|Sources||A Planeswalker's Guide to Alara, see external links|
Sarkhan Vol is a primarily red planeswalker who came from Tarkir, a plane scourged by war. This plane was controlled by constantly battling warlords, who had a tradition of slaying dragons for sport and glory, driving the beasts to extinction.  This horrified the shamans of the plane, who worshiped the dragon as the pinnacle of predation.
Early on in his life, Sarkhan was a soldier, but sought something more than the life of an expendable pawn.  He quickly rose in position and power in the Mardu Horde until he came to claim the title of general to his warlord's army.  Growing sick of the endless blood, he set his spear and traveled away from the tents. Up into the Qal Sisma mountains he joined a the Whisperers, a clan of shamans. He found some level of peace, but quickly grew bitter because of the futility of worshiping a nigh-extinct beast. When he returned to his warrior life, the Helmsmasher grudgingly sent him forth with a wing of riders to challenge the Sultai. Upon this first expedition, he was touched by an ancient dragon spirit in a trance after having slain the opposing commander. Sacrificing his own men, he unleashed a massive spell that wiped the battlefield clean as he ascended, channeling the power of the spirit he'd connected to. This was to be his first and last battle as a general, as he was stripped of his position, leaving no connection left to bind him to that plane.
On Jund, Sarkhan continued his quest to find a worthy dragon to whom he could pledge his loyalty. For two years, he searched and during his quest, he found himself under Mount Jhal standing in the path of Kresh and Rakka Mar in their fight against the hellkite Malactoth. He assisted them in vanquishing the dragon, unknowingly assisting Rakka in her secret mission. Buried in the cavern, Kresh glimpsed the Obelisk of Jund before everything went black.
Days later, after having escaped the collapsed cavern with Rakka's help, Sarkhan encountered the newly ascended Ajani and spared the leonin from the dragon Karrthus. He explained to the traveller what he had become, as well as the fury of red mana and the merits of vengeance. Taking wing, Sarkhan left Ajani to his own devices and sought revenge against Rakka Mar for her part in what happened in Malactoth's cavern. Eventually he did indeed find her, but she presented him with a unique opportunity to meet her master and led him to a mountain rife with goblins. Atop this mountain, he met Nicol Bolas and stood in awe of the dragon's power, though his methods were a far cry removed from what he knew of dragons. Upon that spot Sarkhan swore his allegiance to Bolas and exchanged blood with the dragon, gaining more power than he had imagined from the transfusion. He was given the task of activating the Obelisk of Esper.
As a reward for that task, Bolas presented Sarkhan with a flight of 5 dragons, one of which was the brainwashed Karrthus. At this point, Sarkhan began to doubt his allegiance to Bolas, but followed through with the next step of Bolas's plan: to goad Naya to war with Jund. He came into conflict with Mayael the Anima's armies of behemoth and arrived in time to see Bolas absorb the mana of the Maelstrom and be defeated by a duplicate avatar of himself. Seeing his master defeated caused something within Sarkhan to snap, and his mind started to unravel.
The Veil's Curse
After the debacle on Alara, Bolas sent Sarkhan to follow the trail of Liliana Vess as she ravaged kingdoms, fueled by the power of the Chain Veil. The extent of the dragon's interest in her is unknown.
The Eye of Ugin
Under Bolas's order, Sarkhan found himself on Zendikar wandering the Eye of Ugin. While in the tunnels and caves, he reminisces about his time as a soldier and speaks to himself, wondering about his purpose and what fortune has in store for him. Very specifically, he wonders if he was being punished by Bolas for some failure on his part. Throughout his time in the Eye, he seemed to be in a hallucinatory state, but eventually he became lucid in time to save Chandra Nalaar from an attack by the vampire ruin sage named Anowon.
He proceeded to threaten Chandra before she detonated a spell next to him, and though it fails catastrophically he is impressed with its power. He lead Chandra deeper into the heart of the Eye, explaining what it was and finally revealing his true agenda as he spoke to whatever voice he had been speaking to in his previously delusional state. He transformed himself fully into a dragon and attacked Chandra, intending to sacrifice her to the voices. His plan was foiled by the sudden appearance of Jace Beleren, who had no clue that Sarkhan is anything more than a dragon. The confluence of these three triggered a reaction from one of the Hedrons, which began to absorb their magic, and when Jace and Chandra discovered Ugin's invisible fire hinted at in the Dragon Scroll they used it to defeat Sarkhan, unwittingly triggering the last lock of the Eldrazi confinement spell. Chandra left hurriedly and Jace followed shortly after making sure the unconscious Sarkhan, back to his human form, was alive.
Sarkhan woke alone in the chamber and reflected upon his defeat while making his way to the top of the mountain where the Eye of Ugin lay. There he found the rotting corpse of a dragon that a group of eldrazi spawns are being birthed from. Sarkhan, enraged at the scene, fulminates the spawn and bids peace to the corpse of the dragon. However, the spirit of the fallen dragon appears and taunts Sarkhan with threats of the punishment Bolas will inflict upon him for having failed his mission. Sarkhan cannot decipher, and does not seem to care, if the dragon is a hallucination of his own mind or the remnants of the fallen beast. Sarkhan returns to the Eye of Ugin to try to find a way to restore it only to begin wondering if Bolas's secret purpose was for him to activate it all along, as he realizes that the confluence of planeswalkers was what triggered the Eye. Returning to the central hedron, he remembered that as he battled Chandra in his dragon form he could read the runes on the hedrons. Filled with new resolve he returns to his complete dragon form and blasts the taunting dragon spirit. Sarkhan breaks off a large chunk of the floating hedron and 'walks away to meet his master.
The shaman arrived upon Bolas's Meditation Realm and hoped to leave his hedron prize unnoticed. Minions, tiny impish effigies of Bolas, appeared around Sarkhan and taunted him until Sarkhan was forced to meet his lord. As he traversed the strange landscape Bolas spoke in his mind, debriefing him and learning the true extent of the events that transpired on Zendikar. Finally, Sarkhan arrived at the heart of Bolas's power, a massive floating Keep. The shaman called upon his wings once again and bows to his master, hoping to deliver his trophy and be done with his punishment. Sarkhan waits in vain as Bolas revealed it was his intention to free the Eldrazi all along, having manipulated events to unlock Ugin's work. Further, Bolas claims to have dealt with Ugin much to Sarkhan's surprise. When it finally became clear that Bolas has no plans to harm Sarkhan at the moment, the dragon dismisses his pawn, showing Sarkhan the twisted form of Tezzeret with a smile and assured him that he always took care of his minions.
Return to Tarkir
- Cruel Ultimatum (From the Vault: Twenty)
- Despise (Khans of Tarkir)
- Dark Temper
- Form of the Dragon (From the Vault: Dragons)
- Tomb of the Spirit Dragon
- Violent Ultimatum
Quoted or referred to:
- Act of Treason (Magic 2012)
- Alabaster Kirin
- Crucible of Fire
- Dragon's Claw (Magic 2012)
- Hellkite Overlord
- Sangrite Backlash
- Mardu Warshrieker
- Trumpet Blast
- The word "šarkan", pronounced |sharkhan|, means "dragon" in Slovak language. "Vol" means "flight" or "flying" in french and also appears as that keyword on french magic cards.
- Sarkhan's second card is the first Planeswalker to lack a +1 ability that grants him loyalty counters.
- Doug Beyer. (September 08, 2008.) "Alara, a World Broken", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Jennifer Clarke-Wilkes. (August 27, 2014.) "The Madness of Sarkhan", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (September 18, 2002.) "Arena lands", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Creative Team. (September 10, 2014.) "Planeswalker's Guide to Khans of Tarkir, Part 2", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth, Doug Beyer, Jenna Helland et al.. (October 22, 2008.) "Flight of the White Cat, Part III", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth, Doug Beyer, Jenna Helland, et al.. (April 15, 2010.) "Enter the Eldrazi, Part 2", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth, Doug Beyer, Jenna Helland, et al.. (April 22, 2010.) "Enter the Eldrazi, Part 3", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Planeswakers: Sarkhan Vol
- Alara Unbroken product description on Amazon
|Expansions: Shards of Alara | Conflux | Alara Reborn|
|Shards: Bant | Esper | Grixis | Jund | Naya|
|Characters: Ajani | Elspeth Tirel | Nicol Bolas | Rafiq | Sarkhan Vol | Tezzeret|
|Others: Etherium | Jazal | Kathari | Leotau | Maelstrom|