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Underperformers and Overperformers of Phyrexia: All Will Be One Limited

What cards have exceeded expectations and came up short in the Phyrexia: All Will Be One draft meta? We update a bunch of card ratings in our Limited Tier List and explain how these cards have been performing so far.

Hey everyone! We’ve had a little bit of time to let the format breathe and we’ve come to one of my favorite times of the set. That’s right, we’re here to find out exactly how wrong I was during preview season. Seriously though, it is impossible to nail everything without actually playing the set. While some people just want to harp on the percentage they got right, I prefer to focus on what I got wrong and the reasons behind it so I can keep improving.

This exercise is comparing cards to their initial expectations so you’re not going to see The Eternal Wanderer on here because it was a smack you in the face bomb. You’re also not going to see some total piece of trash like Encroaching Mycosynth on here because it was so obviously garbage that nobody who has a clue about limited would consider it an underperformer.


Annihilating Glare

3.0 to 2.0

A five-mana sorcery speed removal is a nice fallback to have when you need it, but is way too slow in most games. That leaves you placing most of its value on the sacrifice mode and it’s not quite holding up. The only Threaten is uncommon and giving up even a little board presence is no bueno in ONE. I don’t mind sacrificing the equipment from Barbed Batterfist but I don’t want to lose a creature unless I am truly desperate.

It’s mostly a victim of the speed of ONE draft because it would be a really solid card in most other formats while I’ve already cut this multiple times. It’s still alright to play Annihilating Glare, it’s just not an auto include outside of Rakdos.

Chittering Skitterling

3.0 to 2.0

I’m sure some people are going to be chittering at me about this. I explained a lot of the downsides when I graded this, but it’s ended up playing out even worse than that.  The only deck that can reasonably expect to have corrupted turned on early and play this is Orzhov. That deck is a very low to the ground aggressive deck that doesn’t have the room to play a Horned Turtle.

It’s still good against enchantment removal and the situations where you are alpha striking with mites. It just doesn’t really have a consistent place here.

Drivnod, Carnage Dominus

3.5 to 1.5

Normally I can always figure out a solid reason why I under or over rated a card. The only logical explanation for this catastrophe is that I must have been pretty deep in the bottle when I graded this.

Playing a three-toughness creature for five mana that doesn’t affect the board is a death sentence in this format.  There just aren’t enough death triggers to make this a reasonable long game card either. You can do much, much better.

Melira, the Living Cure

3.0 to 2.5

The main problem with this card is that the best version of Selesnya wants to be more toxic than Magic twitter. You would slam Slaughter Singer over this without a second thought and that’s all you really need to know about it. A Watchwolf with two relevant abilities is still playable there, but it’s more of a utility card that doesn’t work towards your main plan.

The Sphere Lands

2.5 to 2.0

These are the most heavily debated cards in the set with some people loving them and some people saying to not play any of them. I believe it is heavily deck dependent, but in an aggressive deck I am not playing more than one comes into play tapped land. It’s just way too high of a cost when everyone is curving out.

While there aren’t really full-on control decks in ONE, I’m more willing to play up to three tapped lands in a deck that wants to take over later in the game. I’ll probably go up to eighteen lands in that instance because hitting land drops is key and I can just recycle them for new cards later.

Venomous Brutalizer

3.0 to 2.5

Solid stat line, decent amount of toxic, and the option to proliferate. What’s the problem? This card has one major problem and it’s Hexgold Slash. That’s really it. Paying four mana for this and having it wrecked for one mana is a massively huge issue.

With such a quick format, the games are heavily compressed and every little thing matters more. Playing a card that puts you in position to almost lose on the spot is a cost that you have to consider before playing this.


Axiom Engraver

1.5 to 2.5

I thought this was going to be a much less versatile Scrapwork Mutt with a significantly worse body attached. It turns out that a 1/3 body is looking pretty good early against the aggressive matchups. It still performs the same function to either dig your way out of mana screw or toss away extra lands for real cards even if you don’t get it upfront.

Churning Reservoir or proliferate gives you even more chances to rummage for additional goodies. It even comes with oil counters to help Urabrask's Anointer and Oil-Gorger Troll step up their game.

Bladehold War-Whip

3.5 to 4.0

I say whip it! Whip it good! This has been doing a lot more than whipping it good. It’s been whipping some serious butt (Editor’s note: We’ll just tone that one down a bit).  As I’m writing this article, it is a top five overall card in the set and the top uncommon.   

The main difference between preset grades and now is that I underestimated how good Boros was going to be. When I open this, I’m willing to jump right into it instead of waiting to see if it develops.

Evolving Adaptive

3.0 to 3.5

My main concern with this was that drawing it later in the game would be close to a dead card. As the format has evolved, we have to adapt and it’s pretty clear that there is no late game in ONE. Being the shortest limited games that we’ve ever had really doesn’t give this time to be a bad top deck.

Basically, this is insane as a one drop that is going to put a stupid amount of pressure on the opponent. Even if you draw it turn five, it’s not hard to get it up to 3/3 pretty quickly. As for when you draw it turn ten, you obviously haven’t played ONE if you expect that to happen.

Hazardous Blast

1.5 to 2.5

I started the format rating this as a great sideboard card, but it has quickly trended towards wanting to play one or two of these in all of my red decks. Sometimes it kills a few creatures and sometimes it eliminates the opponent like an RKO out of nowhere. There are a lot of matches where it ends up coming down to who draws this with the right amount of power out.

I love it, but still can’t rate this card higher than this because you don’t want a bunch of them in your deck, but it is low key insane sometimes. For example, my opponent curved out including Vraan, Executioner Thane and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse against my Gruul deck. I just played Hazardous Blast and there was nothing they could do about it.

Migloz, Maze Crusher

3.5 to 4.5

It’s not that I didn’t think it was really good, but it’s been ridiculously good. There are times that you just run it out on turn three and ask your opponent, “You have removal or are we done here?”. I’ve also found myself holding it against some decks to bait out their Planar Disruption before thumping this to blow that up. Amazing at any point in the game, goes in the best archetype, and it’s even splashable if you like to live dangerously.

It provides so much versatility for such a low cost that it is an easy windmill slam when you open it. The threat of activation makes it impossible to block profitably and it can play both ways by remaining vigilant. Where are you getting all this oil from? Luckily it comes down greasier than a McDonald’s burger.

Nissa, Ascended Animist

4.5 to 5.0

A completely unreasonable Magic card to play against. Even knowing that they have this in their deck in bo3 is like an executioner’s axe hanging over your head because you never know when it can end the game on the spot.

Then there’s the normal mode where they just keep pumping out a huge creature every turn. Yeah, good times. Just as egregious as The Eternal Wanderer

Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading! It’s always good to step back and reconsider cards throughout the format. The main conclusion here is that the format turned out to be significantly faster than we were expecting and that is the main force being exerted against every cards value at the moment. Check back in a couple days for my combos and synergies article. Until then, stay classy 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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