How MTG Poison counters work in Phyrexia All Will Be One

Gain added effects while stacking Poison counters on an opponent.

Poison counters in Magic: The Gathering are returning to the Standard format with new synergies in Phyrexia: All Will Be One.

The last time Poison counters were relevant in MTG Standard was through Fynn, the Fangbearer. The Kaldheim legendary creature added two Poison counters to an opponent upon being dealt combat damage with a creature that had Deathtouch. Poison counters also appeared on Ajani, Sleeper Agent, although the planeswalker’s ultimate is hardly used in the Standard format.

Ajani, Sleeper Agent | Image via WotC

But all that may change with the release of ONE since the value of Poison counters has risen.

How have MTG Poison counters changed?

Prior to the ONE set, players had to amass a total of 10 Poison counters on an opponent to win a game. Poison counters are the mechanic that directly represents Phyrexians within the new Standard-legal MTG set. They are spread to opponents through mechanics like Toxic and can increase with the returning mechanic Proliferate. 

The mechanic Toxic adds Poison counters to an opponent upon combat damage and the number of counters added is always specified in the text box. Proliferate is a returning MTG mechanic that can add an additional counter on a permanent that already has a counter. This includes Poison counters on an opponent.  

Skrelvs Hive | Image via WotC

Synergizing with Toxic is the Corrupted mechanic, providing Phyrexian permanent’s added value through an opponent having three or more Poison counters. Skrelv’s Hive, for example, is an Enchantment that gives all creatures you control that have Toxic, Lifelink if an opponent has three or more Poison counters. 

The Seedcore | Image via WotC

The Corrupted mechanic is even found on the ONE land, The Seedcore. Upon tapping The Seedcore, a target creature gains +2/+1 until the end of the turn if an opponent has three or more Poison counters attached to them. 

Any combat damage dealt to the opponent results in the full Toxic mechanic taking effect. If the Toxic was six but the damage dealt through Trample was only two, six Poison counters are applied to the opponent.

Do 10 MTG Poison counters still end a game?

Corrupted is a sub-mechanic in ONE that adds value to Poison counters. Their main function, of ending a game upon an opponent reaching 10 Poison counters, however, remains the same. This will allow cards like Ajani, Sleeper Agent to become relevant in Standard while also boosting the value of MTG cards that have the Proliferate mechanic. 

Creatures in ONE that deal combat damage with the Toxic mechanic still hit that player’s life total for the combat damage dealt in addition to the Poison counters getting placed on them. 

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