Last updated on February 15, 2024

Savage Punch - Illustration by Wesley Burt

Savage Punch | Illustration by Wesley Burt

In 2014, Magic: The Gathering players traveled through time and the Eternities to the plane of Tarkir, home of Sarkhan the planeswalker and graveyard of dragons. Tarkir was a harsh world ruled by warring Khans, who wrested control of their destinies from the dragons that once subjugated the entire plane.

Tarkir was a world themed around the 3-color “wedge” combinations, with each wedge representing a specific clan and a specific mechanic within that clan. As the first set to ever dive deep into the 3-color wedges, Khans of Tarkir was a legendary moment in Magic’s history: KTK defined in clear terms what the three colors in each wedge shared with each other, and what centering the wedge on a different color does to the design philosophy behind the cards.

What makes Khans of Tarkir so unique? Let’s take a dive into the past and follow along as Sarkhan discovers the world of Tarkir he’s left behind!

Khans of Tarkir Basic Information

Jeskai Elder - Illustration by Craig J Spearing

Jeskai Elder | Illustration by Craig J. Spearing

Set Details

Set SymbolKhans of Tarkir set symbol
Set CodeKTK
Number of Cards269
Rarities101 Commons, 80 Uncommons, 53 Rares, 15 Mythic Rares, 20 Basic Lands
MechanicsMorph, Delve, Ferocious, Outlast, Prowess, Raid

Important Dates

Previews StartN/A
Full Gallery AvailableN/A
Available on Draftsim's Draft SimulatorDecember 5, 2023
Release on MTGADecember 12, 2023
Available on Arena TutorDecember 5, 2023
Prerelease WeekSeptember 22, 2014
Paper Release DateSeptember 26, 2014
Launch PartyN/A

About the Set: The Story

Monastery Swiftspear - Illustration by Steve Argyle

Monastery Swiftspear | Illustration by Steve Argyle

Khans of Tarkir is the first large set in the Khans of Tarkir block. Its story is a fantastical war-torn time-traveling plot that rivals the greatest comic book series in its stakes and action.

The story follows the planeswalker Sarkhan Vol, driven mad by the voices in his head. Sarkhan discovers that the disembodied voice haunting his mind is that of the dead planeswalker Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Ugin’s voice draws Sarkhan to the Tomb of the Spirit Dragon, where he unlocks a door to the past and travels back in time to stop the eradication of the dragons on Tarkir.

At the same time, the planeswalker Sorin Markov has arrived on Tarkir, also searching for Ugin. Long ago, Sorin, Ugin, and the planeswalker Nahiri sealed the Eldrazi away on Zendikar, but they’ve since escaped. Sorin searches Tarkir for his old ally, unaware that he’s long dead. There, Sorin discovers Ugin’s skull frozen in the ice, dooming the multiverse as far as Sorin is concerned.

Simultaneously, Magic’s story articles introduce the world of Tarkir and the clans that inhabit it. We learn about each of the clans and the draconic aspects they embody in detail.

The Mardu Horde, centered in red with white and black as tertiary colors, embody the dragon’s speed and have taken the dragon’s wing as their symbol. The Mardu operate as nomadic raiders who employ lightning-strike tactics in combat. In typical Conan-the-Barbarian-esque ways, they abide by a code of three Edicts:

  • To conquer is to eat.
  • To rule is to bleed.
  • Victory or death.

The Abzan Houses are a white/green/black faction focused on white. They embody the dragon’s endurance, and have taken the dragon scale as their clan symbol. They protect the trade roads between the different clans, and they fight as tight-knit familial groups. The Abzan take family ties seriously – so seriously that each family has a “kin-tree,” a single fruit-producing tree that the Abzan feed their dead to. The Abzan can summon the spirits of their ancestors from their kin-trees for communion or to fight alongside them.

The Temur Frontier admire the dragon’s propensity for savagery, and they replicate this in a very red-green-blue way. In the frozen north of the Qal Sisma mountains, the Temur scrape together a life in the harshest environment on a harsh world. The Temur are instrumental in the extinction of the dragons on Tarkir – their first khan, Yasova, was tricked by Nicol Bolas into murdering Ugin, thus causing the mass extinction of dragons on Tarkir.

The black-green-blue Sultai are the most villainous of the Khans clans. Their symbol is the dragon’s claw, perfect for rending flesh from bone. They reside in the steaming jungles of Tarkir, living in Opulent Palaces in shows of decadence. They employ necromancy liberally to control their lands and are ruled by naga and rakshasa. Their leader, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is the epitome of mustache-twirling villainy.

Finally, we have the white-blue-red Jeskai Way, an order of monastic warriors that reside in mystical mountain strongholds. These martial artists have taken the dragon’s eye as their symbol, preferring strategy over strength. The Jeskai were taught the six paths to Enlightenment by Ugin in the distant past, and sort of act like the favorite child throughout the story.

Khans of Tarkir Mechanics

Khans of Tarkir introduced some new mechanics and brought back some classics in a new environment.


Ponyback Brigade Abomination of Gudul

Morph returned to Magic in Khans of Tarkir. Morph is an ability that allows a player to cast a card with morph face-down as a 2/2 creature for . Players may turn the morphed creature face-up at any time by paying its morph cost. Morphing doesn’t use the stack, but any triggered abilities that happen as part of morphing a card do.

Morph was introduced in Onslaught, where it was thematically displayed as a creatures bursting forth from a featureless spider-like monster. On Tarkir, morphed creatures resemble great balls of glowing blue and gold energy before their true forms are revealed.

Morph became an important part of Limited formats in Khans of Tarkir. Morph cards fit well into tempo decks – many of the best morph cards could be cast on turn 3 and then flipped by turn 4 or 5. Cards like Ponyback Brigade and Abomination of Gudul could drastically change the course of a game.


Outlast was the Abzan-specific mechanic. Creatures with outlast could tap and pay a cost to put a +1/+1 counter on themselves. This could only be activated at sorcery speed, making the Abzan player calculate the risk of tapping down their field to buff their creatures or keeping blockers up and ready. Many of the outlast cards also have abilities that buff creatures with +1/+1 counters on them. Abzan Falconer is a great example – after a turn or two of outlasting your opponents, run out the Falconer and give your whole board evasion for cheap!


Bloodsoaked Champion

Raid was the Mardu-specific mechanic. Raid was fairly straightforward: if you attacked with a creature this turn, a raid card would give you an additional effect. Bloodsoaked Champion is one of the best examples of this; a recurrable 2/1 that returns to the field for 2 mana if you’ve attacked with a creature this turn.


The infamous delve mechanic returned to Magic with Khans of Tarkir. Spells with delve can be cast by exiling cards from your graveyard for 1 generic mana each. As free and nearly-free spells often go, delve quickly became one of the most powerful effects in the format. Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise quickly became staples in Standard decks of the era, but both have been banned in their relevant formats these days.


Prowess debuted in Khans of Tarkir as the Jeskai mechanic, and its staying power can’t be overstated. Prowess was the missing link in many aggro decks, bridging the gap between spell-slinging burn decks and “turn ‘em sideways” creature decks. Prowess triggers whenever you cast a noncreature spell and grants its creature +1/+1 until the end of the turn. Monastery Swiftspear dropped in 2014 and the game’s never been the same since. Suddenly, red decks had an amazing 2-turn opener in the form of a Swiftspear into almost any burn spell, into another Swiftspear, into another burn spell. Prowess has become a format-defining mechanic in Pauper and Modern.


Savage Punch Stubborn Denial

The Temur’s ferocious mechanic works by granting an additional effect if you control a creature with power 4 or greater. The ferocious cards in Khans of Tarkir didn’t make much of a splash, but Savage Punch and Stubborn Denial still saw play in a format without much cheap removal or counterspells.

Khans of Tarkir Card Gallery









Notable Cards

Fetch Lands

Probably the biggest hype for Khans of Tarkir was the reprinting of allied-color fetch lands; Polluted Delta, Bloodstained Mire, Wooded Foothills, Flooded Strand, and Windswept Heath. These fast lands are highly coveted by competitive players: they’re the best way to fetch shock lands from your library, making them essential to playing 3+ color decks.

Monastery Swiftspear

Until recently, Monastery Swiftspear ran the red Pauper metagame. Even though Khans of Tarkir released the card as an uncommon, its subsequent downshift in Double Masters 2022 turned it into a prowess powerhouse that basically demanded you run a playset. The card is just too good as a 1-drop: 2 toughness means it’ll survive trades with other 1-mana creatures, haste means it’s swinging as soon as it hits the field, and the prowess ability means you’ll often be hitting for 2 or more damage from that 1/2. It pains me to say it, but we definitely didn’t need Monastery Swiftspear in Pauper, especially not if we’re going to have to deal with Goblin Tomb Raider these days, too.

Siege Rhino

Holy cow (or, rhino?), Siege Rhino was an absolute monster in its heyday. Four mana for a 4/5 with trample is already a fair deal, but when you tack on the built-in Lightning Helix this thing is just too much value to handle. Siege Rhino was released into a Standard environment that had just gotten over a Thragtusk/Cloudshift situation, and the collective groan of dealing with another ETB-focused midrange deck was heard around the world.

Sarkhan, Dragonspeaker

In our first look at a non-evil Sarkhan, Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker is the first planeswalker card that can turn itself into a creature. It didn’t make a huge splash in Standard, and its ultimate ability isn’t super dependable, but I’ll be damned if we didn’t all “ooh” and “ahh” over a planeswalker we could declare as an attacker.

Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Sorin, Solemn Visitor, on the other hand, was a popular planeswalker during Khans Standard and after. It made an excellent 4-drop for the white/black warriors deck that emerged into the meta later that year. Its +1 ability gets exponentially better the more creatures you have, stabilizing your life total after three quick turns of all-out assault from Chief of the Edge and others.

Hardened Scales

Hardened Scales is one of the first +1/+1 counter multipliers printed in Magic, and it’s quickly become a staple in everything from Ghave, Guru of Spores to The Swarmlord. It’s the cheapest access to that effect in the game, and as such has seen significant play in Commander since its rotation out of Standard.

Deflecting Palm

Deflecting Palm is one of the better damage prevention spells in Magic. For 2 mana, it turns any damage from a single source on its head and redirects it back at your opponent. The bane of big Fireballs everywhere, this instant still shows up in sideboards in Modern.

Available Products

Khans of Tarkir was sold in the following products:

Booster Packs

Draft boosters

The standard Draft boosters contained 15 random cards with one rare, three uncommons, nine commons, one basic land, and one promotional card/token.

Booster Box

Khans of Tarkir booster box

The Khans of Tarkir booster box contained 36 booster packs.

Fat Pack

Khans of Tarkir Fat Packs

The Khans of Tarkir Fat Packs contained:

  • 9 Booster Packs
  • 1 Spindown life total die
  • 1 Player’s Guide
  • 2 Deck boxes
  • 80 basic lands
  • 1 Fat pack sized storage box (literally just the box it comes in)
Magic the Gathering - Khans of Tarkir - Sealed Fat Pack (9 Booster Packs & More)
  • The Khans of Tarkir block focuses on Tarkir, the homeworld of plansewalker Sarkhan Vol, a war torn world where dragons have been wiped out.. a new setting for game players!
  • Tarkir is the home of Sarkhan Vol, and for ages has been ravaged by ambitious warlords. It was previously inhabited by dragons, all of whom were killed during Sarkhan's period of servitude. Tarkir itself is a plane of five warring clans, each worshiping a different aspect of the plane's now-extinct dragons. The warlords are now restless once more; war is on the horizon. Who will triumph and who will fall?
  • Each Fat Pack box is sealed brand new: Includes 9 booster packs, 80 land, 1 life counter & guide, two deck boxes, 1 storage box. Each pack has 15 cards. Each pack guarantees at least 1 Rare card and 3 Uncommon cards. Look for randomly inserted mythic-rares and foils!
  • Look for great cards to be randomly inserted like planeswalker Sorin Solemn Visitor, Sarkhan the Dragonspeaker, Ugin's Nexus, the fetch lands and more!
  • Release Date: September 26, 2014

Holiday Gift Box

Khans of Tarkir Holiday Gift Box

The Khans of Tarkir Holiday Gift Box contained:

  • 4 booster packs
  • 6 Illustrated plastic dividers
  • 1 Sticker sheet for customizing the dividers
  • 1 Holiday Gift Box-sized Storage box (also literally just the box it comes in)
  • 1 alt-art Sultai Charm
  • 20 Khans of Tarkir basic lands
Magic The Gathering - Khans of Tarkir Box KTK
  • The Holiday Gift Box is specially designed to be the go-to gift for holiday shoppers looking to purchase Magic: The Gathering cards and accessories for their friends and relatives.

Intro Decks

Magic: The Gathering: Khans of Tarkir - Intro Pack / Theme Deck: Ivorytusk Fortress (Alternate Art Premium Rare Promo)
Khans of Tarkir Intro Pack - Black Green Blue - Includes 2 Booser Packs
Magic: The Gathering: Khans of Tarkir - Intro Pack / Theme Deck: Ivorytusk Fortress (Alternate Art Premium Rare Promo)
Khans of Tarkir Intro Pack - Black Green Blue - Includes 2 Booser Packs
Magic: The Gathering: Khans of Tarkir - Intro Pack / Theme Deck: Ivorytusk Fortress (Alternate Art Premium Rare Promo)
Magic: The Gathering: Khans of Tarkir - Intro Pack / Theme Deck: Ivorytusk Fortress (Alternate Art Premium Rare Promo)
Khans of Tarkir Intro Pack - Black Green Blue - Includes 2 Booser Packs
Khans of Tarkir Intro Pack - Black Green Blue - Includes 2 Booser Packs

There were five intro decks for Khans of Tarkir, one for each of the clans. They were each contained one 60-card deck with one foil rare and one non-foil rare, two Khans of Tarkir booster packs, a strategy and mechanics guide, and a learn-to-play insert for new players. The five decks were:

  • Abzan Siege
  • Jeskai Monks
  • Mardu Raiders
  • Sultai Schemers
  • Temur Avalanche

Event Deck

Conquering Hordes

One Event Deck was printed for Khans of Tarkir. Conquering Hordes was a 60-card deck with a 15-card sideboard meant to be picked up and played that night at an FNM. This event deck was an Orzhov warriors deck that used lots of cheap warriors and lords like Chief of the Edge and Timely Hordemate. The event deck includes a Dictate of Erebos, Dictate of Heliod, plus a Bloodsoaked Champion. It still retails sealed for about $15 online, too! I definitely recommend picking this up if you get the chance.

Wrap Up

Bloodstained Mire - Illustration by Daarken

Bloodstained Mire | Illustration by Daarken

Khans of Tarkir changed the landscape on 3-color decks, finally giving players the cards they needed to link the wedge colors together. KTK’s Limited format shone as an example of a slow format with fast decks, and many different archetypes would flourish in the following year as it was followed up by Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir.

With the release of Khans of Tarkir on MTGA, I expect to see a new surge of interest in the set. While this may just serve WotC’s plan to get the Pioneer cards into MTGA as soon as possible, I plan on enjoying the Khans Limited format as long as I’m able.

Do you have any fond memories of Khans of Tarkir? What are some of your favorite cards from the set? Let us know in the comments, or over on Draftsim’s Twitter/X.

Thanks for reading! Stay wedgy!

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