Exult in the glory of Phyrexia! All will be one! Welcome to a plane ruled by the oldest and most terrifying creatures in the Multiverse as we prepare to spread our viral gift to every plane.
What Is Phyrexia?
Phyrexia is a society of biomechanical creatures who want to achieve an artificial, inorganic vision of "perfection." Our parasitic civilization invades and consumes all planes it encounters, expanding its ranks by converting other beings into biomechanical creatures. Our infection ("phyresis") is a divine gift. Those who oppose us are misguided or evil and must be shown the error of their ways.
Phyrexians reproduce using flesh-vats and birthing pods, or they are created by infecting other beings with glistening oil. The oil is a mutagen that first twists the minds of the infected and can induce memory loss and personality changes. The oil eventually replaces all vital liquids in the host body, which prepares it for compleation, a surgical process that swaps the body's organic matter with artificial machinery. The oil can corrupt artifacts as well as organic beings.
The compleation surgeries are overseen by other Phyrexians. When these procedures prove fatal, necromancy becomes involved. When the host's body is fully integrated with machinery, they are considered truly Phyrexianized. Degrees of alteration and retained intelligence vary drastically. Higher-ranked Phyrexians are usually granted heavier alterations and greater intelligence.
Reversing phyresis is difficult. After infection passes a certain stage, rehabilitation becomes impossible. Recovery varies per individual and becomes more difficult with increased compleation. Healing the mind may require different processes than healing body. However, several substances, like Halo, can stave off the transformative effects of glistening oil, and some individuals, like Melira, are entirely immune.
Yawgmoth and Old Phyrexia
The Phyrexians originated on an artificial plane, now referred to as "Old Phyrexia," created by an unknown Planeswalker. Yawgmoth, a medical genius from Dominaria, planeswalked to Old Phyrexia and installed himself as the plane's new ruler, the Father of Machines. He used the Phyrexians to launch repeated invasions of his home plane until he was finally slain by the golem Karn and his allies. Old Phyrexia was destroyed, but Karn became an unwitting carrier of its oil.
Karn created Mirrodin, an independent, metallic plane with five colored suns and multiple unique cultures. But he accidentally left a drop of glistening oil upon the plane's inner core. The oil slowly corrupted the landscape and wildlife from the inside out. Many Mirrans turned into Phyrexians, including legendary heroes. The divided Mirran cultures succumbed to Phyrexia when it reached the outer layer.
Under the influence of Mirrodin's five colored suns, the Phyrexians manifested into five factions, each led by a different praetor. Each harvested mycosynth to reshape Mirrodin to fit their vision of perfection, making an internal sphere of their own. Finally, they enclosed the plane's original surface with a new sphere and decorated it with massive, unsettling monuments honoring their victory.
A New Invasion
Having conquered Mirrodin and established New Phyrexia, they set their sights on the other planes in the Multiverse. Elesh Norn, leader of the Machine Orthodoxy, promised the Planeswalker Tezzeret an indestructible darksteel body in exchange for his services. Using the Planar Bridge, he transported the inorganic parts of the other praetors to different planes where they would be reassembled to carry out tasks that Norn gave them.
First, Vorinclex went to Kaldheim and stole essence from the World Tree. Jin-Gitaxias then appeared in Kamigawa and invented a method to Phyrexianize Planeswalkers. Urabrask evaded his orders and visited New Capenna to further his own agenda. Finally, Sheoldred arrived on Dominaria, a plane that defeated Phyrexia before, to eliminate anything that might get in the way.
One of the items she destroyed was a device of mass destruction called the sylex. At great cost, a group of Planeswalkers built a new sylex and created a strike team to carry the weapon into the heart of New Phyrexia.
The Nine Spheres
New Phyrexia is an active, mutating, biomechanical plane. With little distinction between living, dead, and mechanical organisms, the environment itself is prone to changing on its own.
The Monumental Facade
After conquering Mirrodin, the praetors decided to display their unified power by enclosing the entire plane within a single outer sphere and decorating it with commemorative monuments. These ominous structures exist beyond human comprehension and have no obvious pattern. Occasionally, towers crumble without warning, only for another to mysteriously arise elsewhere.
Mirrex was originally the outer of Mirrodin's two original spheres, but the Phyrexian invasion left it an apocalyptic ruin. Mirrodin's various landmarks were dismantled and their parts taken under the surface to make New Phyrexia's inner spheres. Cut off from their suns' mana, the Mirran survivors continue to scrape by while evading constant forays of Phyrexian scavengers on the lookout for more material.
The Autonomous Furnace
The Autonomous Furnace, where the Quiet Furnace lives, was the first layer the Phyrexians established, prior to their first assault on Mirrodin. It played a crucial role in the initial invasion. Metal parts crafted here were used to compleat Mirrans into Phyrexian troops. Although the entire sphere functions as a single forge, it is divided into smaller, independent sections overseen by furnace bosses. Praetor Urabrask's detached leadership means they often do whatever they want and clash with each other.
The Hunter Maze
The Hunter Maze, where the Vicious Swarm dwells, was assembled from the remains of the Mirran Tangle. After being compleated, Glissa, the former elven hero, worked with the praetor Vorinclex to dismantle it and make a "survival of the fittest" battlefield. Giant, deadly beasts prey on each other in its endless, canopied forest. Most praetors rule with an iron fist, but Vorinclex and Glissa prefer to sit back and admire the beautiful evolution they created.
The Surgical Bay
The Surgical Bay is home to the Progress Engine. Known simply as the Fourth Layer during the initial invasion, this liquid sphere was created to spread glistening oil under Mirrodin's surface. Once the Mirrans had been compleated, Praetor Jin-Gitaxias drained Mirrodin's Quicksilver Sea into the Fourth Layer to create an even larger oil reservoir. Mirran research centers were transported down and renovated for Phyrexian experimentation. The Fathom Ward, an underwater sea monster facility, holds the final known vials of blinkmoth serum that filled Mirrodin's Knowledge Pool.
The Dross Pits
The Dross Pits are a land of eternal conflict led by the Seven Steel Thanes. Thane Roxith began the project, naming his sphere the Flesh Layer, but Thane Sheoldred tricked him and claimed it for herself. Since then, the other remaining thanes have moved in, established their own strongholds, and restarted their war games. They regularly send armed battalions against each other, but no one has deposed Sheoldred yet.
The Fair Basilica
After declaring herself the dominant praetor of all Phyrexia, Elesh Norn claimed the prime location for the Machine Orthodoxy. Her realm surrounds Mirrodin's mycosynth growths. Controlling a crucial material for building new spheres ensured Norn retained power over the other praetors. Every aspect of the Fair Basilica was designed as a symbolic testament to Norn, helping her consolidate her rule over all Phyrexians.
The Mycosynth Gardens
This Mycosynth Gardens were the original inner core of Mirrodin. In contrast to the other spheres, which are packed with bustling Phyrexian unlife, the Mycosynth Gardens are mysteriously still and empty. No one may enter this sphere without permission from Elesh Norn.
The Seedcore grows from the most historically significant site of Mirrodin. The plane's first ruler, Memnarch, lived among the mycosynth towers in an observation deck he called the Panopticon. It was later renamed the Throne Room and converted into a prison for Karn. Norn planted essence from Kaldheim's World Tree in Karn's empty seat. Her new tree's branches will touch other planes and open them up for invasion.
The Phyrexian Factions
All factions want to dominate the Multiverse and spread the glory of Phyrexia, but each has its own vision, methods, and terms for perfection.
The Machine Orthodoxy
The Machine Orthodoxy sees phyresis as a blessing that will unify all living creatures and end needless conflict. They believe a rigid, structured hierarchy is necessary to maintain order, so they sought a leader who can replicate the glory days of Yawgmoth. This search was headed by Praetor Elesh Norn. However, her previous figurehead, Karn, escaped, revealing the true mastermind was Norn herself. Now, Norn has embraced her role as the self-styled "Mother of Machines" and is developing a plan that will surpass her forebears: unite all Phyrexian factions to raise an army that will indoctrinate the Multiverse.
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines
Elesh Norn leads the Machine Orthodoxy. She is an arrogant master manipulator who devoutly believes in her own rhetoric and does not like to be questioned. She is a fascist, theocratic dictator who designs monuments in her own image. Although she works with the other praetors, she wants to be the one leading the charge. Elesh Norn designed grand plans for all of Phyrexia and wrote the Argent Etchings, scriptures for her followers.
The Progress Engine
The Progress Engine grew unconcerned with New Phyrexia as a societal whole. Total compleation is the only true end goal, and they believe systemic experimentation will lead to more efficient phyresis methods. Jin-Gitaxias and the Progress Engine turned the conquered vedalkens into a living research library and co-opted many of their principles and materials, including their academic structure. Studying the vedalkens' blinkmoth serum also allowed the Progress Engine to enhance their vast reserve of glistening oil, making it more virulent and able to proliferate through organic material at record speeds.
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
The Progress Engine is run by Jin-Gitaxias. He is cold, brutal, and believes he is the smartest of the praetors. His hypotheses are calculated and meticulous, and often successful. However, he sees ethics as restriction on genius, so his research is often painful and traumatizing for his subjects, often even lethal. Jin-Gitaxias thinks he has created the most accurate interpretation of the Phyrexian scriptures, which he calls The Great Synthesis.
The Seven Steel Thanes
The Seven Steel Thanes rose from the swamp and saw themselves as direct heirs to Yawgmoth's Old Phyrexia. They will only follow his original Phyrexian scriptures and view the other factions as threats, especially the Machine Orthodoxy with its figurehead leadership. Together, the thanes are a loose, feudal faction headed by Sheoldred. Each other thane is biding their time until they can seize power. However, they all agree the best compleation methods or Phyrexian social structure is simply whichever one works.
Sheoldred, The Whispering One
Sheoldred is the tenuous leader of the Seven Steel Thanes. She is graceful, cruel, and the cleverest of the thanes. Her tactics are primarily covert and underhanded, frequently leveraging lies or misinformation. She earned her praetor position by manipulating the other thanes against each other. She hides her knowledge in irregular, whispering puzzle boxes known as astral coffers.
The Quiet Furnace
Mirrodin's red sun had an unforeseen effect on the Phyrexians. It gave them a sense of individualism, even sparking empathy in those of higher intelligence. Most suppressed this internal conflict by distracting themselves with the Great Work, reforging metal and incinerating failing organisms. However, Praetor Urabrask reflected and concluded that diversity and eccentricity are strengths in the Quiet Furnace. Unlike the other praetors who force new recruits into their designs, Urabrask prefers they retain the strongest parts of their original form and contribute these assets to Phyrexia. Secretly, he prefers when beings willingly choose to join New Phyrexia, but he is not above destroying those who oppose it.
Urabrask oversees the Quiet Furnace. He has a blazing-hot temper and is easily infuriated when dealing with others. Urabrask closed the Furnace Layer off to the rest of the factions and does not engage with them unless forced. He even declared the Mirran resistance to be left alone so he and his subjects could focus on the Great Work. This drew suspicion from the other factions, but most see him as glorified factory manager and did not pursue action. However, Urabrask sees Elesh Norn's uniform hegemony as a threat to his individualistic vision of Phyrexia and is preparing to rebel against her. He even upgraded his own body in preparation for his attack on her palace.
The Vicious Swarm
The Vicious Swarm interpreted the idea of the Phyrexian's Grand Evolution through a biological lens and developed a "survival of the fittest" ideology. Praetor Vorinclex and his steward, Glissa, believed they could hasten natural selection by creating a gladiatorial environment where predators hunt each other. The weakest were eaten, and the strongest grew larger and larger. The monstrous Vorinclex often entertains himself by partaking in these brawls, leaving Glissa to handle long-term matters and other factions.
Vorinclex rules the Vicious Swarm as its apex predator. Although he is relatively intelligent, he prefers making decisions with primal instinct and solves issues with brute strength and sharp fangs. So far, he has successfully maintained his dominance in the Grand Evolution by defeating any challengers and feeding on their bodies to strengthen himself. Vorinclex delegates most of his responsibilities to the compleated elf Glissa. She was an indispensable help when designing the Hunter Maze. Now, Glissa controls much of the fighting force of the Vicious Swarm and often speaks as Vorinclex's voice when dealing with other praetors.
As Phyrexia has grown, some creatures developed under the influence of multiple factions or outside of the factions entirely.
As the Phyrexians compleated the terrain of Mirrodin, the lines between life, death, and inanimate object blurred. Parts of the plane itself grew sentient and became huge, mobile creatures. Now, these mysterious cosmic beings roam throughout the spheres, driven by individual motivations and personalities. The Domini often possess qualities similar to the faction that compleated them, but they usually consider themselves above politics or allegiances. However, they are known to work with praetors who suit their ends.
The Mirrans were the inhabitants of Mirrodin prior to the Phyrexians' arrival. Under Mirrodin's five colored suns, they developed into five distinct cultures occupying their own biospheres on the plane's surface. When the Phyrexians launched their initial assault, the Mirrans could not put aside their cultural differences, which made them easy to divide and conquer. The Morioks fell first. Then the Neuroks and vedalken. Finally, the Sylvoks and elves. Only the Aurioks and Vulshoks managed to hold any of their ground, and their populations were still decimated.
In the time since, the survivors have learned better. Under strong leadership from the Vulshok Planeswalker Koth, the Mirrans put aside their differences and formed new, nomadic groups. Because they are constantly under threat, every individual trains to be a guerilla fighter, including children and elders. Their tactics rely on resourcefulness and teamwork. Now a united resistance, the Mirrans know they are stronger together.
Hexgold is golden metal refined from Glimmervoid plates that Mirrans use to craft weapons. When injected into the body, it grants some resistance to phyresis. The Goldwardens are elite warriors who provide security for Mirran settlements, conduct guerilla missions against the Phyrexians, and train the rest of the community. They are identified by their hexgold implants.
Will the Planeswalkers survive? Will the Phyrexians take over the Multiverse? Read the web fiction at MTGStory.com to find out!
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