Phyrexia: All Will Be One Set Review - Allied Colors and Shards

Mike Carrozza • February 3, 2023

(Kaito, Dancing Shadow | Daarken)

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


Hello, and welcome to the final Phyrexia: All Will Be One set review! My name is Mike, and I write the Am I The Bolas? column here at Commander's Herald, a series where people write in with their Commander stories and I tell them who the villain is. I'm thrilled you're here and hope you're ready to read about some cardboard!


Atraxa, Grand Unifier

Yes, I realize this doesn't fall under the shards or wedges, which another colleague of mine has written about, but we have a new four-color legend to celebrate. Making her Standard set debut, one of the most popular commanders in the history of our format, Atraxa of Atraxa, Praetors' Voice fame is renewed as Atraxa, Grand Unifier!

I am intrigued and impressed by this new version of Atraxa. Sure, she costs seven mana, but you get a 7/7 with keyword soup (flying, vigilance, deathtouch, lifelink). If that isn't enough, you get to reveal 10 cards from the top of your library and put one of each card type in your hand. Those types include land, creature, instant, sorcery, enchantment, artifact, planeswalker, tribal, and - what's this? - Battle?

I love that Tarmogoyf did this back in the day, foreshadowing a new card type. It's so much fun to speculate what battles are! I have no clue and will not spend more time on it, but if your library somehow has each of the nine types of cards in the top 10, then you get to add nine cards to your hand. That's the top end on a single enters-the-battlefield trigger!

Of course, being four colors means that Atraxa, Grand Unifier will likely be the leader of her own deck or slot into five-color decks. With the added mini-game of card types being important, I think she's going to be a very popular commander (no doubt Kyle Massa will make her his Can't Miss Pick in his The 600 series over on A blink shell including Teleportation Circle and Conjurer's Closet perhaps. Add a Candlekeep Sage for a little extra spice.

That said, there's already chatter in cEDH circles about Atraxa being a new candidate for a Food Chain commander. This isn't my area of expertise, but I've seen it mentioned a bunch, and I'm going to have faith in the cEDH fam I follow to talk that good good when getting hyped about a new leader.

Lukka, Bound to Ruin

By now, you've learned that another group of planeswalkers has been compleated. Lukka is the one I get to discuss!

Meh! (Editor's note: Mike, you need to at least try to care about green cards.)

Look, I'm just not very impressed. I think that it's cool to have the option of slamming Lukka down turn three like a Limited, vulnerable mana rock to get your turn-four Rampaging Baloths or what have you. That's pretty great and can be backbreaking, but it's green; you can already get there another way. The 3/3 token with Toxic 1 will likely draw you hate in this format given the player base's distaste for poison counters.

The mode I really like is Lukka's -4 in a deck that can use it, like Magus Lucea Kane or Omnath, Locus of the Roil. Have a big beefy creature and facing down a few boards of threats and utility creatures? Take them down and still have an 8/8 or whatever to swing with.

Ultimately, after listening to a few non-Commander players discuss the card, I feel like there will be a ton more excitement for them than for us. However, I'll be excited to see this played against me to see what Lukka can do.


Malcator, Purity Overseer

I know enough people who are excited for this new Phyrexian Elephant Wizard to know I'll see some decks led by him, but I'm not sure I'm interested in Malcator leading a deck.

This is reminiscent of Splicers, like Blade Splicer and Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer, and I can see the four eligible Splicers making an appearance in a themed deck that loves a throwback. That being said, I think at 1/1, Malcator is a little fragile.

We saw a Golem commander in General Ferrous Rokiric with Modern Horizons 2, and he's sitting at nearly 2500 decks. With Azorius getting cool toys, like Urza, Prince of Kroog, that love artifacts, I can see Malcator making an appearance in the 99 of a bunch of decks. If there was a way to play Ferrous and Malcator together in a Jeskai deck, that could be fun! Any Akim, the Soaring Wind decks skewing toward artifact tokens might be able to make things happen.

In a blink deck that wants more bodies and artifacts, casting Malcator, or blinking him once, gets you a third of the way to triggering his second ability; you only need two more artifacts to enter the battlefield to end up with two more Golems than you started the turn with. You can even turn on easy mode with Mycosynth Lattice. Is this a new Eggs commander? Time will tell!

Kaito, Dancing Shadow

I think this card is really cool. I love the design and how it feeds itself. I love the flavor of every ability. I think Kaito, Dancing Shadow is an achievement in card design, but ultimately I recognize that in a format like Commander, planeswalkers are fragile. Kaito's +1 ability can protect himself, and his -2 will deter some attackers. The card draw for 0 means that in decks equipped with ways to protect planeswalkers, you've got extra card draw if you need it.

In my Aminatou, the Fateshifter planeswalker deck, I'll be testing Kaito for his defensive +1 and to create a board of creatures that are basically insurance with his -2. Being able to bounce back some creatures with his static ability to cast them again is solid, and activating Kaito twice will be gravy in every situation. I think the static ability here is really interesting for Vela the Night-Clad or Satoru Umezawa decks, and I think the +1 ability can be a role-player ability to protect your commander in Sivitri, Dragon Master decks after hitting her -3 ability.

Kaito, Dancing Shadow is a planeswalker that excites me very much, and I can't wait to see the shenanigans that include him. If you ever pull off anything crazy with this Kaito planeswalker, I genuinely would love for you to message me on social media and tell me about it. I think this iteration of the ninja planeswalker is such a beautifully designed card, and I am a fan.

Venser, Corpse Puppet

Well, at least one Dimir card in this set isn't heartbreaking mechanically and storywise. Everybody I've spoken to about this card is disappointed on both fronts. Even the one friend who likes Venser, Corpse Puppet enough to web-brew a deck on Moxfield is let down.

Venser's second ability triggers whenever you Proliferate. As of writing, there are 25 cards with Proliferate eligible for inclusion in this deck, and that's including a sticker card. I'm certain we'll be seeing maybe ten more added to that list when the full gallery is up. While they should all be included in the 99 for Venser, some will need some defending at your kitchen table when you slam them down.

What do you get out of the deal? A legendary 3/3 artifact creature, but only if you don't already control a creature with the same name, so no Mirror Box shenanigans to be had. There's also no automatic death if you get on an Inexorable Tide roll with to trigger something like Blood Artist or Altar of the Brood; you have to have Phyrexian Altar or Ashnod's Altar or any sacrifice outlets.

If you don't have a way to capitalize on the token, you can also give it or any artifact creature you control a Jump and Lifelink for the turn.

It's tempting to play Venser as a two-drop commander who smacks for one, giving a poison counter to a player and then starting the Proliferate train to kill opponents with poison, but really that has nothing to do with the payoff for Proliferate and that's my problem with this card. I'm bummed about how cool this could have been.

Migloz, Maze Crusher

I don't like to go back-to-back negativity, but I find Migloz utterly uninspiring. The efficacy of the oil counter mechanic remains to be seen and therefore is still difficult to evaluate, but aside from Evolution Sage and Liquimetal Torque, I can't think of anything that doesn't make me yawn.

Migloz can get vigilance and menace, get pumped +2/+2, and can destroy an artifact or enchantment. This kind of versatility should be exciting! The stat line of 4/4 for three mana is noteworthy, and being able to grant itself evasion and some extra power means that there's a chance Migloz is an aggro Voltron commander we might see here or there, but it still isn't great in my opinion. That being said, you can include cards where having three or four power matters, like Garruk's Uprising, Elemental Bond, Glorious Sunrise, or Shamanic Revelation, or other cards with Formidable and Ferocious. 

I'm trying here!

Kethek, Crucible Goliath

It should come as no surprise to anybody who's read my work that I like the Rakdos legend to come out of the set.

I really like Kethek as a value engine in decks that want to throw nontoken creatures to the bin. Even if it's a Midnight Reaper, you still might hit a Zulaport Cutthroat or Dockside Extortionist. Then if you sacrifice one of those the next turn, you might hit your Gravecrawler and it's time to loop (can I get that sunglasses guy emoji?).

If you've ever wanted to built a secret nonlegendary commander without tutoring for it, Kethek gives you a way to get to it while in colors that give you a ton of legendary creatures that are interesting and varied enough to give you a fresh experience playing them until you inevitably sacrifice them to Kethek for the secret commander. I really like this pseudo-death Cascade effect, and I'm excited to see what Kethek can do in my Lyzolda, the Blood Witch deck.

Henzie "Toolbox" Torre players, get hyped! This will slot right in.

Melira, the Living Cure

Melira has been tech against poison counters and -1/-1 counters since her first appearance as Melira, Sylvok Outcast. In her latest iteration, Melira doesn't fully prevent you from getting poison counters but rather slows the process down.

Her second ability is very powerful, which is why they smartly used "exile" instead of sacrifice, like on Saffi Eriksdotter, her closest parallel. Saffi is a combo piece. Melira is a one-time-use safety net or utility piece. Melira doesn't specify that the target needs to go to "your" graveyard but "a" graveyard, meaning you can save a creature or artifact an opponent controls as part of a deal or if it is to your advantage.

Melira, the Living Cure also can target a creature or artifact. With cards like Portal to Phyrexia in Standard and now in EDH, exiling Melira to return the Portal to play when you Beast Within or Generous Gift can be brutal, though not just because of the Vorthos mindf(Editor's note: Mike, we talked about this!)k.

In the command zone is where I think Melira would be most interesting. Cards like Myth Unbound reward you for activating your commander and sending her back to her throne. Being in green means that recasting her should be a breeze. I've never seen a Selesnya nontoken Aristocrats deck. Hmm, I can feel the gears turning!

Uncommons & Commons


If you know me, you know I love an aristocrats deck. Charforger is some utility for any deck that tosses creatures and artifacts to the graveyard multiple times a turn. Notice how this also includes tokens, so the extra body Charforger makes will also net it an oil counter when the lil' Gobo hits the yard.

Using Treasure tokens? Sacrifice three of them for mana and then spin the wheel of impulse draw before spending the mana you just created, likely on the spell you exiled!

This is going to get tested in my Lyzolda, the Blood Witch deck; it's both black and red, meaning if I sacrifice it to my commander, I get double bonus. It's an extra body and rewards me for doing something I'm already doing. Mishra, Claimed by Gix decks will love this for the extra body and the added fun of impulse draw ability. I like it!

Slaughter Singer

Got creatures with Toxic? Okay here's a little anthem for when they attack. Considering Mites can't block, this does make them a little more threatening since you'll likely toss them to the red zone. Not for me, but look at how gross it looks!


I am really impressed with the story being told in this set. It's devastating and exactly what I wanted from Norn's plan. What do you think? Are you ready for the return of poison counters?

Mike Carrozza is a stand-up comedian from Montreal who’s done a lot of cool things like put out an album called Cherubic and worked with Tig Notaro, Kyle Kinane, and more people to brag about. He’s also been an avid EDH player who loves making silly stuff happen. @mikecarrozza on platforms