Phyrexia: All Will Be One, the latest Magic: The Gathering set, has had some time to simmer. Although early previews for March of the Machines have already started, there’s still quite a bit of time left in this stage of the Phyrexian invasion to see what All Will Be One has to offer. Undoubtedly, many players have already ordered the cards they need to complete a wide variety of decks, from obvious powerhouses like Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, to build-around cards such as All Will Be One.

It seems many of the powerful legendary creatures in recent memory have useful abilities which pay you off for constructing your deck around them. But they do not generally give you innate card advantage or a built-in way to advance your game plan without help. Today’s Highlight instead fronts you the value and asks you to simply turn it sideways.

Welcome to the Commander Corner, and today’s Highlight is…

Glissa is a tremendously powerful creature at any stage of the game, both blocking and attacking with near-impunity against all but the most resilient boardstates and creatures. The original Phyrexianized elf herself, Glissa, the Traitor, had certain deckbuilding constraints you’d need to obey to realize maximum value. This version of Glissa, however, has no such problem. Instead, you’re getting a total package of card draw, planeswalker hate, and enchantment removal all in one aggressively-costed package. Given the nature of the commander, you don’t really have a single best practice for supporting her with your other 99 cards. Instead, you get to play almost any green/black gameplan while your commander helps keep the game fair.

Below, I’m going to describe how I would go about emphasizing Glissa’s strengths while maintaining a strong core theme and gameplan. In this specific deck, the gameplan revolves around combat damage and card advantage. This is by no means an absolute or definitive guide on what you must play, but suggestions and ideas for what might make your experience with this powerhouse creature more fun. I’m not aiming for Doomsday piles and plays involving Ad Nauseam, but you can definitely slot in those cards and/or associated combos if you so desire. Instead, I’m aiming for a decidedly casual play experience with a medium-power level playgroup in mind. Take that into consideration when viewing the suggestions and decklist below.

The Big Idea – Value

Since your commander is so good at earning you at least one extra card of value on each of your turns, you can spend a solid amount of your gameplan and cards trying to inhibit your opponents. In doing so, you maintain a tentative control over the game. Although there isn’t an optimal way to win the game built into the command zone, you do get to choose your own pathway to victory. These cards are the way you can keep the playing field even while you dig up your win conditions. Some of these cards augment your already potent card draw, and others make sure the coast is clear and primed to deploy other threats.

Cards like The Eldest Reborn, Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering, and Black Sun’s Twilight represent ways to interact on board while reusing your own spent resources. Cards with the Cipher ability like Mental Vapors, Undercity Plague, and Midnight Recovery present you with ways to get extra value or interaction across multiple turns.

Since you’re planning on turning your commander sideways anyhow, make use of cards like Family’s Favor, Sixth Sense, and many others to ensure that you’ve got a full hand or a safe Glissa.

Cards like Grim Hireling, Mark of Sakiko, Nature’s Will, One with Nature, and Old Gnawbone allow you to fully embrace the extra cards without being as constrained by mana. To cast your commander and other cards ahead of schedule, utilize cards like Elvish Mystic, Birds of Paradise, and Llanowar Elves.

The Backup – Sizable Threats

Cards in this category represent the weight you get to throw around as a deck that’s always got a few extra cards. Instead of concerning yourself with boardwipes or spot removal, you can simply jam these cards straight into play and allow them to do the hard work for you, while your opponents struggle to keep up with your constant pressure. Recently printed bruiser Shakedown Heavy is a prime example of a creature that beats down hard while also allowing some wiggle room for opponents to give you free cards. Similarly, planeswalkers like Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting and Ob Nixilis Reignited both allow you to interact with creatures while drawing cards anytime they’re not being threatened. Forgotten Ancient can randomly turn your commander into a lethal threat with barely any effort.

The Pain Train – Tax & Stax (Optional)

Some decks are just naturally good at staying alive and keeping their commitment to the board minimal Instead they’re focusing on drawing cards and piecing together a victory over time. Against those decks, you’ll need more than removal and persistent aggression to win the day. With that in mind, there are tons of painful cards which spellslinging opponents will hate to see on your side of the table. Painful Quandary is one of the premier pieces of interaction you can play. Taxing your opponents an entire card or five life adds up extremely quickly, and few players can handle this card for more than a turn cycle. Collector Ouphe renders artifacts mere trinkets. Oppression, although a bit high in price and symmetrical in effect, hits you less hard than it will hit decks looking to cast a lot of spells very quickly. Lure can destroy entire boardstates if placed on your commander. Rankle, Master of Pranks can also put the squeeze on your opponent’s resources, especially cards in hand.

The Finisher – Combos & Game Enders

There are far too many options within black and green for me to list them all, but here’s a short highlight reel. Gravecrawler goes infinite with pretty much anything if you have a sacrifice outlet like Phyrexian Altar. Tossing all your resources into a Torment of Hailfire using Squandered Resources or a handful of creatures alongside Ashnod’s Altar can also end a game very quickly.

If you’re loaded up on creatures, Pathbreaker Ibex, End-Raze Forerunners, or the classic Craterhoof Behemoth can all close out a game quite well. Revel in Riches sometimes doesn’t need any support at all to win the game, and is simply a potent card worth running. Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood team up to create a bad time for your opponents with almost no effort. These are a few of many game-breaking combos you can run, to say nothing of the obvious tutors you can play to make them even easier to find.

The Final Product – A Decklist/Template

This is my take on a Glissa build that is both powerful yet casual. While this particular list won’t be storming off or going infinite, there are still plenty of ways to accrue value and win games. You can edit this list as you so desire to fit your individual meta. Whether that means putting in combos, pet cards, mana rocks, even more utility creatures, there’s plenty of room for innovation.


Glissa Sunslayer

Creature – 21
Llanowar Elves, Elves of Deep Shadow, Elvish Mystic, Fyndhorn Elves,
Birds of Paradise, Custodi Lich, Belbe, Corrupted Observer, Reclamation Sage, Haywire Mite, Toski, Bearer of Secrets, Keeper of Fables, Tendershoot Dryad, Twilight Prophet, Grim Hireling, Shakedown Heavy, Cankerbloom, Ophiomancer, Pathbreaker Ibex, Eternal Witness, Midnight Reaper, Grim Haruspex

Artifact – 5
Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, Bolas’s Citadel, Swiftfoot Boots, Haunted Cloak

Enchantment – 14
Snake Umbra, Bear Umbra, Spider Umbra, Keen Sense, Sixth Sense, Nature’s Will, One with Nature, Mark of Sakiko, Alpha Authority, Eldrazi Conscription, Dictate of Erebos, Grave Pact, Revel in Riches, The Eldest Reborn

Sorcery – 10
From the Catacombs, Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering, Casualties of War, Undercity Plague, Mental Vapors, Toxic Deluge, Dig Up, Torment of Hailfire, Cultivate, Kodama’s Reach

Instant – 8
Assassin’s Trophy, Beast Within, Krosan Grip, Deathsprout, Szat’s Will, Nature’s Claim, Tear Asunder, Putrefy

Planeswalker – 6
Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools, Ob Nixilis Reignited, Vraska the Unseen, Vraska, Swarm’s Eminence, Garruk, Apex Predator, Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting

Land – 36
12 Forest, 11 Swamp, Command Tower, Llanowar Wastes, Woodland Cemetery, Temple of Malady, Tainted Wood, Darkbore Pathway, Jungle Hollow, Twilight Mire, Necroblossom Snarl, Haunted Mire, Exotic Orchard, Path of Ancestry, Golgari Guildgate

You’ve seen about all I have to offer for Glissa Sunslayer, but this is only the beginning. In this color combination, you have countless options across every card type. You can select any number of upgrades or downgrades to turn this into a more competitive, casual, or budget deck. Get those creative juices flowing! I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s deep dive, and come back again next week to see more from the Commander Corner!

Luka V. Sharaska (they/them) earned the nickname “Robot” by having a monotone voice, a talent for calculating odds, and a perfect poker face. Robot has been playing Magic for more than a decade, starting during the days of New Phyrexia in 2011.

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