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Top Ten Cards from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms #23-33

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Hello happy people! I hope that your day is kicking serious booty! Really serious! The DnD set is very deep with a lot of crazy stuff happening! Let's look at another 11 cards, a Top Ten proper and one Honorable Mention! I've already counted down two lists for #1-#22 inclusive.

Here they are!

The first week I gave you my Top Ten Cards (which you can find here). That list includes hitters like Oswald Fiddlebender and Demilich, but where? Check it out! We finished with ten cards and one honorable mention, so we had 11 cards in total.

In the second week I gave you my Top Ten cards from #12 - #22. That list includes fun cards like Ochre Jelly and Treasure Vault and a Vecna body part. We finish with a common taking the top spot. What hit where?

Today we'll be looking at the top of the top, Cream of the Crop for casual land. You only make this list if you are good in casual formats like Commander as well as multiplayer and kitchen table play. A card that is dominating Standard or Modern may not make the cut here, or it may finally make it here on my third list in a reduced capacity.

Ready for my list? Let's get started!

Honorable Mention - 33. Froghemoth

Froghemoth

When I first saw this card, I thought it might be a better take on the mana-hungry and smaller Scavenging Ooze. This is a 4/4 Frog Horror for five mana with haste and trample. It can swing the turn you drop it and if blocked it will still smash face with overflow damage, if any. Which you want as all of that combat damage to your foe will exile a bunch of stuff from their 'yard equal to the combat damage taken. Then you toss a +1/+1 counter on your trampling Froghemoth for each creature you exiled and that makes for a bigger and bigger threat over time.

I like this for Type 4 since it has haste and gets bigger fast. It's very good as a powerful threat plus an answer to graveyards that will also kill. This was the end boss of the genre breaking Expedition to the Barrier Peaks which has you explore a crashed spaceship set in Grayhawk so I am a bit surprised to see it here, as well as other Grayhawk characters and things like Mordenkainen and the Vecna stuff. Although they regularly steal things from other worlds and give them to the Forgotten Realms' Faerun. Anyways, enjoy the card!

32. You Find the Villains' Lair

You Find the Villains' Lair

Check out this Counterspell! For 3 mana you get a Cancel. Or you get a Merfolk Looter tap for two cards at instant speed. Either way it's pretty nice, and the flexibility is great for the kitchen table as you can use it for either. It's a powerful tool and the discard works well in graveyard literate strategies like reanimation, flashback, jump-start, or threshold as well as madness. It's really strong in multiple shells. I've run it myself in a Commander Brew for you all! (Check it out here) I've seen it in Standard decklists as well. It's pretty good for the team!

31. Priest of Ancient Lore

Priest of Ancient Lore

White has an Elvish Visionary or Cloudkin! White has an Elvish Visionary or Cloudkin! And this Dwarf Cleric nets you a life as well! Note that we have 2 commons in a row, pretty cool, right? Card flow and life gain, and White just got an ability that Blue and Green shared previously. The first free card-draw creature was way back in Weatherlight with Striped Bears when they were still developing enters the battlefield tech the set after it debuted in Visions.

All right, now let's turn to my Top 30!

30. Hand of Vecna

Hand of Vecna

Last week the Eye of Vecna hit my Top Ten. (You can find out where here). The Hand of Vecna is a solid option for a lot of decks at the kitchen table. Your equipped dork gets big equal to the size of your hand. Have 5 cards in your grip? That's a +5/+5 dork. Great on a Commander who is looking for a Commander Kill hit. Shoot, a 1/3 Commander like Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive will love this and become a 6/8 killing machine in just a few turns. That's awesome!

It's one more mana than Empyrial Plate with a similar effect. The Plate is only run in 1,422 decks over at EDHREC.com and it's not in the flavor of the current Commander game. That's why this card is hitting back here at #30. But this can equip for no mana at all for some life. Losing 2 or more life will net you a Zombie token from a card you'll see later so that's pretty good in that deck. I enjoy this Vecna Body Part a lot!

29. Orcus, Prince of Undeath

Orcus, Prince of Undeath

This fun Rakdos Demon is going to party. You get a 5/3 with trample and flying, two aspects of evasion on just one card! You don't have to pay the X if you don't want to, a flample 5/3 Commander on turn three with a mana rock or Ancient Tomb or turn two with a Sol Ring or Mana Crypt or Mana Vault is pretty good and can win in just 5 Commander hits. Its size and cost and abilities are great.

Now let's look at the X. When it arrives at the party you have two options. The first is to -X/-X a creature for the turn and lose X life. You can kill a key card and this form of creature removal gets past indestructible which Rakdos removal can often struggle with given its leaning on burn and Murders. The second X ability lets you return up to X target critter cards with total mana value X or less from your graveyard to the battlefield and they gain haste. So, for example, if you spent just one on the X, you could return one creature with a casting cost of 1. With 2 you could one 2, one 2 and one 0, two 0s or two 1s. Note that 0 in the X won't return a free creature like Memnite since the X returns up to X target creatures so you don't have any targets. It scales well in the game and the later you go the better the second X option becomes. Great card!

28. Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar

Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar

You can check out Jason Alt's Commander brew around this Mind Flayer here, or my Nihiloor deck from last week!

What does Graziliaxx have to offer the kitchen table? A few things! The first thing is a Coastal Piracy on legs for 1 mana less. Note that the second ability is missing the key word "other" so it will trigger its own card drawing, which makes this a better card. It's in 6,922 decks over at EDHREC.com, and is legendary so you can use it as your leader.

The first ability is cooler though! As your stuff gets blocked in combat you can self-bounce. If someone is about to kill your creature from a block, then you can bounce to save it and then recast your card and keep up the card count and pressure. You can abuse shells with creatures that love enters the battlefield abilities like Mulldrifter. But my favorite combo was with Equilibrium. You can recast your stuff and use its cast trigger to bounce more of your stuff to cast them and get more triggers. You can also use it to bounce away your foes for more combat damage triggers to accrue and then cast the mad creatures you drew with the trigger as they get replayed. It's a nifty little synergetic package.

27. Flameskull

Flameskull

For flavor reasons I wish Flameskull was concepted as a Phoenix. Ah well, what else am I to do? This fiery Skeleton was added to the Forgotten Realms in Second Edition where it was printed as a supplement. In second edition TSR had the bright idea to print off monster stats, not in easy to keep books like before or since, but in one giant binder, where you could hole punch and add in other pages. That was tough for two reasons. First, they had a lot more wear and tear. Second of all, they got out of alphabetical order as the front of one page might be "Aaron" so it comes before "Abe" but the back of that page might be "Axe," so it comes after Abe and it out of order and harder to find. Flameskull was printed on binder paper from a Forgotten Realms supplement. Anyways, I digress. The card is pretty cool as you have a 3-mana 3/1 which flying, which is very powerful for Red in the early game. It cannot block but why would you want to trade down by blocking a 1/1 or 1/2? I don't know. When it dies you can recast it that turn or take the free card you exiled instead. It's a red-flavored death trigger. Either way? Pretty good.

26. The Book of Vile Darkness

The Book of Vile Darkness

I only own six D&D books from the Third Edition and the book this is named after is one of them. You can read about it here. This card is awesome! You drop it for 3 mana, although that's all Black. Then at the end of any turn in which you lost at least two life you get an untapped 2/2 Zombie token. In Black? That's a lot of life! But you have plenty, especially in Commander.

The card I thought of when I read this was Greed. You can pour mana into it a little at a time to draw. Nice, right? You can tap this and exile it and the two body parts of Vecna and make a mega powerful 8/8 Zombie God with indestructible with all the abilities of Eye of Vecna, Hand of Vecna, and The Book of Vile Darkness. That's a nice thing to work towards but you'll never need to hit it to win the game with all the Zombie Tokens this thing can churn out, especially in Commander.

Let's look at my Top 25!

25. Ebondeath, Dracolich

Ebondeath, Dracolich

This bad Zombie Dragon is pretty strong. First of all, it's a 4-drop flash 5/2 with flying that enters the battlefield tapped. That means you cannot play Ebondeath with flash to block or kill a flying attacker coming your way. But you can do it in that person's end of turn step when you kept your mana open for answers like counters and removal. It swings for a lot in the air, and you can untap and swing over a group for a healthy amount of damage from out of nowhere. Is Ebondeath sitting in your graveyard? Great! You can recast it from your deck if a non-Ebondeath died this turn.

This is great in a control build with a lot of instant removal like Rakdos midrange with tons of burn and removal spells or Dimir Control (you can see a Standard deck built around that idea here). It's also a potential leader in Commander and works very well in self-sacrifice Aristocrats builds that could really enjoy a powerful flyer that can be recast over and over again. Enjoy the Ebondeath!

24. Tiamat

Tiamat

Tiamat! Two Dragons in a row! Already making the cut in Standard brews! (You can see another deck from Mike Likes' article here. Tiamat is one of the rulers of a layer of the plane of Hell in the D&D game, and she is appearing here. She's a 7-drop legendary Dragon God of all five colors. On arrival she brings Dragon friends with her, although they have to have different names, which is a non-issue in Commander. Speaking of Commander, she makes a great one, and her 7/7 flying body will kill in three hits. I like her a lot.

But she's not my top card, so what is?

23. Instrument of the Bards

Instrument of the Bards

Hello, fans of Green artifacts. Our highest card is this rare. As you can see it costs just 1 mana so you can drop it as early as the first turn. You can tap it for 4 mana and then search up a creature with a cost equal to the harmony counters and you can place the searched card into your hand. You get a harmony counter each upkeep. You can use it on the turn you drop it for a zero-drop creature like Dryad Arbor. If you grabbed a legendary dork then you can make a free Treasure token. You can also collect a few counters by turn four when you have the mana and dig up a nice 3-drop like Reclamation Sage. I love its power a lot. I hope you do as well!

And there was my Top Ten list with an extra card. What did you think? Anything in here you want to try out? Just let me know!

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