The Stronghold was the central seat of power for the Evincar of Rath. It was located inside a volcano, suspended above the City of Traitors. It could be reached via a treacherous route through the Death Pits, the Furnace of Rath and Volrath's Gardens. It was later shifted to Urborg on Dominaria.
Purpose[edit | edit source]
The Stronghold served a dual purpose: firstly as the main Phyrexian military base on Rath, and secondly as the center of production of flowstone, the nano-robotic "metal" that was essential for building up the mass of Rath to enable the Rathi Overlay of Dominaria. For the people of Rath, the Stronghold was a symbol of their oppression and the iron will of their Phyrexian overlords.
Description[edit | edit source]
The Stronghold was over a mile-and-a-half high and the volcanic cone that housed it towered a mighty three miles above the surface of Rath. The cone's peak touched the maelstrom of energy that functioned as Rath's sky, and the peak's tip was where that energy coalesced and was sucked into the stronghold to power the creation of flowstone.
The Stronghold was partitioned into a number of different areas. It contained a large carapace that housed several docks for skyships like the Predator, housing warrens for its large contingent of mogg troops, quarters for its human soldiers, private chambers for the evincar (such as the Dream Halls and the map room), and a network of dungeons and torture chambers where prisoners were experimented upon and turned into monstrosities. The crater beneath the Stronghold housed the City of Traitors, the grim home to the il-Kor, il-Vec, and il-Dal.
Flanking the docking carapace were a pair of gardens that were added by an evincar who was preoccupied with plant life. These gardens were home to numerous plants and animals, but the animals were little more than food for the plants which were predominately and sometimes aggressively carnivorous. Few of the plants actually ate their prey's flesh: rather, they drank its blood. Some species were seeded upon the plains to test their tenacity.
Many unusual animals captured from Dominaria lived in the menagerie. Volrath performed experiments on them, reworking them in the hopes of finding a place for them in his schemes.
The Map Room was a cavernous chamber with a large brass-plated mechanism at the center. Within the mechanism sats a pool of white crystalline liquid veined with swirling blue. This liquid hads been "taught" to display a map of Dominaria.
The Dream Hall were created by Volrath himself. The Dream Halls housed physical manifestations of his unconscious: his memories of the past, his desires for the future. He often went to the halls to examine the events of his past (colored with his own perspective) and to run through events he wishes to play out in the future.
History[edit | edit source]
On Rath[edit | edit source]
When the final stage of the Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria neared completion, the Stronghold was the prison of Captain Sisay and later other members of the Weatherlight crew. Although they were eventually freed, the crew lost Mirri, Ertai, and Crovax; suffered severe damage to the Weatherlight; and left Karn, Tahngarth, and Sisay deeply affected by their experiences there. Despite various incursions by rebel forces led by Eladamri and Liin Sivi, the disappearance of evincar Volrath, the subsequent dispute over his successor, and the attempted sabotage of the reactor by Belbe, the Stronghold remained firmly in control of Rath until its overlay with Dominaria.
On Dominaria[edit | edit source]
Arrival and destruction[edit | edit source]
Following the overlay, the Stronghold was placed precariously within a dormant volcano in Urborg. The number of troops stationed within the Stonghold reinforced the Phryrexian advance troops already there, and enabled the Phyrexians to gain a dominant position in the region, serving as their central command headquarters. It took a combination of Yavimayan, Metathran, Keldon, elvish, and Talruum forces to successfully besiege the base.
The Stronghold was ultimately destroyed by the stone dwarves, who used their magic to cause the previously dormant volcano to erupt and consume the fortress with lava. However, the Stronghold's final purpose had already been achieved: The planar portal within its throne room had allowed Yawgmoth to enter Dominaria personally.
The Weaver King[edit | edit source]
Belzenlok[edit | edit source]
Sixty years after the Mending, Belzenlok's Cabal had gained control of the Stronghold. He found its foundations intact under the magma crust. By conscriting Bogardan lava-mages he was able to raise it again and reawaken the sleeping volcano, putting it back at full power. Its defenses were constantly changing, and the ways in and out were rebuilt on Belzenlok's whim. A long stone walkway bridged the old canals and moats that terraced the sloped ground in front of the volcano. The canals were now filled with muddy water and some extremely hungry scaled creatures, and the walkway was interrupted by walls with heavy gates, all well guarded by armored grimnants and robed clerics, where passwords and other proof of identity would be asked for. One side of the volcano had been carved down smooth, and the walkway led up to the towering half-circle wall built out from it. The gate through that wall was round, still bearing the spiked shape of some Phyrexian weapon. Within, the Cabal has built a Fighting Pit.
In-game references[edit | edit source]
- Death Pits of Rath
- Dream Halls
- Ensnaring Bridge (Stronghold)
- Furnace of Rath
- Volrath's Dungeon
- Volrath's Gardens
- Volrath's Laboratory
- Cabal Evangel
- Essence Warden
- Hull Breach
- Stronghold Assassin
- Stronghold Biologist
- Stronghold Confessor
- Stronghold Disciplne
- Stronghold Gambit
- Stronghold Machinist
- Stronghold Overseer
- Stronghold Rats
- Stronghold Taskmaster
- Stronghold Zeppelin
- Symbiotic Deployment
Map of the Citadel[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Dominian Chronicles. The Lurker's Guide to the Stronghold, by Pete Venters. The Duelist #24 (April 1998)
- Dominian Chronicles. The Heart of Rath: The Art of Darkness, by Pete Venters. The Duelist #23 (March 1998)
- Martha Wells. (March 21, 2018.) “Return to Dominaria, Episode 1”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- James Wyatt (2018), The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Dominaria. VIZ Media.
- Martha Wells. (April 11, 2018.) “Return to Dominaria: Episode 5”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Martha Wells. (May 23, 2018.) “Return to Dominaria: Episode 11”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (February 19, 2007.) “The Blasted Grave of Yawgmoth”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.