Despite mixed opinions over the Magic: The Gathering Arena format Alchemy, the meta continues to thrive via regular balance changes and new digital-only cards.
The Alchemy format in MTG Arena launched on Dec. 9, introducing a large number of digital-only cards in conjunction with regular balance changes following the launch of each new Standard-legal set. WotC has also promoted the format in various tournaments, like the Arena Open and the upcoming Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Championship tournament.
A total of two balance changes patches have dropped since the format’s release, one at the end of January and a more recent update on Feb. 24. And over 20 digital-only cards will drop into the Alchemy and Historic formats via MTG Arena on March 17.
Following the NEO Championship MTG Arena tournament, here are the best Alchemy decks that have performed well at recent Magic tournaments.
Enchantments are popping off within the NEO Limited, Standard, and Alchemy formats. Recent tournaments like the MTG Arena Zone Championship Series Set Championship qualifier and The Pizza Box showcased several Naya Runes decks in the top eight.
Naya Runes plays off three of the five Runes that were introduced via Kaldheim (KHM) in conjunction with Enchantment enablers. Simon Nielsen earned a first-place finish at the Championship Series Set Championship qualifier running Jukai Naturalist and Runeforge Champion to reduce the cost of the Runes. Enchantment enablers like Generous Visitor, Kami of Transience, and Showdown of the Skalds benefit from the casting of Runes, ramping up the power and toughness of your creatures when an Enchantment is cast.
The deck is somewhat weak to removal, slotting in Tamiyo’s Safekeeping in the sideboard for protection. Hallowed Haunting is another solid MTG Enchantment that supports the build, as is Michiko’s Reign of Truth. And some players have even included a copy of Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr, a legendary spirit warlock with Flying and Lifelink, whose power and toughness are equal to the number of permanents you control that are either spirits or Enchantments.
Despite a nerf to Town-Razer Tyrant, Gruul Werewolves still placed in the top eight of the Feb. 27 Pizza Box tournament, piloted by Paul Michael Pangilinan. It’s an aggressive deck that can spiral out of control quickly via Alchemy one-drops like Tenacious Pup and the two-drop Rahilda, Wanted Cutthroat.
Werewolf Packleader and Tovolar, Dire Overlord keep the card draw flowing while Halana and Alena, Partners provides Haste and +1/+1 counters to another creature you control at the beginning of combat. Tamiyo’s Safekeeping and Snakeskin Veil protect your valuable creatures from removal. And Ranger Class at level three comes in handy when facing off against control decks that have wiped the board.
Hullbreaker Horror was nerfed during the January balance changes but has found its way back into the Alchemy meta via an Azorious Control build by Tian Fa Mun that finished seventh at the Feb. 27 MTG Arena Zone Championship Series Set Championship qualifier. Packed with board wipes, removal, and counterspells, the Alchemy deck also has four copies of The Wandering Emperor from the recent NEO set.
Azorius Control can struggle a little against aggressive builds like Gruul Werewolves and Naya Runes, which might lead to more board wipes slotted into the sideboard. Emeria’s Call and Hullbreaker Horror are finishers for the MTG Alchemy Control deck.
Jeskai Combo Hinata, Dawn-Crowned
Hinata, Dawn-Crowned is a NEO legendary creature with Flying and Trample that reduces the cost of spell you cast by one while increasing the cost of your opponent’s spells by one. Dcxhalo came in fourth at The Pizza Box tournament on Feb. 27, running a full deck of Instant and Sorcery spells in conjunction with Hinata, Dawn-Crowned.
The combo of Magma Opus and Hinta, Dawn-Crowned is powerful. And the addition of Discover the Formula can further reduce the cost of spells in hand by one. Dcxhalo also included two copies of the Artifact, Key to the Archive in the main deck, along with two copies of Hullbreaker Horror within the sideboard.
Jean-Emmanuel Depraz had success with Jeskai Hinata at the Neon Dynasty Championship, going undefeated during the first day of the Swiss rounds in Alchemy. He chose to add Goldspan Dragon into the mix. He also used The Celestus for card draw, along with Unexpected Windfall. The Jean-Emmanuel Depraz Jeskai version has four copies of Abrade for removal.
Despite the nerf to Inquisitor Captain during the January balance changes, Mono-White continues to aggressively hold onto its former dominance of the Alchemy meta. Finishing ninth at the MTG Arena Zone Championship Series Set Championship qualifier, the deck by Peppe includes two copies of The Wandering Emperor.
Unlike previous versions of Mono-White Aggro in the Alchemy format, Peppe’s build was more of a Midrange build. The Alchemy deck can slow down aggressive builds like Gruul Werewolves and Naya Runes while also being a thorn in the side of Control decks via MTG cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Elite Spellbinder.
Mono-White is great against Naya Runes, as seen at the Neon Dynasty Championship. Jonny Guttman made it to the top-eight with his Mono-White version and also qualified for a seat at the MTG World Championship with it.
Orzhov Venture was the breakout Alchemy deck at the Neon Dynasty Championship. Buffs applied to Triumphant Adventurer and Precipitous Drop during the January rebalance patch improved the playability of the Venture into the dungeon mechanic.
The version played by Eli Kassis at the Neon Dynasty Championship earned him the title and an invite to the MTG World Championship later this year. Triumphant Adventurer and Nadaar, Selfless Paladin are the fuel for the Orzhov Venture deck. Archon of Emeria shuts down Naya Runes decks and Citystalker Connoisseur is one of the best MTG cards in the Alchemy format.
Update March 16 10:30am CT: The article was updated following the Neon Dynasty Championship.