Weekend Speculation: The Nine Worlds in MTG?

Ok, first off, after pouring over this, I can pretty much tell you that Wotc is probably not about to do what I’m proposing. They might be, but it’s a long shot. So this becomes less a speculation and more of a what would I do. You see, I’m a continuity man. Is see patterns in the meta. I’m a writer at heart, so all I need is a setting or, in the case of Magic the Gathering, the many planes, Vorthos and storylines to attempt to continue the story. In this case, I’m looking at what’s been done and the myriad of planes before me and I think Wotc could develop their own version of the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology.

Nine seems to be a sacred number to the Norse/Germanic peoples. Odin hung for nine days, Heimdallr was born to nine mothers, Aegir had nine daughters and there are nine worlds depicted as all being connected to the World Tree, Yggdrasil. These worlds are depicted as being connected through the branches of this tree and each world is vastly different and is home to its own cast of interesting and diverse races. These races read as a who who of the fantasy genre: Dwarves, Elves, Humans and Giants. That’s not to mention the various spirits, gods and mystical creatures that reside here.

So, the question is why do I think that Wotc could totally do their own version of the nine worlds? Well, despite the fact that they deal in a multitude of planes, I think they have the perfect set up with Eldraine.

With Eldraine, Wotc created a doorway to all the classic fairy tales we grew to love as children. But, as with all things they do, they made them their own creating a unique plane with a fascinating storyline and an amazing cast of characters I’m just now discovering. But being immersed in the things of legend and folk tales, it already has a slight connection with all other mythologies like the Norse and other northern European faiths. Lacking creatures like Centaurs, Saytrs and Minotaurs, a Norse setting like Kaldheim has far less in common with Theros, but Kaldheim and Eldraine totally have their connections.

Yggdrasil, The World Tree

Artwork from The Great Henge by Adam Paquette

Up front, these worlds are interconnected by the world tree. This insinuates that you can travel to these realms via this mythical tree. Oddly enough, Eldraine has The Great Henge, an intermingling of monolithic stone structures and an impossing root system of a great tree that circles the surface creating a portal to ‘anywhere in the wild’. Now, I understand that this doorway is meant to simply connect the plane of Eldraine, but, hear me out. What if the Great Henge’s reach was broader than we know? Could it be possible that the Great Henge could have connections to the other planes? And, if so, could this be a part of the World Tree root or branch system?

The Great Henge reminds me of the plant portals of Krokoa from the new X-Men stories

This is a wild leap considering The Great Henge’s usage in the Eldraine storyline. But it has the flavor and could be a Wotc merge of the World Tree and the Bifrost bridge. This being said, if there were nine worlds they intended to connect, what would they be? Obviously, if this is all built around the idea of Yggdrasil, the nine worlds would mirror, in some way, the nine worlds of Norse Mythology.

Art by Sam Flegal

Eldraine could represent Midgard where the hub of all of these creatures interact the most. However, it could also be Alfheim, legendary world of the light elfs. How, you ask? The main truth of Eldraine was that this plane was once under the control of the elfs and that, recently, the Humans broke free and created the color wheel kingdoms of Ardenvale, Vantress, Locthwain, Embereth and Garenbrig. The lost crown city of the elves now stands in THE WILD where a multitude of them still reside.

COLD HOME (Kaldheim) of mist & ice!

Skybreen art by Wayne England

Kaldheim fits like a glove. We already know that it’s Viking themed setting. We obviously expect a Viking setting to be full of Norse themes. One of the nine worlds is Niffleheim, a land of mist and ice. It is also home to Nidhug, the great dragon/snake that gnaws on the roots of the world tree and the great spring Hvergelmir and the eleven rivers. Seems a perfect fit for Kaldheim and its connection through the great world tree could be a version of the Great Henge and connect it to Elderaine.

Ok, say we buy the connection of Kaldheim to Eldraine. What next? Well, seven more worlds for starters. There’s room for plenty of new planes to be made, but there are still planes in cannon that may fit the bill for some, at least.

VALA, Wartorn Plane of Valliant Warriors

Immersturm card ; art by Raymond Swanland

One doesn’t have to be a scholar to realize that in the development of the plane, VALLA, there was a great deal of homage to Vahalla of Norse Mythology. At first, it may not be that obvious, but Vahalla is known for more than just a grand meeting hall for heroes to sit, eat and swap old war stories. No, although Vahalla is the resting place of the valliant, warrior dead, it’s not a place they go to to rest. No, they wake everyday, clean and prepare and, then, fight from sunup to sunset. Reminds me of the D&D world of Ysgard; also created with Vahalla in mind.

Which brings me to Asgard. Most of what we know of Asgard is that it is a great city of the main gods of the Norse. But there, in the city, is the great hall of Vahalla. So, it is in Asgard that the slain warriors go to keep up their fighting prowess and prepare for Ragnarok. So, in grand Wotc fashion, they could make this their Asgard/Vahalla. And who’s to say that there’s not an ancient, majestic city somewhere on Valla where godlike warriors akin to the Asgardians reign.

IR, Plane of the Fomori

Ir is another of those planes that appeared in Planechase. Not much to bring to the discussion as all we got was one card (pictured above) that shows one island fortress situated in the sea. The only thing that even comes close to connecting it with Norse mythology and possibly the nine worlds idea is the mention of the inhabitants, The Fomori. These ‘barbaric giants’ guarded Turri Island and the ‘mana haven’ there. But the fact that some scholars of mythology compare the Fomori or Fomorians of Irish lore to the Norse Jutunn (frost giants) makes it a possibility. On top of that, we’ve seen very little of the rest of the plane besides that one island.

So, maybe an outside possibility that Ir could stand in for Jotunheim, world of the Frost Giants.

HEL, Land of the dead

Helheim, world of those who died of disease and old age or were dishonorable, has no definite match. Once again, one of the vague Planescape cards/planes makes the list here. Azgol is depicted as a land of darkness with a dark volcano spewing black ash. There is talk about sacrifice to said volcano or a entity and the creation of zombies. It could totally be used as a plane of death and darkness.

I found Grixis, plane of undeath, of interest, but there’s too much entanglement in the rest of the shards of Alara storyline.

Muspelheim, Land of Fire

Muspelheim is the world ruled by Surtr and is the land of primordial fire. Wildfire, another Planechase one shot, fits the bill, but maybe too much of an Arabian motif.

Oddly enough, the planes cards for Rath and Phyrxia are very molten in motif, but obviously we won’t go there.

Kylem, Battlebond Plane of Champions

Doubling Season by Richard Wright

Touting the Two Headed Giant format, Battlebond brought us to Kylem; a world where beings from many planes come to do battle. Not particularly Norse, but the theme of being victorious and vallaint in battle is. Way outside of the sphere of possibility, but it would be cool to include in the Nine Worlds.

Of course, if they were to build the Nine Worlds in MTG and Elderain and Kaldheim were a part of it, most of the other seven worlds would be new planes drawing from the themes of the remaining worlds. A world each of death, fire, frost giants, dwarves, elves and two sets of (maybe) warring gods would give Wotc plenty of room to create. Once again, this would be an insane endeavor of dropping one of the nine worlds in the first quarter like Eldraine and Kaldheim in seven consecutive years. But it would be a cool thing to see. Don’t think it would EVER happen, but, Wotc, I would be on board. And, if you need any help….uh…just let me know. I’m up.

Thanks for sitting through this insane piece of not-speculation speculation. I promise to try and keep it a little more in the realm of possibility in the speculations to come! Let us know what you would do in the comments below or on our social media. And, be gentle, I did warn you this was an insane idea from the start!

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