Zendekar: Discovery of the portal system.
For the history of Magic: the Gathering to date, only two groups of people have been able to planes walk. Of course, the Planeswalkers have been able to shift through the blind eternities, their sparks protecting them from the chaos of the place beyond space. Another group though, has been able to accomplish this goal, bypassing the blind eternities all together for many millennium now. These would be the Phyrexians, which most have forgotten because they have not been seen in any force for nearly a century, when the invasion was pushed back through the efforts of the Legacy. but their influence has been most recently seen on Mirrodin.
Phyrexians have used portals since Yawgmoth and Glacian learned the technology of the fixed portal linking the Caves of Koilos to the artificial plane of Phyrexia, from the planeswalker Dyfed. Since then, they have used varied portal technologies to reach varied portions of the multiverse with the goal of conquest. Some believe that they have flung their resources across the multiverse, not just Phyrexia, Dominaria, and Rath. The force of Phyrexia is believed to exist into the present, even beyond teh death of their demigod leader Yawgmoth. In fact some question if Yawgmoth is truly dead at all.
The Phrexians are now known to be returning in the recently filed Duel Decks: Phyrexia vs. the Coalition.
|Word Mark||DUEL DECKS : PHYREXIA VS. THE COALITION|
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|Filing Date||August 13, 2009|
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This confirms that the concept of Phyrexia will be returning, and we know that this plane is represented by at least one of the Plane cards in the new planechase product. Neither of these are expected to represent a great deal of new card product related to Phyrexia, nor a progression of the story line related to the Phyrexian threat. One has to ask, with Wizards taking so many steps recently to tie up loose ends in the pre-mending story line, and create a new frontier for development, why this sudden nod to the past?
Phyrexians may be the best known users of portal technology that most mages are familiar with, but it certainly is not the only time we have seen portals. The canon reveals that a fixed portal once existed between the Talon Gate of Dominaria, and some portion of Kamigawa, as touched on in my history of Nicol Bolas.
Another portal has been revealed to us in Magic's canon, one which I have reason to believe is more relevant in the short term. The plane of Ulgrotha (as explored in the Homelands expansion) brought to our attention the the Dwarven Gate, a portal located in the ruins of New Freedom, below Castle Sengir.
So why all the talk about portals anyway? The answer is many fold, but one thing all these gates are known to have in common (as desribed in varied canon sources), is that they are anchored, at least on one side by either a fixed or mobile "doorway" structure. An interesting pair of doorway structures have begun to appear in the artwork for lands recently, spurring discussion of their use as portal anchors.
It is believed that the soon to be explored plane of Zendikar, may be a hub for portal technology, linking it to many points in the multiverse. Vampires are a creature type which has been touched on with several occasions, but we have yet to see an origin point for vampires as a creature type. Zendikar, is known to have a strong tie to the Vampire creature type, and may well be the origin we have been waiting for. Zendikars portal sightings, and Vampires draw clear correlations to the long forgotten plane of Ulgrotha.
So what does this all have to do with the upcoming Duel Decks box set. The answer may be more simple, then you expect. Both the Phyrexians and the Consortium are organization, which like most groups in the multiverse, are made up primarily of non-walkers. The key difference to these two groups is they both are aware of the multiverse, nearly at it's highest levels, with an eye to exploit the multiverse to their own ends. In other words they both need ways to mobilize the majority of their personnel and assets around the multiverse, with out the constant assistance of planeswalkers. In suddenly becomes clear that these two groups are competing for portal technologies, either pre-existing, or the physical sites which allow them to be constructed.
Ladies and Gentleman, Magic the Gathering has entered the age of the Stargate.