TIL the origin of Phyrexia's name: ϕ(phi)rexia

TIL the origin of Phyrexia's name: ϕ(phi)rexia

I know this might have dawned on others before but I wanted to explain it regardless for those who have seen Phi yet.

For others who might not have known ϕ, it is the greek letter used for Phi. In math, it refers to the Golden Ratio (to be read as "perfect ratio")

Since Phyrexia is based on perfecting everything, using Phi as their symbol (and in the name) is really clever.

TL;DR: WOTC piggybacked on math to use the golden ratio (ϕ) in the name of the phyrexians.

Didn't that come after the fact? Phyrexia was mentioned in Antiquities, but the symbol didn't come about until several years later in Urza's Saga.

Pyrexia is a Latin word for fever. The original world of Phyrexia has 9 spheres representing the 9 levels of hell.

I think the whole Phi and perfection thing was put in after the fact as a neat coincidence, and a way to expand on their story.

Yeah, Phyrexia pretty clearly started as a cool word for a terrifying place associated with artifacts. All this stuff evolved over the early years instead of being planned out, until they started the weatherlight saga.

Since Phyrexia is a place, the "rex" plus the -ia allows us to interpret it as "Kingdom," we could also call it Kingdom of Perfection, which has quite a ring to it.

I meant its connection to Phyrexia, and the conflation with phi and Phy-.

also 'rex' is latin (i think) for king, so they are in some sense the kings of perfections

i feel like the phyrexians are the most well thought-out and terrifying villains. true evil with a motive beyond just being bad guys. love how much goes into them. thanks for the knowledge.

I always thought there might be something to "pyrexia", a synonym to fever.

Visions of Phyrexia is nothing if not feverish nightmares. Its objective is to expand to other worlds, like a disease between bodies. There's a lot of references to illness in general - Phyrexian-engineered plagues and glistening oil spreading infection across entire planes.

Ahh, my apologies, I misunderstood.

The novels, at least, start out with the antiquities saga (brother's war, planeswalker) mentioning Phyrexia before Rath and Storm (weatherlight saga's book) came out.

And then The Thran kind of solidified Phyrexia's origins not too long after, so I assume it was already kind of worked out in general but rath and storm was more pressing since the block was being released at the time.

I'd argue that the Eldrazi (at least Kozilek and Ulamog, Emrakul less so) are villains in the same with the T. Rex form Jurassic Park is a villain. She's the primary obstacle the heroes must oppose. Ulamog and Kozilek aren't really doing anything evil, they're just doing what they naturally do, which unfortunately for Zendikar means killing the entire plane. I'm less forgiving with Emrakul because when she tricked Tamiyo into imprisoning her within the moon, she clearly had an ulterior motive (and WotC is taking the laziest approach for villain motivations, that "her plans are on a level beyond the comprehension of mere mortals" aka "we didn't plan ahead and we wrote ourselves into a corner in terms of the discrepancy between the villains' and heroes' power level").

It's also worth noting that the creator of the Phyrexians, Yawgmoth, was a physician by trade and fascinated with diseases and their propagation. The disease connection adds a creep factor when you realize that in our biological sciences, viruses are technically not considered "alive," though a case could be made for a definition of "life" that might include them. Phyrexians are not only between animal and machine, and between life and (un)death, they're between organic and inorganic matter...

They had a different symbol in the old days. The Mask of Yawgmoth


It's a medical term.

yeah, i feel like the eldrazi were really cool the first time around and then they ended kinda on a weak note. the whole planeverse recyclers thing is cool but they didn't focus on the cool parts. i think wotc is tentative to make more phyrexian-based stuff because they were the bad guys for an extremely long time. probably saving them for another return to mirrodin. i feel like the villains have just been lacking lately. nicol bolas has zero cool motivations (that we know about at least). would love to see some more horrible evil creatures in the game. i feel like i haven't been blown away by grotesque card art since innistrad excluding eldritch moon and the phyrexians really nail that universe-ending aesthetic.

? Bolas' motivation is just fine. He was a god compared to most planeswalkers back when all planeswalkers were basically demigods and got brought down to just being a super powerful, intelligent dragon. Wanting to regain that lost power is enough motivation for a good villain.

...as Cyrillic is based on Greek, where the letter Phi originated.

Brother's War was published almost a year after Weatherlight was released.

Like so many fantasy names, I think it was chosen to evoke several things, not just direct real-world translations, so this totally makes sense too.

Didn't know this, that's pretty cool and flavorful!