Last updated on March 8, 2023
Phyrexian Arena | Illustration by Martina Fackova
Dominaria is under siege, Karn has been kidnapped and taken apart, Teferi is lost somewhere in time, and the resistance against the growing Phyrexian threat seems to grow weaker by the moment.
The first set of 2023 throws us in the middle of a violent struggle to stop the advancing Phyrexian forces from unleashing their attack on the Multiverse. A handful of events from these stories have already been revealed through the cards and comments from people at Wizards.
Things aren’t going well for those opposing the power of compleation and the machines. How is it going, you ask? Let’s find out!
What Is Phyrexia: All Will Be One About?
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines | Illustration by Martina Fackova
We had our first glance of New Phyrexians in the story since they took over Mirrodin back in Kaldheim. That appearance wasn’t inconsequential. The Phyrexians, under the command of Elesh Norn, were carrying out a massive plan that would allow them to travel through the Blind Eternities and bring compleation and perfection to other planes.
Phyrexia: All Will Be One is the third part of a four-part story arc centered around New Phyrexia’s invasion of the Multiverse. It started with Dominaria United and will end with March of the Machine. Other sets (like Kaldheim, Streets of New Capenna, and Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty) served as a sort of setup for this storyline while March of the Machine: The Aftermath will act as an epilogue to it.
Phyrexia: All Will Be One follows a team of ten planeswalkers, introduced at the end of The Brothers’ War secondary stories, as they carry out a special mission to stop the Phyrexians. Their plan consists of activating a replica of the Golgothian Sylex at the base of the fake World Tree, called Realmbreaker, to prevent the Phyrexians from traveling into other planes.
Phyrexia: All Will Be One Setting
This set takes place immediately after the second Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria begins, which means it’s around the in-game year of 4562 AR, the game’s present day.
The story starts in New Phyrexia as the team of planeswalkers arrives on the plane to carry out their mission. They arrive on the plane’s outermost layer and must make their way down to the core of the plane and the roots of the Realmbreaker.
New Phyrexia is a very Dante’s Inferno kind of place in that it’s divided into nine spheres, or layers. This reflects the original Phyrexia’s geography which was based on Dante’s portrayal of hell as divided into nine different layers with specific purposes.
The Nine Spheres of New Phyrexia are:
- The Monumental Façade: A completely artificial layer built upon Mirrodin’s original surface that acts as a barrier between the old surface and the plane’s Five Suns. This layer is adorned with monuments and temples glorifying the Praetors and Phyrexia in general.
- Mirrex: Mirrodin’s original surface. Between the brutal harvesting of resources carried out by the Phyrexians and its forceful isolation from the plane’s Five Suns, this sphere was left a withering wasteland. Most of the Mirran Resistance resides here as nomadic groups.
- The Autonomous Furnace: The first of the Praetor-ruled spheres. This layer is red-aligned and under the rule of Urabrask. It’s full of molten-metal rivers, and it’s where new machines are built. Resistance members can pass through the Furnace Sphere with relative safety thanks to Urabrask’s decree to let them be.
- The Hunter Maze: These green-aligned metal forests ruled by Vorinclex are a massive hunting ground where the only real law is survival of the fittest.
- The Surgical Bays: This layer is blue-aligned, and it works under Jin-Gitaxias’s orders. It’s home to massive laboratories where inhumane acts of torture and experimentation are carried out. Eyes are prevalent on this sphere as its inhabitants wish to observe, understand, and study everything and anything, leaving nothing undetected.
- The Dross Pits: The acidic fumes and pools of the Dross were extremely hostile to any form of life even before Phyrexia turned it into its black-aligned sphere. Those lucky to survive within the most toxic and infectious of the spheres are taken to Sheoldred’s arena to fight. Those who win are rewarded with the possibility to take their opponents apart and graft their parts onto themselves. Sheoldred rules this sphere along with the other six Steel Thanes.
- The Fair Basilica: The white-aligned layer of New Phyrexia isn’t only governed by Elesh Norn, it’s also designed in her image. Marble-like materials, metallic porcelain, and exposed muscle and flesh make up the layer’s building materials. The sphere is full of monuments and statues in honor of its Praetor, and columns of the ossified bodies of those she considers perfect adorn the place.
- The Mycosynth Gardens: Previously the core of what was once Mirrodin, this layer is now covered in columns of Mycosynth, a fungal-like material that’s a byproduct of the glistening oil’s corruption of Mirrodin. Elesh Norn is highly protective of this and the final layer, forbidding even other Praetors to enter without her consent.
- The Seedcore: The very center and innermost layer of New Phyrexia. This sphere serves as the incubation chamber for the Realmbreaker, and it’s where its roots take hold.
Kaito is a ninja planeswalker from the plane of Kamigawa, and the Wanderer’s childhood friend. He faced off against Jin-Gitaxias on his own plane after the praetor manipulated and murdered Kaito’s best friend.
He joins the assault team against New Phyrexia to prevent the mechanical monsters from causing pain and chaos on any other planes ever again, and he serves as the team’s stealth and infiltration expert.
The Wanderer, also known as the Emperor of Kamigawa, joins the struggle against New Phyrexia to prevent more harm from coming both to her own plane and the rest of the Multiverse. She’s a powerful and seasoned warrior who’s trained since childhood.
One of the oldest and most complex planeswalkers, the Lithomancer’s sole interest lies in rebuilding and protecting her home plane of Zendikar after the ruin that the Eldrazi left behind. Her relationship to many of the other planeswalkers is turbulent at best, but she’s agrees to leave her personal fights aside for the benefit of the Multiverse. She’s massively powerful.
Tyvar is the prince of the Kaldheim elves, and a famed fighter. He has penchant for fighting and perhaps a bigger one for boasting his own and his allies’ prowess in battle. He has a deep hatred for Elesh Norn’s Realmbreaker as he considers it a gross distortion of his home plane’s sacred World Tree.
Kaya is a famed ghost assassin and one of the most recent members of the Gatewatch. She helped Teferi send his own spirit back in time to recover information on the Golgothian Sylex, and is one of the two planeswalkers in New Phyrexia who knows how to properly activate it.
Native to Ikoria, Lukka can bond with beasts. It’s a power he received from the strange Ozolith on his home plane, but it also seemed to damage part of his mind. The reasons for Lukka joining the Gatewatch’s efforts against Phyrexia aren’t exactly known, but it’s easy to assume compleation goes against his ideals and beliefs given his close relationship with nature.
The Zendikari animist elf Nissa is one of the founding members of the Gatewatch. Although she had some conflicts of interest with the group, she finally rejoins them to protect the Multiverse against the Phyrexians. This decision is influenced both by her desire to protect Zendikar and the influence of Chandra, for whom she cares a lot.
Another of the founding members of the Gatewatch, Jace is a mind-mage from the plane of Vryn. He used to act as Living Guildpact on Ravnica, but his inability to stay on the plane for long made him pass the position to Niv-Mizzet.
He’s in love with Vraska, whom he met in Ixalan. He’s sworn an oath to protect the Multiverse from threats like the Phyrexians. Thanks to his psychic powers, he’s the only other member of the team who knows how to use the Sylex.
Queen of the Golgari and an experienced assassin, Vraska joins the Gatewatch’s mission against New Phyrexia both to protect the Multiverse and out of love for Jace. She’s strong and ruthless when she needs to be.
Elspeth is possibly the planeswalker on the assault team with the most experiences with Phyrexians. She has a deep-seated hatred and resentment for the monsters that invaded her plane when she was still young, capturing and torturing her.
She later faced them again during their takeover of Mirrodin, failing to stop their advance and bearing witness as they murdered her companions and friends. The final blow came when the Phyrexians compleated Ajani, her closest friend and beloved mentor, leading to him betraying her.
On New Capenna, Elspeth found out that the Halo from that plane worked to protect against Phyrexian Oil, and that Halo was in her blood and made her immune to the corruption. She wants nothing more than to rid Mirrodin, and the Multiverse, of the corrupting and malevolent influence of Phyrexia.
Koth of the Hammer
Koth is a geomancer planeswalker native to Mirrodin. He was a key figure in the original resistance against New Phyrexia.
After the plane’s fall, Koth was captured and forced to fight in Shelodred’s Arena until he escaped. He now helps lead the resistance and is welcoming the Gatewatch’s help in trying to turn the fight against the Phyrexians.
Melira is an anomaly amongst Mirrans for two reasons: she was the first creature in Mirrodin born without any metal on her body, and she’s immune to Phyrexia’s glistening oil. She developed this immunity into an ability to heal the oil’s effect if she intervenes early enough.
She’s a major figure in the resistance and possibly the only real hope of ever turning New Phyrexia back into Mirrodin.
A former member of the Gatewatch and Elspeth’s mentor and friend, Ajani was compleated during the Second Invasion of Dominaria and acted as a sleeper agent for the Phyrexians. He now serves Elesh Norn and fights to stop the planeswalkers’ attempts at destroying the Realmbreaker.
The chaos-loving-devil’s mayhem in Kaldheim made Vorinclex’s mission to steal a seed of the World Tree much easier. It’s unclear if this was on purpose or simply an unfortunate coincidence, but Tibalt has now been compleated and has joined the Phyrexian ranks.
The Mother of Machines herself. Elesh Norn is the acting leader of the Phyrexians and the mastermind behind the creation of Realmbreaker.
While not directly present in the ONE stories, the red praetor plays an important role. Backed by four of the seven Steel Thanes, including Sheoldred, Urabrask is leading a revolution against Elesh Norn and her ways.
A Botched Arrival
Planar Disruption | Illustration by Campbell White
The planeswalkers’ original plan counts on all ten arriving on Mirrodin’s outer layer and making their way down together. Resistance is immediate: the Phyrexians have prepared countermeasures that interfere with their planeswalking and cause most of them to end up in widely different parts of the plane.
Kaito, Nahiri, and the Wanderer make it to the Monumental Façade as planned. They’re welcomed by some resistance that Nahiri quickly handles, but not without receiving a wound on the back of her neck.
Kaya and Elspeth made it to the plane in similar circumstances and have to face off against a small group of machines as soon as they come to.
Meeting the Resistance
Resistance Reunited | Illustration by Aurore Folny
The three planeswalkers make their way through the Phyrexian wasteland until they come across Tyvar, who’s trapped by some wire-like creature. Releasing him is relatively easy, but the Wanderer soon loses her grip on the plane and is forced to planeswalk away. The remaining three keep going until they meet Melira and are guided to a resistance encampment on the lower layer. The injury on Nahiri’s neck makes her feel off, but she doesn’t know how to inform her friends yet.
The group soon make it to an encampment led by Koth, and Kaya and Elspeth have also found their way there. They also find out that Jace has arrived not long before them. Six of the ten members of the team are reunited and joins the Mirrans.
The planeswalkers and Melira go over the plans to detonate the Sylex at the roots of Realmbreaker to destroy it once and for all. The conversation quickly turns into a discussion over the possibility of the detonation destroying Mirrodin. Melira explains the geography of the plane and makes it clear that the Mirrans understand that letting the Phyrexians loose on the Multiverse isn’t an option, but any and all measures to protect Mirrodin also need to be taken.
The Mirrans then give the planeswalkers hexgold, a metal alloy that helps to protect them against the glistening oil.
While the others prepare themselves for the journey ahead, Melira takes Nahiri with her. Nahiri’s neck injury is infected, and Melira could heal it but it would incapacitate Nahiri for days. The two agree that it will have to wait and Nahiri has to fight her hardest to keep it at bay as long as possible.
No War Without Casualties
Nahiri’s Sacrifice | Illustration by Andrey Kuzinskiy
The resistance had set up a system of tunnels and carts that let the planeswalkers bypass the Hunter Maze and the Surgical Bays, leading them straight into the Dross Pits. They prepare themselves by drinking Halo, which should protect them for a short while. The Halo also clears Jace’s head from the psychic barriers set up by the Phyrexians, which causes him to be suddenly hit by thoughts of Vraska suffering immense pain.
Jace takes off in desperation to find his loved one, followed by the rest of his team. As they run through the Dross Pits they realize that huge groups of Phyrexians are locked in a brutal combat against each other. Jace’s magic keeps them invisible to the machines as they brutally destroy each other.
It doesn’t take long until they make it to Sheoldred’s Coliseum. Inside they find the petrified corpses of several Phyrexians, and a group of them encircle a terribly wounded Vraska. The group doesn’t doubt much and quickly destroys the remaining demons with terrible force, but it’s way too late. Vraska’s wounds are deep and she is dying. Or worse.
Jace desperately insists that Vraska should leave with them, that she should go with Melira who could heal her and cure her of her phyresis. But Vraska knows better. The gorgon knows that there’s no going back, that she’s meant to die here. Even Melira tells him that it’s a surprise that Vraska is still herself at this point. Jace is overcome with desperation as the death of his loved one becomes more and more inevitable.
The other planeswalkers take the Sylex from him and leave Jace and Vraska in the Coliseum, pressed by the urgency of their mission. Leaving means losing Jace’s protective spell, so they’re met with hordes of Phyrexians on the attack as soon as they exit to the Dross Pits.
As the rest of the team rushes out of the arena, Jace takes Vraska’s hands and casts them both into a massive illusion. They’re no longer in the Dross Pits. They aren’t in Phyrexia at all, and they aren’t at war. They walk down the streets of Ravnica on a sunny afternoon. Everything is well, and the two enjoy their time with, and love for, each other, far from the horrors of the Multiverse. Vraska thanks Jace before insisting that he leave. This fantasy won’t last forever; she has to die and Jace needs to leave before it’s too late for him too.
Jace tries to convince her otherwise, insisting that he can still save her. Before he knows it, a grin on Vraska’s face is followed by a sting running through his hand; she has turned completely, and now he’s also infected.
Jace flees the Phyrexian he loved so deeply until he finds the rest of the group retreating back into the Coliseum overrun by the enemies. There is no escape. Death is inevitable for them all.
Nahiri knows this isn’t a fight that can be won, but neither should it be. They don’t need to win fights; they need to move forward. In a burst of violence and power, Nahiri unleashes all her strength and demonstrates what makes her such a legendary figure, causing a massive explosion that feels like it could cleave the plane in half.
No Way Back, Just Through
Tyvar’s Stand | Illustration by Ovidio Cartagena
The ruins and rubble of the Coliseum surround the remaining members of the team while a massive hole in the sky of the Fair Basilica shows where Sheoldred’s Coliseum once stood. Nahiri has taken them to the lower floor, but now she’s gone.
The team regroups and sets forward as the infection begins to spread over Jace’s arm. The journey through the Basilica is mostly uninterrupted. Ossified horrors and petrified goliaths loom over them, but no real action is taken against them. Realmbreaker now towers over the horizon, a malevolent mockery of the World Tree.
The group makes their way down to the Mycosynth Gardens uninterrupted. The final door before the Seedcore stands before them. It’s a lethal trap made to phyrexianize anyone who tries to step through it. Tyvar uses his transmutation powers to turn everyone into hexgold, preventing the oil’s influence. Kaito then uses his telekinetic powers to remove the oil from them before it breaks into their bodies. They’ve reached the Seedcore. They’ve reached Realmbreaker, and it’s covered in invasion ships ready to enter as many planes as the tree can reach.
They find Karn broken to pieces at the entrance of the tree’s roots. Melira and Koth stay back to release him and try to bring him back as the rest of the planeswalkers move forward, deeper into the core of the tree.
The tree has already opened paths to several planes, and the Phyrexians are preparing to move. Millions of them. But two haven’t joined the invasion forces just yet. Tibalt and Ajani walk towards the remaining planeswalkers, ready to halt their advance.
Tyvar stands against Tibalt, who has caused so much damage to Kaldheim, and Elspeth faces her old friend and mentor. These fights are theirs and theirs alone. What little remains of the original team pushes on as the two planeswalkers enter a brutal fight with their phyrexianized enemies.
All Will Be One
Vanish into Eternity | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve
Kaito, Kaya, and Jace rush down to the core of the Realmbreaker’s roots. They’re finally there. All the death and the suffering has brought them to this point. But Realmbreaker’s paths have connected to the other planes: they’re too late. The Phyrexian assault on the Multiverse has begun. Worse than that, it means that setting off the Sylex doesn’t just risk destroying Mirrodin, it risks destroying countless planes.
Jace prepares to activate the Sylex, but Kaya and Kaito attempt to stop him. The two young planeswalkers refuse to let their plan bring ruin to countless planes, even if it means having to find other ways of stopping the Phyrexians. Jace, who is basically a dead man walking who’s lost and been betrayed by the person he loved most, is overcome with grief and desperation. A handful of planes are a small price to pay to end the Phyrexian threat for good.
The three planeswalkers are caught in an argument. Not far behind, the fight between Tyvar and Elspeth against Tibalt and Ajani takes a desperate turn for the best. A tired Elspeth regains her footing and drives Ajani back, while Tyvar brutally runs through Tibalt’s heart with his own stingers and throws him off the bridge to his death.
The argument between Kaito, Kaya, and Jace quickly turns into a fight. The two younger planeswalkers are trying anything to stop their friend from causing a massive tragedy. But the mind-mage has the upper hand. He uses his illusions and subterfuge to hide himself from the other two and he takes the Sylex with him.
Jace pours all his grief and love for Vraska, his hatred for Phyrexia, his grief for Mirrodin and for what the Multiverse is about to suffer, everything he is and feels, right into the Sylex.
Elspeth has come running. She rushes towards Jace, who turns to face her with a merciless look on his face. Understanding what’s about to happen, without an inch of doubt, she runs Jace through with her sword, casts him aside, and takes the Sylex. The device is just about to detonate. A loud crack shoots through the air and both Elspeth and the Sylex are gone.
Tyvar joins them shortly after just as Realmbreaker becomes fully activated, sending a shockwave that knocks the trio to the floor. As they regain their footing, a small party approaches them. Elesh Norn leads, with Tamiyo close behind her. Jace stands up to join them as the sword slides out of his chest and onto the floor. Norn welcomes them to New Phyrexia and invites them to join. Nahiri steps out of the Phyrexian ranks followed by Nissa, both compleated. Kaito, Tyvar, and Kaya are trapped against them.
Elesh Norn calmly snaps her metallic fingers, and the Phyrexian invasion is unleashed upon the Multiverse.
Story Spotlight Cards
The arrival of the team of planeswalkers comes across Phyrexian interference that leaves them scattered throughout the plane and struggling. It has a particularly strong effect on the Wanderer, who couldn’t stabilize her spark and ended up planeswalking away.
Elspeth and Koth, along with Venser and Karn, are some of the most important figures in the original battle against the Phyrexian overtaking of Mirrodin. Now Koth and Elspeth are reunited and facing their long-time enemy.
Urabrask’s revolt against Elesh Norn’s plans has sent New Phyrexia into chaos. The Resistance is aware of Urabrask’s intentions and are actually counting on them to open the way to let them descend into the Fair Basilica.
The trudge through the Dross Pits leads the team of Resistance fighters into Sheoldred’s Coliseum. There lies Vraska, completely overrun and hurt to the point of death. Jace stays behind to try to give her a peaceful passing, but that leaves his guard low when Vraska becomes compleated and allows her to turn him without much trouble.
Nahiri is infected as soon as she arrives on New Phyrexia. She fights against the infection and keeps her calm at first. As the mission becomes increasingly harder and she starts losing her grasp on herself, she gives everything she has to allow her companions to move forward.
Against all expectations, Tyvar reencounters Tibalt near the core of New Phyrexia. The devil has been compleated and stands against the advance of the planeswalkers. Tyvar sends his friends forward and stays back to get rid of the monster that has caused his plane so much hurt.
Ajani also shows up along with Tibalt to oppose the planeswalkers and stop them from moving forward. Elspeth stands against him and fights against her friend and mentor for the sake of the entire multiverse.
Bring the Ending
A dying and desperate Jace chooses to activate the Sylex even though Realmbreaker has already connected to other planes and could bring destruction to all of them.
Vanish into Eternity
Elspeth intervenes to stop Jace from destroying countless planes, sacrificing herself in the process as the Sylex detonates.
All Will Be One
Despite the Resistance’s best efforts to put an end to New Phyrexia and their demonic plans, Realmbreaker has connected to other planes and the Phyrexian forces are free to bring perfection throughout the Multiverse.
Monument to Perfection | Illustration by Igor Kieryluk
I’m really excited to see what happens in March of the Machine and how all these events come together. I’ve seen some players say they’re unhappy with how Magic’s story seems to go forward way too fast recently, and I honestly agree. I think the story itself is great and exciting, but the pace can feel a bit off at times which leads to some issues.
Do you like the direction the story is taking? Were your favorite planeswalkers compleated, or are they safe for now? Which planes do you think we’ll visiting during the invasions in March of the Machine? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to head over to our amazing Discord to join our wonderful community.
That’s all from me for now. Have a good one, and don’t forget: all will be one!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: