Magic: The Gathering – Who Is Urza?

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  • The Early Years
  • The Brothers' War And Urza's Spark
  • Urza's Creations
  • Uzra Assembles The Titans
  • Betrayal Of Dominaria And Death

There have been many characters that have come and gone since the inception of Magic: The Gathering's story. Many of them are from MTG's pre-Mending era in the story, but one of the most important characters is Urza.

Urza was a Planeswalker who was a major part of several significant events that occurred across the Multiverse. Urza played a very large role during the Phyrexian invasions in Dominaria, as well as being one-half of the brothers from The Brothers' War. Urza has a long and very storied history, being one of the most important characters in the early days of this universe.

The Early Years

Urza was born on the first day in the year 0 AR (Argivian Reckoning, the calendar years Dominaria uses), with his younger brother, Mishra, being born on the last day of the year to the family of Argive. Their mother died when they were young. After their father became sick, the two were sent off to Tocasia, where they would serve as her students.

Urza, Mishra, and Tocasia would all go on archaeological digs in the old ruins of the Thran Empire, an ancient civilization that used to rule the area. While helping Tocasia with the excavations, the brothers would have a few discoveries of their own. One of these was the Ornithopter, a device created out of old Thran devices to be more efficient and combat-capable.

The most important discovery the brothers would make was the Caves Of Koilos. There were many old Thran artifacts scattered inside of it, but the most important thing there was a sealed portal to the plane Phyrexia. It was there the two brothers discovered that the seal was being held by a Thran artifact known as a powerstone.

Both Urza and Mishra wanted the stone for themselves and tried to get to it before the other. In the scuffle, the powerstone would be split into two distinct stones. Urza's stone was the Mightstone, named after examining it would increase the power of things around it. Mishra's stone was the Weakstone, having the opposite effect as the Mightstone. The two brothers wanted the other's stone, leading to a fight between the two. Tocasia tried to break it up, but after the stones caused a power surge she was killed. Mishra fled to the deserts of Dominaria, while Urza moved to Yotia, a coastal region of Dominaria. The events that transpired would put a rift between the two brothers, and they wouldn't see each other again until The Brother's War.

The Brothers' War And Urza's Spark

The two brothers would separately begin building influence and power with two different parts of Dominaria. While Mishra worked with the desert nomads of the Fallaji Empire, Urza gained power in Yotia. He accomplished this by winning a contest held by the ruler of the region with the prize of marrying his daughter, Kayla bin-Kroog. He was less interested in her and more interested in the Thran book she possessed. All of this ultimately led to Urza being named Chief Artificer.

Attacks against the two began to become more frequent, with Urza and Mishra building armies of machines to fight each other. This war continued for years, and the entire plane was caught in the crossfire. Mishra was corrupted by Phyrexia during the war, and this was when Urza saw what Phyrexia was capable of.

The conflict would come to a head in Argoth, an island off the Dominaria mainland. It was here Urza acquired possession of the Golothian Sylex, an artifact created by an ancient civilization. Terrified of everything that had transpired, Urza activated the Sylex, creating a giant explosion that ended the war at the cost of destroying much of Argoth and sending Dominaria into an ice age.

The events of the Brothers' War and the activation of the Sylex would ignite Urza's Planeswalker spark. The Brothers' War had other side effects on Urza's mind, driving him insane in a quest for vengeance against Phyrexia that would last the rest of his life. In an attack on Phyrexia itself, Yawgmoth managed to invade Urza's mind, driving him even madder. Urza became obsessed with reversing his brother's death when he returned to Dominaria, something he only worked through thanks to Dominarian Ratepe, who impersonated Mishra to get Urza out of his madness over the death to fight off the Phyrexian threat invading Dominaria and kill the Phyrexian Gix.

Urza's Creations

After working through the trauma of Mishra's death, Urza learned how much of a threat Phyrexia still was. He would go on to found the Tolarian Academy, inviting many artificers, sorcerers, and more to study there, including the eventual Planeswalker Teferi. Here, Urza would start the development of a time machine so that he could see the events that led to the original Phyerxian banishment — which led to the portal to Phyrexia found in the Caves Of Koilos being sealed in the first place.

To travel through these time riffs he was able to create, Urza would give a silver golem the heartstone, which in turn would give it life, creating Karn. When Urza tried to send Karn through one of the temporal portals he managed to open, it ended in disaster when it consumed too much energy, causing much of Tolaria and its inhabitants to be destroyed. In addition, temporal disturbances began appearing all over the island.

Both Urza and Karn survived, and the academy was eventually rebuilt. Urza found a way to use these new temporal disturbances to the advantage of scholars. He created special armor to allow researchers to enter into the bubbles, allowing them to study years' worth of content in just a few hours in the regular timestream.

To help combat the increasing Phyrexian threat, Urza sought to form alliances with the various factions throughout Dominaria. While he was away, Tolaria was attacked by Phyrexian forces but they were held back and defeated. After this, Urza built what he dubbed "the salvation of Dominaria." This came to be the Skyship Weatherlight, a ship capable of traveling between Planes, built with Thran metal and the Weatherseed, a seed from the Heart Of Yavimaya in Dominaria. However, there was not enough energy to power its battery. To fuel the Weatherlight, Urza sacrificed Serra's Realm, home of a Planeswalker who healed him after being injured on Phyrexia. Serra's Realm was being overrun with Phyrexians after they had followed Urza there initially, and this event ultimately ended with the plane condensed and put into the powerstone to fuel the Weatherlight, allowing it to travel between Planes.

Urza also oversaw the Bloodline Project. This was a project in which Urza used genetics to breed the perfect fighters to combat the looming Phyrexian threat. Many of the first members of the Weatherlight Crew had their families manipulated from the Bloodline Project, including Sisay and Gerrard. There was a second phase to the Bloodline Project, which led to the creation of the Metathran, a race engined to act only as warriors in combat. The Bloodline Project was done on Tolaria, and some researchers quit over the ethical concerns of genetic engineering. The Bloodline Project was stopped due to the Phyrexians, who initiated a strike in the areas where it was being performed.

Uzra Assembles The Titans

Yawgmoth, the leader of the Phyrexians initiated an invasion of Dominaria utilizing the portal that Urza had found in the Caves Of Koilos. Phyrexian forces began to flood in, and Urza resolved to close off the portal for good to prevent the Phyrexians from infiltrating Dominaria ever again.

To combat the Phyrexian invasion, Urza united nine different Planeswalkers, including himself, to fend off Phyrexia together. These Planeswalkers became known as the NineTitans. Urza created the titan engines, mech suits built for each of the Planeswalkers to let them easily destroy Phyrexian forces and detect Glistening Oil, the substance that turns people into Phyrexians. With the titan engines, all nine of the Titans entered into Phyrexia to destroy the Plane for good.

Betrayal Of Dominaria And Death

Inside Phyrexia, the Nine Titans began to destroy the Plane. However, one of the titans, Tevash Szat betrayed the rest, killing two of the Titans (Daria and Kristina of the Woods) in the process. However, this move was predicted by Urza, who wanted Tevash Szat to turn to the Phyrexian side so that his moral dilemma of using one of the Planeswalkers as an energy source would solve itself. The plan was to use Tevash Szat's energy to fuel the soul bombs Urza had created, which were capable of permanently destroying the Plane of Phyrexia.

However, Urza couldn't pull himself to detonate the bombs. While on Phyrexia, Urza became enamored by the artificial plane. He wished to learn more from the Plane and the knowledge it could provide. This led to Urza dismantling the soul bombs and getting rid of the only object that would rid the Multiverse of Phyrexia.

Afterward, Urza surrendered himself to Yawgmoth. It was then when Urza was ordered to fight Gerrard, a member of the Weatherlight crew. They fought in the Phyrexian Arena, with Gerrard ultimately victorious after cutting the head of Urza.

This did not kill him, due to his mind being inside of the Mightstone and Weakstone, which were what his eyes were made of. Yawgmoth entered Dominaria as a large cloud of smoke began to spread chaos through the Plane. To stop this, the Legacy Weapon had to be used to destroy Yawgmoth. This required a collection of various artifacts, Urza had collected including Karn. To activate the Legacy Weapon, both Gerrard and Urza sacrificed their lives, destroying Yawgmoth along with them.

Although the activation of the Legacy Weapon killed Urza, his spark still lives within Karn, as do the Mightstone and Weakstone. This would turn Karn into an artificial Planeswalker, the first of its kind.

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