Venerated Rotpriest All Will Be One Standard BO1 Deck, Strategy

Venerated Rotpriest is quickly becoming a dominant card on MTG Arena.
Venerated Rotpriest is quickly becoming a dominant card on MTG Arena. / WOTC / Brian Valeza

Magic: The Gathering's latest set, Phyrexia: All Will Be One, is hitting shelves now, and players are eager to get their hands on the latest cards. On Feb. 7, Wizards of the Coast released an article detailing some of the most popular cards ahead of release day. Venerated Rotpriest was the second-most played Rare card in the Standard early access format, and there was some speculation that it may be banned for being too powerful.

No word on that yet, so here's how you can maximize this powerful card to its full potential!

Venerated Rotpriest All Will Be One BO1 Standard Deck

Venerated Rotpriest All Will Be One BO1 Standard Deck

Unlike my Vraska, Betrayal's Sting deck, this Venerated Rotpriest deck is designed to win fast. It runs only 18 lands, a shocking six fewer than the standard 24, but the majority of its cards require only one or two mana to cast, allowing it to run extremely low to the ground and play all of the cards in its starting hand in just a few turns.

The creature package is one tuned to aggro. Venerated Rotpriest is the most important, but Crawling Chorus and Bilious Skulldweller make up the "infantry" of the deck. The purpose of these creatures is to quickly get three Poison Counters on opponents before they can set up adequate defenses, thus turning on your "Corrupted" cards which have bonus effects if an opponent meets that threshold.

Skrelv's Hive is an extremely important card because it creates a constant stream of Toxic-capable tokens to flood the board with. It also gives your Toxic creatures lifelink upon an opponent reaching the Corrupted threshold, recovering much-needed life that will be surely lost paying for Skrelv's Hive tokens and "painland" tapping.

Stronghold Arena is another useful card because it can be kicked to regain life and refill your hand with cards when one of your Toxic creatures hits an opponent. The life loss from these draws should not be worried about because the most you can lose is two, though if your life total becomes dire it may be prudent to forestall a draw to avoid losing outright.

The other core of the deck is the Instant package. Anoint With Affliction is a prime removal spell that can eliminate early threats and larger ones once the Corrupted threshold has been reached. Infectious Bite, in coordination with Venerated Rotpriest, can remove creatures and generate additional Poison Counters. Lastly, Tamiyo's Safekeeping and Compleat Devotion are "combat tricks" that can unexpectedly buff one of your seemingly weak creatures or nullify an enemy removal spell while generating even more Poison Counters with Venerated Rotpriest.

The land set for this deck is somewhat unusual. It runs 12 "painlands," (Brushland, Llanowar Wastes, Caves of Koilos) which reduce your life total in exchange for instant access to two colors. While using these lands can be dangerous, the speed at which this deck runs can ensure such life loss doesn't become an issue. The key thing to remember is to go fast - try to attack every turn and use combat trick cards to mitigate unfavorable creature matchups. Protecting Venerated Rotpriest is key, and having multiple copies on the board is usually a game over. Skrelv's Hive tokens and your other tiny Toxic creatures can close up games as well.

Luckily this deck contains no Mythic Rare cards, but does contain many Rare cards. For those on a budget, reducing the number of "painlands" you run and substituting cards like Skrelv, Defector Mite for alternatives such as Jawbone Duelist can also cut down on costs incurred by Rare cards.