The first weekend of October 2023 is a big deal for fans of the digital-only MTG Arena formats. Historic is being featured in the MTG Arena Championship, the biggest competitive MTG Arena event happening this weekend. Additionally, early spoilers for Wilds of Eldraine: Alchemy are being unveiled right after the Doctor Who spoilers just finished.
Notably, the power level of the Alchemy format is currently much higher than it has traditionally been. This is thanks to the format-warping cards from Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth being legal alongside a bunch of Standard-legal sets and a few extra digital cards. The One Ring, Orcish Bowmasters and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse seem to have the format in a stranglehold.
With that in mind, early spoilers just don’t seem to scratch the itch. There are a few interesting cards that appear to slot well into some Alchemy and Historic archetypes but, chances are, they’re just not going to be enough.
Oddly, however, an interesting Pig Typal theme also seems to be appearing in Alchemy: Eldraine. We discuss this near the tail-end of the article. Let’s take a look!
Heir to Dragonfire
Of all the Alchemy: Eldraine cards revealed so far, this one is the most intriguing to me. A two mana 2/2 with Firebreathing doesn’t do a whole lot, but you can get rewarded big time for running these cards in multiples. Your two mana 2/2 can turn into a 5/5 Flying Dragon for an additional three mana as long as you have an extra Heir to Dragonfire in your hand. This makes a curve of playing a one drop into a Heir to Dragonfire, upgrading it into a 5/5 Dragon that can attack rather exciting.
Of course, you still have to ultimately put five mana into this creature to get it up and running, which makes spot removal like Go for the Throat pretty devastating. Regardless, this creature can play double duty, acting as an aggressive on-curve two drop while turning into a much bigger threat if you’re forced to play more of an attrition game.
Jewel Mine Overseer
Some players are rather excited for Jewel Mine Overseer to pop up in the Boros Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival decks over in Historic. Jewel Mine Overseer both provides some extra threats that cantrip upon entry and enables exile-based effects like Pia Nalaar by Impulse drawing at the beginning of your turn. While this card is definitely an interesting one to look at in Alchemy, I think it may be too slow for Historic.
Three mana for a card that creates a lot of pretty irrelevant threats for Historic purposes that only otherwise provides value if it survives a rotation of the table seems problematic. The threats appear a lot more relevant in Alchemy and Pia Nalaar is still a viable option alongside cards like Questing Druid to try and make the exile theme work. If you’re excited about this card, that is where I would start.
We are getting some Faerie support with the upcoming Alchemy: Eldraine expansion. Unfortunately, that support doesn’t look too interesting for Alchemy, but it can make the Faerie archetype going around in Standard a bit more interesting for Alchemy purposes since it solves the biggest problem that archetype currently has: a lack of playable Faeries.
Talion’s Throneguard is rather understatted for a four-drop, but it can function as a sort of counterspell creature, which is incredibly powerful. Capable of bouncing a spell or nonland permanent to hand, Talion’s Throneguard is rather versatile. The Bargain is a nice upside that can delay an opposing four drop like The One Ring or Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, giving you time to come up with a plan to keep it off the board.
Unfortunately, one awkward interaction may keep Talion’s Throneguard out of Alchemy’s top tables: Orcish Bowmasters. This card lines up terribly with the Bowmasters, enabling them to destroy a four mana creature on entry, or when you draw an extra card. This turns the Throneguard into a four mana bounce effect.
High Fae Prankster is a rather bizarre creature. One toughness is a major liability in Alchemy right now, so the High Fae’s second ability doesn’t seem too interesting. The ability to swap power with another creature also seems selective. Should an aggressive deck with high power totals be popular, High Fae Prankster could be a sideboard card.
The Goodest, Scariest Boi
Hex, Kellan’s Companion looks powerful enough to incentivize an aggressive adventure strategy. Presenting a combination of burst damage, a growing body, and something surprisingly difficult to remove thanks to Hex jumping between exile and the battlefield, there is a lot of promise here.
To simply Hex’s text, Adventure spells will grow Hex and force Hex to jump into exile when in play. Casting spells from exile, like the creature side of an Adventure spell, will also grow Hex and put him onto the battlefield from exile. Both spell types will grow Hex regardless of whether this good boi is in exile or in play.
A collection of cards that conjure cards from the Three Pigs spellbook are releasing as a part of Alchemy: Eldraine. To reiterate for all the non-Arena players out there, Conjure refers to one of the cards in the referenced collection (the three pigs in this instance), appearing in your hand. It is an individual card after that point, and the card Conjured is selected at random.
Porcine Portent looks fantastic. The card simply offers an exile effect with little restriction that, afterwards, offers to create additional value. The enchantment afterwards doesn’t do too much. If you’re deck doesn’t have a Boar theme, you can throw it away to a Bargain effect afterwards.
The cards that function with the Three Pigs spellbook are interested in assembling all three pigs in some way, shape or form. Swine Rebellion either offers two creatures of your choice from the three pigs, putting one in hand and the other on the battlefield, or will spawn six mana worth of creatures for just three if you have three boars with different names in play.
Drover of the Swine represents another major payoff for assembling all three pigs, but this time in your graveyard. Should all three pigs be in the grave, Drover of the Swine can bring them all back into play.
Drover of the Swine may be a much more deadly force in the Historic format. Since Decimator of the Provinces is a Boar, Drover can resurrect it for just five mana. The decimator immediately connects for nine, and has a Craterhoof-esque buff effect for the rest of your board.
Reanimate Decimator of the Provinces alongside End Raze Forerunners, and you have an easy 22 damage backed with Trample. Considering how clunky the two Boars are outside of being reanimated, it’s tough to say how effective this strategy would be, but smashing your opponent with a bunch of boars definitely sounds like a lot of fun. Ilharg, the Raze-Boar features another mana cheating effect that makes the other massive boars a bit less awkward, so maybe this could become a thing.