Valiant Batrider
5, Dec, 23

Exciting New MTG Spell Type Is a Massive Let-Down

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Last week, Wizards of the Coast officially revealed that, as expected, Alchemy: Ixalan was coming soon! Kicking off proceedings with a pair of spoilers, sadly Wizards didn’t give MTG Arena players much to go off. Despite the lack of information, Alchemy: Ixalan nevertheless looked incredibly exciting thanks to a brand-new Spell Type; Chorus. 

Delighting MTG Arena players and ourselves alike, Chorus had some immensely exciting potential. Whether or not that would be realized, however, depended on how many cards carried the sub-type. Fast forward one week later, and we finally know the answer to this burning question. Unfortunately for musically-minded MTG players, it’s not good news…

While the Chours cards may be somewhat of a letdown, thankfully, Alchemy: Ixalan isn’t all bad news. With a fair few entertaining and especially powerful cards, there’s actually quite a lot to enjoy, in fact. So, without any further ado, let’s do exactly that! Here are all the highs and lows for Alchemy: Ixalan.

Chorus Has No Harmony

Ribald Shanty | Mycelic Ballad | Legion's Chant

Sadly, the new Chorus cards in Alchemy: Ixalan, sadly aren’t too great. This largely comes down to the fact there are only five Chorus cards in total, one in each color. Quite frankly, this is simply not enough to make these cards interesting.

On their own, each of the new Chorus cards is just okay. From appearances, the best out of the bunch is Legion’s Chant since it’s always useful at worst. Despite this utility, however, there’s currently no White Weenie deck in Alchemy that would love this card. For better or worse, this means the card will likely not see a home outside of fringe Historic decks.

While Mycelic Ballad does look like a nightmare to play against, it’s not the most playable Chorus. That honor instead goes to Ribald Shanty. Offering compelling creature damage, this scaling spell is a, somewhat lackluster, replacement to Static Discharge. Even with this in mind, however, mono-red decks will likely enjoy this new card.

Colossal Chorus | Hymn to the Ages

Alongside the dubiously playable Chorus cards, Alchemy: Ixalan also introduces some fun ones. Colossal Chorus, for instance, is an excellent pet/meme card that’s sure to see some play. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Hymn to the Ages, which takes far too long to get going.

Ultimately, Chorus cards have one main downside which is keeping them from seeing play; there aren’t enough of them. Since there’s only one per color, increasing the Chorus intensity isn’t easy by any means, and the cards hardly flow into each other. Each built for a different archetype, Chorus is currently little more than a novelty. In theory, this could change in the future, however, too many Chorus’ and a format could easily be overrun. 

Massive Brawl Bombs

Caldera Breaker

Thankfully, while the new Chorus cards may be a bit of a dud, Alchemy: Ixalan does still have some great cards. As usual, the best of these are new Mythic bombs that are bound to see a lot of play. Out of these, the most fun is Caldera Breaker and it’s not even close.

Offering an incredibly unique effect, Caldera Breaker removes all the mountains from your deck. At first, this deals a boatload of damage to a creature, however, after Caldera Breaker dies, those Mountains get put into play. So long as Caldera Breaker doesn’t get exiled, this is obscenely powerful, as it streamlines any deck immensely.

While Caldera Breaker is very exciting, they might not be too playable… Thanks to their six mana casting cost, Caldera Breaker is simply too slow for most mono-red decks. Mercifully, this shouldn’t be a problem within Historic Brawl, so there is still some fun to be had. Speaking of Historic Brawl, this format should be the perfect home for Mythweaver Poq too!

Mythweaver Poq

Capable of duplicating a land you play every single turn, Mythweaver Poq is an exceptional ramp engine. Synergizing with existing Landfall decks and similar land-scaling creatures, Mythweaver Poq definitely has potential. Once again, however, the majority of this potential is in Historic Brawl where there’s no shortage of themed decks.

Chitinous Crawler

Last but not least for the spicy mythics, we have Chitinous Crawler. As we covered in an article all about them, Chitinous Crawler is an incredibly interesting card. Offering combo potential and graveyard shenanigans, this card looks great. Unfortunately, however, these looks may be deceiving, as no deck truly craves Chitinous Crawler. In Historic they’re too slow and Alchemy doesn’t have enough relevant revival targets to truly excel…

Most of a Cycle

Pirate's Landing | Herald's Reveille

Much like the Chrous cards from earlier, Alchemy: Ixalan miraculously contains another disappointing cycle. Well, most of one, at least, as only three cards from this potentially five-card cycle have been created. Hopefully, this can be rectified in the future, however, there’s rarely continuity between Alchemy releases.

Rather than just being a unique design oddity, this incomplete cycle is rather frustrating as the cards are incredibly interesting. Providing either simple card draw or a conditional Seek effect, each card in this cycle is a Typal powerhouse. If you’ve got a Merfolk, Vampire, or Pirate deck, there’s a serious case to run these cards.

Out of the sort-of cycle, currently, the best card by far is Dusk’s Landing. Potentially offering two Vampires for just one mana, this card has incredible tutor-lite value. Thankfully, activating this Seek effect is also a breeze thanks to Vampires going hand in hand with Aristocrats. 

Dusk's Landing

While Dusk’s Landing is clearly a powerful card, don’t expect to see it everywhere. Currently, there isn’t a strong, or even middling Vampire deck in Alchemy or Historic waiting for this upgrade. Subsequently, since it only supports this niche Typal archetype, Dusk’s Landing won’t see much, if any, competitive play. 

For better or worse, the above is true for all the new one mana Seek cards. While each one of the three cards will be fantastic in Historic Brawl, competitively they don’t have a home. At least, not right this second.

Interestingly, should Wizards continue this cycle, there’s certainly potential for multiformat staples. For example, a Dinosaur seeking green card or a Soldier seeking white card would each be amazing. Just because these cards would be good, however, doesn’t mean Wizards should print them, however. In fact, it’s probably for the better that WotC doesn’t do that. 

I Just Think They’re Neat

Stalwart Speartail

Outside of the cycles and easily definable categories, Alchemy: Ixalan also has a few seriously powerful and interesting cards we’d be remiss not to mention. Out of these, our favorite is easily Stalwart Speartail, as this little dino puts in work. Capable of buffing your hand and your entire deck, this Dinosaur is potentially lethal.

While it has not yet emerged in Alchemy, Standard currently has a seriously strong Dinosaur deck. Within this Gruul archetype, Stalwart Speartail’s buffs would be invaluable, easily justifying its inclusion. Even if you only get one Enrage trigger, the value Stalwart Speartail provides is immense and well worth the three mana cost.

Clockwork Progenitor

While they don’t have the same competitive appeal, Cogwork Progenitor is also incredibly interesting. Capable of Seeking an Artifact every single turn, and turning it into a Gnome, Cogwork Progenitor feels inherently breakable. Whether or not the combo potential locked inside this card will be useable, however, remains to be seen. Hint: don’t expect much more than niche novelty combos.

To add a little more spice, Scalesoul Gnome offers a very interesting Discover effect. Scaling of player damage rather than a predetermined number, Scalesoul Gnome theoretically has massive potential. Most of the time, however, they’ll likely just be Discovering for two or three each turn. 

While this Dicsover effect admittedly isn’t the best, their other ability is the star. By Conjuring a duplicate of every card you play from exile, Scalesoul Gnome generates insane value. While they’re not cheap, this could have them see some fringe play.

Is Alchemy: Ixalan Actually Good? 

Kamachal, Ship’s Mascot

Ultimately, even without any standout powerhouse cards Alchemy: Ixalan looks seriously good. Sure, it might not have a new format-beaker like Dedicated Dollmaker but that’s not a bad thing. What Alchemy: Ixalan does have is a whole lot of fun, that furthers the themes, flavor, and fun of Ixalan. 

By providing support for a lot of Kindred archetypes, Alchemy: Ixalan stands to make a lot of MTG Arena players happy. In this regard, Alchemy: Ixalan is more like a dedicated Commander set than anything else. While a few archetypes are being pushed, nothing is too extreme, and all the big cards are fun-focused first and foremost. 

Technically, if we’re to be critical, the Chorus cards are obviously disappointing, as is the incomplete cycle. Both of these issues, however, can be fixed in the future by continued support and Alchemy cards. Currently, there’s no telling whether or not we’ll get this, but it’s nonetheless a possibility.

In the end, at worst, Alchemy: Ixalan looks to be pretty harmless, as there’s no under-costed new multiformat menace. Considering the general opinion surrounding Alchemy, this is probably for the better, especially with how long rebalancing takes. Without this problem, the new Alchemy cards can simply be an optional fun choice, which is exactly what they should be. 

Read More: MTG Ban Announcement Features Five Bans and One Unban!

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