Phyrexia: All Will Be One Set Review - Minotaurs

Minotaur Reviewer • February 1, 2023

Sword of Forge and Frontier by Scott Murphy and Borderland Minotaur by Greg Staples

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts/Lands | Gold I | Gold II | Reprints | cEDH

Hello all cyborgs and David Cronenberg monsters, welcome to another Minotaur Set Review! I'm the Minotaur Reviewer, here to review the nightmarish offerings Phyrexia: All Will Be One has for the best tribe in Magic.

The original Scars of Mirrodin block was long before my time as a player, so it's been a real blast to look through all these new cards and gasp, "Good gravy, what is happening in this art!?"

Now, it bears mentioning that there are no Minotaur cards in this set, but that hasn't stopped me in the past. Just because there aren't any Minotaurs doesn't mean Minotaur strategies were left high and dry. On the contrary, this set actually has a bunch of new toys to experiment with, so let's delve into the Nine Spheres of New Phyrexia to uncover its oily secrets.

And don't forget to check out my writeup on the Ultimate Minotaur EDH Deck!


Black Sun's Twilight

This card is very interesting when compared to most removal spells: you can put as much mana as you need to destroy a creature, and you then have the added benefit being able to bring back a key Minotaur (if you put in six mana for the spell) who may have died or been discarded at an earlier point in the match. This adds a lot of flexibility next to your standard kill spells and isn't too difficult to slot into a deck. This is due to it requiring only one black mana, which is helpful because most Minotaur lists favour red mana more than black mana.

Phyrexian Arena

The return of the king! Phyrexian Arena has been a popular card in Commander, as it gives black decks extra card draw and accelerates their gameplan, so having this card available in Pioneer might make a decent splash, although I worry its effects are too slow for Minotaurs to use. Minotaur tribal in Pioneer needs card draw immediately, but this is effectively a three-mana "do nothing" card on the turn we play it. In Commander, I think it's still worth playing for casual games, as it's far less punishing to "do nothing" on your third turn.

Phyrexian Obliterator

Obliterator is a scary force to reckon with in any format. Its power lies in its ability to be useful on offence and on defence. On the attack, your opponent will want this to remain unblocked or potentially lose a lot of permanents, which allows for easy damage. On defence, if this is untapped the same principle applies, as your opponent likely won't risk attacking you and losing their permanents (unless they're attacking with a creature with some form of evasion).

It's this power to be aggressive or defensive that really attracts me to the card in Pioneer or Commander as it's always relevant to play, so I want to recommend finding room for this in Minotaur decks. However, being four black mana is just too steep of a cost. Granted, there are plenty of red/black dual land varieties that it might make it possible to run, but I just don't think it's feasible in most cases. In both Pioneer and Commander our mana bases skew towards red, so I think its just not realistic to consistently play this on turn four or even five, and that inconsistency will make it a dead card a lot of the time, and a dead card helps no one but our opponent.

Vraan, Executioner Thane

Given that Minotaur strategies often hinge on combat, casualties are inevitable, so it's only natural that we should try and squeeze every bit of value out of our Minotaurs, even in death. With that premise, Vraan seems pretty great. I can tell you with experience, in Pioneer, every life point counts, so accelerating our damage while also healing is going to make a noticeable difference.

At first glance I thought Vraan was going to be an incredible card for Minotaur decks. That was until I remembered Zulaport Cutthroat is also Pioneer-legal.

This two-mana card doesn't have a "once per turn" restriction and has the added benefit of being nonlegendary, meaning every Minotaur death will generate value. Vraan, here, does have the benefit of draining two life each turn as opposed to Cutthroat needing two creatures to die for the same impact, but Cutthroat is much more versatile and honestly creates much more value in most cases.

If we were hit by a board wipe, I would much rather have Cutthroat than have Vraan.

In Commander there's room to add redundancy, so in that context, it might be more feasible if aristocrats is the direction you take your Minotaur deck. Having Vraan, Cutthroat, and Blood Artist is going to cause a lot of life drain. I would recommend Sethron, Hurloon General for that strategy, given his ability to create Minotaur tokens. It's not a direction I've ever built for Minotaur tribal EDH, but perhaps Vraan was the card I needed to theory craft it.


Bladegraft Aspirant

I don't normally run much Equipment in my Minotaur Commander lists, as they can be awkward at times, so the ones I do use are often there to improve the combat effectiveness of my Minotaurs or to give access to effects normally outside of red's and black's color pie, such as Sword of the Animist.

So the Bladegraft Aspirant being able to reduce the casting cost and ability cost of Equipment is pretty useful. However, you really need to craft your deck around Equipment to make this a worthwhile card. Otherwise it'll ending being just a three-mana 2/3, something no better than a standard Hurloon Minotaur.

In my opinion, the best choice of commander for a Minotaur Equipment-based deck would be Tahngarth, First Mate.

He loves to be loaded up with Equipment cards, so Bladegraft Aspirant is just what that deck needs to power it up. However, Tahngarth decks are a little unconventional: he's a Gruul commander, which reduces the number of Minotaurs available to play in your deck.

Blazing Crescendo

This card is reminiscent of Titan's Strength or Infuriate, but with impulse draw being stapled on. This makes it far more interesting and useful because it technically replaces itself to maintain neutral card advantage while at the same time improving our combat effectiveness. Being two mana is a little rough, but I find it interesting for theory crafting purposes.

Koth, Fire of Resistance

I think Koth is my favourite card of this set, and I find him interesting for two reasons.

The first is that he rewards decks for playing Mountains, which Minotaur decks already do. Then his -3 and -7 loyalty abilities reward us for playing our lands and are a great tool to pick off any of our opponents' utility creatures, such as mana dorks or hate bears. Every Mountain we play will only make Koth more effective and impactful, but never so good that he'll become a target in a game of EDH.

The second, his +1 loyalty ability helps red decks stay on curve. This is a very rare ability for red to have. Normally red will gain temporary mana through ritual-type spells in order to accelerate its mana, such as Irencrag Feat or Jeska's Will. Tutoring for lands has often been the domain of green and white, and occasionally blue. So with red and black, if you miss a land drop, it's very easy to fall behind; Koth mitigates that disaster, as his +1 ability will guarantee your next turn will have a land to play and ensure we can keep up the pace.

For these reasons, I personally want to run him in my all my Minotaur Commander decks and have at least one on my red Pioneer lists. He's not good enough to always want to see him, but he is good enough to be happy when he shows up.

Red Sun's Twilight

Normally in Commander I play Shattering Spree or By Force to deal with artifacts, but Red Sun might just replace those cards going forward.

It's a little more expensive, but in the late game of Commander, being able to copy the destroyed artifacts can be game-ending in the right circumstances. The worst case scenario is that you make copies of your opponents' mana rocks, which in and of itself I think would make it worth playing. But it still has flexibility, so you can still play it as targeted removal if there is one one problematic artifact on the field, which, in my book, is everything a card needs to be in Commander.

Thrill of Possibility

This card has become a common reprint and a welcome one at that. I would much rather this than Tormenting Voice any day of the week, and it's a perfect card for Minotaur decks. It provides card advantage by drawing two cards, but pitching one, but it also has synergy with all the Minotaurs that benefit from discarding cards and the various Madness cards that pair with them. It's a solid card that's relevant at any point in the game (provided you still have cards in your hand).


Zopandrel, Hunger Dominus

Normally, I don't review green cards. This is because Minotaurs aren't usually green, so most Minotaur Commander decks can't play them, and in Pioneer it's usually not worthwhile to make a green splash.

The exception, though, is Tahngarth, First Mate. This Minotaur commander's whole strategy is to have him jump into our opponents' combat, so with Zopandrel, on each combat it doubles the stats of our creatures. This will make Tahngarth monstrously huge! And since Equipment and Auras are often stacked on him, this Dominus can make Tahngarth a one-hit K.O.


Kethek, Crucible Goliath

This is an interesting card for Commander, as it allows us to trade in a creature not pulling its weight for one hopefully more suited to the situation. However, unlike other Pod-like effects, it creates diminishing value. This is because Kethek trades down, rather than trade up. Even worse is that it can't hit legendary creatures and it searches for the first creature with mana value less than the sacrificed creature.

For example, if I sacrificed an Ahn-Crop Crasher, I might want it to find Burning-Fist Minotaur. Instead, it might reveal Gnarled Scarhide, which would be a massive trade down in value.

This makes it impossible to really craft your deck around this effect to search for a specific creature, and it really limits how playable it is, at least for Minotaurs, so overall I'm pretty disappointed by it, but time will tell if it has a hidden utility.


Argentum Masticore

This Masticore being five mana can be a bit tricky to slot in a deck, but it does a lot for that five mana. Its biggest impact is the threat of destroying any permanent on our upkeep by discarding a card (provided that the discarded cards mana value is equal or higher than the target). This is huge for red and black, as it not only can take out a powerful creature, planeswalker, or artifact, but it can also hit enchantments, an effect only a handful of cards red and black can do. It also provides an outlet for our discard synergies and Madness cards.

I think Argentum Masticore is going to make a big splash in my Minotaur Commander decks. It might be slow removal, but it's easy to cast, has a decent body, and is a constant threat on board. As for every round that passes while this is in play....something is going to die, which will inevitably lead my opponents to hesitate to play any new cards until the Masticore is answered.

Sword of Forge and Frontier

The latest in a long line of "Swords of" cards, and it's one I'm pretty excited for. Obviously Feast and Famine is the gold standard for the Swords of cycle, but this new one is pretty decent, even for Minotaurs. Giving our creatures protection from red and green is an obvious benefit, but the most useful application is getting two impulsive draws and being able to play an extra land. Getting to play extra land is normally outside of red's and black's color pie, so this can seriously help ramp us (especially when you have Koth in play), but getting two impulsive draws means we effectively draw three cards a turn, which will help us dig even deeper into our deck to help keep pace in an EDH game.

Zenith Chronicler

This little skitterer I think has some good potential in early game for Minotaurs, as it allows everyone at the table to draw cards. This should make it unlikely to be a removal target and can give us the gas we need to propel us into an aggressive position. That said, this guy has one toughness, so just about anything in the game can kill it. But being two mana means at least it's not too much of an investment that should at least draw a card for us, potentially many, depending on the pod.


Blackcleave Cliffs

Thank you! THANK YOU, Wizards, for bringing the allied fast lands to Pioneer. You have no idea how happy this makes me to finally have a mana base on par with Izzet Phoenix.

The Mycosynth Gardens

When I play Minotaur Tribal, almost every one of the artifacts I run I would want another copy of. They either are a useful Equipment, such as:

...or they're tribal buff artifacts, like:

For a more complete list, check out my Ultimate Minotaur Deck Tech to see the artifacts I love to run.


Overall this wasn't as amazing of a set for Minotaurs, at least when compared to The Brothers' War, but in the end I'm still satisfied with what we did get. I love all the little new tech options to experiment with, and the land cards we absolutely excellent. Even without a new Minotaur card, I'm a happy camper.

But what cards are you most excited for from Phyrexia: All Will Be One? And what cards are you most excited to start brewing with?

Be sure to check out the other set review coverage on Commander's Herald and on EDHREC covering all the colors. I've certainly learned from them, and maybe you will, too.

Hello everyone! I'm the Minotaur Reviewer. Hardcore Minotaur enjoyer and casual Johnny/Timmy Simic Hybrid. You may know my most from my Minotaur Set Reviews which started on Reddit. When I'm not jamming MTG I like to play Guild Wars 2, Duelyst 2 and Lufia the Legend Returns