Magic: The Gathering: Archenemy Pt. 7: Friends In Dark Places

Greetings and salutations, all players, collectors, and other fans of Magic: The Gathering, the premier collectible trading card game designed and produced by Wizards of the Coast! As the famed goth bard Aurelio Voltaire aptly stated in his song "When You're Evil":

It gets so lonely being evil
What i'd do to see a smile
Even for a little while
And no one loves you when you when you're evil

Of course, he was "lying through his teeth," but the aptitude stands. Being evil is a very social event, especially as the archenemy of a 3-on-1 game of Magic! Today, we will be looking at another three schemes from the original set of Archenemy cards, all with their own spin on the idea of making friends and consequently terrorizing people.

The art for Into the Earthen Maw, a scheme card from Archenemy, a supplemental set of oversized cards for Magic: The Gathering. Illustrated by Paul Bonner.
The art for Into the Earthen Maw, a scheme card from Archenemy, a supplemental set of oversized cards for Magic: The Gathering. Illustrated by Paul Bonner.

Before we get into this week's schemes, let's recap how we tend to rate them:

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.)

Alright, let's get into these oh, so friendly cards!

#19. Ignite the Cloneforge!

Ignite the Cloneforge! (Value, 5/10) is a remarkably middling scheme. In the early game (perhaps a little later with dedicated artifact decks), a land token or a token copy of a mana dork might be impactful enough to make a difference, either in combat or as sacrifice fodder, but past the very middle of the mid-game, this scheme is not one you'd want to see set into motion unless your opponents have something worth copying, which, if you've made your scheme deck properly shouldn't even be the case. This scheme is quite meta-dependent, as it were. With every scheme at our disposal, we would fairly swiftly pass on this one in favor of stronger effects.

Ignite the Cloneforge!, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.
Ignite the Cloneforge!, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.

#20. Into the Earthen Maw

Into the Earthen Maw (Removal, 8/10) is a great way to hug an opponent's creatures and/or graveyard and never, ever, ever let go. While some of the utility of this scheme is a bit situational, it's strong when you can cut down reanimator strategies in the midst of their processes and remove some problematic creatures simultaneously. And let's be honest, hugs are a very friendly gesture.

Into the Earthen Maw, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.
Into the Earthen Maw, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.

#21. Introductions Are in Order

Introductions Are in Order (Value, 9/10) gives you amazing utility in one scheme. Either you tutor up the best creature in your library, or, if you've already drawn it, you get to put it directly onto the battlefield. What's not to love? While it is only one-half of an un-entwined Tooth and Nail, it's clear to us that Tooth and Nail is just that strong (speaking of which, has Tooth and Nail seen much Commander play lately? Let us know if you still use it or know someone who does!).

Introductions Are in Order, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.
Introductions Are in Order, a scheme from Archenemy, a release for a supplemental format for Magic: The Gathering.

If these or other schemes we have looked at thus far appeal to you, let's try to find a way to reach out to Wizards of the Coast and request that they reprint the Archenemy series in their entirety! While we are at it, we can appeal for Planechase and Vanguard to be reprinted as well, if it is possible. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on this series and others 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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