Phyrexian Arena


Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Custom Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Conspiracy: Take the Crown (CN2) Rare
Commander 2015 (C15) Rare
Duel Decks: Phyrexia vs. The Coalition (DDE) Rare
Planechase (HOP) Rare
Ninth Edition (9ED) Rare
Ninth Edition Foreign Black Border (9EDFBB) Rare
Eighth Edition (8ED) Rare
Apocalypse (APC) Rare

Combos Browse all

Phyrexian Arena


At the beginning of your upkeep, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

Phyrexian Arena Discussion

SideBae on Varina Zombie Tribal EDH

2 days ago

My first suggestion involves your artifact ramp. Dimir Signet and Orzhov Signet are worse than Talisman of Dominance and Talisman of Hierarchy in the majority of situations, mainly because they don't need mana to begin activating. Talisman of Progress is also worth considering, though I'm assuming blue and white are your lesser colors. In that vein, I suggest cutting Chromatic Lantern for another piece of two-mana artifact ramp. In my experience, there is a big difference between 2 and 3 mana rocks in EDH, and anything you can do to increase your deck's speed will be a good thing.

Considering the win conditions: I think Approach of the Second Sun is superfluous. In my experience, zombie decks are perfectly happy just trying to get away with the aggro win condition, though the Gravecrawler loops are certainly an interesting second. The problem with Approach of the Second Sun is that it is not good by itself; generally, you want to run combo pieces that also serve some utility even without the combo. (For example, this is why I hate the Isochron Scepter in my Kess, Dissident Mage list.) Drawing it in your opener or when you don't have the mana to cast it leaves it essentially dead, and I think the aggro or Gravecrawler plans are just better.

Once you hit three colors, mana base becomes extremely important. City of Brass and Mana Confluence are excellent cards, and I've had excellent luck with them. Ideally, you'd run fetch lands like Polluted Delta and Misty Rainforest as a sort of 'additional dual land,' but these can be very pricy. If that's an issue, I advise slow fetches like Bad River , Flood Plain , Rocky Tar Pit and Grasslands . Cavern of Souls is an expensive card, though it is excellent in any tribal deck -- if you have access to it, you should run it. Unclaimed Territory is another thing to consider, as is running Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth instead of one of your basic Swamp s. I also think you're running a few too many lands. Thirty-three is generally my upper limit, and since your curve is so high, I think that's about what you'd want. Thirty-five is too many.

I like that you're running zombie lords. Though anthem effects do greatly reduce the synergy of Gravecrawler with Skullclamp , I think their bonus to the aggro plan is high enough to justify their inclusion. In that vein, Lord of the Undead and Zombie Master are worth considering.

Card advantage decides most EDH games -- for example, yesterday I had someone concede not because I had pressure on the board, but because I was drawing five more cards than them a turn. Though this may have been a premature concession, it does illustrate my point. Thus, I highly recommend running cards like Graveborn Muse , Phyrexian Arena , Painful Truths , Chart a Course , Slate of Ancestry , Glimmer of Genius , Pulse of the Grid , Night's Whisper , Notion Thief , Thirst for Knowledge and/or Windfall . Similarly, cantrips like Ponder and Preordain are almost auto-includes in a blue list. Brainstorm 's efficacy is dependent on the number of shuffle effects you run, though if you choose to include fetches (slow or otherwise), I highly advise it. Many of these cards involve paying life; if life becomes an issue, try Whip of Erebos or a non-lethal Exsanguinate in addition to your Gray Merchant of Asphodel .

Tutors are good cards. I'm a fan of Entomb in addition to your Buried Alive , as it gets Gravecrawler in the yard for your combo and, if you pair it with reanimation like Reanimate , Animate Dead or the Victimize / Stitch Together you already run, it allows you to cheat in fatties. Grave Titan and Massacre Wurm are two of my favorite reanimation targets, but they're both around $20 these days. Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor are the gold standard for black tutors, but these can also be inaccessible because of their price. Diabolic Tutor is a fine substitute, and I've had good success with Lim-Dul's Vault .

Liliana is also a good zombie-include, be it for flavor or for the power she offers. Liliana, Death's Majesty is great in zombie decks and is pretty affordable; Liliana, Dreadhorde General has been dropping in price recently and is also great. Depending on your playgroup's meta, Liliana, the Last Hope may be a powerhouse, though she is $40 these days.

Generally in EDH, one-for-ones are not where you want to be. There are usually three opponents, so on average you'll be facing 3x as many cards as you have. Anguished Unmaking and Utter End are good cards, but they are not as good in EDH as they'd be in 1v1 formats. Supreme Verdict and Merciless Eviction , which I see you're running, are better. Might I suggest Damnation , Wrath of God , and/or Toxic Deluge ? You may want to lean toward black board-wipes, as this is already where your mana will be when casting zombies. An overloaded Cyclonic Rift is also great, especially if paired with the aforementioned Windfall .

Perpetual Timepiece is a cool include. Consider Cephalid Vandal . Because you're not running Call to the Grave (which I think is overrated anyways), there is little to no cost of running non-zombie creatures in your deck. I think Cephalid Vandal is another good way of trying to keep your deck churning with self-mill.

Another thing that takes good EDH decks to the next level is counter magic. I see you're running Counterspell , which is good, but you should consider running at least three to four other counter spells as well. Force of Will , Mana Drain and Pact of Negation are all good if you want to sell a kidney. If you're a slightly more reasonable player, cards like Narset's Reversal , Negate / Countersquall / Dovin's Veto , Swan Song , Disallow , Arcane Denial and Archmage's Charm are also worth considering.

Depending on your meta (and your personal level of sadism), Narset, Parter of Veils and Ashiok, Dream Render should be considered. Turning off tutors and extra-draws with asymmetrical effects is brutal. Personally, I don't think those two cards should ever have been printed, but what the hell -- they're here, so we might as well use them.

Patriarch's Bidding is a good way for a tribal deck to recover after a board-wipe, and Living Death is just good for black creature decks in general. Living Death is a sort of nonbo with Wonder , but that may be worth the trouble; play-testing will iron that issue out.

Good luck man!

Leeco on Commander 2019 early hopes and ...

2 days ago

Madcookie Don't try to find reprints within the mechanics!

The reason they print these mechanics is that(with the exception of Flashback which is an all-star) they are all fun to play in all formats but they need support in commander!

All they need to reprint Oracle of Mul Daya or Mana Reflection is a green deck! They can print Doubling Season in the populate deck if they want or they can print a similar card in black which will immediately cost as much if the populate deck is abzan as many suggest! Bloodchief Ascension , Painful Quandary and Kolaghan's Command are excellent with madness while Wound Reflection , Exquisite Blood and Phyrexian Arena would also fit in any black deck! Mesmeric Orb would work wonders in a dimir Flashback deck focused on self Mill Morph could have Akroma's Memorial or Eldrazi Monument

There is value in the themes! Let's hope they put it in the decks!

wallisface on Budget GBx

5 days ago

Looks good! One suggestion is that you’re running a bit too many lands - you should be able to easily drop down to 22 or 23.

I think you only need a total of 5-6 hand disruption spells also, so you can probably shave off a few Thoughtseize/Inquisition.

Scavenging Ooze is also a card which is awesome, but which kindof hurts when you draw multiple copies, as they’re fighting over the same food source. I’d just run 2-3 of them.

Phyrexian Arena might be a good substitute for the lack of Bob. You probably want to have a few more creatures also to fill the Goyf-gap - Hexdrinker could be a good option. Courser of Kruphix might also be useful.

kozilex on 5-Color Mono-Black

6 days ago

I've considered Cataracts, but decided that I like the thematic purity of only being able to produce black mana from my lands. I'm ok that the Cabal Coffers in my command zone isn't also a draw engine, especially considering that I'm used to playing the deck with a 9-mana vanilla 6/6 ( Reaper King ) at the helm.

Necropotence tends to be better in more efficient decks. When I can only play one or two cards a turn, it's not much better than Phyrexian Arena . Once I start going off with mana doublers, I'd rather draw cards that I can use immediately, because I may well not have access to that mana by my next turn after I put a bunch of life into the Necro. I won't deny that it's very good, but it doesn't fit in here as well as it might seem in a vacuum.

Daveslab2022 on Slither into that Graveyard

1 week ago

Death Baron seems like the least essential card. It makes your Sidisi zombies, and your other few zombies bigger but other than that it’s just meh. I always recommend more ways to gain card advantage. Phyrexian Arena is the most common, but Rhystic Study and Mystic Remora are my personal favorites. Since they can draw you multiple cards in the first few turns, setting up for powerful and explosive plays.

PhotogenicParasympathetic on Enchantment question(s)

1 week ago

For your first question: Mirari's Wake will add one mana additional every time you tap a land. If you tap a land with Overgrowth on it, you will get (usually) one mana from the land, two mana from Overgrowth, and one mana from Mirari's Wake, four total. It's important to note that Mirari's Wake can only add mana of the color the land already produced, and that Overgrowth produces the two green, not the land being tapped. So if you Overgrowth an Island, you can tap to get two blue and two green, but not one blue and three green.

For your second question, yes, that is how Sylvan Library works - you may keep one of the three cards and pay 0 life, or 2 paying 4 life, or all three paying 8 life.

Two points of clarification: Sylvan Library does not differentiate between the first card you draw for turn and the two extra you draw from the Library. You can choose to put any two of the three back on top of your library, including the first one you drew normally for turn. In fact, if you have another effect that draws more cards before Sylvan Library's trigger (such as a Phyrexian Arena , which draws you a card during the upkeep step) ANY of those cards are eligible to be put back to avoid loss of life.

Second, you must keep all cards drawn that turn easily identifiable - meaning they cannot be placed into a pile with the rest of the cards in your hand, until after Sylvan Library has finished resolving (to prevent people from keeping all three cards they drew, but putting back a card that was already in their hand to avoid paying life). Usually, I put my hand facedown on the table, then draw three, look at them and decide what I want, then pick up my old hand to add the card/cards I'm keeping to it.

Finally. All Auras are enchantments. Not all enchantments are Auras. For example, Vow of Lightning is an aura, and is therefore an enchantment. Zendikar Resurgent is an enchantment, but is not an aura.

Auras are a special kind of enchantment that must be attached to another permanent (usually a creature) or a player. They are cast targeting another permanent/player (or in the case of Animate Dead a card in graveyard), and attach themselves to that target upon resolving. If the permanent/player they are attached to leaves the game, the Aura is put into its owner's graveyard.

Osbert on Marchesa Legends EDH (proposed upgrade)

1 week ago

There are a lot of unfocused or suboptimal cards in this list like Phantom General and Famine that could easily be replaced by more suited cards that help your game plan of: Play dudes, protect face, beat down, draw an additional card at EoT.

Equipoise is a very old card but it let's you dictate combat more effectively by controlling what your opponent has to block with. If you have deathtouch tokens then maybe phase out their small utility creatures and make them decide between having their big creature die to a 1/1 deathtouch token or lose monarchy. If you want to be more effective in combat maybe phase out their big guys and let your valuable legends swing in with their keywords giving them the edge in combat. Similarly Duelist's Heritage can give ANY attacking creature an advantage in combat. You can use it as a political tool by offering to give an attacking creature an opponent controls doublestrike as long as it doesn't attack you which further incentivises your opponents to squable among themselves while you sit back and draw all the cards.

You don't have any way of protecting your face by non-vigilance creatures so maybe consider Ghostly Prison , Baird, Steward of Argive , and Windborn Muse to make attacking you more difficult. Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker is also a fantastic rattle snake because each intake of damage makes them lose a permanent.

Your deck also seems like it has very few ways to draw cards outside of the monarch mechanic. Skullclamp , Phyrexian Arena , and Tymna the Weaver can keep your hand full with plenty of answers and creatures.

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Phyrexian Arena occurrence in decks from the last year


All decks: 0.04%

Commander / EDH:

All decks: 0.15%

Black: 1.0%

Golgari: 0.39%

WB (Orzhov): 0.98%

Rakdos: 0.79%

WUB (Esper): 0.67%

RBW (Mardu): 1.01%