September 30, 2022

MTG Alchemy: A digital-only guide to the MTG Arena format

Alchemy came to MTG Arena on December 9, 2021, which makes it pretty new as Magic: The Gathering formats go. It’s basically Wizards of the Coast’s attempt to make a Foyer: to take advantage of their popular MTG Arena platform and create a digital-only format with a bunch of cards that couldn’t work in regular Magic paper decks. The result was a fun and fresh new way to play Magic…or an abomination, depending on who you ask.

Alchemy MTG is a rotating format that contains all the cards currently in Standard, but many have been rebalanced for Alchemy and given new, slightly different abilities. WotC also created a bunch of new cards for the format – cards like Giant Regrowth that would be difficult or impossible to use in regular Magic: The Gathering games: either because they require machine-like memory, have random effects or magically create new cards. (Nothing as crazy as Shudderwock or Purified Shard has just emerged).

The Alchemy format has pretty reviews, mostly because it overlaps with the existing Historic and Historic Brawl formats. From maps to controversy, here’s everything you need to know about MTG Alchemy.

Which cards are legal in MTG Alchemy?

MTG Alchemy follows the Standard card pool, so in Alchemy games you can play cards from all sets currently legal in Standard. Until the next rotation of the Standard, in the fall of 2022, it is:

  • Zendikar Rebirth
  • Kaldheim
  • Strixhaven: The School of Mages
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
  • Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
  • Innistrad: Crimson Wish
  • Kamigawa: The Neon Dynasty
  • Streets of New Capenna

For the most part, with one notable exception, Wizards of the Coast has tried to avoid creating an MTG banlist for Alchemy. Instead, it rebalances the cards, creating new versions of Alchemy with less distracting text. Sometimes the cards are even modified to make them more powerful.

Starting with Alchemy: Innistrad, which arrived at launch, Wizards produced a set of Alchemy cards (approximately 30) alongside each standard set, as well as a huge, large 250-card set for Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Spoiled.

MTG Alchemy - an orc paladin holding a shield that radiates spears of white light.

How does MTG Alchemy affect History?

Before Alchemy came on the scene, the History format allowed you to play with all maps on MTG Arena, from Ixalan. Then Wizards added cards from Jumpstart and older cards from Historic Anthologies. But Historic has been fundamentally changed in 2021 as the new Alchemy cards have been added to the format.

Yes, you can play all MTG Alchemy cards in Historic, and in fact Standard cards that have been rebalanced for Alchemy have their new abilities rebalanced in the format. This did not sit well with some fans, who felt a new format should have been created if Wizards wanted a digital-only format with older cards.

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