MTG Arena Adds Dungeon Mechanic, Adds Depth to Card Game

by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Jun, 24th 2021

Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is adding a fun new dungeon mechanic to MTG Arena. They reminded us at first of Sagas, but with a very important twist. Sagas only took one path, where you have a set list of abilities they will trigger on each of your turns. In this new dungeon mechanic for MTG Arena, you have three “dungeon” cards, and each has a series of choices. We’ll go over what they do and how it affects you in today’s article. Next month can’t get here soon enough! It’s going to be an exciting time to be a Magic fan.

As an aside, I also love the new version of Evolving Wilds that looks like an old-school 1e Dungeon Module. Brilliant move, that. So let’s talk about the dungeon mechanic in MTG Arena!

Dungeon Cards, and the “Venture” Keyword:

As of this writing, there will be three Dungeon cards in the game. In physical packs for MTG, they take up the slot for Tokens, so they won’t take up valuable slots in your packs. We imagine for Arena, you will just have access to them since these cards have no rarity. Right now, the three dungeons you can explore are:

We’ll use Dungeon of the Mad Mage as an example of what you can expect. At the start, you have one decision. When you use a card with Venture, you can enter the first room of a dungeon, or advance to the next room. You can also redo a dungeon once you’ve completed it. The first step of Dungeon of the Mad Mage is Yawning Portal: You gain 1 life. The next room is Dungeon Level: Scry 1. From here you can go to either Goblin Bazaar (Left) or Twisted Caverns (Right). Goblin Bazaar creates a Treasure Token, and Twisted Caverns makes a creature unable to attack until your next turn.

It reconverges onto one path for a turn, Lost Level: Scry 2. Then you have another Left/Right choice: Runestone Caverns/Muiral’s Graveyard. The caverns exile the top two cards of your library and let you play one, while the graveyard creates two 1/1 black Skeleton creature tokens. Finally, we’re back on one path. Deep Mines has Scry 3, and finally, the ultimate floor, Mad Wizard’s Lair. This has you draw three cards, and reveal them. You can cast one without paying its mana cost.

You can see the appeal of getting to the end of this one, for sure. Ramp decks and decks with expensive, high-powered cards will love it. You can have all three dungeons in play at once, and you can also again, come back to them. You just need a ready supply of cards that feature the “Venture” keyword. Thankfully, with this reveal, there are also three cards that grant such a power. One of them is even a planeswalker! Thankfully, Venture doesn’t require you to only do it once per turn. It appears that if you have the cards, you can burn through them in one turn.

New Venture Cards:

We’ll be getting into spoiler season proper next week, but for now, we do have a few cards to talk about. A green planeswalker, a legendary white dragon knight, and a blue human rogue. Don’t worry, we’re willing to bet all five colors will have Venture, so we can make some truly bonkers 5-color fun Venture decks. That’s just speculation, but I’m willing to bet it won’t be locked behind a few colors. So here are the cards revealed today.

Ellywick Tumblestrum (4-Cost Green Mythic Rare Legendary Planeswalker): Oh wow, she’s going to be incredibly useful for stompy decks. She only costs 4 mana, and is a 4 base Loyalty. Her ultimate granting your creatures Trample/Haste, and +2/+2 per unique dungeon? Oh man. So here’s her kit:

  • +1: Venture into the Dungeon (Enter the first room or advance to the next room).
  • -2: Look at the top six cards of your library. Put a creature card from among them and put it into your hand. If it’s a legendary, you gain 3 life. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a different order.
  • -7: You get an emblem with “Creatures you control have trample and haste and get +2/=2 for each differently named dungeon you’ve completed.”

Right now, that’s a hard cap of +6/+6 per creature, but that’s plenty of damage! You combine it with Trample/Haste, and suddenly, even Elf decks have something to be excited about. I like that she can fetch creatures, and also gains life if it’s legendary. Looking at the top six is just enough to find something useful, too. That final ability is amazing, so you just have to keep her alive. I probably won’t use the creature fetch as often though. For me, this is all about ramping her as fast as possible and buffing all my creatures for the remainder of the game. Big fan of her.

Nadaar, Selfless Paladin (3-Cost Rare Legendary Creature – Dragon Knight): I have a feeling this is going to be a very “Legendary” filled expansion, sort of like the old Legends expansion was. The art is amazing, and it’s a 3/3 Vigilance for 3, which is already solid. Whenever Nadaar, Selfless Paladin enters the battlefield or attacks, Venture into the dungeon. Wow! It does it every turn if you’re brave enough! Oh man, Green/White Venture/Big Creatures? This card is definitely worth being Rare.

Shortcut Seeker (4-Cost Common Creature – Human Rogue): A ⅖ for 4 is kind of interesting, but whenever it deals combat damage to a player, it Ventures into the dungeon. So now we just need a way to make it unblockable! At least with Nadaar, he Ventures anytime you simply declare attack. This one has to get through, and as a 4-drop, that may be difficult. Unless you have some sneaky ways to make it unblockable/fly/etc, I don’t know about it. I worry that the 4 mana cost may be too high to make it effective in high-powered decks, but time will tell.

As a final thought, it sounds like it will be much easier to trigger a dungeon in MTG Arena than I originally thought. I wondered if it would be a once-per-turn thing, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. You could easily complete a dungeon in one turn, it sounds like. At least, in the mid-late game, you probably could. We talked about cards in the set before, but nothing like this. It’s also keen to note that some cards, like the Dungeon Crawler reward you for going through dungeons, without having Venture.

Whenever you complete a dungeon, you can return the 2/1 for 1 back to your hand from the graveyard. It doesn’t trigger Venture, but it does reward you for doing it. You also don’t have to worry about them being destroyed (dungeons), because they act as emblems, and cannot be targeted/removed. It’s almost time to get deep into spoiler discussion, so make sure you come back and check out all the MTG Arena content here on Esports Talk!


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