The Song of Phyresis

Commander / EDH Mortlocke

SCORE: 143 | 92 COMMENTS | 13242 VIEWS | IN 52 FOLDERS

Black Friday // Custom altered card —Nov. 24, 2018

Hey all,

I just realized I've never posted an update here! Honestly, i've been working on trying to get the deck to a place where I feel comfortable with it. I realized that it's pretty slow. With an average CMC of 3.03, that's painful. It's mostly because I want to run the Praetors, and a select few cards for aesthetic purposes. This deck isn't meant to be super competitive though, but at the very least survive and just be plain scary - in my meta anyway, which it does pretty well in my opinion. So i'm happy with that. This Black Friday I went to my local LGS - MTGFirst. They have an excellent selection, but some of the staff don't seem the friendliest. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt though, as there were a lot of customers but meh...I digress.

I realized I wanted to get my hands on a Mana Crypt - my 3rd Mana Crypt. I wish I bought one back when they were about $65 - $70. Around the time of Eternal Masters I believe, hindsight is 20/20. I shelled out some trades and got the price down from $120 to $80 for a Mana Crypt. One day I wish to upgrade to an original art Mana Crypt from the Media Promo set that was included in the 4th and 5th MTG novels. I'm hoping the crypt will work out, as the deck definitely needs more rocks or ramp for that matter.

So out of curiosity, how many of you like the art for Skyshroud Claim? Just in a general sense - even if you're a big fan of Elves do you really care for it? Honestly, I really don't like the art for that card. I was actually pretty disappointed that they didn't update the art when the card was reprinted in Battleborn. Stupid elves out in the middle of the forest waving a flag...for who? Who is going to see them wave around a big dumb flag while they just sit there stroke each others' ego?! They're probably talking among themselves:

"Oh my, our ears are so pointy and we're all just so pretty! We just love frolicking around in the forest! Oh hohohohho"

Bah. Disgusting. I'm so happy Phyrexia came along and showed those prissy polly elves what true beauty is. Speaking of true beauty, I reached out to Revelen's Light, an expert pair of TCG alter artists to make my "Phyrexian" Skyshroud Claim a reality - I asked them to make the card appear as though it was printed in New Phyrexia/Mirrodin Besieged with new custom art. I'm super excited to see what they come up with, but the commission sure did cost me a pretty penny. But after looking at what Revelen's Light can do (seriously look at their site their stuff is AMAZING) I feel that it's money well spent. An alter is...very much like a custom handmade deckbox...a great way to add a special something to your favorite deck.

Seeing as most of your creatures already have infect, does that render Grafted Exoskeleton as a redundant piece? I bet you could pump your infect creatures much more with a piece of equipment with CMC 4 or less. What do you think about these alternatives:

Trailblazer's Boots for unblockability! Kusari-Gama to threaten asymmetrical wipes and to give your infectors "firebreathing" (higher equip cost). Or any other comparably-costed equipment that will pump you more than +2/+2 with only redundant ability gains (save for equipping this to your praetors)

I also question the 1-drop Glistener Elf. Is there any other infect creature which comes with some keywords or utility? Perhaps Ichorclaw Myr, as it pumps itself for defense and is less mana-specific.

This list is pretty tight!

August 16, 2018 1:42 p.m.

_Delta_ says... #2

Ah it's good to see that you have built an Atraxa, Praetors' Voice decklist, and one that is more unique than most (even mine admittedly). I use to include all the praetors in mine for the flavor as well as a bit of infect, but my Atraxa deck paints a big enough target on me at my lgs without those kind of cards as people have seen what it is capable of. I have games turn into essentially archenemy at times. I'm still undecided on the direction of the deck ultimately but it's already my most expensive edh deck. But enough talk of my list, here are some suggestions to consider:

(LANDS) Sea of Clouds in place of an Island, Morphic Pool in place of a Swamp, then cut maybe Manifold Insights for another land like Bountiful Promenade as I think your land count is a bit low. Other changes I would make would be to add an Inkmoth Nexus, and a Reliquary Tower. Inkmoth Nexus has evasion and if your goal is to win with infect you will want as much early game cards as you can to get early poison counters in. I would take out Saltcrusted Steppe for Inkmoth Nexus, and then cut Steady Progress (You already have better ways to proliferate, a number of which are repeatable unlike this one, maybe i'm wrong on this one but I think there's better cards you could have over it here) for Reliquary Tower (while this may not be relevant that often, look at how many cards Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur nets you if he sticks around and you will notice you have no way to have an unlimited hand size). And since you happen to have quite a few sources of proliferate, it might not be a bad idea to put Gavony Township in here to help your creatures out since so many on their own are quite weak.

(CREATURES) I would swap Corpse Cur for Phyrexian Swarmlord, as I don't really see many good targets for infect creatures to bring back outside of course Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. Viridian Corrupter might be another infect creature you might want to consider using, I have to say spots are looking tight for me to suggest cuts for some cards but I think for this one I would swap Putrefy for this additional infect creature.

Additionally, while I see that you aren't concerned really with +1/+1 counters I still think Champion of Lambholt might be worth consideration for helping to get infect creatures through for even as much as an outright kill. For other aggressive options, you could go the route of Blightsteel Colossus which can simply kill players (It's kind of pricey, but i'm not sure if that's a concern for you). If you were to use this card however, you would want to make sure it's protected from the likes of your Swords to Plowshares etc with Lightning Greaves, Asceticism, Whispersilk Cloak or even additionally with Conqueror's Flail which I talk about more later. Putrefax is kind of similar if even not as strong, and perhaps this kind of strategy can pay off well with the use of equipment and maybe even some pump spells if we were to take inspiration from modern/legacy infect lists?


They rely on taking usually 1-2 infect creatures and pumping them up with cards like Berserk, Become Immense, Vines of Vastwood, Invigorate, Groundswell, Blossoming Defense etc to go for a kill, and while some of these might not seem as effective here in commander, I still think a couple like Berserk and Become Immense are worth using because I already see you have Rancor here and these can help get around the fact that many infect creatures are quite weak on their own. And on that topic of infect creatures being generally frail, a few cards that you could consider using here to solve that would be Teferi's Protection, Spellskite(great for taking removal off your more important creatures), and or Heroic Intervention. A few other cards that modern infect lists make use of from time to time are Distortion Strike, Apostle's Blessing, and then of course the staple Noble Hierarch and Pendelhaven. As I said before the general gameplan with such decks is to attack with generally 1 or so infect creatures and back them up with pump spells like those and more mentioned above, and that's where Noble Hierarch and Pendelhaven (pairs well with Glistener Elf, Blighted Agent, Plague Stinger, Inkmoth Nexus and the like) give the attacker a boost to kill outright in as early as turns 2-4. A few cards that might help with this route would be Duelist's Heritage, the previously mentioned Champion of Lambholt, Spinebiter, Apostle's Blessing (can be used for offense or defense), and Slip Through Space. And I see you have a couple counterspells here, and so maybe this is foolish enough to work, but I think you should consider using Hatred here. It can be put either obviously on an infect creature that is not being blocked/can't be blocked (many good targets would be Blighted Agent, Inkmoth Nexus, Putrefax provided you added it of course) or any other evasive creature or what may not at first be obvious to be used on your commander, because ask yourself how many players early on/mid game are going to stop you from attacking them say maybe 1-2 times with Atraxa, Praetors' Voice who is a 4/4 deathtouch/flying/vigilance creature? What you can do with this is pay all of that life to simply kill someone with Atraxa and then gain all that life back :)

While maybe I fear a bit redundant similarly to Grafted Exoskeleton, Triumph of the Hordes is a card that maybe you have overlooked here. The trample can be very useful for getting damage through and I would probably want to play a card like this over Praetor's Grasp, Wargate, or Viridian Longbow possibly? I have to say that I agree with FiveEightFiveBC's observation about Grafted Exoskeleton, I think if you want to stick with equipment that is yet better, either use Sword of Feast and Famine/Sword of Light and Shadow or something like Conqueror's Flail. I could see stacking a bunch of equipment and using stuff like Hatred, Duelist's Heritage, Become Immense, Glistening Oil, Fireshrieker, Sword of Vengeance, and such just on your commander as a legitimate gameplan also with or without infect.

Lastly, similarly to my earlier suggested Gavony Township, I was curious if your opposed to the inclusion of any planeswalkers here? Because I believe Nissa, Voice of Zendikar could do well here. Others to consider would be Ajani Steadfast, and Venser, the Sojourner. You wouldn't even have to go far with this, as too much and you start to change the theme of the deck, but these few that I highlighted might be of use to you here I thought with or without the likes of Doubling Season, and all the other obvious things that you would use with planeswalkers.

I will try to think of more suggestions, but I think this is enough for now to say the least as I will let you know I spent about 75 minutes in all coming up with all of this so far I think! Let me know what you think of all of this, as I know I suggested a ton of things and not all of which did I havsuggestions on what to replace them with. On a side note, I have to say i'm a bit jealous, do you happen to actually have a specific copy of that judge promo Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite?

August 16, 2018 11:56 p.m.

Mortlocke says... #3

FiveEightFiveBC, thank you for being the very first commenter on this deck. Now, onward to your suggestions:

Seeing as most of your creatures already have infect, does that render Grafted Exoskeleton as a redundant piece? Of the 19 creatures in this deck, only 12 of them have infect and have relatively low power. The purpose of Grafted Exoskeleton was to give infect to one of 7 non-infect creatures, and potentially enhance the combat effectiveness of one of the 12. There's also a bit of a flavor thing as well, but that's not entirely relevant.

Trailblazer's Boots is a faux unblockable, but close enough I guess. It's no Whispersilk cloak though, the only issue I have with the card is that it doesn't offer some form of protection. Its a decent card, just not quite what I think the deck needs. Kusari-Gama may have some potential in this deck though. Having fire-breathing on an infect creature that could potentially wipe a board sounds really nice. My only qualm with it is that it's a mana hungry equipment so it may limit my options during combat, and during other player's turns. Good suggestion though.

In regards to Glistener Elf, I do agree that being a paltry 1/1 doesn't make her particularly exciting. Worse yet, it is pretty irrelevant late game. The main purpose behind including the card was to have a 1/1 infect on turn 1. I'm hip to the idea of swapping in Ichorclaw Myr, as it can be a great deterrent, even late game. The only downside is that it doesn't have any sweet alternate art :( I'll experiment with it,and let you know how it performs in a later post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and thanks for the compliment and +1!

August 19, 2018 3:38 p.m.

Mortlocke says... #4

Delta-117, your post is nothing but impressive. 75 minutes is alot of time to dedicate to a single post. Thank you.

Back in 2016, I wanted to acquire an Atraxa deck for myself, but unfortunately she was completely sold out everywhere. I had to settle for Breya, Etherium Shaper and Yidris, Maelstrom Weilder. Fast forward to 2018, and at a new LGS I spotted an Atraxa precon just sitting in the window. I asked if she was for sale, and ended up trading a Engineered Explosives and paying roughly 20ish bucks I think. I was lucky, because I wasn't the only person interested. I really wanted to build a deck surrounding the Praetors, because well...they're just really cool cards. I picked up a few at another LGS...but for this deck? I had plans.

Also, yes playing this deck is alot like archenemy. I am quickly voted Persona non grata, and the whole table quickly swoops in to destroy and dismantle all of my tools...while other less "scary" decks establish better boardstates, and eventually dominate the table into submission. Every game needs a villain, and I happily fill that role. And at the very least I have fun with it. I can't help but joke when I infect the whole table.

LANDS: The bond lands are cool and all, I just feel hesitant to include non-typed duals. Also the drawback is that those lands are duds if I ever play a 1v1 game. Admittedly it'd be rare when that happens, but it is definitely a possibility. Also,they can't be tutored. I'll admit the manabase is far from perfect, but i'll do some thinking (using your suggestions of course) and revise the list. What's funny is that I have a physical copy of Inkmoth Nexus in the deck already, but it's not on the digital list lol. Thanks for pointing that out.

Steady Progress is there primarily to keep tempo and increase poison counters on players, and drawing an extra card before the beginning of a turn is always a win. Now, Reliquary Tower is pretty niche. My deck doesn't get me a lot of draw unfortunately (something i'm working on), and the rare chance that Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur stays on the board long enough to really make Tower relevant...would be a surprise to me. I have a 2019 Reliquary Tower promo of it in my trade binder, I think i'll hold onto it and maybe do some experimenting.

Gavony Township seems like a really cool include. Given that most infect creatures need an increase in power and toughness placing +1/+1 counters on all of them in one fell swoop could be just the solution i'm looking for. I'll find a way to include it in the list.

CREATURES: I have a Phyrexian Swarmlord, just been trying to figure out how to work it into the deck. Corpse Cur has definitely been something of a dud where there have been just so few valid targets to bring back from the grave. My only qualm is that the deck needs some form of recursion, but Phyrexian Swarmlord is the bomb that this deck definitely needs to have a strong board state in the late game. I'll go ahead with your suggestion of swapping out the Putrefy, and see what happens. As for Champion of Lambholt, given that +1/+1 counters will never take center stage i'm hesitant to include her despite the benefits of the evasion she provides. Blightsteel Colossus is cool. Really, really cool. On theme, and intimidating- however the high CMC (even for this deck) just makes it unappealing to me.

Your other suggestion of Conqueror's Flail offers good protection (at least on my turn) and can potentially pump my creature up to +4/+4. If I see one, i'll pick it up and experiment with it. Also, I took a look at both lists and both Become Immense, Vines of Vastwood, and Mutagenic Growth (the flavor!) all caught my eye. All cards are instant speed, and can definitely make a player who begrudgingly accepts 1 poison counter to get far more than they bargained for. I want to figure out what to cut in order to include these beauties. Now, for Spellskite I like it. Full of flavor, and would be potentially a great albeit temporary defense. I just don't know what to cut for it. But the suggestion of Hatred really gave me pause. That's cool. It's applicable both early and late game...and can potentially end a player immediately for a fee of 9 to 17 life. Nobody would see it coming and it would be brutal. I'll definitely see if I can pick one of those up.

So on the topic of planeswalkers...I briefly considered including a Karn of some sort...but they deviate too far from theme. Honestly, I'm not really much of a fan of the mechanic. I have a few decks that have some Planeswalkers in them...but i feel really meh towards them. Just meh. Doubling Season would be great if this were a superfriends deck, but that is definitely something I want to stay away from. I'm just not a fan of those builds. As to your question about that Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, the answer is yes. I have an actual copy of that card. Long story short I was at my LGS playing EDH with a friend and I mentioned that I wanted a copy of that card, but it was 1 - very difficult to find, and 2 - very expensive. Then he just casually mentions that he had one - for trade no less. For a moment I was dumbfounded, but then he reminded me that he was a judge. Funny I didn't pay attention to that. So, with not a moment to spare I whipped out my trade binder and said "do your worst". The follow list below is what he picked up (it's a long one):

It was quite the trade. My friend took my juicy trade binder to town. But in the end, it was all worth it. I look forward to more discussion on this deck. I'll post more of my thoughts later. Thanks for commenting.

August 19, 2018 4:43 p.m. Edited.

_Delta_ says... #5

I will take another look at this list again when I have more time but its looking good so far.

In case you were wondering this is my current Atraxa decklist that I have been slowly upgrading over time, it could have been finished if I didn't now have so many other edh decks still in need of cards lol. I have the following 10-12 as commanders:

Atraxa, Praetors' Voice

Sliver Overlord

Meren of Clan Nel Toth

Kruphix, God of Horizons

Brago, King Eternal

Nekusar, the Mindrazer

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic

Talrand, Sky Summoner

Edgar Markov

The Ur-Dragon

And soon to be a playable Lord Windgrace decklist once I order the commander and a few other singles from the precon (which btw was built poorly), and even a Tuvasa, the Sunlit decklist! I think 12 is my absolute max I have to say and if there's ever any other generals that get my attention then I will have to just take apart an existing deck.

Atraxa Praetor's Voice (Current Decklist)

Commander / EDH Delta-117


Maybe take a look at this one, and or my other version mentioned in the description for more ideas. In the end I don't know if i'm going to really go with a full out superfriends decklist like that one shows, as there's some things I really want to include once I can get my hands on them such as Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon among others.

August 19, 2018 6:32 p.m.

_Delta_ says... #6

I forgot to say in my above post another card suggestion, I was thinking that you might like Phyrexian Scriptures here if at the very least for flavor.

August 19, 2018 6:55 p.m.

LordKunai says... #7

love this deck list. I'm more going for infect vs flavor with my atraxa deck but I was thinking/considering as like a cheap option... Sejiri Steppe might be cool. sub out a plains or something of the like and yeah it's a bit slower but giving a creature protection from a color is pretty awesome. I play my friend with a mono green elf deck and this card could be a one shot kill if they only need a few more counters. no spell required :D

August 20, 2018 12:55 a.m.

_Delta_ says... #8

lordkunai then wouldn’t it be simply better to play Apostle's Blessing for that scenario?

August 20, 2018 1:31 a.m.

LordKunai says... #9

_Delta_ I suppose. the only reason why I think Sejiri Steppe would be better is because if you consider the mana cost, you're loss of 1 mana, (from the land coming in tapped) is better than the 2 mana it costs you from Apostle's Blessing. Honestly IMO i would just run both.

August 21, 2018 2:55 a.m.

LordKunai says... #10

Also, something like Flickering Ward might be good. Lacks instant speed but costs 1 less than the Apostle's Blessing and you can bounce it before it gets destroyed. That, paired with a Vedalken Orrery or something of that nature would be great. Could trick someone into blocking one creature then bounce flickering ward to it before damage is assigned so it gets through, if i'm understanding that correctly. Also, can save it before it gets destroyed then instant speed attach it to another creature. IDK... too many thinks ;)

August 21, 2018 12:52 p.m.

LordKunai says... #11

LVL_666 or anyone else... does this deck seem a little mana and creature light? 33 lands is pretty light and only 20 creatures?

August 22, 2018 5:12 p.m.

Mortlocke says... #12

_Delta_, thanks for the additional suggestions. I'm definitely going to give your deck list a once over and give my two cents. Phyrexian Scriptures is so cool, and I forgot it existed. The only problem is that hardly any of the creatures in this deck are artifacts. Only 5 of the 20 creatures in this list are artifacts, so potentially I could save more than one creature on the board once mode 2 of the enchantment takes effect. I just want the card anyway so I think i'll pick one up.

lordkunai, thanks for the suggestion of Sejiri Steppe. Its a cool card, but I think the deck has enough evasion at the moment. Blighted Agent is my hardest hitter for the deck, and just having him out (especially early in the game) really wrecks the board. Cards like Apostle's Blessing and Flickering Ward are also pretty decent, but again I think the deck has all the evasion it needs. I just decided to include Vines of Vastwood because it's both the protection and damage boost infect creatures need all in one. I want to try and work in Become Immense but I don't know what to cut. Vedalken Orrery is just too much off theme to include, but it is a great card.

"... does this deck seem a little mana and creature light? 33 lands is pretty light and only 20 creatures?"

I do agree with you that the deck does seem a little light on creatures and land. Personally, I'm not going to run too many creatures because of the extremely high CMC of most of them. Of the 20, 12 creatures have a converted mana cost of or more. Currently I'd prefer to use more powerful creatures as opposed to just having more. As for lands, I'm aiming for something around 34 - 36 lands but again, i'm trying to figure out what to cut.

Again, thanks for commenting/posting on my deck page and keeping the conversation going. I'll try to respond as soon as I can, and eventually i'll figure out what i'd want to do with the page style wise.

August 25, 2018 5:32 p.m.

Doombeard1984 says... #13

Mimic Vat could be a good shout with things like Ichor Rats. Let it die, imprint it, then every turn you can create a copy and therefore dish out a poison counter. I would also suggest Putrefax. You can do the same thing and copy it once you sac it end of turn and have it as a 2 cost 5/3 infect bomb each turn.

I have recently made my own infect deck, Atraxa, The Infectious. so if you fancy having a look that would be awesome. I am also new to the poisonous way of doing things.

Defo a upvote though.

September 15, 2018 7:36 a.m.

Mortlocke says... #14

Hey Doombeard1984, thank you for commenting on the page, and the upvote. You're awesome, I'll definitely give your decklist my two cents. Mimic Vat is an interesting suggestion, as it provides some recursion and synergy with some creatures already in the deck (outside of Ichor Rats. However, outside of that the card doesn't have much use. I'd be more inclined to put it in the deck if I was able to work in a game ending combo with it. Are there any other cards you can think of? I do want to work in at least one infinite infect combo.

Thanks again for visiting the page by the way.

September 15, 2018 1:58 p.m.

Doombeard1984 says... #15

Thanks LVL_666 for the feedback. The only other Isochron Scepter + Dark Ritual imprinted, Mimic Vat with an Ichor Rats imprinted on it, Sol Ring and Paradox Engine. You could pay 3 and copy the rats, use sol ring for 2 and copy and cast the dark ritual, this with the paradox engine would untap all you non land permanent, use the 3 to copy the rats, sol ring for scepter, untap all non land permants, rinse and repeat? You would need a Melira, Sylvok Outcast out though to prevent you from dying to your own infect lol

September 16, 2018 4:35 a.m.

Doombeard1984 says... #16

Just realised, wasn't clear lol. Use the 3 from Dark Ritual to activate the Mimic Vat with the rats on it. Then use the Sol Ring to cast the Dark Ritual again. The casting would trigger the paradox engine to untap the sol ring, scepter and mimic vat to have it all available again to repeat. Hope that's clear, and in fact, correct lol

September 16, 2018 7:42 a.m.

Hey! So with my Atraxa infect, my creatures are killed a fair bit because "Infect is scary", so I always found value in running Kheru Lich Lord as a little bit of recursion. Another all-star in my deck is Altered Ego and Gigantoplasm for some cloning of either a Hand of the Praetors or an Ichor Rats.

Mine is here: . Just if you want to check out another deck for some ideas.

October 13, 2018 8:32 a.m.