Last updated on January 27, 2023

Anoint with Affliction - Illustration by David Astruga

Anoint with Affliction | Illustration by David Astruga

Phyrexia: All Will be One shows the spread of the Phyrexian corruption in the plane of New Phyrexia (old Mirrodin). And yes, poison counters are back with a new incentive to put them on your opponents, which is the new corrupted mechanic.

Today I’m going to talk about corrupted, how it interacts with poison counters and other relevant mechanics. Stay with me for a while and let’s see if the mechanic is worth our time or not. Here we go!

How Does Corrupted Work?

The Seedcore - Illustration by Kasia 'Kafis' Zielinska

The Seedcore | Illustration by Kasia ‘Kafis’ Zielinska

Corrupted is a threshold mechanic that checks if an opponent has three or more poison counters. Any opponent that satisfies this condition activates corrupted.

There are a bunch of cards that are stronger thanks to the corrupted ability. We’ve seen this happen in mechanics like metalcraft, threshold, and coven, just to name a few. There’s no cohesive effect between the corrupted cards, only that there’s no downside.

Anoint with Affliction, for example, is a removal spell that exiles any creature with mana value 3 or less. When corrupted is active it exiles any creature, going from a good spell to a very good spell.

The History of Corrupted in MTG

Corrupted is a mechanic from Phyrexia: All Will be One released in 2023, and it shows how the Phyrexians are corrupting the plane of Mirrodin (now New Phyrexia). It’s a mechanic mostly in black and white colors also touching in green, but the “corruption” may eventually spread to all colors. These Abzan () colors overlap with the main toxic colors, too.

Does Corrupted Count on Resolution?

Yes, corrupted checks on resolution. All threshold mechanics work like this.

So if you cast the spell while corrupted was on and something changes, then the spell reverts to its noncorrupted state. According to WotC’s Matt Tabak, “some corrupted abilities affect what a spell costs or what it can target.”

The rules check if the corrupted status is on when you’re casting the spell or targeting, so you can pay less for the spell or choose different targets. Like Anoint with Affliction, which can’t naturally target a 4+ cost creature without the corrupted status active.

What if You Remove Poison Counters in Response to Corrupted?

What happens when poison counters are removed in response to corrupted depends on the effect of the corrupted card.

A static ability like on Apostle of Invasion can cease to exist, so your Apostle loses double strike in the middle of combat. Triggered effects like the one on Goliath Hatchery can be responded to, and you won’t draw cards if the counters are removed in response to the trigger. Activated abilities like on Sinew Dancer can’t be responded to, so it’s too late for you to remove your own poison counters when your opponent activates the tap ability. An instant or sorcery with corrupted can fizzle if the conditions require the corrupt state to be active.

Can You Use Proliferate with Corrupted?

Yes, in the sense that if your opponent has two poison counters and you proliferate they’ll be corrupted and you get whatever corrupted bonus.

Corrupted vs. Metalcraft

Look, there’s a lot of similarities between Phyrexia: All Will be One and Scars of Mirrodin, and lots of cards from ONE reference the Scars block. In this case, corrupted and metalcraft are clearly connected in the sense that metalcraft is better if you have three artifacts, and corrupted is better if any of your opponents have three poison counters.

Reddit was in fact already calling corrupted “poisoncraft.” Just like landfall is used to reference something entering the battlefield, players use terms like “artifactfall” and “creaturefall” to reference the same effect with different card types. Mechanics like this are stronger the more focused your deck is, and metalcraft has proven to be a good one.

Is Corrupted Good?

The main application for corrupted is to be a “middle of the road” between your toxic creatures winning the game by themselves and not doing anything. Let’s say your opponent has 10 life and 5 poison counters. The game is far from over, but at least your corrupted cards are almost guaranteed to do work.

Corrupted is very powerful in cards like Skrelv’s Hive and Goliath Hatchery. It seems to be one of the glue mechanics from the set, because it’s good if you’re winning with poison. It’s also good if you accidentally poison someone and proliferate.

Gallery and List of Corrupted Cards

Zealot's Conviction

Wrap Up

Skrelv's Hive - Illustration by Heonhwa Choe

Skrelv’s Hive | Illustration by Heonhwa Choe

Corrupted is shaping up to be a very nice mechanic that brings new strategies and gameplay possibilities. It’s probably the mechanic I’m most anxious to see in action. It’s also hard to fit poison into sets, so it’s nice that it makes sense in combat against Phyrexians.

Do you like corrupted as a mechanic so far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or take the discussion to the Draftsim Twitter.

Thanks for reading, folks, and until next time!

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