It’s always exciting to see all the new cards from a set during week one, but things started early this time. Due to recent changes in the legality of cards, last weekend’s Modern 10k at Star City Games Con Indianapolis allowed cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One, even if it was somewhat hard to get a hold of them.
So, since we’re technically at the tail end of week one instead of still looking forward to it, let’s take a look at what the early results showed. And if you want to see both my initial highlight article and the one on updated decks (that both got quite a bit right), feel free to study up beforehand.
Rodney Bedell is certainly one of the more skilled Amulet Titan pilots in the paper tournament scene, and that held true over the weekend in Indy. Rodney put up a solid 6-2 finish in the Modern $10k with this version of Amulet, which leans into being a combo deck much more than we’ve seen as of late.
In recent months, Amulet has shifted toward a Midrange style with a combo finish, rather than the blisteringly fast combo deck that we have known it as. Urza’s Saga gave Amulet a strong backup plan that also served as a tutor for Amulet of Vigor, and now the deck has gotten another new toy in The Mycosynth Gardens. Rodney opted to play a full four copies of the powerful new land.
Turn two kills with Amulet have always been convoluted, at least since the banning of Summer Bloom. But thanks to The Mycosynth Gardens, instead of needing to draw two copies of Amulet of Vigor, you just need one.
Granted this build still needs the right seven cards to go off, but it is much easier to attack for 16 on turn two, effectively ending the game, in most cases. Similarly, comboing on turn three has an extra step of wiggle room for a kill. I’d expect to see Amulet lists become more combo focused as time goes on.
Evan Wooden’s Hammer list does incorporate a new card, but it isn’t Skrelev or Kemba, which are the cards I’d expect. Instead Evan has two copies of Nahiri, the Unforgiving.
Thinking more about it, Nahiri makes sense if you believe the metagame is heavier on removal than you’d like. Being able to pick up a Puresteel Paladin to make extra hammers in play useful is big, but Nahiri can also pull a hammer out of the graveyard if you have a way to equip it in play.
Nahiri can also clear a pesky Flying blocker out of the way if you’re looking to kill with Inkmoth Nexus or Ornithopter on the next turn. Hammer generally has good uses for its extra mana, but in the event you find yourself flooding, Nahiri’s rummage ability can come in handy.
I’m not sure Nahiri will have a full time spot in Hammer decks going forward. Wooden certainly put it on the radar as a tool that can be used in the right metas, at the very least.
Last but not least, we have Jeskai Breach featuring Skrelev, Defector Mite. Skrelev is an interesting addition to Jeskai Breach since it protects creatures — but Jeskai Breach only plays eight that Skrelev can target.
However, thinking more about it, Skrelev makes sense. Getting Ragavan through blockers in the early turns to turbo-charge your mana so you can get to your combo faster is huge. Similarly, if you’re playing a longer game, being able to insulate your Emry, Lurker of the Loch so it can continue providing extra cards is also important.
You may wonder why these decks haven’t played Giver of Runes before now if they want that effect — and honestly who knows? Maybe it was just off the radar and new cards sparked some inspiration. Maybe it is that Skrelev is an artifact to pump your construct tokens.
Whatever the reason, Benjamin Mckinnon-Duggins seems to be onto something, picking up a top 4 at the SCG $10k over the weekend. Skrelev seems like it’ll get the testing it deserves to determine if it can hang in the Jeskai Breach lists over the coming weeks, so we shall see if it our mitey little friend can continue to perform well.
I’m sure this will be just the beginning of what we’ll see from Phyrexia: All Will be One over the coming weeks. As people can more easily get their hands on cards, I’m sure the results will keep coming. I have heard rumblings of an Elementals deck with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines floating around, but I haven’t seen any notable results yet.
As always, you can find me on Twitter @RappaciousOne for questions, comments or feedback. I’ll see everyone back here next week, but until then, keep exploring what ONE has to offer in Modern.
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.