Revisiting New Phyrexia means a dramatic twist in the lore, the return of powerful mechanics, and most importantly, an exciting suite of new cards to play with! Historically, sets involving Phyrexia have given us plenty of strong cards, and All Will Be One looks to be no different. Let’s take a look at some of the best new cards from one of Magic’s most vile planes.
Mono Blue Tempo is already a strong archetype in standard, and Mercurial Spelldancer fits into that deck’s game-plan perfectly. Not only is it an evasive threat that comes out early, but it also rewards you for casting lots of spells. Mono Blue Tempo already has hard-to-handle threats and plenty of cheap spells, so this seems like a perfect fit.
I don’t think the Spelldancer becomes a 4-of in the deck, though. With only one toughness, it’s much more vulnerable than the deck’s other creatures. It also only lets you copy spells after it deals combat damage. Tempo decks love playing at instant speed, waiting for just the right time to act. By committing to playing a spell on your turn, as well as after combat, I worry that you might lose some of the deck’s unpredictability.
|Cheap, unblockable threat||One toughness|
|Copies your spells||Ability only triggers when it deals combat damage|
Vraan, Executioner Thane
Next, we have yet another two-drop that can give you value throughout the game: Vraan, Executioner Thane. At first glance, you might think this card isn’t too scary. Compared to something like Blood Artist or Zulaport Cutthroat, it’s pretty limited. It can only trigger once each turn, so you won’t be able to build a massive
However, draining your opponent for two is still a great effect to repeat throughout the game. If you can trigger Vraan on your turn and your opponents’ turn, it won’t take long to get them to 0. You don’t even need to sacrifice the creatures to trigger Vraan, so any deaths from combat will further your gameplan.
Even if Vraan isn’t the best artistocrats payoff we’ve seen, it can still make short work of your opponents if they don’t respect it.
|Drains your opponent for two||Lots of restrictions|
|Doesn’t require “sacrifice”||Requires other creatures to die|
My next pick might not make waves in Standard, but it’s eerily similar to one of the format’s previous powerhouses. Many players have already noted that Tyrannax Rex is a compleated Carnage Tyrant, though I’m not sure the Phyrexian version will have the same impact. Not only is Tyrannax Rex more expensive than Carnage Tyrant, but the latter also got paired with the hyper efficient ramp of Llanowar Elves.
Still, if there’s a stompy green deck in Standard, it’s hard to imagine that Tyrannax Rex wouldn’t make for a great finisher. It protects itself, it can attack right away, and it can even give poison counters, It’s a must-answer threat the second it hits the
Archfiend of the Dross
Lastly, I have another powerful threat that can win you the game, but not without some risk. Archfiend of the Dross might be a surprising pick, but I believe you can easily avoid its downside.
On its own, it gives you four turns to win the game. That’s a pretty fast clock, but a 6/6 flier doesn’t really need four turns to close out a match. Your other cards should be chipping in damage as well, and your opponent will lose life whenever one of their creatures dies. When you combine all of this, your opponent’s life total will plummet pretty quickly once this hits the
Still, you’ll likely want to play it safe and make some extra oil counters. Black will have strong tools for proliferating on its own, such as Drown in Ichor and Vat Emergence. If you expand your colors into Dimir, Golgari, or even Sultai, then you’ll have plenty more to choose between. These will be key to playing the Archfiend since you don’t want to lose from a stalled
|Overly efficient stats||Can lose you the game|
|Provides chip damage|
Sword of Forge and Frontier
One of the most iconic elements of Mirrodin/New Phyrexia are their cycle of swords, and Sword of Forge and Frontier doesn’t disappoint. It might not be the best in the cycle, but it provides tons of value with each hit. Looking at an extra two cards and getting an additional land drop just gives you a ton of extra resources, and that advantage can snowball if you get more than one trigger.
I especially like this card in Pioneer because the meta heavily features red and green. Protection has so many potential uses for both offense and defense, so I think this card could make a huge difference in the sideboard. Rakdos Midrange, Nykthos Ramp, and of course Gruul Midrange will all struggle to work around this sword, which I think warrants a slot in your deck. Just make sure you have enough creatures to wield it!
|Protection from red and green||Requires a creature|
|Impulsive draw and extra land drop|
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines
Panharmonicon is a scary value engine all on its own, and Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is a meaner version of it. You still get to trigger all of your ETB effects twice, but she also stops your opponents from getting ETB triggers. That’s an extremely powerful effect, especially when you consider that it stops all triggered abilities that happen because any of your opponents’ permanents enter the battlefield.
The new Elesh Norn stops landfall triggers from happening, which alone might make her worth a slot. She also stops The Great Henge, Sun Titan, and so many other format staples. Of course, such a strong effect will likely make her a target for removal, and she doesn’t have any built-in protection. With the right setup, though, she can stop your opponents’ value engines while fueling your own.
|Gives you double value on ETB triggers||Vulnerable to removal|
|Disrupts your opponents|
Mondrak, Glory Dominus
If you’re looking for a value engine that protects itself, then look no further than Mondrak, Glory Dominus. Mondrak provides you with another Parallel Lives effect: giving you twice as many tokens as you would normally create.
This effect is a knockout punch in token decks, and smart opponents will try to remove it as quickly as possible. That’s why I love Mondrak’s activated ability. If your opponents try to destroy it, you can give it indesructible at instant speed. Sure, you’ll have to lose some mana, some life, and some of your
The only drawback to a card like this is that it doesn’t do much on its own. You need the right amount of token generation to really make this card worth it, but in the right decks, Mondrak, Glory Dominus will be absurd.
|Doubles all your tokens||Requires other cards|
|Makes itself indestructible|
Ichormoon Guantlet is an exciting new piece for superfriends decks to test out. Playing a bunch of planeswalkers can be strong, but what really takes these decks to the next level is their ability to cheat counters onto them. Whether through proliferating or effects such as Doubling Season, superfriends decks want to get a high loyalty on their walkers as fast as possible.
That’s where Ichormoon Guantlet comes in. Often times, proliferating will be stronger in these decks than the weaker loyalty abilities on your walkers. After all, you want to your ultimate abilities as fast as possible. And if you need more time to find your win condition, taking extra turns is an excellent way to dig for what you need and pull ahead.
Of course, superfriends is a very narrow archetype. Ichormoon Guantlet can’t just go in any deck, and you already need to be fairly well set up for it to do anything. There are also plenty of other cards, like the aforementioned Doubling Season that can get your planeswalkers to ultimate faster. Still, this is a sweet payoff that I expect tons of superfriends players to try.
|Incredible superfriends payoff||Requires other cards|
Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus
Just like Mondrak, Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus is an incredible enabler that can protect itself. Proliferate is a strong mechanic with broad uses: +1/+1 counters, planeswalkers, infect, and even more strategies all benefit greatly from proliferate. Just one instance of proliferate can provide you with a ton of value, so doubling that can snowball the game in your favor in no time.
However, Tekuthal has the same downside as Mondrak: it doesn’t do anything by itself. in fact, Tekuthal is even worse in this regard. Mondrak just needs you to have a card that creates tokens, but you need two kinds of cards to make Tekuthal work. You need permanents with counters on them (or that can give your opponents counters, if you’re going with infect), and you need cards that let your proliferate. You could play Mondrak on an empty
In the right deck, though, Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus could be your best card. Its ceiling is unbelievably high, so just make sure the rest of your deck can consistently support it.
|Makes proliferating even stronger||Requires other cards|
|Makes itself indestructible|
Drivnod, Carnage Dominus
Finally, why not end this article with yet another Dominus? This cycle has some of the strongest enablers I’ve seen in awhile, and Drivnod, Carnage Dominus is no exception. Aristocrats is already an exeptionally powerful archetype, and Drivnod essentially doubles the strength of your plays. Drawing two cards from Dark Prophecy or giving Black Market twice as many counters is just ridiculous, and it can be impossible for your opponents to overcome the advantage these lines provide.
Perhaps scariest of all is that you get to drain your opponents twice with Blood Artist and similar effects. Aristocrats decks are known for slowly bleeding their opponents to death, but Drivnod, Carnage Dominus lets you go right for the throat. Don’t underestimate this interaction: Blood Artist can easily win games on its own, so juicing it up with Drivnod can be an instant knockout punch with the right
Let’s also remember that Drivnod can give itself idestructible. In fact, I think it has a much lower cost for doing so than others in its cycle. Both Mondrak and Tekuthal weaken your
|Doubles all of your death triggers||Requires other cards|
|Makes itself indestructible|
And there you have it! These are my early picks for the best spoilers from Phyrexia: All Will Be One! No matter what archetype or playstyle you like, there’s something interesting in this set for you to pick up and try. Let me know what cards you’re excited to open as we all become One in just a couple of weeks.