Skrelv, Defector Mite – Phyrexia: All Will Be One
Date Reviewed: March 1, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There’s some interesting discussion out there about how All Will Be One‘s Mites, both token and otherwise, have the “can’t block” text because the designers remembered many years of Saproling-related gridlock on tabletops. Considering that there have now been almost 30 years of Saprolings, it’s funny that it took this long to implement such an elegant solution! Still, Skrelv is a worthy banner-bearer for that creature type, because he does what they do very effectively and much more besides. Not only can he himself get the poison rolling on your very first turn, his ability to bring non-toxic creatures into the fold (as it were) solves the perennial dilemma of having both poison and non-poison creatures that you want to use in the same deck. There’s some tension between attacking with him as you’re practically ordered to do by the card, and holding up his powerful protection ability, but that’s a good dilemma to have – Skrelv is good at both roles.
Commander [EDH]: 4
There’s probably a Mother of Runes joke somewhere, because Skrelv, Defector Mite has a couple similarities to the infamous card from yesteryear. For one mana, you’re threatening to protect something every turn; while this doesn’t grant protection outright, hexproof and conditional unblockability certainly go a long way towards approximating it. This is definitely more of an offensive card, though; it has to aim its abilities at other creatures, and it can’t block…though granting toxic means you can potentially force hard decisions in a later game. Skrelv seems innocuous, but it’s a flexible tool that most decks can use (and abuse) to get that extra bit of power past the finish line, and sometimes that’s all you can ask for.
Limited: 4 (not great on its own, but great as a supporting member of the cast)
Commander [EDH]: 4.5 (another Mother of Runes-style creature never hurt, though it at the helm might be weirdly underwhelming)
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