May 2024 votes

Hi everyone, sorry for the delay, but we wanted to get this right and took our time to test things and write good arguments while all five of us Archons have a lot of privat stuff to deal with. The Archon Council decided to put two changes to the vote.

You can vote on the following changes:

Unban Najeela, the Blade-Blossom as a commander

Unban Library of Alexandria

You can had over to Discord to cast your vote! You have time to do so until 31-May-2024 12:00 CET

Here are the reasonings for the proposed changes:

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom is a strong deck because it has access to all five colors and provides a commander that costs only 3 mana. Additionally, Najeela synergizes well with the Warrior creature type, which benefits from the Race/Class system, ensuring ongoing support in the future. Najeela also offers combo potential, revolving around the combat step. However, the cards involved in these combos are either expensive or require a strong board state, and in our tests, these combos often felt like win-more scenarios or dead cards in hand. This is exacerbated by Najeela’s vulnerability to removal due to her mana cost and her reliance on attacking.

The greatest strength of this deck, in our opinion, lies in its card quality because of its access to all colors. However, this is countered by Najeela’s requirement for the Warrior creature type. If one ignores this and focuses solely on card quality, Najeela’s snowball effect becomes negligible (unchecked and alone on the field, any commander in the format becomes overwhelming). Yet, prioritizing synergy in the deck compromises card quality, as suboptimal cards may need to be included. We believe a balance between the two approaches is likely the best way to play Najeela, although our tests indicated that games felt like typical Archon matches and did not seem unfair.

Overall, Najeela is a strong deck that doesn’t feel unfairly dominant. If it were to become too powerful over time, perhaps due to newly printed cards or undiscovered synergies, it could be reassessed. In such cases, alternative cards that might synergize too strongly with Najeela could also be considered for banning.

We believe Najeela adds value to the format and therefore recommend an unban, but monitoring its impact is advisable.

Library of Alexandria has been part of competitive Magic since Brian Weissman’s “The Deck,” a 1-for-1 trade control deck that used Ancestral Recall and Library of Alexandria for card advantage. However, Magic: The Gathering has changed significantly since then, and Library no longer sees play in Vintage or constructed Magic formats.

In Canadian Highlander, a 1v1 singleton format where powerful cards are regulated by points (e.g., Black Lotus costs 7 of 10 available points), Library of Alexandria costs 0 points and could be played in any deck but barely sees play.

The card really shines in games with little interaction in the first turns, where a colorless land drop does not matter. When you are on the play (and keep 7 cards) and want to use Library’s card draw ability, you have to actively tax yourself every turn (minus 1 mana). On the draw (keeping 7 cards), you can use the Library optionally at the end of the turn, making it a card that softens the disadvantage of being on the draw. In slower control mirrors or matchups, the card can use its full potential by enabling land drops each turn and generating card advantage. On the other hand, the card is a colorless land that does not increase your board presence and does nothing in later turns when you have fewer than 6 cards in hand.

Due to Archon being a format where games are typically decided in the first turns and the interaction density is incredibly high, we believe that Library of Alexandria could range from strong to unplayable but not overpowered. Enabling extra slots for colorless lands in existing strategies definitely hurts and will reduce the amount of interaction you’ll be able to run during the early turns. Strong multicolor cards like No More Lies, Abrupt Decay, or mono-color cards like Archmage’s Charm won’t be playable on curve, and double-spelling will be hard (or impossible) to achieve. The number of must-plays in the range of multicolor cards has also increased over the last 10 years, making an early-play Library less attractive. Additionally, a top-decked Library feels awful and underwhelming compared to flexible and interactive colorless lands. Especially considering the game-deciding effectiveness of, for example, Wasteland, we overall feel that Library of Alexandria is not overpowered anymore and recommend it being legal in Archon.