Checking in on Alchemy: Can We Have Some Fun Games and Interactions in the Format?

Delve into the Alchemy format of Magic: The Gathering for an exploration of fun gameplay and unique interactions. Can this format surprise us?

Alchemy Status

Alchemy has been a very controversial format since it's inception a little over two years ago. At first, the format showed a lot of promise, and many people were excited about the innovative ideas that it could potentially have. As more and more sets started to release, the gripes about overpowered and seemingly "pushed" cards and archetypes became rather apparent, and it caused most people to dismiss the format altogether. Add in a somewhat failed promise of proactive rebalancing, and it appeared to be a failed project from Wizards. Something that is bringing it back to life as of late, however, is the fact that a lot of people aren't happy with the fact that Standard went another year without rotation. Alchemy, unlike the new version of Standard, has a two year rotation schedule that "old" Standard used to have. Some people prefer this, and after some appropriate nerfs to overpowered cards in alchemy were made, there are a few players who are going back to the format to give it a shot - maybe because they are fed up with going against certain decks in Standard, or they simply just want to try something different, as playing with the same cards over and over again can get monotonous. We see this happening more and more as there are some decks in Standard that have become really popular, yet they use little to no cards that would have rotated had we followed the regular rotation schedule. Players almost feel as if they are selling themselves short and it's easy for one to think that it's worth trying in Alchemy to see if the win rate is better, or at the very least, to see if the gameplay is more fun.

My Newest Alchemy Deck and The Relevant Alchemy Cards for it

Total Cards:

This deck is currently used for best of one and only uses two Alchemy cards, but they are pretty helpful in regards to getting our engines up and running. It's a similar concept to the previous deck that we played in Standard that used Vein Ripper to make our opponent lose as much life as possible. In Alchemy, we actually have cards liketo help us find vampires and draw more cards.

Magic the Gathering Card - A-The One Ring - MTG CircleMagic the Gathering Card - Dusk's Landing - MTG Circle

For those wondering what the "seek" ability is, it is defined as a mechanic that allows the player to randomly tutor cards of certain criteria from their deck. Since we are playing this digitally, it allows the computer to randomize it for us. This is another fun and unique mechanic in Alchemy that cannot be replicated in a paper format without either needing a judge to oversee the actions every time they are carried out, or without delaying the game significantly. The useful part here is that the only vampires in the deck are Preacher of the Schism, Bloodletter of Aclazotz, and Vein Ripper. While it is true that Vein Ripperand Bloodletter help us get our engine going more than anything else, it's still hard to be upset about getting a Preacher into hand, as it can either help us find other cards, or make us tokens that buy us time until we can combo off for lethal. Even if we can't hit the conditions for Dusk's Landingto seek some vampires for us, it draws us a card for one mana if nothing else.

Other Cards from Standard that Improved the Archetype

Magic the Gathering Card - Drivnod, Carnage Dominus - MTG Circle

Drivnod is a really interesting card in this deck - the three toughness is somewhat unfortunate, but it's hard to turn down a card that gives us double death triggers from both Vein Ripperand Archfiend of the Dross. It is especially cheeky if a Bloodletter of Aclazotz is on the board. It also doesnt hurt that Drivnod has a built in way to make itself indestructible without us needing any actual mana untapped. In a removal heavy game and meta, this can prove incredibly effective.

Magic the Gathering Card - Choking Miasma - MTG Circle

Remember when I was talking about certain decks that people have ported over to Alchemy because they don't lose any cards due to the decks being rotation proof? Well a couple of the big ones are Mono Red and Boros Convoke. These decks inherantly have a "go wide" strategy that uses a lot of smaller creatures who usually have a lower toughness. This allows us to seal the deal against our opponents with some of our larger creatures on the board.

Magic the Gathering Card - Callous Sell-Sword - MTG Circle

Although the creature portion of this card isn't bad in any way, what we are looking for here is to resolve the adventure side of this spell. Flinging a Drivnod or Archfiend for lethal is incredibly satisfying, and it can lead to a ton of damage. This card was reason enough for me to splash red into the deck and add eight red sources so that we can have that one red mana we need when the time comes to either get in for the last bit of damage, or pull off a ridiculous one turn kill.

Is Alchemy More Fun than Standard?

This is a tough one to answer due to how many varying play styles and overall opinions there are for how magic should be played. I don't necessarily know if it's more fun per se than Standard, but I will definitely say it's refreshing to not be up against Five Color Domain or Azorius Control as much as I do in Standard. I treat it as a breath of fresh air when I want to experience something different, and utilize some fun and unique digital mechanics. I believe that playing both formats can be useful for not seeing one's most commonly played format feel stale or as if it is starting to get boring. To anyone who has dismissed Alchemy at any point, I can tell you that it is worth revisiting if you want to switch it up a bit and try something else. One of the best parts about is that you still get free boosters from the new releases, and most Alchemy decks don't require burning that many wildcards to craft, as they often just build on other archetypes that are already prevalent in Standard.

I am a Magic The Gathering competitive player, and streamer. I specialize in homebrew decks. My favorite formats are: Standard, Pioneer (Explorer on Arena), and EDH. I first started playing MTG in 2001, and have played on and off since then.

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