Welcome back to "Who Is..." on Magic Untapped.
It's finally time we take a look at the two key players in Magic: The Gathering's "The Brothers' War" storyline: Urza and his younger brother, Mishra. In this second of a two-part finale of our look at the final days of the Brothers' War right up to the Sylex blast and a tad beyond.
Enjoy the show.
Welcome back to Who Is on Magic Untapped as we explore the origins and backstories of various characters from Magic: The Gathering.
I’m Barry White.
Over the past several months, we’ve been highlighting important figures from Magic’s “The Brothers’ War” storyline. Last month, we looked at the feuding brothers, Urza and Mishra, right up to the final days of their strife.
Now, we conclude our look at Urza and Mishra as we focus in on the final days of their plane- and multiverse-altering conflict.
Now on Argoth, in search of more resources to plunder as both sides of the war between the forces of Urza and Mishra try to tip the balance in their favor, a new foe enters the fray.
Titania, a maro-sorceress and the protector of the island paradise, took exception to the raping and pillaging of her land by the brothers’ forces. After diplomacy failed to sway ether side, Titania went on the offensive.
Elves, treefolk, pixies, and even the land itself repeatedly attempted to either kill or expel the two invading armies. But, as more and more of Argoth’s forest was plundered, the power of its goddess waned.
Soon enough, with much of Argoth already stripped of its beauty and splendor, the brotherly conflict approached its to its climax.
It’s on this paradise-turned-wasteland, that Ashnod, Mishra’s once-trusted second-in-command, now banished due, in part, to influence by the Phyrexian Praetor, Gix, and his followers, rendevous with Tawnos, Urza’s most trusted apprentice and closest friend.
Here, she hands to him an ancient bowl-shaped item called the Golgothian Cylex and instructed him to give it to Urza, saying it has the power to end the war – conveying to him the information she coerced out of the Third Path member, Loran, years earlier during the siege of Tersia City.
It’s about this time that everything goes haywire as the mechanical armies on both sides went berserk. Gix, a Phyrexian demon who had been playing both sides from deep in the shadows, approached the pair. As he attempted to kill Tawnos, Ashnod intervened and allowed him to escape harm at the cost of her own life.
Meanwhile, on another part of the war-torn island, Urza, Mishra, and their respective armies meet one another face to face.
Suddenly, war machines on each side begin to attack one another as if it was every man and every machine for themselves. In the chaos, the brothers duel – their long-standing strife personal.
Urza, now old and tired, looks nothing like his brother. Despite their difference in age being a day less than a year, Mishra looks to be many decades younger – a difference that Urza finds unsettling and confusing.
Mishra, with his uncanny youth and strength, quickly gets the upper hand over his older brother and goes in for the final kill. But, just as he is about to use his ankh to slit Urza’s throat, a flame bursts from Urza’s mightstone, striking Mishra point-blank and tearing a hole in is abdomen.
That’s when Urza saw it.
What should be flesh, bone, and blood was nothing but machine. Mishra is no longer the brother he grew up with and feuded with ever since the fateful day with Tocasia a lifetime ago. Unbeknownst to Urza, Mishra had been betrayed by his own council – a council populated by the Brotherhood of Gix – and had been compleated by Phyrexia to be Gix’s personal pawn.
Mishra makes a temporary retreat and return to the safety of his own camp as Urza can only stare. Dumbfounded and grief-stricken at what had happened the person who was once his brother, the Lord High Artificer feels something change within him as he began to become acutely aware of just how damaging the decades-long war against his brother has been to not just the people caught it its wake, but to the land itself.
That’s when Tawnos catches up with him. Handing him the cylex, he informs Urza about the demon who had nearly killed him, then tells about its nature and how to activate it just as Ashnod had instructed him to. As he touched the ancient device he felt not just the power of the artifact, but of the land as well. More than that, he felt the mana the land provides – the force of true magic.
Knowing what he must do, he quickly sends his son, Harbin, off island and tells Tawnos to do the same with the artificer’s longtime apprentice taking shelter in an armored, coffin-like stasis chamber.
Meanwhile, Mishra was preparing the next phase in this ultimate battle against his brother. He fuses his heavily damaged body with that of Mak Fawa – the original dragon engine he had tamed while in servitude to the Suwwardi – becoming one with the Phyrexian beast.
Now a full terror lost to Phyrexia, the Mishra abomination returns to the battlefield and charges up the hillside where his brother waits.
There, Urza stands with the Golgothian Sylex in hand. He channels his very essence through the vessel. In an instant, a brilliant flash of light emanates from the very spot on which the Lord High Artificer stands as a blast of nuclear proportion decimates everything in its radius, obliterating the island of Argoth and everything on it – Urza, Mishra, and their forces.
Gix, who realized just in time that his grand plans were going off the rails, had already made a strategic retreat back to the portal to Phyrexia deep within the Caves of Koilos, ensuring his survival.
Urza perished. Mishra destroyed. Countless lives lost, including that of Urza’s son, Harbin, who was unable to escape the blast.
In the aftermath, Dominaria lay in ruins. And yet, a survivor exists.
Urza awakens as a planeswalker. He gazes at the charred remains of what’s left of the island of Argoth.
Looking at the sea, he gasps at his reflection. He looked not as he is, but rather as he was – as his younger self. But, perhaps most striking, were his eyes. Or, rather, what now served as his eyes, as the mightstone and meekstone now sat in their place.
Five years later, Urza opened Tawnos’ stasis-inducing coffin and awoke the artificer from his slumber. He then asked him for a favor: To return to Kayla and lie to her, informing her that her husband had perished in the war-ending cylex blast, and to look after her for him, assisting in the raising of their grandson, Jarsyl.
In agreement with his longtime friend, Tawnos returned to the mainland and lived with Kayla, helping her to raise Jarsyl, Harbin’s son and her and Urza and Kayla’s grandson.
As for what happens next for Urza, well, there’s quite a bit. If you’re interested, I recommend you check out our videos on the Urza’s block as well as the Invasion block. You’ll find them in Magic Untapped’s “retrospectives” playlist.
Thank you for watching this episode of “Who Is.” I’m Barry White.
If you’d like to support Magic Untapped and content like this, please toss a buck in our Patreon tip jar and remember to subscribe to Magic Untapped here on YouTube.