Sets (ONE) Phyrexia: All Will Be One Previews

If we’re criticizing magic lore here, then it should be acknowledged that the entire magic story has just been wannabe Avengers for the last decade, and bargain-bin high fantasy before that. From a literary perspective it’s ALL awful storytelling, regardless of one’s favorite planeswalkers.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to enjoy the story (heck, Jace x Vraska Ixalan era story was what got me interested in magic lore in the first place, and I reread it when their Phyrexian cards were spoiled to mourn my fav Magic couple). I’m just saying there’s no use taking it too seriously, expecting Hugo-winning web fiction, or even hoping for coherent characterization. It’s fiction-by-committee to serve a game’s sales; of course it’s nothing but a pale shade of a notoriously cliched and commercialized genre (superheroes).

My magic story mantra: just enjoy what’s enjoyable and don’t sweat the rest.
Springboarding off of this: I think Magic as a franchise does a lot of different types of storytelling really well. Its worldbuilding is often incredible, and the lengths artists go to bring those worlds to life is enchanting. I love the coffee table art books (the Kaladesh one being my fave by far) and how they present the worlds of Magic.

I think that, in the majority of sets released in the last few years, a player is able to look at the full spoiler and get both a glimpse of an amazing world and understand the major events unfolding within its story. I consider this storytelling through cards to be an impressive artistic feat.

So, with the awesome art and worldbuilding and cohesive flavor of sets, I can understand why people would feel so disappointed when it comes to the actual written fiction. It does often feel like an afterthought.

I remain hopeful that the animated show might pick up the slack where novels/web fiction are lacking! :)
So, with the awesome art and worldbuilding and cohesive flavor of sets, I can understand why people would feel so disappointed when it comes to the actual written fiction. It does often feel like an afterthought.
They do literally write the short stories after the set is complete, so you could say the written version of the story is actually an afterthought :p.

Basically, WOTC 1: Comes up with the story, 2: Makes the Cards, and 3: Writes the web fiction. This can lead to an interesting overall narrative, but less than ideal written content. War of the Spark, for example, had a really cool story, but a terrible novel. Luckily, the important story beats were easily visible on the cards!
On a different topic:

I wonder if the Compleat ability word (aka "I care about my opponent having 3+ poison counters") will make one of my old, discarded ideas ("a cube where Energy counters and Poison counters are the same thing") actually workable?

I'm more excited for extra reasons to do a Proliferate cube that Corrupted opens up - I like the 'threshold but for poison" as a incidental stop along the way before hitting 10 counters for lethal that makes like, a singleton Virulent Wound/Ichor Rats/Caress of Phyrexia/Pistus Strike worth a little more in a control deck that isn't aiming to proliferate ~9 times.

That's the interesting design space for poison counters to me fwiw, not poisonous/infect/toxic.

Now all we need is more support for Experience counters - after that first wave of 5 we got what, Kelsien and Minthara?
I've always hoped they would make charge counters the evergreen artifact counters. That would open a lot of design space, like "when this creature etbs, put a charge coumter on target artifact."
Yeah, maybe "charge" is not the best generic name, but I hoped that they errataed all artifact counters to a generic name so that they could do stuff like that and have it interact with another unknown card from 15+ years ago
Damn. They're really just trying to make UB the Kaito Shizuki section, aren't they? I'm very glad to see more planeswalkers without an ultimate, and this seems to fit the bill. The drone token is miserable for token creep, but it seems very reasonable.

The major downside, of course, is that he is only good when ahead. He can be a great way to boost aggressive UB decks over the line, and that's something I'd love to do, but we have yet to see other cards to support Ninjas. It'd be nice for him to be as good as he is fun, but I'm not holding my breath.
I feel like Kaito's problem (insofar as Kaito has a problem) is that the times when he's bad overlap heavily with the times when the archetype he slots into is bad.

Like, legitimately, I think I'd be happy or sad to see Kaito in basically the same situations as I'd be happy or sad to see Ninja of the Deep Hours. Which is honestly kinda cool? I like the idea that the Ninja Planeswalker actually plays like a ninja.

I actually like this new design way more than Kaito Shizuki — that card always felt like you'd either spam the +1 or use the -2 to set-up for +1 spam, and at that point you just have an enchantment with "at the beginning of your post-combat main phase, draw a card" with extra steps.
LadyMapi is right. In practice, he's win more. If you are already attacking, not being blocked and can recast your guys, do you really need more? It's a very cool design, I'm just not sure it will help the archetype too much!


Ecstatic Orb
There will be *five* new compleated PW's in this set. (Joining Ajani & Tamiyo so far..)

Seems the first three have been spoiled on Reddit over the weekend...two left...
(Picture below)
Sorry Morphling, but sadly not new info. Train posted that two weeks ago :) Kaito being spoiled as {U/B} does mean Train's theory on 10 monocolored planeswalkers (1 compleated and 1 unscathed in each color) is out of the window though.
I feel like Kaito's problem (insofar as Kaito has a problem) is that the times when he's bad overlap heavily with the times when the archetype he slots into is bad.
I heard someone say the question with Kaito is "how do I fit this into my creature decks" as opposed to "how do I make this good in my U/B decks." I don't necessarily know if that's also the problem you're referring to, but I thought it was a useful interpretation of this card.

Personally I think Kaito wants to be in Gbux proactive midrange decks that are attacking with reasonably cheap yet beefy or evasive creatures that one would want to pick up in order to draw an extra card or detain a second opposing creature. Picking up a Tarmogoyf or something with this seems really good.

Kaito being spoiled as {U/B} does mean Train's theory on 10 monocolored planeswalkers (1 compleated and 1 unscathed in each color) is out of the window though.
Damn WOTC and their lack of appeasing my OCD!

Oh jeez, very sorry guys. I didn't see he'd posted these already. :)
All good fam!


Let's just call this card "Badderblossom." This is a cool card, although it was not the zombie Tribal 2-drop I was looking for. Maybe if the second ability applied to all zombies this would be better.

It should be noted that Dreadhorde Invasion actually does trigger off of Honored Hydra tokens, so that's something to think about...
Badderblossom Returns!

I'm not 100% sure how to evaluate this card, but I think it's both a cool engine and win condition for reactive decks. Maybe she'll help people get over their Heliophobia?

Upgrading Saffi Eriksdotter into a Watchwolf seems fantastic. I like how they're taking two cards that haven't been relevant in constructed in a long time and stapling them together for a second lease on life in Standard/Pioneer.

Melira is a great continuation of landofMordor's Watchwolf renaissance for Cubers. The big question is: how willing are we to deal with the additive distraction of the anti-poison ability?
Skrelv's Hive's honestly pretty cool — I'd honestly be pretty happy with that as a "poison in a box" card if my cube already had proliferate in it.

Mercurial Spelldancer is also pretty neat. The body's a bit pushed, but that effect is pure gas oil.

The Eternal Wanderer is... hoo boy. The only drawback is that hefty mana cost, but if you can get there (or cheat it in) it's a board-wipe that sticks around and accrues value. It's honestly the perfect cheat target for Planebound Accomplice (I will make that thing work one day, dang it!)

Melira, the Living Cure is alright, but it's more like they smooshed fixed versions of Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Saffi Eriksdotter¹ together and made it a 3/3 because the current design team seems to be allergic to making legendary creatures that don't have pushed stats. It conspicuously lacks the ability to go infinite, which was the main reason anyone was interested in those cards for constructed purposes.

I don't doubt that it'll see play, mind you (the ability to save an artifact is pretty neat), I just think that it's not the direct upgrade that you're making it out to be. I do like that they actually remembered that Melira exists, by the way.

Also, since when is there a Watchwolf renaissance? Have I been missing things again? I wonder if I Fleecemane Lion would be excessive in either of my 2-3-7 cubes...

¹ I would like to bring up my annoyance that they gave Saffi badass new art in TSR, but kept her "Saffi is running away from something" flavor text. It just feels kinda jarring.
Skrelv's Hive has too much going on, a great tragedy. Toxic's not spelled out, Poison isn't supported in my cube, etc. I would have certainly played the card if it simply made 1/1 tokens that can't block for a life a turn without any other abilities, but unless I go into poison (a very unlikely scenario), this is too much additive distraction for me.

Mercurial Spelldancer is lovely for tempo decks and seems fun but I don't like it enough at this moment to justify the novel sprawled across it, especially as I'm going through an audit of my cube with a word count consideration.

The Eternal Wanderer is a great walker and a compelling top-end for white that feels on-color more than a creature-based finisher. I think I prefer 6 MV Elspeth for nostalgia reasons, and don't really want two planeswalkers at this cost in the color at all, so I'll likely skip it....while picking a copy if it's cheap for my on-deck binder.

Melira, the Living Cure has the same problem as the Hive, as you alluded to, Train. Neat card, though! And looking forward to the additional art styles for this one. I loved the original Melira art, but this one doesn't look like the same character.

Other fun cards:


An equipment-matters card that clearly represents the archetype's inclusion in your cube without being totally embarrassing otherwise. A delightful option for my reject cube.


I adore this card. This is the kind of repeat reanimation that feels fair but still powerful, and is priced just right to not be oppressive. I don't think it'll make the cut with the current suite of black 3s I'm running, but I do like how it incentivizes drafters to play a specific shell for reanimation.


I'd rather have Glasspool Mimic as my 3 MV "creature you control"-restricted clone, but this is a worthy contender.


Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar has not been as popular as I'd have liked, and this plays a similar role, while also having drafters consider artifact synergies. A lot of text, but thankfully it's broken up into easier to grok parts. Potential consideration at the very least.


My clear favorite of the spoilers. I took out Crucible of Worlds a few years ago to prevent locks with Strip Mine and because my 720 no-dupes list was too big to support fetch land strategies with it, but there are still decks that want that effect. Conduit not only serves those decks, but gives you your choice of gas every turn if your deck is suited to run the card in the first place. I love having this effect confined to green, love playing cards from my graveyard, love that it's an artifact, love the callback, love everything here.


I've kept Thrun, the Last Troll in my cube for nostalgia reasons for my draft group, but I think they'll forgive me if I upgrade him here. I don't like how uninteractive he is (at least the last one made you hold up mana) but he can't stall out on the defensive anymore, and the average quality of creatures has zoomed past where Thrun was 13 years ago now. I don't run Carnage Tyrant because of how he limits gameplay, but I can make an exception if it's just one card in 720.


I think I've cubed with every Masticore to have come before this one at one point or another, and while I've been sad that none have stuck, this one just might have what it takes.


RG goodstuff. I like it. Reminds me of Voltaic Brawler but without the added complexity that comes with Energy. It's not better than Klothys, God of Destiny but I think it'll make for a better cube environment than the god.


I don't run a powered cube but this still is deeply appealing to me, the spoiler that's got my mind racing the most. A good % of decks in my cube would love to convert one of their lands into a copy of their Phyrexian Fleshgorger or Wurmcoil Engine in the lategame, and that's not to forget the mono-colored/aggressively drafted aggro decks who could use a second copy of an equipment or a Blade of the Oni when they flood.

Lots of fun cards! Yay Phyrexia!


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