Adventurous Impulse is a one-mana Sorcery card from Magic the Gathering’s Dominaria set. This card would be reprinted in the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set, Therefore, it’s been present in multiple Standard formats, and it’s been useful in both of them. Adventurous Impulse would also appear as a Mystical Archive in the Strixhaven set, but this subset was not Standard legal.
On first glance, Adventurous Impulse looks to have a very similar effect to Seek the Wilds, a two-mana Sorcery card from the Battle for Zendikar set. Whereas Seek the Wilds let you look at four cards to find a land or creature card to add to your hand, Adventurous Impulse only lets you look at three. But, the major difference between the two cards is the mana cost.
Card selection is one of the most important effects on a card you can have in Magic: the Gathering. While picking between three cards is obviously not as good as four cards, being able to play Adventurous Impulse on turn one gives you a definite advantage over the player who has to spend turn two playing Seek the Wilds. Adventurous Impulse is far better for overall tempo, something that’s not only important in Standard, but other formats, too.
The tempo advantage that Adventurous Impulse provides would seem especially important in the common-only Pauper format. As an Eternal format with a deep card pool, even a format of commons has a certain power level at which cards can break into the format. Grabbing a land or creature on turn one, even if it’s not the best one, is a strong play. Even better, this card is really good at any point in the game, as you never mind digging through three cards for that low of a cost.
Adventurous Impulse would prove particularly strong in Green and White creature-based Pauper decks. Particularly, Adventurous Impulse became a staple in Green/White Slivers. Unfortunately, while it the first competitive deck in the format to feature playing four copies of the card, it was also the last.
However, Adventurous Impulse would be a much bigger hit in Standard. The first Standard-legal tournament deck to widely adopt Adventurous Impulse was Black/Green Constrictor, This deck was built around the namesake Winding Constrictor, Walking Ballista, and Verdurous Gearhulk. Fixing your mana early and adding one of your key creatures to your hand was easily worth paying a single Green mana, and this sorcery was an important part of the deck’s consistency.
Adventurous Impulse even saw some play in Amulet Titan decks in Modern, also known as “Bloomless Titan” since the banning of Summer Bloom in the format. Adventurous Impulse was played at two or three copies in some of these Bloomless Titan decks recently as 2021, although it didn’t remain a staple for the deck afterwards.
Still, while a mere common, Adventurous Impulse was been a top 3 selling card on TCGPlayer in the past. Notably, it was a top seller during two entirely separate Standard formats. This included Dominaria’s entire time in Standard from April 2018 to September 2019, then again with the release of Ikoria in April 2020 to that set’s exit from Standard in June 2021. It became a staple in the aforementioned Black Green Constrictor deck, as well as Mono-Green decks in 2018 through 2020, and later in Naya Aggro and Temur Adventure decks from 2020 to 2021.
While Adventurous Impulse never quite became a staple in any other format, it’s proven capable in ramp decks in Commander. While not a staple by any means, many budget conscious decks play this sorcery as a cheap, but efficient turn one ramp play. Adventurous Impulse is one of the better commons of the Dominaria set and the Ikoria set, and something to keep copies of in your collection.