Phyrexia was created by an ancient Planeswalker who liked to take the form of a dragon; it was not named Phyrexia at that time. When he died, it was taken over by a Thran named Yawgmoth with the help of another planeswalker named Dyfed, whom he personally killed later. Yawgmoth had been artificially and magically modifying his Thran followers in a process that he called Phyresis, the diametric opposite of the Phthisis (a disease exacerbated by the presence of Powerstones, a popular energy source at the time) that he'd been working to cure. A war broke out between the Phyrexians and the other Thran, which both forced Yawgmoth's retreat to Phyrexia and caused the collapse of the Thran nation.
Artificial planes are inherently unstable, and Phyrexia was no exception. Yawgmoth knew that he had to find a permanent home for himself and his Phyrexian followers. His focus was his home plane of Dominaria; thus the Phyrexians began planning for their eventual invasion of Dominaria. These invasion plans involved the use of another artificial plane, Rath, which would be fused with Dominaria. This Planeshift required Rath to first increase substantially in mass, so the Phyrexians set up a flowstone furnace that continuously synthesized matter out of nothingness.
The Phyrexians' most devastating weapons were engineered plagues, which were enhanced using Phyrexian nanotechnology. In a last-ditch attempt to stymie the invasion, nine planeswalkers entered the plane and planted bombs to destroy the plane. Though four of the planeswalkers were killed the remaining planeswalkers were successful in setting off the bombs manually, causing severe damage to the first seven spheres. Dominaria ultimately won the war with Phyrexia.
Phyrexia was thought to be destroyed during the Apocalypse, however a new god-like being, Karona, travelled to Phyrexia and encountered a badly weakened but still-living Yawgmoth. This may mean that Yawgmoth and Phyrexia still survive...
GeographyEditPhyrexia is an artificial plane formed from nine hollow spheres, each darker and more unpleasant than the last.
The spheres are each distinctly different from each other:
- The First Sphere, the surface, is a mechanical parody of nature. A soot and smog streaked sky lowers over a broad, dusty plain spotted with clumps of oily trees and rusting remains of tormented artifacts. Unimaginably large furnaces throw ash and fire into the skies. Water in the streams is slick with oil. Although appearing to be a complete, natural ecosystem, the sphere is in fact composed entirely of machines and semi-magical constructs. Most notable are the dragon engines, which are both organic and mechanical warbeasts in the form of dragons.
- The Second Sphere is composed of the debris of the first, and smokestacks from lower levels. It lies under a ceiling of twisted beams and metal structures. It is an ashen waste filled with broken machinery. The only light and a hellish heat come from vast, smoke-grimed chimneys. This sphere also contains ammunition dumps which are the size of several large Dominarian cities.
- The Third Sphere is a virtually impassable tangle of pipes and ducts filled with horrors. It contains spatial distortions that prevent planeswalking to the lower spheres.
- The Fourth Sphere houses great furnaces, and the facility where new phyrexians are born/constructed. Most phyrexians live on this sphere
- The Fifth Sphere is home to the Boiling Sea of Glistening Oil, a corrupt substance that is the Phyrexian equivalent of blood. It is also home to a massive steam creature.
- The Sixth Sphere houses the chambers of Yawgmoth's Inner Circle of praetors and minions. As Yawgmoth himself is largely imprisoned within the ninth sphere, it is they who see his will done.
- The Seventh Sphere is known as the "Punishment Sphere,"; those who defy Yawgmoth's will are tortured here for millennia. This sphere is inhabited by Phyrexian Gremlins and Demons. Phyrexian Gremlins are short, hairy, ebon beings which serve as semi-intelligent servants. They evince an extreme excitement at the prospect of destroying artifacts or artificers.
- The Eighth Sphere is described as 'pure energy'.
- The Ninth Sphere is the Sanctum of Yawgmoth, a place where he controls reality itself.
Philosophy & ReligionEdit
The Phyrexian way of life derives from the instinct for survival. Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest is represented here with Yawgmoth as the directional co-ordinator. While it is without a doubt the most effective as well as efficient way of gaining superiority, it is one tracked and single minded in its approach. Whereas Yawgmoth delved only in the aspect of "war" and its applications to life, he had to forsake the aspects of art, exploration, and thought. The very nature of Phyrexian "life" is a countermeasure to the culture and morality of Dominaria. For the sole means of destroying another, Yawgmoth's "Phyresis" is really insurpassable in its success, yet it is a path to sterility. The ultimate result of a mechanically cruel existence like Phyrexia's is the eliminations of all adversaries, and without enemies the causal drive of the race drops out.
No one and nothing ever created on other planes survives Phyrexia, or is even considered worthy to survive by the Priests of Yawgmoth. Artificers and Thrull Breeders are the most despised for the transgressions against the faith.
The Phyrexians' holy documents are titled the "Phyrexian Scriptures", and speak of a "Grand Evolution". Some quotes follow:
"From void evolved Phyrexia. Yawgmoth, Father of Machines, saw its perfection. Thus the Grand Evolution began."
"Great Yawgmoth moves across the seas of shard and bone and rust. We exalt him in life, in death, and in between."
"Father of Machines! Your filigree gaze carves us, and the scars dance upon our grateful flesh."
"Let weak feed on weak, that we may divine the nature of strength."
"Ash is our air, darkness our flesh."