Impression 3: Okay, but what about goblins?
Goblins are my favorite tribe, so this is me being biased, but the pieces are there for Standard. Battle Cry Goblin is the kind of card that can become utterly absurd with the right support. He also pairs well with the other standout, Hobgoblin Bandit Lord. If someone can figure out just a few more key cards, this deck might get off the ground. Goblins aren’t the only new low-cost creature worth considering in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, though…
Impression 4: Prosperous Innkeeper is fantastic.
I’ve no idea why innkeepers keep being deceptively powerful engine cards, but this little guy is going to see a lot of play. In Standard, aggro is always going to be a thing, and incidental life gain helps fight instant loses. But his ability to ramp with treasure is his true standout power. Between him and Kalain, Reclusive Painter, I can see a new Jund deck coming. But that’s not the only deck I think will return…
Impression 5: Blue/White Will Come Back.
I’m not a control player. I’m a combo player. But even I can see the pieces are assembling. Kaldheim has quite a few control cards, but there weren’t good enough Planeswalkers yet to make it work. I think that Grand Master of Flowers is the missing piece. He can stop a creature and become a devastating attacker when needed. He brings out smaller tempo creatures to overwhelm the opponent. Back him up with counterspells and removal, and it’s enough to win games. We may also see, going back to the dragon theme, Iymrith, Desert Doom as the only other creature in such a deck. On the flip side, there are cards that I don’t see being played much at all…
This might seem obvious, but randomness is not something typically used in good decks. The only exception I know is Hollow One decks, and that’s still backed by good, planned probability. D20 cards are flatly not predictable and often quite weak if your roll is poor. They’ll make sealed and draft a lot more fun and chaotic, but there’s not much room for these kinds of effects in serious play. Sadly, until rotation, that’s true of most of the cards in this set…
Impression 7: Eldraine is Still Warping Everything.
I don’t necessarily mean this as a complaint, but as long as Rogues and Embercleave and a few other choice nuggets exist, the full power of this set is going to be locked. In my experiments with the dragon deck, I would just die to RDW with all the usual suspects. It makes it quite difficult to tell if I built the deck wrong, or if there’s just nothing optimized enough to stop it. This is often true of new sets at first. The footing is not there yet. Generally, only five or six cards will see adoption until rotation forces wider innovation.
And that’s my take on Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. I think it’s cool how much work went into making sure the feel of D&D went into the cards. Designs like these prove more and more how malleable and adaptable Magic is. I don’t want to see too many crossovers too fast, but this is a nice middle ground, full of flavor, that I’ll be enjoying for a while.
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