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Why Phyrexian Fleshgorger Is So Much Better Than You Think It Is

Hello everyone!

The first look at The Brothers War just happened today, and with it, we see a host of sweet cards and mechanics! While many interesting cards were previewed today, the one that easily caught my eye the most was Phyrexian Fleshgorger.

So this card reads pretty simply, you have a seven mana 7/5 with Menace, Lifelink, and Ward where the opponent has to pay life equal to the power (which in this case, is seven life). Pretty decent card! This likely wouldn’t be good enough to see play by itself, although it is quite close!

Obviously though, that’s not all the card has to offer! Fleshgorger makes amazing use of one of the new keywords, Prototype, to have all these abilities, but in a smaller package. If you pay 1BB instead of 7 mana, you get a 3/3 out of the deal. So how can you use this card?

Graveyard Trespasser is currently considered the gold standard of Black three drops right now, and while it doesn’t rival Fable of the Mirror-Breaker or Wedding Announcement, it is quite powerful. Getting a 3/3 that’s incidental graveyard hate and life gain is quite powerful, but the best part of Trespasser is the Ward ability. Having to give up a card to target it is a brutal price to pay which really pushes the power of the card. While Trespasser is excellent, it does have a fatal flaw – it can be easily blocked! All those abilities are powerful, but it doesn’t stop Trespasser from being outclassed on the board. Furthermore, while the graveyard hate is nice and the life gain is great, it’s limited by having creatures to exile. Why am I talking about Trespasser at length? Well it’s the closest analog to Fleshgorger’s prototype form!

While the Ward ability is a bit weaker than Trespasser’s (and not even always) and you lose the graveyard interaction, the body is substantially better. A 3/3 Menace and Lifelink hits pretty hard, makes the damage race difficult with six point life swings, and can be incredibly annoying to block. Looking to double block with a 3/3 and a 2/1? Better hope I don’t have removal for the 3/3! That being said, players mostly like Trespasser as a midrange option rather than an aggressive one, but another advantage Fleshgorger has is simply casting it for it’s normal mana cost! Maybe you aren’t in the market for a more aggressive Graveyard Trespasser, but if it’s also a late game threat, then it may be a different story.

I’m really hammering home the prospect of playing it for it’s aggressive properties, and as such, a natural home for it would be Mono Black Aggro. That said, it’s far from the only way to use this card.

Oblivion Ring effects haven’t seen much Standard play recently, but that definitely doesn’t mean they are unplayable. Touch the Spirit Realm in particular does suffer from not being able to hit anything, but on the bright side, clearing out creatures and planeswalkers is generally what you would want to be doing with it anyway. So why do I bring this up? The Channel ability.

I like synergy cards that are good in concert with other cards, but are fine stand alone. Touch the Spirit Realm isn’t super impressive, but it’s a solid card. However, what if you use the Channel ability to blink a Prototype Fleshgorger? Sounds like the recipe for some really gross turns! An awesome play pattern I can see in more aggressively slanted Orzhov decks (and I want to be clear, it doesn’t have to be an aggro deck, just a deck looking to attack) is that the opponent goes to kill Fleshgorger, they pay the Ward, you blink it with Touch, then suddenly they have to deal with a huge creature that’s going to kill them extremely quickly. That’s a brutal play pattern to deal with from a cast Fleshgorger, but what if you don’t even need to cast it?

Reanimator decks have been doing quite well for themselves in this Standard season whether it’s Boros Invoke or Jund Reanimator as bringing back big creatures on the cheap is very powerful. While it would be very difficult to reanimate something that could rival Sanctuary Warden or Titan of Industry, I think Phyrexian Fleshgorger may make the cut. Instead of providing card advantage, you are just looking to end the game extremely quickly. This is especially exciting with Invoke Justice as you can make an 11/9 that makes you pay 11 life to target it! Good luck blocking or killing it without instantly dying! While I would say Titan of Industry is still the better reanimation target for Jund, know what Titan can’t do? Be three mana. We can increase the consistency of the deck by having another early game threat that not only helps us stabilize early (which is one of the flaws with the deck), but gives an additional target if you don’t have Titan or it’s better in a particular situation. Flexibility is key with powerful cards and this has it in spades.

If you want to get even more experimental, we have Spirit-Sister's Call as well! There are a lot of decks that have errant artifacts lying around whether it’s a Treasure token or even some of the new Powerstone tokens, so if you have Fleshgorger in the graveyard, you can substantially trade up your card!


Rating: 4 out of 5.

All in all, I think Fleshgorger is an excellent card that’s going to see a lot of play. The utility of being a good card early, late, and works well with other cards and decks makes this an easy slam dunk for The Brothers War.

Thank you for reading! Agree or disagree? Come join our Discord community, discuss the new spoilers, and more.

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Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
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