Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to another edition of Cards n’Flux. I am Corlando, here to guide you through the strategy, cards, and general awesomeness of Magic the Gathering. This week we are continuing with Specials month as we look at Archenemy, a game designed for those who want a chance to feel like they are taking on the Magic version of a Bond Villain.
The idea of Archenemy is one that I really like. You and your friends are all teaming up to try to take down one big villain with all the cunning and skill you can muster. Meanwhile, the Archenemy stands their mocking your efforts as he calls up powerful spells and ancient incantations that you can barely comprehend. Interested? Well so am I.
The rules of Archenemy are pretty much the same as any other game of Magic. The only thing is that there are two teams. One team is the lone Archenemy who has the advantage of 40 life and a stack of scheme cards. The other team is the hero team with their usual 20 life totals and just their decks. The game then goes like any other magic game except when it is the Archenemy’s turn, during his or her first main phase, the Archenemy puts a scheme from their scheme deck into play. Schemes are special oversized cards that have some major ability that gives the Archenemy advantage and helps to level the playing field against the multiple opponents. Just as a side note, if you ever want to make your own Archenemy deck you can, the only rules are it must be 20 cards in total and no more than two of the same scheme. The game ends when either the archenemy is defeated or the heroes efforts are dashed on the rocky crags of destiny.
Now, you are probably all wondering exactly what does a Scheme card look like. Well, being the person I am, I am about to give you a few examples. Behold the Power of Destruction is a Scheme card that when it is played allows the Archenemy to Destroy all nonland permanents target opponent controls. This, as I’m sure you can imagine is quite useful. IT is not as widespread as a Day of Judgment, but is specific enough to help eliminate threats. I like this card because it is rather balanced. If you are facing down three enemies at once and you get rid of someone’s army, it is still conceivable that they maybe able to rebuild or their teammates could take you down. Plus I just love the flavor text. If I managed to blow up an entire army with one blast from my Doom Citadel, I would definitely call it successful and immediately tell my robot catgir- I mean giant golem sidekick to arm the cannon again.
Speaking of giant golem sidekick, that just brings a fun image to mind, there is a card that gives you the ability to summon him up. The Iron Guardian Stirs is a Scheme that allows you to summon a 4/6 Golem artifact creature to the field. That is all it does, but isn’t that enough. Image your first turn, before you even play your first land, you have a 4/6 on the field. You could probably have at least one of your enemies dead or at least on the ropes before they can even get going. And as much as I like this spell, there is arguably a better one. Look Skyward and Despair is another token summoning spell that puts a 5/5 flying Dragon onto the field. Yes, arguably better. Why? Well your opponent can potentially just chump block your 4/6 Golem as long as they can play a creature. With the 5/5 Dragon you can evade the chump blockers by flying over them and sure your opponent can chump block with something like Squadron Hawk, but at least you will not have to deal with Wall of Frost or something else annoying.
As much as I like summoning tokens, would it not be more fun to summon something of yours? Yes, there is a card that does that. Introductions Are in Order actually has two abilities. You can either search your Library for a creature card and put it into your hand. That’s a pretty fun ability, being able to essentially tutor for the creature that best fits the situation. However, with the scheme’s other ability you can put a creature card from your hand into play. That is pretty fun right? Well think of all the shenanigans you want to do, then think of the new Chancellors from New Phyrexia. Yes, Chancellor of the Dross steals 3 life from all your opponents on turn one, then you play Introductions Are in Order and you get a 6/6 flying, lifelink creature on the field for free. I would call that a pretty positive play. Sure it involves a little bit of luck, but that is the beauty of Magic. It is still a possibility.
Okay we have done a little too many creature related cards. How about we discuss the fun of burn spells? So you are currently facing an opponent and it seems he has nothing but blockers and draw spells. Why not play something that makes him pay for always having a full hand. When you set the scheme Know Naught but Fire, your opponents lose life equal to the amount of cards in their hands. Burn brain matter burn. Speaking of burn spells, lets take a quick look at Which of you Burns Brightest? When you set this scheme in motion, you may pay . If you do, this scheme deals X damage to target opponent and each creature he or she controls. This is a pretty cool card if it comes out about turn three, four, preferably later. And the best part is you can adjust how you want to use the card depending on the situation. Your opponent is close to death just burn him away with a little mana investment. Your other opponent is building up a small army and you want to clear the way for your big creature, just pay enough to kill off the troops and the little damage to your opponent is just a bonus. The only problem I have with this card is if it comes out too soon, you really won’t have a viable target and you won’t have enough mana to really make it worth while. I personally would not use the card because I would be too afraid of it landing too early, but I’m sure someone out there can use it to burn the world.
The final card I want to talk about is centered around a concept that I really love in Magic. The idea of mimicking or copying your opponent’s strategy is something that I just find to be the most fun thing about Magic. I love Mind Control where I am able to steal creatures from my opponents with just a little spell. I love Volition Reins and being able to steal their Planeswalker ally away from them. However, my most favorite spell of this type is Clone. Clone is just a four mana card that can answer any problem by essentially duplicating the problem for your opponent. The same is true of Phyrexian Metamorph except it is also able to copy problem artifacts. The scheme that best reflects this problem dealing with problem mentality is Ignite the Cloneforge. When you play Ignite the Cloneforge, you are able to put a copy of target permanent an opponent controls onto the battlefield under your control. Your opponent has a Frost Titan out ready to smash your face? Clone it, then tap it down forever. You happen to be out of a color you need and your opponent just happens to be playing the land you need? Copy it and get the mana nessecary to play the spells that will win you the game. Does your opponent have an annoying Jace, the Mind Sculptor out? Make a clone and blow each Planeswalker up. Imagine the fun you can have with this thing? I can and I cannot wait to build my deck.
Well everyone, I think we are coming to a close so it is time for the Closing Questions section:
1. What is your personal opinion of Archenemy?
2. If you could create and Archenemy Scheme, what would you create?
3. If you have played Archenemy, which do you find more fun, playing as the Archenemy or as the band of Heroes?
Thank you all for stopping by once again. Hope you all enjoyed the article. Next week we will be jumping into Commander so get ready for one heck of a deep dive. Anyway, thanks again and remember, “Etherium is Limited. Innovation is not.” This is Corlando signing out.