Limited Takes From The Phyrexia: All Will Be One Prerelease

Andy “Icky” Ferguson scours the Phyrexia: All Will Be One Prerelease for clues to how the Limited formats will play out as the set arrives on MTG Arena.

Orthodoxy Enforcer
Orthodoxy Enforcer, illustrated by Xavier Ribiero

I had the opportunity to play a few events over Phyrexia: All Will Be One Prerelease Weekend. With the set debuting on MTG Arena the day this article goes live, I had a few quick insights I wanted to share with those diving into the early Sealed and Draft queues.

The Sphere Cycle

The Fair Basilica The Surgical Bay The Dross Pits The Autonomous Furnace The Hunter Maze

While I already thought these lands were great at first glance, after playing with them, I’ve confirmed my suspicions. While the format can be fast at times, I also observed a lot of battlefield stalls happening, rewarding the player with more of these lands with card advantage. These lands will go late in the first weeks of the set, but they will likely shift to being around Pick 5-8 when the dust settles.

For Mirrodin!

Barbed Batterfist

The For Mirrodin! mechanic was overall impressive. While some of the commons like Goldwarden’s Helm or Vulshok Splitter leave a lot to be desired, the uncommons truly shined. Hexgold Halberd, Hexgold Hoverwings, and Bladehold War-Whip all seemed great, and I never lost a game after casting the chair with the flair, Sylvok Battle-Chair. In general, the good pieces of Equipment don’t require much support to be solid inclusions in any Limited deck.

Bigger Is Better

Chimney Rabble Furnace Strider Tyrranax Atrocity

While I do think Phyrexia: All Will Be One is a format where two-drops are an absolute necessity for any deck, I found a lot of late-games were decided by big creatures. Most non-flyer games felt dictated by who could get a couple of big creatures to stick. Some of the bigger creatures that surpassed my initial expectations are Meldweb Strider, Chimney Rabble, Furnace Strider, and Tyrranax Atrocity.

Toxic Myr

Dune Mover Myr Convert

Both Dune Mover and Myr Convert were overall impressive. While we do get access to Terramorphic Expanse, Prophetic Prism, and Phyrexian Atlas in this set for our colorless mana fixing, they leave a lot to be desired without being attached to a creature. Not only do Myr Convert and Dune Mover help enable splashes and prevent stalling out on mana, they give you a two-drop creature with toxic 1 to boot. Myr Convert specifically was very impressive. Ramping (especially on the play) seemed so powerful that the two life down payment was negligible.

Azorius Artifact Aggro (AAA)

Orthodoxy Enforcer Escaped Experiment

I wasn’t too excited about the AAA archetype at first glance, but seeing it in action made me a believer (Shrek song?). Obviously, white is the aggressive go-wide color of this format, and in general blue is slower and more controlling, but some cards that I had previously written off really shined in this archetype.

Orthodoxy Enforcer is much easier to enable than I initially expected, making it a regular 4/4 with vigilance for four. In blue, the previously mentioned Meldweb Strider is a real threat and gives your unused Phyrexian Mites something to drive when they’re not ready to run into bigger creatures. While I won’t go as far as to say Escaped Experiment and Mandible Justiciar are great, they certainly looked better than I had initially assumed.

I’m excited to get some drafts in with the new set to learn as much as possible before Pro Tour Philadelphia. I’ll report back next week with what I’ve learned!

Lose and Learn, Learn and Win!