How the Corrupted mechanic works in Magic: The Gathering

The corruption of Phyrexia is spreading.

The Experimental Augury card from Magic: The Gathering

Image Via Wizards of the Coast

One of the new keywords that are being introduced in Magic: The Gathering’s Phyrexia: All Will Be One set is Corrupted, which ties into Phyrexia’s theme of corrupting life for its purposes. The Corrupted keyword is closely tied to the Poison Counter mechanic, which is being given a major push in Phyrexia: All Will Be One.

In Magic: The Gathering, Poison Counter provide an alternate win condition. If a card can inflict Poison Counters, then they are attached to an opposing player for the remainder of the game. If that player has ten Poison Counters on them, then they lose the game. As such, Poison Counter decks have the ability to score a swift victory, assuming they can bypass an opponent’s defenses.

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Corruption mechanic in Magic: The Gathering

The Skrelv's Hive and The Seedcore cards from Magic: The Gathering
Image Via Wizards of the Coast

The cards that have the Corrupted keyword gain benefits when an opposing player has three or more Poison Counters on them. The Skrelv’s Hive Enchantment (seen above) uses Corrupted to grant Lifelink to creatures with Toxic, giving them the power to heal when dealing damage. The Seedcore Land (seen above) gains an additional tap effect when Corrupted is active, allowing them to give a 1/1 creature a +2/+1 bonus until the end of the turn.

Corrupted has a lot of potential in Poison Counter decks, but it does have some drawbacks. The biggest is that it can take time for the opposing player to be hit with three Poison Counters, so the Corrupted effects aren’t of any use during the early stages of the match. Compare this to the Toxic mechanic introduced in the same set, which is also about hitting opponents with Poison Counters as soon as possible. Corrupted and Toxic work well together and players should expect to see them used in tandem when Phyrexia: All Will Be One hits store shelves.