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Phyrexian
Phyrexian
Creature Type
(Subtype for creature/kindred cards)
Beeble Scale 5[1]
Statistics
471 cards
{W} 12.5% {U} 9.3% {B} 32.5% {R} 7.9% {G} 12.3% {W/U} 1.1% {U/B} 1.3% {B/R} 1.9% {R/G} 0.6% {G/W} 0.6% {W/B} 2.1% {U/R} 1.3% {B/G} 2.1% {R/W} 0.4% {G/U} 1.3% {M} 1.9% {artifact symbol} 10.8%
107 Phyrexian creation cards
{W} 22.4% {U} 5.6% {B} 11.2% {R} 7.5% {G} 15% {W/U} 0.9% {U/B} 0.9% {B/R} 0.9% {R/G} 0.9% {G/W} 0.9% {W/B} 3.7% {U/R} 2.8% {B/G} 2.8% {R/W} 1.9% {M} 1.9% {artifact symbol} 19.6% {land symbol} 0.9%
as of Modern Horizons III
Scryfall Search
type:"Phyrexian"

Phyrexian is a creature type that was introduced in Kaldheim, and was retroactively added as far back as Antiquities. It also represents a faction, and as such, there are planeswalkers who are phyrexians but do not have the Phyrexian creature type. Each Phyrexian planeswalker uses the Compleated mechanic to represent this.

Description[ | ]

A Phyrexian is a compleated creature from Phyrexia, New Phyrexia, or similar infested planes. They consist of metal and organic matter and can appear in many forms. Phyrexians can often be recognized by features like dripping ichor, eyelessness, cysts, pustules, or the expulsion of noxious gases.[2] Phyrexians in the Machine Orthodoxy of New Phyrexia often have their skin replaced with glossy, porcelain-like armor.[3]

Phyrexians were created by Yawgmoth, a Thran eugenicist who believed beings should be made perfect through artifice and organ rearrangement. Taking over an initially idyllic world thanks to Dyfed, he brought his followers to this new world, the first Phyrexia. Here, they mutated into abominations, though artificial enhancement only began much later on.[4] In Old Phyrexia, most non-assimilated phyrexians began as newts, humanoid beings later altered into monstrosities to serve Yawgmoth's will. In New Phyrexia, the equivalent stage is the germ, an embryonic being formed from the gestalt of genetic material from war victims. Natural-born phyrexians differ from compleated beings in some ways, for instance the white-aligned core-born ones grow porcelain naturally while compleated subjects have to have seed grafts implanted.[3]

The most perfect of phyrexian lifeforms were the pneumagogs, Yawgmoth's creations that resembled angels. They were purely physical on upper spheres and purely spiritual on lower ones, being complete in the sixth sphere. So beautiful were they that they pursued Urza to join the Phyrexian cause. To date, they have not been referenced in cards, particularly as new phyrexians are decidedly non-spiritual.[3]

Old phyrexians were in principle all aligned with black mana; why is not clear, and some of the errata'd cards show non-black phyrexians (i.e. Volrath's Shapeshifter) while the pneumagogs appear white. As of New Phyrexia, the oil was charged by the mana of Mirrodin's five suns, so phyrexians now unambiguously occur in all colors of mana. This had the effect of factionalizing the previously monolithic species, but the white-aligned phyrexians led by Elesh Norn managed to subdue the other factions and install her as Mother of Machines.

Phyrexians on Mirrodin/New Phyrexia were spawned by the Mycosynth's corruption, but ironically are unable to become fully metallic due to the fungus' constant turning of metal into flesh.[5]

Old phyrexians had limited dexterity so they designed their glyph system to be able to be written with three claws. New phyrexians do not have this limitation and often write with styluses.[6]

While retaining independence, phyrexians as a whole are subjected to a loose hivemind. If the center dies, it ceases to function at least temporarily. This first happened with Yawgmoth's death and later with Elesh Norn's.

Phyrexians, for the most part, do not reproduce sexually, with the notable exception of the green-aligned Vicious Swarm.[7] Several, however, have made clear they can have sex: K'rrik threatens to rape Jhoira,[8] while Elesh Norn offered Elspeth Tirel "lovers."[9]

History[ | ]

Although Phyrexians were featured in the Magic storyline very early on, they had never appeared as such on cards. Instead they were Zombies, Minions, Horrors or similar types. Some, like Suture Priest and Tormentor Exarch, were deliberately made without race.[10]

Phyrexian was regularly requested as a creature type on Blogatog. Mark Rosewater argued that the problem was that there are characters that are Phyrexian by flavor, but not by appearance, and twenty-five years of history and inertia make some changes hard to do.[11]

Phyrexian finally appeared as a creature type on a test card in the Mystery Booster set (Vazal, the Compleat), and was formally introduced in Kaldheim with the lone Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider.[12][13] A large creature type errata was expected,[14] but apparently held back until the release of a set that featured multiple Phyrexians. Modern Horizons 2 reprinted Bone Shredder and Skirge Familiar with the Phyrexian type, and introduced the Phyrexian Germ token for Living weapon. Shortly before the release of MH2, Magic Online updated 224 black-bordered cards, and one silver-bordered card (Phyrexian Librarian).[15] This brought the number of black-bordered Phyrexians on Magic Online to 225. Two older cards that aren't on Magic Online, Phyrexian Gremlins and Priest of Yawgmoth, also received the errata, raising their total number to 227 in a black border.

Phyrexian Planeswalkers[ | ]

During New Phyrexia's Invasion of the Multiverse, eight planeswalkers were compleated, and thus were Phyrexians. As planeswalkers, their cards did not include the Phyrexian creature type but instead used the Compleated keyword ability and Phyrexian mana.

Those planeswalkers are:

Storyline[ | ]

Phyrexia[ | ]

Phyrexians can appear in many forms. They can often be recognized by features like dripping ichor, eyelessness, cysts, pustules, or the expulsion of noxious gases.[21] . With possible exception of the pneumagogs, all are aligned with black mana, and with the exception of the gremlins they are naturally all phyrexian.

  • Newts — The first stage of any Phyrexian's life is that of the Newt. These creatures are grown in vats of glistening oil and appear as androgynous, hairless humans. They are grown to adulthood then prepared and released for life in the dark plane. Newts are later put through a process called compleation. At this point, they are transformed into other forms of Phyrexians to serve any of a number of purposes for Yawgmoth.
  • Sleeper AgentsSleeper agents are fully grown and sometimes genetically modified newts who have not been compleated, appearing as regular human beings, sent to spy on other planes and perform clandestine operations outside of Phyrexia. Some are completely unaware of their status and task, simply dropped off on other planes to be used as hidden cameras.
  • Cults — Yawgmoth and the Phyrexians have active cults around the planes, mainly in Dominaria, who worshiped machines and the power of artifice. The Cult of Gix was one such example, which existed for the later duration of the Brothers' War. Those who participated in the cult would augment themselves with metal, embedding it in their skin in all sorts of ways, as a sign of their willingness to become machine from the flesh. Gix orchestrated the Cult from its center and even gave Phyrexian technology and instruction to his worshipers. Similar cults were active on various planes and areas at different times up until the Phyrexian Invasion.
  • Gremlins — Among the lowliest of lifeforms, the Gremlins are small, bat-eared creatures (apparently related to ouphes on other worlds) that torment artificers and pull apart unwanted artifacts. They also serve as menial labor.
  • Minions - These are the agents and specialized creations of Yawgmoth, created as versatile instruments in his mad war against all biological life. Minions serve a number of purposes, such as assassins, spies, or shock troops. Minions include the Infiltrator, the Slayer, and the Broodlings.
  • Undead — Phyrexia employs zombies, skeletons, and other forms of walking dead in its fight against the Multiverse. Some are made to function through the adding of artificial improvements. The Monitor, Unworthy Dead, Reaper, Scuta[22], and the Bloodstock are examples of undead in Phyrexia's ranks. Some of them are noxious and harmful to life even through touch. It is also notable that some of the Phyrexians printed as zombies were intended to be minions, but were changed to zombies for set design reasons.
  • Carriers — Biomechanical constructs used to spread Phyrexian-engineered plagues. They can all be utilized as suicide strikers, destroying themselves to release their pathogenic load upon the battlefield. These include the Denouncer, Debaser, Defiler, and Plaguelord.
  • Mechanical constructs — Phyrexian inhabitants and creations usually involve mechanical parts and additions, but some are entirely mechanical. These are the massive devices and war machines used to wipe out any resistance left after the initial wave of primary combat troops and the release of the plagues. The Dragon Engines, War Beasts, Hulks, and Colossi all fall under this category. The largest and most brutal of Yawgmoth's atrocities is the Phyrexian Dreadnought, another mechanical part of the arsenal.
  • HorrorsHorrors are frightening monstrosities, sometimes combinations of creatures listed above. Many of them are free-willed and may live apart from the other Phyrexians, not taking part in the efforts of the rest of the plane. They can be dangerous to even their peers. The Rager, Witch Engine, Plague Spitter, Devouring Strossus, Gargantua, and Negator are all Horrors.
  • Knights — The most elite of warriors, those that are more intelligent and capable than mere killing devices, are the Knights. They have their human mental attributes, such as free will, but remain under the command of Yawgmoth. Phyrexian Knights are composed of a few different Orders: the Eastern Paladins, dedicated to eradicating all-natural life; the Western Paladins, avid destroyers of all societies that are not of Phyrexia; and the Order of Yawgmoth, the prestigious guard of the Ineffable himself. (There also seem to have been human knightly orders known as the Eastern and Western Paladins on Dominaria that are not connected to Phyrexia.) The Sanguine Guard is another of the knightly orders, though its function is unclear.
  • Demons — The most powerful and loyal servants of Phyrexia were the Demons, beings of immeasurable evil. These terrible entities made up the greater part of Yawgmoth's Inner Circle and included the Ineffable's most trusted minion, Gix. Other, lesser Phyrexian demons existed as well, fleshy, mindless things whose only purpose was to scour other worlds for resources to be used on Phyrexia.
  • Pneumagogs - Described as insectile creatures with six wings and red shells, these creatures are purely physical on the upper spheres and purely spiritual on the lower spheres, but exist as both on the sixth sphere.[23] Their beauty convinced Urza to turn to the Phyrexian cause.[24]

New Phyrexia[ | ]

  • Phyrexian factions
  • Manifestations
    • Praetors ({W}{U}{B}{R}{G}), the leaders of each faction
    • Chancellors ({W}{U}{B}{R}{G}), the step below praetors in the Phyrexian hierarchy[25]
    • Centurions ({W}), the backbone of the Phyrexian military
    • Neophytes or Converts, newly compleated beings.[26]
    • Germs ({B}): newborn phyrexians, analogous to newts of Old Phyrexia
    • Aspirants ({W}{U}{B}{R}{G}): creatures willing to be compleated.
    • Mites ({W}, with colorless tokens)
    • Skitterlings[27] ({W}{U}{B}{R}{G})
    • Goliaths ({W}{U}{B}{R}{G})
    • Unifiers ({W}{U}{B}{R}{G})
    • Domini ({W}{U}{B}{R}{G}): parts of the plane grown sentient. Huge mysterious cosmic beings that roam throughout the spheres, driven by individual motivations and personalities.[28]
    • Converter Beasts({G}), specially designed Phyrexian creatures that function as focused infusers of glistening oil.[26]

The Multiverse[ | ]

In 4562 AR, New Phyrexia invaded the Multiverse. After days of hard-fought battles across the planes, New Phyrexia was swapped with Zhalfir in the blind eternities, cutting off the glistening oil's contact and rendering it inert.[29] Some Phyrexians stopped in place, while others crumbled apart. Those already compleated fell to the ground as if in a deep slumber.

The New Phyrexian invasion force, known as the Machine Legion, was split up into five factions:[30][26]

  • The Alabaster Host[31] ({W}) comprises the bulk of the invading force and can be found on every invaded plane.[30] The Alabaster Host is the most unrelenting and fanatical host of the Machine Legion. As they invade, they sing hymns to the Machine Orthodoxy.[26] 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[32] ({U}) is commanded by Jin-Gitaxias.[26] 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. 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. They are known to have invaded Kaladesh, Theros, Kamigawa, Arcavios and Eldraine.
  • The Etched Host ({B}), divided among the remaining thanes after Sheoldred's execution.[26] The Etched Host is the most vicious and brutal host of all the Machine Legion, with each thane eager to gain Elesh Norn's approval through their display of cruelty.
  • The Furnace Host[33] ({R}), led by no one due to Urabrask's refusal to participate in the invasion;[34] rather, Norn simply turned them loose upon the Multiverse to wreak havoc and destruction as they pleased.[35][26] The host was part of the invasion force on Eldraine, Arcavios, Kaladesh, Ixalan, Lorwyn–Shadowmoor and Mercadia.
  • The Copper Host[36] ({G}), under Vorinclex, uses the invasion to test potential new Phyrexians, rewarding only the strongest with compleation.[26] Because of this, 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. This host is known to have invaded invaded Amonkhet, Ikoria and Ixalan.

Neophytes[ | ]

Some seedpods are specialized surgical compleation units called cocoons.[26] 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[ | ]

Converter beasts are specially design Phyrexian creatures that function as focused infusers of glistening oil.[26] 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. The converter beasts on Capenna were the size of streetcars, with spined backs and sharp injectors at the ends of its tails.[37] Glistening oil dripped from their mouths between razor-sharp teeth.

Phyrexian Creature Type Update[ | ]

Creatures[ | ]

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider introduced the Phyrexian creature type in Kaldheim. 225 other black-bordered creatures gained the Phyrexian type in the Modern Horizons 2 update.[38]

Token creators and animators[ | ]

The following cards create Phyrexian tokens or became Phyrexian after the Modern Horizons 2 update.

Not updated[ | ]

Phyrexian watermark
Phyrexian by flavor text (and art)
Phyrexian by lore

Tokens[ | ]

Token Name Color Type Line P/T Text Box Source Printings
Phyrexian Black Creature — Phyrexian 2/2
Colorless Artifact Creature — Phyrexian 0/0
Phyrexian Beast Green Creature — Phyrexian Beast 3/3 Toxic 1
Green Creature — Phyrexian Beast 4/4
Phyrexian Germ Black Creature — Phyrexian Germ 0/0
Phyrexian Goblin Red Creature — Phyrexian Goblin 1/1
Red Creature — Phyrexian Goblin 1/1 Haste
Phyrexian Golem Colorless Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Golem 3/3
Phyrexian Horror Red Creature — Phyrexian Horror X/1 Trample, haste
Green Creature — Phyrexian Horror X/X
Colorless Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Horror X/X
Phyrexian Hydra Green/​White Creature — Phyrexian Hydra 3/3 Reach
Green/​White Creature — Phyrexian Hydra 3/3 Lifelink
Phyrexian Insect Green Creature — Phyrexian Insect 1/1 Infect
Phyrexian Minion Black Creature — Phyrexian Minion X/X
Phyrexian Mite Colorless Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Mite 1/1 Toxic 1
This creature can't block.
Phyrexian Myr Colorless Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Myr 1/1
Blue Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Myr 2/1
Phyrexian Saproling Green Creature — Phyrexian Saproling 1/1
Phyrexian Wurm Black Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Wurm 1/2 Deathtouch
Black Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Wurm 2/1 Lifelink
Green Creature — Phyrexian Wurm X/X Trample, toxic 1
Colorless Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Wurm 3/3 Deathtouch
Colorless Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Wurm 3/3 Lifelink
Phyrexian Zombie Black Creature — Phyrexian Zombie 2/2
The Hollow Sentinel Colorless Legendary Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Golem 3/3
Furnace-Blessed Conqueror Red/​White Creature — Phyrexian Cleric 3/3 Whenever Furnace-Blessed Conqueror attacks, create a token that’s a copy of it. Put a +1/+1 counter on that token for each +1/+1 counter on Furnace-Blessed Conqueror. Sacrifice that token at the beginning of the next end step.

Notable Phyrexians[ | ]

Gallery[ | ]

See also[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (May 13, 2024). "What's Phyrexian as a creature type on the Beeble Scale after what's happened in march of the machine". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Doug Beyer (November 03, 2010). "Infectiously Phyrexian Art". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b c Magic Creative Team (April 06, 2011). "A Planeswalker's Guide to New Phyrexia: The Machine Orthodoxy". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. The Thran
  5. a b Reinhardt Suarez (October 25, 2022). "The Brothers' War - Chapter 3: Nemesis". Magicthegathering.com.
  6. Phyrexian Phylology in Phylly (Video). Magic: the Gathering. YouTube (February 17, 2023).
  7. a b Langley Hyde (January 14, 2023). "Phyrexia: All Will Be One: Hard as Anger, Bright as Joy". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. J. Robert King. (1999.) Time Streams, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 978-0786913442.
  9. K. Arsenault Rivera (March 23, 2023). "March of the Machine - Episode 7: Divine Intervention". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Savor the Flavor (May 11, 2011). "Getting to Know the Praetors". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Mark Rosewater (December 28, 2017). "Frankly it seems like a huge missed opportunity to leave no way to mechanically reference one of magics big villains.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Matt Tabak (February 2, 2021). "Kaldheim Comprehensive Rules Changes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Mark Rosewater (January 9, 2021). "What made you guys finally decide to pull the trigger on the phyrexian errata?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  14. Mark Rosewater (January 8, 2021). "Is Phyrexian as a creature type going to cause a lot of errata?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Saffron Olive (June 3, 2021). "This should be all of the new Phyrexian cards". Twitter.
  16. Akemi Dawn Bowman (January 27, 2022). "Episode 5: Threads of War". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Langley Hyde (August 18, 2022). "A Whisper in the Wind". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Seanan McGuire (January 13, 2023). "Assault on New Phyrexia - Episode 1: Uncontrolled Descent". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  19. a b Seanan McGuire (January 14, 2023). "Assault on New Phyrexia - Episode 3: Inconceivable Losses". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Seanan McGuire (January 16, 2023). "Assault on New Phyrexia - Episode 4: Imposible Odds". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Doug Beyer (November 03, 2010). "Infectiously Phyrexian Art". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Mike Mikaelian (April 04, 2011). "Better Living Through Spinal Replacement". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  23. J. Robert King. (2001.) Apocalypse, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 0-7869-1880-2.
  24. J. Robert King. (2001.) Planeshift, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 0-7869-1802-0.
  25. New Phyrexia Player's Guide (2011), Wizards of the Coast.
  26. a b c d e f g h i j Emily Teng (April 11, 2023). "Planeswalker's Guide to March of the Machine: The Phyrexian Invasion of the Multiverse". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Cassandra Khaw (January 12, 2023). "Phyrexia: All Will Be One: Cinders". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Grace Fong (January 31, 2023). "Planeswalker's Guide to Phyrexia: All Will Be One". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  29. K. Arsenault Rivera (March 28, 2023). "March of the Machine - Episode 10: The Rhythms of Life". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  30. a b Jay Annelli. (2022.) Magic: The Gathering - The Visual Guide, DK. ISBN-13 978-0744061055.
  31. Reinhardt Suarez (January 17, 2023). "A Man of Parts". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  32. Flavor text for Swiftwater Cliffs
  33. First Look at March of the Machine (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (February 19, 2023).
  34. K. Arsenault Rivera (March 21, 2023). "March of the Machine - Episode 5: Cathartic Reunion". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  35. Flavor text for Thrashing Frontliner
  36. Flavor text for Blossoming Sands
  37. Elise Kova (March 27, 2023). "March of the Machine - New Capenna: The Fall of Park Heights". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  38. Jess Dunks (June 18, 2021). "Oracle Changes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  39. CommanderTheory (June 18, 2021). "Was it an oversight to omit Consecrated Sphinx from the Phyrexian creature type update?". Twitter.
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