Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Standard Review

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Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Standard Review

Today's article analyzes the cards from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms for Standard!

By Thiago, 07/08/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

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Now that we have the full spoiler of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, let's go to the classic set analysis, this time focusing on the Standard format. The purpose of the article is to highlight which cards I believe have the most potential to see play in Standard, so other formats will not be covered at this time. In later articles, there will be analysis of the new set for Historic and decklists for both formats. To make it easier, I will follow the order of the cards from the official WotC link above and separate the sections of the article by the colors of the cards, starting with white.

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A quick note on the new mechanics: dungeon is a weak mechanic for constructed formats because, despite generating free value by not taking up slots on the sideboard, no venture into dungeon cards that have been released that are worth slots in Standard's current decks, as well as the 3 dungeons that were released are quite slow and don't have wonderful effects for Standard. As for the new card type, Class, most are too slow for the format to cause effects that aren't always impactful to justify using 9 to 11 mana to level up. Some Classes will be highlighted in the article for having gameplay potential in the format. The mechanic of rolling a d20 follows the same pattern, the element of randomness is often avoided by competitive players in Magic, and cards that rely on this mechanic are usually not good.

White

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The Book of Exalted Deeds is the type of card that is slow but synergistic with lifegain decks. However, the important part is the second ability, that of giving a counter to an Angel that says "You can't lose the game and your opponents can't win the game." It is possible to activate Faceless Haven for 3 mana, and give it a counter since it has changeling, and never activate the land again to minimize the chances of losing the game. In a format where destroying land is rare, it can be a very useful secondary strategy for Mono White Aggro. Paladin Class is, in my opinion, one of only two playable classes in constructed formats, alongside the Ranger Class. The effect of level 1 is decent, taxing spells on the opponent's turn, level 2 is a Glorious Anthem and level 3 is extremely powerful by giving +1/+1 and double strike to your attacking creatures. The problem is the cost to level up this class, but I believe there are windows for that, and it's the type of card to have 1 copy in the deck as a way to boost the power of your creatures. Teleportation Circle is a card that should be in the "party time, Yorion, Sky Nomad" flavor. On Doom Foretold or Azorius Blink decks, I believe the addition of one or two copies is mandatory to generate infinite value with the companion until its rotation in September. My highlight for the card is exclusively for having a lot of synergy with Yorion, I don't believe that other tier decks take advantage of the card. Portable Hole is a removal for small creatures and other permanents. In the Standard's case, the focus is on creatures, and the possibility that a control deck can respond to a 1 or 2 mana creature without losing mana parity is good enough for us to look closely at the card.

Blue

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Demilich is being talked about a lot as a great card for tempo decks or decks that cast multiple spells per turn, like Izzet Phoenix in Historic. In Standard, I honestly don't think the card will see competitive play. We don't have solid base mana in the format for the {UUUU} mana cost with dual lands, as the pathways only generate one color when they enter the battlefield, and we don't have a deck that supports the card. Izzet Dragons don't cast many spells per turn, maybe respawning an Izzet Spells in the format is the way to go with the card. Another problem is that we have several cards that exile creatures in the format, and they are staples due to escaped creatures. Iymrith, Desert Doom is the best card in the set, in my opinion. The NEW Dragonlord Ojutai is very difficult to respond when entering the batlefield with ward 4, has a good body to block against aggressive decks, especially without Embercleave, which ignores any blocking attempts and generates card advantage when on the offensive. The chances of the dragon being a good card for both defensive and offensive and having many relevant abilities makes the card one of the most promising in the set to play in Izzet, Sultai and any control decks

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Black

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Check For Traps is, at this time, the substitute discard of Agonizing Remorse. I don't think it's any better than the discard spell of Theros because it doesn't exile from the graveyard, but it will probably see post-rotation play. Ebondeath, Dracolich is a creature that doesn't really catch my eye. I understand that there are many scenarios where it is cast in the opponent's end step on turn 4, but dying to Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp and Frost Bite spell doesn't make it appealing to me. In the best case, it hits 5 on turn 5, in the worst case, it's 4 mana to do nothing. The advantage of the zombie dragon is that it can be cast in the graveyard, this becomes relevant in the late game by hitting 5 with evasion and being cast with flash. Forsworn Paladin or the NEW Knight of the Ebon Legion is one of the cards that can enable a Mono Black Aggro to be viable in the format or a Rakdos Treasures. At the very least, it's a great 1 drop for Rakdos Sacrifice, a curve that lacks good creatures in the archetype. Ray of Enfleeblement is a good one-mana removal against aggressive decks and adventure decks, and if the creature is white, even better. It's a very efficient color hate because it handles most of the white creatures of the format for just one mana. Asmodeus the Archfiend is a good card, but perhaps worse than it looks. 6 mana 6/6 is not a game-winning creature on its own, but with its ability to draw 7 cards for three mana and then pay another mana to put the exiled cards in hand and lose life equal to the number of cards, it is possible to win by drowning opponents in value. The problem is: The effort made to do so, and sometimes the advantage generated by a planeswalker is better because it only costs 6 or 7 mana without any other conditions.

Red

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Burning Hands is the best color hate card in the set. Destroying Elder Gargaroth, Polukranos, Unchained, Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider and Koma, Cosmos Serpent for two mana is the dream of any Mono Red player who has had their dreams frustrated by these cards throughout this Standard season. Flameskull is interesting not only because it has evasion, something rare for aggressive red decks, but it can generate card advantage on death or return to the field when it dies, as it can be cast from exile instead of the top exiled card. A good drop 3 mainly for post-rotation. Hell of the Star Mount is the type of creature that is insane in a control-oriented metagame but sucks against Aggro. If Standard's metagame doesn't change much, it can even be a card to use 1 copy in the main deck, despite dying to Heartless Act, but not taking Disdainful Stroke and Essence Scatter. Meteor Swarm is another strong removal that can take out 2 creatures for 5 mana or 3 creatures for 6 mana. A very efficient card in aggressive deck mirrors and adventure decks. Zariel, Archduke of Avernus is the only planeswalker in this set that, I believe, is actually good and worth some slot in Standard decks. For some time Torbran, Thane of Red Fell has been Mono Red's worst card, being considered win more and Zariel has the potential to replace Torbran as the top of the curve, enabling an gigantic Anax, Hardened in the Forge to enter with haste and +1/+0 or any other creature. Her ultimate wins the game for a deck with Embercleave by untapping the equipped creature and taking another combat phase afterwards.

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Green

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Long Rest is pretty specific, but I see big mana decks, like Sultai Ultimatum, using a lost copy on the sideboard against controls, Dimir Rogues, and on the mirror. Ranger Class is already seen as the best AFR class card. Not only does it have a low cost to go up to level 2 and an honest cost to level 3, all of its effects are relevant. Creating a 2/2 token for 2 mana is decent, putting a +1/+1 counter on an attacking creature makes the game get out of control quickly, and the level 3 skill is pure card advantage, always a good thing to facilitate winning some matches. Werewolf Pack Leader can have a very interesting function in adventure decks, Gruul or a Mono Green Stompy, generating card advantage when you attack with at least 6 power and, in several scenarios, in turn 3 this is possible. Its pump that turns it into a 5/3 creature with trample is also useful for ending matches.

Multicolored

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Krydle of Baldur’s Gate is a creature that requires attention when it enters the field. For two mana, it does a bit of everything, and it goes very well in Dimir Rogues and here comes the important part of the card: for two mana, it makes a creature unblockable until the end of the turn so that it can continue milling the opponent's deck or deal lethal damage it's very useful Orcus, Prince of Undeath is one of the best cards in the set, serving as a pseudo mass removal or reanimating some creatures from the graveyard with haste. I see the demon taking the field in the late game by returning 2 or 3 creatures with haste to lethal or clearing a board of small creatures against aggressive or Adventures decks. As for the artifacts, Eye of Vecna looks like a Mazemind Tome worsened by not giving the option to activate without paying mana, reducing the possibility of uses per turn, since the new artifact forces you to pay 2 mana at the beginning of your upkeep if you want to draw cards. Also, losing 2 life is usually relevant throughout the game, I don't believe this card will play until the Tome rotates. The new manlands are good, especially blue, green and red. I see control decks and Sultai Ultimatum using the blue manland, aggressive decks and Adventure decks using green land and Mono Red using the red manland instead of castles. That's it for today. I hope you enjoyed the review of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. We'll talk a lot more in the coming weeks about the set and its impact on Standard and Historic. Thank you for reading!
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Thiago

Economist, Standard and Historic player. I stream on Twitch MTG Arena.

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