Last updated on January 26, 2023

Monumental Facade - Illustration by Bruce Brenneise

Monumental Facade | Illustration by Bruce Brenneise

Dante Alighieri’s descent into the Inferno takes him through the Nine Circles of Hell, each home to different types of sinners on the receiving end of punishment fitting their sins, crimes, and misdeeds. The ninth circle is home to traitors of all types, and at its center Satan is locked away, the first and greatest traitor of all.

The original Phyrexia was a hellish landscape of flesh and machines intertwined. The plane was also divided into nine layers, each serving a specific purpose in the development of the Phyrexian forces and their invasion plans. It’s clear why this plane was also known by some as the Nine Hells. And deep in the entrails of Phyrexia was Yawgmoth’s home until the time of the invasion, from where he could control the entire plane.

None of the inhabitants of New Phyrexia ever really lived or served under Yawgmoth’s rule, but they all keep a vague remembrance and adoration of him imprinted in the glistening oil itself. Yawgmoth’s influence is now portrayed through how the conquered Mirrodin has been turned into New Phyrexia, where the monsters have twisted the plane’s geology to turn it into a world made of nine Spheres.

But what are the spheres of New Phyrexia, and which of them are the best? Let’s find out!

What Are Spheres In MTG?

Mirrex - Illustration by Adam Burn

Mirrex | Illustration by Adam Burn

Spheres are a new nonbasic land type introduced in Phyrexia: All Will Be One. All these lands can add mana and have some extra abilities, all of which are closely related to strategies featured in this set and related to the Phyrexian faction.

How Many Spheres Are There?

There are a total of nine spheres, each corresponding to one of the layers of New Phyrexia. There are five spheres that produce mono-colored mana and four that generate colorless mana, or mana of any color if certain conditions are met.

#5. The Layers of the Five Praetors

I’m gathering The Autonomous Furnace, The Hunter’s Maze, The Surgical Bay, The Dross Pits, and The Fair Basilica together because they all basically have the same abilities. They enter the field tapped, generate mana of their corresponding color, and can be sacrificed to draw a card.

#4. The Seedcore

The Seedcore

I’m personally conflicted about The Seedcore. I like the Phyrexian-tribal mana generation since I’ve wanted to build an exclusively Phyrexian deck for a long time, but I find its corrupted ability a little underwhelming.

This is supposed to represent the roots of the Realmbreaker, so the ability only giving a boost to a 1/1 creature feels lacking.

#3. The Monumental Facade

The Monumental Facade

The Monumental Facade represents the outermost layer of New Phyrexia. It can only produce colorless mana, and its second ability works with the new oil counters which are tightly related to New Phyrexian cards.

#2. Mirrex


Mirrex represents what used to be Mirrodin’s original surface. It can only add colorless mana (or colored mana on the turn it enters the battlefield). Its extra ability allows you to create a Phyrexian Mite token with toxic.

#1. The Mycosynth Gardens

The Mycosynth Gardens

The Mycosynth Gardens is possibly the easiest to break of the nine sphere lands. A possible play that’s been circulating around Reddit is playing Mycosynth Gardens, Liquimetal Coating, and Dark Depths. This could mean a Marit Lage token on turn 2 if played fast enough with something like a Sol Ring.

Being able to permanently copy any nontoken artifact you control can be a massive advantage if played right.

Best Spheres Payoff

Spheres are a nonbasic land type, so any cards that benefit from that are viable payoffs for them. The truth is that these lands are better as additions for decks that play into the different mechanics that they support than as something to build around.

Monument of Perfection

That said, there’s also Monument to Perfection. This card benefits from you playing as many spheres and basic lands as possible (or, you know, Cloudpost and Glimmerpost). It’s a fun card that can allow you to swing for nine poison counters if you play it at the right time. It’s not a gamebreaker, but it is a must-have in any Phyrexian-themed deck that plays as many spheres as possible.

What Do All Spheres Have in Common?

There’s no exact thing that all sphere cards have in common (apart from the sphere subtype). They can be divided into two groups.

The five spheres that can only generate mana of one specific color enter the battlefield tapped and can draw you a card if you pay two, tap the sphere, and sacrifice it. The other group are the four spheres that generate colorless mana. Three of them can generate mana of any color in specific situations, but all four all have effects that play into mechanics associated with the Phyrexians (tokens with toxic, oil counters, corrupted, and artifacts).

Is There Any Downside to A Land Being a Sphere?

There are no specific sphere-hate cards as of now, so a land being a sphere doesn’t have a specific downside per se. It’s worth mentioning that spheres are susceptible to any of the many “nonbasic land hate” effects out there since they’re nonbasic lands.

Is Sphere a Card Type?

No. Spheres have the card type “land” with the subtype “sphere,” just like gates are lands with the subtype “gate.”

Sphere Lands vs. Locus Lands

Locus lands (aka Cloudpost and Glimmerpost) had a stronger synergy with each other, but there are only two of them. Spheres don’t have such a strong synergy with each other, but pretty much all of them can find their place in decks based around different ONE strategies.

The best option is probably not to put them against each other, but rather have them work together alongside Monument to Perfection.

What Is the Lore for Spheres?

The nine sphere lands represent each of New Phyrexia’s layers.

  • The Monumental Facade: This is a completely artificial layer built upon Mirrodin’s original surface that acts as a barrier between that old surface and the plane’s Five Suns.
  • Mirrex: What used to be Mirrodin’s original surface. Most of the Mirran Resistance resides here as nomadic groups.
  • The Autonomous Furnace: This layer is red-aligned and under the rule of Urabrask. It’s full of molten-metal rivers and is where new machines are built.
  • The Hunter Maze: The green-aligned metal forests of this sphere are ruled by Vorinclex. They’re a massive hunting ground where the only real law is survival of the fittest.
  • The Surgical Bays: This layer is blue-aligned and works under Jin-Gitaxias’s orders. It’s home to massive laboratories where inhumane acts of torture and experimentation are carried out. 
  • The Dross Pits: The acidic fumes and pools of the Dross were extremely hostile to any form of life even before Phyrexia turned it into its black-aligned sphere. It’s ruled by Sheoldred and the other Steel Thanes.
  • The Fair Basilica: The white-aligned layer of New Phyrexia isn’t only governed by Elesh Norn, but also designed in her image. Marble-like materials, metallic porcelain, and exposed muscle and flesh make up the layer’s building materials.
  • The Mycosynth Gardens: Previously the core of what was once Mirrodin, this layer is now covered in columns of Mycosynth, a fungal-like material byproduct of the glistening oil’s corruption of Mirrodin.
  • The Seedcore: The very center and innermost layer of New Phyrexia. This sphere serves as the incubation chamber for the Realmbreaker and is where its roots take hold.

Are Spheres Good?

The Mycosynth Gardens is a great card and a wonderful addition to any artifacts deck. 

The five mono-colored spheres aren’t a huge deal in my opinion. They’re at their best in decks that play Monument to Perfection, and they can make for decent utility cards thanks to their card draw effect if you’re on a budget.

The other three spheres are pretty circumstantial and depend on the rest of the deck playing into their strengths, but they’re perfectly good additions to decks that play those strategies.

Are the Common Spheres Better Than Basics?

I think the common spheres aren’t necessarily better than basic lands, but you can replace one or two basics in your deck with spheres to add some card draw.

Their main drawbacks are that they enter the field tapped and you need to spend a total of three mana (two external mana plus tapping the sphere itself) plus losing a land just to draw a card. This can set you back a turn, but it’s also a viable thing to do if you have a turn with nothing to spend your mana on and can afford to lose a land.

Wrap Up

The Seedcore - Illustration by Kasia 'Kafis' Zielinska

The Seedcore | Illustration by Kasia ‘Kafis’ Zielinska

I really like sphere cards from a flavor perspective. It’s always great to get cards that depict the different planes we visit, and it’s even better when there’s something tying them together. I also like that all the rare spheres have effects that are closely related to Phyrexian strategies. They could be stronger or less circumstantial, but I don’t think they’re bad at all.

What are your thoughts on spheres, both in the lore and in the game? Do you think we’ll get to see spheres on other planes if they’re compleated? Feel free to leave a comment below or head over to the Draftsim Discord to join our amazing community.

Have a good one, and remember to spread Phyrexian perfection!

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