D&D: Icons of the Realms Tabletop Miniatures (2021 Series) Review Impressions


While the return to in-person TRPG sessions may be taking longer than many of us would like, there are still plenty of great accessories being produced for both Dungeon/Game Masters and the players at their table. If your group uses miniatures, odds are you’ve at least eyeballed some of the pre-painted figures available, in lieu of spending the considerable time and effort it takes to assemble and paint custom minis.

If your table plays D&D, this would be WizKids’ Icons of the Realms series – a collection inspired by adventures and stories set in the default Forgotten Realms setting. The sets aren’t limited to just FR games, of course, as plenty of monsters appear in other official realms and the only real limit of these creatures and characters is your own imagination.

That said, there’s a lot to consider when weighing the decision to invest in a collection of tabletop miniatures, and while the WizKids series mostly delivers on many fronts, there are also some drawbacks to taking the pre-painted path.

Overall Impressions (so far)

WizKids’ Icons of the Realms pre-painted D&D minis are a great option for players who may not have the time or desire to paint miniatures for themselves but still want to use them at their table. The 2021 sets include some of the most detailed models to date, though there are definitely some that will be more useful to invest in if you’re playing one of the official adventure modules rather than building a general collection of minis.

The 2021 sets include some of the most detailed models to date.

The biggest downside to WizKids’ pre-painted series is the blind-box sales model. While each pack contains a good variety of miniatures, and there’s no small amount of satisfaction in opening a pack to find you’ve added a particularly cool mini to your collection, if you’re looking for one specific pre-painted mini – say, the Displacer Beast Kitten or horrifying Elder Ooblex – the lack of a direct purchase option* can be frustrating (and expensive).

That said, the cost of each booster box, which typically contains four figures (three of them being Small or Medium-sized and then a Large mini, though this is sometimes two Small/Medium and one Huge) averages out to a little more than what you would pay for the same number of Medium-sized minis. And not only would you still have to paint those yourself – the variety of the Icons series is typically broader than the Nolzor’s line, if slightly less detailed in their sculpts.

Ultimately it comes down to how you want to delegate your hobby resources.

There are also more general creature minis available in smaller sets, from 2019’s Village Raiders (a collection of orcs, goblins and other nasties that might prey upon hapless farmsteaders) and hero starter sets, to the still-releasing Warband series, which include Orcs, Goblins and more. While some of this year’s sets are still highly versatile, players looking for a more generalist collection may also want to check out earlier sets, like 2020’s Fangs and Talons or the Dungeon of the Mad Mage.

Icons of the Realms: Dungeon of the Mad Mage Complete Set Gallery

Ultimately it comes down to how you want to delegate your hobby resources. There are some minis in my collection that I’ll insist on painting myself, but other times I’m just as happy to open a pack and see what shakes out. I know that while I may not love every mini that drops in each booster and the paint job likely won’t be as precise as if I’d done it myself, but for the time it saves me to not have to detail every Kobold or bandit, I’m willing to risk getting a few random creatures in the mix, too – maybe it’ll even give me a new idea for our next campaign.

Scroll down to get a look at what’s included in each series, as well as our review impressions of each set we’ve seen so far, and come back later this year for our thoughts on the next set, Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft.

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight (Q4 2021)

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is a Fey-themed adventure, so it’s not surprising to see this set mostly comprised of more whimsical creatures.

D&D: Icons of the Realms – The Wild Beyond the Witchlight by WizKids

Among the figures you might find in each booster box are Giant Snails, sentient mushrooms, and several variations on classic faerie folk (pixies, sprites, boggles, etc), all of which make for a smartly assembled roster of figures for any GM about to send their players into the Feywild. There are also a handful of Witchlight-specific characters to find in the set, though most of them could feasibly double as any number of creatures or characters – or even player character figures – in another adventure.

From left to right: Will of the Feywild, the Hag Skabatha Nightshade, and the archfey Zyblina.

From left to right: Will of the Feywild, the Hag Skabatha Nightshade, and the archfey Zyblina.

As with other entries in this year’s lineup, the Witchlight set shows yet another incremental step forward for the mold quality and paint job on each miniature, particularly on some of its humanoid characters. While every figure is hand-painted, meaning the elven acrobats Gleam & Glister in our sample packs will likely not match yours 100%, there was little discrepancy in the quality of the duplicate figures we collected.

The League of Malevolence starter set.

The League of Malevolence starter set.

The detail work on the premium figure sets is particularly good – the Witchlight Carnival set (which is admittedly very catered to the titular adventure) especially so, but the Valor’s Call and League of Malevolence starter sets also do justice to the classic D&D characters they’re based on.


The second Icons of the Realms set of 2021 provides a variety of (mostly) ice-themed figures, from polar bears to snow golems or the huge-sized premium mammoth and frost giant set.

D&D Icons of the Realms: Snowbound – WizKids Miniature Set Unboxed

There are also several inclusions (like gargoyles, frog-like Bullywugs, or the demonic Cambion) that seem a bit out of sorts from the “Snowbound” theme. Many of the more incongruous creatures in this set might be familiar to players who’ve run last year’s Rime of the Frostmaiden or are intimately familiar with the lore of the norther reaches of the Forgotten Realms, D&D’s default setting – which, considering the “Icons of the Realms” banner, definitely make sense – but if you’re looking to expand a more general collection of snow monsters, it can be disappointing to find a fairly plain Hill Giant in your booster pack.

From left to right: the Cambion, Verbeeg, and Duergar Hammerer.

From left to right: the Cambion, Verbeeg, and Duergar Hammerer.

The quality of the designs themselves – particularly on models like the Verbeeg or the delightfully grotesque Duergar Hammerer (whose hands have been replaced with blacksmith’s tools) are great, and the paint jobs on almost every item we unboxed were, while simple, hardly disappointing.


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