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Master Malzra[1]
Urza planeswalker
Race Human Planeswalker
Birthplace Argive, Terisiare, Dominaria
Lifetime 0 - 4205 AR
Spouse Kayla bin-Kroog
Children Harbin
Karn (creation)
Relatives Mishra (brother)
Jarsyl (grandson)
Jodah (descendant)
Center: {U}
Currently: {W}{U}{B}{R}{G}
Rath and Storm, The Brothers' War, Planeswalker, Time Streams, Bloodlines, Prophecy, Invasion, Planeshift, Apocalypse

Urza was a human planeswalker originating from Terisiare on Dominaria, best known for his millennia-long struggle with Yawgmoth and the plane of Phyrexia.[2] The cataclysms caused by his ignition of the Golgothian Sylex earned him the nickname Destroyer of Dominaria.[3] As the co-founder of the Tolarian Academy, Urza was known as Master Malzra.[1]

Appearance and characteristics[ | ]

Urza was a great and brilliant artificer and a powerful wizard, having a stereotypical wizardly look as a bearded old man with unkempt hair and a robe-and-staff ensemble. He devoted centuries of his life to fighting Phyrexia, sometimes employing questionable methods, but at the crux of his victory his obsessive nature won out over his thirst for vengeance. After his rise as a planeswalker he replaced his eyes with two powerstones, the Mightstone and the Weakstone.

Urza was centered in blue, but he had access to the five colors of mana.

History[ | ]

Early years[ | ]

Urza and his younger brother Mishra were born on the first and last days of the same year, marked 0 AR by later historians. They were born to a noble family of Argive, one of the three coastal kingdoms of Terisiare. Urza's mother died while he was a child, and his father married another member of the aristocracy. This woman treated Urza and Mishra with indifference at best and contempt at worst. In 10 AR, their father fell ill, so he sent them away to his old friend, Tocasia, to serve as students at her archaeological dig. Their father later died, leaving the boys orphaned.[4]

Apprenticeship to Tocasia[ | ]

Young Urza and Mishra

During their youth, Urza and Mishra were Tocasia's apprentices.

Under Tocasia's guidance, the two brothers learned a large amount about the manufacture of artifacts from the archaeological excavations of the ancient ruins of the Thran, the mysterious civilization that ruled Terisiare thousands of years prior. During this time, Urza developed a talent for study. Rarely having a hands-on approach, he would prefer to study the artifacts the excavations uncovered rather than participate in the diggings.

Over their years at Tocasia's camp, Urza and Mishra made several important inventions and discoveries. While the most obvious of these was the ornithopter, the most important turned out to be the Caves of Koilos. A mysterious cave filled with old Thran artifacts, the Caves were also the location of a long-sealed gateway to Phyrexia, used in almost every Phyrexian infiltration and invasion of Dominaria. On their first visit, Urza and Mishra discovered the powerstone sealing Phyrexia, and in their haste to grab the stone before the other brother, they broke it in two. Urza and Mishra kept the two halves of the stone, which became known as the Mightstone and the Weakstone respectively. A mutual desire for the other brother's stone led to a falling-out between Urza and Mishra, as well as the inadvertent death of Tocasia.


Urza, Lord High Artificer

The Chief Artificer[ | ]

After Tocasia's death, Urza moved to Yotia and put his skills with machinery to work as a clockmaker's apprentice. Shortly thereafter, a public contest was announced by the ruler of Yotia: Any man who could move a gigantic jade statue across a courtyard would be married to his daughter. Urza wasn't particularly interested in the daughter, but in an attempt to acquire a Thran tome that was in her dowry, Urza built a gigantic machine to move the statue. He succeeded and was wed to Kayla bin-Kroog. However, being wed did not make him any more affectionate towards his wife - on the contrary, he left her bed on their wedding night to study the Thran book from her dowry. However, he threw himself headlong into his new position of Chief Artificer, working obsessively on his attempts to improve his artifacts.

The Brothers' War[ | ]

Bitter Reunion

While Urza was inadvertently acquiring the reins of power in Yotia, Mishra was doing the same with the Fallaji desert people, becoming a close advisor to the Fallaji ruler over several years. A series of double-crossings and sneak attacks quickly commenced between the two brothers and their kingdoms, soon resulting in open war. An increasingly elaborate set of machines developed by the two brothers began to fight on either side, and the war slowly spiraled out of control. It continued for decades until the fateful day at Argoth when the brothers met face to face at the head of their armies. Urza discovered there that Mishra had been corrupted by Phyrexian influence, slowly turning himself from a man into a living machine.


Urza ignited the planeswalker spark within the re-fused powerstone after the detonation of the Golgothian Sylex. The stone then took on Urza's consciousness.

Urza responded to this with the frightening force of the Golgothian Sylex.[5] The Sylex Blast was one of the most traumatic events in Dominarian history. It slaughtered both armies, blasted the landscape for miles around, sank the sub-continent Argoth, and altered weather patterns for centuries, leading to the Ice Age.

At the moment of the blast, Urza met his future student Teferi Akosa in a moment beyond time. As his body was destroyed and reknit itself, melding Urza with the Mightstone and Weakstone, which became his eyes, and igniting his latent planeswalker spark, Teferi learned from Urza the method of activating the Sylex.[5]

Six years later, Urza returned to Dominaria to say a final farewell to his student and good friend Tawnos, who he asked to return to Urza's wife, Kayla.

Exploring the Origins of Phyrexia[ | ]

After he had destroyed his brother, Urza came to realize that Mishra had been completely corrupted by Gix. This realization filled Urza with grief and pushed him to begin his lifelong hunt for retribution against Phyrexia, and its demonic ruler, Yawgmoth.

After meeting the Newt Xantcha, who had been intended as a Sleeper Agent but had been turned into an expendable servant now that the Agents couldn't be deployed, Urza created a monstrous machine-dragon to attack Phyrexia. He managed to blast a gigantic hole in the plane, all the way down to the 4th Sphere, but then Yawgmoth himself invaded his mind and made him go even more insane. Urza fled for years and traveled from plane to plane, with the Phyrexians always on his tail. Once, he visited Zendikar, but Urza deemed the hedron matrix insufficient to stop Phyrexia.[6] Eventually, Urza was healed by Serra, but after he left, the Phyrexians invaded her realm and corrupted it.

Returning home[ | ]

Ratepe was a young Dominarian recruited by Xantcha, Urza's Phyrexian assistant. Xantcha sought out Ratepe from a small nation to impersonate Mishra, Urza's long-dead brother. Urza was becoming increasingly obsessed and guilt-ridden over his role in his brother's death, so much so that he was abandoning his defense of Dominaria in the hopes of finding a way to undo his brother's death. Xantcha brought Ratepe, posing as Mishra, to Urza in the hopes of alleviating some of his guilt and allowing him to focus on defeating the Phyrexians. Thanks to Xantcha's coaching and Ratepe's ability to hear Urza's Weakstone singing to him, Ratepe was able to help shock Urza out of his guilt. He continued to help Urza and eventually became Xantcha's lover. Both Ratepe and Xantcha were killed when Urza fought the Phyrexian Demon Gix in Koilos. Ratepe and Xantcha's sacrifice helped Urza defeat Gix and also revealed to him the shared Phyrexian ancestry with the Thran.

Tolaria and the Time Streams[ | ]


Urza through the ages

Though Urza got over his obsession with reversing his brother's death, his interest in the past was far from over. Having learned that the impending Phyrexian threat was more dangerous than ever, Urza created a vast school of magic and technology on the island of Tolaria - the Academy. Under the pseudonym "Master Malzra," Urza summoned the most talented artificers, sorcerers, mathematicians, and biologists from across Dominaria to study in his prestigious school, including Barrin, Teferi, and Rayne.[7] Using the information he had gleaned from Gix and the technology being developed by his genius resident staff, Urza began the creation of a time machine that allowed him to gaze into the past and see the ancient war that led to the Phyrexian banishment.

By implanting Xantcha's heartstone (her only remains) into a silver golem, Urza created Karn, a being that could theoretically enter rifts created by his temporal disruptor and change the past. Tragically, during the machine's trial run, the temporal vortex drew far too much energy and "exploded", destroying the majority of the Tolarian Academy, killing inhabitants, and covering the island in odd (and sometimes horrific) temporal disturbances. Although Karn and Urza survived without injury, and much had been learned about the history of the enemy, Urza was devastated.

After being distraught and guilt-ridden over causing another horrible explosion (the first being the Sylex), Urza eventually rebuilt the Academy and realized that the temporal rifts throughout Tolaria could be used to his advantage. He engineered magical-technological armor that allowed Tolarian researchers to finish decades of work in mere hours in fast-time bubbles. Potions derived from water in slow-time bubbles could extend a promising student's life by years. For the first time, Urza had a viable means for gaining ground on the multi-millennial head start the Phyrexian invasion force had so long held.

Atonement for Past Sins[ | ]


Urza's return to Tolaria was to fix the mistakes that he had made, one of which he learned was missing an invading group of Phyrexian Negators, led by the sleeper agent Kerrick, who had managed to survive the time machine's explosion and were trapped in a pocket of extreme fast time, or would be until mutations led to a temporal rift proof Phyrexian.

To ensure victory against the growing threat of invasion, and gain allies for the future coming war with Phyrexia, Urza traveled throughout Dominaria, creating alliances with multiple races. Lastly, he went to Yavimaya, a place he knew held deep hatred of him for the destruction of Argoth. Multani, feigning a peaceful welcome, trapped Urza in a magnigoth tree and forced him to experience all the pain Titania, the Maro Elemental of Argoth had felt.

Ultimately, Urza was saved by Barrin, who summoned him when Tolaria was being overrun, but while escaping Multani became trapped within him. Urza first traveled to the Shivan Mana Rig, gathering Teferi and Shivan allies to aid in the fight. It was only at this point that his identity as Urza Planeswalker was revealed to his students.[7] During the battle, after seeing the horrors of Phyrexians, Multani aided Urza in destroying Kerrick and all his minions and promised his and Yavimaya's help in the future.

Building the Legacy[ | ]


Urza in front of the Rath portal

With the conclusion of the battle for Tolaria, Urza began work on what he called "the salvation of Dominaria" - a flying ship, capable of sonic speeds as well as the ability to planeshift between worlds. Armed with the best weaponry conceived and piloted by the best fighters, it would be the lynchpin of Urza's battle plan. Built with a frame of Thran metal and fused with the Weatherseed, a seed from the Heart of Yavimaya, Urza christened the ship Skyship Weatherlight. Problems arose though in how to power the ship's Mana Battery, as the mana energies needed to charge its Powerstone core was an entire plane's worth. In other words, to save his world, Urza would have to sacrifice another. With much regret, Urza decided to use the energies of the collapsing Phyrexian-overrun plane of Serra's Realm to do so, while at the same time trying to save as many people from that plane as possible. This did not come without a price though, as many brave Dominarians, including Gherridarigaaz, Rhammidarigaaz's mother, died during the battle with Radiant's Angel army, though they were successful in trapping the planar energies of Serra's Realm just before it was erased from existence. Urza later realized that Weatherlight wasn't enough and that another piece, an organic living component, would be needed, and started working on plans for what would become the Bloodline Project.

Bloodlines and Rath[ | ]

Rath was an artificial plane utilized by Yawgmoth to 'overlay' upon Dominaria, in essence creating a giant land portal for his Phyrexian armies. Rath was able to overlay Dominaria due to the properties of "flowstone", a substance produced by the Rathi Stronghold. Flowstone was a magical substance that could increase the mass of a plane, thus moving Rath into the position occupied by Dominaria and 'fusing' them together. Urza constructed an army of sorcery and power to resist the coming invasion. He called them the Metathran.

The Invasion[ | ]


Urza, in his guise as the Blind Seer donned to help the Weatherlight Crew

During the Phyrexian Invasion, Yawgmoth tried to invade Dominaria using the land-based portal in the Caves of Koilos. Urza, determined to never allow him re-entrance, resolved to stop him. All of the forces of Dominaria banded against Yawgmoth and tried to push him back. The elves of Llanowar, Metathran (artificial humanoids created by Urza to emulate Phyrexian physiology; much stronger, faster, and smarter than humans with certain other biological modifications), and Gerrard Capashen (commander of the Weatherlight & inheritor of Urza's Legacy) banded together. At the head of the Phyrexian troops was Tsabo Tavoc, one of Yawgmoth's generals. She has a mechanical torso with 8 spider legs, segmented insect eyes, a detached mouth (which could open larger than humans), and poison injectors attached to her torso.

The Nine Titans[ | ]

The nine Titan Engines were huge artifact creations that were built by Urza to assist in the attack on Phyrexia. Each titan was controlled and powered by a Planeswalker and as such, they grew to emulate that planeswalker's characteristics. There was one titan engine for each of these nine planeswalkers: Commodore Guff, Tevash Szat, Bo Levar, Daria, Taysir, Freyalise, Kristina, Lord Windgrace, and, of course, Urza himself (he intended Teferi and Parcher to join him, but the first phased out, and the second was considered too crazy to work with them). The Titan engines were huge constructs with a vast arsenal of weaponry. They contained aeries of falcon engines (artifacts created by Urza to detect glistening oil, dive towards it, and then once inside the Phyrexian, burst apart and destroy it), rocket launchers located on the wrists, mana cannons, as well as colossal hands and feet that could crush hundreds of Phyrexians at a time. These weapons, combined with the formidable power of the planeswalkers themselves, made every titan engine a force to be reckoned with.

Betrayal[ | ]

Entering Phyrexia, using the powers of the Titan Suits, the Nine Titans began to destroy the artificial plane in a final gambit to protect Dominaria. However, over time, Tevash Szat began to betray and kill his fellow planeswalkers, turning to the side of the Phyrexians. At one point, Urza was able to defeat him and used the power from his life force to charge together the soul bombs that he planned to use to destroy Phyrexia for good. While Barrin had argued with Urza that the power source for them, the life force of a living being, was a punishment not worthy of even the worst crime, Tevash's betrayal was so devastating to the fate of Dominaria that Urza declared his use for the soul bombs a form of "justice." Unfortunately for the remaining Titans, as well as Dominaria itself, Urza found himself unable to complete his lifetime goal of destroying the artificial plane, when he found himself becoming fascinated with the fact that it was something that had been created completely artificially. Unwilling to destroy a place full of such potential knowledge, he dismantled the master soul bomb, which would have been able to set off all of the others, creating a ripple effect that would have decimated Phyrexia to the point of no return. After destroying it, he surrendered himself to Yawgmoth, but the ruler of Phyrexia forced him to battle Gerrard Capashen in the Phyrexian Arena, feeling that slaying the master of arms of the Weatherlight, Urza's former ally, was the only way that he could prove he was not surrendering as part of an elaborate trap. Urza nearly defeated Gerrard twice, but during each attempt, he was chastised by his new master Yawgmoth for using cowardly and indirect tactics. After restarting their combat for the third time, Gerrard beheaded Urza and was crowned as Yawgmoth's new champion.

Final Atonement[ | ]

Phyrexian arena

Urza and Gerrard fight in the Phyrexian Arena (Apocalypse)

As Gerrard betrayed Yawgmoth and escaped from The Stronghold, he carried Urza's severed head with him. When Gerrard returned to the transformed Weatherlight, he was shocked to hear the head of Urza address him. The loss of his body was minor to Urza, as his life was contained within the twin gemstones, the Mightstone and Weakstone, which rested in his head as his eyes, though his powers had been greatly weakened.

Enraged by the escape of his new champion Gerrard, Yawgmoth entered Dominaria himself. Forsaking subtlety he transformed himself into a massive black plague cloud and began to smother the defending world. When the Weatherlight's plan to use the stored up white mana in the Null Moon failed to stop Yawgmoth, Urza told the crew the final secret of the Legacy Weapon. To fire the weapon, they had to combine the various pieces they had gathered in their journey, along with the two stones within Urza's head, Karn's body, and Gerrard's life. Urza and Gerrard died in the activation, but the weapon successfully destroyed Yawgmoth. Karn, now infused with Urza's spark and the power unleashed by the Legacy Weapon, took up his former master's staff and soon left Dominaria.

The second legacy[ | ]

After the Mending, Teferi discovered that Urza had left behind a series of devices and magical artifacts throughout Dominaria. One of these artifacts, the Starfield Orb, was hidden in a monument in the Tivan Desert.[8] The Orb contained contingencies for Teferi to lead the fight against the Phyrexian Invasion should Urza fail.[9]

Artifacts acquired[ | ]

Planeswalkers met[ | ]

Planes visited[ | ]

Gallery[ | ]

Subtype[ | ]

The planeswalker subtype Urza was created for Unstable when Urza, Academy Headmaster appeared as the game's first Acorn planeswalker. This crossed over to Eternal with Urza, Planeswalker in The Brothers' War.

Story appearances[ | ]

Title Author Publishing date Set Setting (plane) Featuring
The Brothers' War - Episode 5: As Cruel, As Necessary Miguel Lopez, Jeff Grubb 2022-10-26 The Brothers' War Dominaria Teferi Akosa, Kaya, Saheeli Rai, Urza, Tawnos

In-game references[ | ]

Represented in:
Associated cards:
Depicted in:
Quoted or referred to:
^† Scryfall does not record flavor text for digital cards. See Alchemy: The Brothers' War/Flavor text

Trivia[ | ]

  • In early sources, Urza and Mishra were described as twin brothers.[15]
  • According to Mark Rosewater, Urza is centered in blue mana, but throughout his life gained the ability to use white, black, red, and green mana in that order.[16]
  • In an alternate reality, Urza and Mishra were elementalists rather than artificers, and Urza later went on to oppose an Elemental Invasion, his progeny Gerrard, and the witch Freyalise.[17]
  • "Keep your lids open, or you'll see with Urza's eyes" is an old Dominarian adage, meaning "Don't do thoughtless, stupid things".[18]

References[ | ]

  1. a b Will McDermott (November 1998). "A Time for Remembrance". The Official Guide to Urza's Saga
  2. Magic Arcana (March 25, 2010). "Faces of Urza". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Miguel Lopez (January 17, 2023). "Alone". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Jay Annelli (2022). Magic: The Gathering - The Visual Guide, DK. ISBN-13 978-0744061055.
  5. a b Miguel Lopez and Jeff Grubb (October 26, 2022). "The Brothers' War - Episode 5: As Cruel, As Necessary". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b LoreleyWrites. Twitter.
  7. a b Will McDermott (April 1999). "Scars of the Legacy". The Official Urza's Legacy Game Guide
  8. Martha Wells (April 18, 2018). "Return to Dominaria, Episode 6". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Reinhardt Suarez (October 24, 2022). "The Brothers' War - Chapter 2: Antiquities". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (November 28, 2022). "The Brothers' War Card Stories, Part 2".
  11. The Gavin Unknown Playtest Cards of MagicCon Chicago! (Video). Good Morning Magic. YouTube (February 28, 2024).
  12. Magic Arcana (December 03, 2007). "Symbol of Urza". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b Chas Andres (April 4, 2018). "Memorializing Dominaria". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Magic Arcana (November 02, 2006). "Visions in a Mage’s Jar". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. John Tynes (April 1995). ""An Expansion Timeline"". The Duelist: A Special Preview Edition. Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Mark Rosewater. "Im super happy with the interesting design of...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  17. Doug Beyer (March 1, 2007). "Backwards Through the Looking Glass". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Alison Lührs (April 1, 2024). "Outlaws of Thunder Junction - Epilogue 1: Bring The End, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.