Eli Kassis and Ma Noah piloted the Magic: The Gathering Orzhov Venture Alchemy deck through the Swiss rounds at the Neon Dynasty Championship with undefeated records.
Kassis ran Orzhov Venture all the way to a title victory at the Neon Dynasty Championship, outplaying Mono-White, Grixis Midrange, Esper Clerics, Mardu Midrange, and Jeskai Hinata. The Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in Forgotten (AFR) build performed well in the MTG Limited format, but was never able to pop off within Standard Constructed.
Prior to the release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty (NEO), WotC pushed the first round of balance changes to the Alchemy format, buffing cards that synergize with the AFR Venture mechanic. Fast forward to the Neon Dynasty Championship, showcasing the Alchemy format at a major Magic tournament for the first time, and venturing into dungeons became meta overnight via the Orzhov deck.
Key cards included in the Orzhov Venture decks played at the Championship that got buffs were Triumphant Adventurer, Precipitous Drop, and Dungeon Descent.
- Triumphant Adventurer: Basic stats buffed from 1/1 to 2/1
- Precipitous Drop: CMC reduced from 2B to 1B
- Dungeon Descent: Text “Enters the battlefield tapped” removed
- Dungeon Descent: Paid mana ability reduced from four to one mana
Orzhov Venture early game
Venturing into a dungeon is what fuels the Orzhov Alchemy deck. Early game cards players want are Triumphant Adventurer and Nadaar, Selfless Paladin. Both get the Venture mechanic going, leading into other key cards like Citystalker Connoisseur and Archon of Emeria.
The Orzhov Venture decks that went 7-0 during the Alchemy rounds at the NEO Championship contained four copies of Triumphant Adventurer, Citystalker Connoisseur, Archon of Emeria, and Nadaar, Selfless Paladin. Removal cards don’t play a major role in the early game against most matchups, as creatures are a priority—especially Triumphant Adventurer and Nadaar, Selfless Paladin.
Both AFR cards are the core of the Orzhov Venture deck. Nadaar, Selfless Paladin ventures into the dungeon upon ETB, and when attacking. Upon completing a dungeon, the dragon knight pumps all your creatures +1/+1 and improves the removal value of Precipitous Drop. And Triumphant Adventurer ventures upon attacking, has First Strike during your turns, and has Deathtouch.
Orzhov Venture midgame
Citystalker Connoisseur is one of the best Alchemy cards in the format, forcing an opponent to discard their highest mana card upon entering the battlefield. The vampire also creates a Blood token and has Deathtouch. Liesa, Forgotten Archangel is a powerful creature with Flying and Lifelink that can reanimate a creature that died to your hand. And both Valki and The Wandering Emperor provide planeswalker value that can stabilize your board state and win matches.
The dungeon that players will want to venture into first is the Lost Mine of Phandelver, providing value to your board state and card advantage. It’s also short, activating your completed dungeon abilities. Dungeon of the Mad Mage can work if an opponent doesn’t have answers to your Venture cards and Tomb of Annihilation can get explored under specific circumstances.
Orzhov Venture removal
The Orzhov Venture build is a Midrange MTG deck that uses several removal spells to control the board state. A reduction in cost prompted players to add Precipitous Drop, along with Instant spells like Vanishing Verse, Power Word Kill, Infernal Grasp, March of Otherworldly Light, and Hagra Mauling.
The Wandering Emperor from the NEO set is a solid two-of, able to disrupt an opponent’s board state via her Flash mechanic. And Graveyard Trespasser is a great sideboard card in best-of-three matches, able to provide life gain while also exiling key cards from an opponent’s graveyard.
Other Orzhov Venture cards that matter
Meathook Massacre is a great sideboard spell, especially when playing against Aggro decks and Midrange mirrors. Reckoner Bankbuster provides card advantage and is another powerful creature during the late game stages. And Duress is a classic MTG Sorcery speed spell with value during the early game and can get used as discard fodder to a Blood token during the late game.
Orzhov Venture lands
The Orzhov Venture Alchemy deck is technically a three-color build due to the inclusion of Valki, God of Lies//Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor. One copy of Needleverge Pathway ensures you have a Red mana source in conjunction with Alchemy land Forsaken Crossroads.
Hive of the Eye Tyrant is a creature land that can pump out late-game value. One copy of Takenuma, Abandoned Mire, and Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire each from NEO don’t tap upon entering the battlefield. But their true power comes from Cycle abilities.