Gimmick, Good, or Gold: D&D Class Cards
D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (AFR)
Hello everyone! Today we’re going to talk about the newest permanent type in Magic: Class Cards. The Class cards are a unique type of enchantment that are most reminiscent of the level up cards from Rise of the Eldrazi.
They have a static effect or an ETB when they come in, but as you put mana into them, they get better and better. Unlike the Level up cards, you get all the abilities when you Level up the class cards! With all that said, are these class cards gimmicks, good, or gold? Let’s find out.
PALADIN CLASS – GIMMICK
It’s unfortunate, but I think the first class card out of the gate is a gimmick. It is a 1 mana upfront investment, but the effect is pretty bad for the most part. In Monowhite, you’re generally way more concerned with wrath effects compared to counterspells or instant speed removal which makes the first level not very appealing.
The second level is definitely solid, but the issue is that Glorious Anthem hasn’t seen play the entire time it’s been in Standard. I highly doubt that players would be willing to pay an additional mana for that effect when the additional bonus is so narrow.
Finally, the last level is quite decent, but it’s a huge mana investment and realistically, if you’re attacking with enough creatures to make the effect excellent, odds are you’re winning regardless. With all this together, I feel like this card just isn’t quite there for Constructed play. If only to get to Level 2 was 2 mana, it would be a completely different evaluation.
CLERIC CLASS – GIMMICK
Another white class, another miss. Unlike Paladin Class, the first mode on Cleric Class is actually decent. It may seem underwhelming, but with cards like Speaker of the Heavens or the new The Book of Exalted Deeds caring about your life total/life gain, this is actually decent.
That being said, the next two costs to level up are egregiously expensive. 4 mana to get a functional Heliod, Sun-Crowned seems like a bad deal when you can just play Heliod instead! Of course, you would likely play both, but that’s just too expensive for that effect. The final level on Cleric Class is actually decent, but getting through the Level 2 is the real killer for the card.
WIZARD CLASS – GIMMICK
You’re breaking my heart class cards. Once again, although it is just one mana to start with, the effect is just so mediocre. Having no maximum hand size is the definition of win more and will rarely be applicable in Standard.
The second mode is just Divination which could’ve been more than fine depending on what the first mode was. The last mode is unfortunately pretty mediocre for how expensive the effect is. Making any of your creatures a functional Lorescale Coatl is not worth that investment. Unfortunately all these modes are too low impact or overcosted. Even if the second Level to this card was only 2 mana, I really doubt it would see play.
WARLOCK CLASS – GOOD
I feel like I may be optimistic with this one, but we finally have a 1 mana class card where the first effect is good! So this is clearly much weaker than something like Bastion of Remembrance, but comparing a 3 mana card to a 1 mana card isn’t exactly fair.
The second mode is just Strategic Planning, but that’s certainly not an unwelcome mode as getting any card manipulation in Black decks would be welcome. Lastly, Level 3 is extremely expensive so it’s unlikely to be activated most games, but it does at least end the game extremely quickly. Considering the first two modes are both reasonable and cheap, I feel like this does have a decent chance of seeing play in a Sacrifice shell.
BARBARIAN CLASS – GIMMICK
I won’t mince words, this card sucks in Standard, but pretty great in Limited! There’s really no practical applications for this card so there’s not much to look at here, unless you’re feeling particularly saucy. What am I talking about? In Standard we have a Splinter Twin situation.
Ok, this isn’t remotely a Splinter Twin situation, but a man can dream. The idea is that you attack with Delina with just Pixie Guide out or both Pixie Guide and Barbarian Class targeting Pixie Guide. If you manage to hit a 15-20 on any of your rolls, you copy Pixie Guide and do it again. If you manage to chain this off twice, you’re then extremely likely to keep the chain rolling which turns into a pseudo Splinter Twin. Is this good? Obviously not. I didn’t say this was gimmicky for no reason!
RANGER CLASS – GOOD
I’m a bit on the fence with this card, but I think it just gets there. First off, Grizzly Bear isn’t exactly a Constructed all star, but it’s not a terrible upfront ability.
The second level is what excites me more as it’s a pretty cheap investment for a pretty decent ability. Growing any of your creatures with combat every turn for only 2 mana wouldn’t be playable by itself, but it can be when it’s already attached to a different card.
The final level gives Ranger Class the Vivien, Monsters' Advocate passive ability which is not be underestimated. All that being said, I was on the fence as all these modes are decent, but all a tiny bit pricey. Despite that, it has a solid amount of utility and all of the levels are reasonable. I’m not positive if this will see play, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it did either, especially once Eldraine is gone and the power level of Standard drops.
DRUID CLASS – GIMMICK
I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that I don’t think this is Standard playable. All the Levels would have to be extremely cheap to make this card at all appealing so the fact that they’re relatively expensive as well doesn’t help this card out. Kazandu Nectarpot is not the Standard all star we’re looking for.
MONK CLASS – GOOD
I may be off on this card as well, but I think I may be off because I’m underrating it rather than overrating it. This card does a lot of things so there’s a good amount to unpack. First of all, the first mode seems pretty decent to start out with, especially if you time it right. If you play Monk Class on turn 3 and follow up with a 2 drop, that’s a pretty nice tempo swing. Similarly, casting this on turn 2 into two 2 drops would also be a great use of the card as well.
The second Level is a very clean Depart the Realm which wouldn’t be playable by itself, but is pretty solid when it’s attached to another card. Furthermore, this is also a solid ability to activate when you’re running low on plays which synergizes well with the first level.
Despite how good the first two levels are, Level 3 is the real prize. Getting something akin to a Valakut Exploration is pretty nuts especially when you just have to play a spell first to make it work. It’s unfortunate if you can’t cast a spell prior to get the effect for the turn, but most of your spells will presumably be pretty cheap so that shouldn’t happen too often. Furthermore, the mana investment to get through all the Levels is very reasonable which makes this card that much more appealing. I’d be pretty surprised if this wasn’t a cornerstone of some deck in the future.
ROGUE CLASS – GIMMICK
Unfortunately for Rogues, their class is a gimmick. There’s a few reasons for this ultimately. Not only does the Rogues deck not want this at all, I can’t really imagine a deck that does. The first mode is horrible, no two ways about it. The second mode I guess is ok, but not something I’m looking to spend 3 mana on.
Finally, paying 4 mana to get access to all the cards you exiled from your opponent may seem good, but having to pay a total of 9 mana to get there just to have access to spending mana on those exiled spells is simply too much. I can’t imagine many games where this would realistically help you win them unless you’re grinding into the super late game.
SORCERER CLASS – GIMMICK TO GOOD
Ok we’re copping out, but I’m really not sure where to place this card. The first level as a Faithless Looting is definitely not inspiring, especially since it’s 2 mana. The second Level is really weird to me as spell heavy decks are looking to play aggressively costed creatures and spells, thus rendering the mode not particularly helpful on the surface. It’s not that it’s bad, it just doesn’t have that many applications. The final Level is a very solid ability although it’s pretty expensive.
On one hand, you aren’t the most likely to have a bunch of spells in hand while you’re going up to Level 3. On the other hand, Expressive Iteration is a messed up Magic card. With an Iteration and an Opt, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could just kill someone the turn after you put this to Level 3. On top of that, the second Level helps you ramp into the final Level as well so it wouldn’t be that crazy to get Level 3 relatively early in the game. Overall, I think this is too slow for a Izzet deck to want, but if Standard’s power level drops enough I could see this actually being pretty solid.
FIGHTER CLASS – GIMMICK TO GOOD
Stoneforge Mystic this is not, but the card is pretty solid. For the first level, a 2 mana to tutor for an Equipment is not a bad rate in any capacity.
The second Level may seem bad at first, but if it makes a bunch of your equipment free to equip, then you can immediately recoup the mana investment. The final Level isn’t particularly helpful, but realistically you’d be playing this for the first two Levels anyway so it’s not a big deal.
Considering I had a decent amount of nice things to say, why do I think it’s a gimmick? Unfortunately, Standard’s equipment sucks. They’re slow, overcosted, and not particularly effective compared to just jamming more creatures onto the board. It’s a shame as this card feels like it could help glue an Equipment deck together and there are other supporting elements like Akiri, Fearless Voyager or Kor Blademaster, but I don’t think the support is there. That being said, I am somewhat copping out as there is a chance that the deck may be more powerful than it looks on paper.
BARD CLASS – GOOD
Here we have a pretty similar deal to the Fighter Class, but better. The first Level is a bit underwhelming, but not that bad as an upfront cost. The second level is the real exciting part as you can Level this up and hypothetically play a spell or two to immediately recoup the mana cost. The Level 3 ability is also pretty solid, even for the cost.
Being able to start gaining card advantage in the late game is a really nice end game ability to have, especially as both you and the opponent are running on fumes. The main distinction between this and the Fighter Class is there actually seems to be support for this card. Magda, Brazen Outlaw,
ARE CLASS CARDS GIMMICKS, GOOD, OR GOLD?
For the most part, I would say that they’re pretty gimmicky. Most of them are too low powered or clunky to be effective in Standard, however, we do have a few that are clearly ahead of the pack. Monk Class is by far the best of the classes in my opinion with Bard and Warlock being very reasonable cards as well. Although most of these aren’t going to quite make it, I absolutely love their designs and am excited to play with the good ones and be proven wrong by the less obvious ones.
Thank you for reading! What do you think of the class cards? Let me know in the comments!