Magic: The Gathering: Archenemy, Pt. 14: The Affairs Of Dragons

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! There's an old adage that relates to the theme for this week's Archenemy column: "Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup." This particular quote is attributed to a fiction author named Suzanne McMinn, but it could have just as easily been attributed to a real dragon (in a reality where they actually exist). The cool thing is that it fits this week's theme quite well! So, without further ado, let's analyze some Archenemy schemes!

The art for Which of You Burns Brightest?, a scheme card from Archenemy, a supplemental set of oversized cards for Magic: The Gathering. Illustrated by Steve Prescott.
The art for Which of You Burns Brightest?, a scheme card from Archenemy, a supplemental set of oversized cards for Magic: The Gathering. Illustrated by Steve Prescott.

The way that we come to rate the scheme cards in the oversized Archenemy subset of cards are as follows:

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 bit of vital information considered, let's jump into the scheme cards!

#40. Tooth, Claw, and Tail

Tooth, Claw, and Tail (Removal, 9/10) is one of the best pieces of spot removal that the Archenemy could possibly have at their disposal. It works to destroy anything but lands and can work around sacrifice effects to continue to spew its stream of destruction despite them. Beyond Behold the Power of Destruction, which is probably the best Removal scheme in the original release, Tooth, Claw, and Tail is a solid contender for second place, especially due to its versatility.

Tooth, Claw, and Tail, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.
Tooth, Claw, and Tail, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.

#41. The Very Soil Shall Shake

The Very Soil Shall Shake (Tempo, 7/10) is an odd duck when it comes to Tempo schemes. It provides an anthem effect in the style of Overrun, which inherently and overtly isn't Value, Disruption, Global, or Removal. The Tempo portion of the scheme lies in that it bolsters your creatures in a way that can put you ahead of your opponents' preparation. Furthermore, as an ongoing scheme, it is quite strong, especially if you can find a means to make your creatures indestructible (such as with Avacyn, Angel of Hope). Sadly that off-switch isn't very good for you in a token build or Aristocrats-style deck, but there are better schemes you can use in either case anyhow, so there's no real need to worry there.

The Very Soil Shall Shake, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.
The Very Soil Shall Shake, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.

#42. Which of You Burns Brightest?

Which of You Burns Brightest (Removal, 5/10) is part of the cycle of schemes that require you to pay X amount of mana to get an effect that scales with it. These schemes are just plain bad because they require more than the nothing that is offered to the Archenemy in order to get an extra effect to go off, ultimately defeating the purpose of schemes altogether. Now, in the event that you have a ton of mana to use on this scheme and can use it effectively, it serves as both a Disruption scheme and Removal as mentioned above, but it only affects one opponent and their side of the board, leaving the other two relatively unscathed. However, based on that it might be the best in this cycle because of how much damage it can ultimately do.

Which of You Burns Brightest?, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.
Which of You Burns Brightest?, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.

What do you think about these Archenemy schemes? Should Magic: The Gathering come out with more of them? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments below!

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About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.
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