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Solphim, Mayhem Dominus

Phyrexia: All Will Be One Limited Set Review: Red

J2SJosh reviews and rates every Red Phyrexia: All Will Be One cards for limited!

Hey everyone! I am here to usher you to your destiny of becoming part of the Phyrexian collective. Join us, as we will all be one soon enough. Oh wait, sorry… I’ve been told that I am to hold off on helping you be compleat and review all of the cards for limited purposes in its place. I guess we can do that instead, but you’re really missing out because Phyrexians know how to party.

Seriously though, I love this time of each set. Everything is new and exciting; we get to make all kinds of wild speculations about what the format is going to turn out to be. They may not let me sleep (or go outside, I miss grass) until I finish these reviews, but it’s still a great time. So, without further ado, I present to you Phyrexia: All Will Be One the limited review.

Here’s the usual grading scale:

All Will Be One

Rating: 2.5/5

A big, goofy red enchantment that either sits there doing nothing or wins the game for you. Is this Arcane Bombardment all over again?

I actually think this is significantly better because you have more control over the initial stages which makes it much easier to stabilize.

The key to blowing up with this is proliferate, but you have to make sure you have plenty of counters to go around. It’s a build around, but a potentially very powerful one.

Awaken the Sleeper

Rating: 2.0/5

While three mana would have been the sweet spot for this, there are enough cheap sacrifice outlets running around to make this work. The obvious one is Annihilating Glare which lets you demolish their two best creatures.

I’m not envisioning equipment as a big part of the meta, but maybe you get to wreck a random one with this.

Axiom Engraver

Rating: 1.5/5

Scrapwork Mutt just showed the world how powerful getting a couple rummages can be on a two drop. This is not that.

Not getting the rummage on ETB, needing to tap, not being colorless, and being a 1/3 are all things holding it back. While it might seem random that I bothered to talk about all that, it’s basically just to say this card is bad for many reasons.

Barbed Batterfist

Rating: 2.5/5

It’s a vanilla 3/1 for two which leaves behind a pretty sad equipment afterwards. We’re talking Short Sword that we have at home equipment. At least if you’re playing Leonin Lightbringer or some evasive creatures then the equipment has some extra value to it.

This is like when you’re shopping and you buy two things you don’t really want because it’s a BOGO sale. You don’t actually like either part of this card, but you can’t really pass up the price for both.

Bladegraft Aspirant

Rating: 2.0/5

You might aspire to go off with this, but you really need higher rarity equipment to actually get excited for it. I look at it as a 2/3 menace for three that happens to make some creatures cheaper when they come with equipment.

Blazing Crescendo

Rating: 2.0/5

While the low toughness on this might make it difficult to outright win a combat, most of the time you get a replacement card to make up for it. Just be careful about getting burned by a removal spell in response.

Cacophony Scamp

Rating: 2.5/5

In early game combat, this is going to play very similar to a Shambling Ghast where it puts the brakes on their attacks so they don’t get two for one’d. It also gets a lot better with tricks even if they don’t block it because you can pump it with Blazing Crescendo and sacrifice it to double Fireblast the face.

Capricious Hellraiser

Rating: 3.0/5

I’m sure you want to raise some hell because how dare I rank a mythic dragon this low! I’m not being capricious here; I have my reasons.

The discount ability is irrelevant because by the time you have nine cards in your graveyard the colorless part of the casting cost isn’t the limiting factor. The ETB has that unfortunate term random in it so if you hit all creatures and lands you get Willy Wonka’d aka “You get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!”.

If it was straight up a 4/4 flyer for a difficult to cast six mana, you wouldn’t even be thinking about it. It’s really about the high roll of getting a free removal spell thrown in.  

Chimney Rabble

Rating: 2.0/5

This chimney isn’t smoking hot, but it’s not just rabble either. The extra body matters if you’re in the equipment deck and getting to swing in for three right away is pretty dece.

Churning Reservoir

Rating: 2.0/5

You’ve heard that a watched pot never boils, but have you heard a Churning Reservoir never does anything? You really need a critical mass of cards that get benefits from adding oil counters to even consider this because a slow circumstantial goblin maker isn’t turning any heads.

Dragonwing Glider

Rating: 4.0/5

RAWR! Getting to crack in right away with this “dragon” is pretty sweet. Even if they deal with it, any of your other creatures get their opportunity to cosplay as a dragon to fly on over to burn your opponent to the ground as well.

Exuberant Fuseling

Rating: 2.0/5

The one mana investment is small enough and you should be able to sneak some damage through before trading up on mana with something. First strike could be a real benefit to this so for a good time call Hexgold Halberd.

Forgehammer Centurion

Rating: 1.5/5

The worst kind of curve filler that trades down on mana. Way too easy to deal with to let it accumulate enough counters to do anything. If you’re holding it back, why did you play it in the first place? Just all in all, not a good card.

Free from Flesh

Rating: 2.0/5

The one mana trick parade continues, this one leaves the creature covered in more oil than a professional wrestler. As long as you have a couple of uses for the oil counters, then this will smoothly slide right into your deck.

Furnace Punisher

Rating: 2.5/5

Cool, a 3/3 menace for three sounds good to me even if it didn’t have any extra text on it.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that you actually get some damage off the ability. If you’re on the play and they lead Sphere land into a basic, that’s two extra damage to the face right there. Depending on how crazy they go between those and the rare lands, it might even hit again. Just don’t be the person who doesn’t realize it’s a symmetrical effect. 

Furnace Strider

Rating: 2.5/5

Even if you don’t have any proliferate or ways to keep the oil flowing, this is still a 4/5 Haste that’s going to hit them out of nowhere. It even has another counter to encourage a friend to come along for the ride.  

Gleeful Demolition

Rating: 1.5/5

There are plenty of targets for this, but most of them aren’t worth using a whole card to deal with.  Hitting most equipment isn’t a clean one for one because they also got a creature when they played it. Busting a skullbomb is pretty uninspiring and only possible if they are tapped out.

There’s always the Prophetic Prism combo. Even though the prism replaced itself, you still need to draw a specific combination of cards to get three 1/1s for three mana.

Stick this in the sideboard. Seriously, just there. Don’t be starting this one.

Hazardous Blast

Rating: 1.5/5

Another card that will spend the vast majority of it’s life in fifty-two card piles or the sideboard. It does have some decent utility against decks with a ton of creatures that have one in the butt. While the Falter effect can steal some games, it’s not something you ever want to have in the starting lineup.

Hexgold Halberd

Rating: 3.0/5

Huge fan of this bear even if the reequip is a bit pricey. Good enough on rate to throw into any red deck, not just the equipment ones.

Hexgold Slash

Rating: 3.5/5

One mana interaction is looking pretty sexy with all the other cheap tricks running around. The automatic four damage to anything toxic lets you trade way up on mana. Great card that will have you constantly questioning if they have it every time they have a red mana up.

Koth, Fire of Resistance

Rating: 4.0/5

You obviously want to play a ton of mountains with Koth. We did a practice draft the other day and while we were talking through the decks one of the players had three The Autonomous Furnace with Koth in a two color deck. We quickly talked them off that ledge.

I think the preferred play pattern will be to play Koth, plus it twice, get the emblem, and start blasting things. You also won’t be too disappointed if it comes down, immediately kills a creature, and they remove it.

Kuldotha Cackler

Rating: 2.5/5

Of course, the hyenas are on the team plotting to overthrow the glory of Phyrexia. I still haven’t gotten over what they did to Mufasa…

If you’re playing red you should have some number of oil counters floating around so you can usually expect it to be somewhere between a three and four power trampler that sometimes gets out of hand. If your deck is oil free, knock this down to filler level.

Magmatic Sprinter

Rating: 1.5/5

I like this card about as much as I like sprinting (obviously not including the times when there are tasty treats at the end of said sprint). It can technically stick around for a second shot if you put the counters on itself, but I’m not in the business of recasting my 3/2s for three.

Molten Rebuke

Rating: 1.5/5

There are just sooooo many better ways to remove creatures in this format than this. Maybe… Maybe… It would be a one of if this was similar to some of the previous forms that said artifact instead of specifically equipment. Even then it’s way too expensive and sorcery speed.

Nahiri’s Sacrifice

Rating: 1.0/5

Let me get this straight, Fling is now a sorcery and can’t go to the face. Being able to divide it up is nice, but everything else about it is so stinky. The only thing that makes you want this is your opponent playing enchantment removal.

Oxidda Finisher

Rating: 2.0/5

This is supposed to be an ogre, but it sure does look like Gorilla Grodd to me. I think DC comics might be making a phone call here. I’d also be disappointed in myself if I didn’t call it Chonky Kong.

For reference:

As for the card itself, even with an equipment out you are still in Colossal Dreadmaw territory. If you have two out, it comes down at a nice discount rate though. I’d want to have three or four of the cheap For Mirrodin! Creatures in my deck to be really happy about playing this.

Rebel Salvo

Rating: 3.5/5

Nice indestructible God you have there, would be a shame if some rebels blasted it to pieces. While that is a bit niche, five damage for three mana is a great card. Period. No need for equipment, but no complaints if it happens to make this cheaper.

Red Sun’s Twilight

Rating: 2.0/5

I don’t want to main deck an artifact removal spell in this format despite the amount of potential targets. This might be the exception because it possesses enough upside that it can swing a game. Hitting 3 mites and two equipment where you get temporary copies of them (the creatures you make from the equipment stay though) is a huge change in board state.

Keep in mind that you can’t attack with the For Mirrodin! creatures the turn you play this because the equipment gets haste, not them.

Resistance Skywarden

Rating: 2.5/5

Menace and Reach on the same creature are kind of a unique combination, but it gives you a decent ability for whichever side of the beatdown you are on. It also has keyword chonker going for it. Totally fine as a top end.

Sawblade Scamp

Rating: 1.5/5

My first thought was that it had a knock off Thermo-Alchemist or Kessig Flamebreather vibe going on here. It’s actually a lot worse than that because you are limited to one ping a turn. I just can’t see it doing that much.

Shrapnel Slinger

Rating: 2.5/5

Now this is the artifact removal that I am happy to main deck. It doesn’t even say other creature so you can go ahead and sling itself like it’s a sorcery speed Shatter.

Slobad, Iron Goblin

Rating: 2.0/5

Centaur Courser with very minimal upside. When Slobad combined with the remains of Bosh, Iron Golem, he apparently got stuck thinking we’re still playing 2003 limited. That leaves him, dare I say it, both slow and bad.

Solphim, Mayhem Dominus

Rating: 4.0/5

There are plenty of red spells worth doubling with great results. Turning Hazardous Blast into a one sided Pyroclasm or dealing six to the face with Volt Charge both sound like a wonderful time. I could keep going, but you get the point.

Oh, it’s also a 5/4 for four that can get indestructible. Yeah, this mythic God can put in some work.

Thrill of Possibility

Rating: 2.0/5

I typically never mind playing a single Thrill of Possibility as a way to ensure I hit early land drops or mitigate flood late. I don’t even mind playing a couple if I’m in an Izzet spells archetype.

Urabrask’s Anointer

Rating: 2.5/5

I’m not happy putting this so low, but I have to be realistic about what it actually does. I can’t live my life looking through Flametongue colored glasses.

I am disappointed that this doesn’t come in with an oil counter for itself. You really need to be dedicated to oil to expect to kill a creature when you drop this. Sadly, there are going to be plenty of red decks that this doesn’t make the cut in.

Urabrask’s Forge

Rating: 2.5/5

This provides some inevitability starting out with the worlds smallest Ball Lightning before you get to watch them grow up right before your eyes.  It just takes a long time to get to a relevant size and it gets completely blanked by First Strike.

Vindictive Flamestoker

Rating: 3.0/5

This puts a different kind of clock on your opponent where they have to kill this before you get to draw four. It leads to some interesting game play decisions on both sides like should you use this removal on something you normally wouldn’t.

Once it gets a few counters, they have to consider if discarding your hand is going to matter before they force the issue. A very fascinating card that leads to a lot more decisions than a normal one drop does.

Volt Charge

Rating: 3.5/5

It’s going to be a difficult decision between this and Hexgold Slash, but you can’t really go wrong with either. Not quite Lightning Strike, but that proliferate can do some serious work.

Vulshok Splitter

Rating: 1.5/5

More like Vulshok (Editor’s Note: Nope, not happening Josh.), am I right? Even with the creature included, I’d have to be pretty desperate to want to play this.

Wrap Up

Red looks very strong completely ignoring toxic to focus on aggression. Its game plan appears to be based around sending the troops at the opponent over and over again until they quit. It does have some really good damage-based removal and I would be very tempted to splash it into other combinations.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my Phyrexia: All Will Be One Limited Review of Green. Until then, stay classy Magic people!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

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Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

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