Pharika, God of Affliction
– Secret Lair
March 4, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Pharika is fairly narrow as gods go: you will probably have noted that there are various artifacts and creatures that have activated abilities similar to hers, and they tend to be sideboard cards. One of Pharika’s advantages is the fact that she can also be a resilient creature, though she suffers a little from the abundance of resilient creatures that Golgari-colored decks have access to. She’s far from a bad card, but she doesn’t always offer quite enough for the top tier of tournament decks or highly focused casual decks. I think she might be an interesting choice in the type of self-mill decks we saw in the first Innistrad block, or as an advantageous way to trigger Rakshasa Vizier.
Pharika is probably the weakest of the Journey into Nyx enemy-colored Gods, thanks to a pretty underwhelming ability. Being able to take creatures out of graveyards repeatedly is good, but what’s not nearly as good is when you give your opponents creatures with which they can do unspeakable things. Admittedly, thwarting a revival spell is sometimes worth the price of admission, and I would definitely prefer to face down a 1/1 snek as opposed to Mister Bigglesworth. You can even turn your own creatures into slithering friends from the graveyard, and Pharika brings a 5/5 body on her own if you believe in yourself hard enough.
I think Pharika isn’t completely useless, but she is quite underwhelming; her abilities don’t really do enough to get there without a lot of help. Golgari as a color pair does like loading up its graveyard, but I do not think this is the kind of payoff decks in her colors are looking for.
Hello everyone and welcome back to Pojo’s Card of the Day!
Did any of you guys go to MagicFest Reno? Because it was a ton of fun! ..Maybe I had a bit too much fun!
So let’s look into the Enemy Color Gods that recently came out in the Secret Lair Constellations!
Pharika is a very interesting card, when it came out there was plenty of talk on how to use it to mess with some of the graveyard interactions of creatures but it never really took off in that light and even today he ability isn’t strong enough to merit it’s use in the constructed formats where she’s legal, and unfortunately I don’t think that even if she was printed verbatim today she’d be strong enough to warrant use in the format.
So if she’s not so great in the constructed Arena, where does she fit in?
Most likely in lower tier commander decks, while I don’t see her as a big threat in the super competitive commander format I think she’d be fine in up to 4 given that she can exile big fat busted creatures that you manage to deal with and keep them from getting reused back into the deck or reanimation abilities. But a 1/1 deathtouch snake is cool right?
However where she really shines is Theros Draft, if you’re in that world and you draft Theros Block and open her, she’s a great windmill slam. The fact that she turns all your trade-creatures into 1/1 Snakes that can play offense or act as Blocking Doomblades means that anything that isn’t UW fliers is going to have a hard time beating this big ol’ snake goddess when she lands in play!
She’s even semi-decent in lower powered cubes, you could probably put her in a Pioneer Cube where your Golgari Options are a bit lower, and she can mess with some of the slim pickings of reanimator targets in there.
Constructed 1/5 – Her ability is just too fair to make it worthwhile.
Limited 4/5 – Removal is so strong in Draft and the fact she turns all your dead dudes into deathtouch dudes is incredibly potent.
Commander 2/5 – Chances are if you’re using her here she’s mainly to mess with people’s graveyards, just make sure you don’t get overrun by snakes!
Cube 1.5/5 – Only somewhat decent in super low powered Cubes.
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