Hello everyone! Happiest of days to you today! Today I want to finish our last Top Ten cards from the recently released Phyrexia: All Will be One set. As you can see, I've done two more with three Honorable Mentions to count down from #26 to #1. Today we'll do four Honorable Mentions so we get back to #40. These cards are rated for their value at kitchen table formats like Commander specifically, multiplayer generally, other Highlander formats, Five Color, Type Four and loads more.
Wanna check out my first 13 cards? It's here: Top Ten Cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One | Article by Abe Sargent (coolstuffinc.com). It features a trio of planeswalkers, 4 legal Commanders, and two colorless artifacts in my top three, but who hit how?
Here's last week's 13 cards: Another Top Ten for Phyrexia: All Will be One | Article by Abe Sargent (coolstuffinc.com) We have three in the Dominus Cycle, a pair of planeswalkers, and then a legendary artifact and 6 legal Commanders and a cycle in all colors. But what hit where?
Ready? Let's do it to it!
Honorable Mention #1 (#40 Overall) - Ovika, Enigma Goliath
I have called this to be my second Commander build in the set after Newtraxa. This is an admittedly pricey 7 mana but with a 6/6 flying body and ward for both mana and life making it hard to target. If you untap with it, you could win. It's a noncreature spell trigger to make 1/1 hasted Goblins equal to the mana value. That's very strong in Izzet Spellslinger brews where you cast instants and sorceries and trigger things like Guttersnipe to win. Spellslinger is a beloved archetype with more than 41,000 decks registered over at EDHREC.com which is the seventh most. Note that the hasted dorks stick around and don't die at the end of the turn. It's very strong with X spells like Fireball that can grab all of those tokens. It's also good with non-spells that also aren't dorks like artifacts, enchantments and planeswalkers. Love this thing loads, but it's seven mana cost is why it is in my third article hitting at #40 overall!
Honorable Mention #2 (#39 Overall) - Bilious Skulldweller
This one-drop uncommon Insect has deathtouch and toxic 1. Deathtouch 1/1s are great at playing keep away ever since Typhoid Rats was printed long ago. No one wants to trade their 2 or 3 drop with your one-drop 1/1, although this lacks flying, reach, or the ability to block evasive dorks. They are very strong at adding a body of dorks and then later when bigger stuff arrives you can pick up that Sword of Fire and Ice and swing for damage. The only issue is drawing them later when the big guns are running around. However this can attack for a poison counter to win that way after removal clears the way and your 1/1 is no longer relevant, or you can attack the open player yourself in the early game to start the poison clock if no one has dropped beaters to stop. It's great with proliferate tricks that can turn a few early hits into a later win. I love it outside of poison decks since you are still dealing damage with this as opposed to infect that only dealt damage in poison counters to foes damaged. It's brilliant!
Honorable Mention #3 (#38 Overall) - Capricious Hellraiser
This 6-mana triple-Red Dragon is a 4/4 with flying, a bit small. But if you have at least 9 cards in your graveyard, it costs jus three . Not bad at all! On arrival to the battlefield, you exile at random three cards from your graveyard. Then you copy one that's not a dork or a land for free. That's nice free spell attached to a cost reduced dork later on, but the issue here is the randomness, which is great, but if you have a stocked 'yard for just three, you easily get three lands and/or dorks and whiff on the free cast. It's fine in self-mill decks where you are getting a cheap dork, and also a shot at a free spell. I also like in the aforementioned Spellslinger brew with having a high non-dork list for you to get a strong chance of a free cost card. Nice card but the randomness drops it to my 3rd list.
Honorable Mention #4 (#37 Overall) Jace, the Perfected Mind
Jace rocks Phyrexian mana for flexibility. His +1 shrinks a dork by 3 power until your next turn, so he helps to stay alive while growing. His -2 gets a player to mill three and then if 20 or more cards are in a graveyard anywhere, draw three, otherwise draw one. Then his -X forces triple X milling. He likes the mill. His +1 to protect is weaker in multiplayer where many can attack. His -2 can really work well in mid or late game self- or other milling brews. His X is very strong there too, and he's good card flow early with the milling and the protection. He's very good as a topdeck later too. He's very strong in kitchen table play in duals, but he's weaker the more opponents you have.
#10. (#36 Overall) - Lukka, Bound to Ruin
Back-to-back planeswalkers! This Gruul 'walker is one step better than Jace. You can +1 to make two mana to spend on dorks or their activated abilities. Nasty mana making! Then you can -1 to make a 3/3 sized dork with toxic one, which really doesn't matter since you can get a bunch with the starting loyalty, since it's just a -1. If protected that could be a lot over time. Then you can -4 them to shoot X damage equal to your biggest creatures power which will always count the -1 3/3 at a minimum. Love this thing's ability to love dorks and deal damage a bunch.
#9. (#35 Overall) - Venerated Rotpriest
This is making the cut in Standard right now. This is a 1/2 with toxic 1 for winning! Then as your foe's target your things with a spell, target opponent gets a poison counter! Basically, your stuff gets ward: poison counter. It's a strong keep away. But it's any target opponent! One foe could target your stuff to get another foe counter to kill them off. Then you could gang up. Also note that you can target too, so this will kill in a self-targeting Heroic deck with your Giant Growth effects in Simic Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief! Or with red's love of self targeting fun times. Love this thing loads!
#8. (#34 Overall) Skrelv's Hive
In your upkeep you spend a life to make a 1/1 artifact token Phyrexian Mite that cannot block and has toxic 1. The obvious comparison here is a certain Faerie making black enchantment of the same cost. There are some ways in which Bitterblossom is better - it makes a flyer and it's a Faerie for tribal purposes. And the Mite here cannot block, so have of your combat options are gone, it's just swing. But in a 40-life format, dealing that much with the Bitterblossom's 1/1 is rough. But with toxic? Now you are still dealing that 1 damage to kill and with a poison counter starting at 10 life. It also makes artifacts for those decks that care, and you are in the color that has a bunch like Boros's Akiri, Line-Swinger or Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer. It's also a win con for enchantment brews with things like Mesa Enchantress. It's very strong at Commander play in poison, tokens making you two Mites with Anointed Procession, enchantments or artifacts. Hence it hitting my list but it's back here at #34 since it has no evasion and cannot block.
#7. (#33 Overall) - Staff of Compleation
This is the hardest card to rank on my three weekly lists. This taps for no mana with four abilities. For one life, destroy something you own (but not control, so if something you own was stolen, you can destroy it with this). For two like you can make one mana of any color. That makes this a weird Manalith variant. For three life you can proliferate, great in many decks like planeswalkers, +1/+1 counters, poison, and -1/-1 counters among others. For four life you can draw a card, much worse than Phyrexian Arena effects. Then untap for 5, so this is repeatable.
In the default 40 life casual format, this has probably loads of fans since it's four taps don't spend any mana just life, and you have loads of life to use. But a card draw for 4 life is twice as bad as Greed, hard to repeat a lot, and then the destroy and mana aren't as strong since you can make mana with better Manaliths and destroying your own stuff doesn't trigger things like the sacrifice matters of Mayhem Devil and things. It's hard to figure out where to put that sort of a massive life loss, even in a 40-life format.
Where I like it is with life sculpting things where you need to get to the right life for a card. For example, with Triskaidekaphile you can get to 13 to win the game. I like that synergy. But otherwise, I just don't see where this has mad value, even life gain using its life as resource probably doesn't want to lose that much life, but it's just too colorless for Commander and versatile not to have on my list. I just don't know where it goes, you may have it much higher or lower, I don't know.
#6. (#32 Overall) - Cankerbloom
Wow, this Green uncommon is awesome! For two mana you get a better sized 3/2 Grizzly Bear. For one more you can sacrifice this and destroy any artifact, enchantment, or proliferate. Love it in many places. First of all, it's easier to cast than casual heavyweight classic Qasali Pridgemage, both two-drops, but this is just Green, and thus is much more playable in Commander in any green deck. It's also bigger with a better power, although it swaps out exalted for it. Both can Naturalize for sacrifices. This can also proliferate. Therefore, with the bigger power, easier to cast and proliferate option, this is clearly the better card moving forward outside of Exalted decks. Or you could run them both.
But the better power naturally means this swings for the same as the Pridemage on turn 3, but is better on defense and trades up. Also, don't sleep on that proliferate either. I like this in Golgari Reanimation decks a cheap two mana and then sacrifice option like Sakura-Tribe Elder that cast and recast and recur stuff. Also, Jund Sacrifice matters or Aristocrats. And proliferate means it can block and then sacrifice to pump your planeswalkers - love it there. It's in the color of +1/+1 matters. It's pretty strong in many shells at the kitchen table, exactly to see this a lot. And even if you are just blowing out a Skullclamp, Lightning Greaves or Sylvan Library, this is a pretty good adjunct to your removal in a creature form.
Top Five Time! Hitting is:
- 1 Planeswalker
- 2 Gold cards
- 1 Colored artifact
- 1 Colorless artifact
- 2 Commanders
Ready? Let's get this thing started!
#5. (#31 Overall) - Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler
Let's knock out the planeswalker and a gold card. This Golgari three-drop has a smaller 3 loyalty. Its ability to have all of your dorks with tap abilities have haste of them for tapping is like a Thousand-Year Elixir. It's strong with tappers of mana, Or Wellwisher to gain a ton of life or Timberwatch Elves to really push life totals and the red zone in your direction. Also in Black you can combine with the death tappers of Visara the Dreadful and Avatar of Woe. I really like the direction this suggests. Then you can +1 him to untap your dork for another tapping.
Great in a Golgari deck built around the first ability. Also you can -2 to mill yourself three and then you can return for free a 2 mana or fewer critter from your graveyard to the battlefield. Since the Green things I suggested mostly cost two or less, that's a strong adjunct to recur your key things.
It's pretty specific so it's hard to find homes. Love it with legendary tappers with those colors, like Adun Oakenshield or the Elves matter Lathril, Blade of the Elves or The Beamtown Bullies or even Willdowdusk, Essence Seer or Zaxara, the Exemplary.
#4. (#30 Overall) - Drivnod, Carnage Dominus
Hitting at an even 30 overall is this fun five-drop 8/3 Commander-legal option that kills in three hits. When a dying dork would trigger something of yours, trigger it again! Nasty stuff. Then this can spend life and or mana to exile three dorks from your graveyard to place an indestructible counter on this. Note its instant speed, and also note it's not just for the turn. And it can be 4 life if you are tapped out doing things. With just three Commander Damage hits to kill on a cheaper 5 mana dork, this thing has a win con in the Command Zone while also playing into the Aristocrats theme by sacrificing things to Attrition or Phyrexian Altar and then bringing them back like Bloodghast and then triggering win cons death triggers like Blood Artist twice. Nasty powerful stuff for the winning fun times.
#3. (#29 Overall) - Mindsplice Apparatus
This has flash, so you can cast it anytime. In your upkeep, put an oil counter on this. Your instants and sorceries are one fewer for each oil on it. Nasty! Most players of decks that have cost reduction like Sapphire Medallion prefer it to mana rocks since you get multiple reductions in one turn. This is even better that than since you can get multiple reductions for multiple mana each turn in a deck with a lot of instants and sorceries.
The idea is to cast this with haste at your foe's EOT, untap, put a counter on this, you have the heavily played and beloved Goblin Electromancer, a two drop 2/2 that drops your cost of those spell types by one. Then one turn later you get a double dipping, and it scales fast. Nasty. I love this with X spell instants and sorceries like White's in White Sun's Twilight or Comet Storm getting more damage or tokens. Or Black's Black Sun's Zenith or Green's Awaken the Woods or Blue's Mind Spring. Nasty in many places and color shells and just one color not two, and better ramping in just one turn. It's going to save so much mana and turn on expensive sorceries and instants like Tooth and Nail or Insurrection long before they'd turn on.
And then there were two! Both are creatures!
#2. (#28 Overall) - Argentum Manticore
Let's do the colorless dork and then leave our gold Commander to the top spot. This is an on-curve 5/5 for five with two abilities - first strike and protection from multicolored, which is most Commanders that are played at least. Then at the beginning of your upkeep, discard a card from your hand and then destroy any nonland with that mana value or less. That's recursive destruction of things with discarding. It's better than casting removal since you keep your mana free for other things and you don't need to have the right removal in hand. You can discard a Krosan Grip that costs three to destroy a planeswalker or creature that costs three or less, like Blood Arist in an Aristocrats brew or Soul Warden in a life gain deck or Jace Beleren in a Group Hug one. Then you can discard any creature for removal while saving your mana for other things, like discarding a Flametongue Kavu to destroy a Rhystic Study or Skullclamp. As long as you have the right casting cost, you'll always have removal for anything that's not a land, and can spend your mana casting other things. This is colorless so it fits into any Commander brew, and it has enhanced value with different costs in your deck.
You can also really push the game in your direction with recursion like Living Death after discarding your creatures, or discarding a Incarnation like Anger or Wonder while destroying something or discarding things you can recast like flashback Deep Analysis to destroy a four drop or less while flashing it back for two cards or jumpstart Chemister's Insight or cards like Bloodghast that you can discard to destroy a two drop or less and then landfall it back. It's very strong in madness decks and in discard matters alongside Archfiend of Ifnir style stuff.
It's also removal of permanent types your color cannot do, like a mono-Rd deck destroying enchantments willy-nilly. But forget all of that synergy or mana spent or colored ability arguments. The best reason you should run this? You never know how a game will shake out in the kitchen table or Commander or other multiplayer games. Different Commanders have different cards and different ways to build them. You don't know what you'll run up against, and more than that, you also don't know what cards they'll draw or you'll draw to answer in a Highlander deck with a 100 cards. But with this? As long as you have the mana cost, you can destroy anything that's not a land! This thing is just too flexible as an Emergency Escape Hatch for anything. Run it, love it. Save the mana, have an answer for anything with anything, answer anything with any color and scale up to the craziness of multiple. It's too good.
Now what legendary gold card hit my top spot?
#1. (#37 Overall) - Ria Ivor, Bane of Bladehold
This 3/4 four-drop Orzhov thang did! When it attacks, pump all other attackers by +1 power each, but not Ria. At the beginning of your combat, the next time a target creature would deal combat damage to players, it's prevented and you make that many 1/1 artifact Mites with toxic 1 that cannot block. Remember that if you target something else, it'll deal one more for another Mite made. That's a very strong win con in the Command Zone, and it has a unique ability. For example, if you attack with Serra Angel, you'll make 5 tokens but prevent the 5 regular damage. That's pretty strong at kitchen table play since you are making combat damage to a player in tokens, not a set amount.
Obviously, you'll want a high-power option, so that makes sense to me as a high-power dork. You'll want evasion like shadow, flying, landwalking or horsemanship on your dork too to help ensure it hits. If this were red, a great card to tag team would be Ball Lightning as a 6 power three drop now 7, with trample and haste. But that's not happening. This is also good in Orzhov Tokens with token pumps and makers like Lingering Souls and Intangible Virtue. I also like this with toxic and infect support and poison sense you are making a ton of toxic 1 Mites. I also love that with a more Aggro Style game with a bunch of early drops and then you drop this on turn 4 and swing and activate with your Vampire Nighthawk effect, it doesn't have to swing for the Mite making, just the Battle Cry. It also works with other Battle Cry effects since the color was half white in its first run. See how awesome this leader is, and why it's here at the top of my final list?
I hope you enjoyed it too!
What did you think of my Top Ten lists? Anything in here that I missed or got in the wrong order? What are you most excited to play?