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Yawgmoth of Dominaria
The Father of Machines. The Ineffable. The Dark Lord. The Hidden One. The Lord of the Wastes. Almost every culture of Dominaria has a name for him. The Benalish believe he is an inhuman monster with the ability to set fields ablaze with his eyes. The Mercadians revere him as a benevolent overlord. The scholars of New Argive research his name as they would any other myth. The Ru-norans fear him as a shadowy menace from their past. He is all these things. He is more. Nothing has been more feared in the history of the plane of Dominaria than he. Nations cringe at his true name. Their fear is justified. For he is Yawgmoth.
The god of Phyrexia was born a mere mortal man during the reign of the Thran, Dominaria’s most advanced culture to date. Some 2000-5000 years before the birth of Urza Planeswalker, Yawgmoth spent his life devoted to healing the human body in any way he could. Yawgmoth believed the human body was an intricate organic construct, and any illness or physical defect was due to bacteria and viruses, not evil spirits. However, his genius was spurred by an unquenchable thirst for power and the belief that he alone should conquer all. Yawgmoth’s ideas on healing were so revolutionary that they led to his exile from the Thran Empire. The empire would never recover from this decision. On that day, they had earned the wrath of Yawgmoth.
Yawgmoth wandered the land spreading his vision wherever he went. He journeyed to the far reaches of the dwarven kingdom of Oryn Deeps and infected the dwarven host with a vile plague. Fleeing the kingdom, Yawgmoth next journeyed to the forest continent of Argoth, where he held the elven priestess Elyssendril Lademmdrith and her train captive. Yawgmoth infected the elves with a deadly virus and demanded a ransom in promise of a cure. After the ransom was paid, Yawgmoth quietly left the land of Argoth in misery. Next, the future god released a deadly plague upon the Talruuan minotaurs to gaze wonderingly at its affects. Yawgmoth then journeyed to Jamuraa, where he infected the ruling class of an entire tribe of cat warriors with a deadly strain of rabies. He then poisoned the human tribes of Gulatto Meisha for no other reason that it was his whim. His next victim was the ruling viashino bey, who lay dissected after accepting the healer into his home.
These atrocities were nothing. His revenge on the Thran was all that mattered. Word reached Yawgmoth that the Thran genius Glacian, a man instrumental in his exile, lay dying of a disease that no healer could discern a cause for. Apparently, a diseased man wielding a flawed crystal had attacked Glacian in his laboratory. Yawgmoth learned that his banishment would be revoked if he would only seek to find a cause for this illness and defeat it. He smiled and set out for the Thran metropolis of Halcyon.
Yawgmoth arrived in Halcyon as a beggar, dirt clinging to his tattered robes as if he were a stranger to the Thran. He would leave as an elder. He would leave as a monarch. He would leave as a deity. At the gates of Halcyon, Rebbec stood in greeting. The chief architect of the Thran and wife of the stricken inventor, Rebbec welcomed Yawgmoth like a snake into her breast. Almost immediately, Yawgmoth became infatuated with the beautiful architect. He was slightly less amazed by the city she had constructed. Halcyon was a thriving metropolis, but it was much more than that. The entire city was powered by a revolutionary new science known as powerstones. These powerstones, once charged, would remain an eternal, if expensive, way to make everyday life easier. Yawgmoth learned that before Glacian’s injury, he had been instrumental in the powerstones’ newfound uses in Thran life.
“‘Stick with me,’ you said, ‘and the city will be yours.’ I’m sticking with you.”
The two journeyed to Glacian’s sickbed, finding the genius less than grateful at the opportunity to be healed by a man he had exiled long ago. However, Yawgmoth would not be dismayed. He would find a cure, no matter the cost. The life of the man Glacian meant nothing to him. He would find a cure in order to hold it high above the heads of the Thran populace as they bowed before him.
Yawgmoth learned that the disease, which he called phthisis, was running most rampant among the Caves of the Damned. These caves, which lay beneath Halcyon, were the former prison of Thran outlaws. Over the years, however, the inmates had given birth to new generations who were guilty of no crime other than being born from inmate ancestors. Yawgmoth journeyed into the treacherous caves in order to observe a certain case. The Damned revolutionary that had attacked Glacian had done so with a flawed powerstone, one made imperfect by its irregular, dagger-like qualities. The man was apparently riddled with disease, perhaps the same disease that afflicted the Thran genius. After Yawgmoth earned the respect of the Damned by slaying one of their warriors, a small boy led him to the Quarantine Cave, where lay the sickened form of Gix (itself a memorable name in the history of Dominaria and Phyrexia).
“It no longer matters to you what I amsoldier or healer. It only matters that I turn my attentions to someone else. Do you care if I plan to kill the man? Care instead whether I will first kill you.”
Yawgmoth took Gix from the Caves of the Damned to Glacian’s infirmary. He observed that both were afflicted by the phthisis, and both responded negatively to direct contact with powerstones. These observations would have to wait, however, as that day was to be the grand unveiling of the Thran Temple, a huge floating castle designed by Rebbec herself. The Thran Temple was a tremendous success, but it weakened the Thran populace’s humility. By attempting to elevate themselves to the levels of deities, the Thran were sorely unaware that dark figures would use this newfound power for their own purposes. And if history has shown us anything, it is there is no darker figure than Yawgmoth.
Months later, Yawgmoth had deciphered the cause of the disease. Phthisis was caused by direct contact with powerstones. Over time, the dangerous radiations in powerstones would weaken a human’s immune system, leading to the deadly strain which affected Glacian, Gix, and countless others. Yawgmoth shared this revelation with Rebbec, Glacian, and Gix. Rebbec was fearful. Glacian was full of accusations. Yawgmoth was enraged. Gix merely laughed. Yawgmoth revealed that because the Caves of the Damned lay directly beneath Halcyon, the majority of the powerstone radiation was directed there. This was the reason that the phthisis ran so rampant throughout the Caves of the Damned. Days later, it was discovered that a furious Gix had disappeared.
Yawgmoth and Rebbec shared their findings with the Halcyte ruling council. To say they were outraged would be grossly inadequate. The healer of lepers who had been exiled from their beautiful city had the nerve to return and make idle speculation about their newfound power having a detrimental affect on the populace. At Glacian’s prompting, a vote was called for Yawgmoth’s exile. Yawgmoth remained calm. He made request for a group of healers and students to be given to him for further study of the phthisis. The Thran voted for Yawgmoth to be given this request, but made it painfully aware to the healer that should results not occur, his banishment would be reinstated.
Days later, Yawgmoth’s healers had developed a possible treatment for the cure. While this treatment would not cure the phthisis, it would quite possibly prevent it from spreading. Their research would have to wait, however. A rebellion was underway. Gix had returned with a host of the Damned, all vowing to tear Halcyon down from the rafters for its crimes against them. The Halcyte guard engaged the Damned with little success. Yawgmoth took this as a masked opportunity. He abducted a phthisis-ridden rebel to see if his new treatment would work. The healers were astonished by the results. Not only did the treatment halt the disease, it even caused it to reverse itself. The stricken rebel hadn’t been cured, but was in better condition than he had been in years. The infirm had little chance to thank Yawgmoth, however. The future deity slew him shortly after the treatment was administered.
Yawgmoth took a flying sedan chair to the Thran Temple, where he found Rebbec and a host of others under attack from Gix and his loyal rebels. Yawgmoth promised Gix the treatment if he would halt his attack. After Gix injected the treatment into himself and saw the favorable results, he agreed to Yawgmoth’s bargain.
Yawgmoth was immediately elevated to the position of a local hero. He had found a treatment for the disease that was ruining the Thran people. He has halted the rebellion of the Damned. He worked to find a cure not only for the Thran populace, but also for the once-hated Damned. The entire city welcomed him into their hearts. He would feast on these organs, one by one.
The treatment was administered to the general stricken populace of the Thran and the Damned. Glacian, already severely withered from the disease’s affects, was barely affected by the treatment. The disease had begun to affect Glacian’s mind, much to the dislike of his wife. Rebbec was all but repelled from the loving arms of Glacian into the waiting embrace of Yawgmoth. However, in the years to come, Yawgmoth was unable (possibly unwilling) to find a cure. The treatment administered to the damned was becoming more and more ineffective. The city’s majority of healers had been given over unto Yawgmoth’s control. Thousands of Thran citizens were sent to the Quarantine Cave for healing. Mere hundreds were allowed to leave.
During an evening meal with Rebbec, the stricken Glacian confronted Yawgmoth. Glacian’s mind had seemingly split in twain, partially due to the pthisis, partially due to his own genius. He revealed his plans to open gateways into new worlds, infinite worlds that lay dormant within every charged powerstone. This idea was completely ludicrous, but also appeared completely genuine. Yawgmoth had little time to ponder the meaning of this finding before Glacian again interrupted his meal with the same findings, completely unaware that he had done so mere moments before. Rebbec became increasingly concerned for her husband’s health. Yawgmoth became increasingly concerned with Rebbec. However, months later Rebbec was ready to willingly give herself to Yawgmoth. But the game was going along too quickly. Yawgmoth was ever only concerned with Yawgmoth.
After returning from a trip to Jamuraa, Yawgmoth was informed by the Halcyte council that the infirm of the Quarantine Cave were escaping into Halcyon. Dissatisfied with the lack of results from Yawgmoth’s treatments, they had left the caves and could possibly infect more Thran with the phthisis. Yawgmoth was given control of a squadron of Halcyte guards in order to halt these escapes in any way he could. The healer enjoyed crushing the life out of the infirm very much.
One day, everything changed. Yawgmoth began his long trek away from mortality and into godhood. Upon inspecting Glacian’s sickened form, Yawgmoth learned that some sort of sorceress was visiting the genius. Yawgmoth found a woman of immense hidden power having a conversation with the withered Glacian. This woman, Dyfed, stated boldly that she was a planeswalker, a wielder of magic on par with a god. Yawgmoth disbelieved her, much to Dyfed’s annoyance. The goddess planeswalked Yawgmoth to the distant plane of Pyrulea in order to show him her words were true. Things couldn’t be going better for Yawgmoth. He had already captured an entire city’s favor. Soon, he would seize control of all existence.
“I am not … a normal human.”
Shortly thereafter, a second uprising began from the Caves of the Damned. This time, the Halcytes were ready. Yawgmoth had been given complete control over the military forces of Halcyon if only he could repel these attacks. The healer fitted the Halcyte guard with powerstone-driven weapons and armor, which enabled the guard to quickly demolish the invasion.
After Gix’s second attempt to conquer Halcyon was thwarted, the Halcyte populace had elevated Yawgmoth to the level of national hero. He was near a cure for the phthisis. He had demolished the Thran’s enemies. He had gained Gix’s undying loyalty. But Yawgmoth had one new promise to make. He had discovered that sickness was merely a weakening of the body’s natural defenses. If he could somehow incorporate better organs into the body, organic or artificial, then he could stop these illnesses. He vowed to stop all sickness, even the greatest sickness of all: death. A hushed crowd gazed in astonishment. Yawgmoth would make all Thran immortal. He would make them gods.
However, before Yawgmoth could begin his long trek into divinity, the past came back to haunt him. A combined populace of dwarven, elven, cat warrior, viashino, minotaur, and barbarian approached Halcyon. They accused Yawgmoth of his past sins, damaging the bloodlines of the sentient races of Dominaria for thousands of years. The dwarves, in particular, vowed that Yawgmoth would lead the Thran on the road to ruin. A vote was taken for Yawgmoth’s exile, but again it failed. The combined armies left Halcyon after declaring war on the Thran Empire. What’s worse, the Thran city-states of Losanon, Wington, and Chignon had turned against the rest of the empire. Yawgmoth declared martial law. A civil war would erupt in days.
Days later, Glacian and Rebbec pleaded with Dyfed to liberate the Thran elders being imprisoned “for their own good” by Yawgmoth. Rebbec accused Yawgmoth of neglecting his duties to heal Glacian. Yawgmoth merely stated that he would not rest until Glacian was well. Then, he vowed, he would fight him to the death for Rebbec’s hand in marriage. In the meantime, Yawgmoth ordered Glacian to be taken to the Caves of the Damned with the other invalid.
Yawgmoth knew he could not maintain his hold on the empire without Dyfed’s help. She had shown him glimpses of other worlds, and he greatly desired to find an unpopulated world where he could send the Thran to live in peace. This world would, of course, be ruled over by none other than Yawgmoth. Dyfed searched for such a world and returned with success.
This world would become Yawgmoth’s throne for nine thousand years. It would become the most vile and feared plane in all existence. But for now, it was a luscious paradise. Yawgmoth, Rebbec, and Dyfed observed its tranquil beauty. The world was completely hollow, and contained eight other levels nestled inside the outermost. An artificial plane created by a draconic planeswalker, the plane needed neither sun nor rain to thrive. It contained in its eighth sphere a layer of pure energy that would heat the plane forever. It was a vast, mechanical construct that housed millions of benevolent artificial creatures. Yawgmoth would use this plane first to heal the phthitics, then to cure mortality, and finally to rule and launch his dominion across the multiverse. Yawgmoth needed to find a cure for phthisis, the continual degeneration that plagued his people. He would combat it in this place, a plane that would be devoted to phyresis, continual generation. He dubbed this new world Phyrexia. Dominia would weep in fear for the next nine millennia.
“It will be a world of progressive generationof phyresis. It will be a world called Phyrexia.”
Yawgmoth fused his very being with that of his new world. Barely surviving the flood of energies, he emerged the complete and total god of an entire world. Using Glacian’s designs, Yawgmoth opened a portal between Phyrexia and the Caves of the Damned. Thousands of Thran phthitics entered into Phyrexia in astonished wonder.
“I am destiny incarnate. I will change the world for all time. I will change the Multiverse. Welcome, my children. Welcome to Phyrexia!”
Yawgmoth returned to Dominaria through his newly created portal to find Rebbec pleading for Yawgmoth to do something about Glacian’s condition. Yawgmoth told Rebbec that a new treatment was being devised for the Thran afflicted. This treatment involved implanting an uncharged powerstone into the body. The harmful radiation that was the cause of phthisis would flow directly into the powerstone, which could then be removed, leaving the body completely healed. Also, some Thran were growing taller, stronger, and healthier by bathing in the glistening oil that was found in Phyrexia’s fifth sphere. Glacian would hear none of this, and accused Yawgmoth of trying to control the Thran Empire.
Yawgmoth also told Rebbec that one possibility of why Glacian was not healing was because a shard of a powerstone might yet be implanted within his body. Yawgmoth extracted the sliver, but inserted an uncharged powerstone when Rebbec was crying over her husband’s form.
On the battlefront, the war was not going in Yawgmoth’s favor. The city of Orleason had succumbed to betrayal and had joined the resistance. The city of Phoenon had been wiped off the map by the rebel city-states’ armadas. It was time for Yawgmoth to go on the offensive. The rebel forces were advancing on Halcyon for a final strike. Yawgmoth and his troops would meet them at Megheddon Defile.
“None of my adversaries will survive this battle.”
Yawgmoth bombarded the ground forces with his own aerial armada. Ray cannons captured in the Battle of Phoenon destroyed these airships. Yawgmoth retaliated by unleashing his hidden traps and artifact creatures. His sand crabs were overwhelmed by elven magic. Not dismayed, Yawgmoth unleashed his Halcyte guard, which inflicted heavy casualties among the rebels. However, these too were defeated by elvish magic. Yawgmoth released his final defenders, two giant mechanical behemoths. These too fell when mantis engines designed by Glacian assaulted them. Yawgmoth retreated from the Defile, but headed directly for the Thran Null Sphere.
The Null Sphere controlled the entirety of the Thran artificial defenses, and would be a great asset to Yawgmoth’s crusade against the rebels. Yawgmoth assaulted the Sphere with the majority of his Phyrexian army, led by the newly crowned Commander Gix. These creatures had been human once, but were now a species all their own. Through Phyrexian oil and Yawgmoth’s science, these poor wretches were now their own killing force. The Null Sphere was captured within instants. The Phyrexians, looking for more rebel blood, charged the Megheddon Defile.
Yawgmoth used the Null Sphere’s engines to launch it into the air, preventing the Thran rebels from ever acquiring it again. Yawgmoth turned the rebel artifact creatures against their controllers. He then unleashed the Sphere’s pure white mana resources, which fled through the rebels, slaying everyone on the battlefield. Now there was no way Halcyon would be the victim of a ground-based attack. Yawgmoth fled the still-rising Sphere through his aerial armada. He watched from the deck of one of his great airships as the Null Sphere rose into the air, becoming a new moon for Dominaria.
Yawgmoth returned to Halcyon with two Thran armadas in pursuit. He found Rebbec in a state of delirium, but she was easily calmed by Yawgmoth’s sedations. Yawgmoth returned to Phyrexia, once again merging with the plane. His meditations were interrupted by the planeswalker Dyfed, who informed Yawgmoth that he must be stopped. She told the ruler that she had taken the Halcyte elders far away from his martial law. Yawgmoth did little to resist Dyfed’s control, but told her that should she take him away from Phyrexia, the non-human ambassadors would be slain. Yawgmoth had abducted them, dissected them, and fused their bodies in grotesque amalgams. Dyfed, knowing she could do nothing to save these wretches, fell easy prey to Yawgmoth’s wiles. The god of Phyrexia stabbed Dyfed’s brain, disrupting her ability to form a physical body. By constantly scrambling her brains like an egg, Dyfed would be powerless to resist him.
Yawgmoth returned to Halcyon as it began its defense from the advancing armadas. Yawgmoth himself entered the fray, attacking from his warship Yataghan. However, friendly fire would apparently spell Yawgmoth’s death, as a Halcyte ray cannon bombarded the ship. Yawgmoth was the sole survivor of the crash, and was immediately mistaken for a rebel invader. Yawgmoth began climbing the Halcyte Mountains alongside a squadron of elven invaders. However, his defenses soon arrived. Steeplejacks, Phyrexians bred for mountainous combat, attacked in swarms. Yawgmoth would’ve been slain as an invader, but a former healer, Xod, recognized him and carried him to Halcyon.
After quickly and violently disposing of the guard responsible for his ship’s destruction, Yawgmoth was met by Commander Gix, who had slain the Halcyte guard commander for presuming Yawgmoth was slain. Yawgmoth ordered Gix to take all Thran citizens to Phyrexia to begin their change into monsters. He then journeyed to the Caves of the Damned to enter into his world. Along the way, he found Rebbec calming the comatose body of her husband. Infecting her with more sedation, he carried her away to Phyrexia.
Yawgmoth showed Rebbec the wonders he had wrought, including Dyfed’s torment. He took her to the Ninth Sphere, his inner sanctum, and completely possessed her mind, instantly learning every secret she possessed. He left her to begin the final stage of his plan for dominance over the Thran Empire.
“We are ascending. We are becoming Phyrexians. We are becoming gods.”
Yawgmoth and his healer corps attacked a rebel-occupied Halcyte hangar. After regaining the hangar, he loaded his stone-chargers aboard several airships. These bombs would completely destroy the traitorous Thran cities. In a single day, he would destroy the Thran Empire and solidify his hold on Dominaria. He unleashed his bombs near Halcyon, destroying much of what Rebbec had wrought. The milky white clouds that spread across the land dissolved all life in their path. The Null Sphere would siphon off all energy that would harm Halcyon. Victory was moments away.
Yawgmoth’s ship patrolled the city, which swarmed with rebels. After regrouping the Phyrexian and Halcyte forces, he had solidified his hold on Halcyon. He ordered his airships to depart for the rebel city-states and obliterate them one by one. However, his forces could not get very far. Apparently, the Null Sphere had risen too far to properly siphon off the deadly clouds. Halcyon would be enveloped and destroyed in hours. What’s worse, the Thran Temple had risen from its foundations and had escaped into the sky.
Yawgmoth made a public announcement to loyal and rebel alike. He was their god now. He had prepared an entire world for their use. If they would declare themselves subject unto him, he would save them, improve them, compleat them. Upon glimpsing the wonders of Phyrexia and the horrors of the death cloud, no one was apt to refuse. Everyone fled into Phyrexia, millions of subjects to populate Yawgmoth’s world.
“I have prepared this place for you, my peopleeven for you, my onetime foes. I have made it for you, for I am a god. I ask only that you enter it. I ask only that I may be your god.”
Only one remained. Rebbec gazed at the portal to Phyrexia, clutching the powerstone that Yawgmoth had imbedded within Glacian’s form. Yawgmoth watched in horror as Rebbec prepared to use the powerstone’s power to seal him from Dominaria forever. Yawgmoth pleaded and swore his undying love, but to no avail. Rebbec’s gentle hands placed the stone upon the pedestal. With a scream of denial, Yawgmoth was sealed inside his world forever. His kingdom had become his crypt.
A furious Yawgmoth vowed his undying hatred for Rebbec, and swore an oath: he would invade Dominaria somehow, slay all its life, and make it his own. Then he would expand his control across the multiverse. Nothing could stop him. And it appeared nothing would. For in the time in which Yawgmoth was exiled from his home plane, he grew and grew in power. Yawgmoth had already become a god, but was now becoming something greater. Indeed, he was becoming the most powerful creature ever created. He was as above a planeswalker as a planeswalker was above a virus. He was greater than a god. He was Yawgmoth.
Yawgmoth spent a full five thousand years in his home, vowing vengeance against Rebbec and her world. Through this era, Yawgmoth’s forces had completed their transformations, but it still wasn’t enough. Yawgmoth knew the body was a machine, and like a machine it could be made more perfect by adding new parts. Eventually, all of Yawgmoth’s creations were made perfect machines. He created dragon engines, witch engines, blood vassals, skirges, flesh reavers, hollow dogs, sanguine guards, and vebulids. Every creature born of a child’s nightmare was his to rule. He gathered a select few of great intelligence and cunning and named them his Demons, an Inner Circle devoted to carrying out his great plans. The greatest of these was Gix, who had become as powerful as a planeswalker. Phyrexia’s own resident planeswalker captive, Dyfed, had been slain shortly before Yawgmoth was exiled. Yawgmoth created Sleeper Agents, creatures designed to look like human beings so that when Phyrexia began infiltrating Dominaria, no land would be spared Yawgmoth’s gaze.
However, one problem reared its ugly head. Phyrexia was an artificial plane, created by a long-dead planeswalker for his own purposes. Yawgmoth learned it was the fate of all artificial planes to collapse, and one day his beloved Phyrexia would cease to be. Yawgmoth must invade Dominaria eventually, and make it his new home worthy of his name.
But Yawgmoth’s genius could not be contained, not even in nine spheres. History is questionable on this point, but apparently Yawgmoth began somehow constructing another plane, an artificial world composed of flowstone. This world, which Yawgmoth named Rath, would slowly expand until the dimensional barriers could no longer hold it in. Upon that time, it would fuse with whatever world was closest to its dimensional coordinates. This world was, of course, Dominaria; it was in this way that Yawgmoth would conquer his home plane.
Then it happened. The day the Dark Lord had long awaited had come to be. A portal had opened, and two humans had entered into Phyrexia’s First Sphere. Yawgmoth ordered his minions to stay away and watch from the shadows. These humans, one man, one woman, observed in awe the wonders that Yawgmoth had created. Then, the Ineffable noticed something strange. The man clutched in his hand one half of a powerstone that emanated the same energies as the one that he himself had implanted in Glacian five millennia ago. Yawgmoth sent one of his demons to slay these two humans and capture this shattered powerstone, but the humans fled the plane and slammed the portal behind them.
Furious, Yawgmoth made plans should the portal again reopen. A strange occurrence was happening on his First Sphere. Some of his lesser dragon engines were disappearing. Yawgmoth had little time to ponder this, as years later he was able to open the gateway once again. The powerstones that had long served as a lock barring Yawgmoth’s return to Dominaria had been removed. Now, nothing would stand in the way of his conquest. The temporal energies were still weak, allowing Yawgmoth to send through only one of his minions. Yawgmoth easily chose Gix to usher in this new age. Gix left Phyrexia, closing the portal behind him.
For years, Yawgmoth waited patiently for Gix’s return. Finally, almost a decade later, Gix entered Phyrexia battered and broken. Yawgmoth read his mind as easily as the pages of a book. Gix had gathered a group of humans who worshipped machines unto him. He had used these humans to infiltrate the most powerful nations of the surrounding area. The continent had been renamed Terisiare, while the ruling nations were composed of Argive, Yotia, Korlis, and the Fallaji. Apparently, over sixty years ago, two brothers had removed Glacian’s powerstone from its pedestal. The stone had split into two halves, much in the same way that Glacian’s personality had split in twain. One brother had come to rule Argive, Yotia, and Korlis, while the other ruled the Fallaji. The two brothers fought to a stalemate until all their resources were depleted. The two journeyed to the forest continent of Argoth, where they were engaged in a three-way war with the forest’s defenders. Somehow, a huge magical blast has destroyed the entire continent, the brothers included. Terisiare was in ruins. Now would be the perfect time to invade.
Yawgmoth allowed Gix to retrieve his Dominarian followers and incorporate them into the wonders of Phyrexia. Soon, Yawgmoth had amassed a great multitude of his monsters and would invade in moments. However, something was wrong. The portal would not open. Furious, Yawgmoth exiled Gix to the Seventh Sphere, where he would writhe in agony forever. Yawgmoth had devised various portals that would allow him to enter many planes, but none would work for Dominaria. The plane was completely shut off from him.
Nearly a thousand years passed, and still Yawgmoth was unable to enter Dominaria. Then something truly unexpected happened. One of the Brothers had apparently survived the destruction of Argoth and had become a planeswalker. What’s more, the strange man held within his skull both halves of Glacian’s shattered powerstone. The planeswalker invaded Phyrexia, blaming the plane for his brother’s death. Riding atop a massive dragon engine, this man, Urza, brought untold destruction to Yawgmoth’s realm. This would not be tolerated. Yawgmoth invaded Urza’s mind, warping it forever. Defeated, Urza left Phyrexia with one of Yawgmoth’s early Sleeper Agent experiments, Xantcha.
Yawgmoth’s life was given new purpose. He was still intent on returning to Dominaria, but a new goal formed in his ancient mind. Urza would die. This obsession fueled every stroke of his being. However, one man knew Urza better than Yawgmoth. The Dark Lord had no choice but to unleash Gix from his eternal torment.
Yawgmoth sent countless legions in pursuit of Urza. They hounded him across the entire multiverse, always one step behind him and never able to contend with his power. Finally, Yawgmoth’s minions tracked the hated planeswalker to a plane of almost total white mana. Disgusted, Yawgmoth infused this land with his evil essence, corrupting the land for all time. Urza and Xantcha fled the plane again, with Yawgmoth’s minions in pursuit. However, Yawgmoth wasn’t finished with this world. The plane was created by another planeswalker, Serra, and was a place of healing and order. Yawgmoth detested it, and harvested its resources for Phyrexia’s uses. Serra had fled the plane after she realized nothing could halt Yawgmoth’s minions. Yawgmoth infiltrated the hierarchy that was left behind in the planeswalker’s wake.
Finally, a glorious day arrived. Yawgmoth sensed that Dominaria was once again open to him. Somehow, the Shard of Twelve Worlds had been broken, and Yawgmoth was free to begin infiltrating Dominaria in preparation for his grand invasion. Yawgmoth sent his minions to every corner of the plane. Still, Yawgmoth could not locate the source of all his troubles, the arrogant Urza Planeswalker. Finally, the demon Gix managed to find Yawgmoth’s hated nemesis, only to lose his life in a massive conflict. Yawgmoth sent his negators, specialized planeswalker killing machines, to the four corners of the globe with limited success. Urza was busy gathering his resources in preparation for the defense of his plane. He would fail. Nothing could stop Yawgmoth. Already his minions had severely weakened the proud Benalish and Keldon homelands, pivotal victories before the invasion had even begun.
At last, Yawgmoth had glimpsed Urza’s master plan. The evincar of the plane of Rath had captured Sisay, captain of the flying ship Weatherlight in an effort to lure his most hated enemy into his clutches. While Yawgmoth applauded Volrath’s machinations, he began to sense that Urza had a hand in this unfolding adventure. Volrath’s stepbrother, the Benalish master-at-arms Gerrard Capashen, was created for a purpose he wasn’t even aware of. Gerrard had been engineered, bred and crossbred, to be the ultimate instrument of Urza’s victory. Gerrard, together with the amazing vessel Weatherlight, existed for the sole purpose of destroying the Lord of the Wastes. Urza’s plan was brilliant. It was also pathetic. Urza’s hand was in full view, but the cards that Yawgmoth held would beyond his comprehension.
Volrath left the plane of Rath in pursuit of his hated brother, leaving Rath a leaderless chaos. Yawgmoth appointed Crovax, an Urborgan noble who was himself a product of Urza’s genetic meddling, to the throne. Crovax was a ruthless dictator, but was easily controlled by Yawgmoth’s genius. The Urborgan vampire constantly begged Yawgmoth for a glimpse of his slain angel Selenia, allowing Yawgmoth to control Crovax with utter ease. Yawgmoth himself took part in Crovax’s ascension by watching from an artificial construct deep within the body of one of his followers.
“Sweet, sweet the hall of flesh! The song of blood, what ancient joy! Too long have I sleptwhy, in this shell I can walk a thousand worlds, renew the sensations of lost millennia! It is mine, it is mine. Who is better than I? I take them all in my hands, caress them or crush them. My little puppet. Shrink from nothing, please your maker”
At last, the glorious day had arrived. In the year 4205, over 9000 years after Yawgmoth had departed Dominaria, the Dark Lord sent his legions pouring into his former home. Within days, Benalia was destroyed. Llanowar lay in shambles. Yavimaya was weakened. Keld was in a state of chaos. New Argive was obliterated. The planeswalker Teferi had removed Zhalfir from the face of the plane, fleeing before Yawgmoth like a whipped animal. Yawgmoth’s forces were concentrated in Urborg and in Koilos, where Yawgmoth had exited Dominaria eons ago. Urza’s forces, led by Gerrard and his Weatherlight, had managed to destroy all of Yawgmoth’s armies that were stationed at Koilos, permanently destroying the portal that had joined Phyrexia and Dominaria for thousands of years.
Urza’s forces enjoyed a brief repast, only to find themselves suddenly surrounded by billions of Phyrexian invaders. At last, Yawgmoth’s genius had come to fruition. Rath had overlaid itself atop Dominaria. The Skyshroud forest had appeared in the frozen wastes of Keld. The Stronghold, seat of Crovax’s rule, had taken its place in the land of Urborg. The surviving Dominarians were quickly reduced to fractured outposts and squadrons. Only Urza’s elite fighters remained a feasible force, concentrating their attacks in a last-ditch effort to destroy the Stronghold. These forces, led by Eladamri, a Skyshroud elf, managed to regain control of the fetid swamps of Urborg with the help of a maro-sorcerer of Yavimaya. Victory appeared certain. Only Yawgmoth knew it was a masquerade.
“Excellent. I know your heart now. You are mine.”
Deep in his Ninth Sphere, Yawgmoth was being worshipped by his two greatest foes. On his left hand bowed Gerrard, who agreed to surrender himself to Yawgmoth in exchange for the resurrection of his fallen love. On his right bowed Urza, who could only bow in admiration and awe at the god Yawgmoth had become. These two men were the only things in Dominaria that could remotely stand up to Yawgmoth’s power, and here they lay in abject worship of the Dark Lord. But only one would be granted his wish. Yawgmoth removed Urza’s planeswalker powers and commanded that the two men fight to the death to be granted their greatest desires. The two fought for days, driven only by their own bloodlust, until finally Gerrard had bested Urza, decapitating the man who had created him. Yawgmoth granted Gerrard power beyond all imagination, but the young man only craved the life of his love. Yawgmoth grew tired of this ploy. Love was a weakness, and weakness had no place in a creature of Phyrexia. Still, Yawgmoth presented Hanna to Gerrard, completely healed and whole. Gerrard saw through this façade, and finally realized that the Hanna he had loved was something that Yawgmoth could never control. Gerrard destroyed the faux Hanna, and was immediately exiled from the Ninth Sphere.
Dominaria was saved. Phyrexia was in shambles due to Urza’s meddling. The Stronghold was taken. The Phyrexian invasion had failed. Every plan Yawgmoth had spent eons setting into motion was gone. It mattered little. Yawgmoth was the ultimate creation of the universe. Every one of his creatures knew that only through pain and death could one rise unto joy and life. All Phyrexians had their chance to stand up to the challenges of Dominaria in order to be truly compleat. They had failed. Yawgmoth would not.
For the first time in nine thousand years, Yawgmoth crossed from Phyrexia into Dominaria.
Immediately, thousands died. Everything that was alive within the vicinity of the Stronghold died instantly, only to have their lifeless bodies rise in a mockery of life and hunt the living. Yawgmoth spread his essence in the form of a black cloud over all of Dominaria. The thousands of dead at Urborg were followed by countless billions all across Dominaria. Yawgmoth stretched his hand to grasp the place of his birth and turn it into a massive crypt. Once he was finished, he would recreate his beloved Phyrexia all across the globe. Only four things stood in his way: The tiny flying ship Weatherlight, her commander Gerrard, the weakened head of Urza, and the silver golem Karn. The four greatest players in Urza’s plan had come together, fusing their essences in a glorious display. But for Yawgmoth, these four did not even exist. Urza was not responsible for his defeat. That injustice belonged to Rebbec, alive after all these years and renamed by the Dominarians as Gaea. In Yawgmoth’s twisted mind, this fantasy played itself out. Even as Weatherlight was destroying Yawgmoth, it was Rebbec who was extracting her full revenge.
And then he died. The greatest being the multiverse had ever produced was laid low, leaving countless mourning Phyrexians in his wake. Their plane disheveled and near destruction, all of Yawgmoth’s children looked into the sky as their Father left them and all life fled their bodies. For Dominaria, life would never be the same again. But for Phyrexia, life had ceased to be. Yawgmoth was gone, and the Phyrexians scattered across the face of Dominaria offered no resistance to the battered Coalition forces. Their purpose for living gone, they could not go on. Yawgmoth was dead . . .
. . . or was he? Things in Dominia are not as they seem, and with Yawgmoth nothing is certain. Over a century later, as Dominaria began its long trek to rebuild their nations, on the tiny continent of Otaria the godlike being Karona embarked on a ceremony. Believing she was a god, Karona attempted to contact other gods of the five colors of magic, desperate to find a kin to speak with. In searching for a black mana god, that Karona answered the prayers the faithless Phyrexians across Dominaria. Yawgmoth is alive.
“The world did not receive me. Those I chose turned from truth to perversions. I persisted. I built a whole world for them to inhabit, and when they would not, I built another world to bring my people to them. I came myself, embraced all of Dominaria, welcomed every last creature into my touch, but they reviled me. They called me, ‘destroyer,’ and Gaea cast me down.”
Karona was later exiled from Dominaria by three powerful mages. Karona wandered the planes, eventually arriving in Phyrexia, still shattered after a hundred years. Yawgmoth, gravely weakened by his encounters with the hated Urza’s weapon, slowly builds his strength and binds his time, waiting in earnest for the day he will step into Dominaria, and, with none of his hated enemies left alive, will finally spread his glorious vision of phyresis across the plane . . . and beyond.