Herald of Vengeance
11, Aug, 22

Wizards Is Now Nerfing MTG Cards in Draft!

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Alongside the first chapter of Dominaria United’s story, Wizards of the Coast recently announced the latest round of MTG ban and balance changes. For the first time, these included changes to a new MTG format; Draft. As usual, not all of these changes will be to everyone’s preference. However, they’re still incredibly exciting. This is somewhat miraculous since the updates predominantly focus on rebalancing everyone’s least favorite format; Alchemy.

Chalice of the Void

Chalice of the Void
Chalice of the Void | Mirrodin

After being spotted last week in the patch notes for MTG Arena, Wizards of the Coast has finally officially announced Chalice of the Void’s ban in Historic Brawl. In its official ban announcement, Wizards explained that “Chalice of a Void can quickly lock players from casting their commander.” Other prison effects like Meddling Mage and Pithing Needle are also being Banned in Historic Brawl. This makes it clear that Wizards doesn’t want players being prevented from casting their commander, at least in Historic Brawl. 

While Chalice of the Void is still playable in Historic and a popular choice in Modern and Legacy decks, this ban is far from a good look for MTG Arena. After all, Chalice of the Void was only added to the game on the 28th of July 2022. As part of Historic Anthology 6, Chalice of the Void was one of 20 handpicked cards added to Arena. Due to the carefully curated nature of Arena’s Anthologies, you would hope that bans wouldn’t be required, especially after just a week.

Alongside the Chalice of the Void ban, Wizards of the Coast is also tweaking a pair of problematic Constructed cards. Firstly, Wizards is changing the “too easy to splash” Cabaretti Revels, tweaking its cost to RRG. This should prevent Cabaretti Revels from being such a frequent sight in Alchemy and Historic matches. WotC is also tweaking its combo enabling problem child, Racketeer Boss. To stop this card from being such an enabler for Grinning Ignus, Acererak the Archlich, and Ominous Traveler, Racketeer Boss is losing its ability to generate treasure tokens repeatedly. 

Alchemy Rebalancing

Eyes of the Beholder
Eyes of the Beholder | Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate

To go along with Constructed changes made in this banned and restricted update, WotC also unveiled changes coming to Alchemy.  For the first time, this included rebalancing for a Limited format; Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate Draft. As the first changes of their kind, these rebalancing changes are fascinating for the format’s future. While Alchemy may not be everyone’s favorite format at the moment, changes like these may turn that around.

As many of Alchemy’s rebalancings are, the individual changes made in this latest round of changes are not too significant. Due to the number of cards getting tweaked, players should experience a compellingly different gameplay experience. Wizards explained in a blog post that these changes are designed to make “underperforming strategies and archetypes stronger in Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate Draft.” Predominantly, the rebalancing is focused on making “blocking and other defensive strategies stronger.”

To accomplish this, Wizards has increased the toughness of several blue creatures such as A-Pseudodragon Familiar and Young Blue Dragon. While only five creatures have had their toughness increased, this should still be enough to affect the Draft environment. Alongside the changes to blue creatures, red is also getting some extra defense from Young Red Dragon now being able to block. 

As if increased toughness wasn’t already enough to “ensure blue is a more viable draft color choice,” Wizards is also changing several cards to make it easier to defend against aggressive decks. A-Guildsworn Prowler, A-Manticore, and A-Baleful Beholder, are all on the chopping block for changes, with each card getting its power changed. A-Steadfast Unicorn and Blessed Hippogriff are also getting their abilities changed to stop them from being overly dominant. 

What Comes Next?

Arms Scavenger
Arms Scavenger | Alchemy: Innistrad

With Dominarua United’s release looming ever closer, it remains to be seen what will happen to Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate. Once its Draft is out of the spotlight, it’s unclear if these changes will be reworked or tweaked further. As much as it’s not the favorite of many players, we’d ultimately be disappointed if Alchemy Drafts disappeared. As these changes have demonstrated, Alchemy Drafts could be some of the most entertaining on MTG Arena

Through rebalancing and revisions, Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate Draft could be a true Limited juggernaut that’s actually worth playing. Every color and card could be balanced, and every archetype supported to ensure every match is utterly riveting. Wizards could even expand Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate Draft into its own Cube-esque format which uses additional cards. With Draft-specific rebalancing an option rather than banning or rotating problematic cards, Wizards could have a masterpiece on their hands. From Wizards’ point of view, it would also keep Alchemy in the limelight, which sounds like a win-win. 

Read More: Wizards Newest Story Update May Confirm this Spoiler Leak!

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