There aren’t all that many Phoenixes in Magic – only around 30 or so – but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a Phoenix tribal deck, led of course by Syrix, Carrier of the Flame. Syrix does exactly what you’d want a Phoenix commander to do: it offers synergistic rewards for bringing Phoenixes – and other creatures – back from the graveyard, while also having a strong recursive ability itself.
This Syrix deck was built by Ninja_peek, who has balanced a sizeable contingent of Phoenixes with a mix of other recursive creatures and reanimation effects. The result is a deck that means Syrix is going to be hopping in and out of the graveyard like nobody’s business, slinging around all sorts of damage as it does so. Let’s have a look!
Syrix Phoenix Tribal by Ninja_peek
The Phoenix suite more or less builds itself. With only 29 Phoenixes available for play in EDH (with another one coming soon in Baldur’s Gate), you have to play close to all of them just to ensure you have a critical mass that can reliably trigger Syrix. That’s not to say some of them aren’t powerful – Rekindling Phoenix was a Constructed powerhouse, there’s plenty of self-mill to recur Phoenix of Ash and there are even a ton of artifacts to make sure Kuldotha Phoenix keeps coming back!
But what are those artifacts? Well, considering all our Phoenixes can fly, suiting them up with Equipment immediately presents itself as an excellent idea. Vorpal Sword can win games on its own, Heirloom Blade is a no-brainer in tribal decks and Shard of Broken Glass helps to fuel the recursion plan.
In addition to the Phoenixes, other support creatures make welcome appearances. With cards like Victimize and Village Rites, having cards to sacrifice is important, so other recursive non-Phoenix creatures fill out the list: Bloodsoaked Champion, Skyclave Shade and Squee, the Immortal, for instance. There is also the very potent Flayer of the Hatebound, which juices up all those returning Phoenixes with a bit of extra bonus damage.
There are plenty of other reanimation spells, too, from the relatively tame Zombify to the mighty Patriarch’s Bidding, to bring back all your Phoenixes in one go. But you’ve got to fill the ‘yard first, before you can bring anything back, and that’s why there is everything from Undead Butler through to Dread Summons to make sure your graveyard is well stocked.
This deck is only going to get better and better as time goes on and more Phoenixes are added to the pool of available options, but even now I like it as a value-laden, recursive creature deck that can do cool things without being truly unfair or broken. Phoenixes, as a tribe, are often overlooked in Magic – decks like this are trying to change that, however!