The whole Magic universe has been shaken by the announcement of Alchemy —a new format destined to change how we think of online play.
Alchemy, which was released on December 9th, only concerns the online game and consists of a whole new world, where cards are rebalanced when necessary and that will periodically have exclusive cards added.
Let’s see what changes have been announced for the debut!
The rebalancing couldn’t have started any differently. The strongest card in Standard needed a nerf and it’s this card. Foretell’s cost has changed from six to seven mana, and now the two 1/1 birds will be created only if we play this card through this ability.
The card remains strong but won’t be as unbeatable as it seems to be right now. The purely spells version of the Standard deck loses a lot because it could win with these 1/1 practically alone. The dragons version will feel this change but will still continue to be played safely.
The second strongest card in Standard is being rebalanced as well. Two changes are that the 2/2 cat tokens that are put into play at his entrance go from two to one and the crew cost goes from four to two.
The card was good because even in an empty board you could restart by putting three different pieces on the board to make removal spells less efficient. With this nerf, the Chariot is still a nice card that will continue to see play but probably won’t be as dominant as it has been so far.
Mono White suffers an important nerf in one of its key cards. Luminarch goes from putting the +1/+1 counter during the beginning of the combat phase to putting it during the end step.
The nerf is justified because Mono White is the most played deck in the format, but I would have maybe preferred that it become a 0/1 or that it couldn’t put a counter on itself. I have doubts about its playability with the counter at the end of the turn because you lose a lot of pressure that the deck needs.
You all know that this has been one of my favorite cards, if not my favorite in Standard, since it was first spoiled. It’s one of the most played cards because of its high power level so this nerf was necessary. Our beloved dragon will no longer give us a treasure when it becomes a target for spells.
An important change is that you can no longer defend it in the same turn that it comes into play. It will also often happen that it will take a removal and not leave us a treasure on turn five.
While the nerf is heavy, the card continues to be playable. However, I think it will shift its playability toward more aggressive decks (RG/RB) rather than control decks like UR that needed more treasures as I don’t think they can afford to lose a turn five so easily.
This card is also too strong not to be nerfed. It goes from being a 4/3 to a 3/3, which seems small but is a significant change.
All aggressive decks were using this card and will continue to do so, but they will struggle to make optimal trades. The first thing that comes to mind is the block it made on Esika’s Chariot. It will also put less pressure on slow decks that often had to manage a curve made of one-, two-, and three-mana drops and a big attack with these creatures plus Faceless Haven on turn four.
Its playability isn’t changed. It was played in four copies and will continue to be played in four copies.
OMNATH, LOCUS OF CREATION
Check out who’s returning in Alchemy! A brand-new Omnath with an increased mana cost that goes from four to five mana, and now when it comes into play, you scry rather than draw a card.
Will these nerfs be enough to manage a card that was so strong it was banned? I have doubts but making it cost an extra mana and no longer draw a card is a good start.
The format has changed a lot. Lotus Cobra is still there, but you can’t play it during the third turn, which is a big change. It has synergy with Wrenn and Seven, and we’ll see how it adapts. I’m sure that it won’t take long to see it played, and then we’ll see if it retains its dominance.
ALCHEMY – OTHER CHANGES
There are other changes, this time for the better, to less played cards, such as:
- Cosmos Elixir that gains two life points and make scry 1
- Demilich that has 4 toughness instead of 3
- Druid Class that has the level three to three mana instead of five, which is the same change for the Wizard Class
- Phylat, World of Sculptor that gives four +1 +1 counters to a plant when a land comes into play and gives trample
Minor changes can certainly go unnoticed and who knows if they will give way to the birth of new decks. So many changes await us!
The idea is to create a balanced format where you can constantly intervene by fixing what is wrong. I like the idea very much, and I can’t wait to try as many decks as possible!