Hello everyone! Alchemy: Kamigawa spoilers are all released 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.
- 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.
This is a surprisingly tough card to evaluate, but I’m going to go with my gut on this one. A 1 drop that creates a free card is pretty strong inherently. That said, Dragonfly Suit isn’t bad per say, but it’s definitely not the power level of other 3 drops in the format. To that end, I would say it’s like .75 of a card, definitely not embarrassing, but not great.
Then we have to evaluate the Pilot itself. A 1/1 body unfortunately is pretty bad, but the Crew ability is interesting. When looking through the Vehicle pool, I was unfortunately surprised that there really weren’t reasonable vehicles that could work well with this ability beyond Reckoner Bankbuster.
Although this does do a lot for a 1 drop, nothing it’s doing is particularly exciting at first glance, but this is something I could be wrong about.
Now this is a weird card. This reminds me of Divine Gambit, but the risk is much higher as the opponent only needs a lower CMV creature in their deck for this card to not get particularly good value. There are a few scenarios where this could be really good though!
If the opponent isn’t playing creatures (or only really expensive ones) but they’re playing artifacts and/or enchantments then this is obviously good. If the opponent has some holes in the curve then you could kill something for free (if their creature curve starts at 2 you can always exile a 2 drop painlessly). Lastly, if you combine this with Grafdigger's Cage then you can deny them the extra value outright!
Although this is interesting, I feel the risk of this card not downgrading a threat enough to be worth it is going to outweigh the net benefit of playing it.
Despite having a funny name, Inchblade Companion is a pretty nifty design. It reminds me somewhat of Sprout Swarm as you need a mana investment to procure a 1/1, however by modern standards, that is not a particularly strong effect. Maybe this is abuseable in some way, but I feel that it’s pretty unlikely considering it limits itself to once a turn.
Kami of Transmutation
For whatever reason, Wizards really wants to hurt my brain with this set and Kami is one of the main offenders. On first glance, this card feels like it should combo with something as why make it otherwise, but I’ve been coming up mostly blank. It’s interesting with Brilliant Restoration and maybe has some applications with Goblin Engineer, but I’m really not sure where else to slot this.
It doesn’t work in Historic Enchantress as those cards trigger off cast, not ETB so turning lands into Enchantments doesn’t help. This is so confusing as the cards that would combo with this are likely in shells were you want a high density of that permanent type to begin with making this somewhat moot. I feel like I must be missing something, but considering I’m coming up short on reasons to play this and, if this is even playable, would have to be a part of some convoluted combo/interaction, I’m going to say there’s a much higher chance it’s bad rather than good.
Here we have another strange card as it’s seemingly pulling you in 2 different directions. So with it’s cost reduction ability you want fewer creatures to try and cast it for 2 mana as often as possible. However, by it’s Glorious Anthem effect, you want to be playing a lot of creatures to make use of it. So with this in mind, the place I can see this would have to be an aggressive deck that isn’t overly worried about getting the cost reduction, but would obviously still like it if it could.
So how good is a 4 mana 2/2 Flying Anthem? Not great unfortunately. Considering this can be killed by every common piece of removal, this doesn’t seem like the most consistent card in any sense.
More weird cards! Better Offer is like Bribery if you can’t choose the target and are restricted by CMV which sounds pretty fun, but I can’t imagine that translates particularly well in a competitive environment. Even if you can cast this for X=5+, there’s still a good chance you hit a lower CMV creature and spend a bunch of mana on just a mediocre threat. I think you can find a Better Offer for how to spend your mana.
Experimental Pilot’s Spellbook
- Cultivator's Caravan
- Bomat Bazaar Barge
- Raiders' Karve
- Demolition Stomper
- Futurist Sentinel
- Mechtitan Core
- Reckoner Bankbuster
- High-Speed Hoverbike
- Mindlink Mech
- Silent Submersible
- Mobile Garrison
- Untethered Express
- Ovalchase Dragster
- Daredevil Dragster
- Thundering Chariot
So this is a Dragonfly Pilot that doesn’t even get the free card, you have to spend two more cards to get any real value out of, and you get Ward 2 out of the deal? Unless there’s some Vehicle deck that really likes these creatures that can Crew up, I don’t see the utility here. Maybe if the Spellbook is better, but it’s just Vehicles and a good majority of them aren’t even good.
This is a super interesting design as you’d never play this as is, but as copies “5-8” of a creature you’d presumably really want to copy. I can’t think off the top of my head of creatures that would massively benefit from this feature, but it is something to keep an eye on. I’m still a bit low on this, but I’m willing to be surprised.
Now we’re talking! With all these weird situational cards I’m happy to finally see one that just looks solid. A 3 mana 3/2 flash that “draws” you an additional copy of a spell is good value. Also I may look foolish here, but considering it says spell and not something more specific, I believe this is referring to any nonland card and not just instants and sorceries like I thought on first glance. If that’s the case, this card isn’t necessarily incredible, but that’s quite a good deal overall since you also get to choose what to copy.
I’m sure this could fit in a variety of decks, but the flash makes me want to lean into Control.
More Blue value cards! So Saiba Syphoner seems to be a distant cousin of Snapcaster Mage with two major differences, it’s more often than not going to be more expensive than Snapcaster (and if it isn’t, more cost restrictive), but it brings the card to your hand rather than making you cast it immediately which is a good deal better.
Like Mothrider Cavalry, it’s going to be hard to get the cost reduction on this consistently as you’re likely playing this in a deck with a good amount of instants and sorceries, but the floor on this is much higher than Mothrider and the ceiling is a veritable Snapcaster Mage. All that said, I also don’t think this card is amazing as the floor isn’t super high, but it’s likely solid.
This card looks like it could be an extremely powerful value engine, but getting it to work is no small ask. Either you need a 3 mana 3/1 to connect or you need 4 mana, the opponent to not interact, and put this on a creature that can connect. Obviously I wouldn’t say that’s impossible, but that’s a lot more hoops to jump through for a solid card compared to the other 3 or 4 drops in the metagame. Maybe this has some applications in a deck I’m not thinking of or as a neat sideboard card, but I’m not enthusiastic otherwise.
Now that’s a beefy creature. Flying and Menace make this functionally unblockable so being a 6/6 makes this quite threatening. That said, having a spell in your hand turn into a self-inflicted Lightning Bolt is a pretty hefty price to pay. I’m generally a fan of these creatures, but we already have Bloodvial Purveyor which is functionally the same rate at a less steep downside. That said, I don’t imagine this seeing play while Purveyor doesn’t.
Kami of Mourning
Sheesh! The value cards are hitting hard in this set and Kami is no different. This card looks pretty nuts on first glance, but we do have to bear in mind, this is useless without a creature in the graveyard which does naturally lower the floor for this card as just a 3 mana 3/2 is not great. That said, if you can hit a cheaper creature in your yard with this, this card is very good.
If you’re looking to get creatures in the yard, may as well be aggressive about it.
Let’s break this card down. Sign in Blood is a perfectly acceptable card and this is easier to cast and an instant? Wow-e. Of course it comes with the glaring issue that it makes 3+ mana spells ping you on cast, but that only means we have to play it in a low curve deck! Any Black deck with a low curve would love to have this in Alchemy, and I feel like I know a Cat in Historic that may like this card as well.
This is a slam dunk in Lurrus of the Dream-Den decks so its nice that one of the better cards to come out of this is an uncommon!
Now this is a weird edict. Unfortunately for edicts, they generally play much worse than they look and being 3 mana is definitely not helping Servitude’s cause. That said, how much utility does this gain with the secondary ability of this? I’d say not particularly much, but there may be cases where it’s good!
This could be an interesting sideboard card against controlling decks that play only a few creatures as in the late game you can nab that creature and cash in a random card for that creature. While that could be good, I feel like it’s too corner case to have strong applications all around.
Cheap ninjutsu, solid body, and decent on hit ability? Seems like a good card! Conjuring Virus Beetle isn’t the most exciting ability, but that’s more than good enough when attached to a 2 mana Deathtouch. Not much more to say, this card isn’t incredible but it’s definitely solid.
Be still my beating heart. This card is a BANGER. So this will either be 2 mana opponent discards a card you draw a card that will likely be useful or a Mind Wrench. That said, I doubt most players would willingly discard two cards so you’re more than likely getting mode one rather than mode two.
Nevertheless, this is still quite the powerful effect and the only time you aren’t going to get something worthwhile off this effect is when the opponent discards a useless card and you draw a useless card.
Considering the floor is so high and the fail rate so low, this is a definite winner. This can easily slot into any midrange deck just like the one below.
Why are all the one drops so wacky in this expansion? I digress, this has a lot going on for just a one drop. For starters, giving Reconfigured creatures menace is cute, but I feel won’t be the most relevant. The more interesting ability to me is that when it comes in it has a similar effect to Disciple of Deceit, without the tutoring of course.
Maybe this is an ok ability, but I feel that this is similarly underwhelming. I’m unfortunately not too enthusiastic about this card’s chances.
Now this is an interesting one. If we compare this to other 3 drops in Standard it has a glaring weakness most others don’t, no ETB ability. Having it do something the second it enters has been the standard for awhile, however unlike the other 3 drops in Standard, this will kill very quickly if left completely unchecked.
Even without an ETB, I believe this card is likely threatening enough that it will need to eat a removal spell or start to accrue some good value on attacks. If you get to attack twice with this, you’re definitely getting more than your money’s worth.
More wacky cards, but this one makes more sense! So it’s a 3 mana 2/2 Phoenix that if you reconfigure it you can make other creature’s Phoenix adjacent as well? That’s definitely not bad! The largest issue with this card is that you need to play this in a deck with a good amount of Reconfigure/Equipment to get the most value out of it, but both Boros Equipment and Mono Red could swing it.
That said, you may be able to play this in decks that don’t even have that many Equipment cards as just getting one hit later in the game can still be pretty valuable so the floor on this may be higher than I’m anticipating. Speaking of decks with a lot of Equipment!
Looks like Fearsome Whelp‘s beetle brother is here! So a 2 mana 2/2 First Strike is a reasonable body and a 1 mana Reconfigure to give a creature First Strike is also solid. Then on top of that, if this survives the turn you could start getting cost reduction? This sounds like a slam dunk, but I have to wonder how often you’ll be able to get the Artifact reduction ability to matter which is probably the biggest limiting factor on this.
I feel that since this is an ok card by itself, as long as you build with it in mind, it won’t be too embarrassing if you don’t always get the ability as well.
When reading his card, the first comparison I drew was with Scrap Trawler which was extremely powerful in a few combo decks. However, this obviously has two main differences: this is on an artifact entering rather than dying and you have to cast the other card still rather than getting it for free. Considering this triggers when it comes in, you could hypothetically play this on 3, play an artifact on 4 and then get one or even two more spells out of the deal with the triggers.
I don’t see Alchemy applications for this, but I feel that this has to have some home in Historic with how much value you can accrue in a deck with a lot of 0 mana artifacts.
A Thundering Rebuke that could potentially be a 2 for 1 for 2 mana? Well that’s a pretty good deal to me! Thundering Rebuke isn’t too impactful of a card currently, but a lot of good creatures have low toughness nowadays so I feel like you’d be able to get your money’s worth a decent amount of the time which makes this very enticing to play with.
I know for sure this is a solid card, but this could be even better than it looks so I’m going with a pretty wide range on my rating.
Boseiju Pathlighter’s Spellbook
- Field of Ruin
- Bonders' Enclave
- Radiant Fountain
- Thriving Grove
- Treasure Vault
- Gingerbread Cabin
- Memorial to Unity
- Boseiju, Who Endures
- Secluded Courtyard
- Roadside Reliquary
- Scavenger Grounds
- Emergence Zone
- Khalni Garden
- Mobilized District
- Hall of Oracles
Creatures that draw a card when they come in should always be looked at, but Pathlighter is different where it can only get lands which is a huge downside. Despite that, I’d say a decent amount of the lands do have some utility so it’s not like you’re getting nothing for the exchange.
Overall, I think this is still too weak for real consideration, but maybe some midrange deck would be happy to get a free card off their 3 drop if it’s at all good.
Chronicler of Worship
A 2 drop mana dork is nothing new, but one that can find a card and perpetually make it cheaper? Now that’s value! You are limited to Shrines so I’m not sure how good this is going to end up being, but in a vacuum, that is quite the powerful effect. I’m pulling for you Chronicler.
Kami of Bamboo Groves
Our Arboreal Grazer friend is back in spirit form! While this body is (usually) worse than Grazer’s, having the ability to exchange it for more lands is definitely interesting. I feel like the channel ability won’t come up too often, but that’s a good amount of utility on a 1 drop.
Late game decks with a lot of lands will likely be wanting to run this for some nice acceleration. If we’re talking a lot of lands, my mind will always go to Ramp.
The Green version of the Mythic cost reduction cycle and like the others, this isn’t easy to evaluate. The closest comparison I can think of is Quandrix Cultivator, but this one is a 2/3 compared to a 3/4, the land comes into play tapped rather than untapped, but you can get any basic. If we didn’t have the cost reduction this would clearly be leagues worse than Quandrix Cultivator, so it’s all about how often you can get the cost reduction.
I don’t have the chops to run the math, but I feel like this will be the easiest of the cycle to get the cost reduction which makes this very strong on 2 and not embarrassing on 4. I’m not super excited by this card, but I’d be surprised if it saw no play.
So on it’s face we have a 3/3 for 3 that has a better Curiosity attached to it. While that’s a solid rate, I wouldn’t be super excited for it beyond maybe some board applications. However, it also has a Ninjutsu ability for TWO MANA.
Can you imagine how demoralizing it is to get hit with this on turn 2 when you’re on the draw? That’s functionally game over right there unless your next play is a removal spell. The floor is a bit low on this card, but the ceiling is high enough to make me excited about it. A lot of Green decks could play this, but it probably slots the best in Mono Green Aggro.
We don’t get 4 mana ramp too much anymore, but this is a cool spin on it. The first turn it comes in you can net a mana, next turn you get 2 mana, then it just keeps going from there. Getting two mana off of a 4 mana ramp spell has generally been the standard, but only getting it on Green and it being an Enchantment adds fragility to this as well. Furthermore, compare this to Key to the Archive which is pretty similar except you can loot into a broken card instead of getting more mana.
I want to say this has more promise as you can get a lot of mana over the course of the game, but realistically, most decks are looking to ramp to 7 so assuming you hit your lands you only need this to give you 2 additional mana like Key could. I’d love to be wrong, but this seems like an unfortunate miss.
Imperial Blademaster’s Spellbook
- Eiganjo Exemplar
- Imperial Subduer
- Ancestral Katana
- Selfless Samurai
- Norika Yamazaki, the Poet
- Akki Ronin
- Peerless Samurai
- Heiko Yamazaki, the General
- Asari Captain
- Eiganjo Uprising
- Eater of Virtue
- Sunblade Samurai
- Reinforced Ronin
- Adamant Will
- Tempered in Solitude
Now this is a tribal payoff! Since this doesn’t have to be the one attacking, it’s going to be really easy to play a Warrior on 2, this on 3, and get a card which is quite the curve. This does work with Samurai as well, but I believe Warriors is much closer to being a tenable option.
Beyond the Blademaster’s body being pretty reasonable, the spellbook is solid as well making this an all around winner in my book. The obvious downside to this card is that you can’t play it in particularly many decks, but it’s going to be quite good in a Warriors shell if this can make the deck tenable.