Since When Does Phyrexian Oil Function that Way?

Lore forum

Posted on March 30, 2023, 8:23 p.m. by DemonDragonJ

I have not yet read all of the stories for March of the Machines, but I saw flavor text that stated that the destruction of new Phyrexia caused all glistening oil to lose its potency, which completely goes against everything that was established in the story for decades.

A single drop is sufficient to infect a plane, and that is what infected Mirrodin; each drop is like a virus that spreads; it does not need a central hub to function, which is why Phyrexia is so terrifying and unstoppable, so why did WotC change that central aspect of the lore?

TheoryCrafter says... #2

In the story, the surviving planeswalkers speculated that Elesh Norn manipulated the oil to be able to work as a beacon usable only by her. So when that beacon was disconnected, it shut down all the Phyrexians.

March 30, 2023 8:54 p.m.

Delphen7 says... #3

I was wondering this too, and found that when Yawgmoth was defeated, the Phyrexians all shut down as well. After some time Karn accidentally brought the oil to Mirrodin, where it started doing its thing again.

Now Elesh is gone, and the Phyrexians shut down. It is seems possible for the remaining oil to eventually reactivate and the Phyrexians to rise again.

March 30, 2023 9:09 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #4

TheoryCrafter, that was not a very intelligent thing to do, so why would Norn do that?

March 30, 2023 9:22 p.m.

TheoryCrafter says... #5

Delphen7, I'm not sure Yawgmoth's Phyrexians shut down as much as they immediately went into a depressive state after witnessing their God die right in front of them.

DemonDragonJ, Hubris.

March 30, 2023 9:34 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #6

Oh so it's the "hivemind trope". Wonderful. The single laziest writing trope in history.

You know, I thought when a Phyrexian bled, they bled oil. So how is close quarters melee combat and literally eating these things not infecting everyone around it?

March 30, 2023 10:36 p.m.

AstroAA says... #7

TypicalTimmy WotC needs to find a way for the good guys to win. I'm so sick and tired of it. I really wanted WotC to do a soft reboot of the MtG story - the good guys win, but it's a pyrrhic victory and nearly everyone save for maybe one or two main characters are dead. That way we get new characters and the like...

...but noooooooooooooooo WotC had to do the laziest deus ex machina ever and here we are. The MtG story hasn't been the same in at least 10 years. It's stupid.

March 30, 2023 11:43 p.m.

legendofa says... #8

Eldrazi out. Bolas out. Phyrexian out.

I'm going to say

  • 70% brand new big arc villain by 2025

  • 28% one of these comes back into power by 2025

  • 2% no villain, planeswalkers just chilling, back to 2005 when the planes were self-contained stories.

March 31, 2023 12:04 a.m.

Icbrgr says... #9

I'm all for that %2 TBH

March 31, 2023 12:36 a.m.

Gleeock says... #10

You mean they could make "tales of adventure"? Or just mysteries of magic without the constant cosmoswide battles?

March 31, 2023 12:55 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #11

But but but

Jace bad now

There's your next ultra mega gigachad villain folks.

March 31, 2023 1:28 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #12

Nah, I honestly suspect we will see some more one-shot stories to help simmer things down.

Probably go to Kaya's world where the "sky is breaking". Probably wrap up Liliana's arc. See how Ajani is doing after he got cured.

I have a feeling in about a year or two we will return yet again to Ravnica / Innistrad / Zendikar in order to see the aftermath of what happened.

If I had to bet money on the next BBEG, it would honestly be Niv-Mizzet. I mean consider the following:

  • He witnessed the guilds wage war across the whole of Ravnica after Experiment Kraj or whatever it was called was released
  • Along with the release of the Nephilim
  • He watched the world crack when Jace, the Living Guildpact said nah f this and yeeted
  • He watched the Eldrazi invade during Gatecrash (I think?)
  • He watched Bolas invade with the Dreadhorde
  • Then he learned that all of this was to blame because of Planeswalkers

Now, his world is being destroyed yet again, because of those who exist outside of it - once again

If anyone deserves the title of the next multiversal threat, it's Niv-mf'ing-Mizzet.

And the best part? You could legitimately sympathize and emphasize with him. You can only watch your home be destroyed so many times before you rise up to protect it.

So while the rest of the multiverse sees a wrathful Dragon raging across their worlds, hunting down Planeswalkers and technology to destroy it all... We see a broken man, trying to protect those he loves.

Look me in the eyes and tell me that isn't a brilliant multiversal threat.

March 31, 2023 1:39 a.m. Edited.

TypicalTimmy says... #13

Niv-Mizzet, Nemesis

Artwork borrowed from Niv-Mizzet Reborn

I was tempted to add deathtouch, giving him stronger potential to destroy permanents. However, I felt that did not really fall in-line with him, physically. Instead I made him a huge 7/8.

I was also considering adding lifelink, but he's got so much going on for him right now that he doesn't need it. He's also meant to be a tragic nemesis, so he should be killing himself trying to protect his homeworld. Adding lifelink sort of circumvents that narrative.

March 31, 2023 2:19 a.m. Edited.

Niko9 says... #14

One of the best things they could probably do with the story at this point is a massive step back to kind of reset both antagonists and the power levels of the protagonistwalkers. Like, establish that basic things are still a threat, be it something like a Godo, Bandit Warlord or Lovisa Coldeyes gaining power and influence, an Underworld Breach that releases wandering spirits, or just a hatching of an ultra aggressive dragon generation. I think after so many high stakes stories it would be responsible to spend a little time saying, yeah, but these hero's haven't outgrown the fact that smaller threats are still threats, and they can actually be overwhelming to deal with.

I guess I just don't think that the story right now needs a new baddie, what it needs is a way to lay the groundwork for a future one. It's time to open some doors, see what the fans like, and then scale back up later : )

March 31, 2023 8:09 a.m.

Gleeock says... #15

Honestly, the new-guard megawalkers should be facing a 'walker mid-life crisis' of sorts or facing the old vampire conundrum of running the risk of disconnecting from reality a bit. You don't even need to always have typical protagonist/antagonist stories all the time.. That's where all this trite story originates.

Lets just have some stories of exploration, mystery (Ixalan had some of that & many loved it), even human interest stories. I feel like many planeswalkers would try to get closer to "the ground" or some of these 'low-level' events if not just to keep their sanity at this point, which may even manifest as avoiding high-level, cosmos altering magic.

1) A planeswalker takes a step back, tries to play advisor to a monarch in all this aftermath. Low-level conflicts without 'goodguy vs badguy'

2) Planeswalker quest to reconnect with their humanity that goes the exploration route, "antagonists" would just be random obstacles along the way.

3) A "lost & found" story.

4) I personally want to see a story that shits on any more "time manipulation" as that needs major punishment, both mechanically (in the game), & lorewise. I keep saying would be the way to go, make some extra turns punishment with some panache with "butterfly effect" vibes in mind. Make a story that introduces paradox/entropy as a major limitation to all the magic being spewed around, especially time travel. Heck maybe TypicalTimmy's Niv-Mizzet, Nemesis could contract a prankster-type planeswalker to do this thing.

etc... lots of new angles to take after this last mega-event

March 31, 2023 9:04 a.m.

Gleeock says... #16

Also, the Phyrexians & their oil has been wildly inconsistent or at lest ill-defined for awhile now... It is one thing I don't like about them as antagonists.

March 31, 2023 9:52 a.m.

sean360 says... #17

Having read both the original story and this one, I'd say it was well done. People's complaints seem to be generalized, and I wonder if they actually read the story?


Not only was Elesh Norn in charge of the "signal" sent out via phyrexian oil, but when Wrenn fused with Realmbreaker she literally pulled Zhalfir out from waaaaay father out in the universe where none of our planeswalkers have ever managed to travel to switch its place with Zhalfir. So in addition to Elesh being dead, even if someone else could pick up that signal, the plane of New Phyrexia was essentially pushed out to the edge of the universe farther than any known planeswalker has ever traveled. It wasn't lazy writing or another trope, it was pretty well done and made for an interesting story. It also aligned with what happened in the original story, when Yawgmoth was defeated all the phyrexians he controlled went inert because someone needs to actually manipulate the oil to provide the phyrexians with thought/sentience.

It weirds me out that so many people read story summaries, or just see cards, and then say "they story sucked/was lazy writing" but never actually read it?

March 31, 2023 11:14 a.m. Edited.

Gleeock says... #18

Wasn't the oil doing its thing still with Yawgiedaddy dead for awhile though? Or was it controlled Karnstuff at that point? All the cornfusion & winding nature of this seems to be compelling reason for a refresh.

The rest of the story may be good, but the hivemind trope is pretty lame

March 31, 2023 12:38 p.m.

TheoryCrafter says... #19

Each of the Praetors act too individually to be a Hive mind. The disconnect between Elesh Norn & the glistening oil and the subsequent shutting down of all the Phyrexians seems to act more as a sort of dead man's switch.

March 31, 2023 1:01 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #20

I believe the original intention was for Norn to be the ex post facto "leader" by essentially being a pronounced zealot toward The Argent Etchings, with Shelly, Jin and Vor basically being her tools. Each having their own unique way of going about their duties, but their duties being to serve Elesh Norn.

However, Urabrask sought his own true path, almost retaining an identity. Ultimately this is why he was recently killed.

The problem is, I think writers lost sight of this and forged identities and motives for Shelly, Jin and Vor. They never should have been fleshed out. That defeats their purpose.

Although, perhaps from a narrative perspective, it could be used to claim how and why they were able to be defeated. Because they lost sight of the bigger picture.

March 31, 2023 10:03 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #21

"...but noooooooooooooooo WotC had to do the laziest deus ex machina ever and here we are. The MtG story hasn't been the same in at least 10 years. It's stupid."

Jace made direct mental contact with an Eldritch Horror in a previous storyline. You know, the things that the entire point is that contemplating their mere existence drives you insane.


I would argue that after that, this is only the second laziest deus ex machina.

April 1, 2023 12:41 a.m.

Gleeock says... #22

Haha, right?! I always thought you generally don't want to connect your logic-driven & flexible mind directly to the largest fountain of insanity in the multiverse. Fair point, that was higher on the lazy scale.

April 1, 2023 12:59 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #23

I'm saying it.

I've seen a slowly growing trend in media where fan fiction takes over established lore. And no I won't cite examples; I'm far too lazy for that.

But I will cite a few prime examples because I guess I'm a hypocrite?

Just one. Take a look at the new Scooby Doo that completely upended every single character for her multi-million dollar therapy session. Decades, literal decades of established lore and history thrown out the window for what... Some cringe worthy Redditer's wet dream of a fan fiction fantasy? I mean that's essentially what it was. Childish hogwashed garbage.

We give people with zero artistic ability and no writing skills the keys to storytelling and instead of investing the time to learn the characters and lore to do their continuation properly, they Cliff Notes the Wikipedia articles, claim how they are such a huuuuge fan and then vomit out some narcissistic superiority complex that has literally nothing to do with anything established, other then sharing the names and general appearances of the characters in question; Assuming the characters in question weren't just gender and / or race swapped for virtue signaling points. And the worst part is, because it was published, it's officially recognized canon lore from now on, unless someone pulls a Jurassic Park and just goes "Yeah, no JP3 didn't happen." (pls no I actually liked JP3). But you get my point.

It's pathetic and disgraceful.

Companies need to stop hiring talentless "talent" to do their work, so that we stop ending up with garbage like hand waves to nearly all recent MTG stories THIS

April 1, 2023 1:11 a.m. Edited.

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