Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Standard and Standard 2022 Decks from Day 1
D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (AFR)
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms has officially released on MTG: Arena, and with the first day coming to a close, we’ve got a Treasure Chest full of new decklists to crack open. The Early Access streamer preview has (sort of) returned this time around, but invited players were not allowed to stream during the preview- they could only prerecord content to be ready for the set’s public release. We’ve been busy here at MTGA Zone breaking down all everything there is to know about AFR- be sure to check out our constructed and limited set reviews for a more detailed card-by-card look at the new set.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at both the current Standard format and also the new Standard 2022 format which has generated a lot of hype among players of all varieties. So far, AFR doesn’t seem to have made much of an impact on Historic, but we’ll be keeping our eyes on it. In the meantime, let’s break down these new lists by format and see what the first day of experimentation has looked like for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.
The Standard format has been dominated since the previous rotation by the presence of Throne of Eldraine, one of the most broken Standard sets in years. There are currently six cards that are banned in Standard from Eldraine, with some of them banned in older, more powerful formats as well. Even with so many cards banned from the set, Eldraine’s adventure creatures provide such amazing value that they have been one of the main staples of the format- to the point where every new card that’s printed must be judged at least in part by how well it plays against cards like Bonecrusher Giant and Brazen Borrower.
Nevertheless, each new set provides a new opportunity for players to test out a suite of new tools and options to either improve existing archetypes or create archetypes that are entirely new. So far, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms seems to have provided some nice support pieces for a few existing archetypes, perhaps most notably Mono White Aggro and Izzet Dragons. A smattering of new aggressive creatures, including cards like Nadaar, Selfless Paladin and Guardian of Faith, seem to be good inclusions in the already strong mono white decks. Meanwhile, extra support like Orb of Dragonkind and Dragon's Fire, coupled with a few powerful new dragons- most notably Iymrith, Desert Doom– may push the dragons archetype even closer to a true tribal deck rather than Izzet Tempo Goodstuff as it has been. a few other archetypes have also received some new tools that may be good enough to see play in Standard, including Rakdos and Mono Green.
As far as new archetypes are concerned, most of the hype has so far been centered around two new combo decks: a red deck that can theoretically kill on turn 2 with a god hand, and a white “prison” style deck which prevents the opponent from winning the game. The red deck is based around the new card Minion of the Mighty, a one mana 0/1 that allows its controller to put a dragon onto the battlefield tapped and attacking if they attack with total power 6 or more. The idea of this combo deck is that casting two copies of Infuriate targeting the Minion will allow the player to cheat a dragon into play as early as turn 2, and if they are holding the card Terror of Mount Velus, which grants their whole board double strike upon entering the battlefield, the two creatures deal a lethal 22 damage. This is essentially a four-card combo and is obviously not possible to execute every game, so the rest of the deck will have to be sufficiently powerful in order for this deck to have any chance of being competitive. The turn 2 kill version of the deck will never get a shot in Standard 2022 because Terror of Mount Velus is from Theros: Beyond Death and thus slated for rotation, so it’s now or never if this version of the deck is going to gain traction.
The second new deck seems to also be a very strong contender in Standard 2022. It’s typically been built in a mono white shell since it relies on the card The Book of Exalted Deeds which has a steep three mana casting cost. For a deeper dive on this deck and its implications, especially in Standard 2022, check out my previous article about the interaction. The short version is that The Book of Exalted Deeds can give the ability “You can’t lose the game and your opponents can’t win the game” to a Faceless Haven, which then becomes a difficult-to-remove land if the opponent can’t destroy it on the spot while it’s still a creature.
Players have of course been experimenting with some other new decks as well, especially decks built around the new venture into the dungeon mechanic, but only time will tell if any of these archetypes are strong enough to compete in a format still in the shadow of Eldraine. And playtesting. Lots and lots of playtesting.
The Standard 2022 format has been a source of excitement for many players in the Arena community as a chance to get away from those pesky adventures and the companion cards from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Both Adventures in the Forgotten Realms and the previous set Strixhaven: School of Mages seem to be trying to rein in the power level of Standard, and the Standard 2022 queue has provided a place for players to experiment more widely with the new cards without fear of losing to a turn 5 or 6 Emergent Ultimatum.
It’s perhaps a bit unfortunate then that so much of the discussion was based around the aforementioned Book of Exalted Deeds/Faceless Haven combo which is fully legal in Standard 2022. There isn’t much else to really say about it here other than that the most useful tool for land removal that’s currently in Standard, Field of Ruin, is not legal in Standard 2022. That fact, coupled with the generally lower power level of the format in general, means that the Book/Haven combo is much more likely to be a problem in Standard 2022 than it is in current Standard. That being said, it is a combo that requires six mana to execute and can be interrupted by most instant-speed removal, so it’s still unclear if the deck will actually be too strong.
For a more detailed description and example decklists for this and other Standard 2022 decks, we highly encourage you to read our Standard 2022 Guide written by DoggertQBones. In the meantime, we’ve collected some more Standard 2022 decklists from around the web for your browsing pleasure.
We’ll be back tomorrow with more AFR piles as players continue to both improve and reiterate upon their ideas from day one as well as form new concepts altogether. Day one is always exciting and for good reason, but it’s only the beginning. Most of the new decks we’ve seen are in their crudest forms, ripe for more playtesting and refinement.