El desarrollador de Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast, has announced a new game format that will arrive exclusively on December 9. Called Alchemy, this new mode will periodically rebalance cards instead of outright banning them, as well as introducing new digital cards.
Although Alchemy will use the same outfits and rotation schedule as Standard, Wizards of the Coast has been clear that it is not intended to replace what it now calls “print” formats. Instead, you are using Alchemy to create something new that allows you to fully embrace the digital nature of Magic in a way that other digital card games like Hearthstone already do.
This means that some printed cards will have versions with rebalanced text or abilities that will only be seen in Alchemy. Remarkably strong cards will receive nerfs, while potentially undervalued cards will be boosted. Wizards of the Coast says that plans to closely follow the Alchemy goal and make further adjustments about once a month to refresh its status.
In addition to exchanging old cards, new supplemental Alchemy sets will be released via specific packets of envelopes approximately 4-6 weeks after each main set. The cards they contain will feature digital mechanics similar to those first introduced in Jumpstart earlier this year, and will be adjusted in direct response to how the metagame appears to be establishing itself at the time.
The first of these supplemental collections will be set in the world’s latest collection, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, and will introduce 63 new cards. You can check out 10 of those new cards in the gallery above, including the return of the Conjure mechanic that can spawn new cards and a zombie creature that, according to Wizards of the Coast, is explicitly intended to help power zombie-themed decks.
Although the paper game and the usual formats will continue as usual, Wizards of the Coast said the need for something like Alchemy stemmed from the fact that formats “resolve” much faster in a digital environment. Standard will still be available in Arena as usual, but those looking for a metagame that evolves more frequently will now also have the Alchemy option.
That Wizards of the Coast continues to bet on the digital nature of Arena is one more way that the identity of Magic: The Gathering has been changing in recent years.