The Phyrexian Crusade

Posted in Feature on January 23, 2013

By Sam Black

Sam Black is a Platinum Pro Player and longtime writer for He is a respected deck builder and took over Daily Decks for the first half of 2013.

I first saw today's deck (or at least the archetype) while preparing for Pro Tour Return to Ravnica. There was at least one player who was playing it in Daily Events on Magic Online and doing well with it consistently but, unfortunately, I don't remember the username. Regardless, the deck is notable both in that its strategy is substantially different from most other decks and that it has had consistent, moderate success on Magic Online without ever really breaking through to major physical tournament success that I'm aware of.

Runechanter's Pike

This is a mono-black deck, which is unusual enough in itself, that pushes discard as far as possible—so far that it's playing the rarely used Howltooth Hollow without anything particularly flashy to cast with it. The goal of the deck is to empty the opponent's hand and kill all his or her threats, and then win with a single infect creature, which, either due to being a land or having protection from red and white, should be difficult for the opponent to kill.

Runechanter's Pike serves to dramatically increase the rate at which these infect creatures end the game, but that itself is unusual in a non-blue deck that has no way to draw extra cards and nothing like a Thought Scour to power it up. This deck just plays so many instants and sorceries that make the game go longer by dealing with the opponent's cards that Runechanter's Pike is expected to get big enough the hard way.

Clyde the Glide Drexler's Mono-Black Infect

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