Planeswalking Through Phyrexia: All Will Be One – 10 New Decks For 10 New Planeswalkers
Phyrexia: All Will Be One has introduced ten new planeswalker cards, half of which are compleated. Let’s see how they slot into existing decks and whether they can spawn new ones.
Before we begin, let’s analyse the compleated mechanic. Basically, you can pay 2 life instead of the coloured mana if the mana symbol has the phyrexian sign in it. If you do, it enters with 2 fewer loyalty counters on it for each 2 life paid. In other words, if you pay the cost normally, you get exactly what you see on the card. Otherwise, you need to reduce counters from the starting loyalty accordingly.
Table of Contents
The Eternal Wanderer
The Eternal Wandererhas a unique way of protecting itself as it only allows a single creature to attack it. If you are holding up removal, it is always enough to stop that single threat attacking it. It’s a token-maker that clocks the opponent really fast. The plus ability can not only blink your own creatures to reuse their enter-the-battlefield effects, but can also get rid of an opposing creature as it returns at the end of *their* turn, hence turning it off combat. Importantly, it can ult upon entry and still stay on the field.
This card is going to shine in fair white decks as the finisher and it’s going to work particularly well if there are creatures to be blinked. Blinking prototype creatures like Steel Seraph is going to be one of the most powerful ways to abuse the blink.
While often compared to The Wandering Emperor, they are different cards and can easily co-exist in a single shell if you really like it.
Koth, Fire of Resistance
Koth, Fire of Resistance plays with the age-old Koth theme of being centered heavily around Mountains. All three of his abilities rely on you having a substantial number of Mountains in the deck, while the plus ability looks at specifically basic lands. The natural inclination is to play it in a Mono Red deck to ensure on a deck-building level that there are Mountains aplenty.
I wouldn’t put Koth in an aggressive deck as it is still a sorcery speed four-drop, however, it slots well into a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx devotion shell in Explorer. It is fundamentally a late-game deck, so Koth’s plus ability is a really effective way to ensure we hit our land drops. Right after that plus, it’s at six loyalty so the chance that it’s dying are pretty low. In this deck, the minus should deal 3-4 damage upon entry, and scale very well as the game goes long. What’s particularly good, is that you can ultimate it after ticking it up twice, which is relatively fast.
The rest of the shell is a collection of cards with a lot of red symbols in the mana cost – planeswalkers and creatures. Once you’ve generated a ton of Red mana with Nykthos, you can overload the field with threats or finish the opponent off with Fanatic of Mogis‘s trigger.
In Standard, Koth will be playing the role Chandra, Torch of Defiance used to play.
Kaito, Dancing Shadow
Kaito’s reputation has been built on its interactions with small attacking creatures and this new iteration is no different. While the passive does not have to be turned on for the walker to be playable, the floor is a personal Phyrexian Arena which does not lose you life. As far as I am concerned, the best shell for it is one that has dynamic, small creatures.
I would slot it into Rogues in Explorer as the creatures there give you the most flexibility. You would be perfectly happy to return Thieves' Guild Enforcer to your hand in order to turn on Kaito’s passive as you can replay it very cheap, instant speed, and mill more cards. On top of that, it allows you to play it as a blocker untapped. You would also be very happy to bounce Nezumi Road Captain (the backside of Okiba Reckoner Raid) to get two saga chapters again. Kaito’s plus can either allow you to connect with a creature or just keep turning off opposing threats so that they cannot attack you. In such a shell, you could use the -2 to get a token, but it should largely be unnecessary as the deck already has a ton of threats.
Even if not the main deck, I fully expect it to be played at least in the board as an additional threat for grindy matchups. Might even find its home in Standard in Dimir control/midrange deck as a card advantage machine.
Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler
Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler is a three-mana walker which should already be a strong signal to try to break it. Early-game planeswalkers can truly warp the game around them and Tyvar is no different.
Tyvar works great in decks with mana creatures as both the passive and the plus ability synergise with them. On top of that, if your deck contains mana dorks, it allows you to play it as soon as turn two. The minus ability is far from irrelevant. It can act as card advantage, utility, or acceleration, all depending on which creatures you choose to bring back.
I would slot it into Elves as the whole shell seems perfectly built for it. You have got eight one-mana Elves to be able to play it on turn two, you’ve got the possibility to activate mana abilities immediately, and half the creatures in the deck make mana. Circle of Dreams Druid and Elvish Archdruid get substantially better if they have haste. On top of that, Tyvar can untap them for double use. Buying back Leaf-Crowned Visionary or Elvish Warmaster can be very annoying for the opponent to have to deal with.
I am very excited for Tyvar. While the deckbuilding restrictions are high, I think it will excel once it’s slotted in the right shell.
Kaya, Intangible Slayer
Kaya, Intangible Slayer is super expensive and has a prohibitive cost. Those two characteristics are certainly off-putting, but there is a pay-off waiting at the end of this journey—hexproof. The fact that you cannot target it with any removal or damage-dealing spells is huge as it guarantees that it won’t get removed out of nowhere. The end result is that you are getting a ticking time bomb. The plus ability both stabilises you and puts pressure on the opponent, the zero is Divination every single turn, and you also get just double minus it to have two pieces of removal.
You cannot play it in any deck that aims to close the game fast. The cost also makes it not likely to show up in Green decks with ramp. With all that in mind, I would try to slot it into a control deck which naturally wants to prolong the game. It’d be the curve-topped that seals the deal.
While tough to cast, I will happily play it in my Standard BWx control or midrange decks.
Jace, the Perfected Mind
With Phyrexia ,we are also getting an umpteenth variation of Jace. Jace, the Perfected Mind has a clear mill subtheme which is waiting to get abused. On top of that, it can be played as early as turn three, which is always scary. Thankfully, it can also defend itself thanks to the plus one ability.
In order to take full advantage of Jace and its excellent Visions of Beyond-esque minus ability, we need to have some mill elements. In my opinion, we can actually go all the way and make a mono blue mill-focused strategy. Milling twenty cards should not be a difficult challenge for this deck as Jace himself can mill fifteen upon entry, which is a pretty high floor. It also makes multiple copies not redundant as you can cash one in for the full mill and the other one to draw cards.
The previously unassuming mill strategy in Explorer gets are a real boost right now with Jace. Beware the Mono Blue strategy!
Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting
Vraska, Betrayals Sting interestingly has no plus abilities…in theory! Its 0 ability provides card advantage, but also proliferate and it can indeed add counters to itself. Other than that interesting design aspect, the rest is what you’d expect from a planeswalker in the current design theory. It draws cards, it has a removal spell stapled onto it, and the ultimate is game-winning. The specificity of the ultimate makes it particularly good in shells that take advantage of the toxic angle.
Dimir Control in Standard feels like the best home for her. The seemingly generic design works great in a control deck, but the additional proliferation angle fits perfectly into this strategy. Voidwing Hybrid is the biggest roleplayer that can easily get the opponent poison which can later be proliferated. The deck plays a total of 16 proliferate effects which interact with poison, but also Vraska herself. Thanks to the plurality of those effects, it is easy to get Vraska to her ultimate.
I am excited to try Vraska in those toxic control blue-black shells in Standard.
Nissa, Ascended Animist
Nissa, Ascended Animist is the first compleated planeswalker and so it can be cast for five, six, or seven mana. It is similar to other Nissa Planeswalkers in that it provides some kind of body coming in. In this case, it’s an X/X token which is going to be bigger if you paid more mana for Nissa initially. Crucially, the tokens stats don’t change dynamically so it stays as the X/X.
As the token is bigger if we pay the full retail cost on Nissa, we would be looking to play it in shells that can actually do that reliably. One way is to play a god-honest ramp deck where getting to seven mana is not a big issue, However, in Standard there still is Fight Rigging which can allow us to play Nissa as soon as turn four!
This shell aims to turn on Fight Rigging as soon as possible to play expensive cards for free. In addition to Nissa, Phyrexian Fleshgorger works great with it as it enters as 7/5 menace lifeline threat which can also be normally cast for three mana earlier in the game. Since it is a creature shell overall, Nissa’s ultimate is going to be game-ending, especially if your 7+ power creatures get trample.
I would expect to see her in shells that finally aim to play her for the full retail cost with the option to cast her for less if need be.
Nahiri, the Unforgiving
Nahiri, the Unforgiving is a multi-purpose walker that can be played as soon as turn three. As I’ve mentioned previously, if there is a three-mana walker one should try to break it. Its role can be two-fold—early play which allows you to loot away the cards you don’t want or a threat-making machine which reuses the previously killed threats. You can also discard cards you don’t need at a particular moment but then recur them later with the zero ability.
Naturally, you want to play her in a deck with creatures, but there are a lot of bonus options if you also incorporate equipments. In Standard, you can easily build a red-white aggressive shell that centers around equipment and getting the opponent dead.
When an aggro deck gets an early planeswalker, that’s bound to raise alarm bells.
Lukka, Bound to Ruin
Lukka, Bound to Ruin is a great way to ramp up to other threats, but it’s also capable of defending itself thanks to the 3/3 Phyrexian Beast. Its -4 is another way to protect it, but can act as Arc Lightning of sorts.
Its mana-producing ability lends itself to a ramp deck. Arguably, the best threat to ramp to is Titan of Industry as it immediately dominates the battlefield and stabilizes. Rootwire Amalgam is another great threat to ramp to as it can be an early drop but also provide power late. Lukka works great with both of those thanks to mana but also as its -4 scales based on the biggest power among your creatures.
If you want to ramp up to big creatures, Lukka is bound to help.
Ten planeswalkers is a lot but I think all of them can find a home, be it in Explorer or Standard. No matter which you open in a booster pack, you will surely be able to play it in a competitive shell.
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Heads up your “GOLGARI ELVES” list is not legal in explorer or pioneer as you have included Elvish ArchDruid as much as I wish it was explorer legal it is sadly not.
Apologies! The format errors have been fixed!