Hello everyone! 30 new Alchemy: Dominaria cards are being introduced to the Alchemy format – so it’s time to dive in to see what’s good, what’s bad, and where the cards can go! As always, here’s the scale I’ll be using to label the new cards that potentially have constructed applications and you can find the what decks these cards might go into in the dedicated article below:
- 0/5 – Unplayable in every sense.
- 1/5 – Extremely niche play or very unlikely to see play.
- 2/5 – Niche to no play, maybe playable in certain conditions.
- 3/5 – Reasonable playable. Not format breaking, but has the power level to see play in some strategy (or strategies).
- 4/5 – Very strong card, but not the best the format has to offer. Has the power level to see a lot of play.
- 5/5 – The very top of the format. This card will create a huge impact going forward on the format.
Hey now this is a one drop! A one mana 2/1 is a serviceable rate, and one that gives you a Tenacious Pup trigger when you enlist a creature? That’s some decent value! This card is far from ground-breaking, but it’s definitely good enough to make the cut in Mono White, especially since we lost Usher of the Fallen.
Priest of Possibility
Generally speaking, creatures that gain abilities that are contingent on other creatures having those abilities have not been very good. Simply speaking, needing a set up to make a bad card playable is not what you want to be doing.
While Priest of Possibility has similar templating, it has a substantial advantage over its predecessors. Looking at the top seven cards for keywords is miles easier than having creatures on board already. Furthermore, Priest can take keywords for any of the creatures on the top seven, not just one, so this can be a Grizzly Bears with quite a lot of keywords.
All that said, you really don’t want to build a deck around this, so it’s most likely application would be in an aggro deck where you may get 1-2 keywords depending on what you hit. While that can be good, that’s not terribly exciting. Perhaps there are builds that can make better use of this and I’m underrating it, but realistically, this isn’t likely to see play.
Pull of the Mist Moon
Slightly harder to cast Oblivion Ring with marginal upside. I don’t think that upside is going to make this see more play than Borrowed Time, and the more restrictive casting cost may even bar this from seeing more play.
Oracle of the Alpha
This card is sick. Is it good? Probably not. While conjuring Magic’s best nine cards into your library sounds awesome, realistically, half of them aren’t going to be that useful. Moxen are powerful because they let you cheat on land drops in the early game, but drawing one turn 10+? That’s no better than drawing a land. Sure, you can live the dream by finding a Time Walk or Ancestral Recall quickly, but the odds of that happening are low while the odds of you losing tempo because you played a dorky 2/3 Flier is substantially higher. Sick card, cool applications for a pseudo Vintage Cube on Arena, not very unlikely to be good.
Skywriter Djinn’s Spellbook
- Hard Evidence
- Contentious Plan
- Hampering Snare
- Keep Safe
- See the Truth
- Teferi's Time Twist
- Flood of Recollection
- Majestic Metamorphosis
- Suit Up
- Choking Tethers
- Bury in Books
So the simplest evaluation of this card is that it’s a four mana 3/4 Flying that “draws” a card, and may draw a second. First off, this isn’t a good enough payoff to worry building around, especially when the only creature you want to play in Domain Control is Sphinx of Clear Skies so you can combo with Leyline Binding and Fragment Reality.
So now we have to evaluate how good a four mana 3/4 Flier that draws a card is. By itself, that’s not great, however, you get a spellbook card rather than a regular card, which unfortunately, is worse. Extremely unlikely this will see play.
This is a very interesting card as, if your deck has enough artifacts, this will always draw a card, even if it isn’t ideal, but if you have only a few artifacts, you risk missing at the chance of this being a pseudo tutor. Reminiscent of Trinket Mage, you should probably not be looking to do fair things with this and looks like a natural fit in Paradox Engine combo in Historic. However, I feel that there could be multiple applications for this card that we’d have to play with to discover.
This is a new take on Into the Roil, but unfortunately, that’s not a particularly Standard playable effect. The upside to this card is that the card you’d want to bounce may be better than the average card drawn from your deck, but that’s a big if. I feel if you wanted a bounce effect, you would be better served playing Rona's Vortex.
While not the most exciting payoff for Dragons as Dragons already tend to be large, this isn’t too bad either. A 2/1 Flier is a mediocre rate, but drawing a card with two additional mana isn’t a bad rate, especially when you get a 3/2 out of the deal.
This may make the cut in a Dragons deck, but even then I’m a bit skeptical.
Well this is pretty clearly a play on Geralf's Messenger, I mean look at the art! While Messenger is one of my favorite cards ever, this card doesn’t do Messenger much justice. A three mana 4/3 that ETBs tapped is an alright stat line, but has tough competition between Liliana of the Veil, Graveyard Trespasser, and even Shakedown Heavy. However, you can bring it back not just once, but twice with the BB ability, albeit smaller each time.
So is this realistically beating out the other three drop options in Black? Probably not. However, I can see this having applications in a self mill strategy as you can return this at a premium.
While not super exciting, this has a shot of seeing play.
Reezug, the Bonecobbler
I’ll admit that combo and synergy cards are usually harder for me to evaluate, so good thing they keep adding them into Alchemy! On the surface, this reminds me a bit of Emry, Lurker of the Loch as the tap ability allows you to cast stuff out of the graveyard (even if it’s only creatures_. It does turn the creature you’re nabbing into solely an artifact, so you want to be grabbing creatures with good activated or static abilities (such as Emry)! While I’m sure there are a lot of potential applications for this card, this seems strong in combo decks like Paradox Engine or Kethis, the Hidden Hand as additional ways to insulate your most important creatures. I doubt this will do much outside of a combo deck, but it definitely has some real interesting potential applications.
Now that is a lot of keywords, and as an added bonus, Chariot is willing to share with the creature that crewed it too! While a very cool card that can attack very well, it does require another reasonably large creature to do so, and even if you get to, it’s not like you get some amazing attack or effect. Maybe this can be a good sideboard card to give your larger creatures Menace or there is some application with this I’m not considering, but I’m not feeling it.
Starting with the stat line, a two mana 2/2 with Prowess is definitely an acceptable body. Then at the beginning of your precombat main phase, you can pitch a card and seek one with a higher mana value to play until the end of your next turn.
While neither of these abilities are particularly exciting, I can see them being reasonable together as this could convert any excess land into spells, bad spells into better spells, etc. This is probably still a bit weak to see play, but I see potential.
Goblin Influx Array
So a big mana rock that draws cards on the end step? Not bad! I know a lot of people have been giving this card flack since it is slow, but compared to Herald's Horn, this really isn’t much worse as this guarantees a card where Horn doesn’t. That being said, a slightly better Herald's Horn that’s four mana rather than three is a pretty big hit, and you could use this as a weird A-Cosmos Elixir, but again, a spellbook card is going to be worse than drawing a card most of the time.
If Goblins is playable in Alchemy, maybe this has a shot, but this isn’t that great of a payoff card regardless.
Goblin Morale Sergeant
So this is a two mana 2/1 Haste that you have to give up an attack with a creature to make a copy of it, that you don’t draw, for marginal benefit. This card is interesting, but you’re only playing this in an aggro deck, and if you’re playing aggro, I highly doubt you want to give up on a potential attack for minor upside. I will say that this isn’t that crazy as you may use this to attack past a large blocker, and a 2/1 Haste isn’t too bad, but I feel it’s pretty niche compared to your other options.
What a weird card. This isn’t quite Reverberate, nor is it Snapcaster Mage, but this weird middle ground. Maybe there’s something unfair you can do with this, but as is, this seems very weak. Copy spells like Galvanic Iteration already struggle to perform as timing restrictions make them really narrow, and this is the same issue except you don’t even get the next copy for free. Unless I’m missing a crazy interaction with this card, this seems pretty unusable.
So this is a Ramp spell that’s only good when you already have a huge amount of mana? Weird. At worst, this is a four mana
On the surface, this is a slightly bigger Eternal Witness which isn’t ideal as Witness is good because it’s somewhat cheap, not because of the size. However, if you spend an additional Black, you get to Regrowth something out of the opponent’s graveyard as well (functionally anyway).
It’s super unfortunate as I want this card to be good, as it’s sweet as hell, but it’s probably not quite there. Four mana is a lot and cards you’re casting for four have to be very powerful to justify including them. Take for example Citystalker Connoisseur compared to this, not miles better, but definitely stronger.
All that said, maybe there’s a Golgari(x) deck that can play this as a one or two of as it is quite strong late game, but that’s likely the only application.
So I just checked to see if there were cards that liked having a lot of lands in the graveyard and only came up with
Beyond the ability, we have a two mana 3/2 Reach creature, which is ok, but far from amazing. I’m not sure what this card is designed before and I feel that many players are going to run into the same issue.
If Diminished Returner is Geralf's Messenger at home, this has to be Sylvan Advocate at home. A two mana 2/3 Vigilance is an alright stat line, but not playable by itself. You would need the ability to be good, and realistically, just seeking a creature card for a maximum discount of three mana is not too exciting. Realistically you’re only discounting this by two or three so this is going to be pretty expensive, so I’m doubtful this has any applications.
Arvad, Weatherlight Smuggler
What a strange card. A 1/1 Deathtouch, Lifelink is an alright rate for two mana, just look at A-Triumphant Adventurer which has a similar stat line, but instead of Venture, you get to grow it with each creature killed. This feels like a pretty narrow card as this seems decent against aggressive decks if you’re playing a deck with a lot of creatures, but not many other places. Furthermore, it triggering in the graveyard is a weird rider that doesn’t seem particularly helpful beyond the potential applications of Can't Stay Away.
Overall this card isn’t weak per say, but I also don’t see where you would play this.
I’m not a fan of designs like this as there’s only two options for it – fade into obscurity or break something. Generally speaking, this is a much worse multicolored Mind Stone, and if that’s all this can do, this card is pretty much unplayable. However, if you can loop the creature when it’s cost reduced, then it can be excellent.
Even though it has combo potential with Ominous Traveler, it still seems too weak/slow to really make anything too crazy. However, I’ll just wait for Altheriax to break Alchemy for a fourth time and prove me wrong.
I was never the biggest fan of Break Expectations, as even though you’ll get to exchange the best card in their hand for a bad card, you are the one who’s still down a card in that exchange. This is the same issue, but substantially worse. Tidehollow Sculler is a great card, and I wouldn’t mind exchanging their best card for a bad card since I keep the body, but giving them a Juggernaut is far from an irrelevant card. While Juggernaut is obviously going to be worse than the opponent’s average card, it’s not so much worse that the information and slight inconvenience for the opponent makes the 2/2 worth playing.
Niambi, Beloved Protector
So a different take Saffi Eriksdotter? Nifty! If you only look at the surface, this doesn’t seem like it has many competitive applications, even if it is a solid ability, however, this does combo with Kami of Mourning which lets you get infinite ETB and deaths which could lead to an interesting strategy. Maybe too cute, but definitely has potential!
Protean War Engine
Protean War Engine Spellbook
- Serra Angel
- Resplendent Angel
- Steel-Plume Marshal
- Duelcraft Trainer
- Falconer Adept
- Seraph of Dawn
- Star-Crowned Stag
- Benalish Marshal
- Serra Paragon
- Blade Historian
- Captivating Crew
- Manaform Hellkite
- Moonveil Regent
- Skyship Stalker
- Ogre Battledriver
I’m a bit torn on this card. On one hand, the Crew being 3 and the random nature of what this gets to attack as is far from ideal. However, if you get a good creature off of it, such as Serra Angel or Moonveil Regent, then this is similar to Heart of Kiran. That being said, Heart of Kiran was so powerful as you can crew it with planeswalkers and you had Toolcraft Exemplar and Depala, Pilot Exemplar to help, so it’s probably not the best comparison.
So while this isn’t nearly as good as Heart of Kiran, there are a good amount of Vehicle synergies in Kamigawa and Alchemy: Kamigawa making this more enticing. It’s probably not going to be strong enough, but I have some faith.
Slimefoot, Thallid Transplant
Slimefoot, Thallid Transplant’s Spellbook
- Deathbloom Thallid
- Deathbonnet Sprout // Deathbonnet Hulk
- Rhizome Lurcher
- Spore Crawler
- Sporecrown Thallid
- Swarm Shambler
- Thallid Omnivore
- Thallid Soothsayer
- Yavimaya Sapherd
- Fungal Plots
- Verdant Force
- Verdant Embrace
- Spore Swarm
- Saproling Migration
Finally we have a fixed Tireless Angler, in a sense anyway. This also triggers off of two different basic land types entering the battlefield, but you have cheaper things to draft rather than expensive big idiots. All that said, instead of expensive creatures that aren’t good, you get cheaper creatures that aren’t good. Free cards are free cards, but none of these are going to be too exciting to get. Maybe if you get 2+ cards you’re happy with that investment, but you’re asking a lot in a format where there’s a lot of obscenely powerful cards and removal. I’m not feeling it, but this is better than Angler.
Playing three mana counterspells in Constructed nowadays is a pretty big ask unless they provide a reall strong effect. Archmage's Charm is a great example of this as it’s a three mana counter that can also draw cards, steal a permanent, mow your lawn, and file your taxes which is a great rate. I would also pretty happily play Absorb in most formats as the three life can definitely worth it. Considering this has the same casting cost as Absorb, how does this stack up?
I think this is definitely worse than Absorb, the question is simply by how much. If the opponent never finds a second copy of the countered card, you just played hard to play Cancel, but if they do, making it cost two more can be impactful. Overall, this is probably playable which is a pretty big achievement for a three mana counterspell, but not much better than just playable.
Tiana, Angelic Mechanic
Depala, Pilot Exemplar was excellent as it gave Vehicles a passive buff and also had some card advantage stapled on when it tapped, making it an ideal Crew creature. Tiana, on the other hand, simply gives the Vehicle +1/+0, albeit perpetually. While that is decent buff, having that on a 3/2 Flier is at odds with crewing. Generally, you want to attack with your Flier as it’s going to be tough to block, not to crew a Vehicle that very well may be worse than Tiana itself. Not the Vehicle payoff we’re looking for, but may be good enough anyway.
Wavemage is interesting as it functionally gives your team one instance of pseudo-Curiosity. However, rather than drawing a card, you get a copy of a creature that dealt damage. While that isn’t as powerful as drawing a card, if you have a cheap, evasive threat, getting a bunch of them can be good. Realistically, the power level here is likely too low for Alchemy, but it isn’t too bad of a card.
Darigaaz, Shivan Champion
Darigaaz, Shivan Champion
- Shivan Dragon
- Moonveil Regent
- Terror of the Peaks
- Leyline Tyrant
- Immersturm Predator
- Manaform Hellkite
- Bone Dragon
- Demanding Dragon
- Skarrgan Hellkite
- Thunderbreak Regent
- Black Dragon
- Skyship Stalker
- Red Dragon
Now this one is interesting. So you get a five mana 5/5 Dragon, then on your end step, you get a free Dragon that takes three turns to come by. This most reminds me of Sol'Kanar the Tainted as you have a large body that gets value each turn, albeit at a price. Where Sol’Kanar gets the value immediately, but you need to win in three turns to not lose it, Darigaaz asks that you wait three turns to get any additional value.
While that is a long time to get something of value, getting a FREE dragon is quite the prize. This will incentivize you to survive as long as possible as if this survives multiple turns and you survive until you start getting Dragons, it’s going to be near impossible to lose from that spot. Maybe I’m overrating this, but it seems quite powerful.
A three mana 2/2 is a sad body, but one that is a permanent lord for the creatures on board and in hand is some solid value! Generally, you want three mana lords to grant a keyword as well as a buff, but being offset by the buff being permanent that I think it’s a reasonable trade. I feel like this has the chops to see play in some decks as it’s just the power level needed to see play.
Overall there are some really interesting designs in this set, but most of them are pretty weak. This is a tough balance to strike as they want these cards to be strong enough to be impactful, but if they’re strong enough to be really impactful, they are probably really really good. Again, most of the cards are quite weak, but there are a few cool and strong designs I’m very interested in seeing play out.
Thanks for reading!