The Great Machine of Evolution

The Machine Orthodoxy's truth is as follows:

"The last of the Not-Whole shall be discovered, though our eyeholes wince at their hideousness. Their bodies shall be absorbed and their imperfection shall be purged. The Machine Orthodoxy shall engorge the Not-Whole and their deficient isolation shall be obliterated in the Unity. Only then shall the last wounds in the Circle be healed. Only then shall this world compleat itself."

—Izathel, High Chancellor

Your opponents are the true manifestation of the Not-Whole: they are the weak and misguided who desperately cling to their heretical imperfection of embracing flesh. If you wish to spread the glory of Phyrexia, and help purge the weakness out of your opponents then this is the deck and more importantly - Commander for you. Atraxa is a force to be reckoned with - possessing enough keywords to overshadow most creatures, but her true strength lies in her last keyword: Proliferate. This ability plays into the central themes of the deck which incorporates counters to bolster the power of your own forces or weaken those of your opponents. The inclusion of a "Soft Lock" sub-theme utilizes enchantments and artifacts with Fading counters alongside New Phyrexia's Praetors to help control the battlefield and speed of play while your main wincon - Infect - brings your opponents closer to the sublime truth of Compleation.

This deck is an example of an "ideal" (as in monetary cost is not an issue, only the most efficient cards allowed - within context) Vorthos Atraxa Infect deck. Within this very strict archetype Infect counters alone cannot win games, therefore the inclusion of +1/+1 counters, along with "stax-like" cards that target lands and tap down resources with fading counters are necessary. As expected, the deck includes each Praetor that had an active hand in Atraxa's creation to help enforce a Soft Lock (See Slang: Lockdown) on the board. This will severely limit the options of my opponents and grant time for Infect (technically Poison) counters to grow and hopefully grant blessed perfection. Which translates to losing the game - for you flesh embracing non-phyrexians reading. But, is losing to Phyrexia really a loss?

Just so it's clear - you only need 10 poison counters on an opponent for them to reach compleation - (See rule 104.3d). Infect damage cannot be healed or transferred - Phyrexia's touch is nearly impossible to remove. This unfortunately will place you at a political disadvantage - as poison counters are typically viewed (from my own personal experience) as a high priority for opponents to address.

To measure the deck's power level, I use the chart referenced in the video How to Power up your Commander deck by The Command Zone. The deck is currently a work in progress, but from my guesstimate it could consistently threaten to win between turns 6-8.

There are no infinite combos in this deck. Instead, it functions with alot of interactions that build off of each other using Proliferate as the primary enabler.

  • Proliferation Source + Tangle Wire: The Tangle - A "soft lock" synergy that slows the speed of play, limiting the number of options available for your opponents. Ideally, this synergy would be played after all opponents at the table have poison counters on them. To ensure that your opponents have a limited number of options, Inexorable Tide or at least two consistent proliferation sources are recommended to keep the number of counters on Tangle Wire going up.
  • Proliferation Source + Parallax Tide + Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger : Infest the Tangle - This "soft lock" synergy severely limits opponents' access to mana. Ideally, there would be at least two Proliferation sources with the order of play being: 1. Sources, 2. Tide, 3. Vorinclex. For opponents who have known or suspected removal/interaction options you can use Tide to shut off the mana that would be necessary to play those spells. For the remaining lands that aren't exiled under Tide (yet), Vorinclex will tie up resources for your opponents making play far slower than normal which will afford Phyrexia a lead in mana generation.
  • Proliferation Source + Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite + Parallax Wave : Norn's Dominion - A "soft lock" synergy ensuring that Phyrexia will have the strongest (or only) creatures on board. Ideally, there would be at least two Proliferation sources with the order of play being: 1. Sources, 2. Wave, 3. Elesh Norn. This synergy creates openings when opponents eventually get more and more creatures on the battlefield that can challenge Phyrexia's boardstate. The goal of this synergy isn't to erase the board of all creatures hostile to Phyrexia, only to get rid of enough such that creatures with Infect can more reliably deal combat damage to opponents.
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Tainted Strike/Corrupted Conscience - Urborg, Gateway of Whispers: Fairly self explanatory here, being able to swing in for 6 damage freely can add up. This little synergy really shines when Sheoldred gains access to infect via Tainted Strike or Corrupted Conscience.
  • Proliferation Source + Llanowar Reborn/Sword of Truth and Justice/Spike Weaver + Infect Creature: Make my Monster Grow! - Any of these combinations result in increasing the lethality of your creatures with +1/+1 counters on a consistent basis.
  • Proliferation Source + Spike Weaver: Web of the Machine - A simple synergy that bolsters Phyrexia's ranks with additional +1/+1 counters while having a Fog on demand. This combo helps deter opponents from attacking you, while at the same time giving Phyrexia a valuable political tool - those who accept Phyrexia's aid are only further staging themselves and their opponents to joining it's ranks.

A word of advice to potential players of this deck, and to all my fellow Infect players: Your attitude at the table matters - it's likely that you will be perceived as a thirsty Spike who is more concerned with wanting to win than actually playing Magic. Your opponents will likely focus on you early game, and target your boardstate heavily. Don't let that deter you, instead understand that you are playing Archenemy without all of the silly cards to help you (see Sliver Hate). Own the fact that you are Phyrexia incarnate, here to bring your opponents to compleation - have fun with that idea and embrace it. I try and manifest this idea by turning my game into something of a performance where I gleefully remind players that they are "One step closer to Phyrexia, and one step closer to compleation." with every proliferation of poison counters.

The most important aspect of playing infect is the social interaction you have with your opponents. If your attitude is negative - if you feel upset and frustrated because you got ganged up on then that feeling will dominate your experience for the game - which isn't fun. Don't fall into that trap, embrace all that attention and focus your opponents are giving you, because you are Phyrexia - you are the Villain that makes everyone else collectively crap their pants at the mere mentioning of your name. It's only natural that they come after you, and that's okay. Make sure you're having fun, because if not...what's the point in playing?


Updates Add

With the spoiler season for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths coming up - and the teasing of the set including 12 different types of counters - including keyword and foreshadow counters i'm holding my breath of this set having something that could help this deck evolve even further. I subscribe to the Progress Engine's school of deck building - as new cards are revealed everything must be evaulated and incorporated if it improves the viability of an infect based strategy. Who knows? Maybe this set will even include a new Infect creature? as a reminder - infect creates poison counters on players. I'd even settle for a creature that has Poisonous. Not likely to see these mechanics ever again, I know. But there's always room for hope.

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22% Casual

78% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 1 year
Last updated 2 days
Key combos

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

13 - 0 Mythic Rares

50 - 0 Rares

19 - 0 Uncommons

13 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.14
Tokens 0/1 Insect, 3/3 Elephant
Folders Mine, Interesting Decks to Study Better Later, infect, Commander, Planning to build, EDH builds, Decks, Really Awesome (and expensive) Decks, Commander, Decks that interest me, See all 40
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Revision 95 See all

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