Magic: The Gathering – What Are Phyrexia: All Will Be One’s Draft Archetypes?
- White/Blue: Artifacts
- Blue/Black: Proliferate Control
- Black/Red: Oil Counter Sacrifice
- Red/Green: Oil Counter Midrange
- Green/White: Toxic Aggro
- White/Black: Corrupted
- Blue/Red: Oil Counter Spellslinger
- Black/Green: Poison
- Red/White: Equipment
- Green/Blue: Poison Proliferate
Magic: The Gathering’s Phyrexia: All Will Be One is a bizarre set. Based in the hellish New Phyrexia, it’s full of intense body horror intermingled with beautiful environments and thoroughly alien creatures. Mechanically, it’s also an odd one, with a complete lack of +1/+1 counters, and more than a few colour pairings straying away from their stereotypical strategies.
Whether you’re drafting on Arena or hitting up your local game store, going into your Phyrexia: All Will Be One draft with the knowledge of what to pick and how to build your decks will be the difference between glorious compleation, or being cast into the arena for Sheoldred’s amusement. Here is every two-colour archetype found in All Will Be One.
Although Phyrexia has less of an artifact theme than The Brothers’ War, they still play a huge role. The white/blue archetype keeps the artifact train rolling, with cards like its draft signpost, Cephalopod Sentry.
This set has a lack of Treasure tokens, and with Powerstones kept firmly on Dominaria, you’re going to need to find other ways to make artifacts. Fortunately, Phyrexia is really good at artifact creatures, so you can use cards like Crawling Chorus, Skrelv’s Hive, White Sun’s Twilight, Malcator, Purity Overseer; and Indoctrination Attendant to make Mite artifact creature tokens, or use artifact creatures like Transplant Theorist, Escaped Experiment, or Annex Sentry.
One of the best cards for this deck will be Encroaching Mycosynth, which turns all your nonland permanents and spells into artifacts as well, massively increasing the number of artifacts you control without needing to devote too much time to producing them.
Once you’ve filled your board up enough, use cards like Plated Onslaught, Unctus, Grand Metatect to buff up your Mites and other artifact creatures to take the win. If you need some really heavy hitters, Mandible Justiciar and Cephalopod Sentry will also get very, very big, very quickly.
Blue/Black: Proliferate Control
There are three counters in All Will Be One, and Blue/Black’s Proliferate Control deck uses all three of them to keep your opponent locked down while you gradually take them out with poison.
For this archetype, you’ll want ways to get loyalty, oil, and poison counters on the battlefield, ready to proliferate them later on. For oil, the easiest ways are cards like Atmosphere Surgeon, Ichor Synthesizer, and Mercurial Spelldancer. For loyalty, your only options are Kaito, Dancing Shadow and Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting.
Your biggest focus, though, should be on poison, as this is how you’ll actually win the game. Fortunately, both blue and black have excellent ways to get that first poison counter on an opponent, such as Prologue to Phyresis, Vraska’s Fall, Bilious Skulldweller, Blightbelly Rat, or Infectious Inquiry. You only need to actively put one poison counter on your opponent, as after that, your focus should be on proliferating that counter up to ten to take the win.
Proliferating is incredibly easy in All Will Be One, and lots of them are already found on control spells. Things like Reject Imperfection, Serum Snare, Whisper of the Dross and Drown In Ichor will slow down an opponent, while also ticking up their poison. If you need to speed things up, try dropping a Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus, Thrummingbird, Ichormoon Gauntlet, or Staff of Compleation as ways to proliferate each turn more reliably.
The draft signpost for this archetype is Voidwing Hybrid, which can start off your poison game, and then come back as a repeated threat each time you proliferate.
Black/Red: Oil Counter Sacrifice
Oil counters do practically everything in All Will Be One, replacing the more usual keyword and +1/+1 counters almost completely. This archetype makes use of Black/Red’s usual sacrifice strategies to generate and find fun ways to use oil counters to your advantage.
The first thing you’ll want to look out for are cards that allow you to sacrifice permanents, and cards that generate oil counters whenever a creature dies. For sacrifice, Annihilating Glare, Cutthroat Centurion, and Kethek, Crucible Goliath, and Urabrask’s Forge are good choices. Meanwhile, Vat of Rebirth, Exuberant Fuseling, Forgehammer Centurion, and Necrosquito all gain oil counters from your sacrifice, becoming big threats in just a few turns. Once you have creatures that buff themselves up with oil, you’ll be playing this as a straight aggro deck, going for the face as much as you can before your opponent can set up a defence or remove the permanents with all those oil counters on them.
While it isn’t as heavy in this archetype as elsewhere in All Will Be One, you’ll want to make use of some proliferate to bolster those oil counters. Gulping Scraptrap and Cacophony Scamp are good sources of it for this deck, as they both make good sacrifice fodder at the same time.
Charforger is the draft signpost for this archetype. It makes a Goblin token that’s perfect for sacrificing, then gives you access to the top of your library for the low cost of just three oil counters.
Red/Green: Oil Counter Midrange
Oil counters are primarily red’s mechanic in All Will Be One, so it makes sense that it maintains that focus through to the Red/Green archetype. Instead of sacrificing, this one cares all about using your oil to make gigantic, stompy creatures to beat your opponent down with.
For this archetype, your heavy hitters are going to be Evolving Adaptive, which gets bigger and bigger with each oil counter on it, Kuldotha Cackler, whose power increases the more permanents you control with oil counters on them, and Evolved Spinoderm, a big, hard-hitting creature that can be difficult to remove as long as you keep more than two oil counters on it.
Unfortunately, green’s creatures often lack ways to put oil counters on them themselves, so you’ll need to find other ways of doing it. Proliferate is, once again, an excellent thing to focus on, with cards like Cankerbloom, Adaptive Sporesinger, Unnatural Restoration, and Bloated Contaminator. You can also put fresh oil counters on things with Free from Flesh, or use Ichroplate Golem to make creatures enter with an additional counter.
While your signpost for this archetype is Cinderslash Ravager, which could take out any pesky Mite tokens threatening to block your creatures, the card you really want to keep an eye out for is Migloz, Maze Crusher. This can use oil counters in three different ways, including a repeatable way to get it +2/+2 until the end of the turn at instant speed.
Green/White: Toxic Aggro
The final allied colour archetype takes white and green in a different direction than usual, giving it a very aggressive, poison-counter-focused strategy. The toxic keyword is particularly important here, as, unlike the older infect, it allows you to both build up an opponent’s poison count while also dealing regular damage to them.
Mites are your primary attacking force, which you can make with things like Skrelv’s Hive, Infested Fleshcutter, Basilica Shepherd, Charge of the Mites, and White Sun’s Twilight. All of these Mites have toxic, and aren’t good for much else except attacking, making going wide and rushing your opponent down quickly of the utmost importance. You can shore your Mites up with other toxic creatures, like Duelist of Deep Faith, Indoctrination Attendant, Bloated Contaminator, and Branchblight Stalker.
This strategy relies primarily on poison counters, so make good use of Plague Nurse and proliferate tools like Adaptive Sporesinger to speed up how many poison counters your opponent gets. And of course, don’t forget that you could use White Sun’s Twilight to completely wipe the board of potential blockers, as long as you pay at least five generic mana. This will allow you direct access to your opponent’s face, which, with enough Mites, will easily be deadly.
However, if the poison counter strategy falls apart, you can still rely on basic combat damage with buffs like Compleat Devotion, Flensing Raptor, Noxious Assault, Titanic Growth, and the draft signpost for this archetype, Slaughter Singer.
A problem with many poison-centric decks is that they are too ‘linear’, meaning there isn’t much room to try and win in any other way. Either you’re focused on getting your opponent up to ten poison counters, or you’re not progressing your gameplay. To rectify that, All Will Be One introduced the corrupted mechanic, which gives certain benefits depending on if your opponent has three or more poison counters.
Both white and black have tons of ways to kickstart corrupted. Anything with toxic works, such as Crawling Chorus (and the Mite token it produces), Jawbone Duelist, Bilious Skulldweller, and Nimraiser Paladin. There’s also more direct ways, like Infection Enquiry and Vraska’s Fall. Keep in mind you only need to get three counters on your opponent, so you won’t need to dedicate the bulk of your deck to this.
Once they have three, it’s time for your corrupted permanents to shine. Cards like Apostle of Invasion and Ravenous Necrotitan can be devastating once corrupted is online, while Anoint with Affliction and Sinew Dancer become more powerful control tools. The draft signpost for this archetype is also great at controlling the board, as Vivisection Evangelist destroys any creature when it enters the battlefield.
Blue/Red: Oil Counter Spellslinger
The Blue/Red archetype for All Will Be One plays it slightly more traditional than others, electing to go with the tried-and-true Izzet Spellslinger theme. However, it changes things up by having those noncreature spells increase the number of oil counters you have, which can be used in fun and horrible ways.
Tons of creatures in this set gain oil counters when you cast noncreature spells, like Atmosphere Surgeon, Ichor Synthesizer, Mercurial Spelldancer, Trawler Drake, Sawblade Scamp, and Vindictive Flamestoker. They all use them in different ways, such as Trawler Drake getting bigger for a more aggressive strategy, or Mercurial Spelldancer copying spells you cast. This is also where you’ll find the signpost for this archetype, Serum-Core Chimera, who uses them to let you draw cards, discard cards, and deal damage to creatures and planeswalkers.
You’ll want to focus on cheap noncreature spells to build up those oil counters. Fortunately, there’s all sorts on offer here, like Aspirant’s Ascent, Minor Misstep, Prologue to Phyresis, Free from Flesh, Blazing Crescendo, and Gleeful Demolition. It’s also worth remembering spells that also have proliferate, like Volt Charge and Serum Snare to increase the number of oil counters you have at your disposal.
Finally, a Black/Green draft archetype that isn’t about the graveyard. For All Will Be One, Golgari is going all-in on poison counters, stopping at nothing to get your opponent up to ten and knock them out the game.
Toxic creatures are going to be your best friend, as this deck requires an element. While you can use small creatures like Blightbelly Rat and Pestilent Syphoner in the early game, your real goal is to get out creatures with higher toxic values, like Branchblight Stalker, Nimraiser Paladin, Venomous Brutalizer, Tyrranax Atrocity, Tyrranax Rex and the utterly diabolical Paladin of Predation. Make heavy use of Plague Nurse as well, to buff even your smallest creatures’ toxic output. Once you’ve got these creatures on the board, your opponent has around one turn to deal with them before you take the win.
Creatures aren’t the only way to win, though. Vraska’s Fall, Infectious Bite and Infectious Inquiry all put them straight on, and Noxious Assault puts your opponent in a pinch by making them decide whether to die to combat damage or poison. Like the other poison archetypes, you can also make good use of proliferate, through things like Cankerbloom, Carnivorous Canopy, Adaptive Sporesinger, Thirsting Roots, or Unnatural Restoration.
Necrogen Rotpriest is your signpost for this archetype, and is also an excellent way to speed up poison strategies by giving your opponent extra counters if they can’t stop your toxic creatures.
The only non-Phyrexian theme in All Will Be One is Red/White’s, which uses the rebels of old Mirrodin still barely fighting against the Phyrexians through the For Mirrodin! mechanic. This is an Equipment-heavy deck that wins through combat.
Anything with For Mirrodin! is going to be excellent for your strategy, including Goldwarden’s Helm, Vulshok Splitter, Hexgold Halberd, Barbed Batterfirst, and one of your heaviest-hitters, Dragonwing Glider. All of these Equipments make creature tokens to attach themselves to, allowing you to cast these and swing in without having to then pay to equip.
Though this archetype is mostly about the rebels, such as Oxidda Finisher, which is cheaper to cast the more Equipment you control, you are going to want to watch out for Bladegraft Aspirant, a Phyrexian that reduces costs of Equipment, both to cast and equip. Reducing equip costs is important, because when those tokens die off, you’ll still have their original equipment lying around to put onto another creature in a snowballing Voltron-like effect.
Signposting this archetype is Bladehold Warwhip. On its own it’s a decent Equipment that gives a creature double strike, but its ability to reduce the equip cost of all your other Equipment by one generic. With the right battlefield, you could be throwing Equipment all over the place for practically no mana.
Green/Blue: Poison Proliferate
The final archetype may feel slightly familiar, as Simic, like Black/Green before it, is primarily concerned with putting ten poison counters on your opponent. However, with different ways to start the poison ball rolling, and blue’s much great number of proliferate cards, how you go about this will be different.
Here, you’re not necessarily going for those big, toxic hitters. You only need to get one counter on your opponent, so cards like Cankerbloom, Branchblight Stalker, and Dune Mover will be more than enough. One of your best tools with be Prologue To Phyresis, to put a counter on them without even needing to attack.
From there, it’s proliferate all the way. Thrummingbird, Gitaxian Anatomist, Copper Longlegs, Vivisurgeon’s Insight, Thirsting Roots, Expand the Sphere, and Ezuri, Stalker of Spheres will be big helps here. If you’re lucky enough to pull it in a draft, Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus will also be a huge threat, as it doubles your proliferation.
Tainted Observer is the signpost for this, and it does it all. It has toxic to get that first counter on your opponent, and then it can easily (and cheaply) proliferate for each other creature that enters under your control. Sometimes a signpost only hints at the strategy, whereas this disgusting Phyrexian Bird is the strategy all on its own.
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