Our first look at Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate was pretty exciting, and we saw a sweet new option to put at the top of a new deck list: Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes. Let’s take a gander at this new planeswalker commander!
Minsc comes in with Boo, a 1/1 miniature giant space hamster (okay, just hamster) that can be hurled at opposing creatures, planeswalkers and domes (go for the eyes!) with impunity as it comes back over and over again. As a single cohesive unit, Minsc & Boo is a fantastic card, but how do we build around this dynamic duo in a Commander deck? Well, here’s my take on how we should set our goals:
- Ramp into Minsc & Boo quickly and then use that ramp to continue casting powerful creatures.
- Create a suite of powerful trample and haste creatures so Minsc has many great targets for his +1.
- Find creatures that die well to take advantage of Minsc’s -2 using creatures that aren’t Boo.
- Shoehorn in as many hamsters (changelings, really) as possible to get card draw out of the -2 once in a while.
- Use effects that boost our creatures’ power to make that -2 even stronger.
- Leverage the power of our creatures outside of that -2 ability.
- Add trample and haste to our creatures to make sure that they’re eligible for Minsc’s +1 and just to make combat better.
The overall plan for the deck is to try to consistently cast Minsc & Boo on turn three thanks to one and two-mana ramp effects, use Minsc’s +1 immediately to turn Boo into an early 4/4 threat, then beat down with more strong haste & trample creatures to further leverage the +1 ability. When it’s time to take out a key target or finish off an opponent, we’ll use the -2 to close things out. Let’s take a look at the cards I’ve chosen for my preliminary deck list as well as quite a few options for expanding or adding subthemes!
These creatures all help us drop Minsc & Boo on turn three if played on curve. If you’re going for a more creature-dense version to take advantage of effects that play creatures off the top of your library like Vizier of the Menagerie or Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate, you could continue to add one and two-mana creatures that generate mana to make it easy to continue blasting through your deck in place of some of these upcoming noncreature ramp sources.
In addition to those creatures, we’re throwing in some of the usual suspects as far as mana rocks and two-mana ramp spells. With 11 total cards between these two categories, we have a 67 percent chance of hitting at least one in our opener or first two draw steps.
Let’s move on to our lineup of powerful haste creatures.
Arni and Lannery do totally different things in the three-spot. Arni is particularly exciting because of his boast ability, growing his base power while still allowing him to benefit from any +1/+1 counters on himself. Lannery, by contrast, is here to help continue casting large threats while also being a reasonable target for Minsc’s +1 if you want to add some more survivability to your Treasure engine.
I’m not trying to put too many competing four-drops into the deck, but Territorial Hellkite is just enormous. The overall stats here are too much to ignore, and since we want to be aggressive fairly indiscriminately, I’m fine with just letting it point itself wherever it wants to go. If it’s a 9/8, even better. Anger is small but has a similar level of importance – giving our team haste is pretty serious with our roster of huge tramplers. If you want to get more value out of the graveyard, God-Pharaoh’s Gift and Feldon of the Third Path are worth considering.
Goldspan Dragon is going to remain a premier five-drop in this format for a long time, and with our focus on haste creatures, it’d be quite silly not to include a copy.
I love having an uncounterable threat, and while we’re unlikely to naturally pump the Inferno’s power to 20 using firebreathing alone, some of our doubling effects may make that a much easier target to reach in the late game.
Our seven-drops are totally disparate experiences. Klauth is here to enable a big multi-spell turn and let us empty our hand after a lot of card draws while also taking advantage of our power doublers. Stalking Vengeance, by contrast, also leans on our power doublers to make blocking, using removal or wrathing our board away a much more unattractive prospect. That’s not all, though – it works great with Minsc’s -2 and our other Fling effects! Try Vicious Shadows if you really like this effect. I promise it’s ridiculous in some metas.
Let’s move on to the tramplers.
We have some solid four-drops here! Atsushi dies very well, making it a fantastic choice to sacrifice to Minsc’s -2. Toralf lets us spill damage from a big -2 over to knock creatures down like so many dominoes, and the effect is truly hilarious with Chandra’s Ignition. Battle Mammoth doesn’t directly protect our creatures, but giving us some extra cards is close enough. Dragonborn Champion works well with our large creatures as well as Minsc’s -2, though Minsc + Boo doesn’t quite get a trigger with a single +1 into -2 combo. Finally, Brawn does us a favor and gives our whole team trample, making our haste creatures a little stronger. Sacrificing it to Minsc’s -2 will sometimes be the right play!
The five-slot is also a serious set of all-stars here. Elder Gargaroth is just a big pile of value no matter what option you choose. Ilharg lets us drop some extra creatures into play briefly and potentially sacrifice them to Minsc or a Fling if that helps us out. Kalonian Hydra is a perfect augmentation to Minsc, adding some power to that +1 ability just by attacking.
Quartzwood Crasher speaks to a solid contingent of tramplers, and while not all of our creatures have trample, we have a high enough concentration that I’m comfortable trying this out to add even more tramplers to the battlefield when we get through for damage. Plus, Brawn helps.
With so many high-power creatures, casting Ghalta should be pretty easy. Just playing Minsc and dropping counters on Boo gets us to 6GG, and following up with another creature the following turn means Ghalta is likely castable on turn five in this deck quite easily. If you want to play more really high-cost creatures, Minsc works well with effects like Sneak Attack and Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded as well as more unpredictable ones like Lurking Predators and Killer Instinct if you up the creature count.
This creature is fantastic at dying! I know that’s a weird thing to say, but sacrificing this to Minsc is just a fantastic deal. Life and cards (plus damage if we -2) on a card that we can easily add counters to via Minsc’s +1? Sign me up. If you want more X-cost creatures, Stonecoil Serpent might seem good, but protection from multicolored is awkward with Minsc. Instead, I’d look to Ochre Jelly for something that dies well or Mistcutter Hydra for an uncounterable threat. Voracious Hydra is worth consideration as well.
We have a couple of creatures with both trample and haste here, and each one is a solid inclusion. Froghemoth controls graveyards while also gaining counters, and Vorinclex plays well with our counters subtheme by making Minsc, Kalonian Hydra and other counter-adders much better. If you want to lean into counters, cards like Kodama of the West Tree, Thundering Raiju, Loyal Guardian and many more could work in a list like this. You could even get into a modified theme!
I snuck in a couple of changelings! Taurean Mauler and Chameleon Colossus can both grow to pretty serious sizes, and while they don’t naturally have trample or haste, we have ways to give them each ability so that we can +1 them with Minsc if we need to. Obvious the big money is in treating them like Hamsters and hurling them at our opponents’ faces, though. Changeling Berserker was the only other changeling I seriously considered.
These creatures don’t have haste or trample either, but they have an important place here – they double up on one or more creatures’ power so that we can hurl them at our opponents or just trample over for huge numbers! Besides looking like the “goals” version of my current Elden Ring character (though my spirit wolves have not been doing super well recently), Neyith doubles up a creature’s power and forces it to get blocked, netting us a card as well as a likely chump block or trade for some value. Xenagos doubles things up while eventually becoming a creature, while this iteration of Rhonas doubles the whole team’s power for a serious attack.
Just a couple of miscellaneous creatures are here to round things out. Beast Whisperer gets us some card draw while Terror of the Peaks plays the role of “Warstorm Surge but also a Dragon,” a fantastic role in a deck where our average creature’s power is over four.
Let’s find some more ways to increase the power of our creatures!
Exponential Growth can turn a single creature into an enormous monstrosity ahead of a Minsc -2 or a Fling effect, while Unnatural Growth doubles our whole team’s power and toughness for a huge attack as well as for flinging purposes. Strionic Resonator can double quite a few triggers, but it’s mostly here to double up on the reflexive trigger generated by Minsc’s -2. Activate the -2, sac a creature, and you get a trigger that deals damage and possibly draws you cards – doubling that trigger copies the value of X, which is pretty darn good if you ask me.
These cards all do a great job of leveraging our creatures’ power. Thud, Fling and Kazuul’s Fury have done fantastic work for me in my Juri deck, and they’ll be perfectly helpful here as well. They’re joined by Khalni Ambush, which works as a nice piece of removal when necessary. Life’s Legacy is a nice way to nab some extra cards from a single creature – go grab Greater Good and Momentous Fall if you want more. Warstorm Surge is a nice backup Terror of the Peaks, while Chandra’s Ignition is just incredible with power doubling or something like Ghalta. If you want to lean into the sacrifice effects, it might be worth trying Grab the Reins, Zealous Conscripts, Mass Mutiny, Mob Rule, Sarkhan Vol and other Threaten effects.
I wanted a couple of cards to go with Anger and Brawn, but I didn’t want to fill the deck with too many of these effects. Garruk’s Uprising has the upside of drawing us cards, while Rhythm lets us choose +1/+1 counters for creatures already possessing haste. If you really want more of this style of effect, you can try Fervor, Mass Hysteria, Emblem of the Warmind, Archetype of Aggression, Hammer of Purphoros, Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded, Primal Rage, Nylea, God of the Hunt, Akroma’s Memorial and so many more.
Amorphous Axe gets to play the role of Skullclamp in this deck – attach it to a large creature and then sacrifice that creature to Minsc’s -2. Value! Maskwood Nexus makes everything a Hamster, among other irrelevant types. Options are limited in Gruul for this kind of effect, so this is what we have.
A little more draw power is never a bad idea, and these cards play well with our overall plan. Valakut Awakening is nice enough to play as a land when unnecessary, while Return and Expertise are just huge raw draw power. The Great Henge is incremental, but with our high-power creatures it’s quite easy to cast.
I’m not keen on playing too much removal in a deck like this – I want to focus on attacking instead. That said, sometimes there’s a card that demands to be destroyed before we can get in for big damage, so here’s my set of concessions to that concept. We might want Chaos Warp too, but it’s not here in this version.
Most of our land spots are dedicated to mana fixing just to make sure we can cast Minsc and our other pip-heavy cards on time. We’re playing Unnatural Growth in this list, after all, along with Lifeblood Hydra and plenty of RR and GG cards.
Since we’re skewed toward green, I skewed the basics accordingly.
That’s the whole deck – here’s the list all put together! Hopefully you fall in love with Minsc and Boo like it’s December 1998 all over again and you’re booting up Baldur’s Gate for the first time.
Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes EDH by Eric Levine