Archenemy is a casual multiplayer format for Magic: the Gathering emphasising on a “one vs. many” aspect.
The lone player, called the “Archenemy”, plays against a team of opponents with the use of a second deck consisting of over-sized cards of the card type scheme. The schemes basically represent a free spell per turn and help to balance out the odds for the Archenemy. The Archenemy's opponents work cooperatively against the lone player and, much like partners in Two-Headed Giant, take their turn simultaneously. The Archenemy begins the game with 40 life, while each other player begins the game with only 20. The Archenemy wins if all of his or her opponents are eliminated from the game. All of the opposing players, even those who have already lost the game, win if the Archenemy is eliminated.
Scheme cards are not permanents. The Archenemy sets in motion the top card of his or her scheme deck at the beginning of the first main phase of his or her turn, meaning to turn it face up. Schemes may or may not have the supertype Ongoing. A non-ongoing scheme has a triggered ability that reads “When you set this scheme in motion, [effect].” After resolving this ability, it is turned face down and put on the bottom of the scheme deck. An ongoing scheme has abilities, and stays face up and in effect, rather like an enchantment; but it also has a triggered ability that forces the Archenemy to abandon it, meaning to turn it face down and put it on the bottom of the scheme deck.
Archenemy may be played with multiple scheme decks, with each player controlling a deck. In this variant, the game more closely resembles Free-for-All or possibly Planechase.
From the Comprehensive Rules (Aether Revolt (January 20, 2017))
- 904. Archenemy
- 904.1. In the Archenemy variant, a team of players faces off against a single opponent strengthened with powerful scheme cards. The Archenemy variant uses all the normal rules for a Magic game, with the following additions.
- 904.2. The default setup for an Archenemy game is the Team vs. Team multiplayer variant (see rule 808) involving exactly two teams. The attack multiple players option (see rule 802) and the shared team turns option (see rule 805) are used; no other multiplayer options are used.
- 904.2a One of the teams consists of exactly one player, who is designated the archenemy.
- 904.2b The other team consists of any number of players.
- 904.3. In addition to the normal game materials, the archenemy needs a scheme deck of at least twenty scheme cards. A scheme deck may contain no more than two of any card with a particular English name. (See rule 312, “Schemes.”)
- 904.4. At the start of the game, the archenemy shuffles his or her scheme deck so that the cards are in a random order. The scheme deck is placed face down next to the archenemy’s library. All scheme cards remain in the command zone throughout the game, both while they’re part of a scheme deck and while they’re face up.
- 904.5. The archenemy’s starting life total is 40. Each other player’s starting life total is 20.
- 904.6. Rather than a randomly determined player, the archenemy takes the first turn of the game.
- 904.7. The owner of a scheme card is the player who started the game with it in the command zone. The controller of a face-up scheme card is its owner.
- 904.8. Any abilities of a face-up scheme card in the command zone function from that zone. The card’s static abilities affect the game, its triggered abilities may trigger, and its activated abilities may be activated.
- 904.9. Immediately after the archenemy’s precombat main phase begins during each of his or her turns, that player moves the top card of his or her scheme deck off that scheme deck and turns it face up. This is called “setting that scheme in motion.” (See rule 701.23.) This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack. Abilities of that scheme card that trigger “When you set this scheme in motion” trigger.
- 904.10. If a non-ongoing scheme card is face up in the command zone, and it isn’t the source of a triggered ability that has triggered but not yet left the stack, that scheme card is turned face down and put on the bottom of its owner’s scheme deck the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
- 904.11. Once an ongoing scheme card is set in motion, it remains face up in the command zone until an ability causes it to be abandoned (see rule 701.24).
- 904.12. Supervillain Rumble Option
- 904.12a As an alternative option, players may play a Free-for-All game in which each player has his or her own scheme deck. The attack multiple players option (see rule 802) is used; no other multiplayer options are used.
- 904.12b Each player in this game is an archenemy.
- 904.12c As in a normal Free-for-All game, the starting player is randomly determined. All other rules that apply to the archenemy in an Archenemy game apply to each player in a Supervillain Rumble game.
- Mark Rosewater. (June 14, 2010.) “From the Heart”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Dave Guskin. (June 14, 2010.) “No, Mr. Beleren, I Expect You to Die”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Tom LaPille. (June 18, 2010.) “Villainy 101”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Tom LaPille. (July 23, 2010.) “Architecting Archenemy”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Doug Beyer. (June 16, 2010.) “Fear No Good”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.