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 Tymaret, the Duke of Death

2 days ago

So the first card that comes to mind is Mindslicer . In Rakdos decks, you can typically tune your 99 to make you the king of top-decks; this is part of the reason reanimating Sire Of Insanity is such a brutal play in decks like Xantcha, Sleeper Agent .

You're likely to be sacrificing a whole butt-ton of creatures. I advise ways to exploit your guys dying: Dictate of Erebos or Grave Pact come readily to mind. Skullclamp is pretty busted if you're going to be sacrificing creatures anyways, and its especially good seeing as you're running Gravecrawler already.

Zombies is one of the oldest archetypes, and thus it has access to a LOT of tribal effects. Cemetery Reaper , Death Baron , Zombie Master , Undead Warchief , Lord of the Accursed and Lord of the Undead are all good ways to pump your team and/or give them extra abilities. (Depending on the meta, you may want to run Bad Moon as well.) Call to the Grave is really good if you can tune the deck to have 2 or fewer non-zombie creatures. Dark Salvation and Liliana's Mastery are both viable cards in this deck. Graveborn Muse is another good card draw engine next to Phyrexian Arena , which I see you're already running. Unholy Grotto gives you a measure of recursion over your zombies. Noxious Ghoul also comes to mind, as does Withered Wretch as a form of one-sided graveyard hate.

One common issue I've seen in a lot of EDH decks is the prevalence of 1-for-1 instant and sorceries. In a majority of EDH games, you're going to have 2-3 opponents, rather than just one; this means you are facing roughly 2-3 times as many cards as you yourself have access to. Cards like Dreadbore and Terminate are good in 1-on-1 formats like Modern, but in EDH I have frequently found them to just not be good enough. I advise you run cards like Fire Covenant , Ashes to Ashes , Volcanic Fallout or Toxic Deluge instead. These have the potential to take out several creatures at the cost of one card, leaving you up that many cards over your opponents.

On a related note, since most games of EDH are decided by card advantage, anything you can do to draw cards will always be welcome. Ambition's Cost , Night's Whisper and the like are good ways to refill your hand. Wheel of Fortune is another good card, but it's about $100 now, so... consider carefully. Light Up the Stage is another one to consider. While Rakdos is good at topdecking, managing to draw extra cards means it is more likely to hit.

Black has access to many great tutor effects. You may want to consider running Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor if you're able to get ahold of the cards. Gamble is a good red tutor.

Looting effects tend to be very good in zombie decks, which have access to graveyard recursion. Faithless Looting is essentially card advantage in your deck, because you can discard things like Gravecrawler at no cost. Similarly, I advise running a bigger reanimation package (supplementing your Animate Dead ) to get back fatties your opponents may have killed or you may have discarded. Reanimate , and Necromancy are good cards -- if you want to get spicy, Dance of the Dead is a card most people have never played against before, mostly because it isn't nearly as good as the other three. But I figured I'd mention it. Also, a bigger reanimation package means things like Entomb or Buried Alive become exponentially better.

With regard to planeswalkers, Liliana, Death's Majesty is a good card for any zombie deck.

With regard to your lands: I don't think Blighted Fen is very good, and Temple of the False God should be replaced with Ancient Tomb if at all possible. If you want good utility lands that can kill pesky creatures, I advise Blast Zone . If you are able, I advise running Bloodstained Mire and/or the off-color fetches in order to grab your Blood Crypt or Smoldering Marsh . These fetches are in effect extra dual lands.

If you have a lot of recursion, which I see you do in things like Phyrexian Reclamation , you may have luck with pox-style cards. Pox is one of the most brutal cards to resolve in EDH, and Smallpox and Innocent Blood also can be played to great effect. Note that these get around hexproof, shroud and indestructible.

Depending on how hateful your meta is, you may want to consider some pretty mean red cards. Changing your land base slightly will give you access to Blood Moon , Magus of the Moon and Ruination , while Price of Glory will make people think twice about casting counter-magic. If your meta is as blue-heavy as mine, Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast are also fine considerations. If you end up running a lot of lord effects, you may want to consider Pyroclasm or Anger of the Gods , as your guys won't die if they're big enough. Possibility Storm is a good way to disrupt combo players -- I should know, as I play Storm in cEDH.

Because black has literally only one card designed to destroy artifacts ( Gate to Phyrexia ), red is a welcome addition to the team. By Force is a favorite of mine, but Shattering Spree , Vandalblast and Shatterstorm are also good ideas.

Rocks are great in EDH, especially if they're only 1 or 2 mana. I advise Talisman of Indulgence to replace Rakdos Locket and Mind Stone to replace Commander's Sphere . Coldsteel Heart is good as well, though it enters tapped, just like Charcoal Diamond and Fire Diamond . Thought Vessel is also worth considering.

Good luck with deck building!

SideBae on Vial Smashes Affinity

2 days ago

So my first thought is that you should run a LOT of instants, rather than just 2. Vial smasher can trigger on ANY turn, not just one, so running something like Dig Through Time would be... really good. Generally, you'll want these instants to draw you more cards, so Fact or Fiction and Glimmer of Genius are also fine choices. Cards with alternate casting costs also tend to have high CMCs: for example, Force of Will is a Lava Axe in this deck, as well as a counter spell. While Force may be a pricey card, other cards from the same cycle aren't. Contagion is well under a dollar, and can potentially also 2-for-1 with opposing creatures, while Pyrokinesis is even stronger. Misdirection and Commandeer also come to mind. If you want to get REAL spicy, Mind's Dilation is another good way to cast spell on your opponents' turns, but bear in mind this card tends to be killed pretty fast.

Flash creatures like Torrential Gearhulk also seem like pretty good ideas.

I suggest replacing Vedalken Orrery with Leyline of Anticipation . It's (very) slightly harder to remove an enchantment than an artifact, but more importantly if Leyline is in your opening 7, you avoid having to pay its cost. I can see a world where you play both, though.

I see you're running a few mana rocks, but I advise more. Two mana rocks tend to be far superior to 3 mana rocks, so Dimir Signet and Rakdos Signet are likely better than Thought Vessel or Worn Powerstone . Talisman of Dominance and Talisman of Indulgence also come to mind. Being in green means you have access to a whole host of dorks, like Llanowar Elves , Fyndhorn Elves , Arbor Elf , and Elves of Deep Shadow . These 1-drops may not look like much, but being able to accelerate you into quickly casting your general and then the following high-cost cards is a good thing. Orcish Lumberjack is a personal favorite in any red-green deck. However, if you choose to go via artifact ramp and not dork-ramp, this opens you to using effects like Pyroclasm or Volcanic Fallout to keep opponents' creatures in check. Ancient Tomb tends to be REAL nice for powering out turn-one 2-drop rocks. Depending on how blue-heavy your meta is, Carpet of Flowers can range from good to a straight-up powerhouse. If you take this part of my advice, your curve will drop significantly and you will be able to run 32-ish lands with no real problem.

You'll also probably want a good card-draw package, if you're planning to cast a lot of spells. Azra Oddsmaker is a goldmine if you have an open opponent to attack, and black has access to enchantments like Phyrexian Arena . Night's Whisper and Ambition's Cost are also good, and work well with Kydele.

Delve spells will act sort of like X-cost spells, but be easier to cast late-game and harder early-game. Empty the Pits may be interesting, but you should also consider Logic Knot , Treasure Cruise and Tasigur, the Golden Fang . Tasigur will give you an out later in the game for excess mana, and will allow you a level of recursion. In order to make these cards powerful, you need cards in the graveyard. For that, I recommend Faithless Looting , Jace, Vryn's Prodigy  Flip and Dack Fayden . While these last two are pricier cards, I think looting is the best here of the three, as you can cast it turn one to filter out a hand that may be too heavy in lands or spells. The flashback is also very significant. Jace is a powerful card in that he allows more card filtration on a permanent, and allows you to snap back a spell if you want. Dack Fayden is a boss in EDH, where stealing a Sol Ring is very common. So even if you don't need to filter your draws, stealing a rock should be an option about 98% of the time.

Speaking of card filtration, Ponder , Preordain and Brainstorm are all potent cards in any blue deck. While they may not work particularly well with Vial Smasher, they all work rather well with Kydele while also giving you a cantrip to cast turn 1. A lot of times, these are the cards that make a boarderline-keep hand into a keep hand for me, as they are extremely good at finding lands and/or spells as need be.

With Kydele, cards like Windfall , Wheel of Fortune and Winds of Change all become rituals in addition to their usual effects. Running Notion Thief in conjunction with these 'everyone draws' spells is... good. Similarly, targeting an opponent with Dack Fayden 's +1 while Notion Thief is on the field is a pretty good way to tip the card-advantage scales in your favor.

I like Whip of Erebos . You should consider running some Entomb or Buried Alive effects with it, as that would allow you to get some one-shots in with powerful creatures when hitting an opponent or just when entering the battlefield. Nicol Bolas and Massacre Wurm comes to mind.

Good luck with deck building!

Doombeard1984 on In Space No One Can Hear You Scream...

3 days ago

Also, just the one counterspell seems a little irrelevant. you have to luck into drawing it, and then if you cant buy it back, its gone. Would probably look at increasing these, as unless its a mass exile or -1/-1 effect, you should be ok. counterspells stops the big boardwipe threats.

Also, more draw effects ( Vanquisher's Banner , Lifecrafter's Bestiary , Rhystic Study , Phyrexian Arena ) will all help. Also, untap engine with things like Paradox Engine and Intruder Alarm is pretty much draw and play deck if you have a haste and mana sliver out.

Finally, Amoeboid Changeling is hilarious. can steal an opponents commander, or key creature. totally worth it

Sorry, I have written a lot now... I'll go lol

multimedia on A Smile a Day Keeps Death Away (Alesha Primer)

3 days ago

Hey, your deck is great, but where's Command Tower ? Nice primer lots of work went into, it's well organized and written :)

Upgrades to consider:

Enlightened Tutor has many powerful cards that it can tutor for especially a sac outlet, Skullclamp or Reconnaissance . Cruel Celebrant is another aristocrat. Selfless Spirit is a nice support creature with Alesha and Lark. Palace Jailer can be reanimated by Alesha, gives you the monarch (your end step draw) and can exile an opponent's creature; that's a lot of interaction for a four drop. Yahenni, Undying Partisan is a fantastic sac outlet in Commander because board wipes are going to happen with multiple opponents. He's also a another creature sac outlet which is important with Alesha. Only currently having Seer as the only creature sac outlet is risky.

I don't think Ravos, Soultender is worth playing he's another five drop and his recursion is worse compared to Lark and Guide's reanimation who are also five drops. Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord is lackluster compared to all the other reanimation here because many creatures you want to reanimate have high CMCs which doesn't play well with his -X ability. Out of all the four drops Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice doesn't do much. It's nice that she can be reanimated by Alesha, but why would you choose to reanimate her out of all the other creatures? I don't think she's worth playing for that reason. Twilight Prophet has a powerful ability, but only if you have the city's blessing which without a token strategy is slow. I'm not a fan of Phyrexian Arena in Commander it's too slow. I think you're much better off getting draw from creatures with Alesha especially with Skullclamp . Good luck with your deck.

SideBae on Breya, Artifact Shaper Synergies

4 days ago

Breya is always an interesting deck. I personally like the infinite-mana options; repeatedly casting Breya, then sac-ing her and one of the thopters to bolt an opponent results in game over immediately. I see three ways that are easiest to achieve that goal.

First, the bomberman combo: Auriok Salvagers with Lion's Eye Diamond . LED is an infamously expensive card though, so the other two may be easier to get ahold of.

Second, reanimated dragon combo: Worldgorger Dragon with Animate Dead , Necromancy , Dance of the Dead , or any other reanimating enchantment. The Worldgorger (which is reanimated from the yard) trigger exiles the reanimation enchantment, which lets it die, which returns the enchantment, which brings back the dragon... tapping all your lands/mana rocks for mana when they flicker in results in infinite mana. You really need another creature to target to end the loop, but it isn't too difficult to make sure this is the case.

Third, Dramatic Reversal with Isochron Scepter . You'll need 3+ mana from the rocks, but that also shouldn't be too hard.

Note that combos 1 and 2 accommodate Entomb effects as a tutor. So if you want to run those combos, Entomb , Buried Alive and/or Faithless Looting and the like are your friends. Note also that 1 and 2 generate infinite ETB triggers. Pairing them with Altar of the Brood allows you to win even if your commander has been countered or removed to oblivion. Furthermore, running Sculpting Steel or Phyrexian Metamorph to copy Sharuum the Hegemon creates a loop where you sac one to the legend rule and then bring back either the original or copying artifact. That also generates infinite ETB triggers, and is a pet combo of mine.

I strongly advise tutors outside the transmute ones. Demonic Tutor , Vampiric Tutor , Imperial Seal , Enlightened Tutor , Reshape , Whir of Invention , Gamble and Transmute Artifact are all in your colors (though some are more easily obtained than others). These will increase your deck's consistency, regardless of whether you decide to use the combo-build.

Depending on your deck's budget, you might want to consider your mana base as a work-in-progress. Slow Fetches like Rocky Tar Pit and Flood Plain are well under a dollar, and work well enough as a replacement for Bloodstained Mire or Flooded Strand . Mana Confluence and City of Brass are also powerhouses in a 4-color deck. You should at least consider Forbidden Orchard .

I advise Swords to Plowshares over Path to Exile . Ramping your opponent is especially dangerous in EDH, but the life-gain is typically not relevant.

Ramp is important in any EDH deck. Mind Stone is a good addition, along with Ancient Tomb . I typically don't care for 3-mana rocks, but Chromatic Lantern is good in 4- or 5-color decks. Izzet Signet is a good idea in addition to the other two signets you're running. Non-blue ones aren't nearly as good, but if you really need another, I advise Orzhov Signet over Boros Signet or Rakdos Signet . Sculpting Steel and Phyrexian Metamorph are good ways to copy opponents' rocks as well as your own, or even creatures in the case of the metamorph. Copy Artifact is another option.

Because you're in black, you have access to some real good card draw. Phyrexian Arena and Staff of Nin are good as permanent sources of card-advantage. Ambition's Cost , Ancient Craving , Painful Truths and Chart a Course are all good ways to draw cards as well.

If you're running Eldrazi Displacer , I suggest also running Containment Priest . That becomes {2}{C}: Exile target creature.

Good luck with deck building.

Daveslab2022 on Ocean Bound, Yet Bound by the Ocean

4 days ago

Deadeye Quartermaster doesn’t seem to be doing much for you. Same for Ramirez DePietro haha. I know he's flavorful, but you asked for advice lol. Rigging Runner seems underwhelming for EDH. Bedlam seems bad if you’re having issues with creature matches. Pirate's Prize is a fine card I seen to draw cards and give you some treasure. Vandalblast for sure. Other than those, probably just EDH staples like Phyrexian Arena check out for other ideas! Hope i helped!

SideBae on Zombo's and God's

5 days ago

As a general rule, adding things to slow your opponents down is a good way to start taking a deck to the next level. Idk how much search your meta has, but Ashiok, Dream Render works wonders against enemy tutors while also providing a level of graveyard hate.

Liliana, Death's Majesty is well under $10 and should be strongly considered for any zombie deck.

Unholy Grotto is a utility land you might be interested in, as it provides some recursion for your zombies.

You also seem to be relatively light on card draw or selection. Ponder , Preordain and Brainstorm are all good cantrips, especially if conjoined with shuffle effects like Evolving Wilds or Terramorphic Expanse . Personally, I like Night's Whisper and Chart a Course as two-for-ones, but I see you're running Phyrexian Arena ; that is a solid permanent which produces card advantage. Graveborn Muse is also a similar consideration, although the life loss may need to be countered by a Whip of Erebos or the like. In a similar vein, something like Slate of Ancestry may work well with the token-producers you have; Curse of Disturbance seems a good consideration to add to the token-package. It's worth noting that a large majority of EDH games are decided by card advantage.

I'm not sure how well Crypt of Agadeem works; I've had poor results with it. You may want to just run a basic land instead.

The Undermine slot is likely better served with Sinister Sabotage . In a format with 40 life, making an opponent lose 3 life is equivalent to draining them 1.5 life in a 20 life format. In all likelihood, you may just want the ability to filter your draws or (ideally) to bin a zombie, then cast it from the graveyard with Gisa and Geralf without needing to worry about wasting a draw on it.

I've also not had good experience with 3-mana artifact mana-producers. I suggest Dimir Signet and Talisman of Dominance instead of Mana Geode and Chromatic Lantern . Chromatic Lantern really only becomes strictly necessary in 4- or 5-color decks, and since you're 2, it seems superfluous.

I also notice you're running Xenograft and Arcane Adaptation . I don't think these cards are necessary, especially if you cut Call to the Grave for something like Grave Pact or Dictate of Erebos .

I always like seeing a list with Exquisite Blood in it; you should run Sanguine Bond as well, as these two together produce an auto-win. Also, if you put a way to grant lifelink (such as the aforementioned Whip of Erebos ), Sanguine Bond begins to act as a pseudo damage-doubler.

Depending on your meta and whether there are other creature-based black decks, Bad Moon may be a good insert as an anthem effect. Similarly, barring an over-abundance of artifact decks, you may want to include Ashes to Ashes as a two-for-one removal spell.

Since UMA came out, Entomb is only a few dollars; Buried Alive acts similarly. So I advise adding that, as well as reanimation effects like Animate Dead , Necromancy or Reanimate . Being able to produce a Grave Titan turn two is always a massive plus. But don't feel limited to just Grave Titan , though; things like Helldozer are good reanimation targets as well. If you just want big, black fatties, Massacre Wurm and Phyrexian Obliterator are two of my favorites (though they're relatively expensive).

Good luck with the zombies. The living dead are bosses.

Joe_Ken_ on Overlooked card for potential card ...

6 days ago

While looking for enchantments and stuff for a build I’ve been working on for Queen Marchesa I stumbled across this card.

Pursuit of Knowledge

From what I’m getting about the card is that you don’t necessarily have to skip your draw step draw and get to choose when you want to skip drawing a card. This could be done with the Monarch trigger for example or other draw triggers like ones from Phyrexian Arena or draw spells like Brainstorm which would fill the counters right away despite you needing to put 2 cards on top of the deck afterwards before then drawing 7 cards.

Then you can also get into proliferate triggers as a way to build these up fast for decks that do run themes like that.

Lastly I do like that as long as it has the 3 counters on it you can sac it at any moment to net you those 7 cards so holding onto it may be a good idea to leave it up for whenever you think may be best to draw a new hand.

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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%

W/B (Orzhov): 0.98%

Rakdos: 0.79%

W/U/B (Esper): 0.67%

RBW (Mardu): 1.01%