The Impact of Phyrexia: All Will Be One on Standard
Hello everyone! Welcome to Standard Weekly!
This week we will look at the impact of Phyrexia: All Will Be One on Standard. Now that we are a full month plus into Pyrexia: All Will BE One season we have a better picture of the sets impact on Standard.
Not unsurprisingly, the dual lands from the set are among the most played cards from the set. Blackcleave Cliffs, Darkslick Shores, and Seachrome Coast are all ranked in the Top 10 for most games played based on Untapped.gg best of three data and I see them in my opponent’s decks when I play paper Magic. With Grixis Midrange and Esper two of the most played decks in the format their inclusion makes sense.
Given that the dual lands from any set usually end up among the Top 10 played cards from any set, let’s look at the Top 10 cards that are not dual lands.
Blue Sun’s Twilight has found its way into Grixis Midrange and Mono-Blue Tempo decks with a single copy in the main deck and another in the sideboard. The ability to steal an opponent’s best creature has always been a powerful effect in Magic. Blue Sun’s Twilight takes this a step further because if you spend seven or more mana to cast the spell you gain control of the creature and get to make a copy of the creature you targeted.
Glissa Sunslayer has found her home in Jund Midrange. Her abilities make her an ideal inclusion in the deck. Glissa has first strike and deathtouch. This makes her the perfect blocker and a solid attacker because she will kill any creature that blocks her. Then when she does deal combat damage to a player, she gets to choose one of these options as a bonus. You draw a card, and you lose 1 life. Destroy target enchantment. Remove up to three counters from target permanent. Each option adds additional value to the deck. I expect that Glissa Sunslayer will continue to be a useful tool in standard.
Skrelv’s Hive comes in at number 8. This enchantment creates a 1/1 Phyrexian Mite artifact creature token with toxic 1 at the beginning of your upkeep. Then once your opponent has 3 poison counters, your creatures with toxic have lifelink. This added effect can quickly swing a game in your favor. The card is seeing play in Selesnya Toxic, Mono-White Midrange as a sideboard card, and Mardu Tokens.
Ossification has become a key component of the Mono-White Midrange deck. The ability to exile a creature or planeswalker for only two mana is a powerful ability. My guess is that we will start to see Ossification see more play as time progresses in any deck that has plains that it can be attached too.
Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting is the first planeswalker on our list. The power of Vraska Betrayal’s Sting is undeniable. When you pay full price for Vraska, she enters with 6 loyalty counters or with 4 loyalty counters when you pay two life to reduce her casting cost. Her minus 2 ability turns a target creature into a treasure artifact and the creature loses all other abilities. This allows you to target your opponent’s biggest threat and remove it from the game. Using this ability two or more times is back breaking for an opponent. In addition, Vraska can be a card draw engine for you. For zero loyalty, you can draw a card and lose 1 life then proliferate. These abilities are why we are seeing her in the widest variety of decks of all the cards on this list. She sees play in Mono-Black Aggro, Mardu Tokens, Grixis Midrange, Esper Control, Jund Midrange, and Dimir Proliferate.
Skrelv, Defector Mite has become the ultimate protector in creature decks. For a white mana, you get a 1/1 legendary artifact creature that is a Phyrexian Mite. Skrelv has toxic 1 and can’t block. What makes Skrelv powerful is Skrelv’s ability to give another creature you control toxic 1 and hexproof from a chosen color until the end of the turn and this creature can’t be blocked by creatures of that color. The ability cost only a white mana or a two life. This usually leads to Skrelv becoming the target of removal before any other creature you control which can make all the difference between winning or losing a game or match. Like Vraska, Skrelv sees play in a wide variety of decks. Primarily, Skrelv sees play in Esper Midrange, Esper Legends, Azorius Soldiers, and Selesnya Toxic. Typically, with three or four copies of Skrelv in the deck.
One of the surprise cards on the list is Mirrex. This land is a sphere that provides a colorless mana when tapped. On the turn it enters the battlefield, it produces one mana of any color. Then you can spend three mana and tap Mirrex to create a 1/1 colorless Phyrexian Mite artifact creature token. Typically, one copy of Mirrex is included in decks as a way of creating extra creatures in the mid to late game. You can expect to see a copy of Mirrex in Mono-White Midrange, Mono-Red Aggro, Selesnya Toxic (some decks use up to four copies), Mardu Tokens, and Dimir Proliferate. Mirrex’s flexibility makes is a solid chose in almost any deck.
Atraxa, Grand Unifier come in at number three. When Atraxa was previewed, I was concerned about the power potential of the card to end a game when it hits the battlefield, but because of the need for four different colors of mana to cast Atraxa I thought that it would see only limited play. I was wrong. With the reanimator cards in black and white, you rarely must cast Atraxa from your hand. Usually, reanimator decks can easily get Atraxa into the graveyard. Then it is a matter of getting a reanimation spell to bring her into play. While Atraxa decks have an overall win rate of just over 50%, when they succeed in getting Atraxa into play the win rate jumps to over 70%. That success rate has kept Atraxa decks alive. The other thing going for Atraxa is the great mana bases we have because of all the dual lands available in standard. This has made it easy to have all four colors needed to cast Atraxa from your hand.
At the number two spot in our countdown is The Eternal Wanderer. Like Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting, The Eternal Wanderer offers a powerful planeswalker for a high mana cost. You play The Eternal Wanderer for six mana. Her abilities make her not only playable but offer powerful abilities that affect the board state the turn The Eternal Emperor enters play. Her plus one ability exiles up to one target artifact or creature that does not return to play until the end of that player’s next end step. This functionally can remove your opponent’s most powerful creature from the game. Her zero-cost ability creates a 2/2 white samurai creature token with double strike. This can give you a quality attacker or blocker the turn she enters play. Finally, what makes the card very powerful is The Eternal Wanderer’s minus four ability. For each player, choose a creature that player controls. Each player sacrifices all creatures they control not chosen this way. This allows you to keep your best creature while leaving your opponent with his/her worst creature. You can expect to see The Eternal Wanderer in Mono-White Midrange, Mardu Token, and Esper Control decks.
Taking home, the number one spot in our countdown is Sheoldred’s Edict. Removal always matters. For two mana you get to select the type of creature that your opponent must sacrifice, token or non-token, or you can force your opponent to sacrifice a planeswalker. Most of the time, you know exactly what will be killed, so the option that your opponent has rarely comes into play. Sheoldred’s Edict has found its way into almost every type of black deck. You can expect to see it in Jund Midrange, Mono-Black Aggro, Grixis Midrange, Mardu Tokens, Rakdos Midrange, and Esper Control.
That’s it for this week. I’ll see you next time!