Elven Chorus
30, Nov, 23

Brand New MTG Spell Type Has Huge Paper Potential

Article at a Glance

Throughout each year, Wizards of the Coast creates a huge number of new MTG cards. In 2023 alone, for instance, Wizards has designed and released just under 2,000 brand-new cards. While there’s certainly no shortage of new cards, it’s much rarer to see Wizards debuting a new Card Type. Even rarer than this, is the creation of a brand new Spell Type in MTG.

Despite being a rarity, throughout 2023, Wizards has created both a new Card Type and Spell Type. The first and former of these, Battles, appeared during the boundary-pushing March of the Machine set. Offering new mechanical possibilities and Tarmogoyf fuel, Battles are the first new Card Type since Planeswalkers appeared in Lorwyn. 

Following this major update, Magic: The Gathering is now getting a new Spell Type; Chorus. As the fifth Spell Type to ever be released (not counting Kindred spells), this is rather major news. Unfortunately, however, the new Chorus type isn’t available to most MTG players. Instead of being part of a normal MTG set, this new mechanic is exclusive to Alchemy: Ixalan.

Ribald Shanty

Ribald Shanty

Earlier this week, Wizards of the Coats officially announced Alchemy: Ixalan with quite an enticing spoiler. Since then, however, the set has been surprisingly quiet, about a set releasing in just 6 days. Launching on December 5th, Wizards has under one week to reveal 30 brand-new MTG cards. Following the initial announcement, however, Wizards has only debuted two.

While we’ve not seen much of Alchemy: Ixalan, yet, it’s hard not to be excited about what we have seen. The initial spoiler of Kamachal, Ship’s Mascot, for instance, has some interesting counterplay possibilities. Following this, the new Ribald Shanty is even more enticing as it debuts the brand-new Chorus Spell Type.

Thankfully, while new Spell Types have the potential to be rather complex, Chorus is mercifully straightforward. Put simply, Chorus spells can increase the Intensity of other Chorus cards, that’s it. This allows for deeper synergy, with some potentially devastating results.

Currently, since only one Chorus card has been revealed so far, it’s difficult to judge it in isolation. That being said, however, Ribald Shanty does appear to be rather a potent piece of removal. Scaling over time, this new Chorus could efficiently remove the most problematic threats in Alchemy.

As much as it is nice to keep pace with growing threats, Ribald Shanty will need support from other cards. Hopefully, this is exactly what Chorus can provide, although we’re going to have to wait and see for that. Right now, there’s no telling if any of the other Chorus cards will be playable alongside Ribald Shanty.

Pretty Much Paper Playable

Papercraft Decoy
Papercraft Decoy | Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty

While Chorus is exciting as a new Spell Type, not everyone can play with it. Like every Alchemy mechanic, so far, Chorus is only available on MTG Arena. For some Alchemy mechanics, like the six-sided cards of Specialize, this makes sense, however, Chorus could technically work on paper. Just like Intensity, all you need to do is track how many times you’ve played the relevant cards.

Admittedly, the Intensity mechanic on MTG Arena does have some difficult complexity since it’s not only on spells. The intensity of Runaway Growth, for instance, increases every time the enchanted land is tapped. While this is still trackable, managing every Intensity effect would require a good deal of work.

Interestingly, Chorus, currently, doesn’t have the same problem. By being a unified Spell Type, the Chorus intensity could be tracked with just one counter on a player. On paper, this is a much more manageable feat, even if you’ve got creatures attacking, and cards tapping to up the count. Despite this increased paper viability, however, Chorus is currently a digital-exclusive MTG mechanic.

As you can imagine, considering Ribald Shanty is practically playable on paper, not everyone was happy about it being digital-exclusive. While some players were frustrated, however, others were just grateful this card existed. Since Arena has its own development team, this card literally wouldn’t exist without Alchemy. 

Ultimately, there’s a non-zero chance that this Alchemy mechanic could make its way to paper play one day. There’s no reason, after all, that the paper design team couldn’t pinch the mechanic with an accessibility-increasing tweak or two. Unfortunately, while this is a possibility for the future, there’s no guarantee Chorus will ever be printed on paper. 

We’ll See More Soon

Now You See Me ... | Unfinity
Now You See Me … | Unfinity

At the end of the day, we don’t really know all too much about Chorus just yet. After all, we’ve only seen one card at the moment. Hopefully, this should all change soon, as there are still 28 cards yet to be spoiled. Considering the release date of Alchemy: Ixalan is literally days away, we should be seeing these soon. Specifically, more Alchemy: Ixalan cards are due to be revealed this weekend.

Whenever the new spoilers do arrive, hopefully, we’ll see plenty more Chorus cards. In theory, these might make a compelling deck together that gets progressively more and more value from cheap spells. Whether or not this theory will actually come true, however, remains to be seen. For now, we can all just enjoy the flavor of this musical card and the new Spell Type it has introduced.

Read More: MTG Designer Addresses 2023’s Controversial Design Decisions

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