Magic: The Gathering: Archenemy Nicol Bolas, Pt.1: I've Willed It
Hello and welcome, all players, collectors, and fans of Magic: The Gathering, the premier collectible trading card game designed, developed, and produced by Wizards of the Coast! Last week, we made our triumphant introductions between you and Archenemy: Nicol Bolas, the 2017 sequel release to the Archenemy releases of 2010. This week, we will begin to analyze the schemes of this second supplemental release and see how they fit in with the entire paradigm of the format. Do they stand up to schemes from the original release? Let's talk about that!
As with the schemes we have analyzed previously on Bleeding Cool, here is how we will look at the scheme cards for Archenemy: Nicol Bolas:
All Schemes will be grouped according to the overall role they play: These groupings are categorized as such:
Disruption: The Schemes take something from your opponents (and only them) that doesn't exist on the battlefield. This could be cards in hand, life, or choices like the ability to attack or cast spells.
Global: These Schemes impact each player with less disparity than the other Schemes in the game. Usually there will be an even effect for each player including the archenemy and/or their opponents, for a certain duration or instantaneously.
Removal: These Schemes remove opponents' permanents from the battlefield. These are rather self-explanatory, but could include the need for an opponent to make a tough decision.
Tempo: These Schemes give you as the Archenemy (and only you) some sort of expedited value, such as ramp, cards drawn, or even an extra turn, to name a few examples.
Value: These Schemes give you as the Archenemy (and only you) something such as tokens or cards put onto the battlefield, to name a few resources potentially granted this way. This does not include resources such as sources of mana or drawn cards, however.
Next, the Schemes will be grouped further on a scale of 1-10 in terms of how well they do their job in the role provided, with 1 being rather underpowered and 10 being broken.
(For example, All In Good Time is a 9/10 for a Tempo Scheme, while Approach My Molten Realm is a 3/10 for a Global Scheme.)
With that, let us begin just like old times.
#1. Because I Have Willed It
Because I Have Willed It (Tempo, 8/10) is a wonderful means to expedite your spellcasting in this format. As an Ongoing Scheme, it is remarkably powerful, only ceasing to work once your opponents manage to coordinate four spells on their turn. Oftentimes, this is made more difficult with even a simple Rule of Law effect (which, if there are only three opponents facing you, makes the scheme run until the effect's source is dealt with). Furthermore, in the Commander format, which is more often used in conjunction with the Archenemy scheme pool than not nowadays, players have a tendency to want to get their bigger bomb-like spells off, meaning either they miss out on casting more spells to compensate or they miss out on their big scary 6+ mana beater being cast. It's a win-win situation!
#2. Behold My Grandeur
Behold My Grandeur (Value, 6/10) is actually usually a Tempo scheme, surprisingly enough. We put it as a Value scheme here, however, because many players will be at six or more lands fairly frequently (if not fairly quickly) in Commander, where this format is often going to be utilized simultaneously. While this gives Behold My Grandeur some versatility, it also takes a away from both sides of that usefulness a bit as the bigger half of the effect only puts a card into your hand rather than allowing you to cast it for free or whatnot. It's not entirely ideal, but it does the trick at times. Still, we think there are probably better options to put in your scheme deck.
Having taken our first few notes from Nicol Bolas, what do you think about these Archenemy schemes so far? Has Magic: The Gathering got other villains you'd want to see a supplemental product made for? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!