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By: Gardevi, Lee McLeod
May 09 2011 11:15am
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Last week I talked about the changes I thought New Phyrexia would bring to the long-standing draft archetypes of Metalcraft and Infect. This week I'm going to be going over some brand new "build-around" archetypes that New Phyrexia throws into the mix. Let's start with the most obvious: 



To be frank, I see this card being far more effective in triple New Phyrexia than in NMS (PMS?). There's just a lack of Phyrexian-mana cards in Scars and Besieged. But, that doesn't mean it can't be done! I have to assume Rage Extractor will go extremely low, even more so than Furnace Celebration (which I still see go 12th+) so you don't need to pick them up high. Instead, place your priority on picking up Phyrexian cards. Porcelain Legionnaire, Tezzeret's Gambit, Dismember, Pith Driller, Act of Aggression, Slash Panther, and Mutagenic Growth are all fine first picks that you'll play regardless of what you end up in. Be sure that you see 1 to 2 Rage Extractors in the first three or four picks, though, or the deck may not pan out. 

That said, the deck has a lot of advantages. First, Rage Extractor does a ton of damage. Most of the sought-after cards with Phyrexian mana cost around three to five mana, which means you get a free Lightning Bolt, Flame Javelin, or Lava Axe in addition to playing aggressive spells, putting your opponents on the back foot. Also, Rage Extractor is a very easy archtype to switch out of:  Phyrexian cards don't require specific colors, and quite a few are good in every deck, meaning that if you don't get to wheel your Rage Extractors (which I consider unlikely), you're no worse for the wear. You still get to play good cards and aren't locked into specific colors. Plus, I can think of nothing that would feel better than casting sequential Rage Extractors, begging the computer screen to show your opponents face so you can watch all the hope of winning the game leave their eyes. 

Unfortunately, there are no Phyrexian mana cards in Besieged or Scars. Instead, you'll have to spend those two packs picking up cards that go into either an aggressive Extractor deck or a controlling one. The aggressive deck would ideally aim to kill the opponent with a combination of aggressive creatures and direct damage via Rage Extractor to win before the life loss from your own spells and your opponent's creatures can accumulate too much. Cards that fit into the aggressive deck would be things like Ogre Resister, Spin Engine, Pierce Strider, Leonin Skyhunter, etc. Control decks, on the other hand, would use Rage Extractor primarily as a means to remove troublesome creatures, taking a defensive stance until all blockers are removed and it can win via a bomb or something like Thundering Tanadon or Slash Panther. Also, keep in mind that Prismatic Talisman is quite good for this archetype - it'll accelerate you into Rage Extractor and let you gain life to offset the cost of the Phyrexian mana.

Green might be an ideal pair for red in this deck. Fangren Marauder can cover up for the life loss quite well if you can land him, and Noxious Revival allows you to reuse Phyrexian cards to retrigger Rage Extractor. Corrosive Gale also has the honor of being the only unrestrictive Phyrexian-mana X spell - it's converted mana cost is whatever you want it to be. 




Now, this isn't completely a brand new NPH archetype in the same way that Rage Extractor is. Surge Node is cog that already fits very well into the existing Vedalken Infuser archeytpe (which TheRegularGangster covered here). I figured this would be a good place to cover what New Phyrexia adds to the charge counter goodness, and Surge Node is definitely a part of that. For one, Surge Node itself is very linear, which means that a lot of people won't want to dip into it and will just pass it along, leading it to wheel quite often (similar to the Infuser himself). Surge Node adds power to the variety of artifacts that use charge counters in Scars and Besieged (covered in TRG's article), but can also lend a helping hand to New Phyrexian things like the Shrine cycle and Conversion Chamber. I already gushed about the Shrines at length in my last article, but suffice it to say that I've been really impressed with them (especially the red) so far in the MTGO Beta, and fully expect them to meet my expectations in the real New Phyrexia format.

But adding a single charge counter to a Shrine, while fine, isn't as great as adding a charge counter to Conversion Chamber.

I touched on this card briefly in my last article, but I expect Conversion Chamber to be quite good in a number of decks. For this one archetype, adding a charge counter with Surge Node or Vedalken Infuser to Conversion Chamber is essentially getting a 3/3 Golem for 2 or 3 mana - quite a bargain! Not to mention that Conversion Chamber synergizes heavily with the Splicers in New Phyrexia, and can provide itself with its own charge counters with dead artifacts, letting you reuse your old Spellbombs and Culling Dais to make some new creatures!

And it doesn't stop at Surge Node. New Phyrexia is full of Proliferate effects to help you take advantage of all the different types of charge counters your artifacts will accumulate. Some of these - Volt Charge and Grim Affliction - are even first pickable forms of removal, so it's not as if you'll be filling up your deck with Steady Progresses. Viral Drake even acts as the New Phyrexia version of Vedalken Infuser; a 1/4 blocker for 3U that can proliferate counters (be it poison or charge). 

Of course, you'll still have the bread and butter charge counter artifacts like Trigon of Corruption, Tumble Magnet, and so on. New Phyrexia just adds a little bit of punch to add to your artifacts to make sure they don't run out of steam. 


Speaking of artifacts, Unwinding Clock looks to be an interesting rare to build around, but I'm not sure how to approach it. Most of the artifacts that have free tap abilities are Myr or rares like Grindclock, which are less than spectacular (in the case of the Myr) and hard to obtain reliably (in the case of rares).

The best bet with this card may be to just force a heavy artifact theme and take advantage of the free vigilance. This makes Unwinding Clock a pretty mediocre card, sort of a 4-mana Serra's Blessing, so you need to pick up at least a few noncreature artifacts that get double the work out of Unwinding Clock. The aforementioned Conversion Chamber (okay, so I might be head over heels with that card) does this, as do all of the Trigons in Scars of Mirrodin, essentially cutting their charge time by half and giving them more counters.

There might even be some sort of a Liquimetal Coating subtheme so you can make the creatures with tap abilities matter more. Fallen Ferromancer, Vedalken Anatomist Vedalken Certarch, and Bloodshot Trainee are all overwhelming when working double-time.


I know some people will mention Mindcrank as helping the mill archetype, but it's not overly impressive. It fits perfectly into the mill deck, sure; but, you're losing another pack of Screeching Silcaws and a shot at a Grindclock and trying to replace it with a card that can't mill them faster than they can be killed. You can't exactly bank on them playing Phyrexian mana cards and milling any significant portion of their deck with it to justify Mindcrank's inclusion - just take out the Mindcrank and kill them with damage faster. 


That's it for today! Let me know in the comments if you think there's a good archetype that I missed that's worth talking about. 


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Point of Order by bubba0077 at Mon, 05/09/2011 - 12:58
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Liquimetal Coating doesn't work with Unwinding Clock at all. There's no opportunity to use it before your opponent's untap step. You would need to use something like Silverskin Armor.

You're right, and actually I by Gardevi at Mon, 05/09/2011 - 16:01
Gardevi's picture

You're right, and actually I did mean Silverskin Armor. It's kind of embarrassing to mention all creatures with cool tap abilities and then forget which card makes them artifacts permanently.

I suspect the most common use by grandpoobah at Mon, 05/09/2011 - 18:38
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I suspect the most common use of Unwinding Clock (in limited formats) will be with Heavy Arbalest equipped to an artifact creature, especially one with Infect. And yes, they worded the card such that it's a static ability rather than a triggered ability, meaning it doesn't use the stack and you can't respond to it. If instead it said, "At the beginning of each other players untap step" then it would trigger and you could respond.

I wonder if artillerize (sp?) by StealthBadger at Wed, 05/11/2011 - 12:50
StealthBadger's picture

I wonder if artillerize (sp?) might mean that we stop seeing all of the ridiculously late leonin skyhunters in our besieged packs? Every time I draft BSS, it seems like I pass infinite skyhunters and divine offerings, because while everybody sees that w/r aggro is potentially open, nobody wants to be in it.

Artillerize seems to give that deck a lot of reach, and I don't think NPH has as many big defenders as scars. While it isn't a new archetype as such, I wonder if R/W aggro might be a bit more playable than it currently seems to be. You do lose a pack of arrests though.