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Welcome to the Dungeon

Dungeons are a new card type introduced in the set Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and they are basically a way to track the Venture into the Dungeon ability. When an ability tells you to "venture into the dungeon" if you are not already in a dungeon, you place a dungeon card into the command zone and enter the first room then do what it says. Each venture after that moves you into the next room. If there is a fork, you choose which room to enter. Once you enter the last room and resolve the effect, the dungeon is removed from the command zone, triggering a completion of a dungeon.

Our dungeon master is Sefris of the Hidden Ways This necromancer has two abilites:

  1. Whenever one or more creature cards are put into your graveyard from anywhere, venture into the dungeon. This ability triggers only once each turn. (Enter the first room or advance to the next room.)
  2. Create Undead — Whenever you complete a dungeon, return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield.

The first ability is obviously necessary to trigger the second ability which is the payoff. There's a couple of caveats with this ability. First it specifically only triggers when creature cards hit the graveyard, so no token strategies here. However it triggers when a creature hits the yard from anywhere including from the hand or library. The workaround is that it only triggers once per turn. While that can be rather limiting at first glance, there are a few ways we can get multiple triggers:

  1. Reset Sefris through bounce, flicker, or reanimation
  2. Copy our commander to double the number of times the ability triggers from one creature
  3. Trigger the ability on our opponents' turns

This deck will use a little bit of the first method but will mostly be focusing on the latter two. With this in mind we have a few options to trigger a dungeon venture on opponents' turns:

  1. Sac outlets
  2. Discard effects
  3. Mill

With multiple options to have creatures hit the graveyard and trigger Sefris' first ability, there are several ways to build around her. I've chosen to incorporate a litte of everything, but you can devote the deck to one style or another. I've chosen to take a mostly aristocrats approach as I feel cycling, while a great way to trigger Sefris at instant speed, would require a different set of support cards than aristocrats which is the route I've chosen for this deck.

To ensure our gameplan runs smoothly, we are going to want to venture into the dungeon as many times as possible. To do this we need to run ways to trigger Sefris on each turn as well as a package of other cards that will venture into the dungeon.

Aristocrats

Obviously sacrificing creatures on opponents' turns is a great way to trigger Sefris and get through a dungeon by our next turn. For this we'll need sac outlets like Phyrexian Altar or Ashnod's Altar or especially Viscera Seer who is a sac outlet that can be reanimated. In addition we'll want to run creatures that can be brought back consistently since Sefris doesn't trigger on tokens. Creatures like Nether Traitor and Bloodghast are perfect for this. In addition to aristocrats, we can run cards with cycling such as Angel of the Ruins since we can cycle on our opponents' turns. We can also run discard effects like Teferi, Master of Time and Liliana, Defiant Necromancer. I find these strategies are best as support to the overall sacrifice theme, so I've elected to only run a few of these. They can be used as the main way to trigger Sefris, though.

Copying Triggers

While we could bounce or flicker our commander to reset it, I have found it much more efficient to just make a copy so that we get multiple ventures off one creature and multiple Create Undead triggers when we complete a dungeon. For this reason Sakashima of a Thousand Faces and Spark Double are here to become Sefris and accelerate our way through the dungeons.

Adventuring Package

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms brought several new cards with the venture mechanic. We only want to run the most efficient or repeateable ones so we have room for our reanimator strategy. The ones I find the most useful are repeatable with an etb trigger and/or an attack trigger.

Acererak, Barrowin, Nadaar, and Solar all venture on etb with Solar triggering anytime any other creature enters. They all have other effects to make them more than cantrips, though. Acererak is repeatable as long as we haven't completed Tomb of Annihilation, Barrowin can reanimate, Nadaar triggers on attack, and Solar triggers for other creatures and is able to discard itself to venture and then be reanimated later. Triumphant Adventurer triggers on attack and is a great early game card to get the ball rolling, and Midnight Pathlighter can trigger up to 3 ventures per combat which is not unrealistic due to the evasion he provides.

with only 3 choices, we don't have a lot of options for dungeons. For this deck we'll mostly only be completing Lost Mine of Phandelver.

The reason for this is because it only takes 4 ventures to complete the dungeon and trigger Sefris' Create Undead. Yes, we can complete Tomb of Annihilation in 3 if we wanted, but we'd have to sacrifice more than we'd like and then wouldn't be able to abuse Acererak the Archlich. Lost Mines of Phandelver also has good value with scrying, treasure tokens, and card draw.
We are a reanimator deck, and as such we need to fill the graveyard with stuff to reanimate if completing dungeons is going to do any good. Self-mill cards, surveil, and dredge are good ways to dump our library and are all included in our self-mill package.

The great thing about this strategy is that milling a creature can also trigger Sefris and venture into the dungeon.

The main goal is to complete as many dungeons as possible and get as many Sefris reanimate triggers as we can, but that doesn't mean our commander should be our only source of reanimation. We want to have a solid reanimation package to consistently pull things from the yard.

Obviously a reanimator deck needs targets to reanimate. Usually these are going to be creatures with absurd mana costs with powerful effects. This section is rather malleable and can be whatever you want. Cards like Razaketh, the Foulblooded and Vilis, Broker of Blood make great targets, but I found myself reanimating so often in testing that I wanted to bring some value and control to the table.

With all this venturing into the dungeon and reanimating big creatures, there are also a few ways to venture into the dungeon infinitely.

KarmicLark

Karmic Guide and Reveillark make an infinite sac loop because they can keep bringing each other back along with all creatures power 2 or less thanks to Reveillark targetting two creatures each time it leaves the battlefield. With this loop we can ensure we venture on each opponent's turn but can also venture into the dungeon infinitely with Radiant Solar. This results in a win if we go through the Dark Pool room in Lost Mine of Phandelver each time. KarmicLark also has the ability to mill opponents out with Altar of Dementia and kill the table with Syr Konrad, the Grim.

Omniscient Acererak

If we can get Omniscience into play (thank you, Academy Rector!) then we can cast Acererak the Archlich for free. As long as we haven't completed Tomb of Annihilation, he returns to hand. That means we can play and bounce him infinitely and venture through either of the other two dungeons forever. This drains the table through Dark Pool or allows us to cast our whole deck with Dungeon of the Mad Mage.

Adventuring Party

This one is a six card combo and requires us to trigger a completion of a dungeon to get it started, but it is possible to organically run into it. I thought it was funny, so I'm including it here anyway.

Cards needed for the combo:

  • Sefris of the Hidden Ways
  • Sakashima of a Thousand Faces or Spark Double
  • Radiant Solar
  • Two creatures who trigger a venture into the dungeon on etb
  • A sac outlet
    To trigger this combo, we need to venture into the final room of a dungeon. For the combo, we'll be completing Lost Mine of Phandelver.
    1. With the last room's ability on the stack, we're going to sacrifice our two etb venture creatures.
    2. Once we complete the dungeon, both Sefris and copy have Create Undead triggers. Bring back both etb venture triggers.
    3. Both of these triggers go onto the stack as well two triggers from Radiant Solar. This gets us from the beginning to the final room of our dungeon.
    4. Repeat from step 1.
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