MTG’s Duskmourn set will reintroduce Archenemy 3v1 mode

Prepare to face down a dastardly villain with a new Commander-based twist on Archenemy.
duskmourn mtg archenemy

Magic: The Gathering‘s contemporary horror-themed MTG: Duskmourn: House of Horror set will officially reintroduce the classic Archenemy 3v1 gameplay mode, with a fresh twist for Commander players. Where previously Archenemy was its own special format, it will now be an add-on, with rule changes and additional cards for Commander Decks to allow the mode to work in this format.

To play a game of Archenemy with Duskmourn: House of Horror, all you need is one of the set’s four Commander Decks: Miracle Worker (White-Blue-Black), Death Toll (Black-Green), Jump Scare! (Green-Blue) or Endless Punishment (Black-Red). Inside, each has 10 special oversized Scheme cards which are used by the main “Archenemy” of your game, to help them gain an advantage on the battlefield.

These Scheme cards include bonus effects, like reduction of card costs, Farewell-like board wips, and more – and they’ll definitely be needed, as Archenemies will be facing off against the collective might of three players, all working together to defend a shared health pool.

While some traditional rules of Commander will still apply to Archenemy mode, there are significant differences to gameplay. For one thing, the three “hero” players will take their collective turn together. Everyone will be able to draw cards at the same time, and begin to forge their lineup of warriors at once. That means gameplay will naturally be a bit faster, and the Archenemy player will need to keep track of every army forming against them.

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Players will have a collective pool of 60 health to defend, and the Archenemy will also have 60 health. Players will win or lose together, so that will mean changing up traditional Commander strategy, and ensuring all hero player attacks are deployed effectively against the Archenemy.

What does the return of the Archenemy mode mean for MTG?

Thematically, the return of the Archenemy mode to MTG is fantastic for Duskmourn. As announced, this is a contemporary horror-themed set, inspired by horror of the 1980s to the modern day. Stephen King’s IT is seemingly a core touchpoint, and there’s likely to be callbacks to an array of other recognisable horror films and franchises.

Traditionally in these films, there is an over-powered villain or enemy – monstrous clown beings, possessing spirits, evil vampires, and the like – and teams of heroes working against them. To that end, playing Duskmourn Commander Decks in Archenemy mode is a very neat way to play out the set’s themes.

We’ll learn more about the cards in the announced Commander Decks in the coming months, as Wizards of the Coast prepares for the launch of Duskmourn on 27 September 2024. You can learn more about Archenemy mode on the MTG website.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.