It’s been nearly a full month of Phyrexia: All Will be One [ONE] cards out in the wild for Magic: The Gathering Standard, and we’ve got some winners and losers from the current metagame, especially for Arena.
We’ve outlined some first impressions in our previous article HERE, and what follows is a summary of what overwhelmed, what underwhelmed, and what ended up just mid.
Phyrexia: All Will be One – Best New Magic: The Gathering Arena Cards
Winners – Atraxa, Grand Unifier and the Renaissance of Reanimator
I really should’ve seen this 2nd coming of 5C Niv-Mizzet, except no one wants to cast this 7-mana 4-color wall of text. We all just want to fish her up from the grave after conveniently discarding her to the best card in the meta, Fable of the Mirror Breaker. I had thought 7-mana was a tough ask and so I wasn’t high on her – I was clearly wrong.
Atraxa, Grand Unifier is the ultimate payoff and enabler rolled into one – she refills your hand with gas and is a win-con if left unanswered on the board. Even if she’s removed… that’s just asking for her to be reanimated yet again. If your 7-mana bomb doesn’t even need to stay on board to win the game, you know she’s THAT strong, and is one of the better cards in the Phyrexia: All Will be One update.
Value decks have been at the top ever since the last rotation for Standard, and with Atraxa strengthening any deck that relies on having their value engines constantly topped up, it’ll take a while longer before we see the end of midrange in the Phyrexia: All Will be One set. Boros and Grixis are on the top lists to take advantage of Atraxa, while Jund is staging a comeback by having another great reanimation payoff with Titan of Industry.
Winners – Skrelv upgrades Esper Legends and UW Aggro decks
This innocuous little mite has a bite way worse than its teensy 1/1 frame. Even Soldiers want it in the deck to protect valuable assets like their card draw engines or growers. As was obviously expected, Esper Legends smoothly fits Skrelv’s legendary 1-mana butt. It’s just so much convenience packed neatly into a very synergistic package.
Not to mention that multi-colored aggro has allied-color fastlands this set (another win), these are the other top decks of the meta that can go under the value of midrange and keep them in check. Raffine’s new pet will be here to stay for any fast curvy deck that uses White.
Losers – Capricious Hellraiser and the absence of Izzet Spells
Seems like nearly nobody’s playing any sort URx deck to any sort of consistency in the Bo3 ladder. Maybe it’s just too slow. Maybe the Vindictive Flamestokers just don’t have enough gas yet to keep the engine burning. Or maybe, they just didn’t add anything Galvanic Iteration and Big Score couldn’t already do.
Extra turns still seem to be the payoff of choice whenever I run into UR or Jeskai combo decks, and it’s Mindsplice Apparatus that makes more of an appearance than any of the cards I called before. Maybe there’s something still yet undiscovered that can propel the archetype into more usage and popularity. It’s hard to count on that, however, with the prevalence of value, creature tokens, and Sheoldred in the metagame.
Loser – Phyrexian Obliterator is not even best in slot in the one deck it fits in
Only Mono B can say they’ll play Phyrexian Obliterator safely and not get screwed by the BBBB cost. It’s also apparently not worth even animating, in a Standard where there are better targets. So where does this formerly notoriously powerful piece fit in the Phyrexia: All Will be One set?
Apparently, Obliterators can still output some good use, just not in the main 60 of a Mono B list. Maybe when it no longer competes with Sheoldred for that 4-drop slot on the curve, it can have time to shine again. At least, we still have black’s premium new removal Sheoldred’s Edict to enjoy.
Mid – White Sun’s Twilight and UW Control maybe have a chance?
WST is a boardwipe and a wincon combined, and I hope you can see the trend here on what constitutes good cards lately in the Phyrexia: All Will be One update. You rarely want to be casting this for less than X=5 because of how valuable the wipes are for control.
UW Control was just not a deck that existed in the upper echelons of the ladder last set/season, mainly because it was hard to stem the tide of value other midrange and even aggro decks could produce. With the addition of White Sun’s Twilight, however, this can change (along with a few other good control pieces in Mindsplice Apparatus and Blue Sun’s Twilight).
Mid – Every Good Green Card in ONE is Lumped into Gruul Aggro
Who knows, if UW Control prospers, maybe Green will, too. But as such, the new good green cards go into Gruul Aggro (or Gruul Oil) instead. As hard-hitting as it is in Limited formats, this seems like the one place for Oil to be productively utilized by cards like Migloz, Maze Crusher, Evolving Adaptive, and Bloated Contaminator.
Wildcard – Mono W Midrange and Red Deck Wins
Mono is not to be outdone on the Phyrexia: All Will be One set – Mono W gets Skrelv and Skrelv’s Mines, and RDW, while not as strong with its new cards from ONE, still finds a great piece in Koth, Fire of Resistance.
Mono W midrange remains a solid option for those who don’t like to be mana-screwed but want a piece of that value pie. Solid pieces from previous sets ensure they can keep up with the multicolor lists, and Skrelv’s Hive gives them a bit of inevitability and added pressure.
The surprisingly good addition in the Phyrexia: All Will be One update is Ossification, which while being a non-bo with Farewell, actually fares quite well still in Mono W.
RDW never really leaves, doesn’t it? It ebbs and flows, sometimes it’s really good, but most times it’s just… well, mid. Serviceable is the word I’d use, and the new Koth walker is just an all-around great source of removal and deck-thinning, something that can fit in any mono R list, fast or slow-ish.
Phyrexia: All Will be One is now available.