MTG legend hints that fan-favorite villains will return

Patrick Dane
Nicol Bolas and Elesh Norn from MTG in one header

MTG Head Designer Mark Rosewater spoke to us at MagicCon: Barcelona and hinted that the universe’s biggest villains will return. 

MTG houses many iconic villains throughout its over three-decade history. The universe is almost always at threat by some overarching evil requiring the Planeswalkers to save the day. Heliod, The Eldrazi, Olivia Voldaren, and Ob Nixilis all spring to mind as notable villains throughout the story of Magic.

However, that list misses off the two biggest threats to the universe – Nicol Bolas and the Phyrexians. The problem is, in recent years, both have been dealt with fairly conclusively. 

At the end of War of the Spark in 2019, multiplanar threat Nicol Bolas was banished to the Meditation Realm. He was stripped of his spark and his name, looked over by his brother Ugin with escape seeming impossible

Just recently, the MTG universe also contented with the Phyrexians in a universe-spanning offensive. However, due to the interjection of Karn and other Planeswalkers, the war failed and the Phyrexians were obliterated. 

However, as hinted at by Magic: The Gathering Legend, Mark Rosewater, this likely isn’t the end of MTG’s biggest threats.

“I doubt we will never see the Phyrexians again”

This weekend we attended MagicCon: Barcelona and got the chance to sit down with Rosewater. One of the areas we explored was the state of the MTG universe after the invasion of the Phyrexians. However, with them now vanquished fairly definitively, it asks the question, will we ever see them again?

“Once upon a time, Urza destroyed every trace of the Phyrexians across all the universe and like, ‘oh wait, he missed one drop of oil’, and then the universe almost died,” explains Rosewater, hinting that the nightmares have previously returned from dire odds before. 

“Honestly right now, the Phyrexians have been answered with, but the idea that the Phrexians, we are completely done with them, you know – same with Nicol Bolas. [Sarcastically] ‘He’s locked away, what could possibly happen?’, so.”

The Phyrexians were possibly the biggest threat the universe has faced to this point.

“I mean, Elesh Norn might be done, but I think if we see more Phyexians someday it will be a different faction of Phyrexians. They’re awesome villains. I do doubt we will never see the Phyrexians again – but not soon.”

Obviously, March of the Machine has left the MTG Universe scarred as many Planeswalkers have been desparked, meaning they’re stuck in their current location. If a multi-planar threat was to attack right now, it would be difficult for Magic’s most popular heroes to help out. However, that makes that threat even more daunting. 

It’s not clear when we’ll see the likes of the Phyrexians or Nicol Bolas return, however, it seems, it’s a question of when rather than if right now.  

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