Urza was an ancient artificer located on MtG's former prime plane of Dominaria. After finding a magic rock which he was forced to split with his brother, waging a war for said rock that destroyed nations, building countless war automatons that have yet to be matched, pioneering the early theories that would define the five colors of magic as they're understood today, and blowing up an entire continent thereby plunging the world into a long and deadly Ice Age, he became a planeswalker - indeed, THE Planeswalker, as "Urza Planeswalker" was the name he typically went by. He has been praised by Dominaria's artificers and damned by mostly everyone else for fucking the plane up as badly as it has been. Urza was the main opponent of the Phyrexians, but was known for being callous, longsighted and indifferent to the plight of brief mortals in the pursuit of his goals (though these could be argued to be common traits for the godlike Planeswalkers of the time). Notorious for fucking up the planes he tried to save roughly as much as he helped them, Urza is a tragic hero very much in the classical style.
The Brothers' War
Urza began his life as a regular boy, the son of a noble. He was born on the first day of the year, while his brother, Mishra, was born on the last. Urza somehow managed to be a huge dick about this fact and constantly reminded his brother of it. Their mother ended up dying, and their dad's new wife didn't like the boys, so they were sent to work as the apprentices of Tocasia, an artificer who lived out in the desert, where she dug for relics of the ancient Thran civilization. Urza and Mishra both spent their formative years here, quickly rising to becoming Tocasia's two foremost apprentices. Urza was a better artificer, managing to re-purpose ancient Thran relics like the Ornithopter. Mishra, while not much less brilliant, had much better people skills and befriended the diggers, who were recruited from desert tribes.
During a test run of Urza's Ornithopter, he and Mishra discovered a mysterious cave that contained a ton of Thran relics. One of the most important things for the artificer crew to find were the Thran powerstones, which powered all the Thran devices that they managed to find and repair. Within these ruins, named the Caves of Koilos, the two brothers found a huge powerstone, located upon a pedestal. They both went to grab it, and the stone split into two halves, each of which was taken by one of the brothers. Urza's half was able to shoot out beams that empowered whomever they hit, while Mishra's weakened things in the same way. Urza decided to name the two halves the Mightstone and the Weakstone, respectively, because Urza was a dick. While the two could easily agree that they should probably put the stones back together, neither of them could agree on who should hold the completed stone, so they both just kept their pieces and went home. Little did they know that the stone had actually been a lock which kept a portal to the plane of Phyrexia closed, and shortly after they left, a Phyrexian demon named Gix stepped through said portal. But more on that later.
Back at the camp, Urza and Mishra went from brotherly rivals to bitter enemies. They became more and more hateful towards one another until, one night, they ended up fighting with their two laser rocks. The beams hit one another, and energy started building up. Their master, Tocasia, went in to stop the fight. Whatever happened next, the resulting explosion ended up killing her. This turn of events resulted in Mishra leaving the camp in shame, as he had started the fight, and Urza doing so later, as he felt like there was nothing left for him there.
Urza spent the next few years as a clockmaker's apprentice, until one day he heard of a contest to win the hand of the local warlord's daughter. Being a huge fucking nerd, Urza wasn't initially interested, until he saw that the dowry contained an ancient Thran tome, which might allow him to translate some of the text he had found on Thran relics. The contest was to see who was capable of moving a giant statue across a courtyard. Many big, burly men tried their best, only to end up with broken backs. Urza, of course, decided to cheat. He went and built a machine which could easily move the statue. The warlord reluctantly gave up his daughter to this little weedy nerd, and Urza spent the wedding night furiously masturbating over the Thran tome while his wife beckoned him to come to bed with him. This would become quite emblematic of their relationship.
Over the next many years, Urza managed to do quite well for himself, gaining the warlord's favor by building war machines and other useful things, like an amulet that was capable of some limited healing. He took on an apprentice, Tawnos, who was actually a pretty cool guy, and continued to neglect his wife as much as humanly possible. Unfortunately, pesky desert raiders kept harassing the caravans of the city in which he lived. So he went out with the warlord on a diplomatic mission to come to some sort of agreement with the leader of the desert tribes. When he arrived there, he found Mishra. And his apprentice, Ashnod. And a giant dragon-looking war machine. Urza tried to make amends with Mishra while the warlord tried to make amends with the desert chief. Turned out Mishra had become a slave since the two brothers last met, and had barely managed to stay alive while rising in rank within the desert tribe's court, and was still, technically, a slave. Understandably, there was still some bad blood there, and Urza handled this with his usual social grace. Still, things were going okay until the warlord revealed that the whole thing was a trick and had the diplomatic summit firebombed. And then he got stabbed himself and died. Oops.
Urza and Mishra's relationship never quite recovered from that whole ordeal, and they spent the next many years waging a war which, inventively, became known as the Brothers' War. Highlights include Mishra burning Urza's home city to the ground, Ashnod capturing and torturing Tawnos, another peace meeting in which Mishra provided Urza's wife with the companionship that he had always been in short supply on (Leading to Urza's son possibly being Mishra's, as the timing of it matched), and a bunch of other fuckery. Eventually, the two managed to pretty much destroy and deplete the resources of the entire continent they were fighting on, which lead to them looking for somewhere else to get more resources from. They found it, in the lush continent of Argoth, to which they both immediately set sail.
However, the aforementioned Phyrexian demon Gix had secretly been manipulating everything behind the scenes this whole time, and the discovery of Argoth turned out to be Just As Planned for him. He used spies in Mishra's court to leverage Mishra into using Phyrexian machines in his conquest of Argoth, destroying the lush forests utterly as they advanced. Not that Urza was doing much better on his own, strip mining his way forward. Eventually, the two forces clashed in the middle, and Gix revealed his plan. Using Phyrexian sorcery, he gained control of large parts of the machines in both armies, causing the human soldiers to be destroyed by their own allies. In the midst of this chaos, Ashnod and Tawnos tried to smuggle a mysterious artifact, the Golgothian Sylex, to Urza, in the hopes that he could figure out how to use it to end the war. On the way, they were intercepted by Gix. Ashnod, who had a thing for Tawnos (Yes, the guy she tortured - and it went both ways, too), gave up her life to delay the demon.Urza and Mishra had managed to find one another, and had discovered that Mishra was now the stronger of the two. Urza was, by now, an old man, while Mishra still seemed to be in the prime of his youth. Desperate for an advantage, Urza tried to use the knowledge of magic that he had previously seen as mystic bullshit, and somehow managed to unleash a fireball at Mishra. Mishra, however, kept coming - his flesh had been burned away, but underneath it was a Phyrexian endoskeleton (Yes, endo-, as in, inside of him). At this point, Urza realized that his brother was no more, replaced with some horrible machine. When Tawnos managed to get the Sylex to him, Urza decided to use it. He told Tawnos to hide in what was essentially a stasis chamber, then activated the Sylex.
In his efforts to defeat Phyrexia, he developed time travel, and built the being that would later become the planeswalker Karn for this purpose, as silver could pass through the time warp undamaged where everything else kind of died. Urza's research into the ancient Thran civilization and development of the Legacy artifacts would ultimately save Dominaria from Phyrexia's vile Lord of the Wastes, though Urza himself fell prey to Yawgmoth's temptations and spent his last few hours as a literal talking head helping Gerrard Capashen and the crew of the Weatherlight prepare the Legacy Weapon. He also brought the Nine Titans together. Bo Levar, Daria, Freyalise, Commodore Guff, Kristina of the Woods, Taysir of Rabiah, Lord Windgrace, Tevesh Szat and Urza himself. Any one of these legendary figures could wreck the hell out of any of the current generation of pathetic beings called planeswalkers. Teferi was going to be part of the Titans but he was a chicken and decided to phase all his lands out of the time stream instead. Honestly Tevesh Szat was only included in the titans because Urza needed an ethical way to charge his soul bombs (I mean at least he tried to appease Barrin instead of what he used to do and just sacrifice everyone for his own goals this time). Tevesh betrayed the Titans by killing Kristina and Daria so Urza used him as a battery to fuel all the bombs. The soul bombs were bombs that basically blew up entire planes in the multiverse. These bombs are not to be confused with the bomb that absorbed all the mana from Sierra's Realm after she abandoned it to phyrexia invasion.
He taught Jhoira of the Ghitu and Teferi, 'fathered' Gerrard and the Metathran, hung out with Freyalise, was the great (great great?) grandfather of Jodah the Archmage Eternal and ultimately provided the Spark that allowed Karn's transcendence and the creation of the plane Argentum that would one day become Mirrodin.
He has one creature card, Blind Seer, which is him in disguise, a Vanguard character card, a Planeswalker card in Silver Border, implying that he may still be alive in the parallel multiverse of the Un-sets, a number of other cards depicting him and his creations, oh, and a whole block of 636 cards telling his story. It is fairly shameful that this article about the single most important figure in MtG mythology is shorter than the ones on all the puddle-deep nuWalkers.
|Planeswalkers of Magic: The Gathering|
|Original Five:|| Ajani Goldmane - Chandra Nalaar|
Garruk Wildspeaker - Jace Beleren - Liliana Vess
|Alara:||Elspeth Tirel - Nicol Bolas - Sarkhan Vol - Tezzeret|
|Zendikar:||Gideon Jura - Nissa Revane - Sorin Markov|
|Scars of Mirrodin:||Karn - Koth of the Hammer - Venser|
|Innistrad:||Tamiyo - Tibalt|
|Return to Ravnica:||Domri Rade - Ral Zarek - Vraska|
|Theros:||Ashiok - Kiora - Xenagos|
|Tarkir:||Ugin - Narset|
|Kaladesh:||Dovin Baan - Saheeli Rai|
|Other:||Dack Fayden - Vivien Reid|
|Commander 2014:||Daretti - Freyalise - Nahiri - Ob Nixilis - Teferi|
|Pre-mending:||Bo Levar - Commodore Guff - Jaya Ballard - Urza|