Phyrexia: All Will Be One Commander Set Review

Phyrexia All Will Be One Commander Set Review

Kristen GregoryCommander

ONE is a true slam dunk of a set for Commander, with more exciting build-arounds and upgrades than any set for quite some time. It’s sure to shake up the format, as January/February sets often do. Today, I’m going to review what’s good in Phyrexia: All Will Be One for Commander — but only the universal stuff. Nobody has time to read about random commons or niche cards. 

And remember, If you like what you see, you can find other recent set reviews here:


It seems fitting to kick things off with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines — or PanharMommycon, as the kids have dubbed her. Yes, she doubles up abilities you control that trigger when permanents enter (yours or the opponents). She also is a Torpor Orb for your opponent’s stuff. 

Is she fair? Well, that’s up for debate. Some believe she’ll ruin the format while others believe she’s the perfect speedbump we need.

I happen to think she’s probably gonna end up in fewer decks than you think, and will end up being cut from all but the most EtB heavy builds. She’s no doubt powerful, though, and I really hope I open one. 

The Eternal Wanderer is basically an upgrade to Elspeth, Sun’s Champion (except in dedicated token swarm strategies), which is something I never thought I’d say. She’s well poised to last a rotation thanks to her static ability, she can flicker good EtB creatures (or artifacts!) and she resets the board. 

The fact that you get to choose what opponents can keep is *chef’s kiss*. This feels backbreaking at rare, limited wise — but we’re Commander players, so we care about the fact that a popular and strong white card isn’t at Mythic…

…Unlike Mondrak, Glory Dominus, who will be an in-demand white Mythic. Anointed Procession in the command zone, able to be made indestructible for as little as one mana, some life and a couple clues or solider tokens, idk. 

It slaps. This is a super powerful card and a new format staple. It’ll see more play in the 99 than in the zone, because an indestructible enchantment is kinda, sorta, maybe good. 

Norn’s Wellspring is the latest card that takes the basic design of Tome of Legends and tweaks it a little — much like Staff of the Storyteller, which I reviewed in the Best Precon Cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One

Wellspring is mostly better, I think, because you get to scry every time a creature you control dies. It unlocks many more decks for it. I can’t wait to jam it in Hofri

Why Phyrexian Vindicator isn’t an angel is beyond me, but maybe he just really digs the mothman vibe? Either way, we’re at a critical mass of damage redirect effects, and as long as you don’t have a Guilty Conscience, you can use this card to win some games, combo style

Would I play it outside of decks wanting to do that kinda combo? Probably not, given the restrictive casting cost. Am I jamming it in a Boros deck with Brash Taunter and relying on treasures, Chromatic Lantern and being lucky rather than being good? Absolutely. 

We had Mother of Runes and then Steppe-Mom. Now we have… Mite-y Mom? Skrelv, Defector Mite could be your Commander, which is pretty funny. It’s more likely it’ll see play in artifact decks. 

Card’s OK, I guess. Probably can’t make you chicken soup and stroke your hair when you’re poorly, though.

You might think Skrelv is a shoe-in for Winota, but I’m actually a lot higher on the prospect of putting in Skrelv’s Hive. A white Bitterblossom, Skrelv’s Hive is pretty cracked, and exactly the kind of white card we crave. 

I like that it’s taken the lifelink tech from Dreadhorde Invasion, too. Bitterblossom can kill you, and there are times I’ve wanted rid of mine when playing my Massacre Girl deck. Thankfully, white is good at lifegain, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

White Sun’s Twilight is honestly… nuts. You get to make an army of Mites and gain life equal to the amount you created. You also blow up all other creatures if X is five or more. And then the Mites also have Toxic 1? 

This is one True Conviction away from ending a game, and I’m here for it. There are so many decks this works in, and I’m excited to try it out. I keep seeing more and more reasons to run a value Ashnod’s Altar in white decks just for mana generation from tokens.

Top 5 White Common/Uncommons:

  1. Resistance Reunited: I love the idea of a go-wide equipment deck having a cheap out to wipes that can convert to Commander damage kills.
  2. Ossification: Finally, we can play Chained to the Rocks without red. It hits walkers, too, which is tasty.
  3. Against All Odds: a four mana sorcery asks a lot to be included in a deck, but the value you gain from this one is pretty deece. 
  4. Infested Fleshcutter: A Captain’s Claws that generates Toxic mites is kinda neat. It’ll find a home.
  5. Vanish into Eternity: Not as good as it looks if you can afford pricier options, but great for a budget brew, or even Killian


Encroaching Mycosynth is a cheaper Mycosynth Lattice for blue decks — but with a lower cost comes a catch: it’s only stuff you control (so no Vandalblast) and it doesn’t change mana requirements. 

Does that mean you’re better off with “Microsoft Lettuce”? Probably. If you’re jumping through enough hoops to make this a card you want, I can guarantee there’s going to be a better card to run rather than this sort-of-maybe-do-nothing artifact.

Ichormoon Gauntlet is an artifact I’m much higher on. Hell, it’s gotten me excited to give Atraxa Superfriends another go! It’s also a little deceptive; while the extra turn for {-12} is pretty attractive, it’s not what makes this card powerful. 

Plenty of Planeswalker ultimates can win a game on their own, and you can use the {0} Proliferate and adding counters for casting noncreature spells to get there without even touching the {-12} ability at all.

Mindsplice Apparatus is the kind of card that scares me in a game of Commander. I’m going to remove it with prejudice because I don’t want to see what it’s capable of if it gets to stay in play. 

This will find a home in plenty of decks, especially given artifacts are usually a big part of storm-style packages anyway. 

Ah, Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus. A Proliferate doubler. It’s hard not to imagine this was designed for Atraxa Superfriends given its attractive 3/5 Flying statline, which defends ‘walkers like a pro. It’s also potentially one of the easier ones to make indestructible, too. 

Outside of the obvious decks, I think Tekuthal is still solid in +1/+1 counters decks, as evasion is key to getting tall creatures to connect. 

Unctus, Grand Metatect is certainly a glow up from Grand Architect. I can’t see this helming any sort of “fair” blue deck, and you should know that Aphetto Alchemist is the make-or-break combo piece for this Commander. 

It sets up a Thoracle or Labman win and combos on its own with plenty of artifacts. Blue is pretty good at finding artifacts, so I can see Unctus settling into a role in high power EDH pods. 

Top 5 Blue Common/Uncommons

  1. Prologue to Phyresis: Two mana to infect each opponent and draw a card? What?!
  2. Experimental Augury: Impulse with upside seems great for decks than want it.
  3. Transplant Theorist: A fun little engine card I can see players opting for in graveyard decks.
  4. Font of Progress: It’s mill tech, but more importantly, an optional self-mill. 
  5. Tamiyo’s Logbook: Moonfolk love libraries, and this latest novel is quite the page turner.


Black Sun’s Twilight reminds me a little of what would happen if Erebos’s Intervention and Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering had a child. This being instant speed makes it pretty attractive, honestly, and I think I’m going to try it out. 

Getting to six mana to turn it on in Black isn’t too difficult, and -X/-X effects are generally more useful than “destroy” ones. 

Drivnod, Carnage Dominus could be a mono-black Voltron Commander with a stat-line like that. 8/3? That’s dangerous. Thankfully, most will instead opt to use it to power up existing aristocrat builds, Teysa being the obvious one. 

I’m all for making cards like Reliquary Monk more playable in Clerics decks, and even a dedicated Clerics deck will splash out for a token Phyrexian if it means their strategy comes together better.

Karumonix, the Rat King is sweet. Rats decks are secretly the creature deck of choice for cool people: Nizzahon even did a deck tech for Karumonix this week.

If you don’t have time for that, then in short: Karumonix is a great Commander but also a great tool in the 99 of rat decks. It gives card advantage and an alternate win condition. 

Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting has one of the most interesting new abilities I’ve seen on a Planeswalker: a {0} that proliferates, which essentially makes it a {+1}. That’s neat. 

Other than being a way to enable the rest of your deck, she’s also removal for creatures, and a win condition if you get to ultimate her. I like her quite a bit. 

Top 5 Black Common/Uncommons

  1. Vat of Rebirth: A handy-dandy reanimation doodad that is frightfully easy to keep going with in treasure or token based decks.
  2. Anoint with Affliction: Exile removal that gets better as the game goes on
  3. Sheoldred’s Edict: Having opponents sacrifice a nontoken creature is spicy
  4. Scheming Aspirant: A way to help proliferate heavy decks along a bit toward a win
  5. Necrogen Communion: Put it on an evasive body to enable poison kills and get the creature back again.

Phyrexia All Will Be One: RED

Heh, it’s the titular card. Much like tracks named after albums, All Will Be One is one of the best on offer. While it might seem like an unassuming “win more” enchantment, it’s actually one card away from a combo kill. 

Enter The Red Terror, or Quest for Pure Flame. All you need to do is deal damage and the rest is history. It’s red’s Exquisite Blood/Sanguine Bond combo, and it’s sweet that the color has access to one. 

Red Sun’s Twilight is probably my favorite spell of the cycle. Getting to go on a Shattering Spree is always fun, and if it’s an artifact of significance, you’ll get token copies of what was destroyed. 

This has plenty of applications, and I’m sure players will find a way to use it on their own stuff to get massive gains. Am I playing this over Vandalblast? In the right deck, for sure. 

Slobad, Iron Goblin… what have they done to you?! Well, they made him into a way to play more Spine of Ish Sah, that’s for sure. I like this Slobad, and I can see it being a key role-player in graveyard artifact decks. 

I’m not quite as sold on him as a Commander — favoring Bosh, for the win condition — but he’s cool nonetheless. Look at that friggin’ hammer. 

Solphim, Mayhem Dominus is probably the worst in the cycle, mainly because it only doubles non-combat damage. As such, it’ll fit in a more narrow set of decks. 

While Neheb, the Eternal will like it a lot, I’m not sure other decks will. Also, you have to discard cards to make it indestructible, which is just… a bit meh, right? Especially when red is all in on impulse draw these days. 

Urabrask’s Forge is cute. It gets significantly stronger in decks that like to take extra combats, like Karlach and Moraug, or even Aurelia. It also has plus points in that Urabrask’s brood are arguably the most badass looking. Fight me.

Top 5 Red Common/Uncommons

  1. Exuberant Fuseling: one of the best sources of oil counters, and a powerful, flingable body later on.
  2. Hexgold Halberd: Trample and First Strike are among the best combat keywords, and For Mirrodin! seals the deal.
  3. Rebel Salvo: Soul Sear has always been fringe playable, and at a potential one mana, it’s never been better.
  4. Nahiri’s Sacrifice: Dargo decks probably don’t need this, but more casual decks will love turning a fatty into a one-sided wrath.
  5. Gleeful Demolition: The goblins are cute, and there will be someone who finds a way to “break” this, even if that’s just in Magnus the Red.


Bloated Contaminator is honestly pretty pushed. A 4/4 for three with evasion, Toxic and a combat damage trigger? Whew! 

This is going in all of the green proliferate decks, and all of the counters based decks that quite enjoy a bit of proliferate, as a treat. There’s nothing more to say. 

Crucible of Worlds has long been a fantastic Magic card, and Conduit of Worlds builds on that with a spicy bonus: you can forgo casting spells from your hand for the turn in order to cast a nonland permanent from the yard that turn. The card doesn’t gain an exile clause, so you can keep recasting it as often as you like. 

I think I’d want to be playing a lot of instants or with flash to make this worth my while, but it is good. 

If you still don’t own a Craterhoof Behemoth, well, now’s your chance. Nissa, Ascended Animist is the next generation’s hoof, and it’s a frighteningly powerful card. 

It makes bodies, it disenchants and it makes your existing creatures hefty. While you can have this come in on {3} by paying five mana, most often this will be a seven mana win-the-game. 

Though Venerated Rotpriest is no doubt going to be more exciting for constructed formats, it still has plenty of homes in Commander. Messing around with this and Zada, Hedron Grinder in a Wort deck sounds like a lot of fun. It also triggers off of auras and equipments, making a Grafted Exoskeleton kill all the more achievable.

It was too hard to pick a Top 5 for green, so here are the…

Top …7 Common/Uncommons:

  1. Armored Scrapgorger: unlike Deathrite Shaman, you don’t need a target to make mana. Very powerful mana dork.
  2. Tyvar’s Stand: Tamiyo’s Safekeeping just got upgraded. Voltron decks will love this one.
  3. Carnivorous Canopy: Broken Wings got upgraded again, and this time, I’d say it’s a strong first choice.
  4. Cankerbloom: Caustic Caterpillar is in ruins. First Haywire Mite, now this. What a great Uncommon.
  5. Noxious Assault: Secretly a go-wide deck win condition. If they have to block 10 creatures to survive, they’re dead.
  6. Unnatural Restoration: a Regrowth analogue that has Proliferate? Madness. 
  7. Plague Nurse: easy to underestimate just how potent this is. It’s the key to converting poison to player elimination. 


Atraxa, Grand Unifier is essentially Niv-Mizzet Reborn without the red. But if you build it like that, you might miss out on the powerful blink deck that this can also become. 

I’m just glad she costs seven mana the first time, as every time after that she’ll probably be triggering off of Ephemerate or Ghostly Flicker

Ezuri, Stalker of Spheres is a strong roleplayer in Proliferate decks, and could make for a fun Commander. If you sequence him right, you could have a big turn with Planeswalkers. 

Glissa Sunslayer is a lethal attacker, and her combat damage triggers are also great. I can see a nonzero amount of people building it as a Commander. 

Otherwise, it’ll fit nicely into Mutate piles. It’s a good job Snapdax can’t put this in the ninety-nine. 

Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden is a nod to go-wide equipment decks. It’s less popular an archetype than straight up Voltron, but it’s more viable than ever with all of the free and reduced equip creatures. I also think this is a seed and we’ll see equipment tokens within the next 12 months. 

Kaito, Dancing Shadow goes in Ninja decks, sure. But there are plenty of great EtB creatures to bounce in Dimir anyways, and getting to activate Kaito twice a turn is pretty damn good. 

Kaya, Intangible Slayer is a wild seven mana, and you’d hope you’re set up enough to defend her from attacks by that point. 

All of her modes are good, and she’s a new win condition in Superfriends archetypes. Better than she looks. 

Ovika, Enigma Goliath is expensive. Seven mana is a lot of this kind of effect, especially when the tokens are ephemeral. Ward 3 and three life does kinda help, but you’ll want to be making boatloads of treasure or casting rituals to enable this as your Commander. I see her doing more work in the 99 of other decks, to be honest. 

Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler is a really strong walker. It’s probably gonna be expensive, because it has potential to reinvigorate elves in Modern. 

In Commander, it’ll slot right into Lathril decks for sure, and plenty of others. It’s a Thousand-Year Elixir with upside (and downsides). Sweet card.

Mirran Safehouse is a reverse Manascape Refractor. It’s kinda neat, and if you want it, you’ll know you want it. 

Remember that tapping for mana counts an activated ability here, so it doesn’t only work as a three mana strip mine.

Soulless Jailer is just one of many sweet pickups for Winota players in ONE. It takes the best parts of Rest in Peace and puts them on a creature that can trigger Winota. 

It’s a healthy hate-piece and does a lot of what Drannith Magistrate can do without hosing Commanders. 

Staff of Compleation is going to be played because it lets you proliferate once a turn, or sometimes more. What makes it better is the opportunity to be a mana rock or draw cards, too. 

Will it pip other mana rocks (and I use that term loosely, because that is the slot this will take) out of the deck? Perhaps. That life loss will add up quick, though.

Sword of Forge and Frontier, in a Voltron deck, with easy access to double strike? I rate it highly. Otherwise? It’s kinda meh. Hot take, I know. 

I put this below Feast and Famine, Hearth and Home and maybe even Light and Shadow or Sinew and Steel. Fire and Ice is overcosted these days now that white gets so much draw. 

The protection colors are more relevant than ever, and pro red and green is decidedly medium really. I don’t like impulse draw in Voltron decks, so it’s a hard sell for me.

A wastes that can tap for color once before turning into a land that makes blockers? Not bad. Except these creatures can’t block, which makes this fill a completely different role than the likes of Castle Ardenvale or Legion’s Landing/Adanto, the First Fort. Good in a Toxic deck, bad elsewhere.

Conversely, The Mycosynth Gardens is good basically everywhere, including the Voltron equipment decks. An extra copy of Feast and Famine? Sure, why not. 

I love this land, and it’s a great late game mana sink. It’s also dangerously close to being an auto-include in a lot of mana bases. 

The bonus cards this time round aren’t super impressive. Serum Sovereign is one of the better ones, and she lets you cast Serum Visions every time you cast a noncreature spell. That’s hella cool. 

Rhuk, Hexgold Nabber is a solid auto-equipper if you aren’t in white, with relevant keywords for slapping face.

The Remaining Good Common/Uncommons

  1. Necrogen Rotpriest: Doubling up Toxic and handing out Deathtouch on a whim. Super threatening, game-winning. 
  2. Dross Skullbomb: three mana to draw two in black, when one is guaranteed to be a card you want from the yard? Tasty.
  3. Tainted Observer: Evasive creatures with Toxic are useful, especially when they let you spend mana to proliferate.
  4. Charforger: It’s like Runaway Steam-Kin except it impulse draws and is triggered by things going to the yard.
  5. Bladehold War-Whip: Double Strike is awesome, and getting a reduction to equip costs is always nice.


Well, that’s it – another set review done oiled and dusted compleated. Are you ready to join the machine orthodoxy? Let me know when to book you into the Surgical Bay on Twitter.