MTG Dungeons and Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms available now!
   Sign In
Create Account

AFR Standard Set Review: Blue and Artifacts


Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is here, and yesterday we went over the White cards. Today, we're going to go over the Blue and Artifact cards! This set review is going to be slightly different as I am going to be evaluating these cards based on new Standard, which is after the rotation of Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, M21, and Ikoria. I am doing this because this is the last set before rotation and because of the power level of Throne of Eldraine still dominates Standard. We also have access to this format now on MTG Arena in the Standard 2022 Queue. Standard Rotation is not far away either, it will happen on September 17th, 2021, when Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is released.

I will not be going over cards that I believe will not see play in Standard and I will not be going over the Commander cards that will not see Standard play. For example, cards like Goldmaw Champion and Master Skald will be omitted since they are just Limited cards and saying, "This is just a Limited card" repeatedly gets old rather fast. Do not worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the actual Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.

Keep in mind I am rating all these cards for Standard playability. I will mention Modern applications if I believe the card has some.

Each card will be listed by color, then alphabetically by name.

Each card will be given a rating of 1-5. If a card would receive a 0, meaning it will see no play in that format ever, its rating is left off the list.

Rating | Explanation | Standard Examples

0 - Will never see play in this format (0 ratings are not listed).

1 - Unlikely to see play. (Divine Gambit)

2 - Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card. (Disdainful Stroke, Annul, Erebos's Intervention, Devastating Mastery)

3 - Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Righteous Valkyrie, Behold the Multiverse, Check for Traps)

4 - Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Saw it Coming, Fabled Passage, Werewolf Pack Leader)

5 - Format warping. If you are in these colors, you play that card or keep that card in mind when building decks. (Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Embercleave, The Great Henge, Bonecrusher Giant)

Now that we have that out of the way, let us begin!


The Blackstaff of Waterdeep
The Blackstaff of Waterdeep - 2 - The Blackstaff of Waterdeep would be decent in an aggressive artifact deck as Ensoul Artifact 4-5, but we do not have the artifacts and spells to make this type of deck good in Standard.
Demilich - 3 - Demilich is one of those cards that gets better and better with a larger card pool. It is already great in older formats, and I think it will be a contender in Standard when we get better mana for Standard 2022 and a few more good spells.
Dragon Turtle
Dragon Turtle - 2.5 - I am not impressed with Dragon Turtle, the only place I can see where I would want this is in the Sideboard of control or Blue midrange decks and even then, it is just all right.
Feywild Trickster
Feywild Trickster - 2 - Fun card to play with coin flip cards, especially Delina, Wild Mage. Not competitive, but a fun one to build around and play.
Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar
Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar - 2.5 - Grazilaxx's ability is powerful, but traditionally the Blue tempo decks do not want a card like this, they would rather have flash creatures and cards like Curious Obsession or Into the Story to rebuild. The format is also shaping up to be creature heavy, and Grazilaxx is not great against a creature heavy meta.
Iymrith, Desert Doom
Iymrith, Desert Doom - 4 - I know Dragonlord Ojutai when I see it. Iymrith lines up so well against Goldspan Dragon and so many other creatures with just 4 power. The ability to draw more than one card is huge, especially alongside foretell cards like Saw it Coming and Alrund's Epiphany.
Mind Flayer
Mind Flayer - 2 - Sower of Temptation was a solid Magic card back in the day because removal was not so prevalent, especially in Green decks. In this day and age, every deck has removal, so getting Mind Flayer to stick is very difficult.
Mordenkainen - 3.5 - This is how a six-mana planeswalker should be: powerful, provides card advantage, and closes games out quickly, but is not too overwhelming. You can still win if your opponent plays a Modernkainen. I'm a huge fan of closing out games fast with big dogs instead of drawing a million cards, slowing the game down, and exiling all your opponent's stuff one card at a time.
Ray of Frost
Ray of Frost - 2.5 - Great Sideboard card against Goldspan Dragon and Red decks!
Tasha's Hideous Laughter
Tasha's Hideous Laughter - 2 - Tasha's Hideous Laughter can single handedly just win you the game in older formats. Not so much the case in Standard. Mill decks tend to be good when Control is king, or the format is very slow. As of right now, that is not the case and I do not expect this card to be good enough to make a mill deck Tier 1.
True Polymorph
True Polymorph - 1 - Way too much mana for this ability. We just had Mythos of Illuna and that was fringe playable. Fun in a Commander game but not good enough for Standard.
Wizard Class
Wizard Class - 1.5 - Sadly, one of the worst class cards for Standard. The first level does not really do anything, then you get to Divination and a way to pump your creatures late in the game if you continue drawing cards. I will tell you what, if you are drawing enough cards to make a creature huge, you do not need that creature to win the game.
Wizard's Spellbook
Wizard's Spellbook - 2 - Too mana intensive and the payoff is random. Even if you tap out, you can't copy the card unless you Roll a 20. So, this is basically a nine-mana card when you play it. The Great Henge this is not.
You Find the Villains' Lair
You Find the Villains' Lair - 2.5 - I do not mind this card as a one off or two off in control decks. It can be a counterspell at any time and late game you can cycle through dead cards. I also like this card in Blue based Reanimator decks, I would play it alongside Port of Karfell.
Yuan-Ti Malison
Yuan-Ti Malison - 2.5 - Unblockable is good, but you really want to be drawing cards with your small Blue creatures when they hit the opponent. Venture does not seem like a competitive mechanic for Standard. It is also a mechanic that gets worse the more sets that come out since it does not get supported.

And now the artifacts!


The Deck of Many Things
The Deck of Many Things - 2 - I really like this card in non-Blue control decks to regain card advantage. So, maybe something like Golgari or Orzhov control. 2 mana every turn for random Regrowth or Draw Two can add up quickly.
Dungeon Map
Dungeon Map - 2 - Dungeon Map is a fun card to play in midrange, control, or ramp decks to ramp and then later use your ramp to start venturing into the dungeon for some sweet loot.
Eye of Vecna
Eye of Vecna - 2.5 - Eye of Vecna is the best Vecna piece alone, and it acts like a colorless Arguel's Blood Fast for decks wanting that ability. It can also work as a way to catch up to control decks for aggressive decks since control typically does not pressure your life total until very late in the game.
Hand of Vecna
Hand of Vecna - 2 - You would only play this if you were trying to assemble Vecna. Otherwise, you would just play Maul of the Skyclaves or any other equipment. Cool in Vecna decks, but that's about where it ends.
Spare Dagger
Spare Dagger - 2 - Works really well with Deathouch creatures and we already have some cards that care about Deathtouch. Time to build a tribal deathtouch deck with Fynn, the Fangbearer.
Treasure Chest
Treasure Chest - 1 - The mana and cards are nice, but paying 7 mana and rolling a 1 will make you want to take this card out of your deck and throw it in the trash. I'm here to stop that. Don't play this card in Standard, put it in your Commander deck or something.

Top 5 Blue Cards

  1. Iymrith, Desert Doom
  2. Mordenkainen
  3. Demilich
  4. Dragon Turtle
  5. You Find the Villains' Lair

We had to go all the way down to, You Find the Villains' Lair to get a top five for Blue. Iymirth and Mordenkainen are both very good and in a league of their own in Standard. Then we get to Demilich. After that we fall to You Find the Villains' Lair. Blue seems to have gotten a couple of cards but honestly Iymirth and Kainen may be all they need!

If you shop at Coolstuffinc, be sure to use code ALI5 to get 5% off your entire order. This will save you money and help me too.

Tomorrow we will go over the Black and Multicolor cards, do not miss it! As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

Twitch Channel

Think Twice MTG Podcast

Limited time 35% buy trade in bonus buylist