25, Mar, 23

MTG Players Mourn Gruesome Fate of Phyrexian Praetor

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Although the new MTG set March of the Machine is still not due to be released until mid-April, its story is currently in full swing with new chapters getting published online daily.

The plot of March of the Machine has been proceeding at a dramatic pace, and the MTG multiverse has been forever changed thanks to Realmbreaker, the Phyrexian’s “invasion tree” linking Magic’s planes.

The Bolas arc, Magic’s previous major storyline, was criticized, by some, for being too shy about killing characters off. Only a small number of named characters actually died in War of the Spark, the Bolas arc’s climax, which some MTG fans felt lessened the stakes.

March of the Machine, in contrast, has been killing off beloved, and not so beloved, characters in just about every chapter. One character’s grisly end shocked the community. This is the story of the death of Urabrask.

Who Was Urabrask?

Urabrask the Hidden

Every color of mana is represented by a Praetor in the world of New Phyrexia. These Praetors act as the leaders of the plane’s various factions. Urabrask, the Hidden was Phyrexia’s Red-aligned Praetor he and his followers, known as the Quiet Furnace, created weaponry and reforged one another’s synthetic bodies within the blistering heat of the plane. While perhaps not a hero, Urabrask was possibly the least malevolent of the Phyrexian praetors. Unlike Elesh Norn, who is intent on Phyrexianising everything that exists, Urabrask coexisted uneasily with the population of Mirrodin and did not seek to compleat them all. Urbrask led a rebellion against Elesh Norn and actively supported Chandra, Wren, and a squad of Mirran rebels in their attempts to reach the invasion tree and burn it down.

What Happened To Urabrask?

In the story The Last To Leave, written by K. Arsenault Rivera and published on the 23rd March 2023, Urabrask met with a decidedly Gruesome Fate. Captured after his collusion with Chandra and her allies, Urabrask is bound to a wheel and tortured by Elesh Norn and her minions. The physical pain Urabrask endures reduces him to “a howling pile of sinew” and he is ultimately chopped into quarters and carried off.

This was a very grizzly death and it has startled many.

Community Reactions

MTG Fans have taken to social media to mourn the death of the beloved Vermillion Phyrexian.

A thread dedicated to the deceased Praetor reached the front page of the Magic: the Gathering Subreddit. The thread is filled with tributes to Urbrask.

Blights4days writes: “I’ve never been more sad about a villain dying D:

He was our beloved. The Gatewatch are nothing, he’s the real hero. Red is my soul color, Urabrask is red at its soul. Long may he reign.”

TJwell writes: “Koth will repair him. That’s what I’m telling myself while I refuse to read any more lore until I die.”

A Case of Wasted Potential?

Red Sun's Twilight

Some are concerned that Urabrask was killed too soon, and that the Red Praetor was far more interesting alive than dead. Many feel that Urabrak’s empathy and willingness to live alongside non-compleated life forms provided some important nuance and complexity to the Phyrexians.

In the aforementioned Reddit thread, the user dIoIIoIb writes: “Strangely, I feel like the praetors have ended up being the weakest part of the whole story

urabrask got done dirty, vorinclex is literally a big dog and jin gitaxias role in the story is tugging at elesh norn skirt and going “come oooonn, stop wasting tiiiime, we’re laaaate, come on mum, we’re gonna arrive late, let’s goooo” like a kid that wants to go watch a movie but mom is on the phone and won’t get the car keys.

elesh is the only one that has gotten anything close to a satisfying arc, at the moment”

These views are echoed by hurtlingtooblivion, who writes: “Yeah it was such a waste. They had all this subplot brewing with him. Then he showed up with Koth et al, and I thought here we go. Urabarask has entered the chat, sleeves rolled up and ready to rumble. Finally.

Very next mention of him. Dead.”

A separate thread entitled “How Urabrask was wasted” also made it to the front page of Reddit.

Warningtvtropes, the user who started this thread, writes: “We could have had not only a unique character but an actual moral quandry on whereas it is possible to co-exist with some form of Phyrexia. Instead, we have the definition of wasted potential.”

Whether players are sad that Urabrask is gone, or frustrated that he didn’t get to do more it’s clear that this is a character who had some admirers in the MTG community.


While this may be the end of Urabrask’s life he might still have a role to play in Magic’s story, or at least his body might. Given their synthetic nature, Phyrexians are capable of recycling and reusing each other’s components. Some fans are speculating that Elesh Norn will construct a new body for herself using components from the other five Praetors, in the process, providing us with a powerful 5 color Legendary Creature card. Whether this theory comes to pass and the Phyrexia Arc ends with a climactic showdown between an Angelic Elspeth and Elesh’s Norn’s final form, or Urabrask simply remains dead isn’t yet known. What is known is that this Phyrexian Praetor will be sorely missed.

Read more: MTG March of the Machine Key Planeswalker Card Spoiled!

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