On the WeeklyMTG live stream where Wizards of the Coast gave us a sneak peek of Explorer Anthology 2 and Alchemy: The Brothers’ War releasing on MTG Arena on December 13, 2022, we were also given some data on how popular the four main constructed formats of MTG Arena currently are, with context on the vision of the Alchemy format.
It is no surprise that Alchemy, digital-only cards, and rebalances have been met with a lot of disdain from the community due to a lot of reasons – including economy, infrequent rebalances, broken cards, intrusion into Historic, and other factors – it has been pushed for over a year now with no signs of ceasing. With competition from other digital card games such as Marvel Snap and an experiment with Magic Spellslingers, there is no doubt Wizards of the Coast is wanting to further penetrate this field.
Comparing Alchemy to its adjacent format, Standard, Wizards of the Coast compares the meta share of the top 10 decks being lower in Alchemy. While a single graph like this doesn’t paint the whole picture, their public intent is to make the meta more diverse with new cards and rebalances.
Previously, Wizards of the Coast has stated that Alchemy was a relatively popular format, but it was also made the “default” format for MTG Arena at the same time, with the 5 mono-colored Starter Decks being made Alchemy, deck builder being defaulted to Alchemy, Historic allowing Alchemy cards, and even events such as Singleton being made Alchemy. Taking all that into account, here is the latest data shared by Wizards of the Coast:
It is no secret that Standard is the most popular format, and Historic being the next oldest format, comes second. Explorer is the least popular, which despite its initial hype, is not in a good spot as the slow card drip made the format undesirable. With Explorer Anthology 2 and Shadows over Innistrad on the horizon, this could all change, but it looks like going full Pioneer will be the only way to make the format more popular.
Given all this, it is safe to say – Alchemy is here to stay – and it will be interesting to see if the format is better managed over time with more carefully thought out fun cards and frequent enough rebalances.