Magic: The Gathering: Archenemy, Pt. 12: The True Value Of Blood
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! Occasionally, some of the analyses we do surrounding supplemental Magic cards have a randomly correlated theme. This has mostly been the case for our series on Archenemy thus far. However, there is a secret we will let you in on right now: Those correlations are mostly caused by the naming conventions surrounding the groups of three scheme cards we've been looking over each week. Therefore, it is with no levity that we inform you that this week there's no theme to be had. However, please don't let this stop you from enjoying our analyses. Let's delve into it!
As with all of our coverage within this series, here is how we analyze and rate these supplemental cards:
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.
Have you got all of that? You do? Good. Let's proceed with the ratings!
#34. Only Blood Ends Your Nightmares
Only Blood Ends Your Nightmares (Removal, 6/10) is a reasonably small piece of creature destruction, but it's a bit more versatile than that. Sure, it has virtually no effect on a player who has built up a board full of sacrificial fodder, but when used against someone who is utilizing a Voltron-style strategy or couldn't adequately recover from a board wipe, it is massive. It's surely outshined by better removal, however, and that's why we can't rate it more highly on the list overall.
#35. The Pieces Are Coming Together
The Pieces Are Coming Together (Value, 7/10) is a scheme that is a bit situational, but impactful enough that we have decided to average the situation where it is at its maximum usefulness with the situations where it is less useful. Normally, in a deck that isn't running a critical mass of artifacts, this scheme would be valued at a 5/10. This just stands to reason, as only half of its utility can then be made use of. However, in a deck where you'd be running more than an average handful of artifacts, the score jumps to 9/10 because it's honestly great in this case. To be able to draw more cards than normal is good, but to be able to empty your hands of artifacts in one turn, be it to ramp out or to cast some combo pieces, is a major play in a major way. So, averaging this with the other, we get a 7/10 here.
#36. Realms Befitting My Majesty
Realms Befitting My Majesty (Value, 6/10) is, despite its utilitarian nature, not a totally viable inclusion in every Archenemy's scheme deck. The reason for this is a lot of players run green. It could be a meta call from my own experience playing Commander with my playgroups but it seems as though green is a bit disproportionately represented in the average game night. In a given night, most pods will not be without at least one green player. This brings us to the ramp value of this scheme. Since its release in 2010, better spells have been printed, making the value of a ramp spell like Realms Befitting My Majesty plummet. However, if there's nothing better in your arsenal to choose, this isn't the worst scheme to add.
What do you think about the Archenemy format for Magic: The Gathering? Is it worth your time to play around with? Do you think it should make a comeback? Let us know your thoughts on the format in the comments below!