Realms represent places that are loyal to the player. They are the focus for attacks and defenses. Each realm is an area in the Spellfire world in 5th Edition or a kingdom, nation, city-state, or empire in old Spellfire cards
During phase 2, a player can play one new realm. This new realm is played into the foremost empty space in the formation or on top of a razed realm; it can’t replace an active (face-up) realm. A razed realm is discarded if a new realm is played over the top of it.
Empty places in the pyramid must be filled in a certain order. The “tip” of the pyramid (position A) must have a card, even if it is razed, before playing one in the middle (positions B and C) or last row (positions D, E, and F). The middle row must have cards in both of its positions before a card can be played in the last row. It doesn’t matter which card in a particular row is played first.
If a player has no realms on the table (razed or unrazed), all champions in his pool are discarded at the end of his current turn. A player who has earned spoils of victory (see below) and draws a realm can save his champions from being discarded as long as he plays the realm.
As realms are played, they form a triangle with its base toward the player (see the diagram below). The first realm played is the top point of the triangle. The second row must be filled before any realms may be played in the third row.
If cardplay forces a realm to be discarded, it is possible to have an empty spot in the second row when there are realms in the third row. In those cases, new realms must be played into the empty spots first.
For example, if realms A and E are filled, but A and B have been discarded by events, the player must lay down his next realm into position A. He cannot lay it down into position B or F.
Each realm protects the two realms directly behind it by shielding them from attack. A realm cannot be attacked if it is behind another unrazed realm. A razed realm offers no protection. Realms that are exposed by a razed realm can be attacked normally.
Some realms (and holdings) can defend themselves as champions of a certain type. For example, Malatra, The Living Jungle (432/3rd) states that it can defend itself as a level 6 monster. These realms can defend without the aid of a champion from your pool or hand, as the realm (or attached holding) provides the champion. If the realm does not declare the type of champion (stating champion instead of a specific champion type), it is considered to be a hero. Allies are played normally with a realm champion, as are spells — but only if the realm or its attached holding can cast spells or grants a defender the ability to do so. Realms that are considered to be heroes can use unarmed combat cards that can only be used by heroes. Realm champions can only be used during a round of battle; they serve no other purpose outside of phase 4.
The bad thing about using this special power is that magical items and artifacts cannot be played with realm champions, unless specifically mentioned in the realm's special power. In addition, if a realm (or attached holding) champion is defeated during a round of battle, that realm is razed and the attacker gains spoils of victory.
A razed realm is turned face down. It is not removed from its position in the formation or discarded. If a holding is attached to that realm, it is discarded when the realm is razed. During phase 2, a player can replace a razed realm with a new one. The razed realm is then discarded.
Once a realm has been razed, any special power the realm provided is eliminated. A razed realm can be rebuilt (flipped up) if the player discards three cards from his hand during phase 2. The player can only rebuild one realm each turn, and by doing so forfeits play of a new realm. When the rebuilt realm is flipped back over, its special power is reactivated.
In the formation diagram, realm A protects realms B and C. If A is razed, B and C can be attacked. If A and B are razed, C and D can be attacked. Realms E and F are still protected. A realm retains its position in the formation even if other realms are discarded. For example, if realms A, B, and C are all discarded, realms D, E, and F do not move up to fill the empty spots.
One holding can be played in phase 2, even if a realm was played, rebuilt, or none was played at all. A holding must be attached to the realm of the same world, though it needn't be attached to the realm just played or rebuilt. There are some holdings that can be attached to any realm, and this is specifically stated in the special powers of individual holdings - such as with the Keep of the Dead (64/AR). The powers of most holdings only take effect when the attached realm is attacked, though the special powers of some holdings are always active, such as Keep on the Borderlands (19/RR).
Only one holding can be attached to each realm. Once attached to a realm, a holding cannot be moved to another realm or removed voluntarily unless through another card's special power. If the realm is razed, the attached holding is discarded (unless otherwise stated by the holding's special power). A holding cannot be attacked separately from the attached realm, or vice versa. A holding is not considered a "coast" for the purposes of swimmers, even if there is water found in the picture.