This article is presented by Wizards of the Coast.
The release of Magic: The Gathering’s next set, Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, is the first brand crossover for Magic. Unlike Mythic Odysseys of Theros and The Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms marks the first time D&D is coming to the gameplay world of Magic: The Gathering.
This crossover was bound to happen! Magic and Dungeons & Dragons share many of the same characteristics. Both let you play the way you want and be creative, and have lore that reflects fantasy stories from all the over the world and dragons, lots of dragons.
So with Adventures in the Forgotten Realms coming to Magic: The Gathering soon, what D&D elements will we see make the leap to a collectible card game? And what Magic elements will incorporate D&D lore? Let’s take a look.
We’ve already seen the first big change Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is bringing to MTG: the dungeon mechanic. Every pre-release pack that players order will come with three foil dungeon cards. Those cards exist outside your deck until you play a card (like Nadaar, Selfless Paladin) that says “venture into the dungeon.” When that triggers, you pick one of them and start your adventure.
Each time another “venture the dungeon” triggers – either through a creature entering the battlefield, a planeswalker loyalty ability, or an action on another spell – you can progress through the dungeon, triggering room abilities for bonuses, and eventually completing the dungeon. Dungeon completion adds its own rewards, as some static abilities on cards add bonuses to your board relative to how many dungeons you’ve completed.
At first glance, this looks like a lot of fun, injecting another narrative layer to what can already be a chatty game. Anything that provides a permanent change to the board state of a given game will inevitably find a home in somebody’s deck.
Magic is already to a certain extent built around its legends. There’s even an entire format dedicated to them. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is only going to add to the depth of the lore by folding in some of D&D’s biggest names.
Early card previews introduced Lolth, Queen of the Spiders; dark elf nice guy Drizzt Do’Urden; Bruenor “Grover Cleveland” Battlehammer; and evil dragon queen Tiamat to Magic players. We also got to see new characters being introduced to the world of D&D through Adventures in the Forgotten Realms: elf bard Ellywick Tumblestrom as well as dragonborn paladin Nadaar.
While Lolth or Ellywick are planeswalkers, will be treated like planeswalkers, and will play like planeswalkers, the only planes they’ll walk are the ones already established in D&D. Except for Theros. And Ravnica. For now. And don’t expect Tibalt or Kaya or Liliana’s stories to continue here. But the story we do get should be rich and fun.
Wizards of the Coast does a great job of conveying a sense of plot and propulsion through the cards. Discovering the depth of thought put into telling that story through the art and flavor text on the cards is one of the subtler joys of the game, and something D&D will likely benefit greatly from.
In Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, you will find 12 iconic classes from D&D, such as Wizard, Barbarian, and Cleric. And you will be able to upgrade your level on each class to get powerful effects!
AFR is introducing new class enchantments – permanents that players cast, stay on the board, and can be leveled up for a cost to unlock new abilities. So like in a game of D&D, a level one sorcerer enchantment has good utility in its one time loot effect, but leveling it past that makes the sorcerer class extremely powerful, allowing its controller to tap creatures to cast instants or sorceries or hitting opponents with escalating ping damage when that controller casts multiple spells in one turn.
And the classes aren’t the only addition to gameplay. Pack Tactics is a combat-based ability that provides a benefit to attackers if the sum total of attacking power is over a certain level: like in D&D, attacking gets easier the more attackers there are. This ability will be focused primarily on red and green creatures, and while it and the dungeon mechanic have the ability to change the whole board, there’s one more addition you need to know about.
Many cards in this set will have D&D dice tables for activated abilities. Pay a certain amount of mana, tap the card, or just enter the battlefield to trigger a D20 roll for bonus effects: tap an opponent’s creature if you roll 1-9, or create 2 treasure tokens if you roll a 10-19, or create a tapped attacking copy of the attacking creature if you roll a 14-20 and then roll again.
The mechanic looks fully supported: there are cards that ping for 1 damage each time a die is rolled, cards that add additional die to each roll, cards that create token creatures when die are rolled. If you’ve ever played a Commander game against a dice deck, you’ll know how much fun that can be: it’s one of the only times I find myself rooting against my own deck, just to see how wild the rolls can turn out. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is only going to make that more fun.
The Monster Manual
The most recent Magic set, Strixhaven: School of Mages, introduced a fascinating twist: the Mystical Archive. In the lore, the mystical archive was Strixhaven’s library of some of Magic’s most famous spells – Counterspell, Swords to Plowshares, Demonic Tutor, and so on. The cards came with incredible new art, but restrictions based on format: most of the Mystical Archive cards are not legal to play in standard. And they were all instants or sorceries.
The Monster Manual has been one of the core sourcebooks in Dungeons & Dragons from the game’s inception. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms looks certain to celebrate the deep lore of both games.
Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms will be available on mobile/tablet and PC on MTG Arena on July 8. It releases on tabletop on July 23.