The time for adventuring is nearly upon us! It’s the start of preview season for Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and it’s already showing to be a hugely engaging set. D&D players are being exposed to the world of Magic, just as Magic players are becoming more immersed in the tabletop RPG community. There has always been some level of overlap between the two hobbies, but now the planes are colliding; some Magic players are rolling up their first character, and D&D players are swapping the D20 for a spindown.
Apart from bolstering the size of both communities, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms stands to improve virtually every aspect of both games. From new Commander cards to aids for Dungeon Masters, there’s something in this set for everyone. So put on your robe and wizard hat, and let’s take a look at some of the many ways Adventures in the Forgotten Realms will improve our gaming this summer!
While this is a Magic set first and foremost, D&D players also stand to benefit greatly from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Not only will it be more enticing than ever for them to join their Magic friends around the table, but there are extra hidden benefits waiting for them inside booster packs.
If you play a Wizard or Warlock, for example, you could open up some of D&D’s most iconic spells, like Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. You can fill the pages of a binder with them, and use it as a real-life spellbook. I know props aren’t for everyone in D&D, but it would sure be impressive to see the Bard of the group cast Tasha’s Hideous Laughter from an actual spellbook mid-combat!
There’s bound to be countless new cards depicting epic characters, powerful weapons, and glorious armor, and you can use them all as references to your own D&D characters. Your DM might let you use a Magic card in place of a miniature, or you can use a small binder to house your character and any gear they acquire. Let’s say you play as a Dragonborn Paladin with scale armor — Nadaar, Selfless Paladin is a great card to pick up! If your character acquired a Vorpal Sword, you can pick up the card to represent it, too.
Considering you can open illustrious characters from the Forgotten Realms like Drizzt Do’Urden and Lolth, Spider Queen, this set could prove to be extremely compelling for even more casual D&D players.
The adventuring party won’t be the only people at the D&D table to benefit from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Just as players can make use of cards to display their characters and equipment, Dungeon Masters can make great use of the cards in the set as props. If the party buys a Bag of Holding (I’m guessing there will be a reprint in this set) or a Portable Hole, you can hand out the cards for players to keep, like a physical inventory!
If you want a visual representation of enemies on the battlefield, you can use cards for those, too. Now, if your party encounters a Flumph, they will have a clear visualization of it. In fact, it’s been revealed recently that the art cards for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms will feature iconic D&D monsters, and even have their stats on the back of the card! These are sure to take the tabletop experience to the next level.
When it comes to acquiring cards to represent monsters or items, you wouldn’t be restricted to the cards in this set. Sets like Throne of Eldraine and Zendikar Rising also have many beautiful fantasy designs that would make for excellent props or enemies, to enhance your tabletop experience.
Moving from tabletop to, well, a different kind of tabletop, Commander is bound to be the primary beneficiary from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Tribal decks are extremely popular in Commander, and a set that’s based around parties of different races and classes is bound to produce some winners. Considering the party mechanic’s presence in Standard, and the fact that we’ve already seen a Rogue in Shortcut Seeker (Anowon, the Ruin Thief players rejoice), it isn’t difficult to imagine a swathe of Clerics, Warriors, and Wizards. This should be enough to excite any fans of Orah, Skyclave Hierophant, Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, or Adeliz, the Cinder Wind.
But the tribe that stands to benefit the most from this set is the Dragon tribe. We’ve already seen huge heavy-hitters like Tiamat, and we’ll certainly see more. (This may be speculation, but it’s a pretty safe bet, given the name of the set). Interestingly, Dragonborn have been given the Dragon creature type, as we can see on cards like Nadaar, Selfless Paladin. As flattering as it may be for them, this could pave the way for more lower-cost Dragons, which would help to smooth out their characteristically high mana curve.
Another tribe that stands to grow is Dwarves. Bruenor Battlehammer and Gloom Stalker have already been previewed, and considering they’re one of the most renowned races from the Forgotten Realms, they’re bound to have a substantial presence in this set. This is sure to get Depala, Pilot Exemplar and Magda, Brazen Outlaw players all revved up!
Spellslinger & Equipment Decks
There are many decks in Commander that are themed heavily around specific card types, like instants and sorceries or Equipment. These decks tend to get a couple of new toys in almost every set, due to the fact that these card types are generally evergreen. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms will follow this trend, but could be even more fruitful than usual.
We have already seen iconic D&D spells and equipment, like Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Power Word Kill, and Vorpal Sword. There’s little doubt that we’ll see more famous cantrips, epic incantations, and fabled gear over the course of preview season, so keep your senses keen! Additionally, there’s bound to be a slew of items of lesser renown to suit up your adventuring parties, some of which could very easily become staples in your Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale or Kess, Dissident Mage deck.
Collectors, Promo Fans, & Magpies
Every new Magic set is teeming with special versions of cards and fancy foils, and Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is no exception. You’ll still see the usual special editions, like foils and borderless full-art editions, but there are some new versions that will be exclusive to this set. This time around, several cards will be getting a brand new style treatment:
These beautiful cards will resonate with old-school players, as they’re meant to replicate the aesthetic of the original D&D books. They’re guaranteed to be a hit among players that are still young at heart, and anyone that loves the retro feel. The fact that even common cards like Evolving Wilds are getting special treatment is great, as they should be easily accessible to all players.
Another point of overlap between Magic and D&D are the new basic lands. Every deck needs lands to function (I’ll refrain from making a Manaless Dredge joke), and the basics from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms are sure to be in high demand. They depict famous locations throughout the Forgotten Realms, from the swirling walls of the Maelstrom to the depths of the Underdark. These will almost certainly be hoovered up by other players if you’re lucky enough to attend a paper Prerelease, so be sure to hold onto yours!
Collectors can also keep their eyes out for a very special run of promos, featuring the recognizable D&D ampersand. The description says that the ampersand is “a glossy, transparent overlay”; this implies that they won’t be foil, but a new treatment altogether. These may be hard to get a hold of, however: WPN Premium stores will be the only ones to receive them, and they should be handed out as incentives for participation. Their scarcity and unique treatment will likely make them some of the most sought-after card versions from the set! If you want more information on them, check out this Wizards Play Network article.
As a fan of both Magic and D&D, this set feels like the perfect crossover for me. If you don’t play one or the other right now, there’s a good chance it won’t stay that way forever! Both communities can really be incredible, and Adventures in the Forgotten Realms could blur the lines between two fantastic worlds, both in-game and out.
Now all we need is for Bard to become an official creature type! (Editor’s note: it is!)
What do you think of Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms? Is there anything that you’re excited to see from this set? Let me know over on Twitter!
Scott is an Irish content creator and the Head of Budget Magic for the Izzet League. He focuses on affordable decks in Pioneer, Modern, and Pauper, particularly ones that stray from the mainstream. When he’s not writing about his favorite decks, he can be found talking incessantly about them on Twitter and on The Budget Magic Cast.