Biggest Bads In Magic: The Gathering Explained

Tentacles, no eyes, and tryna take over the world.
Biggest Bads In Magic: The Gathering Explained

So you’ve decided to walk the planes (Magic’s term for worlds). The multiverse is a big, bad place kids. And it’s filled with big, bad villains waiting to wreak havoc and destroy all life. We here at Cracked would never let you go on this epic journey unprepared, so we’ve created an explainer breaking down the who, what, and why of every major villain in the greatest game ever made, Magic: The Gathering



Wizards of the Coast

So cool they honestly make me nervous, horns and no eyes? Hot.

Your own mind is the scariest place to be when Ashiok is around. Ashiok feeds off of nightmares and is possibly the multiverse's greatest mystery. No one knows where they originated from. Bringing nightmares to life is objectively metal as hell, but what really gives them the “ultimate evil” vibe is their no eyes aesthetic. It’s like a silken Mouth of Sauron look that we are extremely here for. Ashiok first appeared on the Greek-myth-but-also-cat-people plane of Theros to drink the sweet nightmares of its religious population. They may be clearly evil and a big fan of torture, but as an explicitly non-binary character, we are legally required to stan.

Nicol Bolas


Wizards of the Coast

He walks on two legs which is the scariest thing of all.

A dragon! Who is also a genius! Nicol Bolas is an elder dragon and one of the oldest beings in the multiverse. For eons he has studied, gathered power, and fought a war with his twin, the spirit dragon Ugin. For the past years, ending with the War of the Spark, Bolas has been the major antagonist in the MTG story on account of him wanting to subjugate all life to his will. He’s recently been declawed (aka sent to a prison realm guarded over by his immortal dragon twin) to wait out his natural life in exile. Conveniently he was spared from death because of some macguffin important magical reason…

Ob Nixilis


Wizards of the Coast

He's wearing a suit, just let him rule the world already.

It’s a classic tale of boy meets wartorn world. Ob Nixilis was a warlord who, whoopsie daisy, found a cursed and immensely powerful artifact called The Chain Veil which turned him into a demon. He’s bent on, wouldn’t you know it, subjugating all life to his will. He’s recently tried his tricks on the art deco and prohibition era inspired plane of New Capenna, which ruled because he used finger guns to shoot crime lords with magic. After trying to overthrow the entire planet’s ruling order, he got his booty beat and narrowly escaped.  

Wizards of the Coast

Finger guns go blam.

Elesh Norn


Wizards of the Coast

Ma'am? Your elbow is leaking…

She’s perfect. According to the holy machine doctrine that is. Elesh Norn is the head of the Phyrexian church which believes that all organic life is an abomination and must be “perfected” aka oiled up with magic robot juice and turned into part of her machine army. Her art inspiration seems to be hellraiser-vatican with an Aliens aesthetic. She’s also got a no-eye thing going on which, again, is objectively rad as hell. She hails from the all-metal plane of Mirrodin and recently turned up in the MTG story having bad trip hallucinations induced by Ashiok. Phyrexians have been popping up in a lot of MTG sets lately, so we can expect her glorious return to our favorite cardboard game soon. 



Wizards of the Coast

Maybe they just want to cuddle someone with all those tentacles?

These rip off Cthulhus are some of the most inscrutable figures in Magic. They come from the space in between planes known as the Blind Eternities. The three titans that come and periodically try and corrupt all life are called Kozilek, Emrakul, and Ulamog. Kozilek slices and dices reality, Emrakul warps and distorts living beings, and Ulamog sucks the force and color from organic and inorganic matter. They are unfathomable beings, the good guys of Magic are not even sure if the Eldrazi are aware that their rapaciousness is causing harm. They may just be operating on instinct, like a virus! They’ve been periodically imprisoned and escaped throughout the history of MTG, conveniently never quite being eradicated. Their tentacle game is almost as grotesque as the most disgusting creature in the multiverse.

That One Player From Your Local Game Store


Apologies to this stock photo model who is probably a very nice guy.

This guy, you guessed it, wants to subjugate all life to his will. He’s the one gasping distractingly every time he opens a foil rare in a draft tournament. Then he’ll come over and look at your cards and make suggestions you didn’t ask for regarding what you should cut from your deck. His loud voice cuts through to your core and distracts you when you’re trying to figure out whether to attack or not. He is inexplicably wearing flannel every time you see him and wears a wedding ring which makes you pity his wife big time. If you make a misplay during a match, he’ll shame you for it and not let you take it back, even if you’re a new player and there is no monetary prize at stake. Very cool. He’s one of those gatekeeper extraordinaires that gives nerds a bad name, he needs you to know that he knows more than you. He hails from the most annoying neighborhood in your town. 


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