When worlds collide! Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is finally invading Magic: The Gathering (MTG), as the latest expansion of the collectable trading card game, Adventure into the Forgotten Realms (AFR) has landed.
If you’ve always wanted to summon the chromatic evil dragon GOD Tiamat to the table as your ally, to wreak dragon destruction upon your opponents, know that it is no longer wishful thinking, but an opportunity waiting to happen.
This collaboration has been decades in the making, considering that Wizards of the Coast, the folks behind MTG, acquired TSR (also known as Tactical Studies Rules), the folks behind D&D, way back in 1999.
Alas, nothing substantial has come out of that acquisition which is surprising, given that both IPs have the same shared roots in fantasy. In the last 20 years, numerous homebrew D&D attempts have attempted to blend both worlds into one, but they were never made official… until now.
AFR is essentially the latest MTG expansion set that will incorporate legendary creatures, heroes, artefacts and dungeons from D&D into the trading card game.
Besides beautiful art and creature cards, this new expansion also adds several new features that are D&D inspired to the MTG gameplay, such as dungeon cards, class enchantments, decision-making cards, and dice rolls, such that when these cards are dealt, D&D players will feel right at home. Check out our first look at Hive of the Eye Tyrant.
After seeing some of the amazing art styles and legendary character’s crossover in the game, all of us at Geek Culture picked up a few booster sets to try our hands at the game, and if there’s any time for any D&D players to get into MTG, it might as well be now.
Despite being considered as one of the lower-powered expansion sets, AFR is a great opportunity for new and interested players to start with because of its flexibility.
Now, the only complication is that there are tons of ways to play MTG, and as a beginner, it might be quite daunting to start. Even through the process of researching for this article as a lapsed Magic: The Gathering player, there’s a lot to take in and figure out how to kick things off.
If you’re like us who has been wondering how to get started on this epic collaboration – then you’re in the right place. Our short guide below will offer some basic insights to help you get started right away on your first adventure in the Forgotten Realms.
Before we begin, players need to understand that there are many (and we mean many) formats to play the game. We’ve taken the liberty to narrow them down into two formats that we believe is the quickest and easiest way to get started. To learn how to play these formats, however, you’ll have to pick it up from Rules on MTG.
What to buy if you want to get started right away
Now, to get started into any trading card game (TCG) quickly, the easiest way is to get a pre-constructed deck. For the AFR expansion, the way to get into it is to get your hands on one of the Commander Decks.
Commander Decks are essentially ready-to-play Commander Format decks with all the necessary cards you need to get started. It contains 100 cards, including two foil legendary creatures, one foil-etched display commander, 10 double-sided tokens, one life wheel, and one deck box. These 100 cards will include seventeen new cards from the expansion, to let you experience the D&D flavour.
As of now, there are currently four different Commander Decks available, each with its own D&D flavour and strategy:
Commander Format is considered a recent format in the MTG and has been garnering lots of love, and popularity thanks to the way it’s being played. The format revolves around a selected hero and building a deck around them, and offers a 2-6 players free-for-all multiplayer format. With these decks, all you need to do is find someone with another Commander Deck and you’re ready to go.
The only crucial thing to take note of is that some of the cards in the deck might be unplayable in other formats, so if you’d like to change the Format you play in the future, you might want to consider getting the Draft or Set Boosters.
A straightforward headstart for every beginner
The next best way to play is the Bundle. The Bundle is the cheapest and easiest way to get started in the Standard Format of gameplay and it’s the most recommended format in our opinion. Standard Format is one of, if not the most played format because of its simplicity and dynamic gameplay. It’s a straightforward one versus one mode compared to Commander Format’s ability to play up to six players.
Like the Commander Deck, the Bundle will include all the necessary cards for you to kick start your Magic experience. The only key difference is that your decks will be formed around the 10 booster packs you open up from the bundles, and of course, that requires a little bit more skills, strategy, and… luck.
The AFR Bundle includes:
- 10 Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Draft Booster Packs
- 1 Foil alt-art promo card – Treasure Chest
- 3 Oversized dungeon cards
- 40 Basic land cards (20 foil + 20 non-foil)
- Oversized d20 and MTG card storage box
The Magic: The Gathering Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is available on Amazon.
Going beyond starter bundles and preconstructed decks
Magic: The Gathering Adventure in The Forgotten Realms Booster Sets
Besides Starter Sets, you can also double down on getting more cards by going for the Booster Sets. Booster Sets are a big box of booster packs that offer three times as much booster packs as the Starter Bundle above. New players can try their hands at getting one of these Booster Sets, open over 30 booster packs and build their decks with the cards they draw.
Now, in terms of Formats, Booster Sets offer the most flexibility because players can essentially form any type of decks for most types for Formats depending on the cards they receive.
These Booster Sets will give you enough cards to form possibly two decks, although how strong they are will solely depend on your luck. While some new players might not enjoy the unpredictability, it offers players to craft their decks and involves strategy creation which might be fun for some.
There’s also a high probability you don’t get enough same-type Land Cards (cards you need to cast spells, conjure creatures etc. ) to form a single colour deck, however, Land Cards are easily collected as many retail stores often loan, or sell them in bulk under a few dollars, or even give them out for free.
Now, if you’ve decided to test your luck and deck-building skills, there are several boosters sets available.
The most classic go-to box for you to enhance your decks, the Draft Booster is optimised for deck-building purposes and would be the most optimal option if you’re looking to get better cards to build or improve your AFR decks. The Draft Booster includes 36 packs of boosters which contain:
- 1 rare or mythic rare card
- 3 uncommon cards
- 10 common cards (In 33 per cent of AFR packs, a traditional foil of any rarity replaces a common)
- 1 basic land
- 1 ad/token/dungeon card
The Set Booster, on the other hand, is a more exciting, and slightly more valuable way to build your decks. While both booster sets essentially contain similar cards, the Set Booster will contain several other cards that are not found in the Draft Booster.
To put it simply, the Set Booster has is more likely to open multiple rares and always contains more art cards that might be more preferable for fans of D&D who are seeking them as collectables. There are even opportunities to get monster stat block cards you can use for the TTRPG itself. The Set Booster includes 30 packs which contain:
- 1 traditional foil card of any rarity
- 1 rulebook, module, or borderless common or uncommon
- 1 art card or foil-stamped art card
- 7-10 commons and uncommons (at most 7 may be uncommon)
- 1 basic land or foil basic land
- 1 ad/token/dungeon or 1 card from The List
Last but not least, if you’re feeling lucky and have a bit more money to spare, the Collector Booster is what you’re looking for.
The ultimate booster set, the collector Booster will feature the most rares, foils, variants, and special art cards for the hardcore fans. The Collector Booster includes 12 booster packs which contain:
- 1 foil extended-art, showcase, or borderless rare or mythic rare
- 1 foil showcase or borderless common or uncommon
- 1 showcase or borderless rare or mythic rare
- 2 showcase or Borderless common or uncommon
- 1 extended-art Commander rare or mythic
- 1 extended-art Rare or mythic rare
- 1 foil rare or mythic rare
- 2 foil uncommon
- 4 foil commons
- 1 foil basic land
- 1 foil double-sided token
For the really lazy
If everything you’ve read so far just seems like information overload, we’d be happy to suggest if you’re a group of two ready to get into the game, go for two Bundles above and you’re set – that way, you and your buddy can still trade and swap around with each other’s cards for the best play.
Add on another Set Booster to give you some more breadth and kick things off on the right foot.
For solo adventurers who came from the D&D realm, go for one Set Booster – you won’t regret the amazing artwork and effort put into this MTG expansion, especially when you can reuse some of those stat cards (they’re pretty uncommon to draw though) for your D&D sessions. You will still need to get some land cards to complete a deck.
As a bonus and an additional supplementary, there are websites such as TappedOut, Archidekt, and deckstats which will help you track, build, and reference community or pro decks from other players to help you get a sense of your deck goals.
Furthermore, there are plenty of resources like tapandsac which is a great community for you to feel welcomed in the MTG world as well. They have guides on rules, formats, reviews, and articles to help you on your journey to learn the ropes.
We hope that we’ve been able to provide you with some help and some guide on some of these booster sets.
Knowing how many formats, types of cards, and booster sets are out there in Magic, we know how crazy it can get but we promise everything will be compensated by the excitement and fun you can get from the game. Since you’re ready to get started, whether you’re a friend or foe – we look forward to seeing you in the Forgotten Realms.
This article was first published in Geek Culture.