Reviewing the Defilers

Carlos Albuquerque
4 min readSep 28, 2022


Say cheese!

So, Dominaria United came and went. So much for being Magic’s anniversary. But Still, I quite enjoyed its phyrexians. Its a wonderful mixure between old and new designs, which make them the highlight of the block.

Here we get a cycle of five “defilers”, one for each color of mana to show whole novel ways Phyrexia has corrupted the color pie. They essentially act as your Phyrexian mana dispenser, appropriately expensive themselves so you don’ get any format breaking ideas.

Defiler of Faith

We start off with the second best of the bunch, the White one. White actually gets quite a lot of phyrexians in Dominaria United, but most are sleeper agents with a Black cost so this represents the closest thing to a “true” mono-White phyrexian. Here we see an interesting combination of Norn’s white porcelain plates with the mechanical cables that this set’s phyrexians are best known for. Remember, ALL phyrexians in Dominaria United are under Sheoldred’s control, so this is a White Phyrexia under the Black preator’s command. Note all the copper cables, which no self-respecting Machine Orthodoxy phyrexian woud have.

The atmosphere is appropriately eerie, as if this thing — probably a sleeper agent — just became aware that its a monster… and honestly finds it pretty cool. The White palette and the full moon make it clearly “light/divine aligned” while making it clear that it’s evil, though the snow might have been overkill.

Defiler of Dreeaaaams

The best was also the first spoiled, so its kinda downhill from here, though the other designs are pretty cool. Its hard to top this “sphinx” entirely made from black cables and white porcelain bits — one of which even a crying face of Yawgmoth, a symbol old phyrexians revered but new phyrexians think its cringe — a look never seen before in Jin-Gitaxias’ Blue phyrexians and honestly all the more cool for it. If it was up to him it’d be all chrome with the occasional gross bit.

Its floating crown/mask thingie brings to mind Bolas, but unlike that brat this thing seems fully secure, like a tiger ready to pounce.

Defiler of Flesh

The only one I hate. Its just a bunch of people glued together by cables. I guess its spooky if you go “oh no they used to people” but that’s the same for all phyrexians so you’re an idiot.

Poor horsie tho.

Defiler of Instinct

Now things are back to speed wth the Red aligned one, which is a compleated KAVU, the things Gaea made to fight the Phyrexians. This ups the stakes quite a lot, but maybe they’re like Urabrask and not actually evil because Red mana gives you feelings. Aw, they’re even tearing the palace down for THE REVOLUTION!

Visually it is quite interesting because it looks like a typical old phyrexian, made mostly of copper with just a bit of white, but the palette gives off that Red feeling, without needing the internal furnaces other Red Phyrexians have. I dig this more subtle approach to Red phyrexians.

Defiler of Vigor

The last one is the one I’m most torn about. On one hand this seems like a typical Green Phyrexian; just a dumb beast. But I really like the purple cables and lighting, that would make it look Black aligned if not for the card frame; this is Green Phyrexia under Sheoldred’s interpretation, and while the card makes you want play mono-Green flavourwise this is the Black Praetor’s pet like everyone else we’ve reviewed so far. I like to think this is her mockery of Vorinclex, and under that light this is the best of the defilers to express this sentiment.