For They Are

Posted in Feature on January 14, 2003

By Rei Nakazawa

Phage and Akroma are getting ready for all-out war, and that means good things for those Magic players who love their creatures. The Legions set is an army unto itself, chock full of Soldiers (and Elves and Goblins and Wizards) ready to fight for their cause. But there’s a lot going on behind the scenes—stuff that the novel may or may not tell you—for the events shaping up on Otaria are complex and mysterious. That’s what I’m here for: to guide you through the events of Legions and shed some light on what’s going on behind those cards you’re going to be playing with in a few short weeks.

In Legions, all the tribes undergo disturbing changes, including the Clerics shown in the card Akroma's Devoted.

In a way, the world of Otaria has a lot of impact on the cards, more than in any other recent set. As I’ve said in the past, the Creative division of Magic has been trying to divert the card set away from trying to communicate a plot, so this may seem like a contradiction. But we still want to give you a world to imagine and play in, and there are certainly a lot of changes going on in this world. These changes are being reflected in art, creature type, and sometimes in the abilities themselves. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

What's Happening Now

Legions marks the beginning of some pretty big events on Otaria. Kamahl and Ixidor, the two major focuses of the Onslaught set, have gone into hiding. Ixidor is still trapped in the fix he got himself into at the end of the Onslaught novel, and Kamahl has suffered a change of heart. True to his now-green nature, he has retreated deep into the Krosan Forest to meditate, deliberately taking himself out of the battle in the belief that everything will work itself out in the end. This leaves Phage and Akroma to prepare for war against each other. While Akroma uses her heavenly visage to bring groups such as the Southern Order and Wirewood elves to her cause, Phage increases the popularity of the pit fights to increase her dark numbers (with the help of Braids; don’t worry, dementia summoner fans, she does end up surviving the events of Onslaught). Soon, the tensions will reach a critical mass, and and all-out bloodbath will ensue—a battle that Kamahl may not be able to ignore.

Slivers return with all-new abilities. Shown is Spectral Sliver.

But that’s not all that’s happening, not all that’s adding to the chaos on this once lonely and peaceful continent. In its arrogance, the Riptide Project has created something it cannot control. One of its members brought the remains of a strange creature from Urborg, a creature not native to Dominaria. Determined to find out more about this odd new species, the Project’s wizards revived it, breeding new types with new powers. These creatures are the Slivers, beings from the dread plane of Rath brought to Dominaria via the planar overlay. But with their Sliver Queen long dead, these Slivers have proven impossible to control, overwhelming their Riptide masters. They have almost completely conquered the isolated island the Project calls home with the abilities given to them by the foolish wizards, such as the power to ward off certain types of magic, give life to its master in combat, or change shape. Whether the Slivers stay on the island, or overwhelm the main continent, has yet to be seen. (Congratulations, by the way, to those of you who picked up the hints we dropped on Riptide Replicator and Graxiplon. Look for more on the Slivers next week here on

Then there’s an old threat in an old location: the Mirari, resting snugly in the Krosan Forest, is once again rearing its ugly head. Since the events of Judgment, it has been pumping out green mana at an alarming rate. The result: mutation. All of Otaria’s residents are mutating, in different ways that are appropriate to their species. For example, the elves, who pride themselves on their connection to nature, are becoming tree-like, like dryads. The wizards are becoming immaterial, as if they were made out of pure magic. The beasts grow larger and more savage, and the zombies more twisted and misshapen. Take a look at the art, and you’ll see just how much Otaria is changing. Some, though, are mutating more than most. Creatures with particularly unusual abilities, or that are especially large, are marked with the creature type Mutant, much like Mistform Mutant from Onslaught. For example, Flamewave Invoker is a Goblin Mutant because pumping a large amount of mana into him gives you a hugely splashy ability not often seen on a common. You can be sure that the mutations will get even more significant, visually and mechanically, as time goes on…

The Ladies of Legions

Phage and Akroma slug it out in Legions.

Now we come to one of the main characters you’ve been dying to see. Akroma is a creation of Ixidor, and considering how powerful he is, you can bet that anything he makes has to be pretty darn powerful. Just take a look.

Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Akroma, Angel of Wrath crams more keyword abilities in her text box than any other. She’s powerful, evasive, can attack the turn she comes into play, is protected against most removal spells, and can still hang back to defend. Even Ixidor himself couldn’t ask for anything more! She’s a welcome addition to reanimator decks and fans of Angels alike. You might even find a copy or two in white decks to provide that one last big finish. And let’s not even talk about her in Limited…

But what about Phage the Untouchable, you may ask. How can she stand against such power? As you can see, her story abilities translated extremely well into card form (See Mark's article for more on Phage.). As seen on cards such as Swat, her withering touch is deadly. As a card, her powers utterly annihilate creatures… and players. Quite a change from her days as Jeska, wouldn’t you say?

What Next?

What else is in store for Otaria? What will happen in the final showdown between angel and pit fighter? Will Kamahl or Ixidor decide to intervene? What sort of mutants will pop up in the future? You’ll have to read J. Robert King’s novel, or wait until the next set, for your answers. But until then, enjoy the chaos!

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