The Top 10 Standard Cards From Phyrexia: All Will Be One
The new premiere MTG set Phyrexia: All Will Be One has now been previewed in its entirety! After checking out the set, I must say I'm pretty excited to try out some of the new cards. There are plenty of spicy new effects, as well as some new takes on old favorites.
In today's article, we're counting down our picks for the top ten ONE cards for Standard. Without further ado, let's dive right in!
#10 Venerated Rotpriest
Getting guaranteed value from a one drop versus opposing removal is pretty great. Your opponent must either remove Rotpriest or accept that any other creature they try to remove will net them a poison counter.
Even aside from the triggered ability, Rotpriest represents a fairly aggressive clock for a one drop. Getting to kill the opponent in 10 counters from the new Toxic mechanic makes a poison counter roughly equivalent to two damage. If this goes unblocked, it is equivalent to a 2/1 in terms of putting a clock on the opponent. Altogether Rotpriest offers pretty good value for a one-mana creature.
In addition to the above, there's been some hype online around a potential "Poison Ivy" deck where you combine Rotpriest with Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief and a bunch of spells that target your own creatures. I don't know if the deck will end up having legs, but people are certainly going to try it. For that reason, Venerated Rotpriest deserves a spot at number 10 on the list.
#9 Bloated Contaminator
Getting a 4/4 trampler with additional effects for 2G is pretty pushed. A card like this would traditionally be at least somewhat balanced by a more restrictive mana cost (see: Old Growth Troll), but that's not the case for our bloated friend.
The Proliferate and Toxic abilities can both be very powerful in the right deck, and when combined, they make Contaminator essentially un-chumpable. If the opponent takes even 1 damage, they end up with two poison counters.
The hefty body will be difficult for aggro decks to deal with, and the high toughness dodges three-damage removal such as Abrade and Brotherhood's End. Overall, you get a lot for just three mana.
#8 Gleeful Demolition
Kuldotha Rebirth is a strong card and a staple in Pauper Burn. Gleeful Demolition is almost a functional reprint, except you destroy the artifact instead of saccing it. There should be enough cheap artifacts and artifact tokens available in Standard to make this viable. Paying one mana and a blood token to get three 1/1s is quite strong!
#7 Mercurial Spelldancer
In a deck with enough non-creature spells, this is more or less a must-remove threat. Being unblockable is definitely solid, but it's the spell-copying effect that really pushes Spelldancer into the realm of playability.
By copying spells, you are essentially getting free mana and free cards from a two drop! If you were to pair it with Proliferate spells like Experimental Augury, you could get it to trigger pretty much every turn. That's a ton of value for a two drop.
#6 Thrun, Breaker of Silence
Thrun is a big beater that is exceptionally difficult for the opponent to deal with. He can't be countered, can't be targeted by most things, and can't even be killed by blockers. Your opponent will pretty much need a board wipe or edict to deal with him. Trample also really helps push the damage through.
It wasn't that many years ago that Carnage Tyrant was a standard staple. If you squint a bit, Thrun looks like a slightly smaller, slightly cheaper version of Carnage Tyrant, but one who also can't be killed by blockers. Based on Thrun's exceptional stickiness, I'm giving him the #6 spot on the list.
#5 Vraska, Betrayal's Sting
Vraska is a really solid planeswalker. Being able to proliferate and draw a card turn after turn should be very powerful in the right deck. Playing Vraska in a superfriends deck or a +1/+1 counters deck is sort of like playing a Phyrexian Arena stapled to a Brokers Ascendancy. If your opponent has poison counters, she's like a Phyrexian Arena that shocks the opponent every turn (ironic given the story of this set).
Vraska is also good because of her -2 ability. Paying two loyalty is not a bad rate for a removal ability, and the fact it can unconditionally exile any creature is pretty huge. The new seven-mana Kaya is currently the only other planeswalker in the format that offers unconditional targeted removal.
While giving your opponent a treasure can be problematic at times, I think by the time you are playing Vraska, it won't matter more often than not.
#4 Nissa, Ascended Animist
Nissa is back! She's sporting a trendy new hairdo and comes with some pretty powerful abilities.
I've seen people comparing her to Wrenn and Seven, but I don't think that's a good comparison. While Wrenn needs to -3 loyalty to create a token, Nissa gets to make horrors with a +1. In fact, Nissa and Jaya, Fiery Negotiator are currently the only two planeswalkers in Standard to have a positive loyalty ability that makes creatures. If you want to keep Wrenn alive, you can make a creature with her every four turns, whereas Nissa can make a creature every turn. I feel this makes her substantially more threatening.
In addition to the tokens, her -1 ability is almost certain to be relevant in the upcoming Standard. Well, in fact, it already is. Only having to pay -1 loyalty to be able to hit any artifact or enchantment is a very good rate. Looking at you, Fable.
Finally, Nissa comes with an ultimate that is actually reasonably possible to obtain! If you have some board presence and some forests, this should win you the game.
#3 Tyrranax Rex
Speaking of cards that remind me of Carnage Tyrant, we've got Tyrranax Rex. Between the uncounterable and Ward, this is another threat that is very hard to deal with. If you can ramp or cheat him out early enough, the opponent will be unlikely to have enough mana to pay the ward cost.
The Trample and Toxic combo make him essentially chump-proof, and the haste makes it very likely for him to be able to get in for at least a hit before getting removed. The opponent has to have (probably at least six) untapped mana and instant speed removal that can kill an eight-toughness creature available in order to stop you from getting value. Not gonna happen often.
#2 Phyrexian Arena
The last time Phyrexian Arena was legal in Standard it was good. I can't say for certain it will be good this time around, but I can definitely see it being strong in a grindy format. Arena is just a really solid and relatively hard-to-remove source of card advantage. It isn't weak to creature removal and can't be attacked down like a planeswalker.
#1 Skrelv, Defector Mite
Not much is known about Skrelv's background. She scuttled her way onto the scene and straight into our hearts without so much as an explanation or origin story. While we may not know much about this scrappy little defector's motivations, what I do know is that I love her, and I would not be able to go on if anything bad were to happen to her.
So, the obvious comparison for Skrelv is to Mother of Runes. While the new Bug Mother may not be quite as powerful as the OG Mom, a slightly weaker version of a very good card is still going to be good. Skrelv can't do everything that mom does, but is still plenty flexible. Having the option to either use her to protect your creatures from removal or as a way to force through attackers is still very strong.
If your opponent wants to be able to use spot removal, Skrelv is pretty much a must-remove threat. Otherwise, the opponent would have to use two spells in the same turn to get past Skrelv's defenses to remove any of your other creatures.
Like Rotpriest, the fact Skrelv has Toxic makes her a decent clock for a one drop if unblocked. Also, don't forget that she grants an additional Toxic 1 to the creature she gives hexproof to. This makes your attackers more threatening and speeds up your clock if you are trying to win via poison.
Out of all the cards in the set, I'm the most confident Skrelv will see play!
If there is a final takeaway, I think it would be that green seems to be getting a much-needed push this set. Green isn't in a great place in Standard at the moment, so it's nice to see the color get a little support. We will have to see if what it's received from ONE will be enough to make green playable again.
Only time will tell if these cards end up making an impact on the meta. Either way, the new set looks like a blast, and I can't wait to try it out. Thanks for reading, and happy brewing!
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