Corrupting Influence - Precon Upgrade

Corrupting Influence
(Ixhel, Scion of Atraxa | art by Campbell White)

Hello all you poison partisans and Infect enthusiasts! Welcome back to EDHREC for another Scrap Trawlers precon upgrade guide. I’m Andy, and today we’re taking the trash outta the Corrupting Influence deck from Phyrexia: All Will Be One. In my primer I noted that the only real issue with the deck was a lack of card draw. So to upgrade this list we’re gonna juice up the card advantage, while also sneaking in a few cards to amp up the Infect and make our commander a more significant threat. 

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

This deck is led by Ixhel, Scion of Atraxa, a white, black, and green Phyrexian Angel that has flying, vigilance, and Toxic 2. At your end step, for each opponent who has three or more poison counters, you exile the top card of their library, with the option to play that card for the rest of the game (timing restrictions apply).

Here’s the original decklist:

Corrupting Influence Precon

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This upgrade wasn’t terribly challenging. I knew from playtesting that the deck relied too heavily on Ixhel’s ability as a source for card advantage, so I’d have to add a few cards to make up for that. The only thing the deck still lacks is any kind of advantage from playing cards from exile. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about that without red in our color identity. We simply won’t have access to cards like Passionate Archaeologist, Prosper, Tome-Bound, or Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald. But that doesn’t mean we can’t add some great tools to power up the deck.

Don’t Need Nothin’ But A Good Time

Card draw was our biggest problem out of the box, so let’s start there with our upgrades. For this we’re going with some classics, with Harmonize, Read the Bones, and Sign in Blood. Because you can’t beat a classic. I’ve also added some two modal cards that can be used for card draw, Abzan Charm and Return of the Wildspeaker. Charm is perfect for this deck, as it can also deal with a threat or make ours bigger. Then Return, which keeps climbing back up in price despite numerous reprints, can give us some card draw or potentially close out the game if we’ve got a decent army on the board.

My other biggest gripe about the deck was aimed directly at Ixhel. Why does it have Toxic 2 but require three poison counters to do anything? It’s frustrating, and I needed to do something about it. And that something is double strike. Since Toxic triggers off combat damage to an opponent, it will trigger twice if you hit them with a creature with double strike. And since Ixhel has flying, this is likely to happen more often. So to turn up the poison from two to four I’ve added Fireshrieker, Duelist’s Heritage, and Flaming Fist. Heritage is an excellent addition, and not just for our commander, since it can be applied at every combat. And just to be doubly sure Ixhel’s getting through, we’re also throwing in an Access Tunnel. Cheaper to activate than Rogue’s Passage, so it makes a bit more sense here with Ixhel's low power.

And last I’ve thrown in a couple of Infect-related cards from the good ol’ days. Tainted Strike has ended many a game for unsuspecting Commander players who thought they’d be safe in not blocking for a turn. And Reaper of Sheoldred gives us another large body to block, as well as a deterrent. 

Look What the Cat Dragged In

We’ve got 11 cards we need to throw in here, so let’s make some space. First thing I did was get rid of a couple of attack deterrents, namely Windborn Muse and Norn’s Annex. While I’m happy to see the Annex get reprinted, these cards, in addition to the Ghostly Prison and Norn’s Decree which are staying in the deck, are just a bit of overkill. And they’re just not fun! 

Next I got rid of a bit of ramp and two lands. With our average mana value as low as it is in this deck, it felt okay to cut back a bit. And don’t forget we added Access Tunnel, so that offsets it a bit. Out goes Commander’s Sphere, Myr Convert, Krosan Verge, and one Forest. I’m honestly not a fan of the Myr Convert and its life loss. I’d much rather just run an Ornithopter of Paradise if anything.

Vat Emergence was a tougher cut since it does some great things, but I took it out since we already have a decent amount of recursion for a non-reanimator deck, such as Geth's Summons and Unnatural Restoration. Carrion Call’s cost is a little steep for two 1/1s, even with Infect. Culling Ritual is an amazing card, but isn’t going to benefit us in any way, as we’ll rarely have a use for the mana outside of re-casting our commander, and it’s going to kill just as much of our stuff as anybody else’s with our low mana curve and tokens. Mycosynth Fiend is decent enough, but without evasion he’s just gonna get chump blocked all day. And Noxious Assault is so situational. It's going to be a dead card far too often to take up a five-mana spot. 

The Best Things In Life Ain’t Cheap

Now it’s time for all you high rollers to listen up! Here are the cards I’d add if money didn’t matter and throwing expensive cards into precons was my lifestyle of choice (it isn’t, but I don’t judge). Let’s go back to our initial problem: card draw. To get the cards flowing more consistently, we can throw in Tome of Legends, an artifact that's been creeping up in price since it came out in Throne of Eldraine and goes well with our Proliferate effects. Black Market Connections can pretty much go in any black deck these days. Ohran Frostfang makes our creatures even nastier, while The Great Henge makes them more impactful on entry.

There’s more Proliferate effects, like Sword of Truth and Justice, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, and Contagion Engine. Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is gonna double up all those poison counters we’re dishing out. And don’t forget one of the biggest Infect threats out there, Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon.

Teferi’s Protection is always great for saving our butts. And to end the game we can throw in Akroma’s Will and Triumph of the Hordes.

Unskinny Bop

Here’s the final upgraded decklist:

Corrupting Influence Upgraded

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Commander (1)
Enchantments (5)
Artifacts (11)
Sorceries (17)
Creatures (20)
Instants (9)
Lands (37)

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We added 11 cards, upping the card advantage and making our commander more impactful, and did it with less than $6. This just goes to show that this game is for everyone, whether your deck budget is $50 or $500, we can all play and have a good time. Our final list here is more tuned, more fun, and more than likely to get you some hate. You’re playing poison? How dare you?

Make sure to check back for more precon guides from us Scrap Trawlers. I know my friend Lenny is doing some solid work over on the other deck for this set, Rebellion Rising, so be sure to go take a look at that as well. You can also check out our budget content over on Twitch and YouTube and follow us on Twitter. Until next time, remember to budget…before you buy it.

Scrap Trawlers is a Magic: The Gathering budget EDH streaming and video group, with gameplay, deck techs, chats, and more. Catch our videos at Andy, Lenny, and Bert.

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