Duskmourn Winter Art
28, Jun, 24

MTG Duskmourn Commander Decks Reinvent Archenemy Format!

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While it might not have the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas, MagicCon: Amsterdam is no less impressive. This latest event has only just begun, yet we’ve already been inundated with no end of major announcements. With Pro Tour Modern Horizons 3 and countless panels still on the docket this weekend, it’s undeniably a blockbuster event!

Between the reveal of Foundations, Duskmourn: House of Horror spoilers, and Bloomburrow critters too, there’s certainly a lot going on. There’s so much, in fact, that you may well have missed the fact Wizards of the Coast is totally reinventing a beloved format. At long last, Archenemy is returning with new MTG cards and a few absolutely massive changes.

Archenemy, But Commander

Duskmourn: House of Horror Art

Archenemy is returning to MTG as part of the preconstructed Commander decks for Duskmourn: House of Horror. Much like the return of Planechase in March of the Machine, each deck will contain an assortment of cards supporting the format. In total, each Duskmourn: House of Horror deck will contain ten Archenemy cards that MTG players can enjoy.

For better or worse, you don’t have to play with the new Archenemy cards included alongside each preconstructed deck. Similarly to Planechase, this is an optional format that needs to be agreed upon by players prior to starting a game. As fun as Time Bends to My Will looks, you can’t just play it in any ol’ Commander game.

Instead, to play Schemes, you’ll need to be playing the new and improved Archenemy format. As we mentioned, this format has been reinvented around Commander to improve the popularity of this niche often forgotten format. Thankfully, while this reinvention sounds scary, there are only two major changes to worry about.

For starters, the life totals when playing Archenemy have been updated. Previously, the titular Archenemy would start the game with 40 life. Since this is no different from a normal Commander game, this starting life total has now been upped to 60. So far, so straightforward.

More confusingly, Wizards has also adjusted the starting life total of the other players. Rather than having individual pools of 20 life each, the entire “hero team” now has a starting life total of 60 too. This should hopefully improve overall gameplay as players shouldn’t be eliminated early and left waiting unnecessarily.

New Decks and New Cards

Duskmourn Archenemy Cards

Overall, the changes being made to Archenemy should hopefully dramatically increase its popularity among MTG players. As Wizards notes, however, this isn’t an entirely perfect solution. While many of the old Schemes still work as intended, cards like Mortal Flesh is Weak don’t work under the new rules. Thankfully, there are very few cards that are completely broken due to the rule change.

On top of the vast majority of old Scheme cards remaining playable, Wizards is also creating 40 new Schemes. As we mentioned earlier, ten of these can be found in each of Duskmourn’s preconstructed Commander decks. This means that any one of these precons can be the Archenemy right out of the box.

Currently, Wizards of the Coast has only revealed two of the Scheme cards from Duskmourn: House of Horror. As usual, both of these cards offer incredibly powerful effects for free, in order to balance the 3 vs 1 dynamic. Out of the new cards, Time Bends to My Will is definitely the most interesting, but it does require some setup.

Giving you an extra turn for free, Time Bends to My Will seems like an amazing card on paper. To keep things balanced, however, you don’t get an untap step during your extra turn. In theory, this seems to defeat the purpose of having an extra turn, however, it does allow for some interesting strategic plays to catch opponents off guard.

While not as exciting, I Will Savor Your Agony is at least always useful. Offering removal, life gain, or card draw, this Scheme can do it all. Should you flip I Will Savor Your Agony off your Scheme deck during your first main phase, you shouldn’t ever be disappointed.

The Decks Themselves

Duskmourn Commander Decks

Sadly, while we know they will contain new Scheme cards to reinvigorate Archenemy, details are scarce about Duskmourn’s Commander decks. That being said, we do know infinitely more than we did before, as the box art has now been revealed. Barely spread across all five colors, it’s clear spooky antics will be a major theme throughout every deck.

As much as the Commander deck box art doesn’t reveal much, it does show us the face Commanders of each deck. From this, we can see two are helmed by returning characters Aminatou and Zimone. Alongside these familiar faces, the new characters of Winter and the House itself command the other decks.

Ultimately, there’s a lot we don’t know about Duskmourn: House of Horror and its accompanying Commander decks. Thankfully, we won’t be finding out more information soon. This is actually a good thing, for once, considering that Bloomburrow still needs to be spoiled, and released, in the interim.

While a leak or two wouldn’t be surprising at this point, Duskmourn: House of Horror’s preview season doesn’t begin until August 31st. Hopefully, this earlier-than-expected spoiler season will help hype up the set’s spooky flavor.

Read More: Newly Announced MTG Core Set Will Be Legal for Five Years

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