Hello! Welcome to my set review of Phyrexia: All Will Be One, where I will pick five cards of each colour and discuss my favourite cards from them.

Without further ado, here are my favourite Black cards!

  1. Vat of Rebirth

A single black mana. That’s the cost of this artifact. It reminds me a little of Phyrexian Reclamation. Of course, there’s more set up with the oil counters being required, but three mana to Reanimate a creature is sweet even at sorcery speed.

Note that you also accumulate the oil counters for tokens hitting your graveyard. That means that you can pay for the activation with Treasure tokens and all you’d need is one more oil counter before reanimating a creature.

I think this is cool! Araumi of the Dead Tide could use a little bit of direct non-Encore recursion. Thalisse, Reverent Medium and Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder (and the like) have enough tokens and sacrifice outlets to make this happen easily. Don’t sleep on this card especially at casual tables.

  1. Drivnod, Carnage Dominus

“Gee, I wonder what the aristocrats/graveyard guy thinks about the Dominus that doubles death triggers.”

First of all, I don’t appreciate that tone. Secondly, of course I love this. If any creature dying causes a trigger on any of your permanents to trigger, it triggers again? Sign me right up. My The Ever-Changing ‘Dane deck is built around expensive creatures that want to die, like the Kamigawa Dragons. I run Teysa Karlov in that deck and think that she deserves a friend. Will the indestructible counter come into play? Maybe! I will be running this everywhere I can. Trust me, death triggers are my favourite.

As a commander, this is mono black aristocrats no doubt. Ayara, First of Locthwain, Syr Konrad, the Grim, and Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder all now have a little more competition, or even scarier, a new friend in the 99.

  1. Archfiend of the Dross

Looks like we’ve got a new toy for Jon Irenicus, Shattered One decks. Harmless Offering and Fateful Handoff become deadly.

I really like Archfiend of the Dross in a weird group slug deck where you give opponents tokens with Forbidden Orchard or Tempt with Vengeance and then drop this and Toxic Deluge for one life.

This is Massacre Wurm for two less without the board wipe. It’s also a beater in the air and really cool looking. Will this maybe bite you in the butt? Yeah, but if you have Phyrexian Altar or Ashnod’s Altar, you can sacrifice the Archfiend as a mana ability circumventing even the quickest of removal.

This is less mana intensive in terms of cost and pips than Massacre Wurm, but I do think Wurm beats this out unless you want redundancy. Token players beware!

  1. Black Sun’s Twilight

Excuse me! Instant speed flexible removal that once you hit 5 or more for X, you can reanimate a creature of yours? Sign. Me. Up. There are plenty of amazing creatures at five mana. I would look at this as like casting a big creature from your graveyard for one more mana and getting to remove a threat. Plus look how great Sheoldred looks!

  1. Vraan, Executioner Thane

Any player who runs Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia can tell you that limitations can still be good in a deck that knows how to use them. Ophiomancer has been a staple of aristocrat decks for a long time and triggers once a turn. Sacrificing the snake every turn and draining two life puts you up eight life and you’ve taken 24 cumulative life from your opponents. This is solid. This isn’t explosive like Zulaport Cutthroat, but it can live in your command zone. This isn’t like Blood Artist, but it requires five less creatures dying to achieve the same result.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting – This feels like the return of basic Ob Nixilis Reignited level of fine planeswalker. Plus draw a card, minus removal, ultimate kill one person maybe. I don’t feel strongly about Vraska, she’s just fine. The art referencing her old art is great.
  • Geth, Thane of Contracts – Quite possibly one of the most disappointing cards in the set. A negative anthem for your other creatures is such a downside. You would think the activated ability wouldn’t be restricted to sorcery speed or that maybe it wouldn’t have to exile, but no. Lots of gating here. That said, an activated ability that returns creatures to play is fun. I am  bummed by this. The art reminds me of Tsabo Tavoc!
  • Sheoldred’s Edict – Quite possibly the best edict spell printed. Being able to force a nontoken creature sacrifice is great, though I doubt the other modes get used too much.
  • Anoint with Affliction – Flexible exile removal that gets better if you’re into poison counters!
  • Blightbelly Rat – Say it with me: “I love a death trigger.” Proliferate is powerful and this is Black’s Martyr for the Cause.
  • Karumonix, the Rat King – Make all your rats give opponents poison counters, and when this ETBs, you might draw five cards in a dedicated rat deck. If we hadn’t already gotten the perfect rat commanders, we’d see this in the command zone more, but this is a 99 guy for sure.
  • Scheming Aspirant – A payoff for proliferating that doesn’t stop at once. Ichormoon Gauntlet and the like will make this really annoying. Not to mention the “and and” typo haha.
  • Annihilating Glare – We’re not done power creeping Bone Splinters.
  • Testament Bearer – A death trigger that lets you look at the top three, keep one, and bin the rest? Hello, Araumi of the Dead Tide? Yeah, you’ve got a new friend.

That does it for Black! Catch you next time for Red!

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