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AFR Standard Set Review: Black and Multicolor

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Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is here, and yesterday we went over the Blue and Artifact cards. Today, we're going to go over the Black and Multicolored 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!

Acererak the Archlich
Acererak the Archilich - 2.5 - Acererak combos with Rooftop Storm in Modern and Alluren in Legacy, but in Standard it has no combos. You will have to play Acererak fair and square. Probably in a Orzhov Adventure deck.
Asmodeus the Archfiend
Asmodeus the Archfiend - 2 - Where's the lifelink?! I guess they learned their lesson with Griselbrand. Asmodeus is card that does not do anything when he comes into play unless you have four Black mana laying around. I would not expect him to see play in Standard. Sweet in Commander and alongside Necrotic Ooze though!
The Book of Vile Darkness
The Book of Vile Darkness - 2 - Plays well with Eye of Vecna, but this voltron, while powerful, is not good enough and takes too much to assemble. The pieces needed all to be good on their own for them to see Standard play and they are not.
Check for Traps
Check for Traps - 3 - Staple as the new Agonizing Remorse once rotation happens. It does not exile but having your opponent lose life instead of you is a nice upside to this one!
Deadly Dispute
Deadly Dispute - 3 - A more expensive Village Rites but it ramps you and you can sacrifice a treasure instead of a creature. We have cards that also care about treasures in this format and Deadly Dispute could slide into those decks.
Ebondeath, Dracolich
Ebondeath, Dracolich - 3.5 - Ebondeath, Dracolich is sweet and a grinding machine in the right deck. I keep seeing him in control decks, but I think he will really shine in a sacrifice or midrange deck that does not play Blue.
Forsworn Paladin
Forsworn Paladin - 2 - Ebon of the Legion this is not. If there is a Treasure matters deck, this is where I would think Forsworn Paladin might see play, but even then, it is slow in that deck as well. Slow at attacking and slow at making treasures makes it hard for this card to find a home.
Gelatinous Cube
Gelatinous Cube - 1.5 - Ravenous Chupacabra, we miss you! Ravenous Chupacabra saw a good amount of paly for a while but eventually it faded away as not quite good enough. Gelatinous Cube is like if Hostage Taker and Chupacabra had a baby and somehow it is worse than both of them.
Lolth, Spider Queen
Lolth, Spider Queen - 3.5 - Such a cool and well-designed Magic card. I love Lolth from the ground up! Her obvious home is going to be sacrifice decks, but she will also fit fine into a midrange deck as well.
Power Word Kill
Power Word Kill - 2 - With Angels and Dragons being played, I can't see Power Word Kill doing much of anything. Flunk will probably be the better two-mana removal spell. Power Word Kill can't even kill Faceless Haven sadly.
Shambling Ghast
Shambling Ghast - 3 - Another one that goes into the treasures matter deck and plays well with Deadly Dispute or Village Rites. It is also a solid card against decks that have a lot of X/1 creatures.
Sphere of Annihilation
Sphere of Annihilation - 2 - This card is better than Phyrexian Scriptures, but when the aggressive decks have Skyclave Apparition to tag your Sphere of Annihilation, it is a real feel bad.
Warlock Class
Warlock Class - 2.5 - Warlock Class seems a bit expensive until you realize that you do not need to rush to level three and both level one and two are solid for a creature deck, especially one that sacrifices and recurs creatures.
Westgate Regent
Westgate Regent - 1.5 - Do not play this card in a world of Iymrith, Desert Doom and Goldspan Dragon. You will embarrass yourself.
Wight
Wight - 2 - Competes with Skyclave Shade but they both attack on a different angle. Wight is great against other creature decks where Shade is better against removal decks. I still think Shade is the way to go unless you are playing a zombie deck!

Top 5 Black Cards

  1. Lolth, Spider Queen
  2. Ebondeath, Dracolich
  3. Check for Traps
  4. Deadly Dispute
  5. Shambling Ghast

The top three cards are all great in multiple different decks, while the last fill up the top five with a treasure matters deck. That deck should come to fruition, but it could get weaker the more sets are introduced if we do not get more treasure cards.

Onto the multicolored cards!

Multicolored

Adult Gold Dragon
Adult Gold Dragon - 2 - I mean... Have you met our lord and savior Goldspan Dragon??? 3 toughness is also another big knock on this card, making it easier to kill.
Bard Class
Bard Class - 2.5 - Bard Class is super sweet and the more Gruul cards we have the more explosive this card can be. We are going to need a few more Gruul cards for Standard to really make this one go.
Drizzt Do'Urden
Drizzt Do'Urden - 2.5 - A different take on Tolsimir, but I prefer our wolf friend over our cat friend as Tolsimir was life gain, bodies, and removal all in one.
Fighter Class
Fighter Class - 1.5 - Another Boros card that deals with equipment. We haven't seen these before. Actually, we have, and none of them see any play.
Kalain, Reclusive Painter
Kalain, Reclusive Painter - 3 - Kalain slides right into that Rakdos Treasure matters deck and the treasures help grow your creatures.
Minsc, Beloved Ranger
Minsc, Beloved Ranger - 2 - The mana is pretty rough after rotation for Minsc. Even if we get better mana come Innistrad, this card is not rewarding enough to be in Naya colors, especially for an aggressive deck.
Monk Class
Monk Class - 3 - I really love the flavor behind this card being a one-two punch style. You know, like a monk! Right now the double spell deck is just more straight forward as a Mono-White deck; but, I like a uw for this card and counterspells if control becomes big.
Orcus, Prince of Undeath
Orcus, Prince of Undeath - 3 - 4 mana for a 5/3 Flying Tampler is decent, and when his abilities matter, Orcus is going to be a huge swing. I like this card in midrange, control, and even some aggressive decks. I really like it in Niv-Mizzet Reborn in Historic.
Rogue Class
Rogue Class - 2.5 - Rogues took a big hit with rotation, and I do not think this card will revive them. Tempo decks that want this type of card have a hard time investing that much mana into one card, especially at sorcery speed.
Skeletal Swarming
Skeletal Swarming - 2.5 - Golgari Assemble the Legion! It's glacially slow, and I do not think you have the time to kill your opponents with this card. The only home I can see it in is a Golgari control deck, but something like Professor Onyx seems to be the better finisher.
Sorcerer Class
Sorcerer Class - 2 - I would play this alongside Red cards that made creatures, like Forbidden Friendship. You can always have a big mana sink dump in Magma Opus, and if you draw the Opus too early, you can just pitch it away.
Targ Nar, Demon-Fang Gnoll
Targ Nar, Demon-Fang Gnoll - 2 - Putting this card on here just because I am respecting Bard Class and really want it to work. Targ is a free cast after you level up Bard Class!
Tiamat
Tiamat - 2.5 - I've been messing around with Tiamat; and, even though the mana is pretty bad right now, the deck is solidly Tier 2. We need better mana and some other good dragons for Tiamat to really do work.
Trelasarra, Moon Dancer
Trelasarra, Moon Dancer - 3.5 - Ajani Pridemate has leveled up! What's not to like, it just a better Ajani's Pridemate. Seems great in a lifegain deck!
Triumphant Adventurer
Triumphant Adventurer - 3 - I think this card is what could make bw Venture good. It is just a cheap way to venture into the dungeon and keep doing it over and over.
Volo, Guide to Monsters
Volo, Guide to Monsters - 2 - This one is clearly for Commander, unless you want to play a singleton deck in Standard. In which case are you not still play Commander?
Xanathar, Guild Kingpin
Xanathar, Guild Kingpin - 3 - I love Xanathar, Guild Kingpin. Untapping once with him is brutal as you ensure your opponent draws a land. Untapping a second time is game over as Xanathar will lock them out because you just play everything except their lands. The longer he is in play, the quicker your opponent goes to prison!

Top 5 Multicolored Cards

  1. Trelasarra, Moon Dancer
  2. Orcus, Prince of Undeath
  3. Kalain, Reclusive Painter
  4. Triumphant Adventurer
  5. Xanathar, Guild Kingpin

A good mixture of gold cards and they all ask you to build around them to varying degrees. I really like that in Magic! Love cards that are powerful but ask you to build around them as it makes the metagame decks more interesting and diverse.

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 Red cards, do not miss it! As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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