Xantcha was a newt created in the Fourth of the Nine Spheres of Phyrexia. She was designed to live undetected among humans.
The Fane of Flesh was where she and several other hundreds of sleeper agents were created. They were to be Phyrexian-controlled spies, not knowing they weren’t even human. They were to record their observations and send that knowledge to Phyrexia, where it would eventually be used in the invasion of Dominaria.
“Until you have lived as a statue, do not talk to me of pigeons.”
—Karn, silver golem
Overseeing Xantcha’s group was the Inner Circle member Gix — a mighty Yawgmoth praetor. Xantcha was sent to the First Sphere, the least dangerous of them all, and was taught how to survive on the plane she would be sent to.
However, Xantcha would have what was considered a gift on any other world, but on Phyrexia it was a fatal flaw—she thought for herself. Yawgmoth, the Ineffable, controlled all the sleeper agents, and to have one that was not part of this was very, very dangerous.
Urza and Xantcha lived on Dominaria but Urza was going insane from having Yawgmoth reaching into his mind. She found a slave that looked like Mishra (named Ratepe) and paid for his freedom. She sent him to Urza and together, they began to help Urza become sane once more. All went well until Xantcha detected sleeper agents in two small cities starting a small war. Urza created “screaming spider” artifacts which sent very high sound waves that humans couldn’t hear but were deafening loud to sleeper agents. As Xantcha started planting these around the sleeper agent infested cities, she went into a crypt where she discovered the praetor Gix.
Gix went to Koilos and waited for Urza. Urza followed the praetor and they fought to the death. At first, it seemed as either could win. Then, Gix was gaining an upperhand in the battle. Xantcha and Ratepe knew what they had to do if Urza was to survive and Dominaria was to stand a slim chance of surviving Phyrexia’s invasion—they had to sacrifice themselves, and so they did. The disruption made Gix pause and gave Urza the chance to defeat him. Xantcha and Ratepe may have been killed saving the planeswalker, but they would always be remembered.
Urza would later use Xantcha’s Phyrexian heartstone as the personality core for his silver golem Karn.
In Dungeons & Dragons
When looking at Xanthic Statue, “animate object” is practically screaming out of it to be turned into a D&D object. But as a statue, even if you can animate it, it’s very hard to carry around when it’s not.
And then we read about Xantcha’s storyline… and we honestly have no idea if the statue is linked to the sleeper agent, but for sure it gave us an idea.
Sleeper agent statues.
Wondrous Item, rare
Placing the Xanthic token on an object and uttering the command word activates such object as if affected by the animate object spell. On activating the Xanthic Token you can also choose the size of the construct within the limits of the spell (from tiny to huge).
During the Last War, xanthic tokens were popular among diplomatics to ensure they would never be left without reinforcements if caught in the middle of hostile negotiations. Spies and counterspies also made heavy use of these tokens.
How are you planning to incorporate a xanthis statue in your campaign? Are these items obvious, or designed for subterfuge? What is the object you’d like to animate and turn into a combat ally?