Magic: The Gathering: Archenemy Promos, Pt. 1: Enhanced Scheming!
Hello and welcome, all players, collectors, and other fans of Magic: The Gathering, the premier collectible trading card game designed, developed, and produced by Wizards of the Coast! Last week, we closed a door on the Archenemy format's supplemental cards from the first Archenemy release. It was bittersweet, having spent nearly four months on coverage of the first 45 scheme cards for the 3-on-1 format. Truly, it is a shame to see it go, but when one door closes, another surely opens: today, we will be covering the first three of five promotional schemes for the format, and follow this up with the schemes of Archenemy: Nicol Bolas! Exciting, we hope as much for you as it is for us! Let's dawdle no longer: Let's take a look at some schemes clearly deemed too strong for the preconstructed decks' release.
As with the standardized release that spawned the format, here is the way we analyze these cards, noting that we will pull no punches despite them being promos this time:
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.)
Let us begin this new foray into what ought to be an enhanced suite of Archenemy scheme cards!
Promotional Scheme #1. Plots That Span Centuries
Plots That Span Centuries (Tempo, 9/10) is only as good as the scheme cards that follow it, but this certainly does not mean that it is a bad scheme by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, quite the contrary; it's amazing. As the Archenemy format's iteration of the idea of charging up supplemental cards (a la Pools of Becoming from the Planechase format), it is most certainly very powerful to combo scheme after scheme. Plus, with two copies of this scheme permitted in your scheme deck, you will run the possibility of making one of your three next schemes another copy of this one, for a total of five other schemes in a turn! There's evidently a great reason that this card commands such a high price tag for scheme cards.
Promotional Scheme #2. Perhaps You've Met My Cohort
Perhaps You've Met My Cohort (Tempo, 8/10) came out at a time when planeswalker cards were still very scarce, and even novel. This made the scheme far more impactful when a player used it at the time, but it doesn't really hold up as well today for that "wow" factor that it ought to have commanded back in the 2010's. However, that description of its contextual history belies that this card is very powerful today. If you wanted to summon Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh as early as turn 1, this scheme could, potentially, make that possible. It's still a lasting reason for players to be concerned when facing off against a known Superfriends deck as the Big Bad, but against other decks it's probably a scheme that can be ignored unless a very strong one exists in the Archenemy's deck.
Promotional Scheme #3. Your Inescapable Doom
Your Inescapable Doom (Disruption, 10/10) is the only ongoing scheme currently in print that doesn't have a clause that causes its own abandonment, either by choice or otherwise. It puts a clock on your opponents and can amass doom counters faster than players may be aware of. Thankfully it can't be proliferated, as it exists in the command zone when in motion. At that point it's only a matter of time till it begins to pick opponents off one by one. It is amazing for damage output, and is reminiscent of the emblem shenanigans of Magic 2020's Chandra, Awakened Inferno. Truly a scheme to marvel at, be it in amazement or in fear.
What do you think about the Archenemy format for Magic: The Gathering? Is it one you've played before? Did you enjoy it? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, and, if it appeals enough to you for you to want a resurgence, consider letting your thoughts about it out in Wizards of the Coast's next Magic survey!