Phyrexia: All Will Be One is coming out in February with a prerelease in January, and I, for one, am absolutely thrilled.
They spoiled a few new cards, and a stellar reprint in Phyrexian Obliterator. I want to talk about the new cards and where they will see play. Let’s talk about them in order of which I am least to most excited for. If I’m not excited for it, it doesn’t mean it’s not good. In fact, I’ll be saying nice things about stuff I don’t quite care for. Let’s get started!
Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden
Look, another Boros commander that loves equipment and wants to attack – sign me up for the clairvoyant society because I could have predicted this without even trying.
Jor Kadeen’s first card – Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer – was a beefy 5/4 with First Strike and gave your entire board, including himself, +3/+0 if you had three or more artifacts. Again, cares about artifacts and wants to attack.
New Jor Kadeen is a two mana commander, which has merit. Slap any kind of equipment on him that boosts him by at least +1/+0 and you’ve got a 4 power trampling commander that just drew you a card. Not to mention if you have other equipped creatures, you’ll be buffing up Jor easily. Skullclamp or Bloodforged Battle-Axe make for a solid curve in a JKFG helmed deck. Find yourself some cheap Equipment, toss in a Sram, Senior Edificer and a Puresteel Paladin and get those Digsite Engineers and Myrsmith pumping out tokens to attach to.
Not a bad commander, just a little predictable as far as these colours go. Not really my favourite strategy to begin with, but it’s also pretty well-tread waters. He’s cool though!
Koth, Fire of Resistance
The design here is extremely cool. Liliana of the Dark Realms is a better card, but Koth is basically modelled after it.
Plus ability – Fetch a land with relevant basic land type to hand. Lili can fetch any swamp and Koth gets basic mountain.
Minus ability – Removal based on relevant basic land type. Lili can also pump based on swamps.
Ultimate ability – An Emblem reminiscent of an iconic utility land that’s centred heavily in the basic land type. Lili’s emblem is Lake of the Dead and Koth’s is Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. They’re not exactly like these lands, but they’re close.
You can’t evaluate a planeswalker off of its ultimate ability in Commander, but it’s so tempting because red can chump block for days and after two upticks of his plus ability, not only are you drawing two lands, you’re also set to ultimate the next turn! Then every mountain hitting play is damage flying around. Omnath, Locus of Rage is the perfect slot for Koth. I would say toss him in a mono-red deck and see how it goes! In the end though, there’s no Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth for mountains yet, but when that comes, this card is going to soar.
Blue Sun’s Twilight
I’m very excited for this new cycle riffing on the Sun’s Zenith cycle. X spells like this have lots of utility but find their homes in Zaxara, the Exemplary and Magus Lucea Kane where Unbound Flourishing makes them super charged.
Blue Sun’s Twilight at best will be seven+ mana for your opponent’s best creature and a copy of it. If this is in Lucea Kane, bam, that’s two of them. Anointed Procession and Parallel Lives make this even nuttier.
I have an Azorius clones deck that will love this as a tool to grab something to copy with Sakashima of a Thousand Faces or even to target my own creature, make a token copy, then Orvar, the All-Form makes another copy. Get this in a deck with Vedalken Orrery and mess with combat. I run Teferi, Time Raveler in my Aminatou, the Fateshifter deck. With Teferi’s plus one, I can cast Blue Sun’s Twilight on the creature attacking my planeswalkers, gain control of them and then on my turn, blink it with Thassa, Deep-Dwelling or Conjurer’s Closet to get that ETB. The Ever-Changing ‘Dane loves taking control of a creature and dumping them into the bin.
Slobad, Iron Goblin
I think Slobad, Iron Goblin wearing what looks like Bosh, Iron Golem as armor (see the parallel’s in name?) is super freaking cool. I’m a fan of Illuminor Szeras and Soldevi Adnate. Slobad follows their lead but for just artifacts to funnel into more artifact spells or activate artifact abilities.
Ichor Wellspring is basically two cards for free with a Slobad activation. Use your Gilded Lotus for three mana, sacrifice it for five mana, tap a land and that’s Portal to Phyrexia coming down turn six with mana to spare I’m sure. Meteor Golem comes in, does its job and then refunds you for seven mana. Let’s not forget activated abilities. Can’t use the mana? Gemstone Array can store it for you.
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines
The big bad of the Praetors herself, Elesh Norn is back!
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is like an unrestricted Panharmonicon for all your permanents, and not just your creatures and artifacts. That isn’t even taking into account the Torpor Orb for your opponents for all permanents – not just creatures!
While that can be great because it shuts down opponents’ blink decks, enchantment/ Constellation decks, and Landfall decks, it also shuts down the negative ETB effects such as the bounce lands (Dimir Aqueduct, Izzet Boilerworks, etc – they enter and don’t force your opponents to bounce a land).
They also double the negative triggers for you. That said, hot damn this is an amazing value and stax piece. My Azorius clones deck, Aminatou superfriends blink, Estrid, the Masked, and Omnath, Locus of Creation (a work in progress!) decks all really love ParnharMOMicon.
As a commander, Elesh Norn feels like just a fine stax commander, but I reckon she’s going to be in the 99 of many, many decks. We just got Preston, the Vanisher and getting two Illusion copies of a nontoken creature, like Sun Titan, Cavalier of Dawn, or Aerial Extortionist, means big trouble for your opponents. This is going to be a card to see in play and watch it do its thing.
That does it for this preview! Phyrexia: All Will Be One comes out on February 10th, 2023!
Please let me know if you want me to cover a commander in particular for A Seat at the Table on Twitter or Instagram @mikecarrozza.