Hello everyone! While Explorer and Historic are getting the most attention right now thanks to the Anthologies, we can’t forget about Alchemy! We do have some competitive Alchemy events coming up so it’s prudent to talk about, but unfortunately, since our resident meta breaker Altheriax keeps upending the format, it’s significantly less diverse then what I’d normally like to see in a format. Nevertheless, let’s break down the top strategies and the ones I have my eye on!
As a note before we get started, this isn’t a comprehensive list of every notable deck, but rather the decks that have stood out the most this week. For the full list and decks, check out the tier lists for each game mode:
- Arena Alchemy (BO1) Metagame Tier List and Rankings
- Traditional Explorer (BO3) Metagame Tier List and Rankings
If we’re talking Alchemy, we have to talk about the deck that’s ruling it at the moment.
Right after Altheriax broke Alchemy with the Grinning Ignus combo and it was banned, he did it just a few days later with yet another combo deck! This deck is extremely consistent at pulling off infinite loops and is phenomenally difficult to disrupt as it has a very reasonable grindy game plan as well. Considering it can be fast or grindy depending on what it needs, it is definitely still the best deck in the room.
There isn’t much more to say beyond you absolutely need to be ready for this deck. Whether it’s ladder or a tournament, this is the level zero of Alchemy right now.
Speaking of decks Altheriax broke Alchemy with, Naya Revels is an offshoot of the combo deck that got Grinning Ignus banned.
While it no longer has the combo element attached to it, the deck still performs extremely well utilizing the old decks back up plan. Just the classic strategy of life gain enablers into creatures that grow with each life gained (Soul Sisters for my fellow boomers) is definitely powerful as you can get huge creatures quite quickly while also making racing harder.
If it weren’t for Jund Trapfinder, this would probably be the best deck as the proactive plan for this deck is simply that good, but unfortunately Jund can be tough as it has quicker kills than Naya does on average. Nevertheless, this is an excellent strategy that has game against any other deck in the format.
Next up on the list we have the current bane of Standard, Jeskai Hinata!
In Alchemy this deck performs quite similarly as it does in Standard, but we also have the added bonus of Snowborn Simulacra. If you think Hinata into Magma Opus is a frustrating play pattern, you haven’t seen anything yet! While it’s not particularly effective against Jund Trapfinder in particular, the combination of Hinata into Snowborn Simulacra is absolutely disgusting that’ll provide you with endless card advantage. When not doing silly things, Jeskai Hinata is good at just being a solid control deck that can win over a longer game.
While Hinata may not be the perfect deck in terms of meta positioning, the strategy is so inherently strong that it’ll always be a solid option.
The most meta dependent of all the decks on the list, Boros looks to fight the good fight against Jund Combo!
Generally speaking, I’m not the biggest fan of anti-meta decks as they tend to fall short on power level and the metagame isn’t homogenized enough to warrant such a strong reaction. However, Alchemy is certainly dominated by Jund Trapfinder and this deck is playing all solid cards so I’ll give it a pass. Boros can attack them from every angle whether it’s a land destruction plan or dismantling the combo. When not facing Jund, you have a reasonable midrange game plan of solid threats and interaction that’ll give any deck trouble.
I’m not super sold on this archetype still as gunning after one deck is not the safest idea in general, but I’m sure it’ll overperform if you hit the metagame just right.
Mono Red Burn
You know what they say, when in doubt, Burn them out!
While you could worry about meta positioning, counters, best strategies, why not just leave that all behind? Mono Red is quite the powerful strategy right now mostly because nobody is caring about it. Every deck is so worried about being killed by some spectacular win condition that the modest one, two, three curve is being extremely underappreciated. Even looking at the other decks on the list, we’re seeing less and less cheap removal as it’s simply becoming less important to have it. Better yet, Alchemy Horizons has given a lot to this deck as all three Key Cards are from the set which makes this a solid option if you want to slip under your opponent.
My biggest issue with Mono Red, as I said, is that you are playing substantially less powerful cards than your opponents will be, but that doesn’t matter much if you win the game anyway!
Mono Green Aggro
For our second aggro deck of the list, we have Mono Green which has recently fallen from grace.
For awhile, it seemed like Mono Green was the undisputed best deck of the format. The deck was so fast and punishing that it seemed really hard to keep up with. However, with Alchemy Horizons dropping, a lot changed. Esper seemed like the de facto best deck for a little bit as their removal was so unbelievable in conjunction with the other elements it already had. How is an aggro deck beating a deck that can play spot removal, Tasha, Unholy Archmage, Divine Purge, and Herald of Vengeance? It was still possible, but little did we know, that was the least of Mono Green’s worries. Now we have combo deck after combo deck culminating in Jund Trapfinder being faster than Mono Green, Naya Revels being able to go over Mono Green, and Mono Green with nothing to do about either.
While things may seem bad for Mono Green right now as it’s struggling against the top two decks, but the deck’s inherent strength should keep it as a reasonable option none the less.
Yet another fall from grace, Esper Midrange went from the crown jewel of Alchemy to just an “okay” option.
Similar to Mono Green, Esper has simply been outcompeted thus far in the current metagame. While it is a powerful deck, Jund Trapfinder and Naya Revels initially proved too powerful which made it plummet in rankings. However, unlike Mono Green, Esper can actually do something about it! Since you’re a midrange deck in 3 colors, adding cards in that can help in problem matchups is an obvious solution that many seem to forget. We already have a good amount of tools to fight Naya, so if we add in measures to help fight Jund Trapfinder, then we’ll have a much better chance of the deck performing well.
That said, I’m generally privy to play the broken decks rather than trying to beat the broken decks, but if you’re a big fan of Esper, you don’t have to count it out yet!
For the final deck of the list, we have my pet deck with Izzet Wizards.
I don’t want to give off the wrong impression, while I do love this deck I think it’s quite powerful right now as well! If the decks to beat are Jund Trapfinder and Naya Revels, I like Wizard’s odds better than most. You have a boatload of interaction whether it’s creature removal or counterspells which should be quite effective against both strategies. More specifically, this deck plays 4 Spikefield Hazard which is in a pretty excellent spot right now. Not only is it a land, you can exile pesky x/1s like Goblin Trapfinder, Lunarch Veteran, and Prosperous Innkeeper without giving up slots for better spells! Furthermore, having the bulk of your threats be fliers is excellent against both of the top decks which can’t handle fliers particularly well.
While I do have to place Wizards at the bottom of this list as I haven’t really seen others play it, I really do bleieve it has the power to compete with the best decks in the format.
Alchemy is definitely in a weird spot right now as it’s still reeling from dealing with not just one, but two broken combo decks back to back. Nevertheless, while deck diversity is low, it does make the metagame much easier to target. If you’re looking to solely beat up on the top decks, you can easily do that by playing something like Boros Midrange.
However, I’m generally one to recommend just playing the best deck in the room and that certainly seems like Jund Trapfinder. I feel most people aren’t going to go all in on beating the best decks as that’s never player nature and rather they’ll play whatever they want or happen to have. If you’re looking to succeed in Alchemy, your best bet is to master Jund until it’s banned.