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Jumpstart Infect


Always remember these two universal truths: Jumpstart is a great way to play Limited casually as a tabletop game with friends, and Phyrexia will stop at nothing to conquer planes. You may have noticed one of the five praetors made an appearance in Kaldheim.

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider

While I won't spoil what exactly Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider achieves in the Magic Story, I will say that Phyrexia has always been obsessed with traveling between planes and perfecting existing life through a process called Phyresis. The great work was started by Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. Yawgmoth Demon appeared in Antiquities, the set that established the Brother's War between Urza, Lord High Artificer and Mishra of Mishra's Workshop. Phyrexian minions pitted one brother against the other, seeking to pry their way into the plane of Dominaria.

Make your own Magic history by spreading Phyrexian perfection among friends. This week we're designing four new packs of Jumpstart focusing on infect.

The infect mechanic withers defenders and deals combat damage to foes in the form of poison counters. Once you reach ten poison counters, you lose the game, meaning that infect damage is potentially twice as deadly.

Blight Mamba

In Jumpstart, you shuffle two random packs together. Unless both are infectious packs, some of your creatures will deal normal damage. This was part of the Limited experience from Scars of Mirrodin. If you're trying to win with infect, you have to strategize how best to use your imperfect, non-Phyrexian creatures. You can sacrifice them or maneuver trades with opposing creatures, clearing the way for your emissaries of compleation. You can also bestow on these normal creatures the glorious ability of infect.

Grafted Exoskeleton
Triumph of the Hordes

Each of these packs has two ways to grant infect. I designed these packs to be scary, even diluted with a random pack. You'll notice each of these features an additional rare (in place of one of the four uncommon cards). Grafted Exoskeleton is a powerful equipment, and Triumph of the Hordes is notorious for ending Commander games. Non-infect creatures typically have higher power than pure infection vectors, so having them is not a penalty but an advantage. Phyrexia is all about utilizing local creatures for their own ends.

Viridian Betrayers

Just because one pack is infect, don't forget you can win with normal damage. Viridian Betrayers can play for either team. Choosing which creatures to attack creates fascinating game decisions for yourself and your opponent, who will have to decide blocks. If they overvalue infect you can get in for normal damage and win that way.

When competitive players think of Infect, they think of pump spells. In this first pack I included the original Giant Growth. Printed in Alpha, this was one of the cycle of doing three of something for a single mana to establish color identity, (Lightning Bolt, Dark Ritual, and Ancestral Recall). Our removal spell Epic Confrontation also gives a bonus to power. Since it takes half as many points to kill with poison counters, these pump spells are twice as dangerous.

Giant Growth

Our next pack combines its removal with its pump cards. Wild Instincts can clear a blocker and deliver a lethal dose. If you line up a Savage Swipe, you knock a foe straight into Phyresis.

Phyrexian Swarmlord

Imagine the opponent's terror when facing down Phyrexian Swarmlord. If they've taken any poison damage already, you'll begin creating plague tokens. Should you land a single hit with Phyrexian Swarmlord, your opponent will shiver with their mortality. Your victory will become as inevitable as the conversion of the plane of Mirrodin into New Phyrexia.

Or you can jump scare your opponent with Putrefax, winning out of nowhere.


You may have noted the absence in the first pack of the most famous of infect creatures, Glistener Elf. In Limited, your curve usually starts on turn two. The mana efficiency of a 1-drop is only important if you also have a 2-drop, which rarely happens. For that reason, 1-drops are less valuable than 2-drops, which usually have more utility. That said, I did wish to honor Glistener Elf, and it is true that any early points of infect you deal can be more impactful than traditional damage. Incidentally, the card is so named after the Phyrexian oil that transforms outdated lifeforms into something new.

Glistener Elf
Glistening Oil

Though we often associate the infect mechanic with the colors Green and Blue, Phyrexia traditionally has been represented with the color Black (Yawgmoth's Will), as were the Phyrexian packs in the original Jumpstart. Glistening Oil can convert your normal creatures to infectors. Alternately, you can use it to slowly waste away your opponent's blockers. In Magic lore, a few drops of this oil infected Urza. He fled into Serra's Realm. She cured him even though it led to the corruption and destruction of her own sunlit plane. The Planeswalker Karn also inadvertently transferred the oil to his shiny new chrome Mirrodin, leading to its doom.

While Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider oversaw the infectious creatures of our first pack, another praetor in Sheoldred, Whispering One, looms over Black. Here we have Reaper of Sheoldred. These generals of Phyrexia are the scourge of Commander. The most famous and best dressed is of course Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite.

Grim Affliction

The mechanic proliferate synergizes with infect. Not only can you add an additional -1/-1 counter to opposing creatures, but also you can give a foe another poison counter. We make use of this in Grim Affliction and Spread the Sickness. In the next pack we ratchet the proliferate dial up to eleven with Contagion Engine.

Contagion Engine

Perfected in a Vat | Jumpstart | AE Marling

Phyrexia has always had a special place in its corrupted heart for artifacts. Not only do we have an artifact rare, but also Plague Myr can help ramp it out or deliver in a few early poison counters. Also, I would be remiss if I never mentioned Corpse Cur. I included it every pack, as a Gravedigger for infect. It can revive either of your terrifying rats, Septic Rats or Ichor Rats.

Corpse Cur

If you're looking for more Phyrexian-themed packs, read my article on Jumpstart golems. Now then, what plane do you expect Phyrexia to invade next?

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