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Post-Set Championship Alchemy Power Rankings – 3/14/22

The Neon Dynasty Set Championship took place over the weekend, and it was the first premier event ever to use Alchemy as one of the formats. This installment of the Alchemy Power Rankings is primarily based on what happened at that event, and what I expect the format to look like going forward. 

One challenge of creating this list is that the broad archetype of “black-based midrange” is highly effective in Alchemy, but with an almost infinite amount of customization being possible. Think about Mono-Black, Orzhov, Rakdos, Golgari, Mardu and Grixis, all falling at various points on the spectrum between aggressive and controlling, and tapping into tribal and sacrifice synergies and venture into the dungeon to varying degrees. Since I didn’t want the list to feature eight different black midrange decks, I was forced to make some cuts and combine some archetypes.

 

 

 

10. Azorius Control

Alchemy UW Control by Ondrej Strasky

Azorius is a classic control deck featuring card drawing, permission spells, and board sweepers. Discover the Formula is a staple, while other Alchemy-specific cards like Key to the Archive, Divine Purge and Unexpected Conversion are strong considerations. 

Ondrej Strasky placed 9th in the Championship with Azorius Control, although the overall win rate of the archetype was below 50 perecent. This is a deck I would recommend to people who specifically love playing control, but not necessarily as an easy entry point to the format.

9. Jeskai Hinata

Alchemy Jeskai Hinata by Jean-Emmanuel Depraz

Jeskai Hinata exists in both Standard and Alchemy, only suffering from the small power level decrease of Goldspan Dragon. The payoff of this strategy is powering out Magma Opus via Hinata’s cost reduction, or by amassing extra mana via Treasures. Failing that, it can play as a normal midrange or control deck with tons of efficient creature removal.

Jean-Emmanuel Depraz placed 5th in the Championship with Jeskai Hinata. Like Azorius, this archetype also had a sub-50 percent win rate, but the raw power level makes it a more forgiving deck choice, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wants to try it out. 

8. Grixis Midrange

Alchemy Grixis Midrange by Jim Davis

Grixis Midrange is one of the many decks to pair Fable of the Mirror-Breaker with Citystalker Connoisseur for the soft lock of copying the Vampire every turn in the opponent’s draw step. Two specific appeals of touching into blue include Kaito Shizuki, and sideboard access to Annul, which is excellent against Naya Runes and other Showdown of the Skalds decks. 

Jim Davis placed 7th in the Championship with Grixis, including an undefeated run during the Swiss rounds. Grixis had a 54.3 percent win rate (excluding the top 8 rounds) as calculated by mtgmeta.io. 

7. Rakdos Midrange & Sacrifice

Alchemy Rakdos Midrange by Muhan Yu

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Rakdos Midrange is a non-tribal value deck with tons of removal and discard spells which, again, uses the combination of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Citystalker Connoisseur. To compliment, it has access to other threat options including Town-Razer Tyrant, Graveyard Trespasser, Sorin the Mirthless and Bloodthirsty Adversary.

Alternatively, Rakdos Sacrifice utilizes the newly-printed Oni-Cult Anvil alongside old favorites like Deadly Dispute and The Meathook Massacre

Rakdos Midrange had a 56.8 percent win rate in the Championship. Drew Baker and Muhan Yu placed 11th and 12th with Rakdos Sacrifice and Rakdos Midrange, respectively. 

6. Werewolves

Alchemy Gruul Werewolves by Michael Bernat

Werewolves is a tribal approach to the format that’s both fast and punishing. It’s much stronger in Alchemy than it is in classic Standard. A few Alchemy-specific cards that Werewolves puts to good use include Tenacious Pup and Rahilda, Wanted Cutthroat, and sometimes a combination of Lupine Harbingers, Town-Razer Tyrant and Forsaken Crossroads.

Gruul Werewolves wasn’t popularly in the Set Championship, but it was successful with a 51.3 percent win rate. Michael Bernat placed 17th.

5. Clerics

Alchemy Esper Clerics by Yudai Miyano

Clerics is another powerful tribal strategy that centers around Cleric of Life’s Bond and Righteous Valkyrie. It can come in Esper or Orzhov forms, and uses life gain synergies to bury opposing creature decks. Lately, I’ve also seen Selesnya life gain decks that utilize Voice of the Blessed, but don’t necessarily feature a Cleric tribal theme. 

A key card is Inquisitor Captain. Hitting Glasspool Mimic off of Captain used to be a huge appeal of splashing blue, but that combo was weakened with the latest Alchemy update. 

Clerics was a sleeper choice at the Set Championship, as it was able to capitalize on the popularity of White Weenie, a highly-favorable matchup. Yudai Miyano made it all the way to 3rd place with Esper Clerics.

4. Naya Runes

Alchemy Naya Runes by Shuhei Nakamura

Naya Runes was Alchemy’s biggest breakout deck of the Neon Dynasty set release. It uses Runeforge Champion and Jukai Naturalist to enable combo turns of chaining enchantments, while a combination of Generous Visitor, Showdown of the Skalds and Hallowed Haunting dumping a ton of power and toughness onto the battlefield as you do it.

Naya Runes had a below 50 percent win rate at the Championship, but this was the result of being heavily targeted. As Runes falls from “clear deck to beat” to a lower position on the rankings, people are liable to forget how powerful this deck is, and that you need to work hard to beat it. I expect it to be successful moving forward. Shuhei Nakamura placed 13th with Naya Runes.

A moment of indulgence: the win rates of Werewolves and Runes, plus the mixed results of Control and Black Midrange exactly match my “Hot Takes” from last week’s Championship preview article.

3. Mardu Midrange & Sacrifice

Alchemy Mardu Midrange by Zach Dunn

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Mardu is yet another black midrange deck that pairs Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Citystalker Connoisseur, with tons of flexibility in the remaining card choices. Some players dive equally into all three colors, while some play a W/B base splashing red and others a R/B base splashing white. 

Mardu had an impressive 58.4 percent win rate, with Zach Dunn making it all the way to the finals.

2. Mono-White

Alchemy Mono-White Aggro by Jonny Guttman

Mono-White was the most played deck of the Championship, and also proved to be abnormally successful. It’s fast, consistent, and punishing, making it well-rounded enough to thrive in a diverse field, while also being a strong foil to Naya Runes with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Archon of Emeria being two of the best cards against that archetype. 

I expect Alchemy to be defined by Mono-White, Naya Runes and the various black midrange decks for the next couple of weeks. Mono-White had a 54.6 percent win rate, and Johnny Guttman placed 4th in the Championship.

1. Orzhov Venture

Alchemy Orzhov Venture by Eli Kassis

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The clear winners from the most recent Alchemy rebalancing were strategies that use the venture Into the dungeon mechanic. A huge swath of venture cards were buffed, highlighted by Dungeon Descent, Precipitous Drop and Triumphant Adventurer

Orzhov Venture is a well-rounded deck which uses Precipitous Drop and other removal spells to beat creature decks, while pairing Archon of Emeria and a heavy disruption suite to thrash Naya Runes. Vanishing Verse remains one of the highest-value removal spells in the format. 

Orzhov Venture was the most successful deck of the tournament, winning the event in the hands of Eli Kassis, and putting up a whopping 64.8 percent win rate. 

 

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