Magic: The Gathering Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is the first-ever cross-branded set between MTG and the iconic tabletop role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).
The Forgotten Realms are probably the most popular D&D world and it is no surprise that it is the foundation of this collaboration. You get to journey into Faurun by way of MTG mechanics as the merges classic D&D monsters and spells, in a world filled with new lands to explore, treasure to collect and dungeons to delve into.
We were sent a Set Booster box, which contains at least one rare, or mythic rare card, and a guaranteed foil and art card, by Wizards of the Coast. It’s a great (and probably the best) way to start your adventures in the Forgotten Realms.
Characters from the new set are inspired by well-known D&D characters and icons including Drizzt Do’Urden and Bruenor Battlehammer, as well as the crime boss Beholder Xanathar, the Elder Dragon Tiamat, and many others.
What I do love about this set is the fact that it truly feels like collaboration and not just Magic: The Gathering in a Forgotten Realms skin. While at its core it is still MtG, the set incorporates elements from D&D to give it its own unique take on the game.
While there are a couple of formats that you can play MtG such as Standard and Commander, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms also provides D&D themed Minigames such as Booster Blitz, Roll for Initiative and Magic & Minions that allow you to play this set differently.
The cards and mechanics also incorporate the use of a D20 dice – very familiar to tabletop RPG gamers and mostly only used in MtG as life counters, whose results affect spells, decisions and outcomes. Very much like D&D.
You can also delve into dungeons such as the Dungeon of The Mad Mage, Tomb of Annihilation and Lost Mine of Phandelver – locations that would be quite familiar to D&D players, that are incorporated into MtG as an actual part of the game’s mechanic rather than just a card to be used like any other.
Of course, what get’s fans really excited is how their favourite characters are represented in this new set. As a fan of R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden series, I was ecstatic when I pulled one of my favourite characters from a booster pack – Bruenor Battlehammer!
While Drizzt may be the main protagonist of the series, Bruenor is the heart. A true leader of Dwarves (and men), he’s a King that never backs down from a challenge and lifts up his comrades. Always ready for battle, he’s never far from the thick of the fight with his one-horned helm, Foaming Mug Shield and many-notched axe.
Bruenor’s card in the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms does the red-bearded Dward King justice. Identified by his gear as much as for his inspiring and colourful battle cries, it’s fitting that his abilities are built around equipment and buffing other creatures that take to the field with him.
Another card that I truly appreciate is Minsc, Beloved Ranger. You may remember him from the Baldur’s Gate games, the goodly (albeit simple) ranger has always been a favourite of mine. He’s always ready to defend his companions, charging into the fray with his trusty miniature giant space hamster, Boo.
While no one has ever seen Boo actually take to battle, Minsc’s MtG card gives him the ability to boost another creature (ideally Boo for consistency sake) by turning it into a Giant. Finally, we get to see Boo in action.
There are several other cards that might jump out to other D&D fans with such as Lollth, Spider Queen and Tiamat which I expect most to be going for.
Magic: The Gathering’s Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is an amazing set that will appeal to both MtG, and D&D fans. It also has great potential to scale up and develop this collaboration further with new worlds (Dragonlance maybe? *hint* hint*).