Magic the Gathering Arena just released a new format called Alchemy. As usual, the community greeted this change with grace and dignity. They discussed the pros and the cons intelligently and respected each other and WotC and Hasbro. Just kidding, of course. As I wrote in response to a Facebook post, “Magic the Gathering players are becoming more and more like the old man that yells at clouds” in their interactions.
Eventually, I found some comments that restored my faith slightly in the player base. Apparently, even though Alchemy is supposed to be a new digital only format that exists in tandem with Standard, some of the changes have also affected Historic. If intended, which some rudimentary searching just confirmed, this seems like a short sighted solution to a problem that doesn’t even exist.
Alchemy: Do We Really Need Another Format?
In spite of all that, I signed up for the free event introducing the format. With little reason, I started to take notes of my games. Perhaps I knew I would be inspired to write on this page. I wanted to have receipts for when people call me out when I say that I feel persecuted by the game of Magic the Gathering. Now, bear in mind that this is just unfounded paranoia. The only one who will read this any time soon is Chris and he, too, often feels like the game punishes him for the transgression of simply wanting to have fun.
As I often do, I searched for some decks. On my Smurf account, I played one of the premade decks. For the actual account, I wanted to try an actual deck. I picked Gruul ramp because who doesn’t like mana and unbridled aggression? Well, after actually playing the deck and the event, I can tell you someone who has two thumbs and doesn’t. This guy.
Saturday: My Introduction to Alchemy
Let’s forget for a minute that I just had to do a find and replace because I called the format Artisan for the first four paragraphs of this article. So, I suppose that answers the question about needing a new format. Kudos to WotC for trying new things to stay relevant and distinguish MTGA from the paper game. Honestly, that’s probably one of the things that’s kept Hearthstone afloat for so long. Bored of the main game? Play some Battlegrounds. Bored of that? Here’s Mercenaries? Don’t want to play Mercenaries? Well, there’s always Arena, Duels, and Tavern Brawl.
The difference there is that all of those modes are completely different from one another. Alchemy simply offers Magic the Gathering with a different card pool. I’d rather they put their resources into coming up with fun events instead of designing cards for a format that will most likely be dead in less than a month. And, no, it’s not just because I got beaten like a drum as you will see in my synopsis. Oh well, it’s not like I invested anything in the cards that will get converted into wild cards when the format dies.
For whatever reason, I kept a log of my last few games from Saturday. I guess I thought I might actually update this page. Certainly, I never anticipated doing so before writing the log. I will spare you the many curse words and much of the self pity and just give the run down. Out of 7 games, 1 went first once and my opponent 6. The chances of that happening are 5 percent. In keeping with that motif, I called my opponent’s removal in hand 3 times the first game, drew 2 lands in my opening hand in two out of the four games, and accidentally took a mulligan in one of them due to excessive salt.
Sunday: 30 Games to Finish Out the Event?
I saved two wins for Sunday because I finished my weekly 15 win quest with the first 3 wins from the event. I anticipated things going as poorly as Saturday when the first two games ended after two targeted removal on my Scute Swarm and then the second game lagged to a draw. After that, my luck changed and I ran over an opponent with Scute Swarm and then absolutely destroyed a red/white deck before finishing out a quest with a BW deck and another win. Satisfied with the results, I quit for the day.
Noob’s Impression of Alchemy
I made no secret that I don’t understand the need nor the purpose of Alchemy. After playing the format, that remains true. I’m glad to have gotten 2000 experience and cards that will give me wild cards when they kill the format in a couple of months. Otherwise, I will stick to my new found love of Commander. Yes, I finally have decks. Come back Thursday for that article.