What is Alchemy? An Intro to MTG Arena’s New Format

Alchemy is a new format coming on Magic Arena next week, starting December 9. Let’s break it down. 

Alchemy is basically the new Standard. It’s exactly the same as the Standard you know now, meaning it always has the same legal sets and cards, except for the fact that cards will get frequently balanced and changed online. There will also be some special Arena-only cards in the format that will only work digitally. 




Here’s a good example:

On the left side is an original Goldspan Dragon that you’ll still be able to play in a regular Standard queue. On the right side is the Alchemy version of Goldspan Dragon that you will get to play with and against in the Alchemy queues. 

This is an updated Alchemy version of Esika’s Chariot. This version only makes one 2/2 token, but it is also cheaper to crew. 

Toralf’s Disciple is a great example of the Arena-only digital card that you will be able to play in the Alchemy format. This card actually looks quite good to me. A 3/3 haste for three mana is a reasonable deal for Standard and shuffling four Lightning Bolts into your deck sounds pretty good for an aggressive red deck. 

There will be Alchemy boosters available for 1000 gold or a bigger package for gems, the same price as Standard boosters. Once you own one version of a card, you also own all the other versions. This means that if you previously owned a copy of Goldspan Dragon, you will automatically own the rebalanced one as well. 

Alchemy cards will have a “mythic A” in front of the card name. 


What does all of this mean?

I like the idea. Nobody likes seeing as many Standard bans as we have been getting lately. This will allow Wizards of the Coast to correct their design mistakes without having to ban the cards. Smaller balance changes will be able to freshen up the format, which could also be a good thing, especially these days when it feels like in almost every big Standard tournament, there’s one deck that makes up 40 to 50 percent of the metagame. Think Izzet Turns, Simic Oko decks, Four Color Omnath, Temur Reclamation and so on. 

In theory, this means that Alchemy should basically replace all Standard play. Are you sick of playing against Izzet Turns over and over? Just switch to Alchemy and play a rebalanced Standard instead. 

It’s going to be interesting seeing how it all plays out and I’m looking forward to trying it out. 

You can find more information about Alchemy here, a card gallery with all the rebalanced and digital-only cards here and the origins of Alchemy and a bit of a design story about it here in the most recent State of the game article.


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