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MTG: Lore of the Multiverse – Sheoldred, the Shadow of Yawgmoth

5 Minute Read
May 10 2024

It takes great ambition to rise from a simple grub to the highest seat in the Steel Thanes. Luckily for Sheoldred, she was forged from it.

Welcome, Praetors and Planeswalkers, to our ongoing series about the people and places that help make MTG incredible. From great heroes and deadly villains to gorgeous locales and important events, the Multiverse constantly evolves to keep the game fresh. Even if you don’t know anything about the story, all the background drives your favorite cards from place to place. You can check out all the previous MTG goodness over here.

Black is the color of ambition and sacrifice and the color of mana closest to the original Phyrexian ideal. Therefore, it makes sense that the Black-aligned Praetor Sheoldred would be the closest to Yawgmoth’s original belief. She quickly rose to the top of her order of Phyrexian warriors, and she was easily one of the most successful Praetors.

Unfortunately, her strict adherence to Yawgmoth’s ideals put her at odds with Elesh Norn, and resulted in her death. Still, her impact on the Multiverse is undeniable, and it’s easy to believe that the Phyrexians might have succeeded with her at the helm instead of Norn.

Master of Subterfuge

Sheoldred was born under the influence of Mirrodin’s Black Sun, and was infused with pure Black mana. Since Black was the closest color to Yawgmoth and the original Phyrexia, Sheoldred believed herself above her fellows. She was the most cunning of all the Praetors, even more so than Jin-Gitaxias. Unlike the other Praetors, she rarely acted directly, preferring to use subterfuge and shadow tactics.

She settled in the Dross Pits, as one of the Seven Steel Thanes, seven powerful Phyrexians infused with Black mana. However, she quickly rose to the top, and converted the Dross Pits into a massive arena. Power in Mephidross was given to the strong, and there were none more powerful than Sheoldred herself.

Sheoldred was a massive monster, with a humanoid torso attached to a serpentine body. She wasn’t bound to the lower body, and was able to slither around in her “newt” form when needed. However, she rarely left her massive mechanical body behind, going so far as to speak through the body’s horrible maw rather than her own mouth while attached.

An Army of Sleepers

Like the other Praetors, Sheoldred was sent to another plane to establish a foothold and learn more about Planeswalking. However, because Norn feared her more than any of the others, she sent her on an impossible mission into the heart of Dominaria, where even Yawgmoth had failed. When Sheoldred arrived, her body was devastated by her travel through the Planar Bridge, and she crawled into the Caves of Koilos to heal. However, as luck or fate would have it, she wasn’t alone on the plane.

Rona, a young artificier and leader of the Phyrexian-aligned Society of Mishra, found her in the cave and nursed her back to health. When Karn discovered the sleeper cell, Sheoldred and Rona very nearly defeated him, forcing him to retreat. Once she was restored with the body of a Dragon Engine, she set her plan in motion.

Sheoldred and the Society were not idle and had kidnapped several key figures across Dominaria to compleat. However, these individuals did not realize the process had been done on them, believing they were still themselves. When Sheoldred was ready to commence her ultimate plan, the Phyrexian Sleeper agents awoke and attacked the loyal Dominarians. The impact was felt everywhere, as those who did not submit were slain. Even the powerful Planeswalker Jaya Ballard was killed when she was thrown from the Mana Rig by the compleated Planeswalker Ajani. Had it not been for the swift actions of Teferi to hurl himself back in time, Dominaria would have lost all its greatest warriors. With the Planeswalker Ajani and the body of Karn in tow, Sheoldred returned triumphantly to New Phyrexia.


Freedom vs Phyresis

When she returned to New Phyrexia, Sheoldred had brought several of the most powerful enemies of Phyrexia to heel. Teferi had vanished, Karn was returned to New Phyrexia, and several of the Gatewatch Planeswalkers were under Phyrexian control. However, as Elesh Norn took her place at the head of the Phyrexian Invasion, Sheoldred began to resent her more and more. The oneness that Elesh Norn preached was discordant with the original plan of Yawgmoth, and Sheoldred could not stand for it. Joining with Urabrask and the other Steel Thanes who opposed Norn, she struck at the porcelain Praetor.

Unfortunately, Norn’s influence on New Phyrexia was too great. She had amassed enough power to exert her control over the compleated Planeswalkers, and Sheoldred and the Thanes were no match for her forces. Sheoldred was separated from her Dragon Engine and subsequently beheaded by Ajani, the very planeswalker she’d compleated in the first place. Sheoldred didn’t live to see her vindication, but without her influence, the schism between the other Praetors grew wide enough for the Alliance to defeat Norn in the end.

That’s all for the Praetors! What Lore would you like to see next?

Author: Clint Lienau
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