Yawgmoth

Yawgmoth

Yawgmoth is a character from the trading card game .

In the fictional multiverse of Magic: The Gathering, Yawgmoth, known as the "Father of Machines" and called the Ineffable by his underlings, is the unabated god of the plane of Phyrexia, a world of untold corruption and mechanical monstrosity. He wields nearly unlimited magical might and commands infinite hordes of twisted creatures known as Phyrexians. Throughout a large portion of the Magic storylines Yawgmoth and the Phyrexians are the ever-present evil adversaries, opposed by a wide range of protagonists both mortal and otherwise. The greatest concentration of information on Yawgmoth's origin and early life is chronicled in J. Robert King's novel, "The Thran." Yawgmoth is portrayed as a kind of medical madman, more concerned with proving his methods and theories than actually curing the illnesses he is called upon to remedy.

Early life

Yawgmoth was born a normal thran on the world of Dominaria during the reign of the technologically advanced Thran empire, about 5000 years before the birth of the inventor Urza. He was banished for his unorthodox beliefs regarding diseases and healing, but returned to the capital city of Halcyon to treat Glacian, the renowned engineer and inventor, who was suffering from an unknown illness after being attacked by an exiled leper named Gix. Yawgmoth strikes a chord as a natural antagonist from the very start, and though he was in origin a Priest his ways went towards an unnatural fascination with the mechanics of the body. This fascination led to experiments with plagues and poisons, several of which caused widespread death among the various races that he had visited. Yawgmoth's obsessions would later become a kind of bio-mechanical religion, phyresis, mirrored in the metal realm of Phyrexia.

Yawgmoth was successful, however, in diagnosing the cause of Glacian's ailment; radiation from the numerous magic-charged powerstones that fuel the might of the Thran empire. Glacian was especially affected by the ailment because he managed the facility that produced them, and had been stabbed with a powerstone fragment when his facility was attacked by a mob of rejects of society known as Untouchables. These Untouchables were themselves severely affected by the sickness that Yawgmoth had discovered, which is why they had been exiled to the caverns beneath the city. Yawgmoth then used his knowledge and healing skills as a means to dominate the people of the empire, on the promise of curing the illness he dubbed phthisis.

Though for the most part he is detached from the gentler emotions, when called upon to heal the Thran genius Glacian he becomes enamoured of Glacian's wife Rebbec. His charm and generosity in caring for her husband and advancing the interests of the empire win her over. She is somewhat blinded from seeing the dark truth about him and his intentions for her and the empire. Not until the end does she discover that Yawgmoth is actually slowly killing Glacian by drawing his soul and essence into a powerstone implanted in his withered body.

Yawgmoth learned about other planes of existence from , a powerful wizard known as a planeswalker. Dyfed took Yawgmoth to a living mechanical plane that was diminishing due to the death of its creator, an ancient dragon and planeswalker. Under her guidance, Yawgmoth bonded with the plane and made it his. After learning all he could from Dyfed, Yawgmoth used his twisted technology to subdue her and gave her to his scientists to study. Her living brain and body were carefully dissected, but Yawgmoth was not able to steal her ability to traverse the planes. But despite his lack of the special planeswalking ability, he was confident that he would eventually be able to spread his sinister religion across the multiverse.

Founding of Phyrexia

Yawgmoth built upon the newfound world and renamed it Phyrexia, the ultimate incarnation of his vision of phyresis. Using the magical resources of this world, his research expanded and he built an army of once-human warriors, twisted and warped into purely lethal monsters.

Yawgmoth would return to Dominaria after establishing Phyrexia to launch a campaign of revenge against the Thran empire. Motivated mostly by the acquisition of power, Yawgmoth sought to encompass all of Dominaria in his grasp and convert it to his will. The ensuing conflict would become known as the Thran-Phyrexian war, and would rage across the known world.

Yawgmoth's eventual defeat came with the sealing of both himself and his followers in Phyrexia, at the climax of hostilities between his followers and the people of Dominaria. Using the powerstone containing Glacian's soul, Rebbec closed the portal between Dominaria and Phyrexia to prevent Yawgmoth from achieving his goal of dominating his homeworld. Yawgmoth's philosophy became more and more bent on the enhancement of the human body in his exile, and he became obsessed with using mechanical means to strengthen the human biostructure. He explored the depths of his new powers, and the depths of his own depravity, using his followers as guinea pigs. The Phyrexians, as they were called, became more rusting machine and monster than human, and the Phyrexian religion, dedicated to the worshiping of Yawgmoth and his concept of "grand evolution", effaced any traces of humanity within the realm. The flesh was seen as a form of mortal frailty, merely a starting point, and in the process of "evolving" a Phyrexian became more and more mechanized, more and more deadly.

Yawgmoth then lived in the Ninth Sphere of Phyrexia for 9205 years, methodically fusing himself with the plane. Still bent on avenging himself upon Dominaria, Yawgmoth engineered vast armies of Phyrexians - perfect war machines grown in flesh vats and sculpted into unspeakable abominations - and planned his Invasion and eventual return to Dominaria.

The powerstone sealing the gate to Dominaria would be later broken by the artificers Urza and Mishra in The Brothers' War, leaving the portal open for Yawgmoth's long awaited attack.

Yawgmoth and the Brothers' War

The war between Urza and was the catalyst for Yawgmoth's release. The brothers fought over Glacian's powerstone, and it split in two, allowing some of Phyrexia's evil to seep back into Dominaria. Mishra became a devout worshipper of Yawgmoth and used Phyrexian war machines in battle. The war eventually ended in a massive magical explosion, which destroyed both armies and caused Urza to ascend to planeswalker status. Even after his victory over Mishra, Urza would forever blame Yawgmoth for his brother's corruption and would become the greatest foe of Phyrexia.

Urza, now a planeswalker himself, would become the greatest force in opposition of Yawgmoth's planned invasion, and over the course of four millennia he would frustrate and ultimately defeat Yawgmoth's plans of unquestionable domination.

Urza crafted a set of artifacts known as the Legacy to combat Yawgmoth. These were created with various powers and abilities and were designed to evolve into a powerful force for Dominaria's defense. He also manipulated the bloodlines of several Dominarian warrior nations to create his champion, Gerrard Capashen.

Phyrexian Invasion

After ages of long preparation, Yawgmoth sent legions of his Phyrexians into the plane of Dominaria, and the human defenders could do little to hold them back. The crew of the airship Weatherlight joined in on the attack and closed a portal linking Phyrexia and Dominaria. This, however, was only phase one. The next step in Yawgmoth's plan was to cause the artificial plane of Rath to overlap Dominaria, combining the two worlds and bringing millions of Phyrexians from to Dominaria, an instant invasion. The second stage of the Invasion caused major losses for the Dominarian defenders. Worse yet, Dominaria lost its two most powerful and effective defenders to Yawgmoth's evil deception. At a crucial point the hero of the war, Gerrard Capashen (leader of the Weatherlight crew), pledged himself to Yawgmoth in order to restore life to his fallen love, Hanna. Urza Planeswalker, driven mad by the dark glory of Phyrexia, also pledged himself to the Phyrexian god in his delirious state.

Yawgmoth amused himself by forcing the two former allies to fight to the death. Gerrard eventually defeated (and decapitated) Urza, but eventually broke free of Yawgmoth's control and escaped back to the Weatherlight with the severed but still living head of his planeswalker mentor. He then prepared his crew for one final charge against Yawgmoth.

Yawgmoth arrived in Dominaria in godlike form, as a corrupting cloud of black magic that killed millions and brought untold numbers of the rotting dead back into life. Beset from all sides, Urza and the Weatherlight crew hatched a desperate plan: harvest the white magic energy that the artificial satellite known as the Null Moon had collected for millennia, and focus it through the Weatherlight's weapons, pure white magic against pure black magic. The Null Moon's mana injured Yawgmoth, but was not enough to finish him off.

The only option left to the crew of the Weatherlight was to unlock the full potential of the artifacts of the Legacy, primarily Urza's powerstone eyes which contained Glacian's soul, Gerrard himself, bred to be the ultimate warrior, the Weatherlight, and the silver golem Karn. The result was an explosion that rivaled the one that ended the brothers' war. The blast annihilated Yawgmoth and infused all the Legacy artifacts with Urza's life force, turning Karn into a planeswalker. Despite tragic losses, through the sacrifice of the greatest heroes Dominaria was saved.

In later times, rumors lingered regarding whether Yawgmoth was truly gone. With Phyrexia in ruins and Yawgmoth's energies scattered across the planes, his survival doesn't seem likely...but nothing is impossible where this dark god is concerned. During the Onslaught story cycle, the goddess Karona briefly makes contact with a force claiming to be the remnant of Yawgmoth, but the circumstances make it impossible to be certain.

Yawgmoth as a Literary Character

Yawgmoth provides a very engrossing antagonism to the nature of the Magic world, as his nature is entirely unnatural. He is a sterile and mechanistic creature, and though originally a devotee of biological medicine he becomes a cultist of a movement to machines of which he views to be clearly superior. Yawgmoth abandons any admiration he once had for the flesh, and comes to abhor mortal flesh as well as mortal emotion as fatal flaws. Yawgmoth and his vision of ascension are entirely opposite to the organic and natural world of Dominaria, and his somewhat "scientific" and coldly objective philosophy of dominion is diametrically opposed to the romantic idea of "Magic." As a developed villain, Yawgmoth is perfectly engineered to suit his role in the story.

External links

* [http://www.phyrexia.com/continuity/Yawgmoth.shtml Encyclopedia Phyrexianna - Yawgmoth]
* [http://www.yawgmoth.com/ Yawgmoth, band named after the Character]
* [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/arcana/503 Article on Yawgmoth's Symbol]


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