When Mark Rosewater dropped his teaser hints of mechanics in Magic: the Gathering’s new set Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, one of the more exciting ones was “something that was only seen in Unsets is now in black border”. The Unsets are pretty unique in their design, but one of the mechanics that stood out as a massive flavor win for this set is rolling dice. We predicted that’d be what it was last week, and now that preview season is underway, we have some cards with that mechanic to look at! We’ll give our quick analysis of each of the cards previewed thus far.
The first card is Farideh’s Fireball. While we don’t have an official translation, the current one is:
Farideh’s Fireball deals 5 damage to target creature or planeswalker. Roll a D20
1-9: Farideh’s Fireball deals 2 damage to each player
10-20: Farideh’s Fireball deals 2 damage to each opponent
This spell costs a lot mana for a relatively simple effect. 5 damage is a good amount and can deal with a threat, and has the upside of direct damage. You could cast this at instant speed, but that’d require you to be using this in some kind of control deck that wants to leave up open mana. Overall I think this is not going to see much constructed play, but could be quite good in limited.
Spiked Pit Trap
Spiked Pit Trap is a really well designed card. Making this cost 1 mana, and have flash really gives the card the “trap” kind of feel. It costs 5 to activate it, which is a lot. Since it’s a permanent it can sit out and be used at an opportune moment. Both of the damage effects on this are fine, but I think a lot of my sentiments on this card are the same as Farideh’s Fireball. The treasure token on the high roll is a benefit that makes this a little more playable than Farideh’s Fireball, but once again, I think that this will be a card for limited mostly. Since it is as cheap artifact though, there is some consideration for this to be used in decks where the number of spells cast matter or having cheap artifacts matter.
Earth-Cult Elemental is at it’s face a relatively average creature. 6 mana for a 6/6 is an alright rate for a creature. Where this differs in effect from the last 2 is that it has an enter the battlefield trigger to roll the D20, and it now has 4 outcomes versus the 2 from before. In this case, the effects are a bit more impactful, but potentially higher variance. While there is a slightly better chance for you to come out ahead, what your opponent sacrifices entirely depends on what’s on the board. At best, you hit a natural 20 and your opponent has nothing on board and you set them back 2 lands. At worst, hit a natural 1 and your opponent sacrifices a token, and you have to sacrifice a land or this. Overall, a bit more usable, but still not quite good enough for constructed.
Chaos Channeler is acutally quite good. It’s a reasonable mana cost for a solid stat line, and it’s Roll a d20 trigger is repeatable and give you some amount of card advantage. This card plays a similar role to Experimental Frenzy in red decks of old. Great design from a competitive stand point. I hope that we get more cards with Wild Magic Surge that incorporate the positive and negative effects of the wild magic table.
The last card that we have so far is Treasure Chest, and oh boy this card is crazy. At 3 mana, and 4 mana to activate, this isn’t too bad as far as cost goes. I can see a world where you play a mana dork on turn 1, this on turn 2, and crack it on turn 3 for value. The only downside is a natural 1, but the other hits are actually really good.
On the 2-9, going from 4 mana to 9 is crazy good value. You can make some powerful plays with that and I can see some sort of combo deck that tries to take advantage of this. The 10-19 is also great for card advantage. The life isn’t irrelevant, but the cards are the real treat. The natural 20 is a combination of Demonic Tutor and Tinker. If you happen to hit this, unless you have something in mind to get in the late game, you’re probably just getting another Treasure chest to go again. This is definitely a for commander card, but it’s a really fun one.
These dice roll cards are super well designed, and I expect that we get more support. I’d love to see a couple of cards that give you “advantage” or give your opponents “disadvantage” on dice rolls, and definitely want to see some more competitive focused cards. What’s your favorite of these dice roll cards? Let us know in the comments!
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is set to release on July 23rd on tabletop, and 2 weeks before on Magic Online and Magic Arena. Preview season is set to begin this week, and you can find all the new spoilers in our Spoiler Gallery. You can also preorder Adventures in the Forgotten Realms products now!