Phyrexia: All Will Be One cards for Traditional Cube

It's been a decent while ( about 2 months from The Brothers War) since I've done a set preview review for cube and ,man, has spoiler season for this set been awkward. The leaks were coming hot, but I normally ignored them since you can never be too sure that they were legit. Combined with WotC drip feeding us cards every few weeks in between all of the other topics surrounding the company and it feels like the set has lost a lot of momentum. Regardless, new cards is always a good time. 

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The way I approach card reviews for cube is that I separate them into 2 categories: recommendations and cards of interest. Recommendations are cards that I think will play impressively in a large variety of cubes. These are what I would consider the slam dunk inclusions. Cards of interest will typically be cards that are interesting to play. They might need some build around to get going but could create a different playstyle or archetype in your cubes.They are also cards that are good in limited, but might be environment dependent. 

Unfortunately, this does not seem like a set with a ton of general cube cards. The set looks interesting to play with poison counters taking the forefront of the set and being the focus of the limited environment. In turn, this is a narrow mechanic for most cubes since this mechanic plays best with infect and venom, which are not generally supported. What is beneficial about the introduction of toxic as a mechanic is that it further develops poison counters as its own archetype for cube. I'm not completely sure where the archetype will stand after this set, but I look forward to this strategy blooming.

The Short List


  • Sword of Forge and Frontier
  • Atraxa, Grand Unifier
  • Bloated Contaminator
  • Skrelv's Hive
  • Conduit of Worlds
Cards of Interest
  • Vraska, Betrayal's Sting
  • Nissa, Ascended Animist
  • Tyrannax Rex
  • Bladehold War-whip
  • Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden
  • Skrelv, Defector Mite
  • Otharri, Sun's Glory
  • Canker Bloom
  • Tyvar's Stand


Sword of Forge and Frontier
 is easily one of the most exciting cube cards of the set just by being part of the Sword of X and Y megacycle. It comes with the standard sword template and though the protection from red and green may seem lackluster at first, it does allow you to block and avoid the more threatening creatures like Elder Gargaroth. What makes this one so awesome is that it is the only other sword to give card draw by impulse drawing 2 cards. The card mitigates the possibility of exiling two lands by allowing you to play additional lands on trigger.

Initially, I was not a fan of the card. I did not like the on hit effect, however as I started to compare it to the other swords, I realized this is the sword that I want to add to my cube. What I like about the card is that it feels powerful, but won't take over a game. Drawing cards is always powerful and it's useful for every deck, however it doesn't normally create game winning plays. My main issues with the sword cycle as of right now is that either they do too much or are gimmicky and narrow. For example, Sword of Fire and Ice can completely take over a game on first connection as it creates huge discrepancies in card advantage and board state. On the opposite end, Sword of Truth and Justice does little to the game state other than conditionally making your creatures bigger. Sword of Forge and Frontier feels like it fits just right as it creates value without oppressing your opponent. I would rank this at #2 or #3 of the sword cycle and would recommend this for all cubes without restrictions

Atraxa, Grand Unifier is a card that the community had to sell me on since I normally dismiss multicolored high cmc creatures indiscriminately. After rereading the card a couple of times, I've come around to it especially since I still run Sphinx of the Steel Wind, which has not been feeling good to play for quite some and has almost always disappointed me. Atraxa feels like it will play along similar lines as it fits in as a control finisher and is perfect as a fatty cheat target. 
Being 4 colors is a hindrance to the card, however, this is not as big of an issue in the decks that want to play this card. With treasures becoming way more prevalent during 2022 with many of those cards being highly cube playable, Atraxa becomes much easier to hard cast for the control decks that already supplement their slower game plan with mana rocks. On the other end, fatty cheat decks don't care about MV since they find alternate ways to slam down cards.

The big selling point for the card is the card draw ETB ability. This is a big deal no matter what deck it is in. I am imagining that the card will at minimum draw you 4 cards each trigger, which is just insane and will give you the necessary gas to close out the game. Control decks easily want this card because of the card draw and the keywords, which should be able to stabilize your life total. For Fatty Cheat, this might be the best card to come out for the deck since Archon of Cruelty. One of the biggest set backs for the fatty cheat decks is that they commit a ton of cards to enable their big plays. This trade off is often crippling if the card they cheated out gets answered or if the impact of the card was not powerful enough. The card draw from Atraxa will make up for this weakness. The card might be too absurd for some cubes as it mitigates the primary weakness that Fatty cheat has.

Conduit of Worlds may at first look like a worst Crucible of Worlds and for the most part it is if you are intending to play it strictly as that. Where it shines is in its utility as a value engine. The tap ability allows you to cast nonland permanent spells from your graveyard. It is important to note two things about this ability. First off, it restricts the number of spells you may cast the turn you activated and is limited to sorcery speed. Secondly, the card you cast does not exile itself should it leave the battlefield. This would have created an insane situation if it did not limit you, but there is still a ton of value and interactions that you can gain from playing this card. From how I view it, it's a very fair crossover between Crucible of the Worlds and Underworld Breach.

What I like about the card is that it has a strong value as the game continues to drag out and it has strong synergies with graveyard decks. In a vacuum without synergies, you can use the conduit to return cards that were destroyed or sacrificed to other effects. In addition, playing lands from the grave will always be a strong ability as long as you have fetch lands, cycle lands, and channel lands in your environments. When including synergies, the mileage on the card grows exponentially. In graveyard decks, this card will become one of the best payoff cards for the deck. It turns your entire graveyard into your hand, which will overwhelm your opponent in card advantage since a good amount should be in the graveyard. Cards that sacrifice themselves will find a powerful pairing with the conduit as you can constantly return the card each turn. The card will be a role player in cubes that choose to run it.

First off, Skrelv's Hive should not be compared to Bitterblossom. The only similarilty they have is that they produce a token each turn for 1 life. The application of the tokens are entirely different, however the utility of making a token every turn can still come in handy. To begin, the card does not play well defensively. The token it makes can not block and they can't fly, two traits that pushed the faerie tokens of Bitterblossom. This made them an excellent candidates for carrying equipment, pushing damage, and blocking. With the mite tokens of Skrelv's Hive, they are unable to block which means your only option is to swing with them. They do still have their positives with conditional lifelink to stabilize your life totals and toxic to win the game on a different axis. The tokens are also artifacts and lend themselves to any artifact synergies that are present in your cube.

The only thing that draws me to the card is the upkeep trigger to generate a token each turn. This alone is enough to try the card out, however I feel that the set backs from the tokens will damage the playability of the card. But who knows, I downplayed decayed from MID.

Bloated Contaminator might be the strongest green 3 drop available when it gets released. For some, this is a clear example of powercreep. When comparing it to the other 3 drop available, this is the only card with a statline of 4/4 or better and trample that did not have any setbacks or a ridiculous casting cost of GGG. This alone merits its consideration in various cubes as a big, efficient beater. The toxic on the card is flavor text for most cubes since the chances of it mattering are very little, however this is one of the cards that will become an enabler for the poison counters archetype if it ever manages to gain enough cards to support it. The proliferate on the card is underwhelming since it is dependent on you having another source of counters to interact with because poison counters will usually be irrelevant.

For the purposes of cube, this is an easy include for me because it is a beatstick that is not that difficult to deal with. The proliferate lends itself to strategies such as +1/+1 counters and planeswalkers, both of which see play in ubiquitously already.

Cards of Interest

Vraska, Betrayal's Sting
is highly reminiscent of Ob Nixilis Reignited in the lines of play presented. In a vacuum, they essentially have the same +1 with life loss and card draw and a similar minus ability that "kills" a creature. They differ on the ultimate and the fact that Vraska is technically a 6 drop with phyrexian mana cost, though I highly doubt she will be cast for 6 mana. The ultimate on Vraska is not good when compared to other planeswalker ultimates and I cannot imagine a scenario where a player intentionally goes for it. It sets your poison counters to 9, which puts your opponent on a tight leash, but does not win the game or applies any pressure outside of decks that can give poison counters or proliferate. The "kill" ability on the card should be treated more like Path to Exile since it gives mana for your opponent.

What draws me to the card for cube is the proliferate on the 0 ability of the card. It opens up counter strategies and synergies in B/X while being a sidegrade to Ob Nixilis Reignited, which is a card I still consider for my cubes.

Nissa, Ascended Animist screams basic game plan and it's awesome. This feels a lot like Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury, which I have always liked as a card for commander cube. Each of the activated abilities feel useful and as a whole package creates a card that can try and win games on its own. Token generation as a plus ability is always good as it creates bodies to protect your planeswalker and later be used to push damage against your opponents. The -1 ability being a disenchant is always solid. Lastly, the -7 should be game ending. The phyrexian mana adds a ton of flexibility to how the card can be played and it's something to be appreciated. 

For cube, the only thing keeping this card in check is the awkward and clunky mana cost. I think the cost is too high and paying the minimum is too underwhelming. In addition, I visually don't like it but the more I think about how the card would play, the more I'm tempted to figure out how to run it. This might thrive in Green ramp decks, but until then the judgment on the card is to not include it this time especially since Garruk Wildspeaker is still a card. My commander cube is happy and will be looking forward to this card but, traditional will keep an eye on it.

Tyrranax Rex might be the most efficient 7 drop beater available when it is printed. A lot of the community compared it to Carnage Tyrant as they are similar creatures that fill in similar roles. The rex has a larger body and haste. This makes it better at ending games, however it trades the hexproof for ward, making it more vulnerable to targetted removal. Where this card can potentially shine is in poison counter shells. Right now that archetype is parasitic due to how insular the support for the archetype, however there are solid cards from ONE that incidentally have poison counters. As time continues, if WotC decides to throw more support this way, there can eventually exist a poison counter archetype.

I'm not a fan of either creature for cube as they are boring beaters from my perspective. It doesn't have an effect that excites me other than a powerful statline, which can easily be replicated by another creature. This card is definitely playable and excels in Reanimator and Show and Tell since it doesn't need to wait a turn cycle to hit someone hard. 

I'm a huge sucker for the 3 drop 2/2s with double strike and I have to take a look each time they print one. Bladehold War-Whip is a nice variation on the card design. This was clearly designed to act as the signpost card for RW equipment in ONE limited, but it looks to play well to support equipment decks in cube. The card being a noncreature artifact with For Mirrodin! makes for an interesting dynamic as it is another artifact/ equipment card for when you care about that interaction and also a creature card when you need bodies on the battlefield. The equipping cost reduction is nice, but nothing new or amazing. The actual equip cost on the card is way too high for faster cubes.

Unfortunately, this does not make it into most cubes unless you intentionally support equipments at a lowered power level. This card will definitely see play there just on the merit of being a 2/2 with double strike.

Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden is not good in the vacuum and is dependent on the environment surrounding the card. The card feels extremely similar to Baird, Steward of Argive in terms of how the card wants to play. Being a 2/2 in Boros is inherently worse than a monocolored 2/2 because of the color demand. What is interesting about the card is the card draw on the card. Though it mentions equipped creatures, the card draw part of the ability only cares if the card has 4 or more power. This makes it play well with pump spells, equipment, and aura cards that increase its stats. In the right decks, this card can draw each time it swings becoming a steady source of card advantage for Boros decks. Lastly, the trample on the card should not be underestimated as Jor Kadeen should be getting big.

This card supports Boros decks that plan to pump their creatures. If your cube supports that play style, this is a rewarding fit for those decks. If not, easy avoid.

Skrelv, Defector Mite is worth considering depending on your environment. As a seasoned cuber, Mother of Runes has always been a card that's been considered a staple of white's identity thanks to its utility and has been replicated to bring the effect to more modern formats such as modern. Skrelv functions similarly to Mother making it worthy of consideration. The difference between the cards do warrant consideration and thus the cards are not interchangeable with one another. Firstly, the card is legendary and an artifact, which matters if you need more of either card ( I run Yoshimaru in my cube and he always appreciates having more legendaries). Second, the card follows the Phyrexian Mite template meaning it has Toxic 1, which generally does not matter until you support it, and it can't block, which is problematic when you need blockers. Lastly, the activated ability interacts differently from Mother. There is an activated cost of (W/P) Phyrexian White, which isn't present in the other variation of this effect. Additionally, you must target another creature, which prevents Skrelv from protecting itself. It grants the target creature colored hexproof and colored unblockable. This will not prevent the damage dealt by blocking, which is a key feature of Mother variants. It also gives Toxic 1, which isn't important.

If you're running tight on space, this card is easily skippable as I think Giver of Runes and Mother of Runes are more than enough and play way better than Skrelv, however this card isn't a complete write off. This would be one of the cards I would recommend reexamining from time to time as you. The extra types are appreciated by various archetype and toxic has some pretty good general cards that it doesn't seem out of place to see the archetype in cubes as people figure it out.

Otharri, Sun's Glory is more exciting to me than than it should be. To get this out of the way first, Otharri being a 5 drop 3/3 is a huge downer as this means it dies to Lightning Bolt however, if you managed to swing with this card once, this is going to take the game. What helps this card stand out from similar cards is that it has haste and it can recur itself using a token it created. This is solid in situation where you are looking to quickly sneak in damage or continue your aggression after a board wipe. Thanks to flying, Otharri can swing safely and create tokens with each swing similar to Myrel and Krenko. The number of tokens generated is based on experience counters, which you get for just attacking. These are extremely difficult to deal with and interact with proliferate as a mechanic. 

In my current iteration of Boros, there's no room for this card and it is a poor fit. In Boros decks looking to go bigger, I can definitely see this thriving in those decks or in environments that are slower. This also does compete with the 5 drops in the other colors and does seem underwhelming when compared to Thundermaw Hellkite or Baneslayer Angel. Regardless, I like the card in a vacuum, someone just needs to find it a home.

Cankerbloom looks strong, but I'm not a fan of Thrashing Brontodon nor this. Main reason being is that I do not like sacrificing my cards to remove other cards. With that out of the way, I still have to acknowledge that this card is something amazing. Cathar Commando is a really strong cube card already and this card trades the flash for the proliferate and extra toughness. Being a 2 drop 3/2 is an impressive statline already and is worth considering for more aggressive Green archetypes alone. The extra abilities give it additional utility, expanding its desirability past aggro decks. Notably, proliferate further supports any counter strategy that you may already have in your cube, but minimally it will help out with any planeswalkers.

I might need to reconsider my stance on this card. I'm not in the market for an aggressive green two drop, however the card looks pushed and will have the power to stay in any cube for a long time. 

Tyvar's Stand is another variation in Green's list of protective combat tricks. The card can only target creatures when comparing it to Heroic Intervention or Tamiyo's Safekeeping, but granting hexproof and indestructible is solid protection against anything your opponent might have.  Beyond protecting your creatures, you can use the card to push in more damage kind of like a green Fireball or to trade up with your opponent's creatures. The scaling cost of this card makes it extremely flexible and always being able to cast it for G in a pinch just gives the card a ton of mileage.

This card would be worth considering if I ran more combat tricks in Green. Cubes that do will find satisfaction in the inclusion of this card. If you don't, save 20 cents with this easy skip.

The End Phase

Hoping to be able to play this set at prerelease to get a better feel for the cards. I really want to see how well Toxic plays in its own environment to test the waters if I can convert that experience into singleton cube. The set itself seems more absurd when you take the time to look through it as initially, I dismissed a lot of the cards thinking they were more narrow than they actually were. So to hopes of joy that this set is fun to play.

I did feel that this spoiler season felt so off and it might be with how information for the set was getting out. I mainly use Mythic Spoiler for my spoiler news and normally the site is on top of it for handling spoilers, but I felt the leaks threw a wrench with how they normally operate and I wasn't sure if the cards were real since fake leaks happened before. Many of those cards did not have updated images when the full set dropped and I had to go elsewhere to find accurate information.

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