Eldrazi

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The Eldrazi are an ancient race native to the Blind Eternities that have neither physical form nor color alignment. Their nature is ceaseless hunger, so they travel between planes devouring the mana and life energy until the plane’s destruction. Three Eldrazi titans were bound on Zendikar in aeons past: Emrakul, Ulamog, and Kozilek.

Interdimensional nature[edit | edit source]

It is unknown whether more titans exist elsewhere in the multiverse. [1] Each Titan lives outside of the planes. When one wants to feed, it extends a part of its "body" into the plane, to create a physical manifestation of itself there, as well as an army of drones that are extensions of its body and will.

The Spirit Dragon Ugin compared this to a man sticking his hand into a pool of water; the man is the Eldrazi Titan, and the water is a plane. The fish--those who dwell on the plane--see only a part of the man--his hand. Likewise, the inhabitants of a plane can see only a part of each Titan. Even if the Titans appear to be independent beings, their physical forms are just part of a greater entity outside the plane. The same is true for every drone that the Eldrazi had created; they are all just part of the Titan that made them.

Creature type[edit | edit source]

The Eldrazi were introduced as a creature type in Rise of the Eldrazi, and returned in Battle for Zendikar. Some of the cards were reprinted in Modern Masters 2015 [2] and Duel Decks: Zendikar vs. Eldrazi [3]. The Eldrazi from the original set all featured the annihilator mechanic.

Spawn[edit | edit source]

Spawn is an additional creature type for some Eldrazi tokens. The 0/1 Spawns are colorless and have the ability to be sacrificed for {C}.

Drones[edit | edit source]

Below the colorless Eldrazi of Rise of the Eldrazi are smaller Eldrazi Drones that are aligned with colored mana. Those of Battle for Zendikar, though still requiring colored mana to cast, have devoid and are therefore colorless.

Scions[edit | edit source]

Scion is an additional creature type for some Eldrazi tokens. Similar to Spawns, Scions are colorless and have the ability to be sacrificed for {C}, but unlike Spawns they are 1/1 instead of 0/1. [4] Scion means “descendant”. [5][6]

Processors[edit | edit source]

Processor is an additional creature type for some Eldrazi, introduced in Battle for Zendikar. Each one has an ability that requires you to put your opponent's exiled cards into their graveyard for some effect. [7] During design, this mechanic was known as "Digest" or "Process". [8]

Description[edit | edit source]

Anatomy[edit | edit source]

Though each lineage has a distinct anatomy, each of them seem to have a commonality. A proboscis located somewhere near a joint acts as a feeding tube, attaching to a subject and draining them of life. Eldrazi proper and their infant spawns have no color alignment and the mere presence of larger Eldrazi can cause reality to dissipate. However, Eldrazi Drones born to serve the larger base species are often aligned, being few examples of the creatures that are colored. Eldrazi drones, while formidable, are not as powerful as their larger counterparts and do not have the Annihilator ability.

  • The progeny of Ulamog are characterized by having a bony mask over their heads, being completely featureless. They also possess writhing tentacles in addition to their aforementioned bisecting arms.
  • The lineage of Emrakul are perhaps the most bizarre of the Eldrazis, possessing a strange lattice-like flesh composition and being of unnatural hues (predominately of bright purples, blues and reds). Like the lineage of Ulamog, many possess tentacles seemingly for no real purpose. They have no discernible sensory organs and many do not possess conventional forms.
  • Those born from the lineage of Kozilek have multiple eyes all over their body (curiously, rarely on the head) and have large, black jagged plates that float around them. They are also characterized by bisecting arms which they share with the Ulamog lineage.

Gender

While the Eldrazi are genderless, lack apparent biological sex, and evidence no awareness of the concept of gender, the question of their gender, or at least proper pronouns, is a recurring topic among players.[9][10] Arguments for gendered pronouns rest largely on comparisons to the Zendikari deities they inspired, and on dimorphism between the broods.[11][12] The issue has been further muddied by inconsistent pronoun use in official sources. In particular, Emrakul has been referenced by male, female, and neuter pronouns.[13][14][15] The most recent official sources on the matter are cards from Battle for Zendikar and a blog post by creative director Doug Beyer, which agree on the use of male pronouns for Ulamog and Kozilek and female pronouns for Emrakul.[16][17][18]

Intelligence[edit | edit source]

While in general unfathomable, the telepath Jace Beleren managed to communicate with a conceptualization of Emrakul within his mind while on Innistrad. The conceptualization acknowledged that she did not really realize that the telepath existed, and that what he had seen was an attempt of his mind to conceptualize something that could not be understood otherwise.[19] It is unknown if the other two Eldrazi Titans had similar means of expressing themselves.

Movement[edit | edit source]

Eldrazi are known to follow leylines to move on a plane's surface. [20]

Means of plane consumption[edit | edit source]

The Eldrazi have various means of consuming planes, that vary among broods and situations.[21]:

  • Ulamog and his brood leave off a white, coral skeleton like substance.
  • Emrakul and her brood known to leave off yellow dust, and seemingly convert the landscape into flesh and bone. [22]
  • Kozilek and his brood leave behind formations that closely resemble bismuth crystals.

If too much of a plane is consumed it will break apart in a flash of light. [23]

Lineages[edit | edit source]

Main article: Eldrazi/lineages

Storyline[edit | edit source]

Three against three[edit | edit source]

Millennia ago three planeswalkers, Sorin Markov, Ugin, and Nahiri, decided to rid the Multiverse of these terrible creatures. Ugin told them that it wouldn't be a good idea to destroy them and instead helped them imprison the Eldrazi on the plane of Zendikar..

Imprisonment[edit | edit source]

The Three decided to force the Eldrazi into physical form and trap them on a plane, sacrificing that plane for the well-being of the Multiverse. They searched for a plane with lush ecosystems and uniquely dynamic mana—a powerful lure for the Eldrazi's insatiable hunger. They decided on Nahiri's own Zendikar. Sorin Markov lured the Eldrazi to the plane, directing their hunger to that unique mana, Ugin used his invisible breath to combat the Eldrazi and his colorless magic to bind them to the plane, and Nahiri had constructed a massive network of stone hedrons, whose power would form the bars of a planewide prison, forever preventing the Eldrazi from leaving.[23] Ugin arranged the hedrons to direct leylines of energy, which were not to be disrupted.

The planeswalkers concentrated the power of their imprisonment spell in a secret location deep inside Zendikar's mountains of Akoum: a subterranean chamber called the Eye of Ugin. To make sure that the imprisonment would not be broken, the three planeswalkers sealed the chamber with a mystical lock: the Eye of Ugin could only be reactivated by the presence of three planeswalker sparks—and the colorless, invisible breath of Ugin, the spirit dragon himself. The planeswalkers' trap worked. Emrakul, Ulamog, and Kozilek manifested in physical form on Zendikar, became confined by the magic of the network of hedrons, and thanks to the magic of the imprisonment spell, sank into harmless dormancy. Their mission complete, the planeswalkers disbanded and left the plane.

The first awakening[edit | edit source]

Several centuries passed, and the dormant Eldrazi’s hunger grew. Their prison proved tenuous, and they came close to breaking free. They awakened and legions of lesser Eldrazi Drones once again appeared: the Brood Lineage. [24] They wreaked havoc upon Zendikar, consuming its mana and massacring its inhabitants. But they were unable to return to their original form and so were unable to leave Zendikar. The Three returned and re-imprisoned them, agreeing to meet again should the Eldrazi stir once more.

Rise of the Eldrazi[edit | edit source]

And now, thousands of years since they last fed on the plane, the Eldrazi stir once more. The meeting of Sarkhan Vol, Chandra Nalaar and Jace Beleren in the Eye of Ugin chamber loosened the bonds that kept the Eldrazi in torpor, and they now rise to feed on the life of Zendikar again. Across the plane, the dormant stone hedrons come to life, changing or combining into bizarre superstructures, bending the laws of nature around them. A new generation of the brood lineages shudders into existence around their colossal progenitors, and the carnage is immediate. Each of the three colossal Eldrazi spawns its own "brood lineage." The three brood lineages are composed of Eldrazi drones and other subordinate beings, each reflecting the image of its progenitor. This time only Sorin Markov finds himself on Zendikar, and in the absence of his companions, he allies with the elf planeswalker Nissa Revane to combat this great danger. Nissa's plans abruptly changed from what Sorin had expected. Instead of helping Sorin reinforce the spell containing the Eldrazi, she shattered the main Hedron and released the enchantment imprisoning the titans. Nissa thought the titans would flee, that they would leave Zendikar far behind them. She was wrong, and Sorin washed his hands of her and the entire plane, choosing to go about his own business once more since Nissa wouldn't heed his instructions.

Battle for Zendikar[edit | edit source]

Nissa took up the fight, and was joined by Chandra Nalaar and two new planeswalkers: Gideon Jura and Jace Beleren. With the help of the merfolk Jori En, they studied the leylines between the hedrons and rallied the Zendikari troops against the brood of Ulamog. [25] The four planeswalkers realized that they were helpless against large threats on their own, but that they could stand against just about any force in the Multiverse by working together. Thus they swore an oath to stand together and the Gatewatch was created. [26] Seeing that he could not keep his promise to Ugin to neither harm the Eldrazi nor allowing them to escape from Zendikar, Jace decided to slay the Titans with the Gatewatch's and Kiora's help. After consulting with Nissa, he described the Leyline pattern to her that would bind Kozilek and Ulamog to Zendikar, drawing the bulk of the Titans into the plane so that their energy could be dispersed into Zendikar, killing them in the process. To attract them, the remaining forces of Zendikar's defenders would pose as a bait.[27]

While the plan worked at first, with Gideon keeping the Eldrazi swarms away from the army, Kiora clearing out any other swarms and Chandra supporting them, once the Eldrazi titans were anchored to Zendikar, their destructive essence threatened to assimilate Zendikar into themselves. Afraid, Kiora tried to persuade Nissa to release the Titans and allow them to flee, but Jace objected. Chandra offered to burn the Titans instead and after preventing Kiora from attacking Nissa, Jace agreed. The pyromancer then connected with the animist, allowing her to channel her pyromantic magic through Zendikar's Ley Lines directly into the titans. In one brilliant blaze of flame, Ulamog and Kozilek were incinerated and destroyed, leaving only ashes raining from Zendikar's sky.[28]

Meanwhile, Emrakul has left the plane for destinations unknown. Later, it arrived on Innistrad after being summoned there by Nahiri in a misguided attempt at revenge on Sorin.

Tribal - Eldrazi[edit | edit source]

Rise of the Eldrazi featured four Tribal - Eldrazi cards, which were cheaper to cast with an Eye of Ugin in play:

Tokens[edit | edit source]

Token Color Type P/T Additional Rules Source
Eldrazi Spawn Colorless Creature — Eldrazi Spawn 0/1 Sacrifice this creature: Add {C} to your mana pool.
Eldrazi Scion Colorless Creature — Eldrazi Scion 1/1 Sacrifice this creature: Add {C} to your mana pool.
Eldrazi Horror Colorless Creature — Eldrazi Horror 3/2
Eldrazi Colorless Creature — Eldrazi 7/7 Annihilator 1
Colorless Creature — Eldrazi 10/10

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Like planeswalkers, colorless Eldrazi (including those with devoid) have transparent card frames, allowing the art to run all the way to the border.
  • The idea of the Eldrazi as timeless alien gods worshiped by ancient cultures bears similarity to the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft, which included extraterrestrial "gods" that would potentially destroy the realm of humanity, and warp time and space as they enter this universe.
  • Eldrazi was featured as rules card 2 of 5 in the Rise of the Eldrazi set.
  • Eldrazi Displacer, a Kozilek spawn, is the only Eldrazi with White in its mana cost.
  • One of the Eldrazi, Ulamog was featured on the Battle for Zendikar of Arena of the Planeswalkers expansion as an unpainted creature figure and the first "legendary" creature in the game. Ulamog's figure is notable for being much larger than any other figures in the game.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. James Wyatt 2016, "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Zendikar". Perfect Square Edition, p.18
  2. Gavin Verhey. (May 5, 2015.) “Reprise of the Eldrazi”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Blake Rasmussen. (August 17, 2015.) “Duel Decks: Zendikar vs. Eldrazi”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Wizards of the Coast. (September 23, 2015.) “Battle for Zendikar Release Notes”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater. (February 25, 2016.) "Why don't Scion of Darkness and Scion of the Ur-Dragon have the Scion creature type?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  6. Mark Rosewater. (February 25, 2016.) "All those Eldrazi Scion tokens you printed in this block would like to have a word with you.", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  7. Matt Tabak. (August 31, 2015.) “Battle for Zendikar Mechanics”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Sam Stoddard. (September 18, 2015.) “Developing New Mechanics in a Returning World”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Doug Beyer. (July 21 2014.) "Actually, I have a question about Emrakul...", A Voice for Vorthos, Tumblr.
  10. Mark Rosewater. (September 24 2015.) "Do Eldrazi have genders???", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  11. Charlotte Sable. (March 26 2013.) "Gender of the Eldrazi", Ask a Magic Judge, Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater. (July 18 2014.) "FYI I believe most vorthoses...", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  13. David Sutcliffe. (September 2 2011.) “Feature: Spectacular Tentacular”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Wizards of the Coast. “Eaters of Worlds”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Gavin Verhey. (May 19 2015.) “Modernchantress”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Processor Assault. "Ulamog's processors trail behind him, converting ruined matter into furious energy."
  17. Vestige of Emrakul. "Emrakul has not been seen in months. Though her brood's numbers have dwindled in her absence, each drone is still a deadly threat."
  18. Doug Beyer. (September 24 2015.) "So whats the deal the Eldrazi titans having genders now?", A Voice for Vorthos, Tumblr.
  19. Ken Troop. (July 27, 2016.) “The Promised End”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Ari Levitch. (July 6, 2016.) “Campaign of Vengeance”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Battle for Zendikar World Building Panel
  22. Jenna Helland. (March 31, 2010.) "The Battle of Fort Keff", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast. [dead link]
  23. a b Kelly Digges. (October 29, 2014.) “The Lithomancer”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  24. James Wyatt. (May 13, 2015.) “Stirring from Slumber”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Kimberly J. Kreines. (November 18, 2015.) “Hedron Alignment”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  26. James Wyatt. (February 3, 2016.) “Oath of the Gatewatch”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Kelly Digges. (February 10, 2016.) “Brink of Extinction”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Doug Beyer. (February 17, 2016.) “Zendikar's Last Stand”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Emrakul Spawn Token
  30. Kozilek Spawn Token
  31. Ulamog Spawn Token

External links[edit | edit source]