Phyrexia: All Will Be One Draft Guide
Hey everyone! We’re now a week into Phyrexia: All Will Be One drafts and I’m here to drop all that Accumulated Knowledge (obligatory boomer reference) on you. Before we get into the usual breakdown, I do have to address the giant elephant in the room.
In a short time, ONE has received a lot of criticism that I believe is unfair. A lot of it is based around a really poor interpretation of small sample size data that was heavily pushed on social media. People also tend to focus on the times that a game snowballed quickly while they might not notice when they lost a game because of two-three microdecisions.
Is it going to end up as an all-time great format? I feel safe declaring that it will not. It is a totally fine drafting experience that benefits players with different skillsets than some of the other recent formats. It highly rewards those who are good at predicting combat while punishing players who haven’t adjusted to it. Personally, I’ve been winning a lot of games at a very low life total (or high poison count) because I took the time to figure out the next few turns of combat math when it was clear that my opponent did not.
Table of Contents
Phyrexia: All Will Be One (ONE) Limited Guides
Key Ideas of Phyrexia: All Will Be One Draft
The major thing to understand going into a draft is the existence of macroarchetypes. These are usually shared across colors, but split across each color. Basically, there are toxic cards in each non-red color, but there are a lot of non-toxic cards in each color as well. If you don’t properly manage these, you can potentially leave yourself heavily underpowered.
This will change your evaluation of cards as the draft progresses. For example, Bladed Ambassador is a fine card in a white aggressive deck, but you have to adjust its value for the current state of your draft. If your whole deck is based around toxic, then it only performs up to it’s normal standards in the games that you finish with damage. If you’re playing an artifact-based deck then it doesn’t trigger anything or curve into Unctus's Retrofitter. It’s not a bad card and performs quite well in the right situation, but you have to look into what it is taking off the table at the same time as what it adds.
That also changes how signals are sent during the draft. A color might appear wide open, but the portion of it that you want to be in might not actually be open. This can cause someone next to you to careen right into your lane because they didn’t understand what was really open. It should hopefully correct some once the queues normalize (let’s be honest here, the first couple weeks have a lot of people just wanting to try out the format).
The speed of the format is extremely fast and that means that every little decision is going to matter. One of the big early decisions is how much you care about letting them get corrupted online compared to possibly getting blown out by a trick. Your decision should really depend on how well you can recover from each scenario.
Not adding to the board is a surefire way to end up losing in this format. While being able to interact in the early turns is key, it’s usually best to do it with creatures of your own. Even if you end up answering their early plays you can still fall behind when they drop their high end or two for ones like Oil-Gorger Troll. It’s also hard to continue to match the sheer number of relevant low-cost cards without falling behind on mana even though there are some really efficient removal spells floating around.
Falling behind on board is so devastating that a card like Annihilating Glare is significantly worse than that effect has ever been. Taking away from your own board, even something minor, is a huge cost here.
My current top tier archetypes are Gruul and Boros with Selesnya and Orzhov in the second tier. The third tier is Azorius and Rakdos. I have everything else in the fallback plan tier.
Red decks have been performing amazingly for me because while it is split between oil cards and equipment, both of those plans want to be aggressive. It also has two damage-based removal all-stars in Hexgold Slash and Volt Charge that play very well with that beat down plan.
The only red deck to avoid is Izzet. You might see this become a pattern with blue archetypes here as that and black are much better as support colors than a main plan. I’m not saying not to draft those decks. I’m saying that you need a very good reason to be in them. Being ridiculously open is a solid reason. Opening a busted card like Jace, the Perfected Mind is another.
Gruul oil has been my most played archetype so far and it hasn’t even been particularly close. It might be that it keeps being way more open than it should be while also being deep on playable commons in both colors. You can do anything from an ultra-aggressive approach with multiple Sawblade Scamp to playing long games with Incubation Sac and Churning Reservoir.
Even though you would really, really prefer the green oil cards, it’s nice that the green toxic cards aren’t really giving up much in the stats department in exchange for their toxicity. It does make them vulnerable to getting wrecked by Hexgold Slash though. You can imagine how bad getting your four or five drop killed for one mana feels.
The equipment decks have been smashing face as all the inherent two for ones with the For Mirrodin! creatures really adds up. I know people hate taking a non-rare two-color card pick one, but Bladehold War-Whip is absurd and you should be taking that leap.
The toxic decks have been crushing dreams as well, but as previously discussed require being open since you can’t go half way in on them. I’m happy to be in either Orzhov or Selesnya, but Golgari is really sketch.
Tips and Tricks
Is this a raw power or a synergy set? Strangely enough ONE draft is both at the same time. It possesses both insane power and synergy payoffs.
Having a few bomby cards or a highly synergistic deck can be a bit of a toss up in which is going to prevail. You just can’t be the person who is doing neither. One of the big mistakes I’ve seen is people building a “normal” value draft deck and that is going to get destroyed in this format.
The sphere lands can be a serious trap. Everyone sees them and thinks “OMG, they are free value” before throwing a pile of them in their deck. They are not even close to free, playing two early tap lands sets you back so far that I’ve been down to playing one or less in my decks. There’s also the hilarious scenario of taking some extra damage off of Furnace Punisher because of them.
One of the other options to consider with the sphere lands is to play a few of them with eighteen lands in your deck to make sure you usually hit your land drops with flood protection built in.
Splashing is not really the train you want to be on unless it’s for something really game changing. This format is so fast that Prophetic Prism is not the safe turn two play it has been in the past.
While you should build your deck with having early plays in mind, properly mulliganing is definitely a skill that is rewarded here. If you’re on the draw with no relevant plays until turn four, you might as well concede.
There is a big difference in bo1 vs bo3 in that you can take some situationally great cards instead of forcing yourself to always be ready for an early onslaught.
Hazardous Blast is a real mirror breaker in the Gruul matchups as you can just end up staring at each other’s chonkers until this straight up ends the game.
The praetors from previous sets are sometimes in the rare slot, I’m not going to list them in the bombs section below to allow more focus on this set. I’m pretty sure you all know Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is completely cracked in half.
White Sun's Twilight is usually game over if they hit seven lands. I can’t tell you how many bad beat stories I’ve already heard about this one. Almost all of them being some iteration of “I had lethal next turn, then they swept the board made five 1/1s and gained five life. I died to poison counters the next turn”. It’s a rough one.
Cinderslash Ravager and Hazardous Blast are the damage-based sweepers of the set even if they are both only dealing out one point to your opponent’s creatures. They both have a lot of game against white decks. They even offer a fairly spotless solution to cleaning up the mess left behind by the aforementioned sweeper.
I’m sure you’ve heard about this one. I’m here to confirm that The Eternal Wanderer is just as stupid as everyone predicted it would be. I think the only think holding down it’s win rate is that there is a lot more nuance to it then just slamming it down and ultimating with it. While that is good enough in a lot of cases, I’ve seen people do things like block the opponents last mite token the turn before they drop this.
The Filigree Sylex at least gives you the benefit of seeing it coming. Just try to stagger the casting costs of your permanents until they give up and blow it.
Technically I have to put Nahiri's Sacrifice under this section, but it’s not a good magical card.
While not performing as highly as expected, tricks are still pretty key in ONE.
Tyvar's Stand is the Gaea's Gift or Tamiyo's Safekeeping of the set with the option to fireball the face. It does give them priority with only one green up so that’s a nice little Arena tell to take advantage of.
Offer Immortality probably does more in this set than this effect has before. When you are attempting to swarm them with mites and other toxic creatures, they are usually forced to block and end up losing their good creature for this.
Compleat Devotion is one of those cards that makes blocking feel so bad. Getting completely wrecked in combat while they cantrip is just nasty. Another reason why having only toxic creatures in your deck matters.
Zealot's Conviction, Free from Flesh, Blazing Crescendo Titanic Growth and Maze's Mantle are the other pump tricks with varying situational utility.
Whisper of the Dross is one to keep in mind if they have priority with only one black mana up since it acts as either removal or a trick. It’s either that or Black Sun's Twilight which brings the creature back tapped so you don’t have to worry about the total blowout, but you should try to get them to use it before they hit six mana.
While counterspells would seem to be really good in a format with some serious bombs floating around, blues current overall performance is holding them back a bit. Bring the Ending and Reject Imperfection are both fine especially with blue instants like Experimental Augury that you can cast if they just pass the turn.
Minor Misstep is not a card that is going to actually show up, but I don’t want to leave it off the list. Just in case…
These are the Pack One Pick One (p1p1) no doubt, windmill slam, just take them rares of the set. These are not in rank order, just take these over any non-mythic uncommon or common. There are actually a lot more in this set, but these are the big ones.
- Archfiend of the Dross
- Dragonwing Glider
- Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines
- The Eternal Wanderer
- Glissa Sunslayer
- Lukka, bound to Ruin
- Migloz, Maze Crusher
- Nissa, Ascended Animist
- Thrun, Breaker of Silence
- White Sun's Twilight
These might be uncommons, but they sure don’t play like they are.
Do Not Draft List
These are the ones that some people talk themselves into, but you should always pass.
It’s been a long crazy trip down into the depths of New Phyrexia. I can’t wait to see what it continues to evolve into as we go along. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back in a few days with more limited analysis for you. Until then, stay classy people!
I’m always open to feedback, let me know what you loved, what you hated, or just send dog pics. You can contact me at:
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