Hello awesome folks! Today we are going to be looking at the best new cards from the Commander set that was released with Phyrexia: All Will be One. This set isn't that deep, but it has great cards to look at, so we'll only be spending one week on this theme before moving on to the next one. We will be looking at cards great for formats like...Commander sure, and then multiplayer, other Highlander formats, Five Color, Type Four, and more. Ready?
Let's do it to it!
#15. Goldwardens' Gambit
This 8 mana sorcery in red makes 5 2/2 red Rebels with haste so they can swing for the turn. 10 power and toughness across 8 mana swinging on that turn is actually fair without any dials spinning. And then you can equip an equipment you control for free on each Rebel, so you'll save mana and get hasted dorks swinging with big pumped up power and toughness for strong damage. Then it has affinity for equipment, so these could be cast as soon as the fifth turn in a dedicated equipment deck with three equipment like Skullclamp, Sword of Fire and Ice and Umezawa's Jitte. Nasty stuff.
It's great in loads of places! Gruul or Boros tokens. Rakdos or Jund Sacrifice to make 5 tokens to sacrifice dorks after swinging at a foe. Any Red planeswalker deck to block five attacks on your friends. Any equipment brew. I love this with vigilance enablers that attack on turn they are cast an open player out of nowhere and then hold back to block a counterattack. I love the free equips with higher equip costs like Kaldra Compleat, Argentum Armor and Colossus Hammer. You could easily win in just a couple of hits on 40 life players in Commander and in 20-life formats you could hit in one attack. It's great post-Wrath of God by your foe thinking they are safe leaving you your equipment. It's also a first turn play in Type Four with infinite mana, but just one spell per turn and is my second-favorite card in this set for that format. Nasty addition for casual play that works in many places.
#14. Tangleweave Armor
This is the latest Living Weapon kill you very fast. In this case you know how big the boost will be. This four-drop gets power and toughness equal to your fattest Commander's mana value. With a 6-drop Rith, the Awakener, this is a +6/+6 boost. It's very strong at making a mid-game four mana beater and then when it dies, a 4 mana equip isn't bad at all for a big enough boost to run it in your decks. For example, in the aforementioned Rith deck, a four drop 6/6 is pretty strong. Then the turn after you drop Rith, you can equip for 4 to make a 12/12 which is a much faster Commander Damage win con - from 4 turns to 2.
It's very strong at making a dork to swing and block and then amping up a Commander that shares the Green color identity. It's great at getting a win with an infect dork too. For example, in Simic infect, a one or two drop infect creature like Glistener Elf or Blighted Agent can swing at naked defenses or unblockable with the Agent, then turn into a powerful much faster kill with this equipped. Obviously, it can only be run in Commander, but it's very powerful there. Nice!
#13. Synthesis Pod
This is a weird one! Four mana, with one Phyrexian Blue. Tap with two, one Phyrexian Blue as well. Then you can exile a spell you cast and is on the stack. Then your foe reveals cards from their library until they reveal a spell with a cost 1 more than what you exiled and then you cast it for free. That's clearly a weird version of Birthing Pod. This will turn any cast spell into another your foe controls, but one more. But it's an exile, so you cannot recur, or flash it back, or anything else, so this is one-trick pony. Note that nothing needs to line up, any spell is exiled, and any spell revealed of the right cost is cast. It's fun and chaotic and no one knows what'll happen next, which feels more Red than Blue, but whatever.
Note that you can exile a copy, which is a nice place to shine. I really think this has enhanced value in decks and formats like Commander with cards that you need to run but which might be dead in some matchups, like graveyard removal normally, but what if your foe's aren't running any of that abuse in their deck? Cast Leyline of the Void and then get a free 5-drop from your foes. It's great with Silver Bullets like that. What happens if you topdeck Murder but your foes don't have any dorks to kill? It's also great in an Azorius Hate Bears deck where a certain Bear may not be needed. I also think this has enhanced value in Simic Ramp decks where you draw ramp spells like Rampant Growth or Cultivate after your mana is set. Just cast, exile, and then get a free spell from your foes. I think it's got great value there. You can also team up with an opponent who knows their deck with something like Sensei's Divining Top to take out the best Commander or a powerful creature like Consecrated Sphinx you need to take out. Cool right? I think so too!
#12. Urtet, Remnant of Memnarch
Legendary for Command Zone Purposes? Check! Five Color identity? Check! Colorless at three and can be played by any color? Check! When you cast a Myr spell, make a 1/1 Myr artifact token. Then at the beginning of your combat you untap your Myr. These abilities want to run Myr and this is a Myr Leader. With the untap you don't have to choose between tapping your mana Myr for mana or swinging and blocking. Also note the untap only happens on your turn, not on other players, so if you tap for mana, untap and swing, you won't be able to block later. A Myr lord? Fun! And not that abusable either, since the tribe is pretty small. Any Five Color leader will be heavily played in Commander, even this one. It's been built around by our own Stephen Johnson here. Enjoy it!
#11. Hexplate Wallbreaker
Our second equipment and first "For Mirrodin!" is this! This costs one more than Tangleweave Armor, is in a color of equipment loving, and makes a 2/2 dork and gives a +2/+2 boost so it's a 4/4 for 5. A bit small but it has an ability to make up for it. When this equipped thing attacks? If it's the first time it attacked this turn, untap your attackers and then get another combat phase. It's a repeatable Relentless Assault effect in equipment form. That's why it's here, it's very strong at the extra combat phasing! I adore it loads on Commanders with evasion. Since your combat damage trigger likely has investment in it like Rogue's Passage already, this is brilliant there to get two triggers. If you're hewing that route, might I suggest double strike equipment like Fireshrieker that will hit four times now for four triggers? Like Wasitora, Nekoru Queen or Magnus the Red or Dinosaur Gishath, Sun's Avatar. Nasty! Or it could be used in green with...
#10. Contaminant Grafter
Here you have a five mana on curve 5/5 dork in Green has trample and toxic 1. Remember that toxic will deal normal damage plus that poison counter. The trample is more likely to deal damage to toxic with. When you deal combat to a player from any creature, proliferate. Nice! This works once per time you dealt combat damage, no matter how many dealt it. That also works with the free Relentless Assault of last card and the double strike on equipment too. It's very strong in many shells where the proliferate will matter, like Commanders with +1/+1 counters. Or I an infect deck. Then if someone else has at least 3 poison counters, you draw in your end step and then play a land from your hand like an Explore spell. Strong ramping, card flowing, poisoning and proliferating on one on curve beater. That plays music onto a bunch of stages. See why it's here on my Top Ten but back here at the 10 spot?
#9. Glimmer Lens
Let's knock out our third equipment on this list, and second in the "For Mirrodin!" oeuvre. This is a cheap 2 mana that is a 2/2 on arrival and equips for just 2, pretty cheap all around. When it attacks with another dork? Draw a card! Drawing cards in white is pretty hard, but equipment decks have two key ways - Puresteel Paladin and Sram, Senior Edificer. Nice! This adds to that cast and ETB triggers with another key card flow option. You can cast a one drop like Isamaru, Hound of Konda, this turn 2 and swing, swing with both on turn three against an open player for a card. And then just keep up the card flow. It's very strong in White equipment builds (duh!). It's another key place of card drawing there.
The next is Tokens. Since it makes one on arrival, you can get a free 2/2 with Anointed Procession effects. Since that goes wide not tall, you can just equip any, swing, and get your trigger even if blocked and killed. Another key archetype is Aggro with the aforementioned fast drops like Isamaru and others. It's on curve and can equip after it dies. What about the fourth? Azorius flying matters, where you can equip a flyer and then swing with others for cards over time. It's very strong in those four brews, love it loads!
#8. Geth's Summons
Hello reanimation fans! I have the newest trick for you! Want something the same cost as Zombify? Maybe two Black instead of one, but still four? I got you! Return a dork from your graveyard to the battlefield. Nice! Do any of your foes have at least three poison counters? Then get one dork from their graveyard too, no additional costs! Nasty power in many a cool reanimation deck! Zombify is in more than 3800 decks over at EDHREC.com that this can head into! It's a lot of fun in the old town tonight. It's very strong in poison decks, but given how likely you are to see increases of poison decks after this set, why not run it even outside of them and see what happens? It'll always be a Zombify base line.
#7. Chiss-Goria, Forge Tyrant
Hitting about halfway down is this awesome legendary mono-Red dork! It's very strong in the Command Zone as with enough artifacts, you'll never have a Commander Tax. Like with a bunch of Treasures that this color makes tons of like Ancient Copper Dragon that makes 1d20 Treasures every time he hits for damage on just a 6 drop with flying. Nasty! It's very strong in this deck. With your 5/4 that costs three usually, you can get a flyer with haste that kills in 5 turns of Commander Damage. Good stuff!
It also has an attack trigger - exile the top five cards from your library, cast an artifact from them, and then it has affinity for artifacts too, so that will also be faster to play with the same Treasure-y shell as your leader. With colorless artifacts, they should be free, like Staff of Nin or Mind's Eye. Nasty powerhouses here and there! Card flow, affinity in the Command Zone, and loads more. This is also my favorite Type Four card in the set since it's haste and that very strong with one spell per turn swinging before sorcery speed Wrath of Gods come online as answers. It's a great turn one play there although you won't be able to cast that artifact this turn, you can in future ones.
#6. Neyali, Suns' Vanguard
This is a 3/3 Boros four-drop, a bit behind the curve. But your attacking tokens, only, get a massive boost of power with double strike! That's very strong leading a Boros tokens brew. That'll kill twice as fast with your token horde from things like Decree of Justice. Then when your tokens attack, you'll exile the top card of your library, and you can cast it any turn that you attacked with a token. Unlike other red exile to cast, there is no time limit here! If you attacked with a token, you can cast it. That's much better than normal exile-to-cast card flow, so it's better than other Commanders that give it. Note that if Neyali is answered, and then is recast, then those cards exiled before are still castable with the new version. That also informs you that Neyali wants to go wide with tokens, not tall, since you just need to attack to get the cast trigger, and that's more reliable than your sole 5/5 Dragon token dying to a Murder before you attack. Go wide where only sweeping removal like Starstorm or Terminus can answer. Got it? I hope so too!
#5. Clever Concealment
This instant with convoke is going to be a new classic answer after Teferi's Protection. You can phase out any number of nonlands permanents you control. Phasing is better than giving hexproof instantly (Lazotep Plating, Heroic Intervention) or indestructible (Rootborn Defenses, also Heroic Intervention) - which are heavily played. Why? Well, anything those stop, this stops too.
Targeted removal like Cyclonic Rift and Murder is stopped by the first and mass removal like Wrath of God or Blasphemous Act is stopped by the latter, so why? Well, there are mass removal effects that get around indestructible - tucking and exiling. You tuck with Terminus and you exile with Final Judgment. When phased out you can just ignore all of those ways of taking out your precious stuff. It also will prevent any sacrifices to things like Diabolic Edict. Any way of negatively interacting with your nonlands won't get through with this out. I hope you enjoy this new standard.
#4. Glistening Sphere
Manaliths are pretty heavily played at kitchen tables formats all over. Here we have a three-drop that taps for any color of mana as well. This is obviously very strong with multicolor decks. I actually prefer Manaliths to Commander's Sphere that only tap for their Commander's color, because if you control something that you don't own, you can pay to activate it's off-color abilities. That enables you to get more value from your temporary stealing Threatens or permanent ones like Confiscate taking a Volrath's Stronghold in a non-black deck or when they give it you with Blim, Comedic Genius. However, unlike normal Manaliths, this arrives tapped, so you take a turn off, and that's not great. However, you do get a free proliferate on arrival to the battlefield. What's great about that is that you don't have to dedicate card slots to proliferation. If it matters, great, if not, no problems. It's like Karn's Bastion pulling a land slot for free with no cost. Here you can toss in a deck with 5 or 6 planeswalkers and nothing else counter-wise and still use it for mana, with only the tapped ETB ability the thing the only cost to care about. Nasty. I love it with +1/+1 counter caring Commanders and those who are planeswalkers. You can also tap it for three mana if a foe has at least three poisons, so it has added value in that shell randomly, but it's good outside of that as well. Good stuff for the mana making!
And then there were three...
#3. Monumental Corruption
Let's knock out our token mono-Black card in the top five. This powerful sorcery draws X and loses X life equal to your artifact count. Even outside of a dedicated artifact deck with just some mana rocks and common equipment like Lightning Greaves you could easily draw
3-4 from this spell. Then you could add in some artifact lands and such in a normal build with this like Dimir Control to really get the value here. There are a few heavily played archetypes in Commander this works in though, I am listing these in order of popularity at EDHREC.com:
- #1. Artifacts Matter - This is very powerful archetype that often includes black like Esper. With all of the artifacts you'll be running, this is very strong. There is also a powerful Mono-Black Artifact matters brew in the Warhammer 40k Commander decks.
- #3. Treasure Matters - Like the Dragon above, this is in the color of Treasure making as well as the win con Revel in Riches. It's very strong in all of those brews with tons of options available to make a ton of cards with a large number of Treasures.
- #4. Equipment - You could easily add this into an equipment deck with 3 or 5 equipment out play randomly mana rocks, artifact dorks like Solemn Simulacrum, and more. It's very strong there!
- #20. Vehicles - Since all Vees are artifacts by default, this is very strong in most Vees decks that include black as well since, just like the Equipment above, this will include artifact dorks, rocks, and more.
Four decks in the top 20, and three in the top 4? See why this thing is hitting my 3-spot? Also note that you target the player, so this can be a win con in decking or life loss.
#2. Norn's Decree
Check out our penultimate card! It's three to cast and actually an enchantment in an artifact set. Huh. When someone deals combat damage to you, they get a poison counter. Note just one per damage, no matter how many dealt it. Although two with first strike and then regular damage. Considering how little poison is enjoyed at the kitchen table, that could be a big "No Trespassing! "sign. Then, whenever a player (including you) attacks someone who is poisoned, they draw a card! That's an even bigger sign, so no one wants to encourage the rest of the table to attack them for cards. It's just one per attack, but you still get free card flow. That scales up in multiplayer massively, so it reminds me of classic keep away card No Mercy. Sure, you'd get in a hit without paying any cost up front, unlike Propaganda or Ghostly Prison, but you'll pay for it after. It's also a Phyrexian styled card, by the by, you could run them easily in a Black/White control deck like Esper or Orzhov. It's a powerful way to play keep away, and I like it with the Manalith we just looked at too, since you can up their poison counters to get corrupted even outside of a dedicated poison deck. This is a massively strong tool for multiplayer play. It's the best "multiplayer" card in the set, but there is one better for Commander hitting above...
#1. Ixhel, Scion of Atraxa
Our top card and best Commander card is this four-drop 2/5 with flying, vigilance and toxic 2. Evasion is great, and vigilance is awesome too since you can fly over ground pounders and then keep back to block attacks. With toxic it'll deal it's normal 2 damage for Commander Damage and normal, but 2 poison too, and won't expose you to counter attacks. I love it here loads leading a Commander deck. Then the corrupted ability will let you cast the top card of each opposing player's library with at least three poison counters. Nasty synergy, and with mana washing, so you can cast that blue or red card with any mana you have. Also note that you'll always be able to cast them, since they are exiled, and your foes won't have access to them. It's very strong in leading a deck, and I like it in a poison deck since it already has toxic for two, you only need hit twice with flying each player to cast their library cards. That card flow is nasty, and this is no joke. It scales up in multiplayer, but just one opponent can really still make this sing. And they'll die in just five hits, and you won't have to split your attacks. It's very strong with all of the attacks! This is a game winner, card drawer, and powerhouse in one Commander legal dork. And this is my top choice from this set.
What are your top cards from this set? Anything I missed or got in the wrong order? Just me know! I hope you enjoyed this deep dive at 15 cards from the set!