Late last year, Wizards of the Coast announced their all-new digital-only format, Alchemy, and with it the goal to create a format where they'd try not to ban any cards. 7 months later, we've got our first ban.

Today's ban and rebalance changes are going live on July 7. You can read more about all the good stuff down below.

Quote From Wizards

In general, we will look to rebalance rather than ban in Alchemy wherever we can.

Grinning Ignus is Now Banned

Wizards of the Coast's Donald Smith brought us some commentary to explain the ban.

Grinning Ignus Card Image

Quote From Donald Smith

One of Alchemy's guiding lights is to keep the format fast, fun, and dynamic. While combo decks can be a fun and healthy part of metagames, this deck fell outside these format goals. We discussed rebalancing (and may do so at a future date), but each change we've considered so far would effectively eliminate this combo, so we've decided to ban the card instead.

Alchemy Gets a Rebalance Patch

We're not only getting a banned and restricted announcement today for Alchemy, but also a list of cards being rebalanced! Here are the changes and associated commentary from Wizards.

  • Cauldron Familiar - Gains "Cauldron Familiar can't block."
  • Meathook Massacre - Removed "Whenever a creature an opponent controls dies, gain 1 life." 
  • Dragon's Rage Channeler - Delirium effect now +2/+0 (from +2/+2)
  • Unholy Heat - Delirium now deals 4 damage (from 6 damage)
  • Winota, Joiner of Forces - Now triggers when one or more non-Human creatures you control attack; unbanned in Historic
  • Bretagard Stronghold - Now distributes two +1/+1 counters each of up to two target creatures you control (up from one).
  • Dueling Coach - Entering the battlefield now distributes two +1/+1 counters among one or two target creatures; activated ability cost changed to W, Tap (reduced from 4W, Tap)
  • Fall of the Impostor - Costs GW (from 1GW)
  • Gnarlid Colony - Now four +1/+1 counters if kicked (from two +1/+1 counters)
  • Sigardian Paladin - Costs 1GW (from 2GW); activated ability costs GW (from from 1GW); now 4/3 (from 4/4)
  • Hagra Constrictor - Costs 1B (from 2B)
  • Tenured Inkcaster - Costs 3B (from 4B); now 3/3 (from 2/2)
  • Iridescent Hornbeetle - Costs 3G (from 4G); now 3/3 (from 3/4)
  • Moss-Pit Skeleton - When triggered, Moss-Pit Skeleton's last ability now returns Moss-Pit Skeleton to your hand at the beginning of the next end step (as opposed to the top of your library).
  • Skyclave Shadowcat - Costs 2B (from 3B); activated ability costs B (from 1B)
  • Ochre Jelly - Gains ward 2
  • Oran-Rief Ooze - Changed "each attacking creature" to "each creature you control" on the second ability.
  • Tanazir Quandrix - Now 5/5 (from 4/4)
  • Ardent Dustspeaker - Costs 2R (from 4R); now 3/2 (from 3/4)
  • Maelstrom Muse - Costs UHR (from 1UHR)
  • Rockslide Sorcerer - Costs 2R (from 3R); now 2/2 (from 3/3)
  • Tome Shredder - Costs 1R (from 2R); now 2/1 (from 2/2)
  • Master of Winds - Now 1/5 (from 1/4); triggered ability changes to "base power and toughness becomes 5/1 or 1/5 until end of turn"
  • Mentor's Guidance - Costs 1U (from 2U)
  • Rowan, Scholar of Sparks // Will, Scholar of Frost
    • Rowan starting loyalty now 3 (from 2); Rowan ultimate now -5 (from -4)
    • Will starting loyalty now 5 (from 4); Will ultimate now -8 (from -7)
  • Sorcerer Class - Cost for level 3 now 1UR (from 3UR)
  • Painful Bond -  Added "nonland"
  • Obscura Polymorphist - Added "up to one"

Quote From Donald Smith

Cauldron Familiar

Cauldron Familiar and Meathook Massacre have shown themselves to be too strong versus conventional creature-based decks in Historic. Cauldron Familiar effectively shuts down creature combat, and Meathook Massacre punishes the opponent for trying to build a board state to get around Cauldron Familiar. We are hoping these two changes make other creature-based decks more competitive against Food decks.

Dragon's Rage Channeler

Dragon's Rage Channeler is one of the most powerful cards in Historic, especially in the Arclight Phoenix deck, and we are hoping to make it easier to interact with in combat and with removal.

Unholy Heat

Unholy Heat too easily undermines red's weakness to large creatures. This change is meant to make high-toughness creatures stronger against red in Historic.

Winota, Joiner of Forces

Winota, Joiner of Forces was too difficult to beat both in the early and late game when triggering multiple times per turn. By restricting it to triggering once per turn, we are keeping the explosive potential of the card but are allowing other decks to overcome it if they develop a strong board position.

+1/+1 Counters

Past sets in Standard and Alchemy have supported decks built around +1/+1 counters, and we're buffing those cards to better support cards like Brokers AscendancySanctuary Warden, and Falco Spara, Pactweaver from Streets of New Capenna. These changes aim to make cards originally designed for Limited more competitive in Constructed, and to buff other cards that have not made an impact in Standard and Alchemy.

Bretagard Stronghold

We added flexibility to Bretagard Stronghold to make it better in games where it is more important to have a single big creature and games where only one creature is likely to be in play versus removal.

Dueling Coach

Dueling Coach's ability was too expensive and heavily relied on other cards to be worth activating. The changes are aimed at making it a more self-sufficient four-mana creature and even stronger when combined with other cards.

Fall of the Impostor

We are buffing a removal spell for the +1/+1 counter deck since synergistic decks often have trouble including interactions that don't contribute to the deck's strategy.

Gnarlid Colony, Sigardian Paladin,Hagra Constrictor,Tenured Inkcaster

We are aiming to give +1/+1 counter decks more options to win through blockers with these four changes.

Iridescent Hornbeetle, Skyclave Shadowcat

Since Iridescent Hornbeetle has a unique effect for +1/+1 counter decks, we are making it more efficient for Constructed play so players building these decks have more options.

Moss-Pit Skeleton

We are aiming to give +1/+1 counter decks more options for card advantage with these two changes, especially versus control decks.

Ochre Jelly

Exile effects were too effective against Ochre Jelly and made it difficult to sink mana into the card. Adding ward 2 will make it stronger against cards like Vanishing Verse and Skyclave Apparition.

Oran-Rief Ooze

Since Oran-Rief Ooze has a significant deck-building cost, we felt it did not need the additional restriction of having to have creatures attack alongside it.

Tanazir Quandrix

Buffing Tanazir Quandrix to 5/5 will give it better defensive utility against the four-power Dragons, Angels, and other flying creatures in Alchemy and make it more threatening while attacking with its last ability.

Instants, Sorceries, and Wizards

Decks built around instants and sorceries often have very few or no creatures to interact with. We are buffing creatures and other cards that synergize with instants and sorceries to encourage more decks that are easier to interact with.

We are making these four creatures more efficient to give decks built around instants, sorceries, and creature type Wizard cards more options to play and build decks with.

Master of Winds

Master of Winds's stats were not competitive with other flying creatures at the same cost. Since many flying creatures have four power, this change will let Master of Winds profitably block those creatures and attack for more damage.

Mentor's Guidance

Reducing the cost of this card will make it more competitive with other creature-centric card advantage options like Of One MindChart a Course, and Winged Words.

Rowan, Scholar of Sparks // Will, Scholar of Frost

It was too difficult to have Rowan and Will stay on the battlefield to make use of their passive, so we're increasing the starting loyalty to make them easier to protect.

Sorcerer Class

Most of Sorcerer Class's power was in level 2, and level 3 was often not worth reaching due to its high cost. We are reducing the cost to reach level 3 to make the card a more consistent win condition given its high deck-building cost.

Umara Mystic

We added haste to Umara Mystic to let it scale better into the late game when played with other cheap instants and sorceries in the same turn.

Painful Bond

We are adding "nonland" to Painful Bond so it doesn't add misleading text to lands in your hand.

Obscura Polymorphist

We are adding "up to one" to Obscura Polymorphist so you aren't forced to exile a creature if it would be disadvantageous to do so.