Card: Minsc and Boo, Timeless Heroes | Art: Bram Sels
This week Wizards of The Coast gave us some additional info for Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate. This set is a marriage of two beloved previous sets: Commander Legends, a draftable set where you build a Commander deck and a standard-legal set themed around Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).
Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate brings together the thematics of D&D with the gameplay of the first Commander Legends. Spoiler season doesn't officially begin until May and the set will drop at the beginning of June.
However, WotC did give us some teasers to whet our appetite. Those include the return of Commander staple lands and a beloved D&D legendary creature that can take the helm of your deck.
Before we get into the teasers, here are some key dates related to Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate:
Previews Begin: May 16th
Card Image Gallery Completion: May 23rd
Commander Precon Previews: May 24th - 25th
Commander Card Image Gallery Completion: May 26th
In-Store Prerelease Events & Sale: June 3rd
Worldwide Release: June 10th
Launch Parties: June 10th - 12th
With all that out of the way, let's look at some of these spoilers!
Battle for Baldur's Gate Notable Reprints
At rare, we see the ally color Bond lands. These haven't been reprinted since Battlebond despite being staples in the format. As some of the best fixing in Commander, they are a welcome addition. The Bond lands always enter untapped unless it's later in the game and you are down to a 1v1.
Using Sea of Clouds as an example, these lands are very sought after and continually rise in price. In this case, Sea of Clouds was hovering around $6 at the release of Battlebond and rose to $10 by March of the same year. It has been on a steady rise since then. Now in 2022 it is at a high of $20+.
The Battle for Baldur's Gate reprint should help drive those prices down. The lands are also getting an extended art treatment, so expect those to fetch you a couple extra dollars. The only flaw with the Bond lands, and many other duals in recent years, is they cannot be searched out of your deck with fetches. However, that is a small blemish on an otherwise very strong set of lands.
We are not just getting dual lands! Another excellent, and much needed, reprint is Reflecting Pool. Also at rare, this land is an all star. It is heavily under-printed with its most recent readily available printing occurring during original Conspiracy. Its price is constantly in excess of $10 - $15 despite being a pretty simple inverse Exotic Orchard. With it being at rare, I could easily see it creeping back up in price again so picking up around the time the set drops is highly recommended.
In the world of non-land cards we’ve seen some classics featuring new regular art, and new "rulebook art." Both are classic burn spells. Fireball and Lightning Bolt are both showing up in this set.
The Dungeon Master in me may have some nit picks about the names of these cards, however, I am never going to complain about solid burn spells being printed in any set. Lightning Bolt at common is amazing especially in a draft environment. While we don’t know what the creatures will look like in this set, Bolt can deal with so many threats in Commander. From popular commanders like Thrasios, Triton Hero to combo pieces like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, or make iconic plays such as Bolt The Bird (wink, wink).
Meanwhile, Fireball, and X spells in general, will always have a home in Commander; be it for flexible removal, wiping a board of mana dorks and tokens, or as an outstanding infinite mana outlet.
Baldur's Gate New And Shiny Cards
Alright, the moment we’re all here for, let’s see the brand new cards.
We have four new spoilers to show off here. Let’s start things off with the rares, First off we have Elder Brain. This seven-mana 6/6 is an incredible top end in decks like Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Xanathar Guild Kingpin, or any deck that loves the idea of playing with your opponents deck.
Alternatively this weird ‘wheel for your opponent’ could be cute in a mill list trying to make an opponent dig through their deck. One last horrific idea for this card is to combine it with anti-draw pieces such as Notion Thief.
I love that this is on an attack trigger. Ultimately, however, at seven mana and needing to attack you’re definitely going to want a haste enabler or something to protect the Elder Brain for a turn. This could definitely run away with the game giving you heaps of value after even one swing. The Elder Brain is available in three art styles: regular, extended art, and Buy-a-Box promo. Flavor wise, I love this card. The Elder Brain is the center of the hive mind associated with the Illithid race from D&D. They are known for their mind control abilities, so gaining control of a persons entire hand of cards is a fantastic representation of being taken over by an Illithid in my opinion.
Moving on to our second new card, Wand of Wonder is very close to my heart. In Dungeons and Dragons, this wondrous item allows the wielder to roll a d100, and have a random effect or spell be cast. The MTG version is an excellent re-imagination of the iconic magical item.
I adore that this effect never whiffs as you will always hit some sort of instant or sorcery. An eight mana investment is a lot. This card probably wont see super high power play, however, activating it a couple times in a game will definitely garner you some advantage.
It also shares some DNA with the Elder Brain as it only hits opponents. Perhaps we will see a "steal your opponents cards" style commander printed somewhere in this set. Worst case scenario, these two cards could see some play in Prosper, Tome Bound for a bit of treasure value. Wand of Wonders is also available in three arts: regular, extended, and as a bundle promo.
Moving on from the rares, we have two new mythics to talk about. First off, Ancient Brass Dragon is a seven-mana 7/6 flyer with a powerful and fun effect when it deals damage. This is one of the wildest "roll a d20" effects we have ever seen. Essentially, it's a knock-off Rise of the Dark Realms stapled to a body. Even if the die is not in your favor, the sizeable evasive body will no doubt make this a fun card in Commander and bomb pick in Limited.
My only grievance is that brass dragons have nothing to do with necromancy or raising the dead. Brass dragons in a D&D context are much more passive. They are talkers, and if they are threatened one of their go-to methods of defense is to try put the attacker to sleep. With that said, a sleep effect in black would be a bit of a color break. Ancient Brass Dragon is available in a regular art, extended alt art, and rulebook versions.
Finally, our last spoiler is a good one, a commander: Minsc & Boo, Timeless Hero’s. We saw this duo portrayed previously as a Naya Commander in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. This time, the pair has dropped white in favor of becoming a Planeswalker with the added stipulation that they can be your commander.
The abilities here are strong. Upon entering the battlefield, you'll get a 1/1 legendary Boo token with trample and haste. You'll get another token at the beginning of your upkeep. Haste is even haste is powerful considering you can give the token three +1/+1 counters immediately.
The second ability on the walker really seals the deal for me, allowing you to sac a creature to deal X, and then draw X if that creature was Hamster. Sadly, the only hamsters in the game are the Boo token created by this walker and the original Minsc from AFR. Furthermore, both of these tokens are legendary with the name Boo, so the two Minsc cards can't synergize. If you really wanted to maximize your hamster shenanigans, you could go down the shapeshifter route. However, there are only 19 cards in the format at the moment that fit the colors and creature type. Among those 19, only two of them can be targeted with this planeswalker’s plus ability.
I think Minsc & Boo will find their home either as a commander using the plus to beat down, while the minus can help accrue value and draw cards to keep up the tempo. Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes will be available in regular art and an alternate art extended version.
Keep an eye out in May when we delve into spoiler season proper! In the meantime, you can see the current Battle for Baldur's Gate spoilers and all their alternate arts here!
Well with that all said and done, what do you think of the early spoilers for Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s gate? Some exciting cards, unique abilities, and some needed reprints. Let’s hope the rest of the set lives up to these early previews.
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