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Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / Against the Odds: Paying All My Life to Phyrexian Processor (Historic)

Against the Odds: Paying All My Life to Phyrexian Processor (Historic)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 362 of Against the Odds. We had a Historic Against the Odds poll last week, and one of the new retro artifacts from The Brothers WarPhyrexian Processor—took home an easy win. As such, we're heading to Historic today to see if we can win by paying all of our life to Phyrexian Processor and then using the massive Phyrexian Minion token it makes to combo off! Can the plan work? What are the odds of not just winning but also comboing with Phyrexian Processor in Historic? Let's get to the video and find out in today's Against the Odds; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Phyrexian Processor Combo

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The Deck

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There's a really easy, obvious way to play Phyrexian Processor in Historic: load up on Death's Shadows, use Phyrexian Processor to set our life total down to one, and then try to win by beating down with Death's Shadow and friends. But Against the Odds isn't about doing the easiest and most obvious thing with a card; it's about doing the most spectacular thing possible with the card. So we're trying to turn Phyrexian Processor into a combo piece by making tons of mana and drawing our entire deck in a deck that is almost Mono-Green Storm! 

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Our deck's primary synergy is Phyrexian Processor with Selvala, Heart of the Wilds. The idea is that we can play Phyrexian Processor, pay as much life as possible, and then pump out a massive Phyrexian Minion token. (In the best-case scenario, we can pay 19 life, go to 1, and make a 19/19 the next turn!) While making a huge token for just four mana each turn is pretty sweet, we're not just trying to win by beating down with a big token—we're trying to turn the token into a game-ending combo piece. This is where Selvala comes in. While we should be able to draw a card when the Phyrexian Minion token comes into play thanks to Selvala, Heart of the Wilds static ability, the real payoff is its mana ability. Let's say we actually do get to make a 19/19 token: this means we can use Selvala's ability to make an absurd 19 mana!

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The real fun begins once Selvala, Heart of the Wilds starts making huge piles of mana. The next step is to use Momentous Fall or Rishkar's Expertise to draw through most of our deck. Let's again assume we have a 19/19 Phyrexian Processor token. (It will be a bit smaller than this most of the time, but close enough.) Momentous Fall will draw us 19 cards and also gain us back the 19 life we spent to Phyrexian Processor to get us out of the danger zone, while Rishkar's Expertise trades in the lifegain for letting us keep the token on the battlefield and playing a spell for free! We also have Inscription of Abundance, which doesn't draw us cards but can gain us back all the life we spend on Phyrexian Processor for just two mana. This is a pretty great deal, especially coming attached to a decent-ish removal spell. 

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Among the 19 cards we draw, we should hit a Hyrax Tower Scout, which we can use to untap Selvala, Heart of the Wilds to make 19 more mana, in turn allowing us to draw even more cards and find more copies of Hyrax Tower Scout. After tapping and untapping Selvala, Heart of the Wilds a few times, we should have somewhere around 40 mana floating and pretty much our entire deck in our hand, which should let us close out the game right away with one massive combo turn...

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We have two options for finishers. I really wanted to find a green finisher so the deck could be called Mono-Green Storm, but sadly, there isn't a game-ending mono-green X spell or burn spell on Magic Arena. As such, we splash into red for Crackle with Power and Inferno of the Star Mounts. Crackle with Power is our main finisher. For 20 mana, it deals a massive 30 damage to our opponent, which should be lethal against pretty much any deck we might face...except for counterspell decks, which can simply Negate the Crackle with Power. This is where Inferno of the Star Mounts comes in, giving us a finisher that is uncounterable. We can play Inferno, dump all of our mana into it, pump it to 20 power, and throw 20 damage directly at our opponent's face. If that isn't enough for some reason, we can also attack for 20 or 30 damage with the hasty, flying threat!

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And that is essentially the deck's plan. Outside of our combo pieces and finishers, we've got a bunch of ramp spells to help speed up the process, including Elvish Mystic and Llanowar Elves to get the fun started on Turn 1 and Topiary Stomper, which is solid with Selvala, Heart of the Wilds and also a decent Momentous Fall target if we don't happen to have a huge Processor token, as a three-mana 4/4. 

The Matchups

The biggest challenge for our Phyrexian Processor Combo deck is removal. For our deck to do cool things, we really need to keep a Selvala, Heart of the Wilds on the battlefield for at least a couple of turns and also resolve a Phyrexian Processor and use it to make a token. As a result, decks that are overloaded with removal spells are tough matchups. While I'm not sure our deck really has any good matchups, our best chances of comboing off are against slower removal-light decks or sometimes against aggro decks, especially after sideboarding, where we can use Brotherhood's End to sweep the board to buy a bit of time and then get our spectacular combo set up to win the game.

The Odds

Overall, we finished 2-8 with Phyrexian Processor Combo, giving us a 20% match-win percentage, which obviously isn't super competitive. While we did win a few additional games here and there along the way, Processor Combo probably isn't the deck for you if your goal is to rank up. The good news is that the 20% of the time when we did combo off was pretty spectacular, with us drawing our deck, making an absurd amount of mana, and eventually killing our opponent in one glorious turn! 

Throughout our matches, we got to see the good and bad of Phyrexian Processor. We had some games where we spent most of our life to cast it and then immediately died as a result—dropping down to five or even one life is pretty risky and can easily lead to disaster. On the other hand, we also got to see the massive tokens that it makes dominate games and enable some truly busted turns. Basically, Phyrexian Processor and the combo itself are the definition of high risk and high-ish reward. They're pretty awesome when things go well, but when things go poorly, we mostly end up accidentally killing ourselves by spending most of our life on Phyrexian Processor. Either way, when Phyrexian Processor hits the battlefield, something is going to happen. Sometimes it's good, and sometimes it's bad, but one thing I love about the card is that it leads to some very interesting situations and games, even if we don't end up winning those games all that often.

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Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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