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. Poison or -1/-1 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.

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

Long have I waited for not only a return to New Phyrexia, but for Poison to finally stop being a parasitic mechanic within the context of Commander. This set really means a lot to me, and overall I am very excited over the product. The aesthetic, the flavor, power level, and the narrative have all been immaculate as far as I'm concerned. The only downside doesnt lie with the product, its what is going on in the background with Wizards as a company. Leadership decisions regarding the treatment of Magic as a property have led to controversy - overprinting, the poor quality of cards (fortunately, none of the cards i've acquired thus far are curling), and the arbitrary price increases of a box of cards (looking at preorder prices for The Compleat Bundle). Phyrexia: All Will Be One is an excellent set that at the time comes from a company with awful decision making towards its customer base. With all the "bad" discussed and out of the way, let's talk about the new cards that will be incorporated into this deck:

  • Hand of the Praetors: Given that Infect isn't the main mechanic when it comes to creatures, this cut was obvious. The primary benefit of targeting opponents directly with poison counters was beneficial in getting the ball rolling with proliferating counters on players but fortunately now there are far more efficient methods.

  • Viridian Corrupter/Priests of Norn/Glistener Elf/Blight Mamba: Infect creatures have generally had weak power and toughness as their combat damage was potentially devastating with some form of evasion and/or a pump spell. This doesn't change the fact that on their own however, Infect creatures are kind of bad - with the exceptions being Blightsteel Colossus and Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. The previously mentioned were cut to make room for the new Toxic creatures that boast overall better utility as well as power/toughness.

  • Grateful Apparition: This was always a placeholder being used as a redundant Thrummingbird. But given that Apparition is not a Phyrexian it was going to be cut for literally almost anything new.

  • Winds of Abandon: I have always wished that Winds of Abandon was more Swords to Plowshares than Path to Exile. Ramping your opponents is always a bad thing, and this spell does it in one big decisive play. I always wanted this spell to work for me, but in the end I knew it had to be cut to make room for something better.

  • Sheoldred, Whispering One: Sheoldred has actually won me games before as she directly contributes to the "Soft Lock" sub theme of the deck, but hasn't really been conducive to the aims of this deck which is to poison and proliferate. I guess that's on theme though, as in the new story Sheoldred alongside the heretic Urbrask declared war on Elesh Norn so I guess it would very on flavor to cut her from the deck.

  • Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger: VoH has always been a good card, but much like Sheoldred wasn't really conducive to what the deck wants to do. This had to be cut however, to make room for a creature that would have much more cohesion.

  • Toxic Deluge: Deluge is easily one of the best forms of mass removal in the format, and when I saw the Phyrexian themed printing I knew i'd at least have to try it for the flavor. But All will Be One continues to provide, and offered me a spell that isn't just similar, but has more synergy with the deck.

  • Swamp: This was a simple cut to make room for a new land - but only one. Most of the Spheres don't seem all that relevant to this deck, but they are interesting at least. Also, does anyone else think that the new exclusive lands only available in the Compleat bundle are a bit much? Honestly, they don't even look like basics to me.

  • Phyrexian Arena: While considered a staple i've always found this Enchantment to be a bit lacking as it requires time to be considered viable. In a game where opponents are far ahead, or this card is drawn late game it amounts to too little too late as far as i'm concerned.

  • Ixhel, Scion of Atraxa/Contaminant Grafter: The Corrupted mechanic represents what I want the future of Poison to be - I want Poison counters to matter to the opponent, no matter how many they have.On multiple occasions my opponents have expressed little to no concern having 2 or 3 poison counters put on them as they felt they still had plenty of time to deal with me.

  • Skrelv, Defector Mite: A Mother of Runes style Phyrexian creature that also grants Toxic? Seems like an auto include in this deck to say the least.

  • Myr Convert: Having another Phyrexian mana dork that can tap for colored mana and put Poison counters on opponents is a must include that can help take care of the relatively color dense CMCs of some of the spells in the deck.

  • Bloated Contaminator: This is literally the dream creature I've always wanted from a Phyrexian set - it does everything by both putting Poison counters on players and Proliferating them. The added bonus of it being on a 4/4 trample body for only is simply sublime. This creature is definitely going to be one of my all time favorites in this deck.

  • Tyrranax Rex: Speaking of all time favorites, this creature is nothing short of awesome - with enough keywords to basically be Phyrexian Questing Beast. To top it off this thing is a badass Dinosaur! It feels like the Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon of the set as if left unchecked this thing can easily overrun opponents.

  • White Sun's Twilight: Isn't perfect as it does destroy my side of the board, but at the very least the consolation of gaining X life and creating X mites with Toxic 1 can potentially end games under the right conditions. The life gain here is also particularly relevant as there are a number of cards in the deck that can be taxing on the life total over time. Not to mention being in a politically weak position as players more often than not will feel inclined to swing into me ignoring players that are clearly in the lead and vulnerable.

  • Vraska, Betrayal's Sting: I'm quite happy with the new narrative surrounding the Jacewatch. I've generally felt indifferent toward planeswalkers - especially that group as they were nothing but Marvel Avengers archetypes in Magic the Gathering's universe as far as I was concerned. Vraska now being the second Planeswalker concerned with Poison is a pleasant surprise and a welcome addition. All of her abilities are awesome and flavorful - her -2 ability is reminiscent of Oko, Thief of Crowns, but is far more balanced as it isn't a plus ability. Still, she is incredibly strong and I very much look forward to using her.

  • Phyresis Outbreak: Is the removal of my dreams as it can get rid of indestructible creatures but also places poison counters on opponents without targeting them. This is an absolutely awesome spell that was much needed to ensure the viability of Poison as a mechanic in Commander. Additionally, Prologue to Phyresis and Infectious Inquiry are very welcome additions.

  • Venerated Rotpriest: Is mostly a deterrent as I have few if any spells that directly target my own creatures.

  • The Seedcore: As i've said before, this is simply Sliver Hive but for Phyrexians.

  • Staff of Compleation: This card is an outright red herring as far as i'm concerned. Sure, it boasts a whole bunch of fancy abilities but the cost will add up very quickly without an infinite combo outlet. I wanted to love this card when it was first spoiled but I can't help but feel that it's not as great as it seems - at least within the context of this deck. Please let me know if i'm missing something here!

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39% Casual

61% Competitive

Revision 123 See all

(1 month ago)

Top Ranked
Date added 4 years
Last updated 1 week
Key combos

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

21 - 0 Mythic Rares

49 - 0 Rares

15 - 0 Uncommons

10 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.97
Tokens Copy Clone, Emblem Ajani, Sleeper Agent, Phyrexian Mite 1/1 C, Treasure
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 194
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