Lizardfolk Librarians
25, Aug, 22

Alchemy Could Be Getting Rid of Rebalancing!

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While rotation and renewal are almost upon us with the launch of Dominaria United next week, many MTG Arena players still have a bad taste in their mouths. This is thanks to the much-mired MTG Arena set Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate, which has seen no end of complaints. With Constructed and Draft rebalancing threatening to affect Arena Open and qualifier events, many players have had enough. Thankfully, it appears Wizards of the Coast might be on the same page, as Alchemy is changing in 2023. 

Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth

Like Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, the Tales for Middle Earth set has been promised a release on MTG Arena. During Wizards Presents 2022, this was described as “an Alchemy set”; however, things are a lot better than first described. That’s not just because the Alchemy set launches with “a new battlefield, Mastery Pass, avatars, pets, and more.” Instead, the Tales for Middle Earth Alchemy set is giving players they’ve been vehemently craving; a “true-to-tabletop” experience

Much to the delight of MTG Arena players, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set will feature no card rebalancing or digital-only mechanics. This is in stark contrast to Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate, which pushed Alchemy’s rebalancing to even affect cards in Draft! Since these changes have been controversial, to say the least, it’s not entirely unsurprising that WotC is changing its approach.

The Death of Alchemy?

Sigil of Myrkrul
Sigil of Myrkrul | Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate

While the lack of rebalancing in Alchemy’s next set will undoubtedly be to the delight of fans, we’re not entirely sure it’s a good idea. The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set, after all, may not be balanced around the stable Alchemy meta. As a Draft set legal in Modern, Tales of Middle-Earth could include some exceptionally powerful cards. These cards could dramatically shift and dominate the Alchemy meta, theoretically ruining the format’s variety and strengths. 

While it’s the least favorite format of many players, rebalancing in Alchemy is the format’s greatest strength. Admittedly, rebalancing in Alchemy and Historic causes significant issues in MTG Arena’s economy. However, the concept is nevertheless incredible. By rebalancing problematic, overpowered, or underpowered cards, Wizards of the Coast can create a balanced format. Theoretically, this should be the best gameplay experience for players, as Wizards can refine a healthy and enjoyable competitive meta.

If The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth is anything to go by, WotC may be moving away from rebalancing cards. While this may be to the delight of many players, this decision effectively removes the point of Alchemy. Rather than being a unique and exciting MTG Arena format, Alchemy would instead be reduced to simply being Standard with a few extra digital-only cards and additional sets. This seems like a colossal waste of a format that, with some tweaking, could be MTG’s best. 

What May the Future Hold

Witness the Future
Witness the Future | Innistrad: Crimson Vow

With The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set still roughly a year away from release, its actual impact is currently unknown. It won’t be until the set’s spoiler season that we’ll have an idea of the set’s power level and how it may shape MTG Arena and Alchemy. While we’ve been skeptical about the “true-to-tabletop” promise, our concerns may be unfounded and the set balanced. For that, however, we’ll have to wait and see. 

With up to seven sets launching before Tales of Middle-Earth, it’s entirely possible that MTG Arena may undergo some dramatic changes by the time it releases. This could mean that the digital client receives more supplemental sets than ever before. Addressing MTG Arena’s future in 2023, WotC confirmed that Arena will, at least, receive 2023’s strangest set. As an “epilogue set,” not much is known about March of the Machine: The Aftermath. However, we now know that the set will be launching on MTG Arena alongside the other Standard-legal sets. 

Read More: MTG Characters Are Coming Back From the Dead!

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