Which Adventures Deck Is Best For Adventures In The Forgotten Realms Standard?

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Standard still has plenty of room for Bonecrusher Giant and friends. But which Adventures deck is best? Brad Nelson breaks down the options.

Edgewall Innkeeper, illustrated art by Matt Stewart

Dear Wizards of the Coast,

I apologize for making such a big stink about not supporting Standard 2022 with Best-of-Three play earlier last month. I foolishly assumed Standard was going to be a big stinker right as your newest expansion Adventures in the Forgotten Realms released. I ignored the format and played Standard 2022 for three days and thought I knew everything. I did not. Weeks later I’ve been loving how Standard’s developed and haven’t once played Standard 2022. Don’t get me wrong, I still wish the memory of Throne of Eldraine could be banished from my mind, but that doesn’t give me a pass for not playing Standard before disparaging the experience.


Brad Nelson

So yeah, I think Standard’s awesome right now. I mean, it’s as good as an eight-set Standard can get. The Summer/Fall season for Standard is never actually all that great if you think back on it. With so many legal cards, the curves are completely fleshed out, the mana is great, the threats are diversified, the removal is efficient, and the overall speed causes things to become extremely high-variance. I guess the mentality of “things could be so much worse” isn’t the best way to view things, but hey, it’s what I’m going with!

Seriously though, things are looking up for the last month in the Standard lifespan of Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and Core Set 2021. Naya Winota, the best deck in the format, is a new brew which, if you’re paying attention, isn’t Sultai Ramp (Yorion) or another gosh-darn Adventures deck. That’s a huge deal! All of us thought the deck wouldn’t survive a second week, and the data pointed towards the strategy having no bad matchups! That’s pretty cool if you ask me!

Not the “no bad matchups” part (that part we’ll get into later) but dominating for a second week straight. I love that, because it’s so refreshing to see a laundry list of established archetypes go back to the drawing board for a week and come back empty-handed. That says to me that we’re either not respecting the deck enough, or, even cooler, may have to create some completely new archetypes!

Well today we’re going to focus on the former, specifically on Adventures strategies. Look, I know I talk about Adventures a lot. Like a lot, a lot. Just give me one more article about them, you’ll get some sick decklists out of the deal, and they’ll fade into rotation soon enough. Oh, and if you’re already in the Naya Winota “join ‘em” camp, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa wrote a wonderful article on Naya Winota, so be sure to check that out!

Cool, so Adventures! They currently come in all shapes and sizes… if those shapes and sizes never change… and most of the colors are green and red. If you read my article from last week, you’ll remember that I dropped a ton of info about specifically Gruul Adventures. Well, throw that knowledge in the trash. I was wrong. Really, really wrong. Well, not about everything, but most things.

This is already getting convoluted, so let’s just go over everything really quick to make sure you know exactly where I stand.

Ranger Class

Ranger Class is still trash! Not in a vacuum, of course, but in the context of eight-set Standard this card is terrible in Gruul Adventures. Things are extremely sped up right now, causing aggression to be at a maximum. This is pushing out the more controlling matchups where Ranger Class shines, and leaves you getting absolutely wrecked by your opponent the following turn. Don’t play this card!

Rimrock Knight Rimrock Knight Rimrock Knight Rimrock Knight

I cannot stress this enough: play four Rimrock Knights! I just didn’t give Rimrock Knight enough of a chance when I first started playing with Gruul Adventures, but I quickly changed my tune after seeing Gabriel Nassif play four in his Insight Esports decklist. It just does it all in this deck!

  • Draws a card on Turn 2 after casting Edgewall Innkeeper.
  • Creates a Treasure upon attacking with a Magda, Brazen Outlaw on the battlefield.
  • Triggers Goldspan Dragon’s ability on the cheap, allowing you to cast Embercleave earlier than expected.
  • Lets you attack your creatures into bigger creatures like Lovestruck Beast.


Garruk, Unleashed Kazuul’s Fury Hall of Oracles

One of the more interesting things about Nassif’s deck is his inclusion of two copies of Kazuul’s Fury. Now, it makes sense when you add Rimrock Knight to the mix, as you now have some explosive opportunities to deal lethal damage. I’ve lost a ton of games where I finally have Goldspan Dragon and Embercleave, yet I’m not able to deal enough damage in a single turn. These sorts of cards help with that.

That doesn’t mean I’m sold on these cards though. Given the way the format’s evolving, I think Den of the Bugbear might still be the best option, and the Garruk gets much worse without Kazuul’s Fury to help combo finish some opponents.

To Splash or Not to Splash, That Is the Question

Honestly, I’m still not sure about this one. On one hand, it’s easy to have a light splash in this deck. You’ve got Jaspera Sentinel; Madga, Brazen Outlaw; and eight easy-to-play Pathways that can all help you splash. You also have a ton of really cool options if you’re willing to think outside the box.

Mystical Dispute Disdainful Stroke Ray of Enfeeblement Valki, God of Lies Containment Priest Reidane, God of the Worthy

I’m just not sure if the juice is worth the squeeze here. This past weekend I played a couple of Mystical Disputes in the sideboard for the Dimir Rogues (Lurrus) and Sultai Ramp (Yorion) matchups. Well, now Sultai Ramp (Yorion) is a really bad deck choice to make, so I don’t fear playing against it all that much. If that’s the case, then maybe these sideboard slots would be better suited as removal spells like Fire Prophecy that can come in against Dimir Rogues and Mono-White Aggro.

I will say the black splash is pretty sweet if you expect to play against a ton of Naya Winota this weekend. Ray of Enfeeblement is a huge upgrade to Redcap Melee in the matchup as it doesn’t get “beaten” by Selfless Savior. Valki, God of Lies is also an interesting maindeck option as it can simply snag the Winota from the opponent’s hand before they can cast it, and later in the game you can cast it as the most powerful planeswalker in the format.

Speaking of white, this past weekend I was playing in the Arena Open with the following build of Gruul Adventures.

So, there I was with five wins and one loss in the Arena Open. I queue up for my thousand-dollar match, and who do I see across the digital table from me? Jaberwocki! For those of you not in the know, that’s my former teammate and Magic grinder extraordinaire Logan Nettles. I won the die roll, great. I had to mulligan, not great. My six was fine, and I was feeling good, but little did I know the match was over before it began.

For the next 30 minutes Logan beat me up and down the battlefield with an interesting take on Naya Adventures. The saddest part of this is that within a couple of minutes I realized I stood a very little chance of winning the match. Why, you ask? Well, that’s because Gruul Adventures has a very clear hole in its strategy.

If you take a good look at Gruul Adventures, you’ll realize it’s fairly threat-light. Sure, you have the Adventure package, Goldspan Dragon, and Esika’s Chariot, but you also have a ton of duds to draw in the mid- to late-game as well. Logan’s deck seemed poised to exploit this fact by playing a ton of removal spells geared for the matchup.

After I lost, I messaged Logan to see if I could get his list. Now keep in mind the man’s one of the nicest guys on the planet, but he still said no. That’s (probably) only because he’s in this weekend’s Challenger Gauntlet and didn’t want to give anything away. Silver lining, I had over 1000 viewers on Twitch when we played. He may have won the war, but I sure did win that battle!

So instead of getting to cheat off his sheet, I decided to try to reverse-engineer the deck on my stream Monday night. Here’s what we came up with.

This is just my best guess as to what Logan was playing, but for now I’m fine with that. We will find out soon enough if he ended up registering it for the Challenger Gauntlet.

More about Naya Adventures: this deck is a serious house against Mono-Green Aggro, Gruul Adventures, and Dimir Rogues (Lurrus), and can hold its own against Naya Winota and Temur Adventures. The last two aren’t great matchups, but they’re manageable. This is typically not the deck you want to bring into a sea of Sultai Ramp (Yorion), but like I said before, that archetype is just not a good choice anymore.

Sidebar: Sultai Ramp (Yorion)

I should probably spend some time explaining why I think this deck is a trap. The most obvious answer is that Burning Hands kills Elder Gargaroth, but there’s much more to it than that. I’m trying to not sound like a broken record at this point, but Standard has entered eight-set territory. There are now enough cards in the format for decks to become very lean and efficient. This speeds things up by giving most competitive decks a very robust aggressive curve backed by efficient interaction.

Burning Hands

“Okay, so it is Burning Hands!” – Everyone

Sultai Ramp (Yorion) was a much stronger deck previously when decks didn’t have clean answers to the deck’s midrange threats. Now that they exist, you just can’t play a deck that’s forced to play ramp spells and one-for-one answers. That’s just not a winning strategy! Especially now that every green deck runs Esika’s Chariot, which causes a lot of pain on the deck’s sweepers.

Look, I get that a lot of respectable content creators out there are saying the deck’s fine. It probably is fine, but fine doesn’t get you qualified for the Set Championship. Sometimes you’re going to draw the correct interaction at the exact times you need them. Sometimes you’ll just ramp to a Turn 4 or 5 Emergent Ultimatum. Sometimes they won’t have Burning Hands or Chop Down for your Elder Gargaroth.


Other times you’ll stumble, and not have the time to recover like the deck was previously capable of. Other times they’ll have the easily splashable counterspells, or Elite Spellbinder, or Burning Hands to kill you before you even get to seven mana. The issue I’m trying to get at is the “other times” are happening more frequently now than the “sometimes.”

Temur Adventures

I’m super-conflicted when it comes to Temur Adventures. On one hand the archetype is a pretty good choice if you expect all of the “green decks” to be popular. It just has a lot of interactive tools against Naya Winota, Gruul Adventures, Naya Adventures, and Mono-Green Aggro. What concerns me is that it also has some very awkward draws that will cost you games against good matchups. It’s also a pretty bad deck against Dimir Rogues (Lurrus), which is on a huge uptick thanks to its great Naya Winota matchup.

Sidebar: Dimir Rogues (Lurrus)

Fire Prophecy Ox of Agonas

Before we even go deeper into Temur Adventures, I just have to bring up something I highlighted in last week’s article. It’s currently extremely difficult for Naya Winota, Gruul Adventures, and Temur Adventures to make enough room for even an above-average plan for the Dimir Rogues (Lurrus) matchup. All of these decks just have so many copies of Redcap Melee, Burning Hands, and The Akroan War they need to play to compete with one another.

Dimir Rogues (Lurrus) does not have this problem. In fact, they’re currently targeting all of these decks with maindeck copies of Crippling Fear and Ray of Enfeeblement. Rogues being able to hard-target these green decks while they can’t do the same in return is a catastrophic issue all of these decks need to circumvent. The time to ignore Dimir Rogues (Lurrus) is over, as I predict it to be the most-played nongreen deck, and maybe even be in the top three decks played overall this weekend!

Now, Gruul Adventures can get away with some subtle “ignoring” thanks to how aggressive it can get. Sure, you might not be able to interact with their creatures without access to Scorching Dragonfire or Fire Prophecy, but you can at least quickly dump your hand in anticipation for an Ox of Agonas to get milled into your graveyard. This is where Rimrock Knight comes in handy as it’s a great way to keep attacking in the early-game with creatures that get blocked by Ruin Crab or eaten by Soaring Thought-Thief.

Ruin Crab Soaring Thought-Thief

The same can’t be said for Naya Winota, Naya Adventures, and Temur Adventures. All three of these decks need to have a robust setup to be able to defeat Dimir Rogues (Lurrus) in a three-game set. Luckily my Naya Adventures list already has that, but there’s much to be desired for the other two in this particular matchup.

Again, we’re going to let Paulo take the Naya Winota questions at this time, and we’ll get back to focusing on Temur Adventures for now.

I took a page out of Logan’s playbook for Temur Adventures and started playing a full set of Fire Prophecy again. This is sometimes not enough when facing down Esika’s Chariot, but honestly there’s not much that is. I did try Prismari Command for a bit, but found it far too clunky in a deck that already has upwards of sixteen Turn 3 plays.

These removal spells have greatly helped out against Dimir Rogues though. We at least now stand a chance at containing their battlefield before deploying our own threats into counterspells. This greatly reduces the number of tempo games we lose when they get a couple of creatures onto the battlefield in the early turns. I still don’t think this makes the matchup great or anything, but we at least now have a fighting chance.

Still, there’s one major hiccup for Temur Adventures: Naya Winota. The matchup is close, don’t get me wrong, but it still feels like you’re on the losing side of the battle. Temur Adventures can have it all, and when it does it’s very difficult for Naya Winota to cobble together a robust offense. Other times though, you just get run over by an early Esika’s Chariot or Winota. To me, that’s the biggest strike against the deck and why I don’t consider it a good enough choice for the weekend.

Circling back to Gruul Adventures for second, I think this deck is a better choice than Temur Adventures. It’s fine against what I consider will be the best decks, but fine isn’t good. Its best matchups are gone, and the targeted hate towards the strategy are known and currently being executed. Because of this, I rank it the fourth-best deck choice you could make.

The Big Three

Naya Adventures is the only “Adventures” deck I think will be a good choice for the weekend. It’s funny because the deck’s currently nowhere on the ladder, and if Logan Nettles doesn’t end up playing it this weekend in the Challenger Gauntlet, very few people will even know it’s a contender. Besides that, I think the other two good choices would be Naya Winota and Dimir Rogues.

I’m not qualified for the Set Championship Qualifier this weekend, but if I were, I know I’d pick Naya Adventures. Now that’s of course a subjective choice; I just love Adventures decks! Objectively, I think the best choice is Dimir Rogues (Lurrus) if you’ve got experience with the deck. If not, I’d either play Paulo’s build of Naya Adventures, or whoever did the best with the deck in this weekend’s Challenger Gauntlet.

Just whatever you do, don’t play Sultai Ramp (Yorion).