Thunder Junction Constructed Set Review & Best Cards • MTG Arena Zone


Hey all, Strickles here with a complete Alchemy: Thunder Junction set review. I will be evaluating the cards purely from an Alchemy perspective, so let’s go over the questions I ask myself when evaluating new cards and then dive in.

Card Evaluation Philosophy

When evaluating new cards there are three questions to keep in mind when trying to decide if they are going to see play or not: 

  1. Will this card be added to an existing deck? 
  2. Does this card create a new deck or revive an abandoned deck?
  3. Is this an impactful sideboard option?

In this case, as Alchemy: Thunder Junction is the last Alchemy release before rotation comes with Bloomburrow later this Summer on July 30, 2024, I will also add a fourth question of:

  1. Does this card need to wait for rotation to see play?

And as these cards will also be legal in Historic, Timeless, Brawl, and even Limited, I’ll add a fifth question of:

  1. Is this card for a different format?

With all that in mind let’s dive right in, starting with the White cards!

White

Prairie Survivalist

Prairie Survivalist is an awesome two drop that reminds us of cards like Luminarch Aspirant. While it comes with a very fragile body, it will trigger right away on the first turn you cast it, giving itself, or a one-drop if you had one, +1/+0, and also +1/+0 to a creature in your hand. If this triggers two or three times you are going to be pretty happy, but as it is going to attract removal like a magnet, so you have to be thoughtful when deciding whether to buff itself or your other creatures instead.

Currently there are a couple of white aggressive decks in Alchemy. Naya Legends and G/W or Naya Convoke. I don’t think this card has a spot in Naya Legends, as it is not a legend, and it probably isn’t efficient enough to slot into the various convoke decks. I think it is possible that a new white aggro deck could be constructed to take advantage of this card, but it isn’t powerful enough on its own to warrant building an entire deck around it. So I think it is mostly likely that Prairie Survivalist will see play after rotation in a white aggressive deck.

Resolute Rejection

Resolute Rejection is similar to a card like Swift Response, but as it makes a creature lose all abilities it can take out indestructible creatures like Tajic, Legion’s Valor, or be used to remove the annoying text from an opponent’s Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, in the cases when 4 damage is not enough to finish it off.

This does kill a majority of the most played creatures in Alchemy, but these kinds of effects are usually only really decent in limited because your opponent can just choose to not attack. Cycling does give this a nice fail safe in those cases, but I think we just have better removal in the format, making me skeptical of this being good outside of limited formats.

Ruby Collector

Conjured

Ruby Collector is a sweet one drop that pays you off for going wide. Similar to a card like Legion’s Landing, you need to attack with three creatures to get the Mox Ruby out of it, but honestly even if you never trigger that part of the card you can still get good use out of it. The activated ability is not limited to once a turn, so later in the game you can easily be activating it two or three times, making any board into a threatening one.

Ruby Collector seems poised to slide into Naya Convoke as a one drop to help convoke out cards early, and then help close out the game with its activated ability. This card isn’t super great in multiples, outside of getting more copies of Mox Ruby which is a great target for Gleeful Demolition, so I expect that if Naya Convoke decides to try this card it will start as a 2-of or 3-of.

Saint Elenda

Spellbook

Saint Elenda is expensive at seven mana, but she can easily stabilize a board all by herself. A 4/7 lifelink is almost impossible for any aggressive deck to push through and the card she drafts (among Faith’s Fetters, Ritual of Rejuvenation, Invoke the Divine, and Inspiring Cleric) can be cast right away to further stabilize the board by gaining four life and doing another effect. This will then trigger her last clause and give you a 4/4 on your endstep.

So all in all you are getting two (or three if you choose Inspiring Cleric) creatures, gaining four life, possibly removing one of their creatures (with Faith’s Fetters) or an artifact/enchantment (with Invoke the Divine), and sitting back on a 4/7 lifelink blocker. This is an aggro player’s nightmare!

However, Saint Elenda does cost seven mana, which, unless you are ramping, can be hard to achieve before the aggro player has run you over. Saint Elenda may just be a Brawl card, but I could see some possibility of her seeing play in a reanimator style deck to get her into play early, or as a sideboard card for decks looking for a post-board threat to bring in against other grindy decks. Regardless, if you are looking to cast Saint Elenda, make sure you have a plan to get there.

Stalwart Realmwarden

Stalwart Realmwarden is a bit small at 2/2 stats for a three drop, but, reminiscent of Fiendslayer Paladin, has First Strike and Lifelink to make up for it. Great with cards that buff it up like Prairie Survivalist discussed above, this card will be great on defense against aggressive decks, and with a few buffs to its power can attack consistently without fear of trading.

Its enters effect is also quite impressive and is definitely something you want to keep in mind when casting this card. For example, if you expect that your opponent is planning to cast Sunfall on their turn 5, Stalwart Realmwarden is going to force them to completely change their plan.

However, if your opponent has all of their mana untapped, they may be able to cast a spell like Go for the Throat or Deduce on your end step paying the extra 2-mana tax, and then still untap and cast Sunfall. So make sure to be mindful when casting this spell, although it will still always likely be a good play on turn three if you have no other three drops.

Stalwart Realmwarden is another interesting white aggressive card that I don’t think will find a home in any of the existing Alchemy decks. But we are reaching a point where we have a lot of hate-bears style cards in the format, so it is possible that a fun aggressive white deck could be built with this card included. Otherwise, it might have to wait until rotation to see play.

Blue

Emerald Collector

Conjured

Emerald Collector is small on stats but big on power. A 1/2 for two mana is not really where you want to be, but it has a lot more going for it. Drawing a card when it hits is quite powerful, and it is a Pirate, so it is an outlaw and can join a Pirate typal deck, but drawing three cards in a turn can be a lot of work unless you have dedicated “draw two” cards in your deck like Chart a Course.

I think the real power of this card comes when you have 3-mana up and attack in. If the opponent doesn’t have a card like Preacher of the Schism or Glissa Sunslayer in play, Emerald Collector is going to be able to attack into any three-drop in the format and threaten to pump up to 4/4 and win the trade.

Emerald Collector definitely has potential to have a home in U/R Pirates or in a U/W or Bant Artifacts deck, with the goal being to get the Mox Emerald in those decks. Those decks have not proven to be top tier, but they are absolutely viable and fun strategies, so if that kind of deck appeals to you consider Emerald Collector.

Solitary Defiance

Solitary Defiance is a hard card to evaluate. The best case scenario is casting it on turn three after playing a one or two drop, attacking and getting to seek two non-land cards and then discard a card, and then hope that ward 2 is enough to keep your creature alive to do it again the next turn. If you get two triggers with this card you are going to be pretty far ahead, after seeking four nonland cards and discarding two lands or irrelevant spells.

It is worth noting that while the first clause only applies if you control one creature, the second clause only cares that you attack with just one creature, so even later in the game when you have several creatures in play you can still get value.

I think that Solitary Defiance has a shot in a deck playing aggressive blue creatures like Spyglass Siren or other fliers like Duelist of the Mind that can attack and trigger it every turn. I wouldn’t play this unless you have a lot of one and two drop creatures as you really need to get value from it the turn you play it, and ideally the turn after you play it as well.

While there isn’t currently a blue aggressive deck in the format, all of the pieces are there to recreate the Standard U/B midrange deck. The problem that deck has is it has no way to remove artifacts and enchantments which is really important in Alchemy right now, so it is possible that this card and that kind of strategy need to wait for rotation before they have a chance to shine.

Thieving Aven

Thieving Aven is our first card with the new mechanic Heist. Heist lets you look at three nonland cards from target opponent’s library and choose one to exile face down and cast later with mana of any color. So, Thieving Aven is essentially a 1/4 flier for three mana that will draw you a spell from the opponent whenever it hits them. It has a bonus that whenever you cast a spell that you don’t own, for example the card you got from its Heist, it gets a +1/+1 counter.

As a flying threat Thieving Aven will be hard for most opponents to block meaning it will demand a removal spell before it hits them too many times. That being said its stats are really not that impressive for its mana cost, as it dies to Cut Down and is countered by Stern Scolding, so I’m skeptical of Thieving Aven seeing play outside of limited. But as you will see as we get further into the set, there are a lot of cards that Heist, so if a dedicated Heist deck was created I think you would want to play Thieving Aven in that deck.

Black

Grave Expectations

Grave Expectations is a flexible one mana card that can either Heist, giving you a nonland card from your opponent, or exile cards from a graveyard and gain life. Either way you are committing a crime for one mana at instant speed. There are a few decks in the format that rely on their graveyard like the G/B Roots deck and decks trying to utilize Push // Pull, but otherwise I imagine this is mostly going to be Heisting for one mana.

While drawing a nonland card for one mana is powerful, as it is from your opponent’s deck there is a good chance that it isn’t going to be a card that works well with your strategy, so I wouldn’t just blindly play this in any black deck. We also have better options for both graveyard removal and lifegain, so I think Grave Expectations will be relegated to limited, but it will be a cool card in the dedicated Heist deck.

Pearl Collector

Conjured

Pearl Collector is good on rate as a 3/3 deathtouch, lifelink for three mana. Being able to give another creature lifelink is likely not going to come up in most games, but there will be some games where it swings races in your favor or helps you stabilize the board. Gaining four life in one turn isn’t very difficult, as this can already attack and gain three life and there are other lifelink creatures like Deep-Cavern Bat that are powerful, or other ways to gain life like Case of the Uneaten Feast.

Pearl Collector is another card that doesn’t currently have a home, but there are a lot of life gain payoffs in the Alchemy like Amalia Benavides Aguirre, Resplendent Angel, and Gumdrop Poisoner. Pearl Collector could slot nicely into that deck and its activated ability giving lifelink to a big Amalia or to Resplendent Angel can really help swing the game in your favor. Outside of that deck I don’t expect other decks to want Pearl Collector, and regardless the lifegain deck may need to wait for rotation to get a chance to thrive.

Rankle, Pitiless Trickster

Rankle, Pitiless Trickster is just an awesome card, and it has a lot of text so let’s break it down one section at a time. First of all, you get a 1/3 flier for three mana, which isn’t super exciting. However, if an opponent has no creatures then Rankle also has lifelink and haste. In any black midrange deck it won’t be too hard to remove your opponents first couple plays to give this bonus.

His second section also helps enable his lifelink and haste mode. Similar to Fleshbag Marauder, for one life you can have each player sacrifice a creature and this has the bonus of having each player discard a card as well. It is very important to note that if Rankle is your only creature you will have to sacrifice him if you choose to use this ability. Lastly, whenever a player discards a card Rankle, Pitiless Trickster gets +1/+0 perpetually.

Rankle is a sweet discard payoff, but his enters effect is what makes me interested in him. You do need to build around him by having one and two drop creatures that you don’t mind sacrificing, either because they get value from dying like Mosswood Dreadknight, or they already got their value like Skullcap Snail.

You also need to make your opponent discard cards to get use out of his last ability, but there are lots of great discard enablers like Liliana of the Veil and Hostile Investigator to follow up a Rankle. I’m looking to jam Rankle into a slightly revamped version of my mono-black discard deck from Standard, otherwise I don’t think that he has much of a home in any existing Alchemy decks.

Red

Impetuous Lootmonger

Impetuous Lootmonger is nice as a 2/2 first strike for two mana, that can get some value, discarding a land or irrelevant spell to get a nonland card from your opponents deck with the Heist ability. However, it is a mandatory discard, so if your hand is perfect you will have to discard something to get a card from the opponent that may or may not help you advance your strategy. I believe that this card works favorably if you have no cards in hand, since discarding a card doesn’t seem to be required to Heist your opponent. Lastly, when you cast a spell you don’t own you create a treasure token, which is a nice little bonus.

I don’t think Impetuous Lootmonger is what any existing Alchemy deck is looking for, and I do expect that forced discard part of the card to be troublesome from time to time. However, it will likely be good in limited, and again if there is a dedicated Heist deck they will absolutely consider this card as a solid two-drop option.

Sapphire Collector

Conjured

Sapphire Collector is solid as 3/3 for three mana with prowess. Casting two noncreature spells to get your Mox Sapphire should be trivially easy on the next turn, and the Mox Sapphire itself is then another free prowess trigger. I think out of the cycle of Collector cards this one wants its Mox the most, as the extra mana is going to be key to get use out of its activated ability, which makes sure you never run out of gas by giving instants and sorceries flashback.

Sapphire Collector has a ton of potential, as a stand alone prowess threat, but also as a late game mana sink to flash back removal spells and card draw spells. It is honestly a must answer threat and while the deck hasn’t seen a ton of play, a U/R spells/prowess deck has all of the cards it needs in the format, so it could become a real contender thanks to this card.

Switchgrass Grazer

Switchgrass Grazer would be okay as just a 4/4 haste for four mana, that pings opposing creatures or the opponent’s face when it attacks, picking off one toughness tokens, or opening up the possibility of trading with a card like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. But the saddle ability is what really makes this card interesting. Saddle 1 is doable as long as you have another creature, and making it so a creature can never block again is going to help you push through your other attackers as well.

All that being said I think Switchgrass Grazer is just a limited card, as the most aggressive decks either don’t want to get to four mana plays, or have better things to do with their four mana, but who knows, maybe after rotation an aggressive red deck will be looking for this kind of card at the top end to close out games.

Wagon Wrecker

Wagon Wrecker is a good attacker as a 2/1 menace for two mana, and you want to be attacking in with it as much as you can. Making some cards your opponent cast costs an extra two life really adds up over a game. If Wagon Wrecker hits your opponent once it has effectively done 4 damage, and if it hits a second time it has effectively done 8 damage. Now of course your opponent can avoid casting the spells that Wagon Wrecker has wrecked (pun intended) but in many games they are going to have to cast them at some point.

Wagon Wrecker could possibly see play in G/R Fiery Inscription as a menace attacker that adds some pain to your opponents spells, but I think that list is pretty tight right now and not in need of a new two drop. Mono-Red Aggro could also want to try Wagon Wrecker but they also already have a lot of good two drops. So I think that Wagon Wrecker will have to wait for rotation and then slot in as a premium two drop in red aggressive strategies.

Green

Blooming Cactusfolk

Blooming Cactusfolk is decent on rate, as a 5/5 trample for five mana, and it has a powerful effect, but it is honestly kind of hard to evaluate. How good the cost reduction effect will be depends on a lot of things, like how many nonland cards you have in your hand at that point in the game, and what is the cost of those cards? Ideally you would be able to follow up Blooming Cactusfolk by casting say a four-drop and a three-drop for just five mana, or cast several two and three drops that have had their cost reduced.

Blooming Cactusfolk doesn’t have a spot in any existing deck in Alchemy, but this type of card is particularly interesting in a U/G/x deck that is drawing a lot of cards so that you are getting a lot of value from each trigger. In a deck that is trying to curve out you won’t have many cards leftover, so I don’t really envision this as the top end of a green aggressive deck.

Blooming Cactusfolk is a cool card, but it might need to wait for rotation before we revisit the best way to make use of it. If your opponent casts one, make sure to hit full control right away, as Arena may just auto-pass to the end step giving them the beginning-of-end-step trigger before you use your removal.

Jessie Zane, Fangbringer

Conjured

Jessie Zane, Fangbringer is a fun card that has a shot at being competitive. A 3/4 deathtouch for three mana is a great rate, and when it enters you get the Ambush Viper into your top six cards. Ambush Viper by itself isn’t super exciting, but since they also gain the ability of drawing a card when they enter, they can sometimes be a kill spell that draws a card, flashing in to surprise block an attacker, or a buffed up Llanowar Visionary on offense. If Jessie is still around when you cast that Ambush Viper you get another one into your top six and the cycle continues.

Jessie triggers when you cast any snake, while there aren’t many other snakes legal in Alchemy, there is Caustic Bronco which has proved itself as a solid threat at the recent Pro Tour. But I don’t think we are building snake typal anytime soon. Regardless, Jessie Zane, Fangbringer seems like a solid midrange threat, but there isn’t really a home for them at the moment. Perhaps after rotation we can build a green midrange deck with Jessie, and I’m sure that Brawl players are going to have fun with them until then.

Jet Collector

Conjured

Jet Collector has my vote for the best of the collector cycle. A 2/2 for two mana is fine, but what makes me excited about this is how easy it is to get the Mox Jet out of it. Having four cards in your graveyard is not hard at all, and decks with self mill effects can easily trigger this on turn 3. The Mox Jet is going to be put to good use, as its activated ability to return creatures from the graveyard to play is something you are going to activate over and over again.

Jet Collector is a must answer threat and you can expect removal to be pointed at it early and often. A deck that can take advantage of this card is the G/B Roots deck, which is great at filling its graveyard and is always happy to play effects that can return creatures from the graveyard to play and trigger their Insidious Roots.

I expect G/B Roots to try this card out, and you can expect to see this trigger right away the turn they cast it in most games. As it triggers to give the Mox Jet at the beginning of the postcombat main phase, you can make use of that extra mana on your turn. I expect this could even see play just as a midrange card that is going to give some recursive value in the late game.

Multicolor

Albiorix, Goose Tyrant

Albiorix, Goose Tyrant is a scary bird. Let’s evaluate each part of the card individually first. The adventure, Wild Goose Chase, gives some nice card filtering and leaves behind a food token, just for two mana at instant speed.

Using a card to draw two and discard two is not great unless you are making use of your graveyard or, in this case, have a use for the food token, because it does technically put you down on cards. For example, if you have five cards in hand, including this card, and cast it, you will draw up to six cards, and then discard down to four cards. So in the end you went from five cards to four cards. Now we do recoup that card disadvantage because we can then cast Albiorix on a later turn so in the end it is just card parity not card disadvantage.

Albiorix, Goose Tyrant itself is an awesome threat. A 3/3 flying, trample, ward 1 for just three mana that can grow over the course of the game is very scary. There are a ton of artifact tokens in Alchemy that are worth sacrificing: Map tokens, food tokens, clue tokens, and treasure tokens.

While I don’t think that Albiorix has a home in an existing deck, in Standard there is a U/G artifacts deck and I believe we can adapt that shell to Alchemy to find a place for Albiorix. Regardless, this kind of powerful threat with a little bit of built in protection is nothing to ignore, and even if we have to wait for rotation, don’t sleep on Albiorix. Honk!

Cathartic Operation

Cathartic Operation has the potential to be five mana draw four. Now, you do need to have two creatures in your graveyard for that, but that is a lot of cards to not at least consider the possibilities here. Jace’s Ingenuity has seen play in the past as a five mana draw three, and while Magic has gotten a lot faster and more efficient since those days, getting back your Rusko, Clockmaker, Troll of Khazad-Dum, and seeking two nonland, noncreature cards at instant speed seems pretty good to me.

It is quite limited by being a U/B card, but we have various flavors of Esper in Alchemy, as well as Sultai, so I would say this card is worth trying as a one or two-of at the top end of those kinds of decks.

Emperor Apatzec Intli IV

Emperor Apatzec Intli IV is a cool payoff for a creature deck. While hard to cast, a 3/4 for three mana is a fine rate, but the real value comes when you untap and start casting big creatures the next turn. The best scenario is playing a 4/4 for four mana the following turn, which will give that creature haste, gain you four life, and seek a creature card. Even if you are only getting two of those modes it is still a lot of value, especially if you are seeking cards.

All that being said, I think that Emperor Apatzec Intli IV will mostly be a Brawl card. While you could slot him into Naya Legends, that deck doesn’t have many ways of triggering any of his abilities, and no other deck really has any reasonable way to cast him or to make use of his abilities.

While it is a powerful effect, I’m skeptical about the idea of building around him in Alchemy, because you really need to be seeking creature cards and generating value that way, but you can only put so many creatures that cost four or more in your deck. Perhaps the Dino-Pod deck could try him out, but otherwise Brawl players can have a fun time with the Emperor.

Grenzo, Crooked Jailer

Grenzo, Crooked Jailer is one of two Heist payoff cards that could help bring a Heist deck together. Six mana is a lot for a creature, and 6/4 stats does make him vulnerable to trading down in combat, but he does Heist right away when he enters, and then again each upkeep. As well, he lets you cast spells you have stolen from your opponents for free once a turn. As you have likely been Heisting cards up to that point in the game, you will have a lot of options of what to cast once you have Grenzo in play. And, if you have stolen any instants, you can cast one for free on your opponent’s turn.

Grenzo, Crooked Jailer is a lot of value, and he is a must answer threat that is going to get some amount of value regardless. However, I’m skeptical of him seeing play outside of a dedicated Heist deck. Outside of Heist itself, it is quite hard to cast cards you don’t own in Alchemy, as even something like Vesuvan Mist conjures a duplicate into your hand, and you own that duplicate.

Intruder’s Inquisition

Intruder’s Inquisition is a cheap removal spell that can add some extra value if you deal excessive damage. Intruder’s Inquisition is what we call a “bite” spell. As fight is when two creatures deal damage to each other, bite is just when one creature does damage to another.

Bite spells are always a bit scary to use, as if your creature is removed in response it is no longer around to deal damage. That being said, Intruder’s Inquisition is almost as cheap as you can get for this effect, and does have a nice bonus of not just making your opponent discard any card, but their most expensive card.

2-for-1 cards like this are always tempting but I’m not sure where it fits in the current Alchemy decks. Perhaps an aggressive R/B deck can use this as to kill an opposing creature and keep the pressure coming, but it might need to wait for rotation when more reliable removal spells like Go for the Throat and Cut Down leave the format.

Nashi, Illusion Gadgeteer

Nashi, Illusion Gadgeteer is good on rate as a 4/4 menace, ward 2 for four mana, although difficult to cast as he requires you to be in Sultai. Nashi does get some nice value when it enters, secretly giving you a copy of the best card in your graveyard, and even giving it flash. The problem with Nashi is that you aren’t usually going to be able to slam him into play on turn 4 unless you have done some self-milling along the way, as at that point you are likely only to have a couple cards in your graveyard. Now sometimes just getting another copy of Go for the Throat along with your 4/4 menace is totally fine.

Nashi, Illusion Gadgeteer could potentially fit into the existing Sultai midrange deck as a one-of or two-of to bring back copies of your most important cards like Rusko, Clockmaker, Atraxa, Grand Unifier, Urgent Necropsy, etc. Importantly, it doesn’t return the card itself, but conjures a copy, so that card will still be in your graveyard for collecting evidence or being reanimated in the future.

Silent Extraction is an early game counterspell with potential value later in the game. The wording may seem a bit weird, but the reason it is worded that way is so you can get the second clause of the card even if the spell is not countered. Threshold is somewhat difficult to achieve in a normal game of magic unless you are doing some self-milling.

I don’t think that there is any U/G deck in the format that is looking for a cheap counter spell, but it could possibly fit into U/G Merfolk as early interaction that finds a threat later in the game.

Teysa of the Ghost Council

Teysa of the Ghost Council is a call back to Ghost Council of Orzhova and Obzedat, Ghost Council, which all have the ability to exile and return again later to re-trigger their enter the battlefield effect. Teysa of the Ghost Council makes a 1/1 when it enters and then increases her intensity, buffing up all of your spirits by that intensity.

Since she herself is a spirit, her power will be equal to her intensity, and the tokens she creates are also spirits, so really she is making a 2/1 token when she enters. She can then exile herself at the end of turn, and return during your next upkeep with haste. When she enters again she will make another spirit and increase her intensity, so you will have two 3/1 flying spirit tokens and a 2/5 haste Teysa.

The baseline of this card is what I outlined above. Two tokens and a large body that can continue to get bigger and make more tokens will quickly become insurmountable for your opponents. As Teysa exiles at the end of your turn, she will always be safe from opposing sweepers like Sunfall. Teysa of the Ghost Council pretty much demands a removal spell right away from your opponents, and in the case where she has made two or three tokens, the opponent may have a hard time catching back up.

I expect Teysa of the Ghost Council to see play in existing B/W Midrange decks, and possibly in Esper decks as well. However, those decks are very tuned right now, and Raddic, Tal Zealot, which is the same mana cost as Teysa, is really good in the current meta, as it is virtually unkillable in mirror matches. So, Teysa may have to wait until Raddic rotates out before she gets to shine, but I would not be surprised if she sneaks in right away.

Triumphant Getaway

Triumphant Getaway is the other Heist payoff alongside Grenzo, Crooked Jailer. Four mana gets you an enchantment that Heists your opponent twice when it enters, and then sticks around and drains for two every time you cast a spell you don’t own. That means that even if you aren’t getting great cards from your opponent you can slowly drain them down and finish out the game that way.

Importantly, Triumphant Getaway has flash, so you can hold up counterspells or removal spells on your opponent’s turn and then if you don’t need to use them, flash in Triumphant Getaway to draw two cards and begin the draining. 

Triumphant Getaway is not going to see play in anything outside of a dedicated Heist deck, but it is the reason, more so than Grenzo, Crooked Jailer, to play a dedicated Heist deck. So if you like the Heist mechanic, try putting together all the cards and see what comes of it. It might be a fun new deck!

Vona de Ledo, the Antifex

Vona de Ledo, the Antifex is another B/W legend with an awesome effect. A 4/2 menace for five mana is honestly a bit behind on rate, but you get to destroy any nonland, nontoken permanent that an opponent controls, which makes menace much more appealing since you are likely killing one of their creatures. If you have extra cards in hand that you don’t mind discarding, you can also discard a card to get a copy of the destroyed card.

Vona de Ledo is powerful because it can destroy artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers, which is really important in Alchemy. You can imagine some crazy swings in the game when you destroy an opponent’s Palantir of Orthanc, and discard an extra land to get your own copy to deploy on a future turn. That being said, five mana is a lot, so if the existing B/W decks are going to pick up Vona de Ledo, I expect it to be as a one-of or two-of at most.

Weave the Nightmare

Weave the Nightmare is a Heist enabler and payoff if you have already successfully completed a Heist or two. Let’s look at the different modes assuming that we are only going to get one of them before we evaluate the scenarios where we will get two. A three mana instant that can remove a creature, counter a noncreature spell, or draw a spell from the opponent’s deck is really flexible.

Most of those effects normally cost two or one mana, so you are behind on rate, but it is really a catch all as it can answer creature and noncreature spells alike, and if you need to get your Heist train started it can do that for you as well.

When you are getting two modes with this card its insane value. Countering their removal spell and taking out their best creature, or keeping the cards coming while clearing away a blocker, any of the permutations are great. But you likely need to be a dedicated Heist deck if you want to consistently be getting two modes here.

While the first Weave the Nightmare could Heist an opponent and then later enable future copies, that is just not going to happen very often. I don’t think this will see play outside of a dedicated Heist deck just because the Esper decks in Alchemy are already really finely tuned and playing very efficient cards, so while Weave the Nightmare is flexible, those decks are really trying to find efficiency and value over flexibility.

Colorless

Runecarved Obelisk

Runecarved Obelisk is similar to a card like Hedron Archive, being a good way to ramp from four mana to seven mana the next turn. Runecarved Obelisk can also turn into a card later in the game, and if you are looking for a specific big card you can wait until you have enough charge counters to make sure you hit it.

Runecarved Obelisk could easily see play in a dedicated ramp deck that is trying to cast a card like Etali, Primal Conqueror as quickly as possible. Turn two Glimpse the Core, into turn three Runecarved Obelisk, into turn four Etali, Primal Conqueror is a scary and very possible curve.

There are already decks like Dino-Pod that are able to get Etali into play early, and we have other four mana cards that can ramp us to seven like Hulking Raptor and Map the Frontier from Outlaws of Thunder Junction, but Runecarved Obelisk can turn into another Etali later in the game, so it could see play over other options.

Top Cards from the Set

These are the three cards I think are going to have the biggest impact on the format, at least before rotation:

And these are the three cards that I’m most excited to brew a new deck around:

  1. Rankle, Pitiless Trickster – Mono-Black Discard
  2. Albiorix, Goose Tyrant – Bant Artifact Tokens
  3. Stalwart Realmwarden – White Aggro/Hatebears

Wrapping Up

Wow, we did it, all 30 cards in the set. I hope this set review was helpful as you look over the new cards and try to find homes for the ones you are most excited about. While not all of them are going to be top tier contenders, almost all of them can find a home in a sweet deck, so I can’t wait to get brewing and start playing when the set releases on Tuesday, May 7th!

I’ll be back later this week to update the Alchemy Meta Tier Lists after the format has adjusted to the new cards. Let me know if you think I missed anything and as always I wish you happy brewing and best of luck on the ladder.



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