Suddenly, out of nowhere, MTG bans are, once again, everywhere. Whether its a community format or an official one, a whole bunch of card bans are popping out of the woodwork. This is pretty shocking considering that, thanks to recent ban policy changes, MTG ban announcements, for the most part, are supposed to be restricted to once a year. That said, there suddenly appear to be new bans on MTG Arena.
Notably, community members have been begging for these cards to be addressed since their conception. As such, while these changes are a massive win for the Alchemy format, its a bit odd that they weren’t announced in any capacity through official channels before being implemented. Fortunately, as of the writing of this article, there is now an official announcement regarding these insane Arena bans.
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker Banned in Alchemy
Out of seemingly nowhere, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker has been banned in Alchemy.
Its no secret that some MTG players are sick of this card. After having a massive homogenizing effect on the Standard format, the card was removed from Standard following Wizards announcement to extend the rotation window for the format. While a three-year Standard rotation can do a lot to make the format’s card pool more interesting, some cards have had too large of a presence in the format, and its early elimination favored the format’s diversity significantly.
The card is extremely powerful, too. Seeing play in Pioneer and even Modern, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker has an absolutely incredible effect on a game and, in some cases, an entire format. Creating two-for-one threats that need to be removed, mana ramp and hand sculpting while filling your graveyard, this card is a monster, and very difficult to deal with cleanly after resolution.
That said, the Fable may seem a lot less offensive in the Alchemy format now that Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is legal. As strong as Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is, it doesn’t compare to the format-warping The One Ring and Orcish Bowmasters.
Well, according to the official ban announcement from Wizards of the Coast, the new addition of Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth just made the problematic Alchemy cards even more problematic:
“Black-red midrange decks featuring Crucias, Titan of the Waves, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse have been one of the best-performing archetypes in Alchemy. The One Ring further powered up these decks with the release of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™. As a result, we are rebalancing Crucias, Titan of the Waves and are banning Fable of the Mirror-Breaker in Alchemy.”Wizards of the Coast
These bans were quickly addressed in the Weekly MTG show that previewed the Planeswalker Party deck. For a short time, some confusion was created regarding Fable of the Mirror-Breaker’s status since the card was only banned in best of one play. It has now been confirmed to be banned in both best of one and best of three Alchemy.
Crucias has FINALLY Been Nerfed!
The most powerful digital-only card on the MTG Arena client is indisputably Crucias, Titan of Waves. For a long time, this Rakdos-colored 3/3 ruled the format, capable of ramping and fixing mana while offering additional card selection. You can easily transform an extra land into a nonland one with this card while getting ahead of your opponent mana-wise. As a result, there was very little this card wasn’t capable of. Fortunately, after months of pleas from the MTG community, Crucias has finally been addressed.
The nerf may seem irrelevant at first glance, but it will have a massive impact on the card’s playability. Basically, the only change made to Crucias is that its toughness has been reduced to one. Otherwise, the card remains the exact same.
Don’t get me wrong, Crucias is still very playable, but this is a massive nerf to the card since it opens up a large suite of removal that can address it before it creates value.
The biggest change for this card however, is the existence of Orcish Bowmasters. Now one of the best cards in the entire format is a clean answer to Crucias. Not only that, but the answer costs less mana than Crucias, and can be cast at instant speed. This means that most players will have an opportunity to answer Crucias before its ability triggers, and will be able to gain a mana advantage in doing so.
Crucias’s nerf to having one Toughness, as pointed out in Wizards’ ban announcement regarding Alchemy, will open up Crucias to more than just Orcish Bowmasters. Players can now answer this card with even more efficient removal pieces like Play with Fire and Cut Down. This makes Crucias much easier to play around in the context of the Alchemy format.
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More Changes, Please!
While only two changes were made to the Alchemy format, they are changes that the community has wanted for quite some time. Crucias’s nerf, in particular, is going to impact more than just Alchemy. Crucias was so powerful that it even heavily impacted Historic. This nerf is going to bring some needed change to both formats, which may be accentuated further with the addition of Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth.
Hopefully, the positive response that (may) emerge from these changes will encourage Wizards of the Coast to pay closer attention to their various formats. Crucias is a change that could have been made quite some time ago, but late is better than never. Alchemy is going to be a very different format now and, contrary to popular belief, many players are starting to enjoy it. If you’re looking for something different, consider giving Alchemy a try.