Ossification
5, Feb, 23

Ranking Phyrexia: All Will Be One's Removal From Worst To Best

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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 [tooltips]Phyrexian Plaguelord[/tooltips].

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 [tooltips]Cankerbloom[/tooltips], 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

Carnivorous Canopy

[tooltips]Carnivorous Canopy[/tooltips] is what’s known as a sideboard card. You have no guarantee going into a game that your opponent will be making use of any powerful artifacts, enchantments, or fliers so it’s best to keep cards like this out of your deck for game one and then bring them in for game two. Swap this card in if you see your opponent playing [tooltips]Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus[/tooltips] or [tooltips]Ossification[/tooltips]. We’ve come a long way since the days of [tooltips]Wing Snare[/tooltips], but this card is still quite conditional.

19. Vraska’s Fall

Vraska's Fall

[tooltips]Vraska’s Fall[/tooltips] is a [tooltips]Diabolic Edict[/tooltips] effect and demonstrates all of the faults of this type of card. The fact that your opponent gets to choose which of their creatures to lose to this effect is a major downside. There will certainly be some board states where they only have a single [tooltips]Phyrexian Obliterator[/tooltips] in play and in that narrow context this card is amazing. Unfortunately, it’s far more likely that they will have at least a few one drops, tokens, or two drops in play that this card will end up destroying instead. Giving your opponent a poison counter is a nice bit of upside, but three mana for an effect like this puts it behind the curve.

18. Sheoldred’s Edict

Sheoldred's Edict

Another edict effect, this card even gets bonus points for having “edict” in its name. [tooltips]Sheoldred’s Edict[/tooltips] is certainly a lot better than [tooltips]Vraska’s Fall[/tooltips] 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

Charge of the Mites

Even though [tooltips]Charge of the Mites[/tooltips] 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

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 [tooltips]Whisper of the Dross[/tooltips]. 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

Nahiri's Sacrifice

[tooltips]Nahiri’s Sacrifice[/tooltips] is a card for Red/Black Sacrifice decks. This card is a bit peculiar. Sacrifice decks typically want to tribute weak cards like 1/1 tokens or one drops. Nahiri’s Sacrifice doesn’t, and instead rewards you for sacrificing high mana value cards. Tokens have a mana value of zero so sacrificing one to Nahiri’s Sacrifice would do nothing. You could sacrifice a card with a death trigger like [tooltips]Stinging Hivemaster[/tooltips] but that still doesn’t feel great. The fact that this card lets you split your damage over multiple targets is nice, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that you need to give up a meaningful card of your own in order to do any real damage.

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

Molten Rebuke

[tooltips]Molten Rebuke[/tooltips] is an old reliable five mana, five damage Red removal spell with a slight upside. See also [tooltips]Jaya’s Firenado[/tooltips] and [tooltips]Unleash Shell[/tooltips] for some other recent examples. This card will usually do the job of getting rid of something, but it will take a lot of resources. You also won’t be able to get this card out until the game is well underway. Molten Rebuke does the job, but there are definitely cheaper and more efficient ways of blasting stuff.

13. Vanish Into Eternity

Vanish Into Eternity

Speaking of cards that get the job done but cost too much, let’s talk about [tooltips]Vanish Into Eternity[/tooltips]. 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

Ruthless Predation

We’ve already discussed [tooltips]Ruthless Predation[/tooltips] 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

Infectious Bite

[tooltips]Infectious Bite[/tooltips] is an even better Green removal option. First of all the damage it deals is one-sided. Your opponent’s creature won’t be hitting yours back. This makes it great when used on 3/1 creatures like [tooltips]Branchblight Stalker[/tooltips]. This, combined with Infectious Bite being instant speed and producing a poison counter, add up to make it a better option than [tooltips]Ruthless Predation[/tooltips], even without providing the +1/+2 buff. The downside of these cards is that they require you to have a, reasonably strong, creature of your own in play. This is drawback keeps them from climbing higher on this list.

10. Mesmerizing Dose

Mesmerizing Dose

[tooltips]Mesmerizing Dose[/tooltips] taps a creature down permanently and lets you proliferate. It’s the only Blue card on this list since we’re not counting bounce effects or counterspells as removal. If you’re in Blue in this set, you definitely need to draft a few copies of Mesmerizing Dose to deal with your opponent’s threats.

9. Volt Charge

Volt Charge

Three damage for three mana isn’t an amazing rate, but [tooltips]Volt Charge[/tooltips] 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

Annihilating Glare

[tooltips]Nahiri’s Sacrifice[/tooltips] take some notes, [tooltips]Annihilating Glare[/tooltips] is a much better sacrifice effect. You almost never want to cast this card for five mana, instead, just get rid of a 1/1 Mite or Goblin token to bring down one of your opponent’s threats for only a single Black mana. No Red/Black sacrifice deck is complete without an effect like [tooltips]Annihilating Glare[/tooltips].

7. Planar Disruption

Planar Disruption

[tooltips]Planar Disruption[/tooltips] is a two-mana enchantment that effectively locks a problematic creature, artifact, or planeswalker out of the game. This card isn’t perfect, the card this seals away can be freed via enchantment destruction effects and a few other means. Nevertheless, for only two mana, Planar Disruption lives up to its name and throws a major wrench into your opponent’s plans.

6. Black Sun’s Twilight

Black Sun's Twilight

[tooltips]Black Sun’s Twilight[/tooltips] is a hard card to rank. It definitely belongs near the top of the list, but choosing just where to put it is tricky. Playing this card in the late game is absolutely game-changing. If you can sink at least six mana into Black Sun’s Twilight then destroying your opponent’s best threat, and reviving something powerful of your own, will swing things significantly in your favor. Playing it earlier on is also good, just not amazingly efficient. The card is effectively just a [tooltips]Death Wind[/tooltips] until you cross that six-mana threshold. Paying one more mana than a creature’s toughness to get rid of it isn’t a great rate, but paying six mana to destroy a 5/5 and bring back a threat of your own is so fantastic that it more than balances things out.

5. Hexgold Slash

Hexgold Slash

On the topic of efficiency, [tooltips]Hexgold Slash[/tooltips] can be absolutely remarkable when played in the right context. Paying one mana to destroy your opponent’s [tooltips]Tyrranax Attrocity[/tooltips] is an absolute bargain. Even just paying one mana to destroy a 2/2 is a great deal. [tooltips]Shock[/tooltips] effects are very good in Limited and even though [tooltips]Hexgold Slash[/tooltips] can’t damage your opponent directly, it’s still a great weapon against poison and non-poison decks alike.

4. Anoint with Affliction

Anoint with Affliction

The highest-rated common card on this list. [tooltips]Anoint with Affliction[/tooltips] 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.

3. Ossification

Ossification

[tooltips]Ossification[/tooltips] is a strange little spell, but a very powerful one. You need to enchant a land you control with it, and then you get to exile a creature or planeswalker an opponent controls. The whole enchanting a land thing happens due to flavor rather than gameplay. [tooltips]Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines[/tooltips] is building a giant throne out of her petrified subjects. Ossification represents petrifying someone, and the land it enchants represents the throne. Confusing flavor aside, a two-mana exile effect is always worth it.

2. Rebel Salvo

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, [tooltips]Rebel Salvo[/tooltips] 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

Drown in Ichor

[tooltips]Drown in Ichor[/tooltips], like [tooltips]Rebel Salvo[/tooltips] is unbelievably efficient for its cost. Giving a creature -4/-4 for two mana is great. Proliferating on top of that is absurdly strong. This card is really pushed and is almost always worth taking as your pack one, pick one in a draft unless you get an insanely strong rare.

Conclusion

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 [tooltips]Annihilating Glare[/tooltips] or blasting them with a [tooltips]Rebel Salvo[/tooltips] you’ve got to get rid of them somehow.

Read more: Best Commons of Each Color In Phyrexia: All Will Be One

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