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 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) Phyrexian tribal Atraxa Infect deck. Infect counters alone cannot win games - the inclusion of +1/+1 counters, "stax-like" cards that remove or detain creatures, lands and resources are vital to overcoming the political and mechanical difficulties unique to the Infect wincon. For flavor, the deck includes each Praetor that had an active hand in Atraxa's creation. But the Preators' inclusion is more than just a whim - each one contributes to limiting opponent resources while bolstering our own - contributing to a Soft Lock (See Slang: Lockdown) on the board.

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. There is however, a big but to consider - playing such a unique and arguably strong wincon as Infect will place the pilot of this deck at a political disadvantage for most games. Infect/Poison counters are typically viewed (from my own personal experience) as a high priority for opponents to address. Sometimes the whole table pitches in to completely dismantle your boardstate and keep you from playing magic. To try and counteract this, it is always important to set the expectation. With this deck in mind, announce to your opponents the themes that are core to its function before the game begins. For opponents who wish to not experience the wonders that Phyrexia could bring them - give them a chance to express their opinion (and disgusting embrace of flesh).

On a good draw, the deck can consistently threaten to win between turns 4-6 in a 4 player pod. According to the following the chart listed in The Command Zone podcast's How to Determine your deck's Power Level that would place this deck at a relatively high level of power. Not quite cEDH, but definitely at the stronger end of the spectrum.

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.

  • Glistener Elf + Sword of Truth and Justice + Tangle Wire : Lurking Predators of the Tangle - A "soft lock" synergy that limits opponent resources while a single creature advances as a Champion of Phyrexia - gaining +1/+1 counters, increasing Poison counters on an opponent, while maintaining Fading counters on Tangle Wire via combat damage and Sword triggers. Note: Tangle Wire can be one of the tapped Artifacts, Lands, or Creatures that must be tapped during your upkeep.
  • 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 opponents' resources giving Phyrexia a comfortable stranglehold on the board.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Thrummingbird + Parallax Tide: Thrumming Tide – This synergy either locks an opponent out of a color temporarily or in an ideal scenario (before turn 5) soft locks them out of playing magic entirely. With both permanents on the field, exile 4 of the opponents’ lands by removing 4 Fading counters from Parallax Tide. Then use Thrummingbird (or Grateful Apparition) to proliferate Fading counters on Tide. This combo functions best with at least 2 proliferation sources on the board to ensure future lands played will be exiled as well.

A word of advice to my fellow compleated players who wield Infect (but mostly this is a reminder to myself): Always remember to start a game of commander with the turn 0 talk (basically ask if everyone is cool with playing against your deck) to avoid (or at least delay) getting hated out of the game early on. From my own personal experience infect tends to be at a political disadvantage (see Sliver Hate). So never try to take it personally when the board collectively obliterates your board. Try to be more Zangief (while sharing his philosophy at Bad-Anon in Wreck-It Ralph) in your thinking:

"Then I have moment of clarity... if Zangief is good guy, who will crush man's skull like sparrow's eggs between thighs? And I say, Zangief you are bad guy, but this does not mean you are *bad* guy."

This deck is at it's most Vorthos when you find yourself playing archenemy - you aren't merely piloting New Phyrexia, you are New Phyrexia. Just remember the turn 0 talk, and remember to have fun.

P.S., I leave you dear reader with a fun little video: Completely & Unquestionably Accurate History: Dominaria - Chapter 3: The Phyrexian Invasion by WotC.


Updates Add

Blessings of Phyrexia upon you dear reader. Now, I don’t know about you but I was definitely holding my breath for a new Praetor showing up in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. I heard rumors last year that another Praetor would show - specifically a Jin-Gitaxias, Reality Hacker. What we received however, met my expectations (being an absolute powerhouse) and fortunately synergizes very well with this deck:

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There he is, the Progress Tyrant in all his glory. What card slot will he be taking? Well, he will be taking the slot of his previous instance – Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur. The previously mentioned just seems like a “win-more” card in this deck as I always end up hard casting it at the end of an opponent’s turn to attempt a soft-lock mid to late game and/or attempt to refill my grip to find answers. If I’m spending mana on a single spell then I should be attempting to wrap up the game. Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is a generic blue "good stuff" card that can go in any blue deck.

Progress Tyrant on the other hand has multiple advantages over its predecessor: a lower CMC (from to ) means itll hit the board sooner, which is just icing. The cake itself is simply glistening oil delicious. The first ability:

”Whenever you cast an artifact, instant, or sorcery spell, copy that spell. You may choose new targets for the copy. This ability triggers only once per turn” can be wildly abusive when I cast or double proliferate effects ala Tezzeret's Gambit, Sword of Truth and Justice, Contagion Engine, and speaking of artifacts what’s better than Blightsteel Colossus? Two. Two Blightsteel Colossi. Of course there’s the doubling of tutor effects, targeted removal, etc. It is a bit of a shame that the ability only triggers once each turn, but still it’s incredibly powerful.

As for the 2nd ability, and honestly my favorite: ”Whenever an opponent casts an artifact, instant, or sorcery spell, counter that spell. This ability triggers only once each turn”. Sweet Yawgmoth that is oppressive. Not only does this card provide protection for itself (as the opponent will have to sacrifice another instant sorcery or artifact to cast the spell they want), but it also disrupts their…ahem…progress on each of their turns. Glorious.

Last but not least, all of these wonderful effects are on a stacked 5/5 body. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better design for a new Jin-Gitaxias, and I for one will be acquiring a copy day 1 (In Phyrexian and in foil, of course.)

But wait, there’s more. This set provided me a pleasant surprise in the form of Tamiyo, Compleated Sage:

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This was a move I honestly didn’t see coming – bravo, Wizards. On principle alone I will be acquiring a Phyrexian copy of the card, but more importantly will it have a place in the deck? No. Not it won’t. Why? Well for essentially mana a planeswalker that barely protects itself isn’t remarkable. Her first ability is so-so, being able to tap down an important creature is decent. Her second ability is very conditional – if I don’t have a graveyard or haven’t filled it with creatures yet then it’s useless. Her ultimate gave me pause, as it’s a strictly better Urza's Incubator which is fire. The problem is the hoops I’d have to jump through – either I cast her for her full CMC of and hope he survives 1 or 2 turns, hope I have Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider on the field first, or hope I can get off two proliferation triggers the turn she enters the battlefield afterI’ve paid her full cost. Honestly, it’s too much of a hassle investing so many resources for arguably so little pay off.

Additionally, I just don’t like the idea of including a planeswalker because I don’t want to build a superfriends deck. I find the build very generic as one Atraxa superfriends deck plays like any other. Also, superfriends is completely flavorless – it makes no sense for Atraxa to lead the Gatewatch and an assortment of likely anti-phyrexia heroes into battle. Just a hot take of my personal opinion – I’m not trying to knock on anyone else’s deck or anything - end rant. Is anyone else excited for these two cards? Are there any cards that I’ve missed? Please let me know in the comments. Oh, and thanks for reading.

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29% Casual

71% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 4 years
Last updated 6 days
Key combos

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

18 - 0 Mythic Rares

50 - 0 Rares

17 - 0 Uncommons

10 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.88
Tokens Copy Clone
Folders 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 150
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-1 Phyrexian Scriptures main
+1 Toxic Deluge main