Adventures in the Forgotten Realms has arrived and is ready to upset Standard’s balance! Players have already started testing new cards to see if they work in existing decks.
Last week we created a top 10 list of the set’s most interesting cards. This week we’ll keep our attention on this new set to see if it’ll shake up the static Standard format. We’ll look at this first week of tournaments, the decks that gained positions in the format, those that lost standing, and decks that were unaffected by the universe of D&D.
WINNERS OF THE FIRST WEEK
MONO GREEN MIDRANGE
I’ve been saying from two set now that this deck would come back to have its say in the format. They printed a lot of cards to improve it, and this time it was hard to go wrong with Werewolf Pack Leader, Ranger Class, and Lair of the Hydra.
Werewolf Pack Leader is a key card because in addition to being a 3/3 for two mana, it provides you with cards and allows you to have resources in hand. Previously, the deck only had The Great Henge for card advantage, which only helped a little despite the card being strong.
Ranger Class provides both a 2/2, thus representing another four-drop, which the deck needs, puts counters on creatures, and allows you to play from the top of the deck. It fits perfectly in this archetype.
Lair of the Hyda is a land that becomes a creature, which is always welcome. It can give solidity to a deck and forces your opponent to find solutions, since its mass removal will not be enough. This card is best in late game.
We’ve mentioned how this deck gained a lot with the release of Blade Historian, but it wasn’t enough to become a tier one of the format. The arrival of Forgotten Realms brings new cards that further improve the deck.
Prosperous Innkeeper is the first of these cards, a nice two-drop that acts as an accelerator, and unlike Tangled Florahedron, you get the mana even if your opponent has a removal. You can make Winota a turn earlier, maybe on the third, and start exploiting it if you made a Jaspera Sentinel on the first turn.
Minsc, Beloved Ranger is the second new card seen in the lists that players are tuning. Its ability to put a token with haste is useful to trigger Winota. In late game it lets you attack with your creatures without making bad trades, which often you will be forced to do to activate Winota.
Drizzt Do’Urden is the last new card in this deck. It’s a 3/3 with double strike, so it doesn’t need Blade Historian. It enters to give you a 4/1 with trample, which will trigger Winota, and when a creature dies, receives its counters based on the difference in strength between it and the dead creature. Even solo, it’s a formidable threat.
This deck also has man-lands that fit great in this archetype.
LOSERS OF THE FIRST WEEK
After months of total supremacy, finally this is no longer the most played deck in the format. It’s not a real loser of this first week because the deck is still strong despite not yet having a single card from the new set, but its loss of the top spot is a start in moving a format that has been oppressed by Yorion and company for too long.
I’m having a hard time imagining any new cards that would do well in what has been the strongest deck in the format.
Mordenkainen could perhaps be played, as over time Professor Onyx has seen play. Mordenkainen seems better because it gives you advantage and card quality and could put useful blockers.
There’s not much from this set that would improve this deck, but as we’ve often said, it’s difficult to add cards to a strong deck and maintain its balance. However, I am convinced that we will see something new in a couple of weeks, and this deck will return to take the top of the ladder.
This deck’s standing dropped considerably with the new set. It’s been the second most played deck after Sultai Control, but now it sits at eighth place under formerly inferior decks like Mono White Aggro and Dimir Rogues.
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms hasn’t helped, as there are few playable cards for this archetype. In this first week, we see the dragon Inferno of the Star Mounts, which I like even if I’m not convinced this is its place. I prefer the card with Embercleave. We also find Iymrith, Desert Doom in mono copy. This dragon is reminiscent of Dragonlord Ojutai and has potential to solve the deck’s problem of running out of resources too soon.
Additionally, Dragon’s Fire could be a good alternative to Schorcing Dragonfire, and Burning Hands is a card that must be played on the side if Mono Green remains the dominant deck.
The standing of other decks, like Mono Red and Naya Adventures, are unaffected by Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.
It’s still early, and the meta is constantly evolving, but the conditions for having a more varied format seem to be present. While waiting for the rotation of the format, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms gives a breath of fresh air for these remaining months.