A Compleat Guide to Phyrexian Geography
Phyrexia is upon us, and soon All Will Be One! Today I'll be your guide through the notable artifacts and lands of Phyrexia re-imagined under our new. We have myriad examples of the might and majesty of our new order, as well as a few quaint artifacts of the Mirran "resistance". Step this way, and don't mind the oil.
We're starting off strong with an updatedfor the new Phyrexian age. Except for the untap ability, this new staff makes use of your life rather than mana. This makes it less suitable for infinite mana combos, unless you have more than four times as much life as cards in your library. In a dedicated life gain deck, however, this could be a solid card advantage engine. Four life per card is on rate for , and can quickly be outpaced by or .
The other modes onshouldn't be ignored either. A colorless Proliferate engine will be very useful for any nonblue decks built around counters, which All Will Be One is giving us plenty of. and will both take advantage of the extra counters. Some older commanders can also take advantage of the Staff's first ability. is always looking for more ways to destroy her own enchantments, something that Grixis can't easily do, and having the flexibility to use for mana or card draw when you don't need to destroy your own enchantments makes sure it will always be useful.
Wherewill have niche applications, is good wherever you can play it. Every turn it has the potential to draw two extra cards while also ramping you with extra land drops. That extra land doesn't have to come from exile, either. Red and green are popular creature colors as well, ensuring you will almost always have an opponent you can attack freely. Certain commanders will be able to make more of this particular Sword than others. and both care about casting spells from exile, while and are always looking for more ways to play more lands.
is the Thopter commander I didn't know I was waiting for. A lord in the command zone that turns your 1/1 flying tokens into 5/3s has potential to end the game quickly. Eight mana is a lot to ask for, but colorless decks are very good at ramping. If you're mostly using is a large anthem for a token army, waiting to cast it makes a lot of sense anyway. You could also use as an in any token-focused deck, especially if you can change the types of your opponents' creatures.
isn't a card I would expect to see in a Commander deck, but then again, neither is . Aside from any incidental synergy with Madness cards, is a colorless way to remove any nonland permanent, albeit with severe timing restrictions. Still, in a deck which cares about the graveyard, this could be a way to answer problems that your color typically can't. and may struggle with enchantments, but won't.
generated a lot of excitement when it was officially spoiled, and for good reasons. Cards that gain the abilities of other cards are combo machines, and while lands are generally pretty safe, and are easy answers to , , and . is essentially an extra copy of , ensuring you still have access to these powerful effects. Additionally, artifacts are much easier to untap than lands. and drastically increase the amount of mana you can generate, while makes sure you're ready during every player's turn.
There are also, of course, several combos involving. Put and into your graveyard and you have infinite power. Where I think will really shine, however, is in decks that can recur artifacts as extra copies of fetch lands. Even a humble can pull most of the lands out of your or deck. If you want to be mean, you can repeat that loop with in your graveyard, or with any other land that puts itself in your graveyard, really.
And now we get to the tricky one.is no , but the potential to become, essentially, a 9/9 indestructible creature with Infect has to be something, right? The requirements to become that, however, are steep. There are currently nine Sphere lands, two Loci, and of course, eleven basic lands with different names. Remember that snow basics and do count here. This means it is technically possible to activate 's ability in a mono-colored deck, but having three or more colors will make it dramatically easier.
Whether going through all those steps just to have a 9/9 with Toxic 9 is another question. Unlike Infect, Toxic only applies to combat damage, soing a live Monument won't kill anyone. On the other hand, Toxic makes it so you still get nine poison counters, even if the Monument only deals one damage. Giving it trample is powerful, and it's likely to sit around long enough that your opponent's won't be able to stop it by the time it wakes up. As long as they've got at least one poison counter already, which All Will Be One makes easy to accomplish, is a lethal attacker. If you feel like is too easy these days, consider in a or deck.
is probably not a card you're super excited about, but it certainly has plenty of applications in Commander. is among the most popular commanders, and prevents those players from Cascading through their deck for value. Likewise, it shuts off strategies that rely on without affecting commanders like . And while is a creature, and therefore relatively easy to get rid of, I think that could actually be an advantage. Dropping against a graveyard deck is powerful, but can often take them out of the game entirely. is likely to have a similar impact without affecting an opponent's ability to develop their graveyard as they dig for creature removal. It will still buy you time to pull ahead without generating quite as much salt.
As far as board wipes go,isn't the best one out there. It's also a pretty bad source of damage. But I've been reconsidering -type effects, especially in my decks that don't make tokens. Both of these cards are excellent rattlesnakes, sitting in play threatening to wipe away any and all tokens in play. Especially if Treasures continue to be a popular way to ramp, these cards could be excellent escape buttons, forcing your opponents to lose their Treasures at awkward moments when they can't effectively use the mana. I wouldn't include this everywhere, but it could be something to consider if your local meta features a lot of tokens.
Speaking of tokens, theis here to cause problems. A one-time may be the best, but it will often be enough to get you out of mana screw. If you can bounce and re-play it, then this is basically a free . If this stays cheap, it's something I'd consider for budget land bases.
Having the ability to create 1/1 tokens with Toxic 1 is something you won't use as often, but it is an interesting take on. It has powerful interactions with effects, potentially threatening to overrun the battlefield with Toxic 1/1s. Between , , and , a single activation nets you eight Phyrexian Mites. In a deck helmed by , those tokens are also basically unblockable. Make your other Partner, and you get access to all the token-doublers, haste, and a solid gameplan.
Even outside of dedicated token decks, lands that create creatures are worth considering. The's mites are great Mutate targets for . Having a reliable source of Toxic creatures that isn't susceptible to most removal will be valuable for any deck built around the mechanic.
is the most outright powerful land in the set. Being able to copy any artifact you control is strong, and while artifact decks may not be able to recur lands easily, this lets your also copy your other artifacts. Your ideal targets will have abilities that don't require them to tap, such as , , and . This transformation doesn't wear off at end of turn, though, so copying or is powerful as well. Copying certain Equipment, like and , is great for Partners like and .
Unlike, I'd probably only consider in a deck built around the Toxic mechanic. Because Toxic doesn't care about the power of your creatures, unlike Infect, it won't be as impactful as was in old Infect decks, but it will contribute more to your ability to deal regular damage, thanks to the mirrored buff. That being said, requiring your opponents to have three or more poison counters to activate that buff will likely relegate this card to dedicated poison decks.
When I look at, I think about how much messed up Modern, and now we also have access to and to make that deck even more lethal. also works incredibly well in a deck, and we haven't even gotten to the second paragraph of text. Thirty counters sounds like a lot, but dedicated token decks can get there relatively quickly. And again, ensures that a board wipe won't get rid of the counters sitting on your creatures. Ten damage to each opponent every turn is a great backup plan for any go-wide token deck that struggles against s, s, and equally large token armies.
I wouldn't expect you to be able to tapfor three mana very often. If you get someone up to three poison counters, you'd better finish the job quick because they're immediately gunning for you and only you. really interests me for its ability to Proliferate whenever it enters play. A deck built around that can also loop a few times will get scary very quickly. and both like Proliferating counters as well. It could even be useful in a planeswalker deck, ramping you early and putting counters on all your 'walkers later on.
Uncommons & Commons
Unlike previous sets from Mirrodin (Or New Phyrexia, whichever you prefer), we're not getting any cards that deal specifically with +1/+1 counters in All Will Be One. Instead, cards deal with oil counters, and as long as a card has oneprovides a flat +1/+1 buff. If you're in need of a Phyrexian themed anthem, works, but if you just want to boost your creatures you can do better elsewhere. 's power lies in increasing the amount of oil counters a creature starts with, useful for cards like or : anything that's only useful as long as it's oily.
Withcoming in this set, I'm expecting an influx of new Myr-focused decks. Using to search for or will be a big part of success for those decks. In more generic artifact decks, this can still find and , ensuring that it's useful for or the new .
Which brings us to the end of this artifacts and lands set review. There's a ton to be excited about here, from, which is good in any deck you put it in, to build-arounds, like and , down to niche support, in . I'm personally looking forward to seeing what's possible with and .
What cards are you most excited for? Will they go into existing decks, or have any inspired you to build something new?