Traumatic Prank | Alchemy: New Capenna
6, Sep, 23

New MTG Set Release Hides Surprise Unannounced Changes

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With the release of every new MTG set, there is always a lot to look forward to. This is especially the case for Wilds of Eldraine, which launched yesterday. Not only does this set contain plenty of awesome new cards, but it has also made MTG Arena that much better

Debuting improvements to duplicate protection and new quality-of-life features, the latest MTG Arena updates are certainly very welcome. Miraculously, however, these aren’t the only changes coming to the digital platform. Now that Wilds of Eldraine has been released, MTG Arena players have found a litany of previously hidden changes. 

Thankfully, many of the new changes are for the better of the game overall as they fix the flaws of everyone’s favorite format. That’s right, in a welcome change of pace, Wizards has actually fixed some of Alchemy’s mistakes for once!

Alchemy’s Major Mistake

Mistakes Were Made
Mistakes Were Made | Unfinity

As we’ve talked about time and time again, Alchemy has a lot of problems. Economic issues and the consistent lack of rebalancing, for instance, often frustrate players to no end. While these issues are definitely important, there’s nothing compared to Alchemy’s influence on the Historic format. 

For some strange reason, Alchemy and Historic and currently linked together. This means every Alchemy rebalance is also pushed into Historic, and vice versa. Since these two formats are completely different from one another, this leads to a lot of problems. After all, the two formats would ideally want to rebalance completely different cards, however, that affects both metagames.

Thankfully, there is a simple solution to this immensely frustrating problem. Wizards of the Coast could simply disconnect Alchemy and Historic, giving them their own rebalancings. While this may seem simple, Wizards has been incredibly hesitant to make this change, no matter how much it’s requested. 

While this dramatic and highly requested change is seemingly off-limits, Wizards hasn’t forsaken Historic entirely. In fact, it seems quite the opposite is true following Wilds of Eldraine’s release. Accompanying all the new cards and features, Wizards also re-rebalanced ten cards that are no longer legal in Alchemy.

Somewhat bafflingly, despite these changes being quite notable, Wizards hasn’t announced them at all. Word of the changes can’t even be found within the supposedly all-encompassing patch notes. Instead, MTG Arena players are left trawling through the entire card library to find what has been changed. Well… Either that or relying on a very handy Reddit post.

Fixing Alchemy’s Fatal Flaw… Ten Cards at a Time

Diviner of Fates | Alchemy New Capenna
Diviner of Fates | Alchemy New Capenna

To save MTG Arena players from needless searching, the dubiously named u/rectalslurpee has come to the rescue. On Reddit, this helpful user highlighted all of the ten cards that have been changed following Wilds of Eldraine’s launch. For better or worse, while the changes are certainly nice, they’re not exactly game-changing. 

Out of the ten cards that have been reverted to their pre-nerfed state, none of them particularly see play currently. Obviously, this may be partly due to the fact they were nerfed, however, most of the cards aren’t exactly all-stars. Traumatic Prank for instance, will hardly become a Historic staple now that it only costs three mana again.

For better or worse, only one of the re-rebalanced cards may end up seeing some play in Historic. This is Hullbreaker Horror, which sees decent play in Pioneer and Explorer decks. Now that the Alchemy variant has been removed, this card has “This spell can’t be countered,” again, making it a lot more viable. 

Alongside Hullbeaker Horror, it’ll also be worth keeping an eye on Diviner of Fates. For a time, this card was absolutely dominant in Alchemy thanks to its Connive and powerful Seek ability. After topping tournaments, however, the card was nerfed to only have one toughness, annihilating the amount it was played.

Now that Diviner of Fates is back to having three toughness, it could see some play again. After all, now it escapes being easily picked off by Orcish Bowmasters in Historic. That being said, however, Historic is currently an incredibly competitive format. Subsequently, Diviner of Fates and the required Esper deck may struggle to keep up with the current meta

More Must Be Done

Last Chance
Last Chance | Dominaria Remastered

As much as they may not be completely game-changing, the recent re-rebalancings are definitely a positive for MTG Arena. Unfortunately, however, there’s still a lot of work to be done for both Historic and Alchemy. Thankfully, there is now the perfect opportunity to fix things, as Alchemy is on its own rotation schedule. 

Disappointing, Alchemy’s new, or rather unchanged, rotation won’t change the fact it’s linked to Historic. This will always make rebalancing difficult since cards are almost always at different places in each format. Despite this fatal flaw, Alchemy may finally be able to become its own format thanks to just being different.

So long as it’s not totally dominated by Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth cards, Alchemy could prove to be an interesting optional format. In an ideal world, this could create a surge in interest, which demands increased focus from Wizards. Theoretically, this could speed up rebalancing, and even push the seemingly impossible change. 

Ultimately, in the real world, it’s unlikely that any of these changes are actually going to happen. Instead, it seems likely that nothing will change about Alchemy in the near future. The format will continue to be an oddity that gets new cards every few months but ultimately feels forgotten about. As MTG Rocks’ resident Alchemy fan, I certainly hope the format gets better in the future. At this point, however, my hope for this is admittedly wearing thin.

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