Nearly twelve years since the last visit, Magic returns to the plane of New Phyrexia.
It would be an understatement to say Magic has changed a lot since then but the Phyrexians' mission remains constant: to make all become one. As horrors and monstrosities are unleashed to do Elesh Norn's Great Work, another mission that remains constant is for the Cardsphere team and their community members to make some picks for their favorite new cards in the set!
Whether it's power level, new tech in an old deck, rich flavor, or stunning artwork, these picks can be based on any criteria desired. For the Phyrexia: All Will Be One edition of Cardsphere Picks, Discord tunnel snakes Bodey and Uncle Dougy are joined by community member MechaGojira (Mr. Stompy on CS) and the Phyrexian ambassador to Cardsphere's #pub, Avery (PrettyPrincessKitty FS). Let's see what toxic new toys they're gonna be after.
It's a color-shifted
Dreadhorde Invasion, what's not to like? The Corrupted ability here is going to mostly be flavor text in the decks that I slot
Skrelv's Hive into but you never know! It doesn't hurt to have an alternate win condition for the 1% of games that it comes up. Between Hive and some other cards printed in recent sets, it sure feels like WotC has really closed the gap between white and the rest of the Commander color pie.
I am a huge fan of all the
Qasali Pridemage variants that have been printed over the last two years.
Cankerbloom is going to slot into nearly every green decks that cares about counters and probably a good number of green decks that don't, too. Plus being a 3/2 for 2 mana? Sure, why not.
Sword of Forge and Frontier
While the latest in the Sword of X and Y cycle is not nearly at the power level of some of the others (I might even venture to say it's one of the weakest), it's probably the first one of the cycle that I'm excited to slot into a Commander deck. I play a
Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald deck that cares a lot about both of the things
Sword of Forge and Frontier does. Cast from exile? Duh. Play extra lands? Sure, let's mitigate the worst parts of that impulse draw and ramp. Slam dunk.
Oh, and who wants to bet Sword of Pro Black and Pro Blue is in MOM?
Mondrak, Glory Dominus
This card embodies all of the style that originally made me fall in love with New Phyrexia over 10 years ago. The art, the name, the abilities, everything to me evokes the combination of horror packaged in an elegant form. I think everyone has tried to break
Anointed Procession at one point or another, and this card gets to do that while also swinging for damage. Throw an
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines into the mix and you can quickly have your own host of Phyrexians to compleat your enemies with.
Glissa continues greens time-honored tradition of having low-costed beaters with a huge pile of text on them. While not quite the same level as
Questing Beast, any creature with first strike and deathtouch is always a potent combo. She gives the opponent a choice of having to take the lesser of two evils, either chump blocking and losing creatures or letting Glissa hit allowing her ability to trigger. She also has quite a few interesting creature types that let her slot into all sorts of shenanigans.
Monument to Perfection
Journeyer's Kite gets an upgrade in this set, with the ability to both tutor some additional land types and eventually become an onboard threat. The ability may take some time but for a slow grindy deck this can be a great mana dump. We also have quite a few new toys with the various Sphere lands that are printed in the set. While this may not make the biggest splash in all formats, I like to see a new twist on an old favorite of mine.
Honorable Mention: Atraxa, Grand Unifier
I want to include Atraxa for the fact that it pulled a
Tarmogoyf and teased an upcoming new card type. I always enjoy these little teasers and while I am not overtly excited to play the card itself, I appreciate the nod it gives to future sets.
Now I am not excited to play with this card myself, but rather, I am more excited for what this could mean for the Voltron archetype in commander. As many may be aware, Voltron suffers from one main issue: it tends to be very expensive to build in a way that can hold its own at most power levels.
Bladehold War-Whip does a lot that a Voltron deck wants. While it may not make the cut in high-end Voltron decks, I feel that at only uncommon,
Bladehold War-Whip is a great step towards making budget Voltron a more viable option.
Karumonix, The Rat King
Many seem to be excited to play Karumonix as a powerful new Rat commander, but I am more excited to slot it into the 99. There are two main attractions to me when it comes to this card. The first simply being the card advantage upon entering the battlefield. Once that is done, the secondary function comes into play. Karumonix's static ability granting all Rats toxic 1 is most certainly going to get people's attention, making for an excellent lightning rod to protect your more important pieces.
Urtet, Remnant of Memnarch
Despite their lack of support, Myrs have always been a bit of a fan favorite creature type, but after so many years, Myrs have finally become a commander-viable creature type with the release of
Urtet, Remnant of Memnarch! While there still isn't really much in the way of Myr support, I believe Urtet is powerful enough in its own right to make a fun, and viable Myr deck.
Ovika, Enigma Goliath
I don't even know how to begin describing Ovika. I lean heavily into strange over power and stylized art over photorealism and Ovika for me fits perfectly. #goals. Izzet spellslinging with a combo potential for incredibly convoluted lines but without building itself? I can't even think of how to describe the art. Yes please!
Draft signpost uncommons with named mechanics are great. I loved surveil in Guilds of Ravnica draft because
Thoughtbound Phantasm into
Nightveil Sprite into
Disinformation Campaign was so much value. If I get passed this I will probably force proliferate no matter what. Also, "Phyrexian Bat".
I was really torn on my third pick because the art in this set is absolutely stellar (
Thrill of Possibility,
Hexgold Slash) or just out of disbelief that we now have a Phyrexian Elephant Wizard or a card called "Battle-Chair". In the end I went for
Minor Misstep because I think it will be a very powerful card for nonrotating formats where we've seen unfair combo dominate recently, with the checks being "counters, but also unfair".