In Magic: The Gathering, the Phyrexians are the kind of villains who don’t want to kill you because they’d rather recreate you. Sure, the remaking process can kill you, but that’s not the point. The point is to take away everything you thought was yourself and turn you into a twisted mirror image and become the thing you hate. Swings and roundabouts, actually.

It’s the villains you fight once, and the second they come at you with the faces of your friends and family in their ranks. They’re the bailiffs of Star Trek, but also the tyrants of 40K, the cenobites of Hellraiser, and the zombies of everything, all thrown together and sporting a fashionable new hat.

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Magic’s next expansion set, Phyrexia: everything will be one (opens in new tab), travels to New Phyrexia, the plane they rebuilt to their own liking. Body horror is a clear influence on the art of the set. The Phyrexians assimilate their former enemies through a process called “compleating”, perfecting their targets while simultaneously incorporating them into the greater biomass. It begins with an infection via glistening oil that mutates the body and warps the mind, and ends with a surgical procedure that combines flesh with metal.

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By wy9m6

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