Tiamat is a being that is practically synonymous with Dungeons & Dragons. She is the ancient progenitor of the chromatic flights (making her the bona fide mother of dragons), and a deity who commands vast power in the Forgotten Realms. The Church of Tiamat is one of the established faiths in Faerun, and her followers in the Cult of the Dragon are nefarious plotters ever striving to further her dark agenda.

Since Tiamat is the subject for this week’s deckbuilding column, we decided that we had to do things a little different. Rather than simply picking thematically appropriate cards, we’ll be taking this a step further by trying to stick as closely to the events of the Rise of Tiamat hardcover adventure as possible (though some creative liberties must be taken), without busting our budget. If you’re currently playing this adventure, or intend to play it in the future, be warned! There may be spoilers!

At it’s core, this deck is a dragon tribal. In addition to several cards from the latest D&D Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set and Draconic Rage Commander Deck, we’ll be busting out pieces from the Tarkir sets – which had some of the most flavorful, dragon-themed cards ever printed.

Like our Xanathar and Volo lists, we tried to use a pool of cards that D&D fans thinking to get their feet wet might be able to find. The upgrades section expands on this pool, with more power cards from older sets.

Her Draconic Majesty (1)
1x Tiamat

Tiamat tutors for five Dragon cards with different names whenever you cast her. This also means that every time you summon her from her prison lair in Avernus (i.e. the Command Zone), you get to fill your hand with lots of new threats.

Sure, she doesn’t have all the powers of her CR 30 form, but she’s no slouch in the power and toughness department. Her 7/7 body allows her to overwhelm most creatures native to the Forgotten Realms, and she can definitely swing to win if you need to push damage.

The Flights/Dragon Creatures (25)
1x Adult Gold Dragon
1x Amareth, the Lustrous
1x Atarka, World Render
1x Bladewing the Risen
1x Darigaaz Reincarnated
1x Dromoka, the Eternal
1x Green Dragon
1x Hellkite Charger
1x Hellkite Courser
1x Immersturm Predator
1x Intet, the Dreamer
1x Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
1x Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury
1x Lathliss, Dragon Queen
1x Mana-Charged Dragon
1x Prossh, Skyraider of Kher
1x Ryusei, the Falling Star
1x Savage Ventmaw
1x Scion of Draco
1x Scion of the Ur-Dragon
1x Scourge of Valkas
1x Silumgar, the Drifting Death
1x Teneb, the Harvester
1x Thunderbreak Regent
1x White Dragon

In Rise of Tiamat, there are dragons. Lots of them. The characters contend with several throughout the course of the hardcover, and even dragons from the metallic flights (the goodly dragons who are children of big brother Bahamut, with whom Tiamat has some serious sibling rivalry issues) eventually join in the fray.

Since Tiamat is all five colors, we settled on dragons that are impactful, regardless of their color identity. There was only one caveat – they had to be depicted in the art as one of the five colors of Tiamat’s children.

The Adult Gold Dragon, Amareth, the Lustrous and Scion of the Ur-Dragon may aid heroes hoping to thwart Tiamat’s plans, but even they can be cowed by her presence and pressed into service.

Dragon Cultists/Non-Dragon Creatures (5)
1x Dragonlord’s Servant
1x Dragonmaster Outcast
1x Dragonspeaker Shaman
1x Realmwalker
1x Vizier of the Menagerie

The characters are in a race against time to prevent the Cult of the Dragon from summoning Tiamat. Combined with the relics and powerful treasures (read Artifacts) they have amassed, these cultists accelerate the approach of Tiamat or one of her numerous children.

Wearer of the Purple/Planeswalkers (3)
1x Sarkhan Unbroken
1x Sarkhan the Masterless
1x Sarkhan, Fireblood

In Magic: The Gathering lore, the Tarkir planeswalker Sarkhan Vol is a bit of a dragon otaku, which makes him the perfect candidate for leadership in the Cult of the Dragon. All his loyalty abilities either help you ramp into casting a dragon spell, produce dragon tokens, or get you dragons faster, which suits Tiamat’s purpose just fine.

Now, all he needs to do is to change his name to Severin Silrajin, and he’d fit right in!

Tiamat’s Tribute/Artifacts (9)
1x Arcane Signet
1x Commander’s Sphere
1x Dragon’s Hoard
1x Fellwar Stone
1x Gruul Signet
1x Herald’s Horn
1x Icon of Ancestry
1x Orb of Dragonkind
1x Sol Ring

The adventure begins at the sound of the Draakhorn, a gift from Tiamat to her allies during the war between dragons and giants in ages past. In the absence of such a mighty relic, the Herald’s Horn serves in its stead. This set also introduces the Orb of Dragonkind, long a part of D&D lore, which serves to filter mana in the early game, and can be used to find a helpful dragon.

Amassing a veritable Dragon’s Hoard to please the Dragon Queen is all part of the Cult’s plans, and it’s entirely plausible that this stash of treasure includes baubles like the Arcane Signet and Sol Ring.

The Icon of Ancestry can be helpful as a mini anthem that also lets you sink excess mana to dig three deep.

Draconic Magic/Instants & Sorceries (17)
1x Banefire
1x Beast Within
1x Crux of Fate
1x Cultivate
1x Descent of the Dragons
1x Draconic Intervention
1x Dragon’s Fire
1x Earthquake
1x Farseek
1x Klauth’s Will
1x Kodama’s Reach
1x Migration Path
1x Patriarch’s Bidding
1x Red Elemental Blast
1x Return of the Wildspeaker
1x Sarkhan’s Triumph
1x Spit Flame

The ramp spells here reflect how quickly the Cult of the Dragon swept across the Sword Coast, and how, during the events of Rise of Tiamat, they’re still gaining ground. Instants and sorceries like Crux of Fate, Draconic Intervention, and Klauth’s Will can sweep away pesky adventurers, while an Earthquake (which wrecks the location in the final scene) can also lay opponents low.

Banefire is a plausible late game mana sink, Descent of the Dragons can potentially cement Tiamat’s victory under the right conditions, and assuming you have enough dragons in the graveyard, Patriarch’s Bidding (surely the work of Szass Tam of the Red Wizards) can bring them all back at once, potentially resulting in a quick and sudden win.

Setting the Scene/Enchantments (6)
1 Dragon Tempest
1 Frontier Siege
1 Garruk’s Uprising
1 Palace Siege
1 Sarkhan’s Unsealing
1 Temur Ascendancy

Dragon Tempest is a haste enabler that also makes every dragon (including tokens) entering the battlefield ping for damage, as does Sarkhan’s Unsealing. Sarkhan’s Unsealing turns those dragons into a burn that can go face, and every cast of Tiamat into a guaranteed board sweeper.

Frontier Siege and Palace Siege are included for their flexibility (and not just because they’re reminiscent of some parts of the adventure), while Garruk’s Uprising and Temur Ascendancy reward you for going big with card draw.

Cult Territory/Lands (34)
1x Command Tower
1x Evolving Wilds
1x Exotic Orchard
1x Frontier Bivouac
1x Haven of the Spirit Dragon
1x Jungle Shrine
1x Path of Ancestry
1x Savage Lands
6x Snow-Covered Forest
2x Snow-Covered Island
3x Snow-Covered Mountain
2x Snow-Covered Plains
3x Snow-Covered Swamp
1x Temple of the Dragon Queen
1x Temple of the False God
1x Terramorphic Expanse
1x The World Tree
1x Thriving Bluff
1x Thriving Grove
1x Thriving Heath
1x Thriving Isle
1x Thriving Moor
1x Unclaimed Territory

Temple of the Dragon Queen is a flavorful auto-include in this deck, while Path of Ancestry and Unclaimed Territory can help with generating colored mana for your dragon spells. Haven of the Spirit Dragon has some handy utility, and The World Tree can further fix any mana issues. Though the Thriving lands (such as Thriving Isle) come into play tapped, their usefulness cannot be underestimated.

For Cult Sponsors (Deck Upgrades)
1x Cavern of Souls
1x Chromatic Lantern
1x Descendants’ Path
1x Dragonlord Dromoka
1x Dragonlord Kolaghan
1x Dragonlord Ojutai
1x Dragonlord Silumgar
1x Ebondeath, Dracolich
1x Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge
1x Fabled Passage
1x Fist of Suns
1x Goldspan Dragon
1x Haunting Voyage
1x Hellkite Tyrant
1x Heroic Intervention
1x Ignoble Hierarch
1x Indatha Triome
1x Iymrith, Desert Doom
1x Ketria Triome
1x Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient
1x Morophon, the Boundless
1x Old Gnawbone
1x Ramos, Dragon Engine
1x Reflections of Littjara
1x Rhythm of the Wild
1x Scalelord Reckoner
1x Skyline Despot
1x Smothering Tithe
1x Steely Resolve
1x Terror of the Peaks
1x Urza’s Incubator
1x Utvara Hellkite
1x Vanquisher’s Banner
1x Vivien, Champion of the Wilds
1x Zagoth Triome

Unsurprisingly, enhancing the deck means getting your hands on nastier dragons that can synergize with the deck (and some would be cultists that can support them).

Fist of Suns and Morophon are one way to make Tiamat and her brood cost practically nothing, Cavern of Souls can help make your dragons uncounterable, and better real estate like the Triomes (or shocks and fetches) can beef up consistency where mana is concerned.

Descendant’s Path and The Prismatic Bridge can get more dragons on the table quickly, Reflections of Littjara lets you make additional dragons (some of which no doubt possess enter the battlefield effects), and Steely Resolve can keep those dragons protected.

And there you have it! We hope you enjoyed this deck idea as much as we did brewing it for you. If you decide to build this deck, be sure to let us know how you fare at the card table!

The Dungeons & Dragons Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set for Magic: The Gathering is currently available at your favorite local game store! If you’re a D&D fan who’s always wanted to get into spell slinging, you can snag some packs by checking out the link!

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