Last updated on June 27, 2022

Improvised Weaponry - Illustration by Alix Branwyn

Improvised Weaponry | Illustration by Alix Branwyn

I love it when two of my favorite things come together to make one awesome, epic fantasy baby. D&D and Magic go together like peanut butter and chocolate. They’re sort of the perfect pair. I’d say they’re my OTP (one true pairing), but that sort of feels like I’m taking this metaphor to a weird place, so I’m just gonna move on instead.

With a few really cool D&D-themed Magic sets finally joining the Multiverse, I think it’s about time we talked about them. All about them. And not just them; let’s talk D&D and Magic, together, now and forever.

Without further ado, I think it’s time to dive right in and see just how perfect these two fantasy worlds really are for each other. Onward!

How Many D&D Magic Sets Are There?

Split the Party - Illustration by Zoltan Boros

Split the Party | Illustration by Zoltan Boros

There are currently three D&D sets in Magic. The first is the Standard set D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. The second was a foray into Commander with Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate. And the third is a digital-only Alchemy set called Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate.

List of D&D Sets

D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms

Forgotten Realms was Magic’s first D&D crossover set. It was released on July 23, 2021 and replaced its rotation’s core set. Which was sort of fitting since core sets don’t contribute to Magic’s overall storyline (among other special characteristics), and neither does AFR.

As the name of the set and its premise would suggest, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms’ story and lore are set in the Forgotten Realms, D&D’s own multiverse. AFR focuses on the Prime Material Plane and Faerûn since they’re the most well-known and commonly referenced settings in D&D. There are references all over the place in this set, from video games like Neverwinter Nights and Baldur’s Gate to classic D&D spells featured on their very own cards to all the D&D items like Thieves’ Tools and +2 Mace.

And then you get to the D&D-themed mechanics in the set. It wouldn’t be a Dungeons & Dragons set without, well, dungeons and dragons. We got the venture mechanic that lets you literally explore a handful of new dungeon cards, plus some epic dragon cards like Icingdeath, Frost Tyrant. Then there’s the new class enchantment type, which offers us 12 cool new cards representing each of D&D’s base classes like Warlock Class, along with a leveling system. And of course you can’t leave out the RPG tabletop staple, rolling dice! Power of Persuasion, anyone?

The set’s basic lands all featured flavor text narrated as if from a DM, and the Mere of Dead Men (most known to me thanks to Neverwinter Nights 2) was mentioned on one of the Swamps. But if you’re a big D&D fan you were also probably excited to see Mind Flayer, Devour Intellect, and Improvised Weaponry. There’s also the classic Potion of Healing and Bag of Holding. Who could ever forget the Bag of Holding?

D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms bundle

Now, onto Forgotten Realms’ products. This was a Standard set, so you can get everything you’d usually expect. There are set boosters, draft boosters, collector boosters, and theme boosters along with the prerelease pack, the AFR bundle, and the gift bundle. And if you’re more of a Commander player, the set also released with four epic Commander precons themed around dungeons, dragons, enchantments/equipment, and warlocks.

Magic: The Gathering Adventures in The Forgotten Realms Bundle | 10 Draft Boosters (150 Magic Cards) + Accessories
  • 10 Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (AFR) Magic: The Gathering Draft Boosters
  • 1 foil alt-art promo card—Treasure Chest
  • 3 oversized dungeon cards
  • 40 basic land cards (20 foil plus 20 nonfoil)
  • Oversized d20 and MTG card storage box

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate

If Commander is more your game, then you might be more interested in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate. This is the second in the Commander Legends product line, released on June 10, 2022.

The story for this set takes place in the city of Baldur’s Gate, one of D&D’s other most well-known and iconic settings, located on Faerûn’s Sword Coast. The story is simple enough: the city is under attack by the evil forces of Avernus, which is the first layer of the Nine Hells. The invading army is led by Bhaal, Lord of Murder, Myrkul, Lord of Bones, and Bane, Lord of Darkness.

Undercity dungeon

We got quite a few really interesting new mechanics with this set. My favorite has to be another new enchantment type: backgrounds. These boost your commander creatures and can act as a second commander similar to the partner mechanic. Then there’s initiative, which is an addition to the venture/dungeon mechanic that allows you to venture into the Undercity during your upkeep when you have it. There are also three returning mechanics: party, myriad, and adventure.

And then there are the awesome D&D characters and references in the set. My favorite is without a doubt Tasha, the Witch Queen. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is an iconic spell in D&D, and I absolutely love having the opportunity to play the Witch Queen herself as my commander. There are also some more epic dragons, because it wouldn’t be a D&D set without something like Ancient Gold Dragon.

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate bundle

And what would a Magic set be without products? Battle for Baldur’s Gate came with draft boosters, set boosters, and collector boosters on top of the prerelease packs and the bundle. And of course there are the four EDH precons: Party Time, Mind Flayarrrs, Draconic Descent, and Exit from Exile.

Magic: The Gathering Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate Bundle | 8 Set Boosters + Accessories
  • 8 Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate MTG Set Boosters
  • 1 foil alt-art promo card—Wand of Wonder
  • 40 basic land cards (20 foil + 20 nonfoil)
  • Spindown life counter + card storage box
  • Open a box full of epic MTG Commander cards and accessories from the world of D&D

Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate

There’s not a whole lot of info out there for Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate yet, and we likely won’t get much until the set actually drops on July 7, 2022. This is a digital-only set, which means it’ll only be available on MTG Arena.

This set is also set in Baldur’s Gate and is the first full-fledged set for Alchemy where the previous ones acted more as supplemental sets. But the first Alchemy Horizons set contains more than 250 cards and is designed as a full drafting experience with event queues just like regular Standard set releases. It’ll also have its own Mastery Pass.

We’ll likely see some returning Alchemy mechanics in this set, like conjure, perpetually, and seek, among some from Battle for Baldur’s Gate. And who knows, maybe Alchemy Horizons has a few tricks of its own up its sleeve since it features over 250 cards. We’ll just have to wait and see what this digital-only set has in store for Arena players.

Other Magic D&D References

There are quite a few references to D&D sprinkled throughout Magic’s history. But that’s to be expected, isn’t it? They’re both old and incredibly popular games typically associated with nerd culture. They run in the same circles, so to speak.

So let’s take a look down Magic memory lane and check out some of the D&D references that have been thrown in over the years.

The Party Mechanic

The party mechanic, originally introduced in 2020’s Zendikar Rising, is the most recent example of a D&D reference outside of a D&D/Magic crossover product. This mechanic spans quite a few cards and offers bonuses, abilities, and unique effects when you have a “full party” i.e., when you control four different creatures with each of four D&D classes: cleric, rogue, warrior, and wizard.

While most party cards were printed in Zendikar Rising, like Strength of Solidarity, they’ve also shown up in a handful of other sets. The Alchemy sets use the party mechanic, like on Angel of Unity, and of course there’s Nalia de’Arnise from Battle for Baldur’s Gate.

The Adventure Mechanic

Okay, so the adventure mechanic isn’t really a D&D reference, but it sort of is? I mean, if you tilt your head and squint your eyes a bit. Let me explain.

Adventure cards were introduced in Throne of Eldraine in 2019. These cards are one-sided but have two spells; the “main” spell is a creature, while the secondary adventure spell is an instant or a sorcery. You can either cast the creature, or you can cast the adventure spell. If you cast the creature then it resolves and acts as a regular creature. But if you cast the adventure spell, the card is exiled when it resolves and then you can cast the creature from exile after.

Now, this isn’t inherently related to D&D and it’s not a straight reference. The mechanic was clearly originally created to be more fairytale-themed considering the set’s flavor, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s just as thematically relevant to D&D. Heck, Wizards reused the mechanic in Battle for Baldur’s Gate on cards like Ghost Lantern and Ettercap for that exact reason!

So while adventure cards weren’t made as a D&D reference to start, they definitely have the flavor for it.

Cards

There are plenty of cards in Magic’s history that sport incredibly obvious D&D references. And there are some that are less obvious. Heck, there are even cards that reference a D&D game that the designers played (I’ll get to that).

It’s time to check out some cards that sport some sick references to one of the most popular tabletop RPGs in existence.

The Legends

I’m not going to list them all because there are 56 of them, but all of the legendary creatures from the Legends set were based on characters that the designers made for a D&D game of their own. My personal favorites are Xira Arien, Ramirez DePietro, and Jasmine Boreal.

There are some really interesting cards among these legends that probably made for awesome D&D characters. I’m sort of dying to know the story for some of them…

Un-set Cards

There are two Un-set cards that are clear references to D&D. First you have the Sword of Dungeons & Dragons from Unsanctioned that gave us the totally objective best sword in the game. Then you have Enter the Dungeon, also from Unsanctioned, that has you play a little minigame of Magic to get some sweet, sweet card advantage.

Dungeon Master

Dungeon Master

The Dungeon Master is a card that was created in 2018 as part of Wizards’ Heroes of the Realm, a program where employees were gifted with unique cards as a token of appreciation.

The character depicted on the card is actually a reference to a character that was also called the “Dungeon Master” from the cartoon Dungeons & Dragons, which aired from 1983 to 1985. Only four copies of the card were ever printed.

D&D Lore

There are plenty of D&D spells, items, characters, and even iconic locations that pop up on Magic cards. I’ve scoured the internet to find as many as I could that were originally printed in non-D&D sets. Here’s what I found:

Other Crossovers

D&D Sourcebooks

There are some other crossovers between D&D and Magic, this time in the big wide world of D&D. The tabletop RPG has three Magic-themed sourcebooks. Let’s take a look at them!

Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica

Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica sourcebook

Explore a worldwide cityscape filled to the brim with adventure and intrigue in this campaign setting for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Source

The Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica sourcebook lets you explore one of Magic’s most popular and iconic planes in your next D&D adventure. For character creation, it offers eight races themed around the guilds of Ravnica along with a new cleric and druid subclass. If you’ve ever wanted to explore the 10 Ravnican guilds in D&D, now’s your chance!

The sourcebook also covers the cityscape itself, walking you through The Tenth District and what you can expect to find there. There’s also the typical chapter on creating adventures in the setting, as well as a chapter going over the treasures you can expect to find in a campaign set in the sprawling Ravnica cityscape. And finally you have the creatures and NPCs you can expect to run into, sorted by guild.

If Ravnica is your favorite plane in MTG and you’re looking for a cool new setting for your next D&D campaign, consider the Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica.

Sale
Dungeons & Dragons Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica (D&D/Magic: The Gathering Adventure Book and Campaign Setting)
  • Officially Licensed
  • Explore The World of Magic: The Gathering
  • Run a Ready-Made Adventure for Level 1 Characters
  • Enrich your D&D game with 5 new races plus 2 new subclasses, 78 new monsters, and 17 new magic items
  • Hardcover

Mythic Odysseys of Theros

Mythic Odysseys of Theros sourcebook

Clash with the gods of Theros in this campaign sourcebook for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Source

Now this sourcebook is my style. Mythic Odysseys of Theros takes you on a journey through the plane of Theros, where gods and mythological creatures run wild. There are some awesome character creation additions that I’m in love with, including races like centaur, minotaur, and satyr, a new bard and paladin subclass, and supernatural gifts (my favorite).

The sourcebook also covers the gods of Theros and its realms. And just like every other D&D sourcebook, Mythic Odysseys of Theros goes over how to create an adventure in the setting, the treasures you can find, and the creatures and NPCs you’ll encounter.

But my favorite part of this sourcebook is the maps of Theros at the end of the book. Maps!

Sale
Dungeons & Dragons Mythic Odysseys of Theros (D&D Campaign Setting and Adventure Book)
  • Introducing supernatural gifts — abilities that set your character apart from the common throng. Mechanically similar to character races, each one gives your character a variety of traits.
  • Select one of the new races for your character — such mythic peoples as the leonin or a satyr.
  • New subclasses include the Bard’s College of Eloquence, masters of oratory; and the Paladin’s Oath of Heroism, an affirmation of destiny laid out for you by divine providence.
  • Encounter mythic monsters, creatures whose power and renown are such that their names are truly living myths. More than simply legendary, these creatures have abilities that will create a challenge fit for the gods.
  • Hardcover Book

Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos

Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos sourcebook

Rollicking campus adventures for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Source

Ah, Strixhaven. The magical school for spellcasters sorted into colleges based on how they practice their craft. The Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos sourcebook is a bit lighter when it comes to character creation with just one new race, but you also get to pick your college, a Strixhaven background, some new feats, spells, and magic items. I really love the chapter on Life in Strixhaven, mostly because I’m an absolute lore goblin.

This sourcebook is a bit different than the other two, with three adventures for you to run instead of just going over the setting. You’ve also got the creatures and NPCs local to Strixhaven, and hey, look! More maps!

Sale
Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos (D&D/MTG Adventure Book) (Dungeons & Dragons)
  • Includes four brand new D&D adventures that can be played as stand-alones or woven together as a campaign from levels 1–10
  • Hardcover Book
  • Wizards RPG Team (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages – 12/07/2021 (Publication Date) – Wizards of the Coast (Publisher)

Unearthed Arcana: Mages of Strixhaven

WotC also released a free Unearthed Arcana book prior to Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos’ final release. Unearthed Arcana is a series of free online playtest supplements that are released with to-be-finalized mechanics, rules, and features for fans to try out and provide feedback on. The Mages of Strixhaven Unearthed Arcana features Strixhaven’s five colleges as subclasses.

While it’s well passed the time for you to playtest these subclasses and offer feedback that would impact the sourcebook, you can still download this Unearthed Arcana if you’re curious to see where these five subclasses started out and what changed between this playtest booklet and the final thing.

D&D Plane Shift

D&D also got a series of free online supplements (small booklets of info and rules covering a specific setting) for Zendikar, Innistrad, Kaladesh, Amonkhet, Ixalan, and Dominaria along with the three sourcebooks. These digital booklets go over some basic rules for each plane for D&D 5th edition.

There was also an adventure set on the plane of Ixalan included in the series: X MARKS THE SPOT.

A prison escape for an unlikely group of heroes turns into a race for an ancient relic sought by the Legion of Dusk. Can you brave the unknown and capture the treasure before the enemy does?

X MARKS THE SPOT A Plane Shift: Ixalan Adventure

D&D Miniatures

WizKids released several sets of miniatures for D&D following two of the D&D sourcebooks’ release as well as the Forgotten Realms Magic set. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

D&D Icons of the Realms: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica

D&D Icons of the Realms: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica

The first line of D&D miniatures in the D&D Icons of the Realms product series is for the Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica. It was originally released in November 2018 but is an ongoing line that currently features 55 painted minis for the D&D Ravnica setting.

WizKids D&D Icons of The Realms: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica Companion Starter One, Set
  • Bring these wonderfully detailed miniatures to your next Dungeons & Dragons session and enjoy the envy of all your fellow adventurers!
  • The D&D Icons of the Realms: Set 10 Companion Starter One includes five fantasy miniatures for use with the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game Starter Set.
  • WizKids Games, the industry leader in quality pre-painted plastic miniatures, is pleased to bring the heroes, villains, and monsters of Dungeons & Dragons to life in this latest fantasy miniatures series!
  • Players can combine this with the Guild Masters’ Guide to Ravnica Companion Starter Set Two

D&D Icons of the Realms: Mythic Odysseys of Theros

D&D Icons of the Realms: Mythic Odysseys of Theros

Next up is the line of minis for Mythic Odysseys of Theros. Just like the previous D&D Icons of the Realms set, this is also an ongoing product line. It was first released in August 2020 and currently features 46 painted minis for the D&D Theros setting.

Dungeons & Dragons Icons of The Realms: Mythic Odysseys of Theros (Booster), 4 Figures
  • Legends walk the lands of Theros, a realm shaped by deities and the deeds of heroes. From the temples of omen-speaking oracles to the five realms of the Underworld, the champions of the gods vie for immortal favor and a place among the world’s living myths.
  • Where will destiny and immortal schemes lead you? And what tales will you leave behind, celebrated in the pantheon of myths and writ among the eternal stars?
  • Standard Boosters each contain four figures total: 1 Large or Huge figure and 3 Medium or Small figures.
  • Theros’ mightiest heroes also make an appearance, including Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Taranika, Regent of Akros.
  • Collect all 45 figures from Mythic Odysseys of Theros, the latest set of randomly sorted heroes and monsters in our exciting line of D&D miniatures, Icons of the Realms.

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms miniatures

Another line of painted minis, the MTG Miniatures: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms series was released in February 2022. It features 11 miniatures including the iconic Drizzt Do’Urden, Bruenor Battlehammer, and Ellywick Tumblestrum.

Sale
Magic: The Gathering Miniatures: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms – Companions of the Hall Starter
  • Companions of the Hall Starter contains: Drizzt Do’urden Catti-brie Wulfgar Bruenor Guenhwyvar
  • Pre-Painted Miniatures
  • Collect the whole series!

Unpainted Miniatures

MTG unpainted miniatures

Finally, you have a whole swath of unpainted minis if you’re the artistic type. The line was originally released in December 2020 while several new waves were released following MTG sets like Kaldheim and Midnight Hunt.

WizKids MTG Magic The Gathering Unpainted Minis Figures Wave 14 Quick-Pick
  • The Magic the Gathering Unpainted is a new addition to our Unpainted Miniatures
  • Contains 1 copy of every Magic the Gathering Unpainted single
  • Great gift for the avid miniature painter
  • Premium Plastic Construction
  • Ages 14+

MTG Secret Lairs

Saturday Morning D&D

Saturday Morning D&D

The first D&D-themed Secret Lair drop was part of the Secret Lair Drop Series: All-Natural, Totally Refreshing Superdrop which was released in June 2021. Secret Lair: Saturday Morning D&D features six cards with alternate art by Tyler Walpole.

Stranger Things

Secret Lair x Stranger Things

Next up is Secret Lair x Stranger Things, which was part of the Secret Lair Drop Series: October Superdrop released in October to November 2021. This drop comes with eight cards of characters from the Stranger Things TV series as well as a new Clue token.

Why Magic and D&D Together?

Magic and D&D actually go great together! They’re both fantasy-based settings with a lot of similar themes and story threads. I mean, Magic’s lore focuses on planeswalkers exploring the Multiverse and protecting it from big bads like Eldrazi and Phyrexians. D&D campaigns are (very often) all about powerful characters that take on evil doers to save the world, or at the very least a town or city, from destruction.

Magic is set in a Multiverse with many different planes with their own unique creatures, landscapes, and histories. D&D is set in a multiverse with many different planes with their own… you get my point. Both properties have very similar lore, even if the specifics of each have unique and interesting spins on everything.

Future D&D Releases

While there are no concrete plans for future D&D sets so far, I’m sure that we’ll see another D&D Magic set someday. D&D is incredibly popular and there’s definitely a pretty big overlap between the two fanbases, which means heavy profits for Wizards. And it helps that Hasbro owns both, so there’s no sticky legal hoops to jump through to borrow licensing for one or the other.

Bottom line: I’m, like, 99.9999% sure that we’ll see another D&D-themed Magic set in the future.

Is Magic Originally Based on D&D?

Before I get into the details, long story short: no, Magic wasn’t originally based on D&D. While the two definitely have a lot of similar lore and story beats and the same fantasy-based setting, they were each born independently.

D&D was originally created in 1974 while Magic started in 1993. The tabletop RPG has almost 20 years on the trading card game so there was definitely some inspiration going on. After all, I already covered all of the D&D references that have been sprinkled throughout MTG since Legends.

Is D&D Canon to MTG?

D&D lore is not canon to MTG lore. The two are still completely separate properties, even if they do bleed into each other from time to time.

The D&D sets (Forgotten Realms, Battle for Baldur’s Gate, and Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate) may have stories attached to them, but those stories aren’t canon in MTG’s lore. And the iconic D&D characters featured in the sets don’t canonically exist in Magic’s lore.

Are D&D Sets Standard Legal?

The premium D&D set, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, is Standard-legal, but the other two D&D sets are not. Battle for Baldur’s Gate is a Commander-focused product that’s legal in Commander, Vintage, and Legacy, while Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate is an Alchemy set that’s only legal in Alchemy and Historic formats.

Wrap Up

Baldur's Gate - Illustration by Titus Lunter

Baldur’s Gate | Illustration by Titus Lunter

And that’s everything there is to know about D&D sets, crossovers, and references in Magic. There’s a long history between these two properties and I’m super excited to see what the future brings between these two, both in Magic’s world and in D&D’s.

But what about you? Which is your favorite D&D-themed Magic set? Or, if you’re more of a D&D player, what’s your favorite Magic-themed D&D product? I’m partial to Mythic Odysseys of Theros, but that’s just me. Feel free to let me know all of your opinions in the comments down below, or tweet at us using the hashtag #MTGDnD.

All right, I think I’m about done for now. I’m off to brew a ridiculously overpowered satyr hero that will be the bane of my next DM’s existence. My fondest farewells!

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