Hello everyone! Today I’ll be doing the very first article for the brand new format: Alchemy. For those who aren’t in the loop, Alchemy is both a new format and a small expansion set that takes normal Standard, adds these new cards, and changed 11 existing ones. I know there’s been a bit of controversy surrounding Alchemy and some of the decisions Wizards made, but let me make one thing completely clear: Alchemy is fun. All new formats are going to be fun to explore, but with the changes that Wizards made in conjunction with the new cards, I’ve seen a whole slew of new strategies and the list goes on with possible decks to play. No matter how you may feel about Alchemy, I highly recommend you give it a try.
With that out of the way, there were a billion ideas I wanted to try out, but there was one card that stood out to me in particular: Inquisitor Captain. Inquisitor Captain is kind of a Collected Company analog. Instead of getting a wealth of options, you are guaranteed to always get a 3/3 vigilance and another creature which is a pretty amazing deal. You could easily play this in any White creature deck, but the synergy I really wanted to explore was between Captain and the innocuous Glasspool Mimic. With Glasspool functioning as a Clone effect, if you play Inquisitor Captain and hit Glasspool, you can just do it again! With that in mind I made the preliminary list for my White and Blue review (which you can read below if you haven’t yet.)
The deck concept was straight forward. Play good creatures, have a good curve, go over the top with Inquisitor Captain. This was definitely a reasonable course of action, but I’m afraid that my first iteration of the deck may have been a bit too cute. I was thinking that with Inquisitor Captain we would functionally see significantly more cards than normal, and as a result, we can play spicy 1 ofs that can come out in situations when we want them. I wouldn’t say this logic was necessarily bad, but it was flawed. The problem with spicy 1 ofs is that they aren’t always good, and if you pull it at a time they aren’t good, that’s pretty awkward. It would probably make more sense to just have more creatures we’re generally happy to have rather than try to get fancy with the one ofs. With that in mind, I played the deck more, tinkered, and reached a list I’ve been really happy with.
Any aggressive deck worth its salt starts the curve at 1, and I went up to 6 one drops for the occasion. In a vacuum, Usher of the Fallen is the best one drop for White as it’s simply 2 power for 1 mana. You don’t often get to, but activating the Boast ability can be nice as well. To bolster the one drop count, I opted to play Hopeful Initiate. Initiate takes a little more work, but attacking as a 2/3 (most of the time) is a pretty nice deal all around.
Next we move up to the two drop slot. As the only obvious inclusion for the twos, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is still a powerhouse and has continued to be excellent for me. Taxing spells when you aren’t playing any is unsurprisingly very good. Next up is a brand new card coming from Alchemy, Sigardian Evangel. Evangel has been quite powerful as a turn 2 play, as a late game play, as pseudo interaction you name it. Finally, despite the nerf, Luminarch Aspirant has still been putting in work for me.
Regarding Aspirant I probably have a pretty controversial opinion: I’ve liked the nerf for it. I know functionally every player I’ve seen with an opinion about the nerf saying it was unnecessary, and while that could be true, it doesn’t feel unwarranted. Luminarch made creature combat frustrating as you thought you would be able to block, but instead you held a potential attacker back and can’t block without chumping. Now Luminarch does mostly the same thing, but makes blocking more relevant again and in the advent of so many creature decks, I like combat being more engaging. If you always have to attack in fear of getting blown out by a removal spell or a Luminarch pump, a lot of the nuance that creature mirrors could have is gone. With this change, that dynamic has shifted, even if it’s slight. I think the nerf has been playing out great and puts the small damper on White that it likely needed.
With my small rant out of the way, we move on to the threes! First off, we obviously have to play 4 Elite Spellbinder. A big attacker that interacts with the hand is simply too good to pass up in this type of strategy. Next on the obvious list, we have Skyclave Apparition (and the lone Brutal Cathar) as our creature interaction. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been facing a lot of creature decks so these have been great.
Furthermore, with Izzet being forced out of pure combo, they still are live against more controlling decks! I mentioned before, but the big reason we’re playing Blue is to get access to Glasspool Mimic. The goal with Mimic is to get it to copy an Inquisitor Captain, but it’s been surprisingly great otherwise. Copying an Elite Spellbinder, Skyclave Apparition, or even a Sigardian Evangel to get more cards in hand have all been great lines which have really made me appreciate Glasspool’s inclusion.
The final 3 drop of the list may be the least appreciated with Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate. It is definitely sad that this doesn’t work to stop The Meathook Massacre, but she’s been pretty fantastic for me all around. If we’ve learned from Elite Spellbinder, 3 power on a Flier is quite powerful, but Linvala also forces a removal spell every time or killing your other creatures will be impossible. Whether it’s aggro or control, she’s been much better than I anticipated and really happy with the 2-3 copies I’ve been playing.
Finally to top off the curve, we have Inquisitor Captain. I slated this as a 5/5 during the reviews and it has definitely delivered. Collected Company on a stick has been great and when you hit Glasspool Mimic (as I do a few times in the video) you get a lot of power on board for just 4 mana. This is definitely going to change White aggro moving forward and is an easy 4 of craft. To wrap up, we have the lone Legion Angel in the main deck. I realized after playing the video that not using the sideboard at all was a bit of a waste, so I cut one copy of Linvala to make room. You can’t find it off of Inquisitor Captain, but the card is so good when you draw it late in the game I don’t think that’s any issue.
POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS / NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS
I was between this and Hopeful Initiate for my one drop of choice but ended up on Initiate. With me not playing Intrepid Adversary and Luminarch being less powerful, I figured Initiate is better but I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to play Chaplain instead.
This card is super powerful, but you do need to build your deck around it. You could play a version with four of this and four Sungold Sentinel, but I’m not positive what you would cut to make room.
This card is super interesting and potentially discounting your spells/taxing the opponents is definitely interesting, but with only Luminarch Aspirant to buff the body I feel like it doesn’t make the cut.
Adversary can be awesome when its not killed, but I feel like it’s always killed and you get little to no value out of it. Sigardian Evangel can make multiple copies of itself which can play around removal and have a similar effect of taking over combat. If the meta turns out to be less interactive than I anticipate you can definitely play this or if you don’t want to play/craft Evangel, you can definitely play this as well.
Right now I have 23 total lands, 4 MDFCs with Glasspool Mimic, and 3 creature lands with Cave of the Frost Dragon. I’m not positive what the exact right number of lands is, but if you feel we have slightly too many you can try subbing out some Plains with some Takedown.
Doesn’t work the best with Thalia, but having access to the lesson board is probably quite good, even though I don’t know what I would cut to make room for this.
Adeline is great and if you want to play it over Linvala that seems super reasonable.
This card seems great in creature mirrors, but I’m unconvinced it’s better than more removal If you have them you can try them, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to craft them.
Another very reasonable card to play. If you like this over Linvala, it’s definitely reasonable to play it.
I love Hermit, but it’s definitely more of a board card than a main deck card for this list.
My initial list had a few copies of this and it did seem reasonable, but I think it got outclassed by the other options and it was pretty mediocre when I didn’t have multiple Blue sources.
I had this as a 1 of before and it was decent, but a little too narrow compared to the other options. The Disturb side can be really nice, but you need it on a Flier for it to shine and getting blown out by a Fading Hope was definitely less than ideal.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Remember that Hopeful Initiate can take two +1/+1 counters off of any creature you control to Naturalize, not just itself. Furthermore, you don’t need one creature to have two +1/+1 counters, it works if you have two creature with one each.
- I very rarely prioritize boasting Usher of the Fallen over deploying another spell unless you specifically want to play around removal that they’ll be forced to use if you play something out.
- You’re probably used to playing Luminarch Aspirant pre-combat, but try to remember it’s much better played on Main 2 now.
- Try to save Sigardian Evangel until a turn you can deploy multiple, but I’ll almost always deploy it over doing nothing in the early game.
- Generally I like running MDFCs out when possible, but I try to hold Glasspool Mimic as long as possible as it gets better as time goes on.
- Inquisitor Captain isn’t a may ability, but you don’t have to put either creature you seek into play. They’ll just be shuffled back but this could be important if you’re playing around The Meathook Massacre and you don’t want your opponent gaining additional life.
Thanks for reading!