enormous lily pools and swampy wetlands. Although most of the creatures here are herbivores, travellers would do well not to assume them to be docile.
The Sultai colours of mana call Zagoth home – Green, Blue and Black magic.
The dominant monster clade is Beasts, and the apex monster is Brokkos, the Forever-Beast, a Nightmare Elemental Beast who is believed to be the oldest creature on Ikoria.
Raugrin is an unforgiving region characterised by its volcanic summits, where cliffs overflow with lava that run onto the seashore. In such an exacting environment, only the strong survive, and in a world filled with monsters, you must be very nasty to be on top.
The Jeskai colours of mana call this harsh land home – Red, White and Blue magic.
The dominant monster clade is Dinosaurs, and the apex monster is Vadrok, the Thunder-Raptor, an Elemental Dinosaur Cat who is feared as Ikoria’s undisputed master of the skies.
Indatha is an enigmatic landscape of knolls and lowland steppes. A spooky terrain with sparse cover, where the rolling plains house wetlands and where scatterings of the indigenous helica trees provide shelter to the bioluminescent inhabitants of this eerie region. Best to have your wits about you when travelling here and be careful of ambush predators.
The Abzan colours of mana silently pulse through this region – White, Green and Black magic.
The dominant monster clade is Nightmares (as befits such an eerie region). The apex monster is Nethroi, the Death-Dweller, a Cat Nightmare Beast, a truly fearsome creature of horror who is rumoured to have the power over death.
The landscape of Ketria is more than anywhere else, littered with the mysterious crystals found on this world. With its stretching forests, abundant rivers and lakes that flow from the mountains, Ketria is a haven of raw nature. Visitors should tread carefully, for in Ketria, the air, water, earth, and fire are just as much alive as any plant or animal!
The Temur colours of mana give life to this wondrous landscape – Green, Red and Blue magic.
The dominant monster clade is Elementals, creatures most attuned to nature. The apex monster is Illuna, the Wish-Giver, a Beast Elemental Dinosaur, a mysterious ethereal being said to have the power to grant wishes and to turn dreams into reality. Adventurers who traverse these wilds have equal chance of being caught in a regional natural disaster as they do encountering a belief-defying elemental.
Savai is a fractured plain of dry grasslands along an extensive coastline with high cliffs, with forking cave structures hidden beneath the surface. The wide, open steppes are the perfect environment for the feline creatures that roam this region, while the prey species prefer to shelter in the trenches and tunnels that are prevalent in the mountainous and swampy areas.
The Mardu colours of mana give life to this wondrous landscape – Red, White, and Black magic.
The dominant monster clade are cats, ferocious creatures who hunt in prides. The apex monster is Snapdax, the All-hunter, a Dinosaur Cat Nightmare – a lethal hunter and regarded as the most efficient killer on Ikoria. Those brave enough to make this region their home have learnt to keep a keen ear attuned to movement in the grass, but also an eye open for movement in the sky – because this is Savai, and here the cats have wings. Terrifying.
Ikoria is not only a world consisting of monsters, as there are settlements of humans in each triome. But it comes as no surprise that humans are not the dominant species on this plane of existence. As they fight for survival and to eke out an existence, humans often clash with monsters.
Some settlements are large, like the City of Drannith in the lowlands of Savai. Called the Invincible City due to its high stone walls and strong military, the Coppercoats, no sanctuary is immune from attacks. Especially not in a world where the mysterious crystals serve as warning beacons of the imminent arrival of monsters. If that was not enough, the crystals also let the monsters mutate. Other settlements leverage the landscape to their advantage, like the city of Lavabrink in Raugrin who have surrounded their home with molten stone.
As much as the humans of Ikoria are locked in a persistent struggle with the creatures of the plane, some have forged close ties with the monsters. Bonders, as they are known, are humans who have established magical links with monsters. The special connections are called an eludha and can form in different ways, be it on sight, through combat or other means. More than just a companionship, an eludha is a mystical bond that joins the spirits of a person and monster together.
Quite the opposite of Bonders are the Hunters. Often rogues, these humans actively seek out monsters. While their reasons for the hunt may differ – be it to sell animal parts for profit, or to seek vengeance, or simply for the thrill of it – mostly people agree that the Hunters are mad for having chosen their vocation.
A mystery that we still need to uncover is that of the crystals on Ikoria. These magical gemstones occur naturally on the plane, but little is known about them. Humans employ them as a means of an early-warning defence system, since the crystals flare up when monsters are near, but strange developments have been occurring. It has always been known that the gems are the source of the monsters’ strange mutations, but lately even this mystical link between monsters and crystals has been corrupted. There is rumour that an unnamed planeswalker, has meddled with the Ozolith, one of the biggest crystal formations of Ikoria. And the effects have proven disastrous – monsters have gone mad, flying into blind rages and mutating in an instant! We will look to the Planeswalkers Narset, Vivien and Lukka for answers, before this world erupts into even greater chaos…
Look out for our next article as we delve into the game mechanics of the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths expansion, including Cycling, Mutate and Companion.
Ikoria will go on sale on Friday 15th of May and will be available in Draft Boosters, Theme Boosters, Collector’s Boosters, Prerelease Kits and Commander Decks.