Here’s the MTG Arena Championship Alchemy metagame breakdown

Esper decks are set up for a big weekend.

Image via WotC

This weekend’s Arena Championship 1 tournament will be the first look at competitive Alchemy since the release of Dominaria United.

The road to the 2023 Magic World Championship continues with the Arena Championship on Sept. 24 and 25. Two Magic World Championship spots will be awarded to the top-two finishers in the event. The 32-player bracket will compete in both Dominaria United Draft and Alchemy Constructed.

Dominaria United and set rotation will shift Alchemy as much as it has rocked Standard. The format is much larger than Standard with the inclusion of the Alchemy releases that accompanied Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, both Innistrad sets, and Streets of New Capenna. Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate is also represented in the metagame.

Here are all of the decks registered in the Arena Championship 1.

  • Esper Midrange – Eight
  • Domain Control – Four
  • Rakdos Sacrifice – Four
  • Esper Aggro – Three
  • Rakdos Midrange – Two
  • Jund Revels – Two
  • Mono-Black Midrange – Two
  • Izzet Control – One
  • Orzhov Midrange – One
  • Abzan Lifegain – One
  • Mono-Red Aggro – One
  • Selesnya Enchantments – One
  • Esper Control – One
  • Domain Midrange – One

Alchemy is reeling from the introduction of several powerful Black spells that supercharged the color, making it the centerpiece of the format. Cards like Liliana of the Veil, Cut Down, and Sheoldred the Apocalypse are powerful spells that force decks to adjust to their presence.

There are 24 decklists containing Black in their color identity, not including the five Domain lists that play all colors.

Instant-speed removal is as important as ever to deal with resolved Sheoldred and Liliana spells. Having an effective late-game is necessary when dealing with the attrition-based Black builds in Rakdos and Esper colors.

Alchemy rebalancing has had an impact on how the format looks compared to Standard. The Meathook Massacre is less effective in Alchemy following its rebalancing, which took away the life-gain ability. This makes it worse as a catch-up spell that can out-grind Mono-Red Aggro all by itself.

Esper Midrange has the most registrations at the Arena Championship. The list takes advantage of Diviner of Fates, a card introduced in Alchemy: New Cappena. At three-mana, Diviner of Fates is a dominant card advantage engine that excels in a list that’s able to connive consistently. 

Several creative deck builders decided to find an angle in the metagame and brought non-Black lists to the event. Holger Althues is piloting Izzet Control, which leans on counterspells and card draw to control the game before resolving Tolarian Terror and Calim, Djinn Emperor to close out the game.

Per Lundstrom is trying to end games quickly with Mono-Red Aggro with a solid mid-game strategy using Jaya, Fiery Negotiator and Squee, Dubious Monarch. The strongest card in this deck is a resolved Rahilda, Wanted Cutthroat on the play. 

Yu Kutsuzawa entered Selesnya Enchantments. This list uses Jukai Naturalist and Kami of Transience as key creatures that support a suite of 14 powerful Enchantment spells. 

The Magic Arena Championship 1 begins on Sept. 24 at 11am CT on the Magic Twitch channel.