Magic: The Gathering: Archenemy, Pt. 6: What Evils Shall I Commit?
Welcome back, all players, collectors, and other fans of Magic: The Gathering, the premier collectible trading card game designed and produced by Wizards of the Coast! In the past few articles in our series on Archenemy, Magic's fascinating 3-on-1 format, we went over the first 15 schemes in the course of the month of July. This article will continue this trend in August, starting with schemes 16-18. These cards all have names that ask what you, as the evil genius you are, can do with your diabolical visions and unsurpassable might. After all, it's all about you, right? You're the Archenemy, and so you're surely going to win, right? Let's dig in.
Before we begin, let's recap how we tend to grade these schemes in our analyses:
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 the explanation of how we conduct our scheme analysis out of the way, let's look at the next three schemes!
#16. I Call on the Ancient Magics
I Call on the Ancient Magics (Global, 10/10) would be ranked much lower if it were not for the fact that we have included a Global category. As a Tempo scheme, it provides your opponents with a tutor effect, a boon that is too much for any opponent to be allowed to have. In such a case, we might give it a 5/10. However, as far as Global schemes go, this one is great because while there is some parity, there's enough disparity through the concealment of information, and the double-tutor effect that you get that I Call on the Ancient Magics is not a terrible scheme for the format. Therefore, it's probably the best Global scheme overall, deserving of a mighty 10 out of 10 score. Just make sure you're not pitted against any players who can take more advantage of the tutelage than you can.
#17. I Delight in Your Convulsions
I Delight in Your Convulsions (Disruption, 4/10), by comparison to the above scheme, just feels generic. This could be due to the needs of the original four Archenemy preconstructed decks to use duplicates of certain schemes across the decks in order to keep a degree of consistency. It matters not; this scheme feels very weak. Three Lava Spike effects (albeit that can't target Planeswalkers and can't be spliced upon) is just lackluster (especially in Commander!), so much so that the life gain from the scheme is what the Archenemy is most likely going to look forward to if using it. At that point, however, you'd probably be in a tough spot to get out of, which obviously isn't ideal. So, I Delight in Your Convulsions is a paltry – and frankly, dull – scheme, whether you like the art or not.
#18. I Know All, I See All
I Know All, I See All (Tempo, 8/10) is a fantastic ongoing scheme. With an ever-welcome Seedborn Muse-style effect, this scheme does have a pretty tough stipulation to keep it in action. Artistocrats and Spellslinger decks alike won't want to run this scheme because of that escape clause, and so that gives us a bit of a bias against it, we'll admit. However, not all decks are Aristocrats and therefore don't thrive on sacrifice effects, and still, the remaining decks aren't all spellslinger decks, so won't try to chain three or more spells a turn, so we mustn't dock too many points for that. Many other decks will be in their element by having an untap effect like this available to them. Nevertheless, we've given this one an 8 out of 10; just keep on your toes, and those eight points will be apparent.
What do you think? Are these schemes ones that you'd want to set in motion in a game of Archenemy? Do you think that Magic: The Gathering ought to bring these oversized supplemental cards back, perhaps alongside Planechase and Vanguard? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!