Magic: The Gathering: Archenemy, Pt. 2: The Ultimate Mass Removal?
Hello and welcome, all players, collectors, and other fans of Magic: The Gathering, the premier collectible trading card game designed and produced by Wizards of the Coast! For the last few weeks we covered the ins and outs of the Vanguard series of supplemental cards for the game, and last Sunday we began a neat little follow-up series about Archenemy. Well, as it stands, Archenemy is going to be much longer series than you might expect it to be. With an in-depth look at only three-to-five cards a week and with 70 cards in the entire supplemental (including promos and the Nicol Bolas release), you can expect this series to be a doozy.
Anyhow, this week, we will be looking at the next set of three cards, numbered #4, #5, and #6, respectively. Are you feeling evil enough to follow along yet? Let's press on our handlebar mustaches, press on our adhesive monocles, and don our Wellington-style top hats as we look at these next few cards!
As we wrote on in our last article on the matter, we will be grading these cards in the following fashion:
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 housekeeping out of the way, let's begin!
#4. Behold the Power of Destruction
Behold the Power of Destruction (Removal, 9/10) is probably the best piece of mass removal in this entire release. This card is able to completely mess up one particular opponent in the team challenging your dominion, and short of Stifle effects or cards like Teferi's Protection or Avacyn, Angel of Hope, it definitely will do that. And because this is the Archenemy format and it's already a battle of everyone else versus you, you don't have to be political with it… unless, somehow, it plays into your plans.
#5. Choose Your Champion
Choose Your Champion (Disruption, 7/10) is a scheme with a very novel effect for Magic: The Gathering. If you can neutralize one particular opponent in time to target that player for this scheme, you'll likely be in pretty good shape for the following turn's action. It's almost a third and fourth copy of All In Good Time, except your opponents all still get to go through the motions of state-based actions and that one opponent might still be able to stabilize in the time you have taken from the player's allies. For that reason, Choose Your Champion is good, but a bit dependent on your opponents.
#6. Dance, Pathetic Marionette
Dance, Pathetic Marionette (Value, 10/10) is probably one of our favorite Value-type schemes. Not only does it provide you with an excellent sort of indiscriminate value but it also provides a pseudo-Disruption effect in the process by milling a bunch of cards from your opponents. In the worst case scenario, you mill your opponents for one flimsy creature each and you get one of them. However, with three opponents and a highly varied trio of decks, that isn't entirely likely to happen, even if there's a nonzero chance of that happening. Furthermore, if you build your scheme deck the right way, you can mitigate the chance of the opposition reanimating something you've milled away via exile with schemes like Into the Earthen Maw (which we will be discussing very kindly in a few weeks). But overall, nearly the equivalent of three copies of Telemin Performance seems awesome.
What do you think about the Archenemy series of supplemental Magic: The Gathering cards? Do you have all of them? Are they fun for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!