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MTG: Lore of the Multiverse – Urabrask, the Traitor

4 Minute Read
May 3 2024

No one expected a Praetor to lead a rebellion against Elesh Norn, but the traitor Urabrask was not a typical Praetor.

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.

Red is the color of impulse and freedom, two concepts that are the opposite of typical Phyrexian ideals. It’s no surprise, then, that the Red-aligned Praetor Urabrask would be a thorn in Elesh Norn’s side. He was still devoted to “The Great Work”, as he called Yawgmoth’s plan, but his style of compleation was much different from that of his fellows.

When the angelic avatar Atraxa was made, Urabrask was the only Praetor who chose not to contribute. He was integral in the eventual overthrow of Elesh Norn, and while he didn’t help the Mirrans directly, he certainly didn’t hinder them.

The Hidden Dissent

Urabrask was born under the influence of Mirrodin’s Red Sun, and it greatly influenced his personality. Settling in the Furnace Layer of New Phyrexia, he was opposed to the hierarchal systems set up by Elesh Norn and the other Praetors. Early in his rulership of the Furnace, he closed it off from the other rings.

Even the Mirrans that came to the Furnace were mostly ignored, as Urabrask respected their freedom to live as they chose. He pitied them because he did believe that compleation was in their best interest, but he didn’t outright destroy or subjugate them as his brothers and sisters did.

Eventually, Elesh Norn tired of his resistance and laid waste to the Furnace Layer. She blamed the Mirrans settling there as her reason for attacking, but Urabrask knew the truth. The Mirran resistance fled into the mountains, and Urabrask and his Phyrexian followers fled deeper into the Furnace Layer. This only fed the flames of Urabrasks hatred of his fellows and would be the catalyst for his future rebellion.

The Heresy of Halo

Urabrask was not the only enemy of Norn amongst the Phyrexians. The Planeswalker Tezzeret wanted a way to turn the tables on Norn and found a willing ally in Urabrask. He had heard Elesh Norn talking about a fear of the Planeswalker Elspeth and the mysterious substance Halo. Luckily, both could be found on the plane of New Capenna, so Tezzeret used the Planar Bridge to send Urabrask there.

The Planar Bridge decimates Urabrask’s body, tearing apart his biological parts. He barely survives and retreats into the shadowy alleys of the city. When he heals fully, he modifies his body to be more streamlined and battle-ready, adding a pair of blades to his arms and modifying the heat vents on his back.

While on New Capenna, he learns that Halo can innoculate non-Phyrexians against Phyresis, though it cannot reverse it. He meets the green-aligned Planeswalker Vivien Reid, and tasks her with bringing him both a source of Halo and Elspeth. Though it isn’t confirmed, it’s entirely possible Urabrask’s influence was the reason the Phyrexians failed.

Art by Chris Rahn

Freedom vs Phyresis

When Urabrask returned to New Phyrexia, he and his followers took the fight to Elesh Norn. He allied himself with the Steel Thanes that opposed her rule, as well as his own Iron Legion. As such, he took little part in the Realmbreaker Invasion. While he did not assist the Mirrans directly, he did not oppose them and helped distract Norn’s forces from their attacks. When Chandra, Wrenn, and a host of Mirrans worked to overtake the Realmbreaker, Urabrask assisted them in the journey.

When he was finally captured by Norn’s forces, he was quartered by her minions. However, when they had removed all his limbs, the vengeful Elesh Norn told them to stop, leaving his core intact and alive. Whether or not this was enough to kill him is unknown, but with New Phyrexia divided from the Multiverse, we’ll likely never know.

Only One Praetor Remains! Stay tuned for more MTG Lore!

Author: Clint Lienau
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