The next magical collection’s biomechanical nightmare was inspired by the classic graphics of hell

In Magic: The Gathering, the Phyrexians are the kind of bad guys who don’t want to kill you because they’d rather remake you. Sure, recasting might kill you, but that’s not the point of it. The goal is to strip away everything you thought you were and turn you into a twisted mirror image, becoming the thing you hate. Swings and carousels, really.

They’re the bad guys you fight once, and then the second time around they come at you with the faces of your friends and family between their ranks. They’re the Borg from Star Trek, but they’re also tyrants from the 40K, cenobites from Hellraiser, and zombies from everything, all thrown together and wearing a trendy new hat.

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Magic’s next expansion set, Phyrexia: All Will Be One (Opens in a new tab)Then, they travel to New Phirixia, the plane they have remade to their liking. Physical horror has a clear influence on the group’s art. Phyrexians absorb their former enemies through a process called “growing”, perfecting their targets while also absorbing them into their larger biomass. It begins with an infection by means of a shiny oil that alters the body and distorts the mind, and ends with a surgical modification that fuses flesh with metal.

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