The Kamigawa: Alchemy set dropped on MTG Arena last Thursday and we had a Championship Qualifier in the fresh format on Saturday. I played with the new cards on Friday myself and I already called Painful Bond “broken” after playing with the draw spell for the first time.
The Qualifier confirmed my suspicion. Black/red decks obliterated the tournament and put 27 copies of Painful Bond in the Top 8. Every deck in the Top 8 played black and I am fairly convinced that the one Rakdos Sacrifice player choosing not to play Painful Bond last weekend will do so in the next.
Paying two mana for drawing two cards at instant speed with the potential downside of losing a couple life points along the way is too strong for a low-power format like Alchemy. I’m expecting a nerf soon.
Another new Alchemy card that feels like you are cheating is Molten Impact. I give you an example to illustrate its power. You flame up their Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and then your next instant or sorcery will deal three damage to their latest creature deployment. You just killed two creatures for two mana with Molten Impact. Thundering Rebuke is a joke compared to this card.
2 Swamp 1 Bloodchief's Thirst 1 Hagra Mauling 2 Spikefield Hazard 4 Blightstep Pathway 3 Hive of the Eye Tyrant 2 Graveyard Trespasser 1 Infernal Grasp 2 The Meathook Massacre 3 Bloodthirsty Adversary 4 Haunted Ridge 1 Flame-Blessed Bolt 4 Invoke Despair 4 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker 1 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance 1 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire 4 Citystalker Connoisseur 4 Forsaken Crossroads 4 Painful Bond 4 Undercity Plunder 4 Molten Impact 4 Clearwater Pathway Sideboard 2 Abrade 1 Bloodchief's Thirst 2 Go Blank 1 Flame-Blessed Bolt 1 Brittle Blast 2 Graveyard Trespasser 2 The Meathook Massacre 2 Sorin the Mirthless 2 Orvar, the All-Form
This Rakdos Midrange deck took the Championship Qualifier down in the hands of Toni Martos, utilizing 12 new cards out of the freshly released Kamigawa: Alchemy set. Undercity Plunder is an efficiently-costed discard spell that is not completely dead when your opponent is empty-handed. You will still get to conjure a random card from their deck.
I played this deck myself and I have to say, it feels like you’re playing a different format compared to what the rest of the archetypes are capable of. Since the latest changes, black is just way better than the other colors.