MTG Arena Forgotten Realms Expansion Gets a Release Date and Card Reveals

by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | May, 7th 2021

The “Summer of Legend” is filled with tons of Wizards of the Coast announcements, like MTG Arena’s Forgotten Realms expansion. This expansion, based on D&D’s Forgotten Realms setting will have some seriously amazing cards. There are other announcements in this reveal, such as Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance, and the Physical/Magic Online only Modern Horizons 2 expansion. Sadly, this is not coming to MTG Arena. Spoiler season begins on June 29th, and the actual launch is going to be on July 23rd. There’s so much to love so far.

July 23rd, We’re Going On An Adventure

That’s right, on July 23rd, we set off on an amazing adventure. This writer has played D&D since the 5th grade, and Forgotten Realms is his favorite setting. It’s between that and Dark Sun. This is a partnership 25 years in the making. The important characters, spells, and items from the world of Faerun are coming to MTG Arena with “Adventures in the Forgotten Realms”. Though there are spoilers coming next month, Wizards of the Coast did reveal a few cards, and we’re going to look at them. You can find the full list of them here as well.

Basic Lands are the same as always, but there is a new, important twist on these ones. Basic Lands have Flavor Text. That’s a first for Basic Lands in MTG Arena, courtesy of Forgotten Realms. These bits of flavor text are a sentence or two and are pretty innocuous. But for physical players of MTG, you can use these as possible Dungeons & Dragons adventure settings. You could use these as inspiration for a tabletop adventure, and I love that.

The idea of having story prompts in a CCG is beautiful, and I know a few people right off the top of my head that will take advantage of these. Every card in this set is likely to be familiar to long-time players of Dungeons & Dragons. Let’s look at the cards that Wizards of the Coast Revealed.

Portable Hole

Portable Hole (White Artifact, 1-Cost): It’s time for White to show off what it does best: Exile things! Portable Hole exiles a nonland permanent when it enters the battlefield. This card has to have a Mana Value of 2 or less. It stays exiled until Portable Hole leaves the battlefield. This is a classic Magic Item in D&D, and I chuckled a great deal when I saw it. This is one I didn’t expect to see already.

Power Word Kill (Black Spell – Instant, 2-Cost): In D&D, Power Word: Kill can defeat instantly an enemy with 100 HP or less. Otherwise, it does nothing. That’s why this is an interesting choice. This Black Instant destroys a target non-Angel, non-Demon, non-Devil, non-Dragon. This is likely due to those types of creatures having lots of HP and are definitely hard to deal with in tabletop RPGs. It’s a high-level spell, that can obliterate something you are terrified to get into a battle with face-to-face. As an uncommon, this is a pretty decent spell. I’m worried it will be relegated to sideboards since it’s so restricting in what it can’t defeat.

Vorpal Sword (Black Artifact – Equipment, 1-Cost): A Vorpal Sword in Dungeons & Dragons refers to a very special type of equipment. When you attack a creature that has at least one head with a Vorpal Sword and roll a Natural 20, that creature is decapitated. It’s very similar here in MTG Arena. The equipped creature gains +2/+0 and deathtouch (any creature that it deals damage to dies). On top of that, you can pay 8 mana (3 black) to grant the following: “Until end of turn, Vorpal Sword gains ‘Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game.’ It costs 2 black mana to equip also. Big fan of this, because I like weird ways to win a game of MTG. Just give this to an unblockable creature and swing for the fences!

Prosperous Innkeeper (Green Creature – Halfling Citizen – 2-Cost): This, however, I can see getting a great deal of use. Not every creature is going to be some epic legendary that we’ve seen a dozen books on. Looking at you, Drizz’t Do’urden. The world around them has to have other entities that are just as important to world-building. The Prosperous Innkeeper is a 1/1 for 2, and when it enters play, it creates a Treasure Token. Then, whenever another creature of yours enters play, you gain 1 life. Big fan of this, and hopefully it sees use in Standard and Historic for life-gain decks.

Borderless Tiamat

Tiamat (Five-Colored Legendary Creature – Dragon God – 7-Cost): There are bunches of ways to cheat creatures into play, like Ugin the Spirit Dragon. Its ability to put 7 permanents from your hand in play could be exactly what Tiamat needs. Why is that though? Tiamat is the Queen of Dragons and costs 7 mana – 2 colorless, and 1 of each color. When she enters play, if you cast her, you can search your library for up to five Dragon cards, not named Tiamat that each have different names. Reveal them, and put them into your hand, and shuffle. Jegantha, the Wellspring will make casting Tiamatmuch faster. It can be tapped for 1 of each color, but it can’t be used for generic costs. So we can play her much faster, get Ugin into play, and pop the ultimate. Now, there are at least five dragons in play. Horrifying, that.

We’re very excited for Forgotten Realms in MTG Arena, and as soon as spoiler season begins, you can believe we’ll be covering new cards as they get revealed. We do have some brief information on the Commander Decks though. These won’t appear in MTG Arena, but the cards in them will. The names for the decks are:

  • Aura of Courage
  • Dungeons of Death
  • Draconic Rage
  • Planar Portal

It can be inferred that Aura of Courage will likely be a Mono-White Knight deck, as Aura of Courage is an ability 10th Level Paladins receive in Dungeons & Dragons. Draconic Rage is likely going to be a Dragon-themed deck, as the name implies. The other two are a bit of a mystery, with our guess being that Dungeons of Death will be a Black, or Black/Red deck with plenty of removal. Perhaps it has something to do with a new mechanic. We’ll keep you up to date on those as they get revealed. For now, we just have to wait until June!

UPDATE: 5/21/2021

A few more cards were revealed for the Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms for MTG Arena. This came from a variety of sources, and we have three more cards ahead of the actual launch. All three are key, powerful figures in the lore/world of Faerun. Yes, that includes Drizzt Do’Urden, even if I loathe his existence in any campaign setting. So let’s talk about what came with these cards.

Lolth, Spider Queen (5-Cost Mythic Rare Black Legendary Planeswalker – Lolth): Lolth, the Spider Queen is the primary goddess of the underground-dwelling Drow race. The Lady of Chaos, Queen of the Demonweb Pits, no matter what you call her, you can definitely call her powerful. She is a 5-cost planeswalker and has a base loyalty of 4. She also comes with a very strong passive. Whenever a creature we control dies, she gains a Loyalty Counter. Here’s what she can do:

  • +0: You draw a card and you lose 1 life.
  • -3: Create two 2/1 black Spider creature tokens with menace and reach.
  • -8: You get an emblem with “Whenever an opponent is dealt combat damage by one or more creatures you control, if that player lost less than 8 life this turn, they lose life equal to the difference.”

It’s going to be really easy to get Lolth’s ultimate the turn she comes into play, with the right setup. Especially in Historic! Just have sacrifice engines! Then you just sneak damage through via flyers or unblockable options and deal a bunch of free damage. I’m such a big fan of this card, that’s for sure. Drawing a card and losing 1 life is very Black. Having the two 2/1 black Spider tokens is nice too. You can drop that on a turn, and then sacrifice minions to build her right back up. I appreciate that she doesn’t have an actual uptick. She requires a bit more strategy (or Vorinclex).

Bruenor Battlehammer (4-Cost Red/White Uncommon Legendary Creature – Dwarf Warrior): Bruenor Battlehammer is a legendary Dwarven King. In fact, he’s the Eighth, Tenth, and Thirteenth King of Mithral Hall. Friend to Regis,  and Drizzt Do’Urden, crafter of Aegis-fang, he’s a man of strength and valor. In MTG Arena though, he buffs your allies for each piece of equipment attached to them. Each creature you control gains +2/+0 for each. That’s a serious buff for your Aura/Equipment decks. On top of that, you can pay 0 rather than the equip cost of the first equip ability you activate each turn. Need to swap Embercleave after swinging with it? You can do it for 0 once a turn! I don’t think Brueno is especially broken, but he fits his character in the D&D lore, and a 5/3 fits the Red/White aggro/Equipment scene nicely.

Drizzt Do’Urden (5-Cost Green/White Rare Legendary Creature – Elf Ranger): Ugh. Drizzt Do’Urden. My least favorite character in all of D&D, with the exception of Raistlin Majere. The King of D&D Gary Stus and inspiration for so many Rangers, he’s a 3/3 with Double Strike for 5. When summoned, he creates his ally Guenhwyvar, a legendary 4/1 green Cat with trample. Drizzt is, for my money, incredibly powerful. Whenever a creature dies, if it had power greater than Drizzt’s (base 3/3), put a number of +1/+1 counters on Drizzt equal to the difference. Now, it requires you to defeat bigger creatures, but in the right match-up, he’s going to be a real terror. His ability is frankly pretty situational, making him likely more of a sideboard creature. You could always lower his power with spells, to make sure he gets buffed when you use creature removal in a Green/Black deck. He’s got Double Strike going in though, so you can always just throw buffs on him and use him as a mid-game bomb, but he’s not really for any of the decks I’ve built so far. I’m curious to see what tech will be revealed that helps him. 


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