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According to Webster – Ranking New Phyrexia, from One to Ocho

It seems safe to assume that a reasonable percentage of people reading this spent their weekend, or at least their Saturday, playing at the New Phyrexia prerelease while their time on Sunday was dedicated to more important things like Mother’s Day… or maybe just watching the Lakers lose. All jokes aside, New Phyrexia has a lot of interesting cards that are, well, NEW, and they need to be evaluated to help people prepare for the new drafting format! A few awesome people may have the entire set already figured out while the rest of us (including awful players like yours truly) grasp at straws. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that since I’m the one writing these articles (which are downright awesome), I can at least make up some mumbo-jumbo so that people make the same mistakes as I. Without further ado, I’ll present an outline of New Phyrexia and the more frequently seen cards that will shape the format.

The cards in Limited formats, in this case full-block Scars draft, are broken up into a few categories (bombs, removal, creatures, and filler) in order to determine their importance. In general, bombs are not encountered frequently because they are rare/ mythic, like Skinrender… oh wait, thanks WOTC! The list above is the default picking order, but what happens when there’s a bad piece of removal compared to an awesome creature? Removal is better than creatures and that means that it should be taken before creatures, right? Wrong. No matter how many Divine Offerings you have, you’re not going to beat a deck infested with Blightwidows. Most of the cards that you will be dealing with are commons, and figuring out where they fall on the card-quality scale will help you succeed in this new drafting format.

RATING SCALE:
5: excellent
4: good
3: fine
2: playable
1: mediocre

COMMONS:

 

Not all removal is created equal, and while some of the cards from the list above are quite good, others are not. For example, while Volt Charge, Blinding Souleater, and Grim Affliction are excellent because their cost is low, they are instants, and they have a significant effect without requiring anything else specific (i.e. metalcraft, an artifact/creature to sacrifice, etc.), Victorious Destruction is very mediocre because it’s expensive, a sorcery, and targets a group of cards that isn’t normally central to most games of Limited.

Forced Worship

Rating: 2

This is quite deck-dependent and certainly no Cage of Hands. A ground-based aggro deck isn’t going to get nearly as much mileage from Forced Worship as a defensive White/X deck because of the card’s design; it prevents creatures from attacking you. Granted, it’s good in aggro if paired with a squadron of flyers, but since it’s from the first set drafted, it’s difficult to properly evaluate how good it will be.

Numbing Dose

Rating: 1

This is an upgrade to Bonds of Quicksilver… when it’s on the Battlefield. Pinging the opponent for one can be a pretty big deal, although most decks that end up running Bonds can’t take advantage of the life loss effectively because they’re clunky. Numbing Dose costs a lot of mana but doesn’t accomplish very much; it’s certainly no [card]Turn to Slag[/card].

Blind Zealot

Rating: 3

Necrite wasn’t as good as this guy but the Zealot is still not exceptional. The problem is that most decks will have artifact creatures that either trade with it or are bigger than the Zealot, and if you’re looking to do something other than just trading creatures, you shouldn’t have high hopes for the 2/2. Granted, the Zealot will be good against certain archetypes like Dinosaurs which often skimp on larger artifact creatures, but against decks that Chrome Steed and Rusted Slasher are good in, Blind Zealot will be lacking. The Zealot gets better as the amount of removal in a deck increases, just like Moriok Replica, because it functions as both a win condition while also having good utility.

Geths Verdict

Rating: 2

This gets better as the opposing mana curve increases and will usually have more of an impact on a game in the early stages, but it’s more difficult to use effectively than any of the targeted removal even though it does kill Blightsteel Colossus AND Melira’s Keepers. The obvious problem with Geth’s Verdict is that it’s lacking against cards like Myr Sire and Origin Spellbomb.

Grim Affliction

Rating: 5

Now this is good removal. Grim Affliction deals quite well with most creatures, getting around Blight Mamba’s regeneration, while also having the potential for additional utility with the Proliferate effect. Sometimes Grim Affliction will be a two-for-one and add a counter to Tumble Magnet while other times it will be just a one-for-one.

Parasitic Implant

Rating: 4

This is good removal assuming your deck isn’t built so that it falls behind often because the opponent is likely going to get a free hit in with the creature before being sacrificed, which means that the rest of your game plan shouldn’t involve you getting beaten down. The overall slow nature of the card makes it worse than Volt Charge and Grim Affliction but still good because it kills everything.

 

Pith Driller 

Rating: 4

Roughly one-fourth of the format’s creatures have one toughness which makes this new Flametongue Kavu (well, almost) quite good. The added benefit of being playable by every color without a significant downside (Blinding Souleater) along with being attached to a reasonably-sized body makes Pith Driller highly playable; it’s also one of the only removal cards that can create a significant tempo swing because it both kills a creature while giving you one as well.

Artillerize

Rating: 2

This ranges from quite useful to near-useless again depending on your deck archetype. Dinosaur decks won’t be able to use Artillerize very well because their curves are high while an aggro deck with a low curve will be able to use it quite well because it is looking for ways to close out the game once its creatures become outclassed.

Victorious Destruction

Rating: 1

This is barely playable because it’s quite slow and only targets artifacts. There certainly are games where non-creature removal is necessary when facing down a Decimator Web or Trigon of Corruption, but those are few and far between compared to the situations where you need creature removal, and there are often better options than this five-mana sorcery.

Volt Charge

Rating: 5

This is the best common removal in the set because it’s very flexible as an instant, deals a lot of damage, and is moderately cheap. Red doesn’t usually have as many ways to take advantage of the proliferate effect when compared to Grim Affliction and Black, which puts an emphasis on the color that is being paired with Red, but with the expansion of Infect into Red, that point isn’t as much of a concern as it has been in the past.

Glissas Scorn

Rating: 3

This is good removal because it’s relatively cheap which gives Green a way to deal with threats efficiently without having to lean on Red/White for the support. Sylvok Replica was the only common removal that Green previously had to deal with artifacts and it was often difficult to use effectively because it was slow; Glissa’s Scorn is not slow at all. The format is roughly one-third artifacts which make Shatter effects still good, although not as important as traditional creature removal.

Leeching Bite

Rating: 3

This color-shifted reprint of Steal Strength can range from a simple Mirran Mettle to a two-for-one that’s a complete blowout. Imagine killing a Spikeshot Elder while letting your Acid Web Spider pick off a Lumengrid Gargoyle; that’s gross! However, once the opponent knows what’s up, it will be much harder to get a significant advantage from the Bite. In other cases, a -1/-1 effect won’t be as useful because the opponent may simply have very few one-toughness creatures and won’t tap out before attacking his Alpha Tyrranax into yours. The opponent may also have a deck that doesn’t have much combat interaction (ex: an aggro flyer deck filled with Leonin Skyhunters and Kemba’s Skyguards). Still, Leeching Bite should prove to be quite useful in most cases.

Blinding Souleater

Rating: 5

Tappers have always been at the top of the list in terms of card quality because they cheaply deal with the best opposing creature. The obvious downside is that they’re quite vulnerable to removal and Blinding Souleater is no exception. Despite it being “playable” by all colors, the Souleater won’t shine outside of White except when paired against an Infect deck. That’s not to say that it will be terrible and unused by non-White, but rather that it may be used a few times depending on the matchup before it turns into a do-nothing 1/3. After all that negativity about the Souleater, rest assured that it’ll be amazing in any deck with Plains.

Gremlin Mine

Rating: 2

There are roughly seventy artifact creatures (roughly one fourth of the format’s total creatures) that will fall victim to the Mine which makes it a rather narrow piece of removal when compared to other options. Gremlin Mine is generally weaker than any of the Shatter cards because it doesn’t kill Thopter Assembly, Myr Turbine, etc., although it can be more beneficial in a Metalcraft deck that’s looking for ways to turn on its Rusted Relics. Non-Blue decks will generally have better removal options, though being an artifact does mean that it’s a free-roll in terms of color commitment which leaves you more flexible during the draft.

There are other commons that are good enough to be thrown into the pool with the removal. These cards are generally creatures that have a significant impact on the Battlefield to the point at which they act with the efficiency of a removal spell.

Porcelain Legionnaire

Rating: 3.5

Beating through a creature with first strike is quite difficult in this format, and when it’s extremely low mana cost of just two is factored in addition to its other stats (3/1 and being playable by every color), it’s not difficult to see why the Legionnaire is amazing. There are very few ways to deal with this creature economically besides a removal spell, and with the amount of time that the Legionnaire will buy you before it gets outclassed, it’s a wonder why it’s a common.

Spire Monitor

Rating: 2.5

Flying has always been one of the best abilities because it forces the opponent to potentially play a different role that was different from how it was constructed. For example, a deck with a lot Plated Seastriders and Scrapdiver Serpents would be fine against a deck full of Blade-Tribe Berserkers but not against Sky-Eel Schools. Spire Monitor is quite resilient because it isn’t an artifact in addition to a moderate toughness. There will be times when its Flash ability will allow you to pick off a creature from an unsuspecting opponent while also pairing well with other different cards in the format like Stoic Rebuttal and Quicksilver Geyser. The existence of these cards makes it more difficult to properly evaluate the board and play accordingly.

Razor Swine
Rating: 2.5

First strike and Infect is a powerful combination because it’s very difficult to find enough power among creatures to deal with the combination. Razor Swine kills everything that doesn’t have first strike or at least two toughness (which is roughly half the format). The Swine is even harder to kill when it’s on defense because it requires the attacking creature to be at least a 3/3 when it would deal damage.

Here’s a recap of the reviewed commons:
(This list isn’t a concrete pick order and is only to give you a rough idea of where the cards rank in my mind).

5 Blinding Souleater
5 Volt Charge
5 Grim Affliction
4 Pith Driller
4 Parasitic Implant
3+ Porcelain Legionnaire
3 Glissa’s Scorn
3 Blind Zealot
3 Leeching Bite
2+ Spire Monitor
2+ Razor Swine
2 Forced Worship
2 Gremlin Mine
2 Geth’s Verdict
2 Artillerize
1 Numbing Dose
1 Victorious Destruction

Now that we’ve reached the end of the article, I’ll be upfront with you: I haven’t drafted this set at all and am simply using the masterful skills that I’ve acquired over the years while cracking packs in drafts to theorize how the format will play out. Some evaluations of cards may be slightly off, or even dare I say, wrong. Regardless of whether you believe me or believe I’m full of it, what isn’t up for debate is that New Phyrexia opens up a new unexplored format for everyone to draft.

Happy Drafting.

38 thoughts on “According to Webster – Ranking New Phyrexia, from One to Ocho”

  1. I think you underrate gremlin mine a little bit. It’s cheap and it’s colourless. It was very very good during the prerelease weekend for me, both days.

  2. I played with the parasitic implant during the prerelease, and it wasn’ t that impressive. During my opponents turn they would alway attack with the implanted creature and you wouldn’t want to trade with it because it was just going to dies the next turn, so they would get extra damage through. They can also just sack it to something like culling dias.

  3. Blinding Souleater as a 5 is interesting. Tappers are certainly good, and it’s annoying to play against them, but cards like that don’t seem all that backbreaking. If you could count on it keeping a bomb creature tapped down, it would be sweet, but there are quite a few spells which kill it. It just doesn’t strike me as being in Volt Charge territory.

  4. Parasitic Implant is not good at all, really. Lingering Death was barely playable at 2 mana. Adding 2 mana to get an irrelevant creature is definitely worse.

  5. Artillerize was insane for me at the pre release. I won numerous games with this card and has great synergy with both ichor and mycrosyth wellspring (if that’s how you spell it) It is also good against volatian reins and corrupted conscience if they are targeting an artifact.

  6. Ranking by category instead of color is a great idea, keeps it in a narrow enough scope to be palatable, LSV’s color reviews are a tad overwhelming. Would love to see more of these.

  7. yeah Artilerize would be a cuatro almost cinco for me. There are so many artifacts to sacrifice for no price or even for value. Also protects your creatures from being stolen as somebody else mentioned. Its also reach for your agressive deck. I value that card highly in an agressive deck.

  8. The thing about Skinrender’s status as a ridiculous bomb at uncommon is that, regardless of how bombastic it is, it’s worse than Flametongue Kavu, the gold standard of silly uncommons, both in limited and constructed. The kavu was even splashable!

  9. Guess this was reposted after last night… suppose I won’t bother re-posting my comments.

  10. No comment on Thundering Tanadon? I mean it’s no Legionnaire, and maybe not all that new or unusual a card, but I still envision it having quite an impact, considering there should be more of them in any given draft than either Steeds or Tyrannaxes.

  11. You’re definitely right about Blinding Souleater, I had three in my sealed pool at the pre-re and they were my best nonrare cards

  12. grannyspayback

    The fact that Artillerize is an instant and can hit players or creatures makes it pretty awesome. All day long when I played it people said wait, that is a sorcery, oh, its not? That can not hit creatures, oh, it can? Those have historically been the limitations of this type of card. As is you can throw whatever they are killing at them or their best creature. And it is red, so that 5 to the dome s always amazing, especially with everyone killing themselves with phyrexian mana. That mechanic really changes the whole flavor of limited play.

  13. Ocho’s back must be hurting like Conley’s now. Those two are carrying this ship right now.

  14. I Imagine winning many games by artillerizing eot, untap artillerizing. Can’t see myself ever targeting a creature. Definitely gonna start forcing r/w leonin skyhunter.dec.

  15. regarding victorious destruction, given the scale maybe it should deserve a 2, instead of a 1, since it ‘is’ playable and is removal.

  16. I get that Pith Driller is better than Gremlin Mine, but one of the reasons you say it’s so good is because it picks off about a quarter of the creatures in the set, yet Gremlin Mine is narrow because it only picks off a quarter of creatures in the set? Plus it has a little bit of added utility being able to take away Tumble Magnets, Trigons, and resetting the Shrines.

  17. @Mike:
    Gremlin mine is only sometimes removal. Pith driller is only sometimes a 2 for 1. It’s always a pillarfield ox though (pox for short) that shrinks a creature. and you can proliferate your little seed of evil. pith driller is sometimes amazing, always good rather than sometimes good.

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  19. I’m not trying to say Gremlin Mine is better, I just don’t see how a positive on one card is a negative on another. I think Gremlin Mine should be a three I guess, since it isn’t better than Pith Driller but it’s certainly better than Geth’s Verdict.

  20. Agree on Parasitic Implant. The card is just awkward. It is slow and lets them untap and deal, for a removal that is supposed to kill anything it doesn’t actually deal with most bombs (Steel Hellkite, Geth, Thopter Assembly, Hoardsmelter Dragon, Consecrated Sphinx all get to do their thing before Implant kills them). I think it is much like a “freeze” card like Bonds of Quicksilver and is only a bit better. I’d rate it around 2.5.

  21. I had two Artillerizes in my sealed deck at the prerelease and they allowed me to do stupid things like kill people out of nowhere from ~13 life with a slow U/R deck. They also saved me from losing to Geth and Hoardsmelter multiple times and I got value with perilous myr, spent tumble magnet, and mycosynth lattice. All in all, A+ would play again.

  22. Gremlin Mine is solid, specially when tutored with Trinket Mage… but its narrowness totally justifies the 2.0 pointing Master Ocho has given it.

  23. Yep, had two artillerizes myself, and a nutty aggro deck, and won many games after being creature-outclassed by 10 to the face. It also deals with pretty much anything.

    Victorious Destruction also needs a higher rating because of its value as a sideboard card. I found that good sideboarding was more important than ever with New Phyrexia drafting, because there’s quite a few “remove instantly or lose” cards like Batterskull… which is, conveniently, also 5 mana. Also, taking out a land can actually buy you two or three turns when bombs are now in the 7 to 10 range.

  24. Parasitic Implant was terrible for me as well. Situations like Glint Hawk bouncing the enchanted artifact or Glimmerpoint Stag the enchanted creature came up all day during Sealed. It was rather annoying.

    This doesn’t even include the fact that they get a free swing in.

  25. Parasitic implant is indeed slow and clunky. But slow and clunky removal is still removal. In my pre-release pool it was the only way I had of killing non-artifact bombs, like hoard smelter. Even if they sac it to something like artillerize, its still dead. Its not great, but it still does get rid of any creature, even if it is very, very slow. The creature being bounced/blinked is indeed a massive drawback, which is why this isn’t great. But removal is still removal.

  26. As I’m sure everyone is aware by now… Artillerizing a Mortis Dogs after it gets through is absolutely hilarious.

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