Phyrexian Vindicator – Phyrexia: All Will Be One
Date Reviewed: February 24, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This is a design we might have seen in Planar Chaos or Modern Horizons, if things had gone a little differently. It’s obviously going to invite comparisons to Phyrexian Obliterator, and it has both advantages and disadvantages. An advantage is that you have more control over what you destroy in retaliation; but on the flip side, it has to be something that can be killed by damage. White is also historically not as good at playing the midrange game as black, tending to lean more on either its cheap creatures, or its removal spells as the support color in a long game. But it’s been getting more cards for the midgame recently, and though they’re obviously not as powerful as the Rock/Jund staples we’re used to, they help keep things moving in the kind of deck that wants to fight through the middle turns with a four-mana 5/5. Perhaps a splashy headline creature like this is what’s needed to make that kind of strategy work in white.
If this is Elesh Norn’s answer to yesterday’s card of the day, does that mean the other colors might have their own equivalents, too? We could theoretically see one as soon as March of the Machine, and I very much doubt that Phyrexia will be defeated permanently; keep it in the back of your mind . . .
Commander [EDH]: 4
Coming off of the four colored mana monstrosity that was the Obliterator. we have another. Phyrexian Vindicator has a lot of the same qualities: hard to block and big, though it swaps the punisher effect Obliterator carried for a different punishment: a Boros Reckoner/ Spitemare-style redirection ability that keeps it from taking damage. In effect, this means that Phyrexian Vindicator is unkillable by the vast majority of creatures (it takes the likes of a destruction trigger or Questing Beast-style Things to get through it)…though it was already attacking in the air, this also gives it occasional reason to sit back and block.
I do think Phyrexian Vindicator is powerful, though it’s constrained by two things. Its trigger to reflect damage only matters on blocking or against flying/reach creatures, and this will want to attack. The other is that white has a harder time putting together four colored mana than black does, and that may make this a bit harder to get out. All that said, this is nearly unkillable by a fair few decks, and while flying opens it up to some of green’s “shoot down fliers”-style removal, they still need to have it.
Constructed: 4 (I think this is a weird card to pin down, but it’s definitely powerful; I just question if it has a home)
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
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