The Nine Titans
The first day warm enough not to require a cloak is a beautiful one. A vibrant blue sky holds the sun above as though it were the source of life, singlehandedly bringing the flowers and buds into bloom. A soft breeze from the south holds warm air that caresses your bare forearms and brow.
The most exhilarating development, however, is not the weather, but the fact that it is Sunday, a day free of duties and responsibilities. Plans are made to enjoy the weather, but you find yourself compelled to visit Issar Roon before they are carried out. Your visits have been infrequent of late, and a story increases the chances of the day starting off with an adventurous tone.
Good morning, young one. Why are you not outside with the other rascals, enjoying the weather? Could you possibly have missed this old sack of wrinkled skin and yellow teeth?
The old man smiles at his self-description, revealing teeth closer to brown than yellow. You decide it best to keep that information to yourself, and let the old man continue.
I will be happy to share a tale with you, but only if you promise to get yourself outside afterward. Books and the development of the mind are important, but exploring and experiencing the world cannot be simulated. That experience is what will best serve and protect you in the future. You can study the books when you have become feeble and decrepit like myself.
You wonder how delusional the old man can be to think you would subject yourself to such torture later in life.
Today, I shall tell you of the Nine Titans. I have mentioned them in the past, but perhaps you have forgotten, as you so often do. They are unrelated to the Titans of your world’s Greeks, fighting the Gods. These Titans were planeswalkers, assembled by Urza to invade and destroy the old plane of Phyrexia. I shall start at the beginning, so as to prevent the confusion that always seems to spring forth in that head of yours.
While Urza prepared for the impending Phyrexian Invasion, he experimented with a number of projects many would call ludicrous. The most well-known and disastrous of them was the Tolarian Academy and its time streams, but the idea with the most potential lay in Urza’s expertise: artifice. Urza's failed invasion of Phyrexia forever deeply impacted them—specifically, one of his machinations: the dragon engine. It took many centuries, but the Phyrexians improved upon his concept, growing it to maturity.
Urza believed that if he could increase the power of a dragon engine and create it in large enough numbers, he would have an army capable of effectively invading Phyrexia. In fact, he thought to maximize his chances of success by timing his invasion to coincide with the Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria. It was simple strategic sense. There is no better time to attack a castle than when its army is off invading another. Thus, he began to create a machine that would dwarf the power of a dragon engine.
At some point in his experimentation, Urza realized that mindless machines could only get so far in Phyrexia. Even with his planned strategy coinciding with that of Phyrexia’s invasion of Dominaria, millions of Phyrexians would remain on their home world, easily crushing Urza’s invasion force by sheer numbers. What he needed were powerful and intelligent beings to pilot and control his creations, like he had controlled the dragon engine. This was what sparked the creation of the Nine Titans.
Over the years, as Urza built and rebuilt his invasion machines, he began to assemble his champions. Either from existing relationships or by searching them out, Urza gathered some of the most influential planeswalkers in the Multiverse, and convinced them of his plan to defeat Phyrexia. While a few thought he was mad and refused to help, many agreed.
And so Urza, Taysir, Freyalise, Lord Windgrace, Tevesh Szat, Teferi, Commodore Guff, Bo Levar, and Parcher were brought together in the most powerful of planeswalker alliances known to written history. Each would control a Titan Suit created by Urza, capable of destroying thousands of Phyrexians in an instant. With a planeswalker as the controller, each Titan Suit’s power would increase exponentially.
Many of the Titans believed that they would be invincible at the helm of such a weapon, but Urza knew better. The Titan Suits were meant to buy the planeswalkers time and protection while they carried out his actual scheme, the planting of soul bombs throughout Phyrexia. Once set, the planeswalkers would return to Dominaria and the soul bombs would trigger, ripping through Phyrexia and reducing it to nothing but a lifeless husk of a plane.
So what went wrong? Why did such a formidable plan not succeed? As I told you previously, Phyrexia—and Yawgmoth—were destroyed by the Legacy Weapon, not by the Nine Titans.
Wondering about that very thing, you look at the old man expectantly. He must surely finish his story now that he's gotten you intrigued.
Though its effect on the plan’s outcome is up for debate, there was a last-minute change in Urza’s scheme. Teferi, refusing to fight the Phyrexians, phased himself out along with his homeland and part of Shiv. Urza recruited Taysir’s adopted daughter, Daria, to fill the position, but Daria’s presence created additional change. Freyalise, wanting to spite Taysir, demanded that Kristina of the Woods join the Nine Titans. Urza relented, replacing Parcher, a planeswalker many of the other Titans feared was too unstable to follow orders. Before any other changes could be made the Phyrexian Invasion had begun, and the Nine Titans went on the counteroffensive.
The initial stages of the Nine Titans’ assault went smoothly, with each soul bomb being planted with little resistance, but then chaos struck. Tevesh Szat, longtime enemy of many of the Titans, killed Daria and Kristina. Urza then admitted to the remaining Titans that he had included Tevesh Szat specifically for his foreseen betrayal, then killed the planeswalker to fuel the soul bombs. Taysir, furious at Urza’s betrayal, attacked the artificer, but was killed. The rest of the Titans returned to Dominaria, unable to stop Urza, but unwilling to remain on Phyrexia.
I am sure you are now thinking, “What about the soul bombs? They were powered and ready to destroy Phyrexia.”
Ahh . . . but if only life were that simple.
After all that transpired, Urza was unable to perform the final act. He had seen so much of Phyrexia, and reveled in its glory. To experience a completely artificial plane was beyond wonder for the great artificer, and he could not bring himself to destroy such a creation. In the end, he succumbed to Yawgmoth, and bent to The Ineffable’s will.
And that, my student, is the tale of the Nine Titans. One of the greatest alliances of planeswalkers ever seen and a scheme of great power and consequence, all dashed against the unmoving rocks of a stone cliff by one man’s madness.
Perhaps we will once again see such a coalition in the near future. One can only hope, with the return of Phyrexia looming above us all.
Now be gone with you! Get outside where you belong, and leave this old codger to his books.
Happy to have heard the old man’s story but excited to get outside, you quickly follow his orders. Your last vision of the old man is one of a windowless room and the faint glow of candles.