The Shards of Alara set explores one of the most popular themes in Magic: the Gathering - multicolored cards. It further deepened this, however, by exploring allied-colored triple color cards. This means that there is only one enemy-colored pair in each triple-color combination. An example are Esper cards, like Magister Sphinx, with a mana cost of 4 of any color, one white mana, one blue mana, and one black mana. White-blue and blue-black are ally-colored pairs, with the only enemy-colored pair being white-black. There were no enemy-triple-color combinations in the block, such as green-white-black. (With black being the enemy color of both white and green.)
Five Planes in One
The plane of Alara was just like any other until the Sundering. For reasons lost in history, Alara was literally torn into five pieces and each piece began to drift apart from the others in the Blind Eternities. The shards themselves were each cut off from two colors of mana causing each to evolve into wildly distinct entities of their own over the thousands of years they have been apart. Only hints of the ancestor plane remain on each of the five worlds. However, it was revealed in the Shards of Alara block novel, Alara Unbroken, that the battle between Malfegor and the archangel Asha caused the Sundering.
Naya: A Jungle Paradise
Life, passion, community, and the wild—these are what flourish without the influence of black or blue mana. In this lush land, life is celebrated. Instinct triumphs over machination. Here titanic predators are shown respect, while humans, elves, and catfolk called nacatl seek to revere and respect nature. Godsire is the king of this jungle. Related Cards
Bant: A Golden Utopia
Without the destructive or selfish impulses of red and black mana, Bant has become a golden utopia. Angels rule the realm with benevolence and grace. Humans and the birdfolk called Aven resolve their conflicts with ritualized combat. Duty and honor are the bedrock of this kingdom of light. The Empyrial Archangel is the ruler of this shard.
Esper: A Mechanical Wonder
In this world of wind and wave, control is the guiding force. Cut off from the chaos of red and green mana, Esper has become a magocracy. Enigmatic sphinxes counsel powerful wizards and seers. Everything here is observed and controlled. The forces of high magic rule supreme. The ruler of Esper is the Sphinx Sovereign.
Grixis: A Lifeless Wasteland
What becomes of a world without new life? The dark wasteland of Grixis answers the question. Its denizens desperately cling to its remaining lifeforce. Without the communal forces of white and green to bring life and compassion, it's every ghoul, demon, and necromancer for themselves. The biggest and most terrible monster on Grixis is Prince of Thralls.
Jund: A Primeval World
In the absence of white or blue mana, Jund has devolved into a roiling, primordial cesspit. Dragons top the food chain, at home in Jund's countless volcanoes. While dragons stalk the skies, humans, goblins, and the lizardfolk called Viashino lie low in Jund's tar-spotted, vine-choked canyons. In this world, Hellkite Overlord reigns over all others.