Metathran

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Metathran
Metathran.jpg
Creature type
(Subtype for creature/tribal cards)
Statistics 8 cards
{U} 100%
Scryfall Search
type:"Metathran"

Metathran is a creature type used for cards that depict a blue-aligned race created in Urza's Bloodline Project.

Part of Urza's plans to repel the inevitable Phyrexian Invasion, they were solely meant as soldiers. Dubbed the "Metathran" in honor of the long-lost Thran civilization, Urza's warriors were genetically engineered to be decisive, unerring and obedient, with superhuman combat skills and tactical awareness. Once grown to maturity in artificial incubators, the Metathran had a distinctive light-blue hue and a tall, gangly appearance. They appeared male, but in fact had no gender, as they would have no need to procreate. Intended to fight the Phyrexian menace and nothing else, the Metathran were stored in stasis container in fast-time bubbles until the beginning of the war, where they became freely expendable. Whether killed in battle or dying out after the invasion, none survived the war.

The cards as they appeared in the Urza's block and Invasion block didn't have the subtype Metathran. It was later realized that a non-human race should have its own subtype. This was fixed in the Grand Creature Type Update

History[edit | edit source]

Urza being first and foremost an artificer, his plan to defeat the Phyrexians consisted originally of creating The Legacy, a powerful collection of artifacts that would be greater than the sum of their parts, creating a weapon capable of killing Yawgmoth. When the Legacy was achieved, Urza realised he needed an heir worthy of wielding such a weapon (Gerrard Capashen), and capable of leading Dominaria's people against Phyrexia's armies, which led to the creation of the Bloodline Project. The first phase consisted of manipulating the marriages between Dominarian families that held the strongest ties with white mana, creating stronger and better individuals in each generation, until peak potential was achieved.

While working on this project Urza realised that a single individual would never be enough to stop the invasion, which led to the second phase of the bloodline project: the creation of the Metathran army. Using genetic stock from around the world and infusing it with magic (Thran Dynamo, Urza's Incubator), the new race of soldier was created with controversy: while the manipulation of Dominarian bloodlines already raised ethics questions in the Tolarian Academy, Barrin started openly contesting Urza's methods (Opposition) while some researchers outright quit the project to oppose partaking in genetic engineering. This in turn led to more questionable researchers staying, with less supervision due to lack of personnel, ultimately leading to Gatha's unauthorised experiments (Private Research).

While he was found out and expelled (Treachery), he continued his personal project in Keld (Twisted Experiment), ultimately creating Kreig (Keldon Champion), which was powerful enough to get noticed by Phyrexia. The Phyrexians realized what Urza was doing, and launched a preemptive strike against sites where the Bloodline project was taking place, killing thousands of people (notably Sisay's parents and the Capashen clan) and seemingly ending the project. If it weren't for Gerrard Capashen's survival, the creation of the Metathrans could therefore have indirectly led to the failure of Urza's plans, ruining millennia of work and rendering the Legacy useless.

The Metathrans themselves, however, were safely stored in stasis containers (Storage Matrix) and went undetected, allowing them to be used in the war. Thaddeus and Agnate were awoken first to take command of the troops, which ended up taking part in most battles of the invasion as a part of the coalition. While uneasy due to their origins, Urza's mentality of "the ends justify the means" ultimately won out as his soldiers were considered too great an asset to not use.

The Metathran army was notably partially responsible for two of the greatest military victory of the Coalition, winning both the battle of Koilos in Terisiare and the battle of the Stronghold in Urborg.

While ultimately Dominarians achieved victory against the Phyrexians thanks to the Weatherlight crew, the losses were great, particularly among the Metathrans who were first on the front line for the entirety of the war. While some individuals might have survived, they had been engineered to fight and nothing else, and being incapable of reproducing, the Metathran race died out with the war they were born to fight.

Notable Metathran[edit | edit source]

Most of the Metathran were designed to blindly follow orders; however, two generals had been specifically designed to act on their own. Thaddeus and Agnate had a symbiotic, near-telepathic connection to each other and depended on each other to function.

Kor origins Retcon[edit | edit source]

According to a comment by Urza in Bloodlines, Rath's Kor are derived from his Metathran stock, having somehow been stolen from him by Phyrexia. This was an attempt to retroactively explain where the Kor came from: as Rath was an artificial plane with no natives, every species present on it had an off-plane origins. The human Vec and Dal, as well as the Elves and Merfolk were said in the novels to have been taken from Dominaria, while the Slivers were taken from an unknown plane by Volrath. This left the Kor the only major species without an official origin, something Bloodlines tried to address.

The original plane of the Kor was retconned in Zendikar, making them native of the new plane, meaning the Kor of Rath are now retroactively considered to have also been taken from there by Phyrexians.[1]

Cards[edit | edit source]

There are only eight creature cards with the subtype Metathran: 2 are from Urza's Destiny, 4 from Invasion, 1 from Planeshift and 1 from Apocalypse.

There are also 29 cards depicting one or several Metathrans in their illustration, whether as the subject or in the background:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Doug Beyer (September 23, 2009). "The Master at Arms". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.