Magic: The Gathering Phyrexia: All Will Be One introduces a ton of new mechanics, including oil counters, corrupted, For Mirrodin!, and toxic (the new infect!). In addition, it also features an old-school favorite mechanic in the form of proliferate.
Needless to say, there are a lot of new things to learn before you drop into the draft environment if you expect to conquer the masses. Let's look at the newly introduced mechanics, cover the most important points of All Will Be One's draft environment, and highlight some strategies that look like winners.
6 Toxic Is Not Infect
For those familiar with the infect mechanic from previous sets, it's important to understand that toxic is a retooling of the mechanic. They both inflict poison counters on an opponent, but that's where the similarities end.
Creatures with toxic only inflict a number of poison counters equal to their toxic number. For example, a creature with toxic 1 inflicts one poison counter on an opponent when it connects with their life total. That being said, multiple instances of toxic on a single creature do stack, so a pump spell that gives a creature toxic 1 would be added on top of whatever toxic number it normally deals.
This is completely different from infect, which allowed creatures to inflict a number of poison counters equal to their power. Infect creatures could use pump spells like Giant Growth to inflict more poison counters thanks to the increase in their power. This is not the case with toxic creatures in All Will Be One, though, so you'll need to be more selective with which pump spells you pick if you want to win through poison.
5 Proliferate Will Be Middling
In previous sets, proliferate has been an incredibly powerful effect. This is due to many spells that used +1/+1 or -1/-1 counters being printed when proliferate previously reared its head. Looking closely at All Will Be One, you might notice that there are no cards that put power and toughness counters on creatures.
This was a deliberate decision made by Wizards in order to reign in proliferate. While it won't be as strong as it was in the past, there are still a ton of loyalty, oil, and poison counters running around in this set. Consequently, it will be an important incidental effect that you won't mind having in your decks – just don't expect to be able to build a whole deck around it.
4 Equipment Is Better Than Ever
Equipment cards have a notoriously bad rap in Magic, and for good reason. Aside from a few specific noteworthy examples, they don't add anything meaningful to the board on their own, which often relegates Equipment cards to the unplayables bin. This time around though, there's a new mechanic called For Mirrodin! that allows Equipment cards to generate tokens when they enter the battlefield.
Even better than that, Equipment cards with this mechanic automatically attach themselves to the 2/2 Rebel creature token they create. This means that your Equipment cards will always add to the board when played, while also providing the potential to be re-equipped to new creatures in the future.
This mechanic appears to be very good and, perhaps for the first time in Magic draft history, you should be very interested in drafting Equipment.
3 Enchantment And Artifact Removal Will Matter
Seeing as Equipment cards will be powerful, and the Phyrexian theme makes use of all kinds of artifacts and artifact creatures, enchantment and artifact removal spells are also going to be much more valuable. Typically, you only want to include a single one of these effects in your draft decks when absolutely necessary. But as far as All Will Be One is concerned, you're going to want a couple of them at the very least.
This is doubly true due to the prevalence of enchantment removal spells at common rarity, including the new cards Planar Disruption and Mesmerizing Dose. These are arguably the best commons in white and blue respectively, so having an answer for them will be paramount to building a great deck.
2 Corrupted Is a Huge Payoff
Corrupted is a new mechanic that rewards players for placing at least three poison counters on their opponent. Tons of cards in this set come with the corrupted keyword, and when it's activated, a fair amount of cards in your deck become more powerful.
As a result, preventing your opponent from enabling corrupted, while also managing to enable it for yourself is going to be a huge component of this format.
It's worth noting that once you hit your opponent with a single poison counter, you don't necessarily need to connect in combat again to enable corrupted. Instead, you can simply cast cards with proliferate to get them to three poison counters. Taking this into account, you should do everything you can to prevent being inflicted with even a single poison counter.
In case you're skeptical of just how good the corrupted mechanic is, we would suggest you take a look at some of the payoffs. Some examples include Viral Spawning, Incisor Glider, Apostle of Invasion, Anoint with Affliction, Bring the Ending, Distorted Curiosity, and Vivisection Evangelist.
All that being said, red doesn't actually feature any corrupted cards, so you don't have to worry about this mechanic so much if you're facing an opponent playing red as a primary color.
1 Black/White Looks Impressive
Speaking of corrupted being such a powerful payoff, Orzhov (black/white) decks have access to the most cards with this mechanic. In addition, these colors are also home to the best removal spells printed at common and uncommon in the aforementioned Planar Disruption and Anoint with Affliction, as well as Ossification and Sheoldred's Edict.
As if all of that wasn't bad enough, they also have the most ridiculous bomb rares in the set. Vraska, Betrayal's Sting; Phyrexian Obliterator, Geth, Thane of Contracts; The Eternal Wanderer, Phyrexian Vindicator, White Sun's Twilight, and Skrelv's Hive are all cards that are easily capable of winning games single-handedly.
If you have the option of drafting black/white, you should probably do so. Of course, the golden rule of draft still applies: always look for signals of open archetypes, and only commit to colors that aren't being overdrafted by your competitors. Keep all of these tips at the forefront of your mind, and you're sure to build a great deck for your first All Will Be One draft. Enjoy the glorious compleation.
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