Know Your Enemy – An Overview of the Archenemy Format


With the long-awaited return of Archenemy format coming this June, players are bound to have many questions. This article will tell you what to expect from this product and how to setup a game of the insanely fun multiplayer format that is Archenemy.

The first question you are probably asking yourself is, “What exactly is Archenemy?”

Well, it is a multiplayer format that pits a team of three against a single player, known as the “Archenemy”. Seems simple enough, right? You might be thinking, Pfff, three against one? No big deal. But don’t think that just because the Archenemy is outnumbered, it’s going to be an easy fight. The Archenemy is able to play powerful cards known as schemes that can have devastating effects such as a free time walk with All in Good Time or a complete board wipe with Behold the Power of Destruction.

To begin a game of Archenemy, each player must have a normal sixty-card deck, and the player playing as the Archenemy needs a twenty-card scheme deck. The game starts on the Archenemy’s turn: they begin with 40 health and get to draw a card on their first turn. Additionally, at the start of each of their first main phases, they reveal the top card of their scheme deck and activate it. After its effect resolves, it is placed at the bottom of the scheme deck; then the rest of the archenemy’s turn plays out as normal. Once it switches to the team side’s turn, everything works similarly to a game of Two-Headed Giant. Players share a set of team steps, so all of the players untap their permanents, draw cards, and attack together. The game ends when either the Archenemy falls or all of the Archenemy’s opponents are defeated.

Archenemy essentially works like a game of DnD, where there is one very powerful overlord player and a team of normal players that have to group together to defeat the game master. This format can lead to some really fun and exciting games, and is definitely worth giving a try.

If you are looking for some alternative rules, here are a few that many players find fun:

  • Themed Decks: Work with your group to try and have some thematic fun. Maybe play the Gatewatch vs Bolas?
  • Format Rules: Decide a specific format you want to use. Do you like to play Standard? Modern? Legacy? What would a game of Commander Archenemy look like?
  • Free-for-All: All players play as an Archenemy, brokering deals and betraying each other until there is only one player left standing.

Now that you’ve had a quick look at what the format is like, you might be considering purchasing an Archenemy set. So what does it include? While it varies from set to set, Archenemy Nicol Bolas will include four sixty-card decks, twenty scheme cards, and the usual other bonuses, such as tokens and deck boxes – enough to let you play right out of the box!

While Archenemy is not a format suited for everyone, it can definitely be a fun and exciting way to play Magic by exploring different strategies, and we highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

I hope this article has interested you in the multiplayer fun that is Archenemy, so consider getting a couple friends together and give it a try!

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