Friday, April 29, 2011

Top Ten EDH/Commander Cards From New Phyrexia

I wanted to take a break from my favorite cards series (even though its almost done) to talk a little bit about New Phyrexia, since this set is pretty amazing. I'm going to be writing about the set in the context of EDH since thats the format that most of the readers here who care about Magic play pretty exclusively at this point.

For those of you who don't know, New Phyrexia was spoiled in its entirely like a month in advance before its release because some pros got a copy of a pdf containing every card in the set in order to write about it for a paper magazine (I don't know why paper Magic magazines even exist considering they are usually outdated by the time they hit the press but I digress). Anyways, these very well known French Pros decided to share it with a couple of people in their test group, one of which happened to be this arrogant teenager who just made it onto the pro circuit. This guy ended up sharing it on an IRC chat room in order to gain some e-penis and now we all have the spoiler. All of the guys involved with the leak are now banned from playing in tournaments for a long time. Anyways, onto the list:

10. Life's Finale: Black has a bunch of relatively situational or expensive wrath effects that make its mass removal options a little bit dicey at times. This card gives black another good wrath, and since I doubt highly it will see any relevant tournament play, this card will be worth like a dollar, meaning its a cheap alternative to those of us who can't afford things like Damnation.

9. Sword of War and Peace: The swords have all been centerpieces to aggressive EDH decks, and this one is no different. Its abilities are only alright (although hitting with it while someone has over seven cards in their hand can be pretty devastating), however the protections it offers are extremely relevant, since both of those colors are heavy in spot removal.

8. Jor Kadeen: He is a pretty obvious 'build around me' general, and I like him better for aggressive red/white decks than some of that color combination's other options. Why couldn't this guy be a knight? My Knight deck can use a better general than Sidar Jibari.

7. Elesh Norn: Here is another sexy white general introduced in this set. She single handedly shuts down entire strategies (tokens) and generals (like Azusa and Azami) as soon as she hits the board. Even though she shuts down tokens and aggressive strategies pretty well, she actually has a decent home in those kinds of decks since they can benefit from her huge creature boosting ability.

6. Praetor's Grasp: This deck should go into most black decks, even if you are mono black. If your opponent isn't playing your colors, you can still grab a good land or artifact from them. Stealing people's Cabal Coffers, Sol Rings, and Swords out of their decks is good times.

5. Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur: This guy is just hilarious, and Wizards already stated that he was made with EDH in mind. You wouldn't necessarily use this guy as a general, as you would generate about the same amount of hate as using Iona would. Regardless, its still another gigantic blue spell that can end the game as soon as it lands, much like Time Stretch.

4. Chancellor of the Spires: All of the Chancellors are quite good in EDH, but blue gets the best one. Ignore his first ability, its garbage. Instead just realize that he is a memory plunder on a nice body. Memory Plunder is already one of the best cards in EDH, and putting the ability on a creature, even an expensive one, is going to be easy to abuse. If your opponent has something like Rite of Replication in his graveyard when you cast this, then congrats, you just got yourself infinite 5/7 fliers. Fun times.

3. Sexy Karn: His first and third abilities are more cute than anything, since restarting the game in EDH seems like a good way to get punched in the face. His main draw comes from his second ability, which allows every color to have access to a double Vindicate. This block gave Black and Red so many ways to get rid of enchantments its not even funny.

2. Caged Sun: This is a one sided Gauntlet of Power, and Gauntlet of Power is already an auto include in every mono colored EDH deck. Its safe to say that Caged Sun will also make its way into every mono colored (or mostly mono colored) EDH decks. Its power level should be obvious.

1. Beast Within: Green gets an instant speed Vindicate in this set ... ummm WTF. Now, green can nuke anything it wants! Whenever it wants! Its drawback is basically negligible in a multi-player format where everyone starts at 40 life. Throw these in every green deck ASAP.

Honorable Mentions: Phyrexian Ingester, Phyrexian Obliterator, Melira (for her interactions with Persist), Sheoldred, Moltensteel Dragon, Slag Fiend, and Brutalizer Exarch.


  1. All of these cards make me really excited (except for maybe Chancellor of the Spires). I feel like I have an EDH deck that perfectly suits most of these. I LOVE Beast Within, Jin-Gitaxis, Elsh Norn, and Life's Finale. I basically just want to destroy things.