One mechanic that’s been associated with Phyrexians has been that of the Poison Counter- these are counters that stick to players, not creatures, and give an alternate win condition.
All you need to do is get your opponent to 10 poison counters, and they’re out- it’s a state-based effect too, so no amount of negates is going to get you out.
To that effect, Necrogen Rotpriest is going to be a big part of decks that want to shoot for that victory condition: as a 4 cost Green/Black hybrid this Phyrexian Cleric will be a great battery for poisoning your opponents.
On top of its Toxic 2 trait, its effect reads:
Whenever a creature you control with toxic deals combat damage to a player, that player gets an additional poison counter.
It also has an additional ability- paying 3 mana to make your Toxic creatures a lot better at removing your opponent’s defenses
Target creature you control with toxic gains Deathtouch until end of turn
It should be noted that this doesn’t mean your creatures poison-inflicting abilities are wasted, by the way: you can pair it up with cards like Garruk’s Uprising to give your creatures trample (assuming they meet the requirements) to still inflict poison.
That being said, there are some drawbacks- while Poison has existed as a mechanic for a while, Toxic as a keyword ability is new- meaning that none of the previous Infect cards are going to benefit from Necrogen Rotpriest’s poison-stacking abilities.
Still, the open phrasing for Necrogen Rotpriest is sure to make it a good pick for Green/Black MtG decks- even on its own a successful hit on your opponent is getting them 30% of the way to losing.
Phyrexia: All Will Be One will release on February 10th, 2023- you can grab packs from the new expansion from your friendly local game store. Our thanks to Wizards of the Coast for letting us be part of this card preview!