Twelve months after his eighth-place finish at London 2012, Phillips delivered for a British team that had been hit by the absence of three-time world champion Shanaze Reade.
And he edged out home favourite Marc Willers and Germany's Luis Brethauer to take the title.
"It feels amazing, the reward for the hours spent training, we dedicate our lives for this," said Phillips.
"Apart from 2011, I've been to every worlds since 1996 when I was a kid. It’' the first time I've won.
"I just wanted to keep the mistakes to a minimum and I managed that."
Christine Ohuruogu and Mo Farah warmed up for next month's IAAF World Championships at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games, which celebrated one year since London 2012 at the Olympic Stadium.
Ohuruogu clocked a season's best 50.00 seconds to win the 400m and Farah produced a dominant display to claim the 3000m at the IAAF Diamond League event.
Elsewhere, Britain's women's sprint relay team produced their fastest time in 12 years and Perri Shakes-Drayton clocked a 53.67 personal best to finish second to world leader Zuzana Hejnova over 400m hurdles.
However, injury doubts remains for Olympic champion Jess Ennis-Hill.
What she would give for a bit of Super Saturday magic now, as her bid to regain her world heptathlon title continues to look shaky.
She safely negotiated her first hurdles race in nearly a year, though her 13.08 time was well below her best, and jumped 6.16 metre in the long jump.
By way of comparison, she clocked 12.54 and jumped 6.48m at last year's Olympics.
The girl from the Steel City is made of tough stuff but admitted this was fragile form just days away from a showdown with the world's best.
"I always want to be at my best and I'm obviously not at my best at the moment," she admitted.
"It's great to be here, I'm so glad I competed and got to experience this whole crowd again but I'm definitely not where I would like to be.
"It's definitely getting better which is a good thing and I just need to see how I recover and then it's that difficult decision of deciding whether I'm ready enough."
Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond's hopes of a world title were thwarted by the weather but the British sailing double act had no complaints about silver.
Saxton and crew Diamond were guaranteed a medal heading in to the final day of the first-ever Nacra 17 World Championship, a class that will make its Olympic debut in Rio.
But a lack of wind prevented them claiming an upgrade.
"I'm massively pleased at winning a medal. The sport's all about winning medals in a few years' time in Rio, so to prove we can get a medal here is pretty cool," said Saxton.
Elsewhere, Ed Wright added European silver to his second place at last year's World Championship in the Finn class once dominated by four-time Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie.
Synchronised swimmers Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici claimed an eighth and ninth place finish in their duet events at the World Championships in Barcelona, while a youthful British team , which included four 15-year olds, ranked 12th.
Sarah Barrow nearly became the first-ever British woman to win an individual diving world medal.
Barrow, who finished fifth with training partner Tonia Couch in the 10m synchro, missed a podium spot by one place in the individual event.
"It was just outside the medals but I'm not too disappointed at all," said Barrow.
"I got a personal best by about one point and the last time I did that was 2008, so I'm pretty happy.
"When I came to this competition, I thought it's my first final at a World Championships and I didn't have anything to lose so I just sat back and enjoyed it."
Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley finished sixth in the men's 10m platform, no mean achievement after recent injuries that put his participation in doubt until the final moment.
"It was a frustrating one," he admitted. "I didn't think I was going to get through to the final so to get to the final and finish sixth I can take.
"It is just frustrating knowing it only took 517 points to get a silver. The scores are low and that was another opportunity to get up there again. My best this season was 542, 520, 530."
Keri-anne Payne's bid to win a third open water swimming world title faltered in Barcelona after a brutal race that left her bumped, battered and bruised.
Payne came home 14th in the 10km event, which was won by Brazil's Poliana Okimoto while her team-mate Ana Marcela Cunha Germany's Angela Maurer completed the podium.
But the Brit admitted she hadn't experienced such a physical open water race on the world stage before.
"The first few laps were absolutely fine and then all of a sudden it was absolute carnage," admitted Payne, who finished fourth at last year's Olympics.
"I've no idea how many places I lost going round one buoy, getting dunked, hit in the face and swam over. It's not quite what I was hoping the swim would've been.
"The referees before the race said they were going to be really strict but I don't think they were strict enough."
Team-mate Great Britain's Danielle Huskisson finished 33rd in her major championship debut while, in the men's race, Jack Burnell finished 15th and Daniel Fogg came home a distant 38th.
Great Britain's women's water polo coach Paul Metz praised his side, despite their failure to win a match in Barcelona.
This was their first appearance at this level in ten years and they were always going to struggle after being drawn in a tough group.
"Playing at this level is a fantastic experience for the new players on the team and for those players who were at the Olympics but didn't get much match play during the Games," he said, after a last 16 knockout defeat to Olympic semi-finalists Hungary.
"We didn't have the most experienced team here in Barcelona but we knew that three months ago and it has been a huge learning experience and the outcome has been hard."
And there was disappointment for Jazmin Carlin, who had hoped to start Britain's pool campaign with a World Championship medal in the Catalan capital.
She clocked a personal best and Welsh record 4:04.03 in the 400m freestyle to miss bronze by 14 hundredths of a second.
She will now reset her sights on the 800m freestyle event.
"I am absolutely gutted. I really wanted to be on that podium. I fought hard and it's disappointing to be so close to bronze but that's what happens," she said.
"I've got the rest of the week to get myself up. If someone would have told me last year I would finish fourth at the World Championships I would have taken it."
And finally, England men's hockey coach Bobby Crutchley has some thinking to do after a difficult weekend at the Hamburg Masters.
His side were beaten 6-1 by Holland and Germany and only edged past lowly ranked Ireland 3-2 in their last match.
"I was pleased we got the win," he said. "We made it harder than we should have done but we dominated possession for some periods of the game so we should be happy with that.
"At times we were a touch sloppy in possession but we battled well against a tough Irish side. Generally our hockey in this tournament has been below par but I think if we sharpen up in the final third we will score more goals."
© Sportsbeat 2013