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What I Learned from the Alchemy Horizons Early Access Event

On Tuesday, WOTC rolled out the 24-hour streamer Early Access Event for Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate and I was fortunate enough to get to participate (#sponsored). With a full set review under my belt and the Lords of Limited Crash Course episode recorded and posted, I had a lot of expectations about the format, some of which were confirmed and some of which were challenged in my first few drafts. Here are my biggest takeaways from my first time getting to draft and play with this set!

 

 

 

Header - Blue is Better

When I initially went through the entire card file for HBG, I was incredibly disappointed when I got to blue. Blue was nearly unplayable in AFR save for a few rares worth first picking, though they were often snapped up by the RB drafter who could just cast them off of Treasure. So many of the clunky commons from AFR were brought back for HBG with no Alchemy changes to them whatsoever. I was ready to write off blue again in this format, but a handful of changes and new additions have given new life to this color.

First up, we’ve got Undersimplify. Off the heels of Make Disappear in Streets of New Capenna, I was primed for this Quench variant to be an overperformer and it absolutely is. Blue having a cheap way to interact on turn two is a huge improvement! Not to mention the fact that this isn’t dead in the late game and can, at the very least, be a Sensory Deprivation for creatures when your opponent can pay the two-mana tax. Beyond that top common, Young Blue Dragon is an Owlbear of sorts in installments with Dragon and Adventure synergy baked in. 

While some reprints like Soulknife Spy got worse, I think others like Clever Conjurer and Air-Cult Elemental got a lot better. There’s even Lizardfolk Librarians as a seemingly underwhelming card, but it’s actually quite strong. A 2/4 body for four mana blocks fairly well and getting an attack with this to trigger double team and getting to scry 2 twice in one game is a lot of value. Which brings me to my next point…

 

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