Dynaheir, Invoker Adept
28, Jun, 22

This New Alchemy Mechanic Might Come to Paper MTG

Article at a Glance

As Alchemy Horizons: Baldurs Gate’s brief spoiler season comes to a close, we’re left with a trio of new mechanics to digest. After picking Double Team and Specialize apart, we now set our sights upon Boon. Unlike the other new Alchemy Horizons: Baldurs Gate mechanics, Boon won’t be exclusive to the MTG Alchemy format.

Triggers, but Simplified

MTG Arena Boon Preview

If you’ve not heard of it before, since it’s a new mechanic and all, Boon is a new way to represent delayed triggers. Introduced for Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate, Boons are displayed similar to an emblem. However, once they trigger, they disappear. 

Thanks to giving players more clear and concise information, Boon should help new players better understand what’s happening. Players will no longer have to mentally keep and lose track of every trigger that lasts until the next turn or the next spell played. Instead, that information will be indicated at the side of a player’s screen. 

While this new mechanic has first launched in Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate, it won’t be exclusive there for long. While announcing the mechanics of the new Alchemy set, Wizards of the Coast confirmed that Boon is “not exclusive to the Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate set.” This means before too long; we might see Boon in paper-constructed formats. 

It’s currently unclear exactly what Wizards means when they say Boon is “not-exclusive.” Given that Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate also features returning Alchemy mechanics such as Spellbooks, we imagine this means Boon is destined for a greater future outside of Alchemy.

Should Alchemy Mechanics Come to Paper Magic?

As someone who was once a new player to Magic, I don’t want to dismiss how helpful Boon could be as a reminder for triggers. With enough tokens to represent all the triggers during paper play, the mechanic could benefit new players. These tokens also wouldn’t be mandatory, meaning veteran players will only have to put up with a wording change. 

While Boon could make a welcome addition to both paper and digital MTG, not all Alchemy mechanics are created equal. Perpetually, for example, would be a designed-for-digital Alchemy mechanic that would be incredibly hard to keep track of. While this means Perpetually likely won’t ever come to paper, other Alchemy mechanics certainly could with some minor tweaks. 

Things would get much more confusing if any mechanic were changed for its introduction to paper MTG. The divide between Alchemy and paper MTG is already bad enough. With rebalanced cards, shared art, and little on the cards to distinguish them, it’s safe to say that Magic has an identity problem. If similarly different mechanics appear in Arena and on paper, this problem will only worsen.

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Is Alchemy Wizard’s Latest Test Bed?

Similar to how Un- sets have been treated, Alchemy could be Wizards’ latest test bed to trial new mechanics and ideas. Previously, dice rolling was a mechanic introduced in Unglued and exclusive to Un- sets. That was until Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms launched and brought the mechanic into Standard. 

If Boon receives the same treatment as dice rolling, players will have to pay much more attention to Alchemy. As we mused about recently, Specialize could also, technically, see Standard play. Requiring a supplementary 100-card deck, this mechanic is far from an ideal fit for paper play. However, it’s ultimately not impossible to facilitate. The same is true for Double Team. 

With Alchemy being much despised in the Magic community, we can’t imagine this decision will go down well. Nevertheless, Wizards will undoubtedly succeed in making people pay attention to Alchemy, even if it is for the wrong reasons.

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