Fact not Fiction: Hot or Not – New Phyrexia Edition by Michael Maxwell

Fact not Fiction – The Winners and Losers from Pro Tour Paris by Michael Maxwell


I’m going to take a look at cards from New Phyrexia which I think are either Hot or Not. You don’t need me to tell you that Batterskull is going to be good in Caw-blade or that Loxodon Convert isn’t going to make waves in Legacy, so I’m going to focus on cards that I think are either not getting enough attention right now or are being over-hyped. I’m going to be focusing mainly on Standard and their immediate applications, although I will mention other formats and Standard after rotation where necessary.

Karn Liberated – NOT

I don’t see a place for this guy right now in Standard. Resolving a 7 mana threat through both Mana Leak and Spell Pierce is no mean feat. If there is a deck right now that wants him I think it’s probably RUG, as getting him out on turn 4 and vindicating a permanent is going to be quite damaging to both Caw-Blade and Valakut. And as for Karn causing Eldrazi Green to make a resurgence, I just don’t see it. That deck needed more than this to make it good. Yes, if you exile an Eldrazi from your hand and then ultimate Karn you win, but you could exile the 6 of spades and a ham sandwich with Karn then ultimate him and you’d still win. I had a real soft spot for Nicol Bolas, so I want Karn to be playable, but at least until rotation I’d be surprised to see more than the odd copy in any top 8.

Phyrexian Metamorph –  HOT

This card does a lot of things. Tezzeret decks need another 3-drop, so this could provide some consistency to those decks by adding a lot of redundancy. It also forms and infinite loop with Leonin Relic-Warder by copying it and then exiling itself, since the Metamorph remains an artifact. If you have something in play with an enters the battlefield trigger such as Suture Priest, Soul’s Attendant, or any number of other guys then you generate infinite triggers. Definitely one to watch out for, and is likely to find a home in Extended too.

Surgical Extraction – NOT

If Vengevine was a major player in Standard right now then this would be one of the best answers for Caw-blade and other decks that have trouble with the recurring plant. As it is, this card should have next to no place in the current Standard. Turn 1 Duress your Jace, turn 2 Extraction them all out your deck is NOT a strategy. You’ve spent 2 cards and 2 mana and have done nothing whatsoever to further your own game plan. You have to be playing the right discard spell to hit whatever worries you most, have them draw it, and have the Extraction. And if you achieve that, so what? You’ve mulliganed to 5, applied no pressure, and now they can beat you up with Stoneforge, Gideon, Inferno Titan, whatever they please. Cards like Extraction are scalpels not sledgehammers. Probably not even good in Legacy where Extirpate is likely better if you want that kind of effect.

Glistener Elf – NOT

I didn’t really think much of infect decks before New Phyrexia, and I don’t expect to change my mind based on what I’ve seen so far. Yes, there is a theoretical turn 2 kill involving this guy, but is that even that good? There are any number of 1 mana ways to kill a guy, many of which don’t care how large that guy is. At the end of the day infect is just another aggro deck, at least the decks playing Glistener Elf are. They may act more like combo decks but a couple of removal spells early is going to be difficult for a deck based on this guy to beat.

Immolating Souleater – HOT

This guy really hits hard. Fling may well be back in favour soon, as between the souleater and Kiln Fiend there are 2 creatures that can be used with fling to end the game in double-quick time. Imagine the following sequence: you play turn 2 souleater. They play any creature. You untap, bolt/blast/burst their creature, pump the souleater to a 10/1, swing and cast fling for the win. Not exactly the most far-fetched of scenarios. You basically can’t ever tap out if your opponent has one of these in play and is it a half decent life total. And if you are at 10 or less you can cast this, retain priority, pump it as much as you can and then Fling it. Since Fling makes you sacrifice as part of the cost there’s nothing they can do about it. And don’t forget you can pump it with red mana as well as life!

Spellskite – HOT

This card could be a crucial piece of any creature based combo deck for years to come.  The ability to protect your Deceiver Exarch, Kuldotha Forgemaster, Soul’s Attendant or whatever from their removal spells will add a lot of resiliency to those decks. It also works as an answer to the Exarch/Splinter Twin combo since the enchantment can be forced to target the Spellskite. Another card that is likely to make the jump to Extended.

Phyrexian Obliterator – NOT

The mana cost on this alone might be enough to stop this seeing a significant amount of play. Another creature that is pretty horrible in the Jace dominated world we live in, the only place it might be found in the next few months is the sideboard of Vampire decks. Red removal and creatures are terrible at fighting this, but any white removal and Go for the Throat will deal with this without breaking a sweat. Could be good after rotation depending on the number of ways there are of killing this without using damage.

Hex Parasite – HOT

Likely to be a sideboard card for most of its time in Standard, it isn’t hard to envision a metagame where this is a maindeck card. There are so many things this hits besides Planeswalkers in a wide enough variety of decks that this may well be good enough, especially after the rotation in September. The single mana activation makes it playable in non-black decks, and it can even be found by Trinket Mage.


These are 8 cards that I think are either getting too much or not enough respect right now. Do you disagree? Are there any other cards you think are being under or over hyped? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Michael Maxwell

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