Lore: What is the Phyrexian Compleation

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Lore: What is the Phyrexian Compleation

02/02/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

Learn why Phyrexians are likely to once again become the next great villains of the Multiverse in Magic: the Gathering lore.

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translated by Romeu

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty

is in full swing and in the last few chapters of its lore we had a shocking surprise. None other than Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant personally showed up on the futuristic plane, reinforcing what all those interested in MTG Lore had already speculated since the appearance of Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider in Kaldheim: The Phyrexians figured out a way to planeswalk, and they're up to something. In the episodes of

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty

, written by Akemi Dawn Bowman and available on the official Wizards website, we got more clues that help explain how Phyrexian praetors can travel the planes even without a planeswalker spark, but I won't give any spoilers here.

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In addition to the appearance of the blue praetor in Kamigawa, we also have the presence of other important and well-known characters who return. The mysterious

Wanderer

, the villain

Tezzeret

and story hoarder

Tamyio

. However, there is something different about the soratami planeswalker that we know. Something really disturbing and hitherto unprecedented in the history of Magic, noticed as soon as we laid eyes on her card for the first time. She was altered by Jin-Gitaxias himself and reborn as a

completed

Phyrexian... However, she remains a planeswalker!
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If they already posed a major threat while trapped in New Phyrexia, imagine the damage they can do now that they're capable of converting planeswalkers. They have the potential to become the next big threat to the multiverse. I am particularly excited about this possibility and, in a way, I even expected Phyrexians to take on the role of great villains, as it had become vacant after the defeat of Nicol Bolas in War of the Spark. But I must confess I was hoping for something more orthodox, like planar portals or something. For those familiar with a Phyrexian background, this revelation about Tamyio probably sounds daunting. However, Phyrexians have not been a major theme in Magic: the Gathering since the last Mirrodin block, completed in 2011 in the

New Phyrexia

set. There were 11 years of hiatus, where the attention of the crowd was focused on other events involving the Gatewatch and other great villains, such as the Eldrazi or Nicol Bolas. It is natural that many do not remember or are even aware of the real threat they pose to the Multiverse. Today, I will refresh your memory and

understand how these enemies operate, what their goals are and why they are now more dangerous than ever

.
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Phyrexia's Origin

Phyrexians are a creation of Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. Initially, a human doctor from Thran, an ancient empire on Dominaria, Yawgmoth was noted for his brilliance and his grossly twisted morality and lack of ethics. He was a eugenicist, and he believed that organic life forms were weak and should then evolve into a state of perfection where flesh would give way to metal. Yawgmoth and his followers were eventually driven from their land and exiled to an artificial plane thousands of years ago. He named the plane Phyrexia, and for millennia he reshaped the landscape and its inhabitants to his pleasure, turning it into a great macabre industry of metal, oil, and smoke. There he was like a god - the Father of Machines - and he designed a grandiose plan of revenge and expansion of his ideology.
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The Glistening Oil

His people, the Phyrexians, were mechanized creatures artificially created from a virulent substance called

Ichor

or Glistening Oil. Ichor is not only used as a primary fuel and food source for Phyrexians, it also has the nefarious property of corrupting everything it touches. It can convert flesh to metal and eventually transform living beings into Phyrexians. Once converted, they are reborn as soulless minions subservient to the dogma and will of Phyrexia, utterly devoid of humanity or individualism.

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Expansion and Fall

Yawgmoth's plan then involved spreading his "Great Perfection" beyond Phyrexia; especially to

Dominaria

, his homeland from which he was expelled. He had ancient Thran technology, which allowed him not only to build devastating weapons, but also to build planar portals that allowed him to carry out invasions to other worlds and enable a campaign of interplanar warfare developed over a millennium. The culmination of this campaign was the great Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria (told throughout the

Invasion, Planeshift

and

Apocalypse

sets of the early 2000's, one of the biggest events in the history of Magic: the Gathering lore). The war killed millions and caused unprecedented destruction, but at last both Yawgmoth and the plane of Phyrexia were destroyed, putting an end to the Phyrexian threat for a time.
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The Phyrexian Invasion on Dominaria

The New Phyrexia

Years later, the planeswalker golem

Karn

- whose heart carried Glistening Oil - creates his own artificial plane made entirely of metal, later renamed Mirrodin. On one of his visits to the plane, Karn accidentally leaks some Ichor from his heart, which unleashes a slow and irremediable corruption that would soon spread across the plane, contaminating its inhabitants and turning Mirrodin into a

New Phyrexia

.
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The inhabitants of Mirrodin resisted, but were unable to contain the Phyrexian war machine. This time, Phyrexia won
The new Phyrexians, however, adapted to the morphology of their new home. While the original Phyrexia created by Yawgmoth was a plane entirely aligned with black mana, New Phyrexia is influenced by all five colors of mana, which has resulted in an inevitable split of Phyrexian society into five factions. Each faction has its own interpretation of

Phyrexian perfection

and its own leader, called a

praetor

. The five praetors harbor rivalries with each other, which eventually leads to disputes over the control of the fate of New Phyrexia. These conflicts have somehow ended up keeping Phyrexians more occupied with themselves than with expanding on other planes, but that seems to be changing.
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The Great Phyrexian Evolution

Phyrexians are obsessed with the idea of ​​perfection, grounded in the eugenics perception that meat is perishable and doomed to disease and death. The evolutionary process for this weakness condition to be overcome is called

phyresis

. It starts from the moment the creature comes into contact with the Glistening Oil and can spontaneously evolve as a disease, or be induced by procedures supervised by other Phyrexians. The result is

compleation

, when all the organic parts of the body are replaced by artificial counterparts. Flesh gives way to metal and fluids become ichor. The being retains its memory and personality, but loses its soul.

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Karn, Glissa, Ezuri, and Tamyio: Examples of How Phyrexian Compleation Transforms a Being
The word “compleation” sounds like a misspelling, but it isn’t, as Doug Bayer explains in his 2011 piece “A Linguistic Look at Besieged”

published on the Wizards website:

“In Magic, compleat (...) is the term for the process of making one become Phyrexian, or the state of being "perfected" by Phyrexia. Phyrexia is not just a necrotech civilization of horrors - it is also a way of thinking, a perspective on organic meat and what makes an organism the best it can be. Phyrexians absorb and transform their victims not just to rule the plane, incomplete.”

- Doug Bayer

Compleation and Planeswalkers

As the individual's soul is destroyed in the process, it was originally impossible to

compleat

a planeswalker and maintain it with its spark, as it is contained within the soul. This has kept Phyrexians contained since the days of Yawgmoth, forcing them to resort to difficult-to-build planar portals. However, Jin-Gitaxias discovered a way to compleat a planeswalker without destroying its soul using The Reality Chip. He used this procedure to compleat Tamiyo, which became the first Phyrexian planeswalker.
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Compleated Characters

In addition to Tamiyo, other characters have already been completed by New Phyrexia, returning with new Phyrexianized versions and many more to come in the future. Here are some examples:

Karn

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Years after Yawgmoth's fall in the Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria, the golem

Karn

- whose heart carried glistening oiloil - created his own artificial plane made entirely of metal, later to be called Mirrodin. On one of his visits to the plane, Karn accidentally leaks some Ichor from his heart, which unleashed an irremediable corruption that slowly spreads across the plane, contaminating its inhabitants and transforming Mirrodin into New Phyrexia. Karn himself was unable to escape and also succumbed.
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Karn himself was contaminated by the glistening oil, and was the main pretender to become the new Father of Machines, but was cured by his friends. Now he's looking for a way to right the wrong he's made and destroy New Phyrexia.
Bright oil leaked from his heart, shifting Karn's silver body as he sat on his throne. But as the Phyrexian Praetors and their minions vied for him, each trying to use him to further their own causes, Karn had a moment of clarity. He sent a mechanical guide to lead Venser and his group to the fully corrupted core of the plane once called Mirrodin. After many hardships, they found the golem and managed to save it, at the cost of Venser's life and spark, which replaced Karn's corrupted heart with his own. Now, Karn journeys across the Multiverse searching for a way to right his wrong and destroy the Phyrexian menace once and for all.

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Glissa Sunseeker

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Glissa was a powerful elven warrior in Mirrodin who sought to avenge her family's murder. She was one of the great Mirran heroines during the events of the

Mirrodin

block, and one of those responsible for defeating Memnarch. After becoming trapped in Mirrodin's Core - the epicenter of the Phyrexian infestation on the plane - Glissa ended up being corrupted only by her proximity to the glowing oil. Completed by Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger, she became the praetor's champion and an extremely powerful warrior for Phyrexia.

Kaldra

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The Champion of Kaldra was a gigantic Mirran avatar composed of blue-white plasma that was summoned by Glissa Sunseeker after she collected the three Kaldra artifacts (a helmet, a shield, and a sword). In New Phyrexia, the artifacts of Kaldra fell under the control of the Phyrexians and were turned into living weapons. Glissa was able to restore them and created a creature made up of germs from them. The newest champion of Phyrexia will be strong enough to rival the original Champion of Kaldra in power, or be defeated and someone stronger will claim the artifacts.

Ezuri

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Ezuri was a Viridian elf who became a hero after Mirrodin's compleation. Though he was among the first on the plane to detect the invasion, he was eventually captured and completed by the blue-aligned faction from Jin-Gitaxias. After an excruciating process of transformation, Ezuri became an agent of the will of New Phyrexia. As the 'Claw of Progress', he now seeks to extend the Phyrexians' gift of "perfection" to their former allies.

Atraxa

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Once a Mirran angel who opposed the corruption of Phyrexia, Atraxa was captured while single-handedly guarding a Mirran retreat. The praetor Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite honored the angel's tenacity with the blessed gift of Phyrexian completion and invited other praetors to contribute. While Urabrask the Hidden declined, Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, Sheoldred, Whispering One and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger agreed to join the efforts, and Atraxa was born, as an inspiring testament to Phyrexia's unique purpose.

Skithiryx

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Skithiryx is a Furnace Dragon from Mirrodin. He is a skeletal, undead Phyrexian abomination, with green necrogen coming from his rear burners instead of red mana. The dragon is also capable of speaking in a deep, husky voice, and cries tears of glistening oil to infect those who cross its path.

A Threat to the Multiverse

In the past, Phyrexians used planar portals to invade other planes and spread their corruption. However, after the Mending that followed Dominaria's temporal crisis, the laws of the Multiverse were restructured in such a way that planar travel became even more difficult. The planar portals that once enabled the Phyrexian Invasion would no longer function in modern times, which would condemn the new Phyrexians to an existence limited to their plane of origin in New Phyrexia. But, as we can see with the unfolding of the latest events since War of the Spark, the praetors apparently were not content with such a fate and are working with planeswalkers to make their interplanar expansion possible.

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In addition to the addition of Tamyio to their ranks, we see that Tezzeret has allied with jin-Gitaxias and has been using the Planar Bridge - capable only of transporting inorganic or dead matter - in favor of the Phyrexians. There's no way to be sure of Tezzeret's real intentions with the Phyrexians and vice versa; but we have plenty of room for speculation. If you want to know the full story about Phyrexia, Romeu made an article back when Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider was first revealed where he explains the entire Phyrexian arclink outside website, from its origin to the present day (back at the past year). What do you think is out there regarding Phyrexians? What are their expansion plans, and how should the pieces that were introduced move on this board? I look forward to your theories here in the comments box below.
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Vinicius Sorin

Martial arts teacher and content producer about Magic. Player in love with the Commander format, presenter of the Offline Kitchen youtube channel.

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