Phyrexia: All Will Be One, like all modern MTG sets, has a lot of removal effects. This list is designed to help you determine which of these removal effects to slot right into your limited deck and which ones to avoid like a Phyrexian Plaguelord.
For the purposes of this list, we are defining a “removal spell” as an instant, sorcery, or enchantment which gets rid of a creature in some way. This can be through dealing damage to it, forcing its controller to sacrifice it, exiling it, permanently tapping it down, or preventing it from attacking and blocking and just outright destroying it.
Removal effects that are on creatures, planeswalkers, and artifacts won’t be counted here, as well as effects that can only remove non-creature permeants. The card Cankerbloom, for example, would be ineligible on both counts. It’s a creature and its removal effect can only destroy non-creatures.
With that said, let’s dive right in…
20. Carnivorous Canopy
19. Vraska’s Fall
18. Sheoldred’s Edict
Another edict effect, this card even gets bonus points for having “edict” in its name. Sheoldred’s Edict is certainly a lot better than Vraska’s Fall but it still isn’t fantastic. This card is one mana cheaper and it allows you to be more specific with what you target. Hitting a Planeswalker with this will feel great, and the fact that this format contains 10 Planeswalkers means you may just have a chance. You can also ensure that your opponent doesn’t just sacrifice a Phyrexian Mite to this, as you can choose to avoid targeting tokens. Overall, a big improvement but there are much better Black removal effects in this format.
17. Charge of the Mites
Even though Charge of the Mites is near the bottom of our list it actually isn’t horrible, it’s just a better token spell than it is a removal spell. This card is versatile, offering you a choice of two effects, which are probably each worth two mana, for three mana. Most of the time, you will probably use this card to create the two Mite Tokens. In the event you already have a lot of creatures in play then you can use this card to destroy a creature, or a Planeswalker, controlled by an opponent.
16. Whisper of the Dross
Reducing a creature’s stats by -1/-1 is often a bit more impactful than it sounds, but it still isn’t amazing. There are 138 creatures in Phyrexia: All Will Be One. 24 of those creatures have one toughness and so can just be killed outright by Whisper of the Dross. That’s about 17% of the creatures in the set. This spell can also be used to target stronger creatures during combat and bring them down when they would otherwise survive. Destroying your opponents 3/3 with your own 2/2 for example. The fact that this proliferates is also some nice icing on top.
15. Nahiri’s Sacrifice
Side note: Isn’t it a bit odd that this card doesn’t let you sacrifice Planeswalkers? This means, there’s no way to actually sacrifice Nahiri to Nahiri’s Sacrifice.
14. Molten Rebuke
13. Vanish Into Eternity
Speaking of cards that get the job done but cost too much, let’s talk about Vanish Into Eternity. For three mana this card exiles any non-land, non-creature card, or for six mana it exiles anything that’s not a land. Exiling something is much better than just destroying it. You can hit indestructible targets, like cards from the Dominus cycle, and they can’t be reanimated. Nevertheless, this card makes you pay a steep price for the power it provides. Don’t be afraid to use this on an artifact or enchantment if you need to. Unfortunately, because of the way this card is worded, hitting an artifact creature costs six mana and not three.
12. Ruthless Predation
We’ve already discussed Ruthless Predation in our list of the best Green commons. Like many Green removal spells, this card relies on you having a creature of your own in play. The buff it provides is more useful than it seems and can help you turn the table on something you otherwise wouldn’t be able to beat. A 2/2 can safely take down a 3/3 with this effect. As Green removal effects go, Ruthless Predation is pretty good.
11. Infectious Bite
10. Mesmerizing Dose
9. Volt Charge
Three damage for three mana isn’t an amazing rate, but Volt Charge makes up for that by letting you proliferate. Give your own cards more oil counters whilst potentially further poisoning your opponent. This card is pretty great.
8. Annihilating Glare
7. Planar Disruption
6. Black Sun’s Twilight
5. Hexgold Slash
On the topic of efficiency, Hexgold Slash can be absolutely remarkable when played in the right context. Paying one mana to destroy your opponent’s Tyrranax Attrocity is an absolute bargain. Even just paying one mana to destroy a 2/2 is a great deal. Shock effects are very good in Limited and even though Hexgold Slash can’t damage your opponent directly, it’s still a great weapon against poison and non-poison decks alike.
4. Anoint with Affliction
The highest-rated common card on this list. Anoint with Affliction is a powerful exile effect that gets even better if you’re playing a poison deck. Exiling a three-mana value or lower creature for only two mana is a fine effect as it is. Having the additional upside of being able to exile anything if your opponent has three or more poison counters makes this card even better. Black has a huge number of poison counter generating cards, so it’s easy to get Anoint with Affliction primed and ready.
2. Rebel Salvo
This card is so efficient, it’s honestly a mystery whether they put Affinity for Equipment on it by mistake. For three mana, Rebel Salvo deals five damage to target creature or planeswalker. The target also loses indestructible meaning this provides an answer if your opponent has a Dominus out. If you’re playing a “For Mirrodin!” equipment deck you can lower this card’s cost to only a single point of mana, but you absolutely don’t need to.
1. Drown in Ichor
There we have it, all of the removal spells of Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Just remember that removal spells are a key part of gameplay in Limited. Even the lower-ranking cards on this list are usually worth including in your decks. Whether you end up getting destroying your opponent’s creatures with an Annihilating Glare or blasting them with a Rebel Salvo you’ve got to get rid of them somehow.