Dungeons & Dragons lore and storytelling meets the world’s most popular collectable card game: Magic: the Gathering in the recently released card set Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate. Play as some of the most iconic characters from D&D, personified in their own unique Magic cards, specifically designed for the most social format in any collectable card game: Commander. This article assumes you’ve played and have a basic understanding of Magic: The Gathering, so they’re won’t be an in-depth break-down on game mechanics and concepts (if you are interested, there’s a fantastic introductory guide from Wizards of the Coast available here).
It’s been just over two weeks since Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate released, which has given MTG fans a lot of time to play-test, complain and celebrate a wide-array of new and exciting commander staples, jank and purely fun cards. I for one am absolutely loving the themed set releases Wizards of the Coast have been releasing over the past few years, and was way too excited putting together this list of cards I’ve personally enjoyed from this set, so let’s dive right in!
The Mythic dragons from Battle for Baldur’s Gate are arguably the most exciting additions to the entire set, and for very good reason. Despite their heavy mana cost, each Elder Dragon has an incredibly powerful D20 mechanic that can be used for a wide array of deck-builds. Both the Copper and Silver dragons are the top-tier choices of the set sheerly due to their ability for card draw and additional damage, but each dragon has a wide array of deck-archetypes that they can slot into perfectly. The introduction of D20’s as a mechanic is something I’ve heavily enjoyed since it’s release in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (specifically in EDH), as it just adds a level of variance and ‘fun-factor’ to the already social setting of the format.
Staying on the heavy dragon theme, Mirirym, Sentinel Wyrm is another card I couldn’t help but get overly excited for when I saw its initial announcement. Token dragon copies in a tribal deck is just a recipe for run (my playgroup would heavily disagree, but this is my list and I think it’s super balanced), even partnered with the previously mentioned elder dragons. The more dragons the merrier I say!
Overall, for the first time in what feels like a long time, white actually got some really great cards from this set. Archivist of Oghma is personally one of my favourites, sheerly due to the fact that a large majority of my play-group loving card-draw (and now I finally get to join in on the fun at their expense). The idea of being able to draw off Vampiric Tutor or something like Evolving Wilds at flash speed is just way too exciting not to have in any white deck.
Displacer Kitten is without a doubt one of the best and most powerful cards in the entire set for Commander players. There’s really not much more of a selling point I can give; if you’re running blue in your Commander identity, it’d be a hard card not to include. The sheer amount of decks that can manipulate this trigger is mind-boggling, and I already shudder at the thought of some of the monstrous combos I know I’ll be seeing throughout the next few weeks. Also, small flavour bonus: IT’S A KITTY.
Just reading the initial text for Pact Weapon explains how incredibly powerful this artifact equipment can be. It’s not the easiest deck to build around, but it’s an incredibly frustrating card to try and deal with if you don’t have the appropriate card removal in hand. Part of the big appeal to Pact Weapon I think is the risk vs reward aspects of it. If your opponents can’t deal with the creature or equipment, you’re virtually unstoppable , but conversely, you can lose in one turn as soon as the artifact or creature is dealt with. Nothing like living on the edge!
I couldn’t help but include Bramble Sovereign in this list primarily for the politic-based experiences I’ve had with it in my initial encounter with the set. The alliances, promises and actual food I’ve been given just to generate a token copy for another player has been worth it’s weight in gold. The card of course is just outstanding, but as a not-too-serious EDH player, cards like these are where I get my fun from in magic. I like being able to sway the balance of a game instantaneously, and Bramble Sovereign enables this style of play incredibly.
I’m starting to sound like a bit of a broken record here, but flavour-wise, I love Firbolg Flutist. I think it’s just generally all of the art in the set, it’s just fantastic (don’t even get me started on the art cards). Gameplay-wise it’s just generally a fantastic card that can really help get a large burst of damage out if you’re struggling with opponents blockers, or just generally struggling to get a large output of damage through in an already buffed table. It’s also another really fantastic politics card, as it’s pretty hard for the rest of the playgroup to turn down free damage output on another player with no real consequence.
It wouldn’t be fair not to include one of the greatest flavour cards in MTG history: Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes. Just look at it. Cmon’ what’s not to love!? You get to make and potentially buff multiple hamsters for crying out loud. More of this please Wizards!! Overall, it’s just a fantastic planeswalker that I think actually has a lot of serious potential in a multitude of formats (modern springs to minds as a strong candidate). I was over the moon to pack two of these in my first draft of the new set, it’s just a shame I can’t have 60 of them throughout my EDH deck.