Lorwyn is one of the most beloved planes in the Magic the Gathering multiverse. Lorwyn is a whimsical plane that had many creatures of fae folklore, from boggarts to faeries. It also has the diminutive Kithkin creature type which hasn’t seen very many cards since the set’s release.

Lorwyn also had a darker aspect known as Shadowmoor, where much of the light and whimsy of the plane was turned to darker aspect. The creatures inhabiting Shadowmoor shifted as well. For years, this plane has been a cult favorite for a lot of players, despite not being one of the best-selling sets or the most famous planes. Following the “Wrestling” set teased in the recent Gencon 2023 announcements for the future of Magic, fans want another set in Lorwyn.

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The World of Lorwyn

The plane of Lorwyn-Shadowmoor in Magic: The Gathering

Lorwyn is a bright and idyllic plane with a dark side. Lorwyn itself has no night, instead proceeding from dawn to dusk without becoming dark. On the other hand, Shadowmoor is the darker version of the plane. Whereas in Lorwyn the sun never fully sets, in Shadowmoor it never seems to change from a perpetual, dimly lit night. The faerie queen Oona caused an event called the Great Aurora, which caused the swaps between Lorwyn to Shadowmoor.

Lorwyn was inhabited by several defining creature types. The most famous of the plane’s inhabitants are the Kithkin, tightly bound halflings connected by a collective consciousness called the Thoughtweft, but the plane was also populated with a bunch of different fantasy races. The Merfolk of the plane, called Merrow, control the trade through the plane’s rivers. Flamekin are partially nomadic elementals with an affinity for fire. The plane’s goblins are called Boggarts, and they were mischievous, hedonistic, and selfish — though not malevolent. There were also two larger tribes in the wise Treefolk and the mystic yet reclusive Giants. The notably malevolent elves were obsessed with a sense of aesthetic beauty and tended to judge other races by their standards of beauty, being exceptionally xenophobic as a result. The switch to the darker and more fearful Shadowmoor led to a shift in the peoples themselves. The kithkin became insular and paranoid and the merrows became spiteful pirates and raiders. The only tribe not changed were the faeries, who instigated the Great Aurora itself. This concept of a plane with two halves idea gives Lorwyn a unique conceptual identity. It also boasts a unique art style suited to the plane, emphasizing the whimsy nature inherent to the tribes. While not hugely impactful on Magic: The Gathering‘s lore as a whole, Lorwyn also introduced important characters like Liliana and Jace.

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The Mechanics of Lorwyn

Magic the Gathering Lorwyn Mechanics Image Taurean Mauler, Kitchen Finks, Ajani Goldmane

Surprisingly, Lorwyn has had a massive impact on Magic: The Gathering. Lorwyn, Eventide, Shadowmoor and Morningtide are pioneers in their own way, each bringing new things to the table that revolutionized the game as we know it. Changeling is a card from the original Lorwyn that allowed people to do interesting things with creature types. The keyword is on fun cards like Unsettled Mariner and Morophon, and it enables interesting interactions and deck building.

While potentially hard to balance, Persist and Wither are intriguing mechanics that made -1/-1 counters more common in the game than they had been in previous sets. While Persist has extreme interactions with +1/+1 counters, it has been a repeatedly revisited mechanic. Finally, there’s the most impactful addition that the two Lorewyn set blocks added: Planeswalkers. Planeswalkers were first introduced with the so-called Lorwyn Five, a group of mono colored planeswalkers including Ajani, Jace, Liliana, Chandra, and Garruk.

While that specific lineup hasn’t persisted to the modern era as Wizard’s default planeswalkers, all the characters from that group have remained highly relevant in the story. More importantly, planeswalkers have been a staple card type in almost every set since. They’ve even been some of the chase cards for sets. Not only did Lorwyn add a new card type to the game, the set added one of the most important card types. Sets since took the base template of the Lorwyn planeswalkers and evolved them to the point they’re at now.

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The Cards of Lorwyn

Magic the Gathering Lorwyn Popular and Interesting Cards Devoted Druid Thoughtseize Forced Fruition

The cards from the plane of Lorwyn are much more influential than most people assume. Some very powerful cards still active today were printed first in Lorwyn or Shadowmoor block. Thoughtseize, a key piece of hand interaction, was first printed in Lorwyn before the inception of Modern, where it would become a format staple. Ponder is an exceptionally powerful cantrip which grants a truly ridiculous amount of top deck control, especially in conjunction with shuffle effects. Devoted Druid, a key combo piece in plenty of decks, was originally printed in Shadowmoor. Bitterblossom, at one point a Standard and Modern all star, is another powerful card from the plane that was sneakily strong — creating a endless army of 1/1 flying faeries at the comparatively low cost of 1 life per turn.

However, Lorwyn also highlighted a lot of interesting and unique cards. The Forced Fruition card was brilliantly designed. While making opponents draw cards is often bad, Forced Fruition has an intriguing effect that prompts people to build decks around it and try to make it work. Flickerwisp, another powerful card, presents plenty of interesting interactions and potential uses. The original mono colored command cycle is another example of a card that pushes a lot of the game’s boundaries, packaging a lot of efficiency into one card thanks to cards like Cryptic Command.

In the years since Eventide, the last set in the Lorwyn plane, few sets have had the same number of impactful mechanics and cards that the cards from the Lorwyn plane did. Though Lorwyn has been very impactful, the original four Lorwyn sets didn’t have as much initial popularity as something like Ravnica or Innistrad, which have seen multiple return sets. Rather, players appreciated the set more in hindsight. Now with a return being teased for 2025, hopefully Lorwyn will receive the glory it deserves in the eyes of Magic the Gathering fans.

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