Phyrexia: All Will Be One Set Review - Reprints

Nick Wolf • February 1, 2023

Seachrome Coast | Illustrated by Mauricio Calle

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

New Phyrexia, Old Friends

Now that the dust has cleared with Phyrexia: All Will Be One reveals, there were likely a handful of cards that sounded familiar.

As is tradition, we're going to take a look at the reprints of the new set. In ONE, outside of basic lands that number is only 14, and five of those are a cycle of lands. When it comes to Phyrexia: All Will Be One Commander, however, we see 116 more reprints. Some of them are actually good and needed, and some of them are Sol Ring.

Phyrexian Obliterator

A reprint of a callback, Phyrexian Obliterator was originally an homage to Phyrexian Negator (which was also enshrined in Phyrexian Totem), except in all the ways Negator was bad, Obliterator was good. At least, so one would think.

Looking at the two cards side-by-side and asked to pick the one that saw more high-level tournament play, you'd be forgiven if you chose Obliterator. The truth is, however, the opposite was very much the case. Negator existed in a time when creatures in general were terrible, and despite its glaring drawback, Negator was deployed in a tournament environment against decks that often didn't have creatures in them at all. In other words, its rules text was largely ornamental, and a first-turn Dark Ritual into a 5/5 monster was good enough to beat a lot of decks that were busy goofing around with blue spells.

Obliterator, on the other hand, was in Standard alongside cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Vapor Snag, Go for the Throat, and Dismember. If you were casting an Obliterator that survived to your next untap step, something went very wrong for your opponent.

Did we need it?

Still, Obliterator was cool, and not much as changed on that front. Todd Lockwood's original art has become an iconic example of the blessed perfection of Phyrexia, finding a home in casual games and Commander tables. Georgian (the country, not the state) artist Max Kostin's interpretation is more humanoid but demonstrates a much more threatening scale, comparable more to a kaiju. Despite its uselessness in Standard, Obliterator has never been cheaper than $10, and today, even with the reprint in ONE and others in Masters 25 and The List, commands a $30ish investment for the New Phyrexia version.

Did we want it?

Phyrexian Obliterator is currenly played in roughly 1% of decks that can run it, as per EDHREC, or around 10,000 lists. It's not exactly a format staple, and the price might have a bit to do with that. It's most often seen in Captain N'ghathrod or Umbris, Fear Manifest decks due to the fact that it's a Horror, and it also pops up in a lot of Tergrid, God of Fright decks for reasons you can probably surmise, so while we might not have wanted a reprint, it's still pretty neat to see. Would Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon been a better reprint? Probably. But hey, at least they didn't reprint Massacre Wurm again.

Elspeth Tirel

The first Phyrexia: All Will Be One Commander reprint we'll talk about is our favorite constantly dying planeswalker. Returning to us once again, this time in her Scars of Mirrodin attire, is Elspeth Tirel. Sure, she's dead again, or heavily implied to be after a tussle with some exploding dishware, but she'll be back. She always comes back. This particular version of Elspeth is being reprinted for the first time in ONC, and is notably much, much better than Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis.

Did we need it?

Elspeth Tirel has hovered around $10 for much of the card's existence, hitting a low of $7 shortly after it was originally printed in Scars in 2010. It's likely that the preconstructed deck reprint will lower that figure a bit. While I wouldn't say players were clamoring for a reprint of Elspeth Tirel, it's a good card and worthy of more copies floating around in the wild. Just don't tell Heliod.

Did we want it?

The card does two things very well: it makes Soldier tokens and it blows stuff up. It's not as good at either as her slightly bigger version in Elspeth, Sun's Champion, but there are decks that might want both. Just not very many, as EDHREC lists Elspeth Tirel as appearing in just 4,200 decks, and those decks are almost universally based around Soldier tokens.

Phyrexian Arena

Once one of the premier card advantage effects in Commander, Phyrexian Arena has been around forever (or since 2001, if you're old and forever goes back more than 22 years). Today, many people likely find themselves cutting it from lists when once they considered it as indispensable as Sol Ring. Others, like myself, will never do so because change is difficult and scary and thus will be ignored. Instead, let's just enjoy a fifth new art for the card, this time with tentacle-Vraska inducting Jace into her oil-based multi-level marketing scheme courtesy of Martina Fačková.

Did we need it?

Well, as just mentioned, it's seen five different arts now, which implies we've had several reprints. Disregarding the one time it was printed in a gold-bordered frame, the enchantment originally in 2001's Apocalypse has been in five draftable sets and four supplementary products. And the one from Conspiracy: Take the Crown had Koth on it, so that's neat. The newest reprint, from ONE, is preordering for around $5, which makes it the cheapest way to get one -- a hallmark of a good reprint. The rest of the versions will run you approximately twice that, unless you want the original, old-bordered Apocalypse printing in foil. That one's $300.

Did we want it?

It might not be as popular in Commander as it once was, but that doesn't mean it's niche or anything. It still sees the 99 of around 127,000 decks that can play it, or 12% of all possible lists. You are likely shocked to learn that the highest concentration of those inclusions belong to Sheoldred, the Apocalypse decks. Just downright bewildering, I'm sure. It's also in 21 Spirit of the Night decks, a commander that I frequently forget is a legendary creature, or exists. So yes, I'd say it's a welcome reprint, and maybe the influx of copies will convince a whole new generation of players to erroneously obsess over it as the best way to draw cards in black.

Flawless Maneuver

The first reaction to reprints in the Phyrexia: All Will Be One Commander lists when they were first revealed was lukewarm at best. It's become clear that the marquee reprints are saved for Masters or Remasters and not preconstructed releases. You gotta incentivize cracking packs somehow, I guess. But despite the lackluster reprints overall, ONC did have a few gems, like Flawless Maneuver, although in this case it happens to be a card name I hate spelling. Flawless Manoover has appeared only once before, in Commander 2020 as part of a "if you control your commander, this spell is free" cycle. The other members of that cycle will surely see reprints eventually; we just have to hope that it's Deflecting Swat, Deadly Rollick, or Fierce Guardianship, and not Obscuring Haze.

Did we need it?

Flawless Maneuver has hit prices as high as $25, which is prime reprint material. Not counting the green one, the other members of its cycle are more than twice as expensive, which has led to some grumbling about Flawless Maneuver being the pick for a reprint. It's still nice to see, though, and shouldn't be compared to its counterparts in that regard. We just have to hope its appearance in another preconstructed Commander deck will deflate its price a bit.

Did we want it?

There are 65,000 lists on EDHREC that play the card, which clocks in at roughly 7% of the decks that can play it. That's a healthy number and one that would surely be higher if the price was lower. There's really no reason not to play it if you're in white, cast your commander often, and care about the health and well-being of your creatures. For reference, Rootborn Defenses is in 30,000 lists, Make a Stand is only in 17,000 decks, and Grand Crescendo appears in only 15,000. It turns out that casting something for free is pretty good.

Blackcleave Cliffs and friends

These were dubbed the "fast lands" because you needed to get them out fast in order to see them be untapped, as we Magic players are not known for our creativity in naming things. For around six years, these five were one-half of an incomplete cycle, and players everywhere wondered whether we'd have to go back to Mirrodin to receive the enemy-paired counterparts. Well, we didn't.

Did we need it?

Outside of an appearance in 2020's Zendikar Rising Expeditions "extra" set, this is the first time we've seen a reprint for the fast lands. It's thematically appropriate for them to appear in ONE, as their original appearance was in Scars of Mirrodin, and they've all got oily/metally names that kind of lock designers into a limited number of settings in which they could show up. Once upon a time, the fastlands weren't terribly expensive, chugging along at around $5 for the first couple years of their existence, but around 2018 they spiked, reaching peaks in the mid-$40s. Today, you can get a copy of, say, a Scars Blackcleave Cliffs for around $15. Or, you can get the version from ONE for $4.

Did we want it?

They're not as good in Commander as they were in the Standard of the time, as the "uptap" parameters are harder to meet in a 100-card format where you're playing somewhere around 35 lands. As such, they've never really been the most sought-after dual lands in the format, so despite the nostalgia, I'd say that no, we didn't really want them.


Thrummingbird first appeared in 2010's Scars of Mirrodin, and if you thought that was its only printing, that's okay. The Bird Horror seems like it's only showed up that one time, but that's actually pretty far from the truth, as it's been printed in Modern Masters 2, three Commander releases, and has showed up in Mystery Boosters. The little guy's prolific in its Proliferating, what can I say. Back in its Standard run, it saw a bit of niche play in Infect lists before getting colorshifted into heaven.

Did we need it?

Six previous printings for an uncommon that doesn't really see play outside of Commander can really do a number on that secondary market. The only way you were paying more than a buck for this, even before the latest reprint, is if you wanted a Scars foil or accidentally clicked Thrumming Stone instead of Thrummingbird.

Did we want it?

Thrummingbird, according to EDHREC, appears in 2% of the decks that can play it, totaling roughly 25,000. And not all of those lists are Infect, like you might have thought. Sure, 7,000 of them are Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, but it's in around 2,000 lists each of Toxrill, the Corrosive and Ezuri, Claw of Progress. None of those cards even say the word Infect on them anywhere. Is Thrummingbird a card used exclusively by mean people for mean reasons? I do not make judgements, I only present data.

Thrill of Possibility

Sometimes, a card is so frequently played, it feels like it's been around forever, and Thrill of Possibility is one of those cards, so if I told you that Thrill of Possibility has only existed for three years and three months, would you believe me? Well, you should, since I have no motivation to lie to you and you clearly have access to the internet to go check for yourself. It first popped up in Throne of Eldraine, which released in October 2019. But since then, it's seen tons of reprints, and the newest version in ONE represents the seventh art on the card. It's safe to say it's crossed over into the "put it in any set where it's thematically appropriate" realm of reprints, previously occupied by cards like Duress (which is incidentally also reprinted in ONE).

Did we need it?

It's a common with 10 previous printings in three years. We didn't need another one. However, that said, the latest art courtesy of Canadian-born Hugh Pindur (PINDURSKI) makes a new Thrill of Possibility worth printing.

Did we want it?

At the moment, EDHREC reports 112,000 decks make use of Thrill of Possibility, or 11% of lists that can play it. It's usually players' go-to cheap card draw in red, and it helps out plenty of strategies by allowing for a discard as well as being an instant. We'll always want cards like Thrill of Possibility as long as drawing cards for cheap is a good thing to do with your time in the format.

Volt Charge

From one red instant spell to another, Volt Charge and Thrill of Possibility couldn't have had a more different path to ONE. Where Thrill shows up everywhere like a Burger King commercial jingle, Volt Charge has seen exactly one reprint before now, in Duel Decks: Heroes Vs. Monsters, and despite sounding like what your Chevy does after you plug it in at the farmers' market, it also had the distinction of being the only red card for 12 years with the word Proliferate on it, a streak that just ended with Cacophony Scamp.

Did we need it?

Even though it was somewhat novel, it's still a three-mana Lightning Bolt with a little pizzazz stapled to it by way of a set mechanic, which historically is never that intriguing. See Barbed Lightning, Brimstone Volley, Fateful End, Fiery Temper, Moonrager's Slash, Puncture Blast, Slaying Fire, Urza's Rage, or Wizard's Lightning for details. But hey, at least it's not Open Fire, right? Right?

Did we want it?

We see Volt Charge appear in a shade under 3,500 decklists according to EDHREC. That's out of 981,000 decks that can play it, or roughly 0%. It sees the highest frequency of appearances in The Scorpion God lists, followed by Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh decks, so seeing a reprint in ONE puts it squarely in "huh, neat...anyway" territory.

Some other notable reprints include:

  • Titanic Growth (ninth printing, last seen in Core Set 2021 and first with new art)
  • Terramorphic Expanse (41st printing, last seen in glorious old border in The Brothers' War Commander)
  • Prophetic Prism (12th printing, also last seen wearing brown in BRC)
  • Phyrexian Swarmlord (second printing, the first since it originally appeared in New Phyrexia)
  • Norn's Annex (sort of the fourth printing -- it was in New Phyrexia, showed up on The List, and will be a WPN exclusive later this year)
  • Noxious Revival (other than a spot on The List, this is the first reprint)
  • Grafted Exoskeleton (third printing, last seen in Duel Decks: Mirrodin Pure vs. New Phyrexia -- can you guess who won?)
  • Swords to Plowshares (59th printing, if you can believe it, last seen a few weeks ago in Dominaria Remastered)
  • Beast Within (22nd printing, last seen in with this art in Time Sprial Remastered)
  • Solemn Simulacrum (29th printing, last seen the Starter Commander Decks that apparently came out a month ago)
  • Path to Exile (25th printing, also most recently in Starter Commander Decks -- seriously, what even is that)
  • Ghostly Prison (13th printing, last seen with a lot of yellow in a Secret Lair from last year)
  • Night's Whisper (eighth printing, last seen in Dominaria United Commander)
  • Putrefy (19th printing, last seen as a pair of Strixhaven Mystical Archive inclusions)
  • Felidar Retreat (the card's only existed for three years and is now printed for the eighth time, most recently in Starter Commander Decks -- is that really a set or am I being lied to?)
  • Myr Battlesphere (the battleball is on its 11th printing, all with the same iconic art, last seen in brown border in BRC)

So there you have it, folks: the reprints of Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Overall, it was a lackluster showing this time around, but 2023 is still young. Was there a card you expected to see in ONE that didn't show up? Maybe an Inexorable Tide, or a (gasp) Triumph of the Hordes? Let me know, and I'll see you in the next set, which according to my calculations is in April. But something tells me we'll be talking about reprints before then.

More reviews of Phyrexia: All Will Be One.