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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Mar 09 2023 12:04pm
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PHYREXIA: ALL WILL BE ONE COMMANDER

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 As usual, Phyrexia: All Will Be One is accompanied by a number of Commander decks. In this case, there are two of them, one representing the Phyrexians in Abzan colors and one representing the Mirran Resistance in Boros colors.

 

 Each deck contains 10 new cards, legal in Commander, Vintage, and Legacy. Another 8 cards with the subset symbol appear only in the Set Boosters and Collector Boosters. Among those we find some blue cards that are otherwise prevented from being in the decks, due to their identity; the return of living weapon, i.e. a Phyrexian Equipment; and a callback to Lux Cannon that is also an alternate wincon.

    

 Let's have a look at the new creatures and their tribes. As always, the tribes are presented alphabetically, and you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 NOTE: Alchemy cards, Acorn cards, and other non-tournament legal cards aren't counted toward the tribal totals.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 149
  • New cards: 28
  • New creatures: 10
  • Reprinted cards: 121
  • Reprinted creatures: 27
  • New Legendary creatures: 6
  • New Snow creatures: 0
  • New artifact creatures: 1
  • New enchantment creatures: 0
  • Triple-subtype creatures: 0
  • Creature types affected: 12
  • Tribes with more than one addition: Phyrexian (+5), Angel (+2)

Angel: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 227, online: 224

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: When people think of a Phyrexian Angel, they obviously think of Elesh Norn's primary lackey, Atraxa; but Atraxa has herself created a host of offsprings in her image, the first of which is her clone-daughter Ixhel, who's employed here as the commander of the Phyrexian deck, titled "Corrupting Influence". Compared to her clone-mother, Ixhel lacks blue and her body is more defensively slanted, making good use of vigilance. She really has only one gameplan, i.e. corrupting as many opponents as there are at the table, to start exiling and recycling the top of their libraries turn after turn. It's not a hard goal to achieve, being an evasive creature with toxic 2 – which is extremely important, because it means Ixhel is self-sufficient, as unfortunately there are not a lot of other toxic creatures that could earn themselves a slot in a Commander deck. Casting cards off the top of another player's library is never as good as doing the same from the top of our own, but it's still a massive advantage over time, especially in multiplayer. It takes a while to get going, though, namely two successful connections per player. Ixhel plays the long game, but it's worth noting that she doesn't aim to win via poison counters – although, she absolutely could, more easily than any other toxic commander. Once an opponent is corrupted, they'll stay corrupted for the remainder of the game, allowing any new instance of Ixhel to resume her card-stealing business.

 The other Phyrexian Angel, Norn's Choirmaster is just a white five-drop with decent stats that grants a proliferate ETB and attack trigger to our commander. It's not a massively impactful ability, but can do its job in a deck that trafficks in counters. Her board presence is otherwise solid enough to justify the inclusion. By the way, did you notice that when Elesh Norn is referenced to with a single name, it's always the second part of her full name? I can't find anything confirming it, but I wonder if "Elesh" is more of a title or a moniker than a name. Like if she's calling herself "the Great Norn" or "Queen Norn" or something along those lines.


Beast: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 461, online: 451

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Glissa's best boy is basically a supercharged Tyrranax Atrocity with the evasive ability of Paladin of Predation, confirming green as the apex color of toxicity. It also dies into one or more instances of Regrowth, provided there's at least one corrupted opponent at the table. Given that it can enable that ability by itself with a single connection, and can catch players by surprise via haste, it doesn't seem too hard to have the recursion online more often than not. It remains a big dumb expensive beater, but since it replaces itself most of the times, it can be a valid consideration in decks that have other uses for the corruption mechanic.


Cat: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 261, online: 251

 Related Tribes: Knight

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The Skyhunters are pteron-riding Leonins that had a few, if unremarkable cards in the original Mirrodin block. Years later, Commander Legends printed Armored Skyhunter, making it an "Equipment and Auras matter" card. The latest in the subtheme, Skyhunter Strike Force, uses two Commander-specific mechanics, melee and lieutenant. This means it's pretty much unplayable outside of multiplayer, as in 1v1 it would just be a three-mana 2/2 flyer that attacks as a 3/3. It's not actually amazing in its natural habitat either, as it needs the commander around in order to give melee to everyone in its team, and triggering melee multiple times per combat requires diversifying our attack, which isn't always something we can or should do. So it's mostly going to be an occasional +1/+1 combat boost in our turn, which is not too great.


Dragon: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 316, online: 311

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Chiss-Goria's cost and affinity immediately remind us of Darksteel's Furnace Dragon, and in fact its lore mentions that it's one of the last remaining furnace dragons. That text also states it's unknown whether it's actually aligned with the Mirran Resistance, despite its hatred of Phyrexians, which might be why it wasn't released as part of the "Rebellion Rising" deck, but only in Set Boosters and Collector Boosters. Chiss-Goria is actually a callback to two artifacts bearing its name (as the Mirrans are known to repurpose the body parts it sheds): Scale of Chiss-Goria and Tooth of Chiss-Goria, dating all the way back to the original Mirrodin.

 In short, it's an efficient finisher for artifact builds, where it drops for three mana, swings right away for five damage, and digs for more artifacts. The fact that it grants affinity to the artifacts it reveals is a terrific bonus, allowing to cheat flashy cards onto the battlefield for no cost – which is crucial, given that we are otherwise forced to cast the discovered cards in the same turn's post-combat phase, when we might find ourselves tapped out, particularly during the turn in which we have cast Chiss-Goria in the first place.


Druid: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 277, online: 273

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: This Phyrexian Druid of undefined race (it looks like an Insect, but they opted not to give it any other subtype) might just be the most intriguing toxic creature printed so far. It essentially uses poison counters as markers to bring online is last, and juicier, ability – granting a free Explore per turn for each corrupted opponent. For a 5/5 trampler, connecting at least once for any amount of damage isn't an impossible task; and from that point on, we can just keep Contaminant Grafter in the safety of the home base and let its status of proliferate lord do the rest of the job. In fact, is first connection alone will earn the first two poison counters; then we can swarm the opponent, or use evasive beaters, or proliferate once with any other means, and the deal is done. But even ignoring the card advantage goal, we can just marvel at the idea of including the Grafter in a deck where most every creature cares about +1/+1 counters – it would equal to turn them all into Sliths! (Or Whirling Dervishes, if you're even more old-school).


Human: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 3031, online: 2825

 Related Tribes: Rebel

 Impact of the New Additions: Still Irrelevant

 Highlights: The only new Human in these decks, and the commander of choice for "Rebellion Rising", Neyali is one of the leaders of the Mirran Resistance that fights against the Phyrexians. She has a pet male Phoenix, Otharri, whom she hatched from his egg. Both Neyali and Otharri reference Mirrodin's Five Suns in their monikers, and are clearly designed to play alongside each other: Otharri creates attacking tokens and Neyali gives them double strike and impulsively draws cards off of them. Out of the two, Neyali is the one who requires more build-around gimmicks, because she doesn't actually do anything if we don't have tokens around, preferably lots of them. In the right deck, though, she's a neat commander or even just an essential inclusion, boosting the damage output while finding more gas.


Insect: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 198, online: 194

 Related Tribes: Phyrexian

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Vishgraz is the latest, terrible form in the endless saga of Geth, which has more twists and turns than a Gothic soap opera. Geth started his MTG journey as a lich (so he was already dead at the beginning!), then became a disembodied head mounted on a Phyrexian exoskeleton, then a scheming Thane of Sheoldred, who allied with Urabrask against Elesh Norn. Norn's angelic lieutenant Atraxa eventually sent her clone-daughter Ixhel to assassinate Geth, who was beheaded... again. But Ixhel somehow felt a connection with Geth and instead of recycling him as scrap components, decided to turn him into a brand new patchwork monstrosity called Vishgraz.

 All this established, what about his card? For five Abzan mana, the Doomhive gives us a toxic 3/3 with menace and three toxic 1/1s. The 3/3 might be actually larger, based on the poison counters our opponents collectively have. So the ceiling here is a 30/30 on a table where we have three opponents on the very brink of being killed off by poison. Overall, that last ability feels win-more, because Vishgraz seems to encourage a poison victory, and a big vanilla body doesn't exactly help with that. And yet, it's the flashiest bit of text on the card, pushing us to poison the opponents so we may get a big menacer that can win by regular damage. Not the most synergistic creature, and again, toxic doesn't look like a mechanic that Commander (let alone Legacy and Vintage) will care about for the time being.


Knight: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 357, online: 344

 Related Tribes: Cat

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Yeah, the Skyhunters are Knights because they ride Pterons. Not much else to say about this one, except that it's a Set Boosters and Collector Boosters exclusive that's not part of the two Commander decks. Weirdly enough, the only time one of those Pterons (which is just Mirrodin's fantasy version of a pteranodon, I guess) got its own card was with Pteron Ghost in Darksteel. A bit ominous. (We also got Wingfold Pteron, but that one's from Ikoria).


Myr: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 42

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Now, this is a tribal lord! The former servant of Memnarch (the epithet makes it sound like he's made of leftover parts of Mirrodin's first ruler, but he's actually not) gives us a free Myr for each Myr we cast. And then he untaps them all every turn, like Myr Galvanizer, except for free! And he includes himself in the untapping, so he can boost the team with his last ability, which has an expensive WURBG activation but it's also easily game-ending, in a way that reminds of powerful Elf finishers like Ezuri, Renegade Leader.

 That activation also means Urtet is a five-color commander (the reason why he's only found in Set Boosters and Collector Boosters), which might not seem too relevant in a Myr deck, since all Myr minus three are colorless, but it grants access to any spell we want to include, opening a ton of deckbuilding options, even just for support. All coming in a practical three-mana package. The future of Myr builds is here, and not just for Commander!


Phoenix: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 33, online: 31

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Otharri is Neyali's companion and a symbol of hope for the Mirran Resistance. He's quite possibly the most powerful new card in these decks, a recurring five-mana finisher that attacks as a 3/3 flyer with lifelink plus a 2/2, and keeps going wider and wider at every attack. Notably, the experience counters that are used to determine the number of Rebel tokens that Otharri creates at every attack resides on the player, not on the card. So every time Otharri dies and comes back from the graveyard (note how he also makes for the type of commander that entirely circumvents the commander tax), the token generation resumes from where it left off. The cost of recursion is even cheaper than the original mana value, although it requires the continuous survival of at least one of the Rebel tokens – or any other Rebel, possibly one of those created by For Mirrodin! Equipment. The only way to stop Otharri's inevitability is exiling him, and that only works if he's not a resident of the Command Zone.


Phyrexian: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 390, online: 388

 Related Tribes: Angel, Beast, Druid, Insect

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: There are some strong new Phyrexians in the dedicated "Corrupting Influence" deck. As the name implies, corruption is the name of the game here, and the best of them, namely Ixhel and Contaminant Grafter, are able to sustain the corruption plan on their own. Both also exploit the corruption threshold to provide fresh cards, albeit the Angel does it by fishing into the libraries of our opponents, which might not always bear the expected fruits. So if I had to pick one, I'd go with the Grafter – the moment we start getting a free Explore every turn, it's going to be hard for our enemies to keep up.


Rebel: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 55

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: As one of the leaders of the anti-Phyrexian Resistance, Neyali is, unsurprisingly, a Rebel. Which is of course a more relevant allegiance compared to the all-comprising Human, but she's mechanically all about tokens, a field of action that none of the other Rebels share in the least (the only Rebel card that makes a token is Riftmarked Knight, and that's a pretty weak interaction). Most likely, the idea behind Neyali's design was to have her paired with the the Rebel tokens created by the For Mirrodin! Equipment. Unfortunately, those don't count for tribal purposes.


SUMMARY

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 Check the Complete Creature Types Reference Table here.


KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS