Atraxa, Praetors' Voice - Commander Deck Tech

Queen Of Cardboard • May 10, 2024

Atraxa, Praetors' Voice by Justin Hernandez & Alexis Hernandez

Hey friends, Beth here with another Commander Deck Tech. This deck tech comes just in time for you to build right before the Praetors For Pride charity event in June. Even if you're not participating in this event, Phyrexians are here to stay (even if they were defeated in March against the Machines last year).

Though this commander might have met her fate on a beam in New Capenna, she makes for an extremely spicy commander. You might be familiar with Atraxa, Grand Unifier, but today we're going to be taking a look at the original, Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, with a deck that's definitely not looking to make friends.

This deck is toxic, with the goal of keeping your opponents' boards in check thanks to none other than the Slug herself, Toxrill, the Corrosive, and by infecting your opponents. You only have to put one poison counter on to start a huge proliferation engine. Let's talk about the deck and the cards I absolutely had to have in this only slightly oppressive deck that may have me in the doghouse at the Commander table.

A Little Infect Goes a Long Way

I am a strong believer that 10 poison counters is too little compared to 21 commander damage and 40 life. However, because poisoning your enemies... I mean "opponents"... is such a short goalpost, it tends to be one of the most hated ways to play. Have you ever tried to win with infect, poison, toxic, etc.? I'm betting you got one or two opponents down and then you were quickly ganged up on. If you win, I'm betting it was with proliferation in play, but we'll talk more about that later.

The goal of this deck is to get that first poison counter on each opponent, and one of the original ways to do this is with infect creatures. I've added a mix of small creatures that can come in early, like Blighted Agent and Plague Myr, as well as the original chonking infect issue, Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. Ichor Rats might be one of my favorite creatures with infect in the deck: it doesn't even have to swing to get that first poison counter on your opponents. You need to be careful, though, because it doesn't discriminate, so you'll also be receiving a pesky poison counter when it comes in to play.

She's a Tiny Bit Toxic

Toxic was introduced in Phyrexia: All Will Be One and has been used instead of infect in recent sets. Instead of being dealt damage via poison counters to the player and -1/-1 counters to creatures like infect, toxic deals combat damage normally while also giving a poison counter to the player should it do damage. The amount is normally one but has been printed as high as four, giving four poison counters when you're able to hit a player with that creature.

The reason I included these creatures instead of all infect creatures is because I like the variety, and some of the creatures with toxic have additional abilities that really help the deck shine. Venerated Rotpriest makes your opponents think twice before they use targeted removal on your stuff because, with this creature in play, they'll receive a poison counter any time they target a creature on your board. Helping to protect your creatures further is Skrelv, Defector Mite. Skrelv can be tapped to give any creature you control toxic 1, unblockable, and hexproof from any one color until end of turn.

Another powerhouse comes from Contaminant Grafter, letting you proliferate when you do combat damage and giving you card draw once one of your opponents has three poison counters. Enchantments like Skrelv's Hive also give you the ability to gain life and widen your board with an army of toxic mites.

Poison the Well

If you're not able to get a poison counter in with the infect or toxic creature package, there are a few spells that your opponents won't be able to evade. Norn's Decree is an enchantment that will hold off your opponents' armies because if they swing in for combat damage they'll get a poison counter. Sweetening the pot and encouraging them to swing another way, they'll be able to draw a card if they choose to swing at someone who has a poison counter.

Especially as players start to get to seven to eight poison, you'll want to give them every reason not to focus on you for as long as possible. This deck features card draw and poison with both Prologue to Phyresis and Infectious Inquiry. Though you'll be able to control the board quite a bit once Toxrill hits the board, I also included Vraska's Fall, Infectious Bite, and Phyresis Outbreak for removal.

Proliferate Your Way to Victory

Generally speaking, the more poison counters they have, the more twitchy your opponents are going to be. The ultimate goal of this deck is to put one to two poison counters on each opponent and then in one turn proliferate all three to ten poison counters, ending the game before they have a chance to whittle down your life total. This deck contains 26 different pieces of proliferation, including the commander, Atraxa, Praetors' Voice.

From the Fallout set release comes Agent Frank Horrigan, Atomize, and Radstorm. My favorite reprint is Inexorable Tide, allowing you to proliferate for each spell you cast. With only Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus on board, you only need to cast five proliferate spells to end your opponents in one fell swoop. Assuming your opponents all have one poison counter, the minimum amount of mana needed is 10 thanks to inexpensive spells like Contentious Plan, Unnatural Restoration, and Experimental Augury.

Not Here to Make Friends

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Commander (1)
Instants (15)
Creatures (25)
Lands (39)
Artifacts (8)
Sorceries (6)
Enchantments (5)
Planeswalkers (1)

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With such a huge proliferation package, you'll need to be extremely careful because the protection in this deck is light. You might have a very glass cannon build, but there are important inclusions, like Teferi's Protection, Cyclonic Rift, and Heroic Intervention, to help you keep your board state and life total for as long as possible. You might be inclined to think that the Phyrexians are out of style after being heavily featured in three sets last year, but Fallout had some major support for counters and proliferation.

While this deck doesn't include the Praetors that most people prefer in a Phyrexian deck, you can easily make some switches if you'd like a flavorful build. Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is a first choice to be included, doubling the number of counters you put on players and creatures, but you can also include Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite or Sheoldred, Whispering One for more board control. If you're looking for a deck like that, check out Queer Phyrexia's Atraxa build

What would you include in this spicy Atraxa build, and who are you playing it with? Let me know in the comments below.

Beth is a casual Commander player who's passionate about silly decks, creating safe community spaces, and crowns. She loves to travel and play magic with friends. When not playing Magic, she's probably snuggling her dogs or playing some video games.