Alchemy: Phyrexia Card Reviews and Decklists
Hello everyone! 30 new Alchemy: Phyrexia cards are being introduced to the Alchemy format – so it’s time to dive in to see what’s good, what’s bad, and where the cards can go! As always, here’s the scale I’ll be using to label the new cards that potentially have constructed applications.
- 0/5 – Unplayable in every sense.
- 1/5 – Extremely niche play or very unlikely to see play.
- 2/5 – Niche to no play, maybe playable in certain conditions.
- 3/5 – Reasonable playable. Not format breaking, but has the power level to see play in some strategy (or strategies).
- 4/5 – Very strong card, but not the best the format has to offer. Has the power level to see a lot of play.
- 5/5 – The very top of the format. This card will create a huge impact going forward on the format.
Table of Contents
- Ghalma the Shaper
- Kemba’s Outfitter
- Nettling Host
- Norn’s Fetchling
- Quicksilver Servitor
- Surgical Metamorph
- Tezzeret’s Reckoning
- Blightwing Whelp
- March Toward Perfection
- Sheoldred’s Assimilator
- Hexgold Sledge
- Magmatic Scorchwing
- Phyrexian Harvester
- Rothga, Bonded Engulfer
- Phyresis Roach
- Spawning Pod
- Arek, False Goldwarden
- Bladehold Cleaver
- Contagion Dispenser
- Darksteel Hydra
- Glistening Extractor
- Gyox, Brutal Carnivora
- Ichor Aberration
- Innovative Metatect
- Mephidross Slime
- Quicksilver Lapidary
- Seething Skitter-Priest
- Skullpiercer Gnat
- Vexyr, Ich-Tekik’s Heir
- Phyrexian Scrapyard
- End Step
Ghalma the Shaper
Tempered Steel is quite a powerful card from back in the day and being able to get multiple of them is pretty tempting, especially when you get a 1/1 along with the deal. The absolute earliest you can get it is turn four though and you have to attack with Ghlama to get it, but that is still pretty good. I don’t see Alchemy implications for this, but maybe this could be good in some Historic Artifact shells.
With Sigarda's Aid coming to Arena soon and pieces of Hammertime falling into place, having another card that can make the Historic version of the deck viable is where I want to be. Sure you do need Colossus Hammer in hand or in play to have this really do anything, but that’s just combo decks in general – you’re going to need multiple pieces to win regardless. This seems quite good there, but really only there.
What? It’s not like this card is bad or anything, a Nessian Courser that’s relevant in Toxic that draws you a card on death in Toxic shells seems reasonable, but Nettlecyst doesn’t work that well in Toxic making this a weird pairing. Maybe I’m missing something, but this doesn’t seem good enough anywhere.
This would be sick at one mana, but is super underwhelming at two. I know this is a Toxic Ambitious Farmhand that can be better, but that’s not what the Toxic deck is looking for. Toxic needs aggressive creatures to quickly win, not a midrange card.
This is a very interesting design that incentivizes you playing the card you just drew for turn for a benefit. A random gripe I have with this design is that I feel like it steps on Red’s design space a bit as it feels somewhat similar to the impulsive draw mechanic that they have where you’re rewarded for playing the cards you just got, but I know it’s not that close realistically. I digress, this card could be good in Toxic shells or even a deck like Esper Planeswalkers where the body and the Proliferate can be relevant. Does this have what it takes to see play? Probably not, but it’s interesting.
A reference to Phyrexian Metamorph, this card is either a Clever Impersonator or a three mana version of it! While this would make it one of the best Clone variants pretty much ever, I also don’t see what deck would be looking for this effect. It’s definitely strong, but I don’t have a good application for it. Maybe someone more clever than me can do something with this.
This is a very weird Anticipate. So it may seem like this is just Anticipate, but if you get multiple viable cards, you can wait to make your decision on what happens to be the best one. While a cool design, Impulse is barely playable as it stands, and this is definitely worse than Impulse.
I absolutely love this design. Getting to draw on hits based on Poison is such a nifty design space that could’ve been done normally, but would’ve been a pain with shuffling. None the less, this card is pretty awkward as it’s great early, but can drop off pretty hard later once you get a few poison counters on the opponent, making the value of this really oscillate depending on how many counters the opponent already has. Not bad, but probably not good either as it drops off super hard in the late game.
March Toward Perfection
Functionally speaking, this card is just draft a card from the spellbook, it has +1/+1 and Deathtouch. Considering the power level of the spellbook, that honestly doesn’t seem to bad, but there will be times you hit three duds that you don’t want. Too much RNG to be competitive, but closer than you may think.
This is wacky, but I like it! A two mana 3/1 Menace is reasonable, and one that is graveyard hate and can help you draw a good card is solid. It is sad that the duplicate can’t be cast with any color of mana severely limiting what you can tag, but this just seems to be a decent aggressive creature like how Blade of the Oni should’ve been.
A three mana 3/2 that spits out a Goblin Gaveleer and turns into an Equip 1 +1/+0 Artifact is interesting as that’s three permanents in one, but still not super impressive. Sure, the card does produce two non-negligible bodies, but this is competing with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Crucias, Titan of the Waves. Maybe there’s hope for it, but I’m not so sure.
This card is weird to me as it’s clearly good, a Dragon that ETB deals 3 is a strong card, but the deckbuilding restriction is pretty insane to get it. You have to be Mono Red to make it work, but Mono Red Aggro wouldn’t want to play this. So, great card for Big Red, but that’s literally it.
I’m going to just say it – this card sucks compared to Phyrexian Vindicator and Phyrexian Obliterator. Those cards are scary because of how well they mitigate damage being dealt to them. This draws you some cards you have that turn to use. Since both of the previously aforementioned cards aren’t even that good compared to where the rest of the format is at, I have pretty much no hope for Harvester.
Rothga, Bonded Engulfer
A four mana 4/4 Trample that doubles the size of the next creature you play is a super interesting design. This card is definitely good and could see play in many decks, it’s just tough to know whether this is even good enough to make a deck that would want this viable. Nevertheless, this card is definitely strong as the base body is reasonable and the ability can be devastating when built around well.
This card is weird as hell. Per my understanding, all your Insects including the Roaches will keep getting more and more Toxic with each hit, which could be strong if you have enough Insects. This doesn’t seem easy to force through, but maybe a deck that’s all about Toxic and finding ways to let them deal damage could be possible. Probably too many hoops to jump through, but you never know.
There have been many Birthing Pod variants considering how iconic it was, but they really hate making them at all playable. This card is actually one of the more promising ones, but Pod was good because it was a Toolbox card, not because you simply got something bigger. In defense of Spawning Pod, the Standard Birthing Pod decks generally only had one target once you got to the higher mana values like 4+, so maybe there’s something there, but this seems like a lot of work for Alchemy and infinitely more work for Historic.
Arek, False Goldwarden
This card is very interesting as it’s just a bear on it’s own, but with each creature that enters play after it, you can get an activated ability that can kill the opponent from nowhere. This seems like it would pair perfectly with cards that put a lot of creatures into play at once such as Ascend from Avernus or Kayla's Reconstruction which can easily start to make this ability lethal. Considering this seems like a perfect card for Altheriax’s Esper Aggro deck, I like the odds of it seeing play.
A four mana 4/4 is nothing to write home about, bur drawing a card when it dies and still having an Equipment afterwards is decent. Realistically this is too weak to compete with the really good cards in Alchemy, but it does have promise.
That is A LOT of Proliferate. Having something just draw a card on entry for four mana sucks, but everytime you Proliferate, you do get another card to help you out. This likely doesn’t slot too well into Toxic shells, but could hypothetically spawn a deck of it’s own with this as the engine piece. This is probably more work than you’d want for the reward, but any card that can draw multiple cards a turn should be evaluated.
Ok then. So this is an Indestructible four mana 2/2, five mana 4/4, squares out at six, and grows past that? Plus it draws you two cards? This could be really good in the format, especially if midrange decks are all the rage, but this is an extremely weird card. I don’t think this is going to take over the format or anything considering how few decks could play it, but it is interesting and could be powerful in certain spots.
A four drop that does literally nothing on entry is always going to be a really hard sell for me. While this does seek a 4, 3, 2, and then 1 which screams to me combo potential, I feel that there are stronger cards for the price.
Gyox, Brutal Carnivora
A three mana 2/4 is a common stat line for midrange focused creatures, but this ability is extremely weird. Whenever a creature with an oil counter dies, you get X more of those that are all +x/+x bigger based on how many oil counters were on it. Since most of the creatures that naturally accrue oil counters are Red, this is an awkward contention for this card. None the less, a three mana 2/4 that’s not drawing you a card or accruing card advantage in some way will rarely see play, and this seems like no exception.
While very weak for a three drop to start with, being able to recur it and eventually attack with it is pretty tempting. This is functionally just a big Voidwing Hybrid that you have to cast immediately, but since Voidwing is the best part of the Dimir Proliferate deck, getting multiples of it seems like a good deal. This may still be too weak because the base is so sad, but I have some faith.
A two mana creature that can start drawing you cards the turn it comes in and then every turn after that should certainly be looked at. The only deck I could see this going in is Azorius Artifacts in Historic, but it does seem pretty reasonable there. You’d have to construct the deck differently to make it work, but this may be strong enough to make that a worthwhile prospect.
Wizards really likes shuffling creatures back into your library in for this Alchemy set. So you get a Nessian Courser up front, but when it dies, you get two of them in your library that are 6/6s. Maybe there’s some cool way to abuse this, but like Gyox, shuffling stuff into your library isn’t that impressive unless the cards are really good. For what it’s worth, I was wrong about Oracle of the Alpha, but that’s the power 9 versus a few 6/6s. Not feeling it.
Mox Opal is a powerful magic card, but that’s generally because it costs 0, not UR. This card will only let you get Mopal online on turns after you probably wanted to use it and restricts you to being in Izzet at a minimum.
This card is cute, and while it does give every creature you have on board and in your hand an ability, it’s not a particularly strong one on top of the body on this card not being that good either. Maybe if this was a 4/4 I could see it, but even then, it’s probably not strong enough.
This probably wins the prestigious award of my favorite design of the set. This is a reasonable Toxic creature, and with each hit, you’re putting Poison counter bombs into the opponent’s hand. While this is worse than just being Toxic 2, it’s cool enough that I like it anyway. Likely strong enough to see play, but it is close.
Vexyr, Ich-Tekik’s Heir
Despite having a name that seems like someone’s face rolling over the keyboard, this card does definitely have promise. A three mana 3/4 is a good stat line, and getting a Vigiliant 3/3 every time you seek a card is quite powerful. Assuming I counted correctly, there are 30 cards with Seek in Alchemy right now in the Bant color combo including this set and at least a few of them are quite strong, so this has a lot of promise.
Is this card good? Absolutely no clue, but I think so. It’s hard to say the value of converting cards into lands than those lands into a huge beater as we’ve had literally nothing like that before. Is this card sweet? You better believe it.
Unlike the previous Alchemy set, I don’t believe there are any extreme heavy hitters, but a lot more tamed designs which I’m a fan of for supplementary products such as this.
Thanks for reading!
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