February 10 is about to become a momentous date in the history of Magic: The Gathering, as the ninety-fifth expansion, Phyrexia: All Will Be One, officially releases. The 271 card set contains the penultimate instalment of the Phyrexian story arc, encompassing gorgeous artwork, tempting rares, and further exploration of the Phyrexian language and culture.
After several promising reveals and sneak peeks, the full set is almost here. Soon you’ll be able to choose to slowly build your collection with 16-card Draft Boosters, savouring each unwrapping, or go hard with the Compleat Edition – a mysterious and weighty box containing 12 Set Boosters, 40 foil basic lands, and a Compleat Edition booster with 2 Oil Slick Raised Foil Mythic Rares, and 10 Oil Slick Raised Foil Land cards.
This pack is awash with Poison, Proliferate mechanics, and Phyrexian translation, so let’s dig in and reveal what we know about this incredible new set and its inhospitable world of monstrous machines. It’s time to embrace your inner bad guy.
When do we get it?
The set itself launches on February 10, but players can get their hands on the new cards starting as early as this weekend, with Pre-Release events running in WPN stores around the world.. Beyond that, updates to Magic Story – the official column for all things lore and legend – have already been made, featuring authors such as Seanan McGuire and Reinhardt Suarez. These posts have given us a glimpse into the world of New Phyrexia, an oily, metallic world inhabited by some of the darkest characters the universe has to offer.
In-store launch party events will run between February 10-12, and the Compleat Edition will release on March 3.
Where is it set?
The world of New Phyrexia is pretty grotesque. It’s where you’ll spend much of your time in this new expansion, using cards that empower you to play the villain in this plane of mechanical monstrosities. Originally an artificial world named Mirrodin, the three-layered plane was overtaken and slowly reshaped to resemble the lost and much-honoured Phyrexia, which had nine-layers.
Once you sink down below the Glorious Facade, an unstable sphere embellished with monuments to the victorious (but not humble) Phyrexians, through the almost-uninhabitable Mirrex, under the Furnace Layer and the glorious oxidised metal trees of the Hunter Maze, you’ll start to understand the darkest excesses of Phyrexian culture. The Surgical Bays are a layer dedicated to grim and torturous experimentation, and the Dross Pits are where outsiders and outlaws must fight for their lives (and body parts) in the arena.
Descending further still, into the lair of the Mother of Machines, who resides in the Fair Basilica, the Phyrexian’s respect and awe for the Grand Cenobite becomes apparent. Elesh Norn perches on a throne here, surrounded by the glowing bodies of her calcified subjects, and lit by the blood-red capillaries embedded in the floor. She prevents any travel to the layers below…
What’s the story?
Of course those layers below have already got you thinking – it’s reverse psychology at its finest – but there is a pretty good reason for denying casual visitors. Beneath the thriving yet horrifying layers above lies Realmbreaker, a terrible mass of branches that grows stronger all the time. Protected by the layers of protection and a nurturing Seedcore, the heroes must dive through to the core of the plane to destroy Realmbreaker before he… breaks any realms.
We also know that five planeswalkers will be ‘compleated’ (killed and turned into soulless nightmare husks) in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, so be prepared to say goodbye to some long-running favourites by the end.
How does it work?
Elesh Norn is set to be one of the most desirable cards of the entire set – her status as Mother of Machines giving her some OP strength on the table. The card doubles your ETB triggers and disables that of your opponents, which could come in pretty handy. Other cards teased and revealed have included several planeswalkers including Kaito, Dancing Shadow; The Eternal Wanderer; and Lukka, Bound to Ruin, who comes with three pretty punishing abilities.
The first Commander deck will be led by Ixhel, Descendant of Atraxa, a white, green, and black Phyrexian angel who embodies some pretty evil abilities. The rebel’s Commander deck is led by Neyali, Sun’s Vanguard, a human rebel whose card relies on the use of tokens.
More than just a Britney song, Toxic is a new mechanic that will inflict poison damage on enemies according to the number shown on the card, meaning poison counters are officially back in Standard. Time to pull them out of storage, along with oil counters which go hand-in-hand with Phyrexian shenanigans.
Poison gets another boost with Proliferate, which allows you to add another counter to a single counter type. With enough poison counters, three will do it, a new mechanic titled Corrupted will come into play, making it even harder for your opponent to seize power. The mysterious Battle card type will also be included, but so far only fan theories have emerged…
Speculations and summaries aside, the new Phyrexia: All Will Be One set will drop this month, so be sure to grab a copy and find out the secrets and horrors of New Phyrexia for yourself. Or as the Phyrexians would say… ^ǩaπa hπŋotux ķoɮǩum ǩaπaxə ɢţrɒsad šdeχud.