Previously on Hipsters…

In our last articles, Rich and I have summarized pre-2020 story beats that we found important to grasping the scope and stakes of the story of Phyrexia: All Will Be One (and March of the Machines). In the rest of this summary, I move quickly through the plot points of the past two years to get us all up to speed on the developments most necessary to understanding what’s happening in the coming Magic sets! In this article, we pick up the story where I left off last time, Karn has returned to Dominaria after the War of the Spark, and we are returning to Theros to check in on Elspeth in the underworld…

Mending Era, Year 61: Theros; Kaldheim; Kamigawa

On Theros, the mysterious planeswalker Ashiok has been tormenting Elspeth in the underworld, haunting her with visions of Phyrexians. These nightmares galvanized Elspeth’s resolve, and she set out to escape the underworld, successfully using the power belief has on Theros to punish Heliod and return to life. With Ashiok’s fresh images of Phyrexians burned into her mind, Elspeth planeswalked away to seek answers about her childhood.

After the War of the Spark, the planeswalkers of the multiverse dispersed throughout the planes. Kaya, a new member of the gatewatch, is hired by an anonymous source (later revealed to be Tezzeret) to hunt a monster on Kaldheim. The monster turns out to be the Phyrexian praetor Vorinclex, who has managed somehow to travel from New Phyrexia. Vorinclex escapes Kaya, and in the chaos sewn by the trickster Tibalt, steals sap from the plane’s World Tree, and escapes back to New Phyrexia.

Kaito, a planeswalker on Kamigawa, is looking for his long lost childhood friend, the Emperor, when he discovers the planeswalker Tezzeret and the Phyrexian praetor Jin-Gitaxias experimenting on the plane’s kami. Aided by Tamiyo, a moonfolk planeswalker, Kaito finds the Emperor, though Tamiyo is captured by Jin-Gitaxias and subjected to a process that Phyrexianizes, or “compleats” her.

Mending Era, Year 62: New Capenna; Dominaria; New Phyrexia

Elspeth wanders the Streets of New Capenna, ostensibly her home plane, though it little resembles the Phyrexian horrorscape she remembers. In her search for answers, she becomes embroiled in a city-wide conflict over the mysterious Halo, a potent essence derived from angels, which had once been the key to repelling a Phyrexian invasion. Alongside Vivien Reid, she stumbles upon Tezzeret, who is assisting the rebellious praetor Urabrask in working to undermine the grand designs of New Phyrexia’s new Mother of Machines, Elesh Norn.  While saving the young, nascent angel Giada, Elspeth acquires the sword Luxior, which is infused with angelic power.

Back on Dominaria, Karn believes he has made a breakthrough with the Sylex, but the forces of the praetor Sheoldred bury him in the Caves of Koilos for months. While Karn is buried, Sheoldred infiltrates the world’s kingdoms with sleeper agents. Karn, Teferi, Jaya, Jodah, and Ajani Goldmane work with the world’s leaders and the new crew of the Weatherlight to flush out sleeper agents and rally against Sheoldred, but their success comes at great cost. As Karn battles a resurrected, compleated Ertai, he tells Ajani the location of the Sylex. Ajani, now a sleeper agent, kills Jaya, destroys the Sylex, and with Sheoldred, kidnaps Karn and escapes to New Phyrexia.

Meanwhile, on New Phyrexia, Tezzeret takes Karn’s disassembled body to the core, where Elesh Norn awaits. There, they behold the growing tree, Realmbreaker, born from the sap taken from the World Tree of Kaldheim. Elesh Norn keeps the disassembled Karn with her in the core, and sends Tezzeret back to Dominaria.

In the aftermath, the remaining heroes, including Jodah, Teferi, and some new arrivals – Saheeli Rai, Elspeth, Kaya, and Wrenn – construct a copy of the Sylex and attempt to send Teferi’s spirit through time to the days of Urza in hopes of learning how Urza used the device to end the Brothers’ War. While they defend Urza’s Tower, the base for Teferi’s voyages through time, from Tezzeret and the remainder of Sheoldred’s forces, Jodah councils Elspeth on her power, and they strain to repel the invading Phyrexian force. Despite his superior position, Tezzeret spares Elspeth and Jodah, hinting, as he did on New Capenna, that he is working against Elesh Norn’s plans from the inside.

With the attack quieted, other planeswalkers prepare to venture to New Phyrexia in the hope of rescuing Karn and Ajani. After conversing with Urza, Teferi learns that the secret to using the Sylex is a meditation, devised by Hurkyl, to fill the Sylex with the soul of the land. Just then, however, the powerstone that energized the temporal anchor that served as a beacon for Teferi’s return to the present imploded, stranding him somewhere in time. Kaya resolves to do the best with what she saw through Teferi’s encounters, and Saheeli and Wrenn stay behind in hopes of repairing the anchor and restoring Teferi’s spirit.

Looking Ahead

This spring, what is perhaps Magic’s longest narrative arc will come to an end. Years of character development and narrative allusions are finally being given their payoff, and new characters and worlds are being introduced in provocative new ways. Wizards has hinted at big changes to come – how will the story resolve? Will any more characters permanently meet their end? Or will the heroes find a way to save everyone?

I suppose we’ll find out soon enough – Until then, let us know what you think on twitter!

Key Story Links

The stories linked below contain plot information relevant to the story of Phyrexia: All Will Be One. They are the primary sources for the information presented above, and are provided here for your convenience (Happy reading!).


“Travelers”, by Roy Graham and Jenna Helland

“The Battle for Kaldheim”, by Roy Graham and Jenna Helland

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty:

“Lies, Promises, and Neon Flames,” by Akemi Dawn Bowman

“The Break In,” by Akemi Dawn Bowman

“Threads of War,” by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Streets of New Capenna:

The Side of Freedom,” by Elise Kova

Hymn of the Angels,” by Elise Kova


A Garden of Flesh,” by Lora Gray

Dominaria United & The Brothers’ War:

Echoes in the Dark,” by Langley Hyde

A Whisper in the Wind,” by Langley Hyde

Nemesis,” by Reinhardt Suarez

The Dark,” by Reinhardt Suarez

As Cruel As Necessary,” by Miguel Lopez and Jeff Grubb

“Exodus,” by Reinhardt Suarez

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