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Best Battle for Baldur’s Gate Commander Cards – White and Blue

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate looks like it’s going to make a big impact on Constructed Commander, and the Limited format looks like a ton of fun as well. I’m very excited to draft it, but we’re not here to talk about draft today. We’re here for my full Constructed-focused review of this fantastic new set!

As a reminder, my focus is on social Commander rather than competitive EDH. These days, I’ve been leaning more toward a desire to play three 40-minute games in lieu of one two-hour slog, but I’ll be talking about cards from the wider social perspective. My goal when playing Commander is for everyone to have fun but also for me to have a good shot at winning the game – or at least doing the thing my deck set out to do – so if that’s your mindset as well, these reviews will probably resonate with you. I won’t be reviewing reprints, so you can just assume I feel the same way about Fireball as I did before we found out it was in this set. I also don’t review every card – if I feel they’re not worth mentioning, I don’t give them a write-up, but we all know there’s a deck out there for every card. In particular, if I don’t mention a card with one of the set’s core mechanics, my thoughts can likely be summarized as “Decent in a deck focused on that mechanic, not great outside of it.” When you inevitably disagree with a review (or think I skipped something good), please feel free to tweet at @RagingLevine with your thoughts!

Please note that all of the cards in this review are from the main set – the cards exclusive to the preconstructed decks will be in a separate set of articles.

One other note: for each commander with Choose a Background, I’ll let you know which background I’m most excited about pairing with that commander in Constructed!

 

 

Header - White

Faceless One

Faceless One
This is really here for Limited, just like The Prismatic Piper in the original Commander Legends, but as before, memes are possible if you really want to play this for fun. Since I just made a promise, I’d pair this with Shameless Charlatan for flavor – our commander has no face, so let’s borrow someone else’s.

Abdel Adrian, Gorion’s Ward

Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward
This is an interesting form of board wipe insurance, but I’d prefer to use this as a tool to blink boards full of cards with ETB effects. Choosing a blue Background for a UW Blink shell is probably the most obvious choice, but I think I’d like to go for a WB sacrifice strategy, playing creatures that make creature tokens and then using the Soldiers from Abdel Adrian as further sac fodder. That makes me think our best option for a Background is Agent of the Iron Throne.

Ancient Gold Dragon

Ancient Gold Dragon

A perfect 7/10. You’ve probably already seen people putting this together with Dragon Tempest, but don’t forget this is a seven-mana creature that has to connect to do its thing, and its thing has a pretty low floor of “make a 1/1.” The average outcome of 10.5 1/1 flyers is kind of nuts, though, so if you use Dragon-related cost reducers like The Ur-Dragon, Dragonlord’s Servant, Dragonspeaker Shaman and so on to get this into play or cheat it out with reanimation or a Sneak Attack effect, it can leave a ton of value behind on the cheap.

Archivist of Oghma

Archivist of Oghma

There’s a lot of hype around this one, and It’s at least somewhat deserved. It doesn’t stop the searches, so people in high-power games can still go off with tutors and just kill you, but if you’re trying to get your friends to play fewer fetchlands, this can be a solid deterrent. It’s still decent in high-power games if you’re trying to draw interaction to stop a combo, but it really shines in mid-power games where most searches are getting lands. It’s even better if someone is recurring their fetches with a Life from the Loam, Crucible of Worlds or similar.

Ascend from Avernus

Ascend from Avernus

This costs a ton of mana, and it’s usually going to be easier to go off with a Second Sunrise or other one-shot card that costs less in exchange for different restrictions. The work you have to do to get this going is just too much for me.

Battle Angels of Tyr

Battle Angels of Tyr

Normally, cards like this make you choose who you’re going to swing at, but here you get to swing at the person least likely to kill this creature and let myriad work its magic. Unless you’re the person with the most cards, lands and life, it should be trivial to get a ton of value out of this if it comes out on time – of course, unless your deck leans into the life gain, that’s the part that matters the least by far. The point is, this card is properly pushed as a white catch-up card that actually helps equalize things.

Contraband Livestock

Contraband Livestock

This is a really fun variant on the Swords/Path genre. Costing two makes this a bit harder to love, but honestly, white has amazing point removal, and this adds some more to the budget pool. I’m glad it exiles – frankly, in order to be worthwhile, it has to. I’ll be playing this in lower-powered decks that want removal, as the die-rolling subgame is pretty rad.

Cut a Deal

Cut a Deal

Now that’s a symmetrical draw effect! The rest of the table gets three cards, and so do I. Sure, I spent a card and three mana to make it happen, but honestly, I’m all in for this. It’ll make games more fun without making the player casting this feel like they did something horrible to themselves. 

Ellyn Harbreeze, Busybody

Ellyn Harbreeze, Busybody

At four mana, this is on the lower end of the power spectrum and is likely to show up more in Limited than Constructed. That said, I think low-powered token decks will have fun with the card selection aspect. Pairing this with Master Chef to pump your tokens could be fine, but since a lot of the Backgrounds want the commander to attack, I’m not super inspired here.

Far Traveler

Far Traveler

This hints at a blink strategy, and with taking the initiative being an important aspect of the set, I’m sure it’ll be well-used in Limited for just that. Alora might want this in order to blink the unblockable attacker, but I could also see it used with Ganax to generate more Treasure. The creature you blink needs to be tapped, which lowers my expectations for the power level here.

Flaming Fist

Flaming Fist

Double strike is a serious upgrade for attacking commanders, and we have a few powerful attackers as options in this set. I’m partial to Erinis along with this, as deathtouch and double strike work together to make trading off nearly impossible. 

Horn of Valhalla

Horn of Valhalla // Ysgard's Call

Ysgard’s Call being a sorcery certainly makes this worse, but the ability to go wide and go tall in a single card makes this appealing to decks that want to make a bunch of tokens but also attack with their huge commander. Bess, Soul Nourisher is my top pick for pairing with the Horn, as she works well with the base 1/1s and might be getting trample from something like Ring of Kalonia. Hamza is a solid option as well! That said, unless you are suiting up something with evasion, there are plenty of better one-shot X-spell token generators.

Inspiring Leader

Inspiring Leader

This seems really variable – you need your commander and a significant stash of tokens in play to make this work. Since pairing this with a white commander doesn’t make a ton of sense, I’ve looked at the other commanders that get to choose a background, and the most token-centric option is Jaheira, Friend of the Forest. It might seem counterintuitive, but having 3/3s when you want to bash and mana when you want to cast stuff makes your tokens much more flexible. The other best option is probably Karlach for the extra attacks.

Lae’zel, Vlaakith’s Champion

Lae'zel, Vlaakith's Champion

Energy, experience, loyalty – there’s a lot more Lae’zel can do than just help with +1/+1 counters. That said, Master Chef is probably the ideal pairing for Lae’zel, as more counters is always more better. Is that the most fun option, though? I think I’d probably go the energy route, which could mean Candlekeep Sage helps us out with some card draw. If you are building the +1/+1 counters version, cards like Basri’s Solidarity and Silkguard play well with the Hardened Scales value of Lae’zel’s ability. 

Lae’zel’s Acrobatics

Lae'zel's Acrobatics

For the same mana cost, we can cast Semester’s End and be guaranteed extra counters. That said, what we usually want is more blink power, and 55 percent of the time, this works every time. A lot of cards in this set fall into the bucket of “less powerful but more apparently fun”, and I can’t really complain about that.

Legion Loyalty

Legion Loyalty

As long as you have powerful attackers, whether they’re just huge and imposing or they have great ETB abilities, this provides a ton of value right when it comes down. That said, you have to be able to attack without just spewing off your board to make this work, making this card feel somewhat niche – just what we want in an eight-mana enchantment, right? (We shouldn’t be surprised that an eight-mana enchantment is a fun but uneven card)

Lulu, Loyal Hollyphant

Lulu, Loyal Hollyphant

Hollyphants are gentle servants of the powers of good, and Lulu is an extremely supportive commander. Lulu might not be super excited about being used as a sacrifice-focused commander, but given how much of a boost she provides to an army of tokens, I think that might be the best call. Want her to power her own ability? Well, perhaps this hollyphant was a Street Urchin! Attack with a ton of Soldiers, Goblins or other small token creatures, sacrifice one that was blocked, and once the end of your turn comes around, untap and grow your remaining team members. 

Noble Heritage

Noble Heritage

Orzhov Advokist fans will love giving their commander a Noble Heritage. You give away a boon, and anyone who chooses to accept it can’t come at you for a short while. That said, they can still blow up your board, so beware of other forms of attack. Since this lets you put counters on your own creatures as well, this could pair well with Wilson, Refined Grizzly to grow your newest bear friend larger turn by turn. 

Rasaad yn Bashir

Rasaad yn Bashir

Rasaad keys off the initiative but doesn’t take it himself, and he’s got that one-sided Doran ability as well. He doesn’t wake up your defenders, so you’ll have to find creatures with high toughness that already have the ability to attack. I’d be happy to pair Rasaad with Dungeon Delver, since gaining the initiative is likely to be very important – some extra value from the Undercity is a pretty easy call, and there are plenty of high-toughness creatures like Charix in blue. Plus, this way you get to play High Alert as well! You can also play plenty of the dungeon synergies from AFR, since they live in UW as well.

Scouting Hawk

Scouting Hawk

It’s low-end catch-up ramp, but if you play a lot of basic Plains, it’s worth trying out if you can blink it and you’re up against a lot of green decks. Otherwise, meh.

Sculpted Sunburst

Sculpted Sunburst

This allows you to keep a commander with low power or other solid utility creature on the board while wiping out most everything else. The fact that it exiles makes this much more exciting. I’d really only be excited about this in decks with a commander that has power two or less, just to make sure people don’t get to keep anything really strong. Be mindful that opponents with utility commanders may get to keep theirs as well!

Veteran Soldier

Veteran Soldier

More Soldiers and more attacking, you say? I’m in! As with many of the “let’s attack” backgrounds, Karlach seems like a great place to put this, as a 5/4 is going to survive a decent amount of combats. In Boros, you can easily help Karlach and these new minions stick around longer by using anthems and Equipment, so the color pairing makes sense as well as the mechanical synergy.

White Plume Adventurer

White Plume Adventurer

Untapping your creatures during every player’s upkeep is incredible – we don’t need a full Seedborn Muse if we’re full of activated abilities and mana-generating creatures. I’d love to play this in a Selesnya or Bant shell with some dungeon synergies as well as big mana dorks like Wirewood Channeler or Circle of Dreams Druid. If you’re looking to stay in Baldur’s Gate, the Jaheira/Inspiring Leader combo sounds like a great home for this adventurer.

Windshaper Planetar

Windshaper Planetar

Worried about someone else’s big Craterhoof turn? Drop this during combat and make sure you’re still standing when the dust settles. You can use this to force attackers toward a vulnerable blocker or send them into an army of sturdy blockers – either way, I think it’s best to commit to a single course of action most of the time. Being able to blink this during combat keeps attackers away from you as long as other players are available to be attacked – once it’s just you and one other player, the value here plummets back to earth.

 

Header - Blue

Alora, Merry Thief

Alora, Merry Thief

Creatures with saboteur effects that want to be returned to hand… this sounds like a job for the Ninja type! Sure, you could stay mono-blue, make Alora the attacker that’s unblockable, and draw a lot of cards from Candlekeep Sage, but I think Alora could be a great Far Traveler if we want to get away from the ninjutsu life. Attack with something with a sweet ETB effect, have it be unblockable, then blink it before it bounces. If you do want to stick with ninjutsu, make Alora an Agent of the Shadow Thieves so she can attack high-life opponents with impunity. 

Ancient Silver Dragon

Ancient Silver Dragon

I tend to prefer my eight mana creatures have an effect when they enter the battlefield, but Ancient Silver Dragon has huge upside potential if you do manage to hit. At some point, there’s not much of a difference between drawing 10 cards and drawing 20 – you just end up with too many good options – so finding some way to dump cards from your hand quickly becomes a priority. This probably ends up in Dragon decks that are looking to maximize fun outcomes rather than power level.

Bane’s Contingency

Bane's Contingency

I tend to want my protective spells to be cheaper. This one costs full on Cancel mana, which is a lot for me, but I’m sure I’ll cast it a bunch in Limited.

Candlekeep Sage

Candlekeep Sage

The commander that seems to be most excited about entering the battlefield repeatedly is Ganax, and with their mana cost starting out at five, I’m not really here for that. You could certainly use this to protect a low-cost commander like Wyll, Blade of Frontiers, but my guess is this is mostly a color-setting option in Limited.

Cone of Cold

Cone of Cold

Oh geez. The die roll might actually make this card more obnoxious, as you feel like you have a chance beforehand, but 55 percent of the time you spend a while with your creatures tapped. I don’t think this will be much fun whether it’s played defensively or offensively, but at least on offense the game should end reasonably quickly given a decent number of attackers. 

Displacer Kitten

Displacer Kitten

Now this is podracing. Every noncreature spell you cast lets you blink something, and if those spells have flashback, rebound or other recursion mechanics, you’ll be doing a ton of blinking. Keeping your blinkable permanents and spells balanced is already an interesting exercise, and Displacer Kitten won’t make that easier, but it will make getting that ratio right much more rewarding.

Dungeon Delver

Dungeon Delver

I stand by my pairing of this with Rasaad – caring about the initiative is a serious prerequisite in my mind. The other option is Safana, and while Dimir misses out on some of the dungeon synergies available in AFR, the black Treasure synergies likely make up for that. Either way, it’s imperative that dungeons be part of your game plan, and the initiative is probably the best way to work that angle reliably given the commander pool available for Background pairings.

Elminster’s Simulacrum

Elminster's Simulacrum

Six mana instants aren’t the sneakiest of cards, but if you’re already playing cards like Sublime Epiphany, mixing this one in should be quite feasible. I think if two of your opponents have strong creatures to copy, this is a spell worth playing, but casting this will absolutely increase the Wrath Danger Level. Clone theme decks could be excited about this, but if you have the ability to populate powerful tokens, so much the better.

Feywild Visitor

Feywild Visitor

Temper your expectations here – you’re not getting one token per creature that hits, so the payout is pretty limited. That said, if you’re hitting opponents with Gut, True Soul Zealot’s menacing 4/1 tokens, you might want some small creatures to sacrifice, and Feywild Visitor provides that. You can also team this up with Halsin and go for a Simic list with token generators – that way, you can use Halsin to pump up these diminutive tokens to at least moderate sizes.

Font of Magic

Font of Magic

Here’s another one of the powerhouses of the set. As long as your spellslinger commander (or commanders) are low on mana cost, you’ll save a ton on instants and sorceries with an up-front investment. Partner decks featuring Krark are an obvious (and terrifying) home for this card, as are decks helmed by Chun-Li from the Street Fighter Secret Lair. Don’t be shocked when someone Krosan Grips this – they probably assume you have countermagic!

Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy

Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy

I wrote an article about pairing Gale with the Dragon Cultist background for fun with Lava Axes, and I stand by that as the most fun option.

Gale’s Redirection

Gale's Redirection

The bigger the spell you’re exiling, the more you add to the d20 roll. Assuming you’re targeting something with a mana value of four, you’ll get to recast the spell yourself for free half the time. That’s not the worst deal, and the bigger the spell, the better your odds get. That said, I’d cast this assuming I’d have to pay for the spell eventually if I wanted to cast it. Five mana is a lot to be holding up hoping to counter something huge, so make sure you play enough instants alongside this to make sure you’re using your mana if this isn’t worth casting.

Illithid Harvester

Illithid Harvester // Plant Tadpoles

I love any variation on Ixidron, and this one turns off a specific subset of creatures. You can, of course, use the Adventure half of this to tap down some creatures before casting the Harvester itself, which sort of prices you in to casting the Harvester on the following turn when things are still tapped down. Unless you’re concerned specifically about creatures leaving the battlefield, this compares unfavorably to Curse of the Swine, so I’d advise you to use this to take out multiple powerful attackers or creatures with tap abilities after they’ve already done some damage. Want some more upside? Use this to turn your morph creatures face down after turning them up and attacking!

Imoen, Mystic Trickster

Imoen, Mystic Trickster

Imoen wants to get into some serious dungeoneering, which makes me think Azorius is the best color combination here. That said, I’m not that excited about the white Backgrounds in terms of a mechanical combination with Imoen, so perhaps it’s better to pick up Ellywick Tumblestrum and some of the green dungeon cards along with… let’s say, Raised by Giants so we can at least enjoy a 10/10 ward 2 commander. This looks like a ton of fun in Limited, but I’m not 100 percent sure how to handle Imoen in Constructed yet.

Irenicus’s Vile Duplication

Irenicus's Vile Duplication

We can only copy creatures we control, and this is a sorcery, so we’re losing points there. Targeting makes this quite a bit worse than something like Spark Double that also takes off the legendary restriction, but having two copies of something like Adrix and Nev, Twincasters or another utility commander with a static ability is powerful enough that the risk seems worthwhile.

Juvenile Mist Dragon

Juvenile Mist Dragon

This looks like an interesting blink target that can lock down multiple creatures around the battlefield for long periods of time. If you’re looking for more defensive options or you just don’t want to play Stonehorn Dignitary, this is an option.

Modify Memory

Modify Memory

You might love the idea of swapping two creatures between players that aren’t you, but is the fun worth paying one extra mana above Concentrate? Honestly, that’s up to you. Just don’t pretend you’re getting an incredible deal.

Renari, Merchant of Marvels

Renari, Merchant of Marvels

Artifact spells with flash? Sure, whatever, but I’m making Renari an Acolyte of Bahamut so that I can take the most possible advantage of the once-per-turn reduction. See, with flash, we get to cast a Dragon on each player’s turn, and if we’re casting them at a discount, we’re more likely to be able to cast multiples. Old Gnawbone can help us out with some Treasures, and who loves Treasure more than Shimmer Dragon? There are plenty of solid Dragons in Simic, including Keiga, Kura, Iymrith, Kairi and the Ancient Dragons from this set. It’s worth a try for sure!

Robe of the Archmagi

Robe of the Archmagi

With all the die rolling in this set, I’m ready to throw this on Farideh, Devil’s Chosen and make my own luck. Flying, menace and more cards? Let’s go. Other great options for commanders to suit up with this include, but are definitely not limited to, Tuvasa the Sunlit (though it not being an enchantment is a bit of a sad point), Marchesa, the Black Rose and hilariously, Arjun, the Shifting Flame.

Sapphire Dragon

Sapphire Dragon // Psionic Pulse

A seven-mana 5/6 flyer that sometimes lets you scry 2 isn’t amazing, and neither is 2U for Negate. The two together, though? Yeah, let’s get to it. I’m all in for flexible cards like this, and with 2U for Negate not being a completely awful deal, I can easily see myself just firing this off in the midgame on a moderately consequential spell before dropping the Dragon half once I hit seven mana. It’s two relevant cards in one!

Shameless Charlatan

Shameless Charlatan

Do you just want to add blue to the color identity of one of the Background-compatible commanders? Shameless Charlatan is a great option, but so was Candlekeep Sage. This is fun with Abdel Adrian – when he leaves, the permanents will still return, but since he’s not going to be doing anything special after entering, you can just turn him into something more relevant. I’m sure I’ll draft this to go along with Faceless One in Limited at some point. Give me more faces!

Sword Coast Sailor

Sword Coast Sailor

So we want a commander that attacks, and we especially want one that triggers on attacking or when it hits a player. Who wants to sneak through? Well, Amber Gristle O’Maul does, but she wants us to attack everyone, so she’s not our best choice. I think Livaan is the winner here – cast some noncreature spells, put the buffs on Livaan and then smash in for big commander damage. Any of the commanders that trigger upon attacking or pump themselves up are fine choices for this.

Tomb of Horrors Adventurer

Tomb of Horrors Adventurer

So you have to cast a six mana 4/4 and then cast two spells in a turn to get value out of this? Well, it’s safe to say this is incredibly slow. Fun, but slow. That said, I’d play this in a Gale deck that wants to run instants and sorceries out on the same turn.

Vhal, Candlekeep Researcher

Vhal, Candlekeep Researcher

So we’re casting flashback spells, adventurer creatures, foretold cards spells from exile, our Background and so on using the Vhal mana. That means – you guessed it – Vhal was Raised by Giants. Make Vhal a 10/10, then use that mana to cast cards like Increasing Savagery, Sapphire Dragon, Alrund’s Epiphany and more. Is this good? Not strictly, but it does sound fun.

Volo, Itinerant Scholar

Volo, Itinerant Scholar

Volo, appropriately, forces you to do bookkeeping. Importantly, if Volo dies and then gets recast, he’ll bring a new Journal with him, but you’ll want to keep the original Journal to maximize the card draw on his activated ability. Just like his previous iteration, he rewards you for playing lots of different creature types, so making him a Scion of Halaster to maximize the impact of your draw step on his journal progress seems like a solid call. 

Wizards of Thay

Wizards of Thay

What’s the play with Wizards of Thay? Well, you attack someone, make token copies attacking the other players, and then cast deeply discounted instants and sorceries during combat before anyone notices. This is perfect for storming out, making Gale work even harder, or just triggering your Sphinx-Bone Wand more times than you can possibly count.

 

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