The Phyrexian invasion is here. Elesh Norn's Invasion Tree breaches into countless planes, and armies of Phyrexians pour out across the Multiverse. Denizens of every plane fight back as the relentless hordes threaten to assimilate or destroy everything in their path. Prepare yourself: the fate of the Multiverse is at stake.
For a while now, New Phyrexia has been biding its time, gradually building up its forces and experimenting with glistening oil. Now, they've finally assembled all the elements they need to launch their invasion. Should they succeed, the entire Multiverse will be consumed by Phyrexia's nightmarish ambitions.
The other planes aren't taking this lying down, though. As New Phyrexia's forces sweep through the Multiverse, the planes' inhabitants rally their forces and fight back with everything they have.
THE STORY SO FAR
Elesh Norn, the leader of the Machine Orthodoxy, had been gradually assembling all the necessary elements to launch her invasion.
By using the Planar Bridge stored in Tezzeret's etherium arm, she was able to transport the other praetors to different planes, where they were instructed to complete various tasks. She sent Vorinclex to Kaldheim to steal some of the essence of the World Tree, which she then used to grow her own plane-traversing Invasion Tree. She sent Jin-Gitaxias to Kamigawa, where he experimented on the kami of the plane to refine the process of compleation. In the process, he developed a method to successfully compleat Planeswalkers while leaving their sparks intact. Sheoldred was sent to Dominaria, a plane that had defeated Phyrexia before, to head off any threats to a future invasion.
The growing Phyrexian threat to the Multiverse had not gone unnoticed, though. Planeswalkers from all over caught wind of their machinations and set out to prevent an invasion before it became a true threat, which culminated in a strike team of Planeswalkers creating their own copy of the Golgothian sylex, an artifact of massive destructive potential, that they planned to carry into the Seedcore, the center of New Phyrexia. Once there, they would detonate it and destroy the Invasion Tree, preventing New Phyrexia from connecting to other planes.
However, the plan went awry almost from the start. The strike team found themselves scattered by anti-planeswalking defenses, and many of them became tainted by glistening oil, eventually joining the side of the Phyrexians. The remaining Planeswalkers arrived at the Seedcore just in time to see Elesh Norn's Invasion Tree connecting to other planes, paving the way for her invasion. Unwilling to doom the planes that the tree had already touched, Kaya refused to detonate the sylex. But she was unable to stop Jace from initiating the explosion. In the slim moment as the sylex charged, Elspeth appeared, grabbed the sylex, and planeswalked into the Blind Eternities.
The strike team had failed, and the invasion began.
ATTACKERS OF THE MULTIVERSE: THE MACHINE LEGION
The Machine Legion is New Phyrexia's invasion force. It is organized into five different hosts.
At the start of an invasion, the Machine Legion is composed solely of troops that originate on New Phyrexia. As more of a plane falls under Phyrexian influence, the invading forces gradually come to be made up of that plane's former defenders.
The Alabaster Host
The Alabaster Host is the most unrelenting and fanatical host of the Machine Legion. As they invade, they sing hymns to the Machine Orthodoxy that are terrifying and discordant to non-Phyrexians but rapturous to their own ears.
The Alabaster Host is led directly by Elesh Norn, who masterminds the deployment of the Machine Legion from her throne room on New Phyrexia.
The Chrome Host
The Chrome Host is deployed strategically to each plane to maximize efficiency of Jin-Gitaxias's forces, based on existing knowledge of that specific plane. This is both a blessing and a curse: on planes for which Jin-Gitaxias has accurate intelligence, the Chrome Host can strike with surgical precision, but on planes for which his information is off target or incomplete, they can find themselves severely outmatched.
The Chrome Host is commanded by Jin-Gitaxias. As the first praetor to align with Elesh Norn, he was rewarded by being allowed to keep command of the Chrome Host and uses them to gather information throughout the Multiverse, some of which he shares with Elesh Norn to help further the invasion.
The Etched Host
After Sheoldred's failed coup, Elesh Norn divided control of the Etched Host among the remaining thanes, with promises of power and glory for the most successful. The competition spurs the thanes to drive their forces to ever greater depths of cruelty, each eager to gain Elesh Norn's approval. The Etched Host is the most vicious and brutal host of all the Machine Legion.
The Furnace Host
Unlike the other hosts, the Furnace Host is not under any direct command. Instead, Elesh Norn simply sets them loose upon the Multiverse to wreak havoc and destruction as they please, with no plans or orders. The result is chaotic but ultimately effective.
Urabrask, the praetor of red-aligned Phyrexia, disagreed with Elesh Norn's vision of New Phyrexia. When faced with the choice to ally with her, he instead abandoned his host and retreated to the depths of the Furnace Layer in open defiance rather than bowing down to her authority.
The Copper Host
The Copper Host, commanded by Vorinclex, uses the invasion to "test" the strength of potential new Phyrexians. Those who prove themselves strong enough to be worthy of Phyrexia are rewarded with compleation; those who prove to be weak are torn apart. The Copper Host has the lowest compleation rate out of all the hosts, but those they do compleat are among the most savage and powerful of all converts.
The Copper Host is commanded by Vorinclex, who has acknowledged Elesh Norn's superiority
Other Phyrexian Weapons
Realmbreaker, The Invasion Tree
Called the Invasion Tree by defenders and Realmbreaker by Phyrexian forces, this massive, Multiverse-spanning tree is the linchpin to New Phyrexia's conquest of the Multiverse. Grown from the stolen essence of Kaldheim's World Tree, it was nurtured in the Seedcore, where it grew, twisted into New Phyrexia's image. Its branches are capable of tearing paths through the Blind Eternities and opening the way for the Machine Legion to invade other planes.
To the defenders, it's a terrifying sight. To Phyrexian forces, it's a glorious symbol of their might and inevitability.
The branches of the Invasion Tree are terrifyingly destructive weapons that can crush entire cities or pull dreadnoughts from the sky with insultingly casual ease. Each branch is tipped with a three-pronged barb that opens when the branch slams into the ground, anchoring it in place. The barbs can also act as talons, ripping and tearing into any structure or creature they encounter.
Each branch of the Invasion Tree is covered with thousands of seedpods, spiny vessels that transport the Machine Legion through the Blind Eternities. Some seedpods carry an entire regiment of centurions, while others might hold only a single, hulking behemoth. Still others might be filled with nothing but glistening oil, meant to rain down from the atmosphere to spread phyresis as widely as possible.
Some seedpods are specialized surgical compleation units called cocoons. Once a non-Phyrexian being has been thoroughly infiltrated by glistening oil, it's dragged into a cocoon, which seals around them and replaces any organic parts with machine ones. Compleation is quick and messy. These newly compleated beings are called converts or neophytes to distinguish them from the original "pure" Phyrexians. Neophytes tend to be more crudely shaped, with the machine parts roughly and messily grafted on, as the Machine Legion focuses on speed rather than elegance.
Converter beasts are specially design Phyrexian creatures that function as focused infusers of glistening oil. Their goal is to catch non-Phyrexian beings, which they cage in their backs and bathe in glistening oil at such high concentrations that the being can be infiltrated and ready for compleation in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take. Converter beasts come in all sizes, from small dog-like creatures to massive whales.
DEFENSE OF THE MULTIVERSE: THE PLANES
As the invasion rolls out across the Multiverse, the denizens of each plane fight back to save themselves from total compleation. Here, we'll look at how they're fighting back on several key planes:
Warned ahead of time by Liliana Vess, Strixhaven University readied its strongest spellcasters and most powerful spells—but invaders were ready for them. The faculty members, who were the first line of defense, were unable to fight off the Phyrexians and fell, joining the invaders' ranks.
Now the salvation of the plane rests on the shoulders of the students, who pin their hopes on a wild, last-ditch plan: to find the workings of a fabled ancient spell hidden deep within the Biblioplex and set it off to drive the Phyrexians from their school. To do so, they must navigate through the Biblioplex's labyrinthine halls, avoiding their former professors even as those same professors try to hunt them down, in a deadly game of cat and mouse that leaves no room for error.
Fresh from the revelation of sleeper agents in their midst, Dominaria is well prepared for the oncoming invasion. The New Coalition has only grown stronger and more fortified as they work together. This isn't the first time they've faced off against Phyrexia before: they know what to do.
Once upon a time, a host of terrible monsters descended upon the fairy-tale world of Eldraine. Though the knights of the realm fought brave and true, one by one, the courts fells, leaving the denizens of the wilds to fend for themselves.
But the fae folk, cunning and wily, know the tricks and dangers of the wilds like no one else. These are their enchanted woods—and the newly Phyrexianized knights are about to be reminded of that the hard way, as the fae employ guerilla fighting tactics, taking advantage of the wilds as their home turf to trap Phyrexians rather than face them head on.
Phyrexia sends their largest juggernauts to go up against the gigantic monsters of Ikoria in an all-out clash of behemoths. As glistening oil seeps through the plane, it also causes a reaction in the plane's crystalline formations. Some become corrupted, causing biomechanical mutations in affected beasts. Other crystals evolve as a natural response that provides monsters some measure of resistance against the effects of glistening oil.
Having been faced with multiple plane-wide threats before, Innistrad is more than prepared to take on a new invasion. Though the humans and monsters don't join forces, their piecemeal, uncoordinated defenses hold back the Phyrexians with less difficulty than other planes. Ghoulcallers and necromancers find their talents particularly effective, as the Phyrexians struggle to deal with this plane's zombies that don't respond as easily as they'd hoped to attempts at compleation.
As Phyrexians invade from the seas on submarine-like war machines, bursting onto land and charging inwards, the Sun Empire finds itself partnering with the most unlikely of allies: the vampires of the Legion of Dusk. Together, they form the bulk of Ixalan's defenses—particularly the Sun Empire, which brings its dinosaurs to the table.
Rather than wait for the Phyrexians to wear their forces down, they concoct a plan to lure the Phyrexians in and spring a trap on the invaders, hoping to deliver a resounding proactive blow—or at least buy themselves more time to shore up their defenses.
Thanks to Saheeli's warnings, the people of Kaladesh have time to prepare. When branches of the Invasion Tree finally break through, the Phyrexians find themselves facing a strong resistance led by the vicious dinosaur-based designs of Project Golden Scale, turning what they assumed would be a quick, simple fight into a protracted struggle to establish a foothold.
To speed up compleation of the plane, the Machine Host races to the Aetherflux Reservoir, hoping to twist the flow of aether in the plane to their own designs. The crux of the invasion quickly devolves into a frantic race to control the plane's aether and thus secure a definitive advantage over the other side.
When the Invasion Tree broke into Kaldheim, the first thing it did was to snarl itself around the World Tree, causing devastating Doomskars as the ten realms crashed violently into each other or were ripped apart. The infection even spread to the Cosmos itself, and now compleated Cosmos monsters stalk the realms, devouring lands whole.
Against this backdrop of apocalypse, the denizens of Kaldheim do what they do best: ride out joyously into battle, for victory and glory. Fearless and always eager for an epic, boast-worthy battle, the denizens of Kaldheim face off against the Cosmos monsters themselves, throwing themselves en masse at their larger foes, or sometimes taking them on in epic one-on-one combat.
The invasion begins in Towashi: The Invasion Tree breaks through around Boseiju and quickly begins wreaking havoc on the city. The first wave of defenders consisted largely of samurai, who quickly found themselves in over their heads and tragically completed. Now they fight on the side of the Phyrexians. With their first line of defense gone, the ninjas of Kamigawa must employ stealth, cunning, and all the battle trickery they can to hold their own against the samurais' brute strength and force.
As the source of Halo, an angelic substance that can temporarily halt or repel Phyrexianization, New Capenna is of special interest to the Phyrexians. Elesh Norn dispatched Atraxa as her lieutenant to lead the invasion and cut Halo off at its source. As branches of the Invasion Tree twine around the city's girders, Atraxa takes over Park Heights and ruthlessly brings the Maestros under her sway.
Upon witnessing this, the rest of the crime families join forces to fight against the dominion of this dark angel. In dark alleys and in winding streets, the other four families duke it out with Maestros. With the Riveteers spearheading the defensive forces, they're able to manipulate the city's infrastructure itself and thus hold the defensive line against the Maestros and Atraxa. Halo-infused weaponry gives them an edge against the Phyrexians that makes it a tough, gritty struggle for territory in which neither side has a definitive advantage.
Guided by Phyrexian Vraska, the Invasion Tree pierces into Ravnica's undercity and heaves entire sections of the city up, exposing the city-plane's moldering underbelly to open air for the first time in centuries, and opening a pathway for the freshly Phyrexianized Golgari Swarm to overrun the other guilds. The rest of the guilds lead the defense, putting themselves on the frontline to bring down the invaders.
The Phyrexian Golgari, however, find allies in two other guilds: the Izzet and the Simic. Intrigued by the new possibilities offered by glistening oil and driven by their own fatal curiosity, many members of the Izzet and Simic willingly undergo compleation—only to realize too late the horrible price they must pay. As their ranks swell, the Phyrexians steadily gain traction on the plane, turning what seemed like a tiny foothold into a slow-moving disaster for Ravnica.
Though the Phyrexians get a strong start, the dragonlords quickly rally and push back, stopping them from overwhelming the plane decisively. To do this, they partner up with those under their rule, filling the skies with aerial dragon battles where dragons manage to hold their own against their Phyrexianized brethren with the help of those who serve under them.
Led by a Phyrexian Ajani, the first wave of the invasion targeted temples and other places of worship. Due to the nature of faith on Theros, compleating the gods' devotees meant that the gods themselves, influenced by their new Phyrexian worshippers, succumbed and became Phyrexians as well.
The city of Meletis now stands as the last bastion of resistance against an endless onslaught of Phyrexian armies. Hordes of Phyrexian monstrosities assail the city from air, land, and sea, while Meletian defenders fight valiantly to drive them off. With the aid of Ephara, one of the few surviving Theros gods, sustained by the belief of those within the city walls, they've managed to hold their own—so far.
The fight on Zendikar is split between two main arenas of action: the wilderness, where the land itself rises up against the Phyrexians; and the Skyclaves, where teams of elite defenders make a daring run to bring down Nahiri's compleation engine, formed from the compleated remains of the Skyclaves.
What will be the fate of the Multiverse itself? Elesh Norn's relentless march to subjugate all unfolds in the stories at MTGStory.com!
March of the Machine Set Credits
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