Shandalar is a rogue plane, drifting through the multiverse instead of retaining a steady position or course. It is a relatively small plane and incredibly rich in mana. The magical energy is so prevalent, that it all is sentient, and the common people use minor spells as an everyday convenience. Shandalar was the setting of MicroProse's Magic: The Gathering computer game. The Creative team of Wizards of the Coast fleshed out Shandalar when it became clear that there was a need for an approachable setting that could host Magic 's fantasy staples: elves, goblins, dragons, angels, etc. Because Dominaria had developed its own distinct post-apocalyptic look, Shandalar replaced it as the setting for a number of "baseline fantasy" core set cards.  
Kenan Sahrmal was a planeswalker on Shandalar, and one of the few on the plane who knew of the existence of the multiverse. Shandalar was a relatively happy and prosperous plane but Sahrmal knew that it would not remain so if it was brought to the attention of other planeswalkers.
During the time of the Shard, Shandalar weaved in and out of that protective barrier due to its rogue nature. Many planeswalkers trapped upon planes within the Shard saw Shandalar as a route to escape. Three of these planeswalkers were named Faralyn, Tevesh Szat, and Leshrac. Lim-Dûl, a powerful necromancer, was also brought along by Leshrac. They immediately began to wage war upon the plane, ready to claim it for their own.
Kenan Sahrmal mounted a defense and managed to kill Faralyn with a summoned astral dragon, while routing the others. Lim-Dûl, however injured Sahrmal. Sahrmal disappeared, but his followers captured and beheaded Lim-Dûl. Both were presumed dead and peace returned for a time.
Twelve years later, Lim-Dûl reappeared with an army of undead at his back. His goal was as his master's before him, to seize control over the mana rich plane. City after city on the plane was destroyed until, after years of war, only one city remained, Ardestan. Ardestan became the last refuge against the necromancer. The city came under siege and it was plain to all that Shandalar would soon fall to this invader.
Sahrmal, the protector of Shandalar, had other plans. Since his apparent death, he had been training two adepts. One was Azar, the other's name has yet to be revealed. During the siege of Ardestan, Sahrmal counseled patience, telling his students that they were not yet ready to take on the might of Lim-Dûl. Azar, unable to witness the suffering and inevitable fall of Ardestan without doing something about it, left their hidden sanctuary and went to the defense of the city. Upon learning of this rash action, Sahrmal and his other apprentice went to Azar's aid.
Azar had stolen a spell from Sahrmal designed to target the necromancer's spirit and imprison it within his body, drawing power from it to erect a Great Barrier around Shandalar much akin to the Shard. Within the defense of a Circle of Protection, Azar prepared to cast the spell. Lim-Dûl was prepared, however, and waited nearby.
When Lim-Dûl had been beheaded, he had survived by transferring his soul into another body. This time, he planned to transfer into Azar's body. When Azar's spell was complete, Lim-Dûl initiated his counter. The combined spells had the unforseen effect of trapping both spirits within Azar's body. The body went limp as the two souls warred for control. Saddened, Sahrmal secretly buried the body, for the Great Barrier had come into existance and it depended upon the confinement of Lim-Dûl.
After Lim-Dûl and Azar's confinement, Sahrmal invested all of his remaining power into his other apprentice. Sahrmal's pupil became known as The Guardian and took up the role of Protector of Shandalar. Sahrmal again vanished. The people of Shandalar soon came to trust The Guardian in the place of Sahrmal.
The Guardian established five guilds of magic, each responsible for teaching and guarding the use of the five colors of mana. The Guildlord of each guild was determined in a great contest. A new Guildlord is selected with the passing of the previous Guildlord.
The Wizards' War
Azar proved to be too inexperienced and fell in his combat against Lim-Dûl. Emerging from the secret burial place, the necromancer took up his campaign to rule Shandalar. This time, however, he found organized resistance in the form of five powerful wizard schools. War ensued. During the Wizard's War the Black Guildlord was killed before Lim-Dûl was finally defeated. The Guardian removed Lim-Dûl's soul from Azar's body and imprisoned it within a magical artifact, thereby keeping the Great Barrier intact.
The now empty body of Azar, however, had been exposed too much magic. Though it was without a soul, it rose on its own and took the name Lichlord Skavius Slan. Then it took command of the Black Guild and ruled for ages, even among the passing of the other Guildlords.
Arzakon, a powerful planeswalker, had taken notice of the powerful emanations of magic caused by the wars on Shandalar. Lured by the power of the plane, he came into contact with the Great Barrier. The Guardian became aware of Arzakon and repelled the other planeswalker's attempt at physicaly coming through. Arzakon found a different way.
The Guildlords of Shandalar, Alsadim K'mer, Starcryst, Lichlord Skavius Slan, Kzzy'n, and Morgane, the Great Druid, rose up and struck down the Guardian. This was in response to the subtle manipulations of Arzakon in the guise of a benevolent advisor.
Arzakon then set a task before the Guildlords. He convinced them that to rule Shandalar, one wizard must cast the Spell of Dominion, which would grant its caster immortality. Of course, this was untrue. The spell was really meant to seek out the source of the Great Barrier, the artifact in which Lim-Dûl's spirit is contained, and destroy it.
The Onakke were once a brilliant race of ogres, adept at using the plane's abundant mana to craft artifacts of terrible power. They were slaughtered into nothingness in ages past. The massacre took only a night. Years passed and the demon Kothophed sent Liliana Vess to retrieve the Chain Veil. The Veil itself is an artifact hidden within the catacombs of the Onakke, and has been of great interest, along with Liliana, to the mysterious individual only known as the Raven Man.
Notable locations on Shandalar
- An Karras, an ancient city on the coast, famed for its domes.
- Lesh, a trade city positioned on one of the most vital trade rivers. Ruled by the merchant guilds, along with a fair deal of the city's underworld. Named after Leshrac.
- Martyne, another city
- The Catacombs of Shandalar
- Onakke Catacomb, the Tomb of the Onakke ogres
- The Eastern Sea
- The Eloren Wilds, a wilderness
- Evos Isle, an remote island
- Kalonia, a forest, also known as the Kalonian Wilds. Plagued by hydras and tuskers.
- The Skep, home of the slivers, an ever-evolving race that threatens to consume the world.
- The Nether Lands
- The Kapsho Seas, ruled by Talrand and home to the Amphin
- The Osai Desert
- Sunari, the desert citadel
- The Kingdom of Thune, located on the plains
- Valkas, a high mountain
- Blake Rasmussen. (July 16, 2014.) "Welcome to Shandalar", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen. (July 23, 2014.) "The Spells of Shandalar", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer. (6 October, 2013.) "Who, what or where is Xathrid?", A Voice for Vorthos, Tumblr.
- Jenna Helland. (July 04, 2012.) "Xathrid Gorgon", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.