24, Jun, 21

How Good Are The New MTG Dungeon Cards in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms?

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Wizards of the Coast just announced the Dungeon mechanic in Magic: the Gathering‘s upcoming set, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. The mechanic as a whole is really cool. It’s flavorful and unique, but there’s only 3 dungeon cards being introduced in this set. Surely there will be more that are made potentially in commander products or future sets, but how good are the 3 that we will have on launch? Let’s take a look at each one and see how good they could be and where they would fit best.

Lost Mine of Phandelver

Wizards of the Coast

The first dungeon is the Lost Mine of Phandelver. The Cave Entrance simply allows you to scry 1. In the next layer, we have the choice of going to the Goblin Lair and creating a 1/1 Goblin, or the Mine Tunnels and making a treasure. In the next floor, there’s 3 rooms; The Storeroom, which puts a +1/+1 counter on a creatuer, the Dark pool, which drains our opponent for 1 life, and the Fungi Cavern, which gives a creature -4/-0 until your next turn. Finally the Temple of Dumathoin draws you a card.

Each of the abilities in this dungeon are relatively straight forward, and lend themselves to more aggressive or midrange creature decks. Something that these decks tend to struggle with in card selection and card advantage, and the first and last floor take care of this. The 2nd layer, while only providing 2 choices, give options that play into a creature based strategy rather well. You can go wide with the token, or ramp up into a midrange threat with the treasure. The 3rd layer looks to be the reactive layer, where you’ll have a combat trick on either side of the dungeon, but if you don’t need it, draining your opponent for 1 is always a good move. This also seems that it could fit well into a control strategy, as these abilities seem well rounded enough to be useful.

In a vacuum, this dungeon is versatile in nearly all situations and decks, and I expect this one will be the go to dungeon for the early game. The simple layout and low floor count allows for the dungeon to be complete quickly, which should play well into creature decks that want to complete at least 1 dungeon.

Tomb of Annihiliation

Wizards of the Coast

The next dungeon that we have is Tomb of Annihilation. The first floor makes each player lose 1 life. Our first set of choices comes in the next floor where we can pick the single Oubliette room, which makes us discard a card, sacrifice an artifact, creature and land, or the 2 room progression of Veils of Fear and Sandfall Cell which makes both players do the same things, or lose 4 life over the course of the 2 rooms. Lastly we end up at the Cradle of the Death God, where we get to make The Atropal, which is a Legendary 4/4 black God Horror creature token with deathtouch.

This one is a bit tricky to evaluate, but my first impressions are you’ll want to use this in decks that can operate on very low resources or can take advantage of the life loss. An example of a deck that could use this would be Mono-Black Aggro in Historic. They have recursive cheap threats, and can abuse the life loss for spectacle. Decks that want to go fast, that can put a board presence together quickly, and empty their hands will want to complete this dungeon. Regardless of which path you choose, those decks gain free damage, or out value their opponents through symmetrical resource loss. The layout of this dungeon is even more simple and quick to complete than the last at 3 floors, but unless there’s other cards that interact with The Atropal, the risk may not be worth the reward for most decks.

READ MORE: Venture Into The Dungeon Is The Most Innovative Mechanic in Magic: the Gathering

Dungeon of the Mad Mage

Wizards of the Coast

The last dungeon is the most complex, the Dungeon of the Mad Mage. The opening area, The Yawning Portal, gains you 1 life. Thereafter, we have alternating floors of increasing scry effects, and choice rooms. One path in the dungeon favors card advantage, granting you a treasure token in the Goblin Bazaar, and the ability to play the top 2 cards of your library in the Runestone Caverns. Of note, the ability in the Runestone Caverns does not state until the end of turn, and it says “play” not cast, so lands are able to played from this ability as well.

The other path in the dungeon is a more defensive path, prohibiting a creature from attacking within the Twisted Caverns, and then summoning two 1/1 skeletons to help block opposing creatures in Muiral’s Graveyard. The final floor is the the Mad Wizard’s Lair, which allows you to draw 3 cards and reveal them, and cast one of them for free. This has the most upside of any final floor of a dungeon that we’ve seen, and is set up to let the player maximize their chances at finding a haymaker.

Right away this dungeon screams to be the control deck focused dungeon. A hallmark of control decks is their access to great card selection and advantage, which this dungeon provides quite well. With being able to scry every other level in increasing numbers will allow a control deck to sculpt their draws to a great degree. The one thing that makes this dungeon challenging is the number of floors. You’ll have to adventure 7 times to make it to the end of this dungeon. This shouldn’t be too big of an issue for control decks I’d imagine as they can prolong the game to make it through, but whether or not this feat will be achievable by other decks will be based around the speed at which they can traverse the dungeon’s floors, and how good the other cards with “venture into the dungeon” will be for those decks.

We are right at the beginning of preview season for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms and so I’m sure there’s going to be more exciting news and cards to come. I hope that we see more dungeons released in the next commander product. Do you think that dungeons will be competitive constructed play? Let us know in the comments!

RELATED: New Magic: The Gathering Planeswalker From Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Revealed

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is set to release on July 23rd on tabletop, and a week 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!

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