There are many new and exciting cards in every set, and invariably some of them will make their way into Commander. Phyrexia: All Will Be One released a short few days ago, and as you might imagine, there are a whole lot of cool new toys for everyone’s favorite singleton format. While I do expect a lot of people to gravitate towards cards like Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, I think a lot of other cool cards deserve a spotlight. Especially cards which aren’t legendary creatures and aren’t from the Phyrexia: All Will Be One-themed commander decks. Today we will be taking a look at those exact cards I just referenced. So strap in and get ready. I’m Luka Sharaska, and you’re in the Commander Corner.

An Honorable Mentions Appetizer

A great deal of cards belong in this category, but I am going to list the ones I think already have enough discussion in the mainstream. They are strong, noteworthy, and will have some amount of impact on Commander going forward, but they aren’t the focus.

Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is at the top of the list, for obvious reasons. Interaction and Panharmonicon team up well together in the command zone. Plus, a 4/7 body is pretty difficult to attack into. Despite all of the power, I don’t think Elesh Norn will be oppressive, just good.

The hype train for All Will Be One sped up even faster once people realized that permanents entering with counters would also trigger it, meaning that even playing a planeswalker doubled as a burn spell. Dark Depths, Helix Pinnacle, Quest for Pure Flame and more now toast your opponents quite well.  Right now, someone, somewhere, is trying to find a way to make this work in every format imaginable.

Anointed Procession in your command zone? Don’t mind if I do, thanks to Mondrak, Glory Dominus. Even outside of the command zone, this instantly finds a home in many decks looking to clog up the board with tokens of any kind. Of course, it can also get an indestructible counter, which makes it much more resilient.

Ichormoon Gauntlet has been discussed in great detail, and I can’t say anything about it that hasn’t already been said. While you would need a substantial number of planeswalkers to go infinite, cards like Teferi, Master of Time cut down massively on what you need to get some value. Go wild with it, take infinite turns, have a blast.

Those cards have seen much discussion across the whole of the internet. With those out of the way, we can focus on some cards that might have slipped past you in the chaos of spoiler season. While I try to steer away from legendary creatures, a few do make this list, although I think my selections belong in the 99 more than they do the command zone.

The Main Course

Mercurial Spelldancer is a cheap, aggressive, and capable creature that fits into the 99 of any deck looking to jam powerful spells. Classic decks like Mizzix of the Izmagnus or newer decks like Kalamax, the Stormsire can benefit the most from having a backup plan which isn’t reliant on their commander staying in play. As a bonus, this card pressures planeswalkers reasonably well.

Skrelv’s Hive is a relatively unique token producer whose only true comparisons are Dreadhorde Invasion and Bitterblossom. It’ll find a home in any deck looking to go wide, like Jetmir, Nexus of Revels or ones generating a ton of sacrifice fodder like Teysa, Orzhov Scion. Partner with cards like Cathar’s Crusade for a huge boost to your board every turn.

Zenith Chronicler is a neat way for mono-color decks to compete with their multicolor contemporaries, or for more controlling decks to dissuade others from casting their commander. Even if the only multicolored card in their deck is their commander, you’ll still be able to play this before most of those get cast, if it’s in your opening hand. Decks like Gaddock Teeg, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, and even Urza, Lord High Artificer can all make use of this card quite well.

Black Sun’s Twilight pulls its weight twice as removal and reanimation. I’m reminded of Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering, which is more powerful but more restrictive. Black Sun’s Twilight is an instant, doesn’t require the caster to have a legendary creature in play, and also has the fail case of being removal for something small if you can’t afford full price. As a fan of both cards, I’ll be running both in my Braids, Arisen Nightmare deck.

Blade of Shared Souls is the newest in a long line of clones that can only copy their caster’s creatures. Of course, this one has the benefit of being able to equip to another creature after the token’s expiration date. How do you use this? Decks with Sakashima of a Thousand Faces at the helm can use this card as another way to copy something that would otherwise be legendary (usually Krark, the Thumbless). Of course, if you aren’t making a million thumbless goblins, you can copy value engines like Scute Swarm or Oracle of Mul Daya. Turning a Dockside Extortionist into another Drannith Magistrate never hurt anybody!

Glissa Sunslayer is a legendary creature, but I don’t think this card shines in the command zone. There’s tons of options for that slot that are just more powerful. Where Glissa shines is in the 99, as a beater that basically nobody is blocking. You can draw cards, destroy enchantments, remove counters from planeswalkers or other problematic permanents, or have a nigh-unbeatable blocker. There’s a lot to love here, and I imagine I’ll be very happy to spend 3 mana on a very good upgrade to Shadowmage Infiltrator.

The Eternal Wanderer is a backbreaking planeswalker with one ability that really pushes her over the line. When you use the -4 ability, you choose which creature each player gets to keep. This means it’s a boardwipe with utility after the fact, and in any deck that cares about blinking creatures, you can get some real mileage out of the +1, even if you have to clean up shop with the -4 first. Similar to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, which has always been a powerful and versatile card.

Archfiend of the Dross is the infernal spawn of Massacre Wurm and Demonic Pact, giving you a hefty creature that punishes your opponents for the crime of having their creatures die. Of course, if it runs out of counters, you lose. Or rather… The controller loses. Many have caught on that this is another card you can donate to an opponent with cards like Harmless Offering or well… Donate. You’ll get 3 attacks in before the last counter is removed, and 18 damage is nothing to sneeze at. You can play this without ways to give it away, but you will need a sacrifice outlet like Ashnod’s Altar or Viscera Seer to make sure things don’t go Horribly Awry.

Argentum Masticore enables you to trade one resource for another in a very peculiar way. As a bonus, discard cards you can use out of the graveyard. Oops, I discarded my Archon of Cruelty, and it would be ashame if I were to Reanimate it. Also, a 5/5 with first strike hits really hard. Combine that with the protection ability and you’ve got a recipe for a potent creature whose utility is only as limited as your hand size and creativity. I’m reminded of Bladegriff Prototype, a card I’ve used to much success.

Drivnod, Carnage Dominus gives you a whole lot of value in the kinds of decks that would play something like this. With this card in play, it’s only half as many Blood Artist triggers to end the game. Would you like to draw twice as many cards with Midnight Reaper? How about causing twice as much havoc with Dictate of Erebos? The possibilities really are endless, and I have no doubt this will make many tables nervous.

Skrelv, Defector Mite is the kind of card that looks like a much worse Mother of Runes or Giver of Runes, forgetting of course that you can play all three. If you’re in white and your commander needs to stay safe, this is yet another invaluable ally fighting against the tide of removal. As a bonus, messing with which creatures your opponents can block with is always a plus.

Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting reminds me of Ob Nixilis Reignited, but with a few tweaks. First, instead of flatly drawing a card as a +1, you get to proliferate as well. This makes Vraska significantly better in superfriends style decks looking to jam tons of planeswalkers. Secondly, you get to play this for either 5 or 6 mana, with benefits both ways. Finally, the -9 on Vraska is undoubtedly more powerful than Ob Nixilis’s -8, even if you have to proliferate to finish the job. All-around, I’d say Vraska is a great tool for recurring value in any casual black deck.

Regards To The Chef, and Farewell

If you’ve made it this far, you probably have some sweet ideas about what to build and experiment with from Phyrexia: All Will Be One. I myself plan on testing out a few noteworthy cards in my primer deck headlined by Saheeli, the Gifted. I have to applaud Wizards Of The Coast in regards to this set. The flavor is off the charts, and a lot of these designs are pretty slick. Whether you’re testing some new cards, building an entire deck, or just putting some cards in your trade binder, I hope you’ve enjoyed spending some time in the Commander Corner.

Luka Sharaska (they/them) earned the nickname “Robot” by having a monotone voice, a mind for calculating odds, and a calm demeanor. Robot has been playing Magic for more than a decade, starting during the days of New Phyrexia in 2011. Most days, you’ll find them in the gym or creating content for their YouTube channel: Robot Rallis.

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