Wurm

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Wurms in Magic are traditionally large limbless terrestrial reptiles. These wurms have an endoskeleton, reptilian scales or plates, and a saurian head similar to a dragon's. [1] [2] They may be aligned with any color of Magic, but most are wholly or partially green. Over the years and sets Wurms have evolved in Magic into more of giant Worms. [3] Most wurms are forest dwellers. They are preternaturally hungry and relentless when pursuing their prey.

Origin[edit | edit source]

Wurms trace their origin to the Elder Dragon Wars, during which the vastly powerful Elder Dragons that were defeated were stripped of their power, limbs, and wings, thereby becoming the Elder Land Wurms. The Elder Land Wurms are the forbears of all other wurms.

Types[edit | edit source]

Wurms from different planes can have vastly different morphologies, especially in their head and jaw anatomies.

Alara[edit | edit source]

Upon Alara, the wurms occupy the lower reaches of Jund where they displayed a behavior more akin to dragons than normal. After the Conflux, the wurms were pressed into the service of Bant as living siege engines. [4]

Jund's most powerful wurms are known as charnelhoard wurms. These wurms are covered in countless spikes to ward off enemies. A charnelhoard wurm's head is similar to a dragon's with an angular skull and similar placement of the eyes and mouth. Charnelhoard wurms will eat anything they can, and keep a hoard of rotting corpses that they eat whenever they are hungry--this tendency is what earns their name. These wurms are powerful opponents, and can grow to a size that is larger than some dragons.

Another type of Alaran wurm is the gorger wurm. These originated in Jund, but appeared all over Alara after the Conflux. Gorger wurms are not as large as charnelhoard wurms, and are far more common. They are called gorger wurms because of their huge appetite; the more they eat, the larger and more powerful they become. They have a long, thin body with a rust-like coloration. Large bone plates protect their heads. They have several rows of small, vestigial legs net to their head. The legs serve little purpose, except to help drag them across the ground. After the Conflux, Bant enlisted gorger wurms to use in battle.

Dominaria[edit | edit source]

Elder land wurms[edit | edit source]

Elder Land Wurms are creatures of immense power that are the descendents of the original Elder Dragons. During the Elder Dragon Wars, the surviving victors of the war went on the spawn the races of the Lesser Elders, dragons, drakes, and viashino. The losers of the war, the Elder Land Wurms, were stripped of their power and even their limbs, and became the ancient ancestors of modern-day wurms. These beasts might have been stripped of most of their power, but they are still fearsome opponents. A thigh bone of one such creature was found – along with four dead Craw Wurms and a Craw Giant Chieftain – at the site of the supposed last battle of the Ironclaw Orcs. Elder Land Wurms have the bodies, heads, and tails of dragons, but their limbs and wings are missing. They have small, vestigial limbs that replaced their wings. Elder Land Wurms often lie dormant; they sleep a lot because their immense bodies require a huge amount of food.

Craw Wurms[edit | edit source]

Craw Wurms are one of the more common types of Wurms. One was summoned by the Kieryn Elves while fighting against the Calthyn Elves in the White Woods of Corondor. Also, corpses of four such wurms were found at the site of the last great battle of the Ironclaw Orcs. A craw wurm's head is similar to that of a dragon's--it is long and angular, with fins at the back. Craw wurms live in forests on Dominaria, and have dark green scales for camouflage. They do not, however, use the camouflage for hunting. When chasing their prey, they make a loud crashing sound. This sound echoes off nearby trees, seeming to come from everywhere at once, which confuses and terrifies the prey.

Johtull wurms[edit | edit source]

These bizarre creatures looked nothing like any other kind of wurm, having strange, flattened heads and insect-like limbs. They appeared on Terisiare during the Ice Age. One of them killed Zillegeth of Clan Ruby. Johtull wurms are huge, but they are not very maneuverable; when attacked by a group of enemies, they can be defeated more easily. Two types of johtull worms exist: the first type lived during the Domainarian Ice Age and adapted to cold weather. The second type is suited to a warmer environment.

The first type of johtull worm has a while body with light blue streaks to blend in with the snow, because it lived during the Ice Age. Its body stored a lot of fat to survive the cold weather. Its mouth was wide and flat, with thin, straight teeth to pierce animal hide. It had small eyes on the side of its head. Unlike other wurms, the Ice Age johtull wurm had limbs at the front of its body to grab prey, as well as small pseudopods to move through snow and across slippery surfaces.

The second type of johtull wurm lived in warmer conditions than that which existed during the Ice Age. Its body was long and segmented, with a rough texture. Their bodies were light brown in color. Similarly to the first type, they had wide, low mouths, but their teeth had become shorter and less needle-like. Most noticeably, they lacked limbs.

Sukurvian wurms[edit | edit source]

Deadly wurms from the Sukurvian Desert located in southern Jamuraa.

Otarian wurms[edit | edit source]

Otarian Wurms look a lot like Craw Wurms, except for their flattened mouths. Some of them are known to possess metamorphic abilities. Others have begun a symbiotic relationship with Otaria’s insects.

Scaled wurms[edit | edit source]

It is said that these creatures embody the worst of the Ice Age on Dominaria. They also existed on Dominaria outside the Ice Age period. A very large Scaled Wurm known as Rhindle terrorized Kjeldor during the last few decades of the Ice Age. Scaled wurms have long, sinuous bodies, with an angular head, similar to that of a dragon. The neck is protected by several long, thin horns protruding from the back of the head. Many smaller spikes protrude from the wurm's jaw. Their bodies are protected by bright green scales--it was said that just one of their scales could be used as a roof for a human dwelling. The mouth is protected by a beak-like formation of bone, which allows the wurm to rip its prey apart before eating it.

Scoria wurms[edit | edit source]

These wurms are huge creatures that live in the volcanic rivers under Shiv. The average scoria wurm has three sets of jaws., each of which has a row of small, sharp teeth. Scoria wurms are able to produce a loud ululating sound, which is likely because of their multiple sets of jaws. A scoria wurm's interior glows with a fiery light. It is unknown whether this is because of internal fire, or if the scoria wurm is bio-luminescent on the inside. The scoria wurm's body is long, flexible, and sinuous, covered by a layer of dark blue scales. The body has long lines along the side that glow red. Scoria wurms are very strong, but their behavior is unpredictable--while fighting with other creatures, they may flee at random. So far, this erratic behavior has not been identified and remains a mystery.

Trench wurms[edit | edit source]

Trench wurms are strange-looking, three-pointed-beak wurms. As these wurms do not look typically Phyrexian, but they were nonetheless deployed in the battle at the Caves of Koilos, it is possible that these were transplanted by Yawgmoth from another plane. The trench wurm has a long, thick body made up of segments. Each segment is pale and smooth on the bottom, with a black top covered in thin, needle-like spikes. The wurm's mouth is a beak with three points. The top point of the beak is the largest, with the other two points acting as scoops to consume land and prey. The trench wurm's mouth is empty, with a wide throat that allows it to eat huge objects. The trench wurm is so called because of its use by Yawgmoth: they would devour the land, creating vast fields of trenches to deter enemy forces. They could also eat the ground around enemy command bases and cities, undermining them so they would fall apart.

Water wurms[edit | edit source]

These creatures seem very out of place among the other wurms, for they are the blue wurms and are very small compared to the others. It is likely that they are just misnamed worms. [5] Water wurms were common in the seas of Dominaria, especially around the time of the Dark Age after the Golgothian Sylex blast. Water wurms (or worms) are agile swimmers--they are hard to catch and kill while in water. A water wurm's body is dark brown, similar to that of a typical worm. Its body is made of many ringlike segments, and is somewhat flat. Its mouth is round, with long, thin teeth surrounding it. This indicates that the teeth evolved to grab and puncture prey. The water wurm also has two thin, flexible tendrils on either side of its mouth, which could either be for sensing its environment or to grab prey.

Innistrad[edit | edit source]

Innistrad wurms are warped manifestations of green mana.[6]

The wurms of Innistrad feast on graveyards, full of bodies ripe for their gullets. Four species of wurms exist on Innistrad: the boneyard wurm, gravetiller wurm, pathbreaker wurm, and soul swallower.

The boneyard wurms feed on graveyards. They seek out corpses wherever they can be found. They are capable of eating meat that would be too rotten for almost anything else to digest; they would rip rotting corpses out of graveyards, strip the body of meat, and leave a pile behind. Boneyard wurms get their name from the fields of excavated bones that they make near graveyards. Physically, the boneyard wurm is long and slender, with an angular, horned head. Their size varied considerably, because those that lived near graveyards were far larger than those that had to live off of dead creatures in the wild.

The gravetiller wurm is a species that had not been seen on Innistrad before the rise of demons. It has been described as a malevolent, primordial force that came "as though waking to watch the slaughter [of the Innistrad humans]." Gravetillers were so called because they thrived on bodies that had recently died. They would look ofr fresh graves, tear the body out of the ground, and feed on it. Similarly to boneyard wurms, gravetillers were far larger in areas with many deaths.

The pathbreaker wurm, unlike the boneyard and gravetiller wurms, did not specifically eat bodies. Pathbreaker wurms were fairly common across Innistrad, often dwelling in forests. Pathbreaker wurms were less malevolent and feared than the other Innistrad wurms. Some inhabitants of the plane actually learned to ride the wurms, using them as massive weapons against the demons and other dark forces. Pathbreaker wurms had heavily armored heads, with no visible eyes. The armor allowed the pathbreaker wurm to act like a living battering ram, and their riders could use them to trample enemies.

The soul swallower is arguably Innistrad's most powerful species of wurm. They have soft, purplish bodies that are protected by dark, smooth plates that resemble stone. Soul swallowers have no visible eyes, but they are still able to sense prey. Their teeth are long and flat, which allows them to cut their prey up inside their mouth. The soul swallower's most unique characteristic, however, is the plethora of etherial arms that constantly reach out of its mouth. These are the spirits of those whom the soul swallower has devoured. They are used to fuel the wurm's insatiable hunger. Soul swallowers will eat as many animals and people as they can, in order to become more powerful.

Mirrodin[edit | edit source]

Slagwurms[edit | edit source]

Slagwurms are the largest type of wurms on Mirrodin. These creatures lived in the Tangle on Mirrodin. They are known to dig huge tunnels. They compete for nesting ground around the Radix. Slagwurms all have large heads covered in natural armor plating; as a result, they have small, weak eyes. The people of Mirrodin made armor from slagwurm plating. The armor was tough and effective, and cheap and easy to make, as long as the armor of a slagwurm was on hand.

Several types of slagwurm exist: the engulfing slagwurm is known for devouring its prey whole, and is capable of eating basically any type of creature. Plated slagwurms are giant creatures--they are even larger than engulfing slagwurms--covered in defenseive plates. Their plates can deflect almost any type of attack. The roaring slagwurm is the smallest type of slagwurm on Mirrodin. It is, however, capable of killing many smaller creatures easily. Its roar can disable nearby machines for a short time.

During the Phyrexian invasion of Mirrodin, the Phyrexians compleated several types of wurms. At first, they created the wurmcoil engine, a mechanical type of wurm with no living flesh. It The wurmcoil engine was equipped with fast-acting toxins that could easily kill most creatures; the engine could also harvest the flesh from its victims, feeding the Phyrexian cause. If the engine was about to be destroyed, it could separate into two parts as a method of escape. One of the segments held the engine's toxins, while the other harvested living matter.

As the Phyrexian invasion progressed, Phyrexia started to compleat Mirrodin's living wurms. The Praetor Vorinclex enjoyed compleating living slagwurms; the quilled slagwurm was one of Vorinclex's creations. Vorinclex removed the wurm's teeth to make it a more efficient killer. The wurm would simply swallow its prey whole, rather than chew it up first. The quilled slagwurm was a compleated version of the plated slagwurm; it lost its armor plates, which drastically changed its appearance, and allowed it to move faster, but made it more vulnerable to attacks. The massacre wurm was the first example of this; it was most likely some type of slagwurm at first--possibly a decayed roaring slagwurm, judging by its size--but was improved. The massacre wurm's very presence rotted and drained all life near it. The massacre wurm was one of Phyrexia's most powerful creatures, and one of its best examples of compleation.

Ravnica[edit | edit source]

The wurms of Ravnica most often are found wreaking havoc in the Gruul wilds or have been trained by the Selesnyan Conclave. [7] [8] The Golgari have also been known to raise wurms as zombies.

The Selesnya Guild uses worms as living weapons; they cover the wurms' heads in giant metal plates, turning them into battering rams. The siege wurm and armada wurm are both Selesnyan, as is the massive autochthon wurm, one of the largest creatures on Ravnica--second in size only to the worldspine wurm. The autochthon wurm is so long that it was said that it took an entire day to walk from its head to its tail.

The Gruul Clans used three types of wurms to wreak havoc: the ruination wurm was a giant creature capable of easily wreaking a building. The streetbreaker worm was lightly smaller than the ruination wurm, but was no less destructive; it would burrow underground, before bursting onto the surface and causing massive destruction. The streetbreaker was more segmented than the ruination wurm, with an angular, draconic head. Finally, the Gruul used the battering wurm. This species was segmented, similarly to the streetbreaker, but it was more insect-like; it had small, vestigial legs on some of its segments.

The worldspine wurm is the largest species of creature on the entire plane of Ravnica. Worldspines are not associated with any Guild; they are extremely rare, and are too powerful to tame. Worldspine wurms, besides being able to pulverize entire districts of Ravnica, are nearly impossible to kill. They can survive being cut into multiple pieces; the pieces can simply grow into more worldspine wurms. The worldspine has a unique physiological feature among wurms on Ravnica: rather than having a two-part mouthpiece, the worldspine has a round mouth ringed with teeth. Each segment has its own mouth, so each segment can theoretically consume food if the segment in front of it is removed.

Zendikar[edit | edit source]

The wurms of Zendikar vary widely in size; some of them are smaller than many other wurms, while others are massive.

Whiptails are the smallest type of Zendikari wurm. A whiptail has a red, slender body with rows of small ridges on the top; the ridges near the wurm's head are larger than the rest. The whiptail has a set of two primary fangs--for killing its prey--with many other smaller teeth, for gripping prey. The whiptail lives encased in solid stone, usually in the Akoum mountains. Because of this, it is excellent at sensing prey from a long distance. According to Jalun, an Affa sentry, "Measuring that distance has been...difficult." The whiptail is a belligerent creature; it attacks whatever it things it can kill. It attacks by bursting out of the ground and using its long tail was a whip to smash the prey against nearby terrain.

Another common type of Zendikari wurm is the vastwood gorger. The gorger is a massive species that lives in Oran-Rief, the Vastwood. Gorgers have huge, powerful bodies capable of devouring large creatures whole. They are called gorgers because of their massive appetite; a single gorger can devour large areas with ease. All of the gorger's vital organs are housed in its head. The rest of the wurm's colossal body is a chain of many stomachs that digest the huge amount of food that the gorger consumes. The vastwood gorger's mouth has four mouthpieces, which surround an extended throat. They function as "arms" to hold on to the gorger's food while it eats. The mouthpieces surround the throat, which has its own secondary mouth, with small teeth.

The broodhunter wurm is one of the smaller species of Zendikari wurm. This species has only recently appeared on Zendikar; its appearance coincides with the Eldrazi onslaught. The species aggressively attacks any Eldrazi nearby. The broodhunter has the same type of mouth as the vastwood gorger: four mouthpieces surrounding an extended, external throat. One theory is that the broodhunter is simply a subspecies of the vastwood gorger, created by the Roil to fight the Eldrazi. This would explain how it prioritizes Eldrazi as its main prey. While the broodhunter is smaller than the gorger, it is possible that it evolved that way to increase its stealth, a trait important in hunting Eldrazi.

Another evolution of the vastwood gorger is the canopy gorger. This type of wurm has a similar size to the vastwood gorger, but it has adaptions that allow it to live in the treetop canopies of Zendikar. The canopy gorger's body is more flat than the vastwood gorger's, and the mouthpieces around its mouth aren't as long. While the vastwood gorger has a long, interior mouth that protrudes from its head, the canopy gorger's mouth does not extend past is face. The canopy gorger's body is more flexible than the vastwood's, and is more flat--this gives it more surface tension to hold on to the trees in which it lives. Because the canopy gorger's skin has to be more flexible, it is slightly less tough than the vastwood gorger's hide, but it is still capable of resisting a lot of punishment.

The pelakka wurm is the pinnacle of the gorger family. It is one of the largest types of wurm on Zendikar--its size is matched only by the novablast wurm. The pelakka wurm has an insatiable appetite, and will eat anything it wants, including some of Zendikar's largest creatures. The pelakka wurm's body is shielded by segments of tough yet flexible plating that allows it to move through the forests with ease. Its head is crowned by at least four large eyes that allow it to see at any time of day. Like all other gorger wurms, its mouth is surrounded by a ring of arm-like mouthpieces that grip prey. Its mouth is round and large enough to swallow some creatures whole.

The most powerful wurm on Zendikar is the novablast wurm. It is considered to be of mythical power by some elves; according to Mul Daya legend, "the sun was born with its coils." Novablast wurms can produce a massive burst of energy, annihilating everything around them. Glowing marks cover some of their hide, and they often appear to glow intensely. The novablast wurm's head looks different from others of the Zendikari wurms. It has a ring of teeth surrounding a long, thing mouth, which also has its own teeth. Tentacles surround the mouth, and are used for grabbing prey, similarly to the mouthpieces on gorger species. The novablast wurm's eyes are set on the side of its head, so that it can see in many directions at once.

Wurm tokens[edit | edit source]

Token Color Type P/T Additional Rules Source
Wurm Black Creature — Wurm 6/6
Green Creature — Wurm 5/5 Trample
Green Creature — Wurm 6/6
Green Creature — Wurm */*
Colorless Artifact Creature — Wurm 3/3 Deathtouch
Colorless Artifact Creature — Wurm 3/3 Lifelink

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Doug Beyer. (November 14, 2007.) “Drakes and Dragons, Wurms and Worms”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Doug Beyer. (August 10, 2011.) “Magic's Exclusive Creatures”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (September 05, 2015.) "Any trivia on my favorite creatures Wurms?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  4. Magic Arcana. (June 08, 2009.) “Sketches: Enlisted Wurm”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Doug Beyer. (December 12, 2007.) “Goodies from the Mailbag”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Plane Shift Innistrad
  7. Magic Arcana. (October 04, 2005.) “Ravnica Style Guide: Selesnya”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Magic Arcana. (October 12, 2005.) “Sketches: Autochthon Wurm”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Magic Arcana. (May 30, 2002.) “Bambi Meets Wurm”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Magic Arcana. (March 21, 2006.) “Guildpact Token Art 1”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.