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mom-109-grafted-butcher

Standard Orzhov Phyrexians Deck and Sideboard Guide

Orzhov Phyrexians is a new aggressive deck archetype thanks to the new March of the Machine cards! Take advantage of the early meta with this fun deck.

Continuing the aggression saga, this time I’m bringing Orzhov Phyrexians to the battle. Multiple important pieces were added to the deck with the release of March of the Machine like Grafted Butcher, Bloated Processor, or Pile On.

It’s a supremely resilient strategy that does not mind getting Cut Down or Abrade thanks to all the tokens and recursion. One of the biggest downsides of aggressive strategies is that they fold too much to mass removal but this deck Wrath of God effects itself! This is a huge statement to the deck’s ability to grind and not care about removal. Let’s get into the cards played in this strategy.

Orzhov Phyrexians
by Skura
Buy on TCGplayer $463.23
Standard
best of 3
4 mythic
41 rare
3 uncommon
12 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (19)
4
Crawling Chorus
$1.40
4
Grafted Butcher
$1.96
Instants (4)
4
Pile On
$1.96
Sorceries (3)
Enchantments (8)
4
Skrelv’s Hive
$7.96
Lands (26)
2
Plains
$0.70
2
Swamp
$0.70
4
Caves of Koilos
$3.16
4
Scoured Barrens
$1.40
4
The Seedcore
$1.96
4
Mirrex
$11.16
60 Cards
$565.7
15 Cards
$108.47

Deck Tech

Threats

This Standard format’s version of Doomed Traveler. Crawling Chorus is a 1/1 with no combat-enhancing abilities which does not inspire confidence at first glance. However, it’s a Phyrexian which plays a huge role in the deck. It can be sacrificed to Bloated Processor which yields a counter on Processor and a Mite token upon Chorus’s death trigger. On top of that, that Mite token is also a Phyrexian so that can also be sacrificed to Processor.

Moreover, Chorus is buffed by Grafted Butcher so with turn one Chorus into turn two Butcher you can easily attack into the opponent’s two-drop. You will be very happy to trade those creatures, as you’d still get a 1/1 (buffed to 2/2) from the exchange.

All those subtle and some not-so-subtle interactions make it a very solid one-drop, of which there aren’t plenty in the format.

For all the creatures mentioned in the piece two things stand true – they get buffed by Grafted Butcher and can be sacrificed to Bloated Processor. Let’s take a look at what Phyrexian Missionary brings other than a relevant type.

It’s a 2/3 two-drop which already contests Bloodtithe Harvester in combat, blocks Thalia, Guardian of Thraben profitably and roadblocks a lot of small creatures. In addition, it’s a lifelinker which makes blocking that much more enticing and can help race when the game is all about damage.

Later in the game, it’s a card advantage piece that can recur any creature. It’s not uncommon to chain Missionaries where you return one with the other and when the first one dies, the other recurs it again. Rinse repeat.

Buying back threats like Bloated Processor or Sheoldred the Apocalypse, swings games. It’s difficult to deal with Sheoldred the Apocalypse as is, but against this deck the opponent has to get rid of 4 and possibly even 7.

A lord effect akin to Vodalian Hexcatcher or Leaf-Crowned Visionary. Being a lord would already be enough to warrant its inclusion, since it buffs the entire horde of Phyrexians. However, it does bring a lot more to the table.

On entry, it grants all Phyrexians menace. It’s an evasive ability that forces the opponent to either not block or multiblock. Multiblocks can be messed with thanks to removal i.e. the opponent double blocks your creature, you remove one of them, and kill the other in combat.

Furthermore, if the opponent has a relatively low number of creatures it can make it trivially easy to push damage through, as for every creature you have, they’d have to have two. Considering it’s also a token deck, profitable blocking is nigh-impossible.

If that wasn’t enough, it can be recurred straight to the battlefield from the graveyard by sacrificing a creature or artifact. This can come up late and when it does, it’s going to be game-changing for two reasons. One, all the creatures get menace out of nowhere and, two, they get buffed. The sacrifice part is barely a downside as you can always use tokens as fodder.

All in all, this card is bonkers good and is worth building the whole deck around.

Arcbound Ravager among Phyrexians. This deck a sheer ton of creatures with the Phyrexian type so you can almost assume you can eat anything that’s on the field, with the small exception being Wedding Announcement tokens.

It grows to wild proportions very fast and in conjunction with menace that Grafted Butcher grants, it becomes very threatening very fast.

It draws removal very hard. After all, if the opponent attempts to kill something other than Processor, it will get consumed and Processor will grow further. If you decide to kill it, you have to be careful as cards like Cut Down, Play with Fire, or Abrade are very unlikely to get rid of it. But even if it gets removed, it will leave behind a large incubator token that’s essentially as big as the killed Processor.

Playing against Bloated Processor is a real headache, both in combat and when it comes to interaction. It’s a great pick up for the strategy from the recent set.

The most threatening black creature in Standard. According to many, it might even be the best creature in the entire format. Most decks opt for around two copies, since it’s legendary and you don’t want too many stranded in your hand. However, in a Bloated Processor shell that is a non-issue, as you can always sacrifice one to play the other, if need be. Getting to play full four is a great upside for the strategy.

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse already puts a clock on the opponent by punishing them for drawing cards but it paired with the menacing aggression the deck poses puts the opponent in a real pickle.

As alluded to earlier, it’s also a token shell. Skrelv's Hive is very cheap to deploy early and yields a 1/1 Mite Phyrexian with toxic 1 every single turn. Multiple copies of Hive get out of hand very fast and they alone can win games. Turing on corrupted isn’t a big challenge either between those Mites and Crawling Chorus which also has toxic.

All those tokens are Phyrexians, so the usual upsides apply. They can grow Processor substantially, are buffed by Butcher, and can get menace. The menace part is particularly relevant when the opponent is high on poison and you need to connect with just a few creatures to end the game. Making the opponent have to double block those pesky Mites is a great way to actually win the game and destroy the opponent’s morale.

More tokens! Wedding Announcement provides more bodies and, importantly, an anthem effect on the backside. Having a permanent buff changes the combat dynamic completely, especially combined with Grafted Butcher(s).

As it’s clear, between the horde of tokens and recurring creatures, removal won’t do much against this strategy.

Spells

As we play a ton of creatures anyways, we might as well take further advantage of them. Convoke is a mechanic that benefits having a lot of creatures around, regardless of whether they have summoning sickness or not. Pile On is in my opinion one of the, if not the, best pieces of removal in the format. It will frequently be cast for two mana or less and you’re getting a much better Hero's Downfall in return.

Surveil 2 is no joke. It provides card filtering and allows to find more threats if needed or maybe more removal. Smoothing our your draw on a removal spell that’s potentially cast for free? Sign me up.

Arguably the most controversial card in the deck. Vanquish the Horde destroys all the creatures, including yours. Why would you do that? Well, your creatures come back, and the opponent’s don’t. On top of that, after such a Wrath of God you can still get Crawling Chorus Mite token, Grafted Butcher is in the graveyard waiting to get recurred, a huge incubator thanks to Bloated Processor, and you keep all the token makers. It does very much look like a one-sided mass removal.

The first line of text on it makes it even stronger. It’s cheaper based on the number of creatures on the field. As you can predict already, in this deck Vanquish will be cast very often for just two mana. In such a case, you’re getting a one-sided-but-not-really Day of Judgment and you can immediately deploy another threat post-wrath, thanks to its low cost.

This card is a banger in this deck and I doubt any of your opponents will expect it.


Best of One

Orzhov Phyrexians Best of One
by Skura
Buy on TCGplayer $330.75
Standard
best of 3
3 mythic
41 rare
0 uncommon
16 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (15)
4
Crawling Chorus
$1.40
4
Grafted Butcher
$1.96
Instants (8)
4
Pile On
$1.96
Sorceries (3)
Enchantments (8)
4
Skrelv’s Hive
$7.96
Lands (26)
2
Plains
$0.70
2
Swamp
$0.70
4
Caves of Koilos
$3.16
4
Scoured Barrens
$1.40
4
The Seedcore
$1.96
4
Mirrex
$11.16
60 Cards
$471.06

The Best of One version is more heavy on removal, since I expect more aggressive strategies.


Budget

The deck’s maindeck contains 41 rares and 3 mythics. Even if the manabase consisted of basic lands only, it’d still be pretty expensive.


Matchups and Sideboard Guide

mom-93-bloated-processor

Grixis Midrange

InOut
+2 The Wandering Emperor-3 Vanquish the Horde
+2 Sorin the Mirthless-1 Crawling Chorus

We switch mass removal into Planeswalkers. They will have to grind through all the tokens, all the recursion, and then also the walkers. Their usual plan of removal into removal into Sheoldred, the Apocalypse also won’t do much, as we don’t care about removal and we have a super clean answer to Sheoldred, the Apocalypse in Pile On. I am very comfortable playing this matchup.

Mono White Midrange

InOut
+2 The Wandering Emperor-2 Phyrexian Missionary
+2 Sorin the Mirthless-2 Crawling Chorus

Here I keep the mass removal in, as they are a Wedding Announcement deck that plays a lot of creatures like Spirited Companion. A well-timed Vanquish the Horde will flip the game around completely. You have to be careful of Farewell though as it actually gets everything we have. This is where you want to take advantage of the fact that walkers are untouchable by Farewell. Don’t over-commit.

Esper Legends

InOut
+2 The Wandering Emperor-4 Skrelv's Hive
+3 Cut Down-3 Phyrexian Missionary
+3 Anoint with Affliction-1 Crawling Chorus

A creature matchup. We want all the removal we can. We will be playing to Vanquish the Horde and they don’t really have a way to stop it. We can clog up the ground, chump block a bunch and then Wrath of God them.

Selesnya Toxic

InOut
+2 The Wandering Emperor-4 Skrelv's Hive
+3 Cut Down-3 Phyrexian Missionary
+3 Anoint with Affliction-1 Crawling Chorus

A very similar plan to legends. Toxic goes wide with their own Skrelv's Hive to Vanquish the Horde will be on line very fast. They can try to play some removal but we ultimately do not care. We become a Phyrexian control deck that wants to survive until the late game and then flip the script.

Orzhov Phyrexians Mirror

InOut
+2 The Wandering Emperor-2 Pile On
+2 Sorin the Mirthless-2 Crawling Chorus

The mirror is weird since both players have mass removal. I will side in more threats, side out unreliable removal and a couple of one-drops and go to town. Expect scenarios where both players Vanquish the entire boards every other turn.

Tips and Tricks

  • Sometimes it’s better not to attack with multiple creatures with Wedding Announcement to ensure you get a creature rather than draw a card.
  • With Vanquish the Horde you can pre-plan how many creatures you need to deploy to get a mass removal by certain point. It’s possible that a curve of Skrelv's Hive into Wedding Announcement is enough and you don’t need to commit anything more.
  • You can declare blockers and then use the blocking creatures to convoke Pile On.
  • You can sacrifice Bloated Processor with a different Bloated Processor to have full control over the timing.
  • You can sacrifice an Incubate token (unflipped) to Grafted Butcher, as it’s an artifact.
  • You can surveil Grafted Butcher away to then recur it.

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Skura
Skura

Also known as Skura or IslandsInFront on Twitter and YouTube, Filip started his career upon the release of Gatecrash and has been passing the turn in all formats ever since. He coaches and creates written and video content, mainly centered around the control archetype. He is passionate about Magic game theory and countering spells. Outside of Magic, he is a fan of snooker/pool, chess and Project Management.

Articles: 115

One comment

  1. Can you explain when this interaction is significant?

    You can sacrifice Bloated Processor with a different Bloated Processor to have full control over the timing.

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