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 Stax (See Deck:$T4KS) sub-theme utilizes enchantments and artifacts with Fading counters 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 has Johnny and Vorthos influences that blend with it's strategies and sub-themes. The deck's primary themes are Proliferate and Infect (more on that later). The inclusion of the Praetors are mostly for flavor (as each had an active hand in Atraxa's creation) but are also part of the sub-theme/strategy of creating a "Soft Lock" (See Slang: Lockdown) on my opponent's boardstate - limiting their options while allowing Phyrexia to progress unimpeded. Counters simply compliment Proliferate, and aid in turning small creatures into monstrous ones.

Infect is the primary wincon of this deck, which typically functions like a slow acting Thallium poison - damage to your opponents may seem small at first but will quickly add up. It's likely your opponents will have decks that focus on dealing 40 points of damage, or 21 points of Commander damage to their opponent to achieve their wincon - you are only counting to 10 - per opponent(See rule 104.3d). Infect damage cannot be healed or transferred - Phyrexia's touch is nearly impossible to remove. The primary damage you'll be dealing to your opponents will be in Poison Counters. This will isolate you - as you will more often than not be viewed as a direct and larger threat than the rest of the table.

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. From that video, I would guess that this deck fits well within the Focused category. It's meant to face upgraded Casual decks, Optimized decks, but will get absolutely destroyed by cEDH decks, and tear Jank decks to pieces too quickly. Also, I definitely advise you to watch the video referenced above - it's really good for helping you to communicate to other players what kind of deck you are working with.

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.

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?

Suggestions

Updates Add

Theros: Beyond Death offers some interesting options for this particular build of Atraxa by offering various spells that grant +1/+1 counters to creatures: Victory's Envoy, Nadir Kraken, and Hydra's Growth all caught my eye, the only issue is that my inner Vorthos screams at me about how most of these cards don't really fit within the Phyrexian aesthetic. Well, Hydra's Growth might fit in - maybe I should include it alongside Phyrexian Hydra? I'm thinking i'd swap out Invigorate and Phyrexian Swarmlord respectively to make room. What are your thoughts regarding that change?

Moving on, I really want to talk about the custom playmats on inkedgaming.com - specifically the playmats featuring the art of Rachel Weeks. Her art is absolutely beautiful: enter image description here I ordered the previously mentioned playmat along with another that features art in the same style for another one of my Commander decks. I hope is that Rachel produces another piece for my 3rd "special" Commander deck. Shameless plug here: If you read this and decided to get a playmat of your own, please use my friend referral link here: https://prz.io/1AVEyeS0

Edit: Things are all going according to plan. I've finally paid off my LP Revised Underground Sea - bye bye Drowned Catacomb, you held that space quite well. That leaves three more dual lands to pursue - and fortunately they aren't as expensive as the lands already acquired. It'll still take me sometime, but at least it seems more feasible.

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