Time Spiral Style Guide: How to draw Phyrexians

Posted in Arcana on November 21, 2006

By Wizards of the Coast

As the setting of Time Spiral involved a return to the storied mega-plane of Dominaria, it required some historical research to get the look right. That included the artists—many Time Spiral artists hadn’t worked on a Magic block set in Dominaria before, and even for those who had, it had been a while.

So part of the Time Spiral style guide served as a refresher course to the look and feel of Dominaria’s history—and of course, a huge part of Dominaria’s history is the Phyrexians.

The horrors from Phyrexia have their own distinctive look and feel. They are biomechanical, necrotic, and nightmarish—half alive, and half something far worse than dead.

Take a look at these shots from the style guide to see how it instructs artists how to create new Phyrexians for Time Spiral.

What Are Phyrexians?

Phyrexia was an artificial plane created by an ancient, evil planeswalker. It was an ecosystem comprised of metal, death, and tissue. An artificially accelerated evolution of articial organisms. A hellish world of artifact creatures. This vicious system was commandeered thousands of years ago by a powerful wizard who would become Phyrexia’s god and master: Yawgmoth.

Yawgmoth gave Phyrexian organisms a purpose: to thrive, to grow beyond the confines of Phyrexia and into the rest of the Multiverse. Over hun¬dreds of years, Phyrexia evolved priests and acolytes who extolled and worshipped Yawgmoth, as well as demons and abominations of infinite va¬riety to kill for him. Witch Engines. Birth Priests. Flesh Reivers. Hollow Dogs. Blood Praetors.

Over time a vast social order emerged, a horrifying food chain with church-like rites and rituals. Phyrexian organisms were judged by their ability to survive their nightmarish world. Successful ones were “evolved” with an unspeakable mixture of necrotic tissue and greasy metal. Eventually, Phyrexia created great Spore Engines and Plague Dreadnoughts – unimag¬inably huge, quasi-living artifact machines designed for war.

Over two hundred years ago, Phyrexia at last invaded the plane of Dominar¬ia. As a kind of planar hub, Dominaria was an obvious target for Phyrexian conquest. In the end Phyrexia and its god, Yawgmoth, were defeated, but not before they decimated and toxified Dominaria. Even today, the remains of this great invasion are everywhere, from poisoned skies to huge plague ships half-buried in the earth. The plane of Phyrexia is nothing but a smoldering shell now, but Dominaria will never be the same.

Below are another two pages of Phyrexian look-and-feel goodness. These have specific instructions for visually representing Phyrexians. Note the mark of Yawgmoth and mask of Yawgmoth on the first page, below.

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