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The Best Phyrexia: All Will Be One Modern Magic: the Gathering Cards

Counting down the top 10 Modern Magic: the Gathering cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One!

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#10: All Will Be One

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At number ten on our list we have perhaps the most speculative pick of the bunch in All Will Be One. All Will Be One is the epitome of a high risk high reward selection - it will either be completely unplayed or completely broken - there’s no middle ground with this one. So why is this five-mana seemingly do-nothing enchantment one of the most exciting Modern cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One? Well, there are not one, not two, but three infinite combos for it in the Modern format! With either Quest for Pure Flame, Talon of Pain or War Elemental on the battlefield alongside All Will Be One if our opponent takes any damage we’ll start an infinite loop. For example, Quest for Pure Flame getting a counter which will trigger All Will Be Oneto deal damage, which will trigger Quest for Pure Flame which will trigger All Will Be One. This will keep happening until our opponent is dead, giving us infinite damage. The same thing works with Talon of Pain or War Elemental as well!

The big problem is that All Will Be One is five mana and as an enchantment, must be played at sorcery speed, which doesn’t exactly scream modern playability, but any time a new card goes infinite in so many different ways it is worth mentioning at the very least. Can players find the right shell to harness the potential of the enchantment? Only time will tell, but if they do All Will Be One could end up being one of the most impactful Modern cards in the entire set.

#9: Soulless Jailer

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One of the hallmarks of the Modern form is very powerful, fast decks looking to execute a very specific game plan, which makes hate cards incredibly important to the format. Soulless Jailer is our newest Modern playable hate card, being a twist on cards like Weathered Runestone and Grafdigger's Cage, but coming with a 0/4 body rather than being a non-creature artifact. So what exactly does Soulless Jailer hate on? Let’s break down each of its three abilities:

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Permanent cards in graveyards can’t enter the battlefield: This ability hoses reanimator decks, which have been pretty popular in Modern since Modern Horizons 2 gave us Persist and Unmarked Grave. It also stop Yagmoth’s undying creatures from coming back into play, Scam’s Elementals from returning to the battlefield and decks like Dredge. 

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Players can’t cast noncreature spells from graveyards: probably the weakest ability of the bunch, although it is relevant against Underworld Breach combos and random flashback cards which show up on occasion. It also stops Snapcaster Mage, although stopping Snapcaster isn’t especially important in 2023 because few decks play the two-drop.

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Players can’t cast noncreature spells from exile: This is probably the most important, and also most unique, ability on Soulless Jailer. It’s main purpose is stopping cascade which lets players cast spells from exile, which makes Jailer a great answer to things like Living End and Crashing Footfalls- two top tier deck in Modern. It also shuts down some random cards, like Chandra, Torch of Defiance's +1 and Light Up the Stage, assuming they exile noncreature spells.

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When you add this all together, Soulless Jailer is in the conversation for sideboard slots alongside cards like Grafdigger's Cage, Weathered Runestone and friends. The bigger question is whether being a creature rather than a noncreature artifacts like other sideboard hate cards is drawback or a benefit. It means that Soulless Jailer dies to things like Fatal Push and Solitude, which is bad, but it also means you can find it with cards like Collected Company and Chord of Calling, which is good. It also offers some upside as a blocker against aggro, which is a nice little bonus. 

Considering the popularity of Crashing Footfalls, Yawgmoth and Living End in Modern, Soulless Jailer certainly has a role to fill. None of the other, similar hate cards stops all three of these tier decks, which should make Soulless Jailer a popular sideboard option, especially for decks with artifact or creature synergies.

#8: The Filigree Sylex

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The Filigree Sylex is a pretty easy card to understand: it’s Ratchet Bomb, but legendary, and with the fringe upside that if you ever get to 10 counters you can Searing Wind something, which isn’t likely, but is technically possible. 

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While Ratchet Bomb isn’t a Modern staple, it does see play, often in colorless decks lacking removal options, as a Karn, the Great Creator tutor target or in mono-colored decks that can’t easily power up Engineered Explosives as an answer to Urza's Saga tokens. If you are playing Ratchet Bombas a one-of, you might as well play The Filigree Sylex instead; it's technically strictly better and as a one-of the drawback of being legendary doesn’t exist. If you are playing multiple Ratchet Bombs then you might as well play one The Filigree Sylex as a slight upgrade. 

Basically, The Filigree Sylex doesn’t really change anything in Modern because Ratchet Bomb already exists and the cards are so similar, but it is more or less guaranteed to see play in Modern as a very, very slightly upgraded version of Ratchet Bomb. The ceiling here is low, but the floor is high.

#7: Gleeful Demolition

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Speaking of upgraded versions of existing cards, Gleeful Demolition is basically just another Kuldotha Rebirth, but with a huge upgrade: you can also use to to Shatter one of your opponent’s artifacts. While Kuldotha Rebirth isn’t currently a staple in Modern, it has seen some play in the past, mostly in very aggressive 8 Whack style decks where adding three Goblin bodies to the battlefield for one mana is super valuable, but this might change now that we can play eight Kuldotha Rebirth’s in our decks. 

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With Gleeful Demolition joining the fray going all-in on an artifact build of 8 Whack with things like Memnite and Ornithopter to sacrifice could make sense. In the past with just Kuldotha Rebirth it usually wasn’t worthwhile since your odds of drawing a Kuldotha Rebirth wasn’t especially high and cards like Ornithopter and Memnite are pretty bad if they aren't turning into three 1/1 Goblin tokens, but now the odds are in favor of having one in hand every game. Toss in being a main deck answer to some very problematic cards - like Ensnaring Bridge - and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gleeful Demolition become an 8 Whack staple moving forward.

#6: Venerated Rotpriest

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Venerated Rotpriest has a unique ability - whenever one of our creatures is targeted with a spell we can give our opponent a poison counter - which opens up a couple of possibilities in Modern. Let’s start with the against the odds plan first: some players are hyped about using Rotpiest as a combo piece, trying to storm off and target it a bunch of times with something like Ground Rift to poison the opponent out of the game. While this sounds hilarious, I expect it to be more of a fun Against the Odds episode than a tier strategy, in large part because there isn’t really a backup Venerated Rotpriest, which makes the combo plan seem inconsistent.

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A more likely tier home for Venerated Rotpriest is in Infect. While it doesn’t offer the same explosive pump spell kills as Glistener Elf or Blighted Agent because it has toxic rather than infect, it does do multiple good things. When we target one of our other creatures with a pump spell or a protection spell we get a free poison counter, if our opponent tries to kill our creatures with targeted removal we get a free poison counter, and there are even some strange combo possibilities in Infect itself, especially with Spellskite. If we have Spellskite and Venerated Rotpriest we can target Rotpriest with a spell and give our opponent a poison counter and then redirect the target to Spellskite, trigging Rotpriest again for another poison counter. If we have two Spellskites we can bounce the spell back and forth between them, giving our opponent a poison counter for every 2 life we pay to Spellskite'ss phyrexian mana activated ability. 

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Whether or not Venerated Rotpriest ends up a four-of in Infect reminds to be seen - usually I’m the guy dying to Infect, rather than killing opponent’s with poison counters, so I'm not an Infect expert by any means, but at a minimum the new one-drop offers enough upside and unique lines that Infect players will try it, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some number of Venerated Rotpriests stick in the deck. Being able to finish off the game with what is essentially direct poison damage after the Infect creatures are dealt by opposing removal and sweepers with is a new and potentially powerful line of attack for the archetype, and this doesn’t even include the fringe combo potential.

#5: The Seedcore

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The Seedcore is more or less guaranteed to see play in Modern, but only in one specific deck: Infect. If you look at a typical Infect deck list all of its creatures are Phyrexians thanks to an errata a while ago, so The Seedcore works as a dual land (this is could also help open up the possibility of more three-color infect builds rather than the two-color builds which are most popular today), and almost all the most popular Infect creatures are 1/1’s, which makes The Seedcore’s corrupted pump ability especially impactful. Infect already plays Pendelhaven to do something similar, but giving +2/+1 is so much better than giving +1/+2 that The Seedcore seems like an easy replacement. 

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However, The Seedcore does have one big issue that might make it hard to play more than one copy in an Infect deck: it doesn’t make colored mana for spells. Infect is built around one-mana pump spells like Might of Old Krosa, Blossoming Defense and Groundswell and it often wants to play a creature on turn one or two and then follow up with two or three pump spells the next turn to deal 10 poison damage and win the game. The Seedcore’s colorless mana might prevent the deck from being able to cast all of the pump spells it needs. On the other hand, you can argue that The Seedcore is itself a pump spell. Assuming the opponent is corrupted The Seedcore plus any of the big pump spells - Might of Old Krosa, Scale Up, Vines of Vastwood, Groundswell, Become Immense- is enough poison to close out the game. 

All in all, I’m very confident that The Seedcore has a home in Modern Infect, the question is whether it’s a one-of like Pendelhaven or if it can be something more, and for this we’ll have to wait and see.

#4: Minor Misstep

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Modeled after the infamous, banned Mental Misstep, Minor Misstep thankfully looks much safer since it requires honest to goodness blue mana rather than just two life, although it has enough power and flexibility that it should still serve a purpose in Modern. Countering anything with mana value one or less hits everything from Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer to Thoughtseize to Living End to pretty much the entire Hammer Time deck!

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Right now in Modern there are two big one mana counterspells: Spell Pierce and Flusterstorm, both of which have different advantages. Spell Pierce hits cards of any mana value and Flusterstorm is the best way to win a big stack battle thanks to storm, but Minor Misstep has some upsides too: it's a hard counter, so unlike Spell Pierce you don't have to worry about your opponent paying for it in the late game and resolving their spell and it can hit creatures along with spells, which is huge in a world where Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is in one-third of decks.

All in all I think this puts Minor Misstep in the same tier as cards like Spell Pierce and Flusterstorm - the heavily played sideboard all star tier. In some metas Minor Misstep will be the best of the bunch, in others it will lag behind, but I have no doubt that Minor Misstep is strong enough to see play in Modern and will certainly have a role to fill in the format.

#3: Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines

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You probably think I’m overrated our new Elesh Norn due to my love of Panharmonicons, but I don’t think I am. The card has potential to be very strong, even in Modern!

Let’s start with the bad news first: five-drop creatures don’t have a very long history of being Modern playable, especially in recent Modern, although cards like Primeval Titan, Omnath, Locus of Creation and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician show us that more expensive creature can see be Modern staples if they have a big enough immediate impact on the game. While Elesh Norn doesn’t technically have an enters the battlefield trigger, make no mistake about it, the card does a lot immediately, even if you don’t have mana to follow it up with another spell.

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It’s Torpor Orb static ability of shutting down opponent’s enters the battlefield triggers makes it incredibly hard to kill. Look through the most popular removal spells in Modern almost none of them can kill Elesh Norn. Cards like Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push can’t deal with a five mana 4/7 while Elesh Norn’s static ability shuts down things like Solitude, Leyline Binding and Fury.

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This ability also wreaks havoc on any opponent’s gameplans. Stoneforge Mystic no longer finds Colossus Hammer (or anything else), Archon of Cruelty is just a big flier and no longer wins the game for Creativity decks, Primeval Titan can’t tutor up lands and gets blocked by Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines for days, Omnath’s landfall ability doesn’t trigger - the list of popular decks and cards that Elesh Norn stops is surprisingly long. Plus it’s a 4/7, which means it stops literally every playable ground creature in combat outside of deathtouchers like Wurmcoil Engine and random Eldrazi-level threats. 

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And then if you ever manage to untap with Elesh Norn, things get pretty crazy. Suddenly your Leyline Bindings are answering two permanents, your evoke Elementals become super-charged double triggering when they enter the battlefield, your Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is making double the Goblin tokens, and this isn’t even considering the possibility of actually building around Elesh Norn in some sort of ETB heavy Soulherder or Ephemerate blink shell. 

When you add all of this together you have a very Modern playable card. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse more or less killed the ol’ “dies to removal” argument, showing that if a creature is strong enough it can compete in 2023 even without an ETB trigger, and Elesh Norn does even more right away than Sheoldred thanks to its ability to Torpor Orb your opponent, which in turn helps protect Elesh Norn itself. While I think we will see some sweet Elesh Norn brews, the card is strong enough to consider playing fairly as a hybrid hate card and finisher alongside some of the most powerful card in the format like the evoke Elementals. While Elesh Norn might look like a Commander card at first glance, the more you think through everything it can do the more it becomes clear it has potential to be a very impactful Modern creature.

#2: The Mycosynth Gardens

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When it comes to seeing competitive play lands have a natural advantage, because basically every deck needs to run a bunch of them to be able to cast their spells, which greatly lowers the opportunity cost of playing non-basic lands with special abilities. For The Mycosynth Gardens, it's ability is that it can turn itself into an artifact you control, which isn’t something all decks - or even most decks - will want, but in the right deck is super powerful.

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So where does The Mycosynth Gardens fit in Modern? The most obvious answer is Amulet Titan, where copying an Amulet of Vigor on turn two offers for many game-ending Primeval Titan lines on turn three.

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Another exciting possibility is prison decks which are looking to hind behind cards like Ensnaring Bridge. Getting an Ensnaring Bridge blown up usually means you die on the spot, which makes having a way to copy it with the removal on the stack is a huge, huge deal. It’s also perfect for Lantern Control, which isn’t exactly top tier anymore, but has a ton of cheap artifacts worth copying. Some players have even argued for testing it in Hammer Time, although I’m skeptical the deck can support another colorless land alongside Urza's Saga and Inkmoth Nexus

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Perhaps even a more obvious home is colorless decks. While Eldrazi Tron doesn’t have a ton of main deck artifacts worth copying, it does have plenty in the sideboard to tutor out with Karn, the Great Creator and room for plenty colorless lands. The same is true of Prison Tron, except Prison Tron is full of powerful artifacts it would love to copy with Mycosnth Gardens.

And remember, this is just taking up a land slot in our deck! Will The Mycosynth Gardens be a staple in all of these decks? Probably not, but with so many possibilities and such a low opportunity cost I’d be shocked it it didn’t find a home in some of them, which brings the land in near the top of our list.

#1: Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler

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Coming it at #1 on our list we have one of the many planeswalkers from Phyrexia: All Will Be One in Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler. If this seems like a surprising choice, don’t worry, I’m a bit surprised too. When Tyvar was first spoiled it looked to me like a worse version of Grist, the Hunger Tide, and in some decks it is, but the more I thought about Tyvar the more I realized just how perfect it is for a few decks.

While Tyvar’s +1 of untapping a creature is fine, the real payoff here is its Thousand-Year Elixir static ability combined with its -2 reanimation mode. This combo makes it perfect for Devoted Druid combo decks.

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If you aren’t familiar with the combo the main idea is to get Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remedies on the battlefield to make infinite mana with Devoted Druid. Tyvar’s static ability helps speed up this combo by letting Devoted Druid make mana right away rather than waiting a turn for it to lose summoning sickness.

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Even better, Devoted Druid combo decks already play Postmortem Lunge, with the idea being you can reanimate a Devoted Druid that died and give it haste to combo off. Tyvar does the same thing, while also being a better card overall. 

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Oh yeah, and many Devoted Druid decks play Stoneforge Mystic and Kaldra Compleat as a backup plan. Tyvar is absurd with Stoneforge as well, letting you reanimate it, tutor up Kaldra Compleat or Batterskull and activate Stoneforge Mystic right away to put it into play! I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Tyvar is the card that puts the Devoted Druid combo deck back on the map.

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Beyond Devoted Druid shenanigans things become a bit murky because some decks that could use Tyvar will still want Grist instead, but Tyvar does offer some interesting possibilities in other decks. It essentially makes one-mana mana dorks free since they can tap for mana right away, which could give it potential in GB Elves where it could allow the deck to combo off with Leaf-Crowned Visionary while also untapping Elvish Archdruid and getting back important combo pieces like Heritage Druid from the graveyard.

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There has also been some hype about Tyvar bringing back Prime Speaker Vannifar combo decks, which are built to like Birthing Pod decks to win the game right away if they get to activate Prime Speaker Vannifar, but struggle with summoning sickness making it so Vannifar needs to survive a turn on the battlefield before comboing off. In a Vannifar deck something like turn one mana dork into turn two Tyvar into turn three Vannifar is a deterministic win with Prime Speaker Vannifar tutoring up a deadly chain of creatures!

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There are a bunch of other, much more fringe-y combo decks that could use Tyvar as well and it’s not impossible that it shows up in a fair Abzan Stoneblade style deck where being able to reanimate things like Dauthi Voidwalker and Stoneforge Mystic and activate them right away seems quite powerful.

While Tyvar isn’t the sort of planeswalker where it’s raw power jumps off the cardboard, the more you dig into its possibilities and the more clear it becomes that it deserves its spot on the top of our top ten Modern cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One list.


Anyway, that's all for today. What's your top Modern card from Phyrexia: All Will Be One? Let me know in the comments, and 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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