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Winners and Losers from the MTGA Alchemy Rebalancing Announcement

Just when players thought it was safe to craft the latest top-tier Alchemy deck, Wizards hit everyone with the good old format shakeup. Wizards of the Coast unveiled a massive rebalancing effort for Alchemy and Historic, shortly after the Ban and Restricted announcement on Tuesday January 25. The clear focus of this round of rebalancing was to push weaker cards into the more “playable” territory. At the same time, WOTC aimed to power down some of the stronger decks of the format that utilized the new options from Alchemy packs. Some cards received some much needed buffs while others are much more likely to disappear from the meta. Let’s talk winners and losers from the Alchemy rebalancing announcement.

Winners
Assemble from Parts

MTGA Alchemy Rebalancing Announcement


As someone who has tried very hard to make this card work in Alchemy, the current iteration of the card is very, very bad. Turn four is surprisingly too slow to beat the aggro decks, and far too un-interactive to beat the control decks. Even worse is that waiting for turn four allows midrange decks to find some form of removal. Thank goodness this card is an instant at least. There aren’t many great reanimation targets in Alchemy either, dooming this card from the start really.

The buff on this card should help it become at least an option for players to brew with. Three mana is far more reasonable for an activation cost. The dream for this deck is to cast Assemble from Parts on turn two, and reanimate something on turn three. Otherworld Gaze and Consider can put cards into the graveyard on turn one and help the deck get a viable target for Assemble from Parts. Then of course in Historic players have access to Faithless Looting to get the party started. Assemble from Parts just might find a place in the meta thanks to it’s much-needed buff.

Town-Razer Tyrant

The terror of Alchemy remains just as powerful as ever. The nerf to Town-Razer Tyrant is not nearly as bad as some may believe. Simply adding “nonbasic” to the text box isn’t enough to stop players from getting value. In both Alchemy and Historic, players are often using duals and Pathways to help fix their mana base. Town-Razer Tyrant will easily find targets for its “enters the battlefield” ability.

The main reason why TRT wins this time around is the fact that it will remain a highly played card after its nerf. A four mana 4/4 with flying is just great value, and it slots into a handful of powerful decks already. Even more exciting is the new emergence of decks that will come out of the woodwork thanks to the nerfs to other top cards. The land destruction dragon isn’t going anywhere.

Every Card With the Word “Venture”

Thanks to the digital aspect of Magic Arena, Wizards of the Coast can now improve bad cards that saw absolutely no play in Standard. The first order of business was to fix the “venture” cards from Adventure in the Forgotten Realms. Venturing into the dungeon was a mechanic that was neat in theory, but very weak in constructed play. Players have to dedicate a ton of resources for several small payoffs, that ultimately would not change the course of the game. Realistically, the only “venture” card that saw play was Acererak, the Archlich thanks to is ability to return its self to hand and combo off in certain decks.

MTGA Alchemy Rebalancing Announcement MTGA Alchemy Rebalancing Announcement

Now with the ability to rebalance cards, these “venture” cards are now back on the menu as almost playable. Most of the cards received cost reductions and power or toughness adjustments, and potentially that looks to be enough. It is at least enough to get people trying out new decks and toying with the idea of a legitimate dungeon-focused deck.

Losers
Puppet Raiser

What does this card actually bring to a deck. Seeking a card at the beginning of the end step is slow, and ultimately unreliable. This serves as a painfully slow Pyre of Heroes knock-off that doesn’t even bring the creature onto the battlefield. The card is a bit expensive, and players don’t always benefit from playing it. Puppet Raiser really needed some thoughtful buffs in order for it to see play. Surely with some rebalancing, the card could get there.

Well, the buff was rather disappointing. Adding one toughness to Puppet Raiser doesn’t really save it from the most common forms of removal in standard. Dragon’s Fire, Fateful Absence, and Infernal Grasp are all cards that simply don’t care about four toughness. The issue continues to be that the card just can’t stick around long enough to provide the value it could offer.

A true meaningful buff would be to either cheapen the cost of the creature, or improve the text box. There are already several cards that place cards onto the battlefield directly, why can’t Puppet Raiser? Players love creating toolbox-type of decks, and Puppet Raiser could have been one of the core cards for that style of deck in Alchemy. As it stand, it simply just doesn’t stand up to the rest of the format.

Hullbreaker Horror

MTGA Alchemy Rebalancing AnnouncementAll great things come to an end. Hullbreaker Horror was the perfect card in the control mirror, until now. Seven mana is asking a lot for a card that may not see the board against counter-heavy lists. Hullbreaker Horror is certainly still a beating once it does stick, but now players will need to wait a few extra turns to leave up counters to defend their gigantic threat.

Players may not like to hear it, but overall Hullbreaker Horror is a plenty fair card. Is it insanely good? Absolutely, especially in control decks. Is it unbeatable? Not necessarily. Maybe the introduction of cards like Key to the Archive and Discover the Formula lead to the downfall of the giant control crab.

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

Now here’s a card that is insanely strong, and definitely needed a tweak. Lier, Disciple of the Drowned is an oppressive card to face, because it automatically refills the control players hand with relevant cards. Once Lier sticks, it’s off to the races – doesn’t matter whose turn it is.

Making the effect last only on the controllers turn is vastly more reasonable. The deck isn’t playing counters that often, so this allows the Lier deck to play more playable spells. However, Lier loses a massive amount of power now that it has to play more fair. Opponents now have more of a chance to interact with the graveyard or remove Lier altogether.


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