Welcome to the multicolored segment of our Gladiator Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set review! Let’s jump right in!
Adult Gold Dragon
Adult Gold Dragon is a neat callback to Lightning Angel, a remarkably powerful card that was extremely above rate. Adult Gold Dragon will likely be a Midrange card or Dragon tribal card- Midrange decks like Jeskai or Naya might want this effect.
Lifelink can be rather useful for stabilizing against Aggro, but the three toughness is a major drawback against red Aggro decks, which have many burn spells that deal three damage.
Ultimately, I think Adult Gold Dragon suffers from its low toughness and the higher card quality of the other five drops in decks that might want this, and won’t see any play.
Bard Class is a card that doesn’t currently have a home but could, in theory, help create a new archetype.
At an initial glance, there are around 160 legends in red and green. On the other hand, many legendary payoffs tend to be in other colors – Kethis, the Hidden Hand, Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, and General’s Enforcer, to name a few, are primarily in Abzan colors.
Looking at Gruul Midrange, a potential home for this card, there are about 16 legends, which is likely not enough to play this.
I don’t think Bard Class will see play unless there is some sort of multicolor legends deck that tries to take advantage of this along with other legendary payoffs, perhaps with Rienne, Angel of Rebirth.
Recently, Magic design has taken a turn towards making red-white more Equipment focused, and this is an excellent card for that archetype.
Bruenor Battlehammer provides a strong buff to your equipped creatures and helps negate one of the biggest downsides of playing Equipment – spending mana to equip.
The only issue currently is a lack of density of strong equipment. However, with the new pieces Adventures in the Forgotten Realms provides, a Boros equipment deck may be viable. If there is a Boros equipment deck, this will undoubtedly be part of it.
Drizzt Do’Urden provides an incredible clock and body – putting 10 power on the board at once.
Selesnya and GW+ midrange decks are the kind of decks that would want this, as well as +1/+1 counter decks which are able to take advantage of both the triggered ability and the double strike.
However, currently Drizzt suffers from being a little worse than the other 5 drops in the current meta. Selesnya Midrange’s fives are already very powerful, and Drizzt doesn’t match up well against the red decks that are highly popular right now.
The obvious comparison to Drizzt is Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves, which is able to gain life to stabilize, though it puts on a much less impressive clock.
That said, Drizzt likely warrants some amount of testing in Midrange decks, and may become an important five drop in the deck if the meta shifts away from red decks.
As a card that references Equipment in its text, Fighter Class obviously could have a home in the previously mentioned Boros Equipment deck. However, Fighter Class could have a more surprising home in Gladiator: Boros Aggro.
In Boros Aggro, Fighter Class can tutor for an Embercleave or a Maul of the Skyclaves, both incredibly powerful Equipment that can close out the game. Casting a Fighter Class on turn five and grabbing a Maul of the Skyclaves to push through 5-6 damage could be a potentially game-winning line.
Is that worth playing an enchantment that doesn’t impact the board on it’s own, though? I’m not entirely sure, but this has a unique effect that can boost your consistency in a singleton format, which is important.
Due to her high toughness and low cost, Gretchen Titchwillow may see play in specific Control variants- specifically UG and Temur.
The not-so-obvious parallel to Gretchen Titchwillow is Wall of Blossoms, the trusty 0/4 played in various Control decks to cantrip and slow down Aggro decks. Gretchen doesn’t draw a card at first, but can provide a lot of mid-late game value, especially with Wilderness Reclamation.
The four toughness blocks almost all Aggro threats, which is very relevant as well.
Ultimately, I would test Gretchen Titchwillow in UG variants of Control, though I hesitate to consider it an auto-include.
Minsc, Beloved Ranger
Minsc, Beloved Ranger is an above-rate legend, which is promising. For three mana, you get a 4/4 spread across two bodies, which can grow with his activated ability, which is notably at sorcery speed.
Naya Midrange decks and possibly four color Midrange are archetypes that may want Minsc.
The other issue is that paying three different colors of mana may be hard to get on turn three with the taplands necessary to create a deck capable of casting a RGW spell, which would make this card worse.
I don’t think this card will end up seeing play, but there’s a possibility it ends up being powerful enough to see play in Naya decks potentially utilizing Bard Class.
Monk Class rewards you for playing multiple cheap and efficient spells, something you naturally want to be doing in Gladiator.
Monk Class could probably slot into three different types of decks: Control decks, spells-based decks, and artifact Combo decks.
In Control decks, Monk Class can reduce the costs of patterns of play you already enjoy – specifically casting a wrath and deploying a value spell (an enchantment, a planeswalker, a cantrip, and so forth). For example, you could cast a Wrath of God and a Search for Azcanta together on turn 5. Later in the game, it can become a pseudo Phyrexian Arena, providing you with likely game-winning card advantage.
Expect to see this played in Azorius, Bant, and Esper Control.
As for spell-based decks, Monk Class enables one of the most important things in that deck: double-spelling. In the early game, Monk Class allows you to cast enablers + cantrips or double up with removal, helping your Young Pyromancer-like effects. In the later game, Monk Class makes sure you don’t run out of steam.
Monk Class should probably be played in all Pyromancer decks capable of producing blue and white mana.
In artifact Combo decks, Monk Class has multiple benefits:
First, it reduces the costs of your mana rocks. Early in the game, you are incentivized to cast as many of your artifacts as possible- being able to cast both Midnight Clock and Guardian Idol together, for example, is a great turn 3.
Second, it has combo potential. Because level 2 can bounce any permanent, including itself, you can loop this. If you have a way to make WWUU and any other mana along with Paradox Engine, you can generate infinite mana, infinite ETB’s with your enchantment and infinite cast triggers. The easiest way to do this is with Chromatic Orrery and Paradox Engine. If you tap Chromatic Orrery for five mana, cast Monk Class, and activate Monk Class, you are floating one mana with Chromatic Orrery untapped due to Paradox Engine. Now you can repeat for infinite mana of each color, then cast Monk Class an infinite amount of times to continuously untap your Chromatic Orrery to draw cards with Chromatic Orrery’s ability.
Lastly, Monk Class can help provide late-game advantage. One issue artifact Ramp decks can have is that they deploy all their mana rocks and then their payoff gets removed/countered, and they’re left with a bunch of mana and nothing to do with it. With the extra mana, players can tick up Monk Class to level 3 and begin essentially drawing an extra card a turn, ideally putting them back into the game.
Unfortunately, artifact Combo decks have fallen out of popularity with the rise of Aggro. With a shift in the metagame, however, artifact Combo decks may return, and I expect Monk Class to be a part of them.
Orcus, Prince of Undeath
Orcus, Prince of Undeath has an incredible base statline, as a five power flying trampler for four mana.
The decks that would want Orcus are probably Rakdos Aggro decks and Midrange decks that want to lean into a more aggressive play pattern.
The abilities provide nice utility- the first one being able to clear out utility creatures and mana dorks that can chump your attackers in the midgame, the second one being better in the late game.
Orcus is a card for Rakdos Aggro, Four Color Blood, and perhaps Jund and Mardu Midrange decks.
Sorcerer Class provides some great card filtration at a not-quite-on-rate cost – this is no Faithless Looting, to be sure.
This kind of effect is likely wanted by Breach Storm decks and Pyromancer decks.
I think this effect is not wanted by Control because of its sorcery speed and its low rate.
However, Breach Storm decks want every cantrip and way to fill the graveyard they can get for their Underworld Breach, which the first level of Sorcerer Class provides. The third level, if you ever get up to it, can be a backup win condition, as you ping your opponent down stringing cantrips together.
Sorcerer Class will definitely see play in Storm variants, and see some amount of play in Pyromancer shells.
Targ Nar, Demon-Fang Gnoll
Targ Nar is an aggressive two drop that can push through the damage in the earlier turns and get large with its activated ability in the mid to late game.
The deck that could possibly play Targ Nar is some kind of Gruul Aggro deck. The ability to hit six power is not that difficult in Gruul Aggro- so many creatures are above rate at low spots on the curve.
The question ultimately is whether Targ Nar is better than the other available two drops in Gruul. I lean towards no, but there is definitely an opportunity to test and find out. This is at least a decent budget include if you don’t own some of the higher rarity two drops.
Tiamat is an indubitably powerful card if it resolves in the right deck- a seven mana 7/7 flier that draws five good cards on ETB is clearly powerful.
The ultimate question will be whether a powerful dragon shell emerges from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms– and whether it’s five color. Right now I would say that there won’t be a five color Dragons deck, and it will probably be Jeskai instead, which would mean that Tiamat won’t see play, but it’s obviously a strong card and one to keep an eye on as more Dragons are printed in the future.
Trelassara, Moon Dancer
Trelassara, Moon Dancer is another in a series of lifegain payoffs- but this one is very strong.
At its worst, it’s a bear. It functions similarly to Ajani’s Pridemate, but this allows you to scry, which can be very useful in the scenarios where your big beater is being chump blocked by your opponent and you want to find something to close out the game.
Expect people to play Trelassara in Abzan and Selesnya lifegain shells, which have also been helped a good bit by Adventures in the Forgotten Realms cards.
Triumphant Adventurer is difficult to defeat in combat due to its combination of keywords.
Primarily, this is an Aggro card due to its efficient cost and incentivization for attacking.
Coming down on two is important for this card, because you want to get your Venture value as fast as possible, though the deathtouch on the front end helps it be relevant in the mid-late game.
Triumphant Adventurer will probably be decent in grinder WB Aggro decks, specifically the Taxes variants. However, Triumphant Adventurer only has 1 power, which is very low for aggressive decks, but in conjunction with Tomb of Annihilation it can hit for even more damage.
The dungeons to normally go for are Tomb of Annihilation to put the pedal to the metal on in a slower match-up, and Lost Mine of Phandelver in an Aggro mirror, which has the capability to create a chump blocker for their X/1’s.
Volo, Guide to Monsters
Volo, Guide to Monsters is clearly a card that works best in singleton formats, with an ability that can provide decent mid game and late game value.
Slower creature decks that focus on accumulating value through enter the battlefield triggers may be interested in this effect.
The condition for the copy obviously makes it unplayable in tribal decks, and significantly worse in Temur Monster style decks, which contain a significant number of Beasts and Dragons.
However, in value creature decks such as Bant Blink or Sultai Blink, there is a wider variety of creatures which means very few concessions will have to be made to play Volo. Additionally, the acceleration is lower down the curve in Blink shells than in ramp shells, enabling Volo to come down sooner.
The body is unfortunately below rate, dying to all shock variants, and, without any built-in protection at all, Volo is likely to die without doing much. Furthermore, Volo is unable to do anything on its own and needs to survive a turn cycle with a relevant creature in hand.
Therefore, expect people to try to play Volo in Bant and Sultai Blink decks, and not much elsewhere.
Xanathar, Guild Kingpin
Xanathar, Guild Kingpin, an iconic Dungeons and Dragons character, has finally arrived!
With its high cost, the only decks that would consider playing this are Ramp, Reanimator, and Control shells.
Xanathar does have the capability to string together multiple spells from your opponent’s deck, providing a lot of value. Its body is also decently large- 6 toughness helps it dodge most red removal.
The ability also shuts off your opponent’s interaction on your turn, which is relevant against counterspells. However, Xanathar is likely not more powerful than the other top-end spells in those shells, especially without any effect the turn it comes down nor any real protection.
The other, more niche, potential home for Xanathar is Sultai Combo Platter, as a Midrange curve topper that can make sure your combo goes off. However, Xanathar’s lack of protection means it will die before having a relevant effect, and its cost is frequently going to be too high.
Don’t expect Xanathar to see play in Gladiator, though its effect is fun and interesting.
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Gladiator enthusiast, constant brewer, and self-proclaimed premier UG tempo and blitz pilot of the format.