Hello Happy Magic players! I hope that your day is going as well as can be! Are you a fan of toxic in Phyrexia: All Will be One? I got you! Today we are looking at the best of the first ability called "infect" where you gave people poison counters instead of damage, but they could scale up with pump rather than being locked in. This is a great place to start digging for ideas for similar decks and concepts, and we'll be looking at the Top Ten from the first time around as well as a trio of Honorable Mentions to give us 13 cards overall. This list is for kitchen table formats like Commander, multiplayer, Highlander, Type Four, Five Color, Cube, and more.
Note that infect will force dorks in combat to take damage in the from of -1/-1 counters. That makes blocking a rough choice since you can kill that 0/4 Wall of Blossoms with a couple of hits from your infecting 2/2. But people pretty much have to block, making this a rough choice!
Let's kick this off!
Honorable Mention #1 (#13 Overall) - Phyrexian Juggernaut
Let's start this list off with this uncommon colorless Juggernaut. Like most it must attack every turn as its disadvantage. It will kill in two hits with no previous attacks, so it's a two hit win con even without other hits. It's a closer. You don't mind the always attacking if they die. Plus, you can add in unblockable infrastructure you likely already have in the deck to win. And it's colorless so it can fit into any Commander brew with no matter its color identity. Nasty stuff there!
Honorable Mention #2 (#12 Overall) - Viral Drake
Check out this four-drop 1/4 uncommon with flying and infect. It just hits for one, sure, sorry. But then you can activate it for four mana to proliferate, so after your opponents' defenses have been set up and you cannot attack further you can do that a few times to finish them off. It doesn't tap, so you can use it if you have four extra mana. Proliferate also gives it synergies in other counter decks like planeswalkers with loyalty or +1/+1 counters and it's in both color combos for those archetypes. This is also a closer, but in a different way than the previous one, and with evasion already built in it's a poison deck essential. If you have Blue, you are running the Drake.
Honorable Mention #3 (#11 Overall) - Fallen Ferromancer
Our final Honorable Mention is this Red 1/1 uncommon. This can tap with two mana to shoot any target for damage, like your foe to give them a poison counter or a dork to give it a -1/-1. It's player and creature control. Unlike other infect dorks this hides behind a defense and slowly chips away at their poison count. Like the previous two, it's a great finisher after someone has some poison like 5 or 7 to finish them off from early damage before they can set up defenses. This is strong with ping effects, and 1/1 Tims typically cost three, like Prodigal Pyromancer, so this fun thing is just one more and pretty good!
#10. Tainted Strike
This is our first common and card that gives infect. This fun thang is pretty strong from several directions. First, it's a cheap instant, so you can cast it regularly, or put it on an Isochron Scepter. Secondly, it gives a power boost, so you can kill out of nowhere faster or with a 9-power dork that doesn't have infect at all. This is a win con in common form as the unblocked 9 or bigger power dork that's unblocked can now kill for 10 poison as a surprise. I like this in Commander with a black leader that already has evasion to kill out of nowhere. Great card to kick things off with!
#9. Phyrexian Crusader
Our first rare is this three-drop Black dork with a 2/2 body and a ton of abilities. Protection from Red and White so most targeted removal like Lightning Bolt and Swords to Plowshares? Then it has first strike and infect. First strike is very powerful with infect on dorks since you'll hit and then drop their damage back. For example, if you engage with a 3/3 without first strike, it'll be a 1/1 when you take damage back and you'll survive. Then infect works well with protection since you can swing through around 40% of dorks without being blocked. It's also a Knight for that deck, a Zombie for that tribe too, and then a strong addition to poison kills. It's very strong in the win zone.
#8. Corrupted Conscience
Stealing your foe's dorks has been done since the first days of the game. This normally costs five now with Mind Control and stuff. So, there is no tax to adding infect to the stolen dork. It's fine as a one of in any deck as well as in a deck with proliferate as well as poison and toxic and infect too as an answer that kills. It's very strong in loads of places and I added it to my Izzet colored planeswalker deck built around Phyrexia: All Will be One's Ovika, Enigma Goliath for you folks which hasn't been published yet. Love this thing loads in a modern deck at the kitchen table with that killing fun times commencing!
#7. Inkmoth Nexus
Roughly half of our list has rolled off, and the Nexus is just the first land and second rare we've had thus far! This version of Blinkmoth Nexus is great. It arrives untapped and ready to be used. For one mana you can make this a 1/1 with both flying and infect. It's a great one drop and tap for mana, second turn swing with your land to hit people with poison counters prior to setting up their defenses. And it flies so it's only blocked with reach or flying. It can also finish someone off after setting up poison counters early with its evasion. It's played in tournament formats like Modern as well as kitchen table play!
#6. Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
Check out the first and only legendary dork to hit our list. Nicknamed "Skittles" Skithiryx can lead a mono-color Commander infect/poison counter deck! This fun thing is a five-drop 4/4 with flying and infect base, and for a mana you can give it haste and two regenerate it. It's nasty good here and in many other places! And then you can cast it from the Command Zone with haste and with flying it's a three-turn clock, and one power pump a 2 turn clock. It's a game winner of your fun things! This is a win con in the Command Zone and looks pretty spicy!
#5. Triumph of the Hordes
In many Commander decks, this is the only infect or toxic card, but it wins. This began in my #1 spot but after spending a few days with it dropped. This four-drop sorcery gives your team a power and toughness boost of 1 each with both infect and trample. Trample and infect? Add a power boost and you're winning the game in any going wide deck like Simic Ramp, Gruul Aggro or Selesnya Tokens. It's cheaper and more reliable than Craterhoof Behemoth. It needs less bodies to win with since you only need to deal 10 total damage to your opponent to kill them, and in multiplayer you just need 10 per person, very possible in one turn. It's very strong there and in many other places, love this thing loads! Whether or not it should be here at the 5 spot is debatable though, I hear ya!
#4. Glistener Elf
Our final Green card is this common, that costs one and is an Elf and Warrior with 1/1 body and infect. It's the only one-drop infect card ever printed, and is the deck's favorite first-turn play. It lacks evasion, but it has all of the speed you need. It's very powerful in every place that you can think of to run it in, and it has two tribal synergies too, by the by. This is the ideal first turn body, second turn attack with free pump like Mutagenic Growth or Invigorate that helps to win, followed on that turn by dropping this guy...
#3. Blighted Agent
...this is our last common, blue card, and colored thing on our list! This is the ideal two-drop for your deck. This costs two, also has 1/1 body with infect, but it's unblockable. It's hard to stop with its perfect evasion that no one can block and it's harder to stop as well once you've set up great defenses that would stop the Elf or Viral Drake like flying Fog Banks and reaching Silklash Spiders. But this cannot be stopped, so it's a win con on the second turn, quite powerful to get down prior to Counterspell coming online if you went first, and then a force of nature. It's palpably powerful in many a game. It wins. Good stuff!
And then there were two!
#2. Grafted Exoskeleton
Let's knock out the uncommon, artifact, and equipment in our countdown today. This equipment costs 4 and equips for 2. It gives the equipped dork +2/+2 and infect! That power bump with infect is nasty. It'll let you kill very quickly with poison.
This is often the only infect card in a Commander deck just like Triumph of the Hordes. This will let you kill very quickly needing to deal 10 instead of 40 regular damage and 21 Commander to kill, and it will stay around for future kills, unlike Triumph. This also is equipment, so if your dork dies, it'll stick around for another equip around the bin. Since it's colorless, it'll go into any Commander deck no matter the color identity. It's very strong out of nowhere or when expected, it wins. I love this with Commanders with evasion already like Azorius's Brago, King Eternal that flies or getting trample as a modified dork with Kodama of the West Tree. I also love this with a double strike enabler like Fireshrieker or Gruul's Dragon Attack Trigger Atarka, World Render that also has flying and trample. And with 6 power naturally that will kill in one attack! See why this is my penultimate card?
#1. Blightsteel Colossus
Ah yes, the Darksteel Colossus...er...Blightsteel One. Just like the previous two in the top five we discussed this is also played as the only infect card in decks. 12 mana for an 11/11 with trample, and infect with evasion, and with indestructible to stay around on the battlefield. It's often dropped for free with things like Tooth and Nail. It's very strong in all of the right places for winning. Because it's colorless and an artifact, it fits into any Commander deck regardless of color identity. I like this in any Commander deck with a Commander with a combat damage trigger, like Medomai the Ageless, since you will be including things like Whispersilk Cloak and Rogue's Passage to kill in one hit already. It's very strong everywhere!
And there we go! I hope that you enjoyed my look at the best infect cards ever printed!
Note that I write these up a week before, and I am on vacation for Spring Break at Quito the capital of Ecuador in the Andes Mountains when you are reading this. We'll give you a canned article I wrote a couple of weeks ago next week, and then return later.