Commander Legends: Baldur's Gate Set Review - White
Don't Draw Til You See the Whites of Their Cards!
It's the Year of White, and we're the lucky ones to judge whether Wizards is living up to the name or just trying to sell us cardboard rectangles with inflated value!
Don't go thinking about that last sentence too much, there're cards to evaluate!
Any card that you can even loosely compare toprobably fits in the "good" category, but has all of the problems of and then some, all while not coming with the inherent pump that makes Avenger a "it pretty much wins you the game on its own" kind of card. This Elder Dragon is seven mana, which is pretty much the standard for an Elder Dragon. Throw in some above-rate stats at a 7/10 flier for seven, and we're looking pretty great. The things is, efficient stats aren't enough in Commander.
"But if you get 10+ tokens off of this, you're gonna be set!" I hear you saying. Yes, but there will also be a lot of times where you only get 1-5 tokens off this, and you're going to feel sad.
It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's... afor everything, strapped to an efficient flier that makes copies of itself for each opponent every combat step?
I've been asking for this card for years, and it's actually gone above and beyond my expectations. Sure, sure, even with the 12 damage in the air, there's a solid chance you might not get much out of this as far as triggers. Still, even if you only get a Treasure or a card once or twice, you're pretty happy with your rate here, given the damage and the slight upside.
Plus, if you happen to play enoughand weenies out onto the table to get two or three cards and Treasures each combat, well then, pour it on!
Speaking of Myriad,will give it to all your creatures, which seems like a pretty sweet deal. That deal looks a little less sweet when you realize that you have to get to eight mana, but there's still little doubt that combat will be a windmill of enter-the-battlefield triggers and huge damage if you do manage to get this thing onto the battlefield.
Still, I'd like to tamp down the hype a bit here, if I could. blink decks that are currently struggling for a real win-con once they've reached a dominant position. Just make sure not to accidentally draw yourself out with all those and triggers.does not pass the "eight-mana cards should more or less win you the game" test, at all. On an empty board, I'd rather have than this, and that doesn't really do anything either. Where I do think that is a great deal is in
The best case study I can think of when trying to figure out whether or notwill do work for you at the average table, is to compare it to .
The news doesn't get better from there, I'm afraid. While I'm always a happy camper if I'm playing against a ramp deck with thein play, I'm usually rather underwhelmed with the number of counters I'm stacking on it. Granted, card draw with incidental life gain stapled to it is much more impactful than +1/+1 counters, but for those with dreams of drawing three or four cards a turn with this, I'm afraid that that's just not going to be the case at any but the highest powered tables.
Which is not to say that it's a bad card, or that you shouldn't play it. As a flash 2/2 for two, even if you only draw a single card off of, you're above-rate. If you get two, you're feeling good, and any more than that, you're ecstatic. Go in with those expectations, and you'll probably feel alright about Pippin here.
My first inclination was to compare this toor , but neither of those really do the same thing, do they? only gets you your creatures back for a single turn, without haste. is going to be better in the average weenies deck, but cutting off at two mana value is really low.
With that said, you're going to have to pump a lot of mana into five mono-white planeswalkers that cost three mana, but you're probably really starting to grab quite a few creatures. Seven is where it really feels like the rubber meets the road, with a litany of format staples you can grab in both the creature and planeswalker realm. In other words, this will almost always be a late game play for a more midrange-y deck, rather than a mid-game play for a weenie deck, where would serve you much better.to get your money's worth. At five mana, you're just starting to compete with what you can do for two and a couple creatures with , because there aren't even any two-mana planeswalkers in white. At six, there are currently only
There's no shortage of various versions of "this creature has power and toughness equal to the number of creatures you control" out there, but believe it or not,outcompetes most of the Equipment options before you even get to its Adventure option.
As it should, considering that it's technically harder to cast due to its white pip,is cheaper to both cast and equip than . , in turn, beats out the Horn with its one-mana equip, but only allows for a sort of mimicry of Exalted. So if you're going wide and you're in white, you're probably better served by this unless you're specifically in the Exalted build.
However, the Adventure half of this spell really pushes this thing over the edge. Two white and X is sort of the going rate for this effect, but the fact that you can lay down a full battlefield of Soldiers, untap, and then put this on one of them to double your total swinging power is just nuts! In other words,is coming to a tokens deck near you.
There aren't a ton of Backgrounds that care about counters, but that's fine! is very cool. First off, she's another Weird Counter Tribal commander in the same vein as , , , and her distant cousin, . And, just like , she will also put extra counters on planeswalkers both as they enter the battlefield and as they activate their (positive) loyalty abilities, so we have a very flexible potential Superfriends commander here. Add all of that in with your typical +1/+1 counter shenanigans, and you have a ton of fun options to build around here. (PS: I recommend using in this deck!)
is a blink deck's dream. It's also a decent way to save all of your stuff from a board wipe, especially if your deck has more than a couple enter-the-battlefield triggers. If you like , you already know you like this spell too.
decks rejoice, there's another white combat matters card! It's just too bad you can't give her the Background.
All kidding aside, this is a fun politics Background that will have your opponents swinging at each other in the short term in the same vein as. The struggle is figuring out just which commander to pair this with.
- : It might seem counterintuitive, but you can buy some time with to do Dungeon shenanigans, and Imoen protects herself, so you're more likely to keep the deal going.
- : Not only does Lulu fly, which allows for huge commander damage swings with all the +1/+1 counters flying around, you can also untap creatures to act as blockers for when opponents do stop taking the deal so they can attack you again.
- : Make your creatures big so you can draw more cards with them!
- : White has a ton of very good activated abilities, and you can stack counters on Vhal to have her tapping ludicrous amounts of mana. What's not to like?
- : Probably the most likely combination you're going to see with , Wilson protects himself and has trample and vigilance to ensure you're stacking the counters for both offense and defense.
There's been a disturbing trend of new cards lately that you have to read, then read again, then ask a friend, and read again before you understand what exactly they do.fits that description to a "T", so allow me to break it down:
- This is essentially another / / variant.
- The twist on this particular variant is that the lower the power of a creature you choose, the worse it probably is for your opponents (you get to keep your / / , they get to keep a token).
- The whole weird wording of "if you chose" is to allow other players to interact while this is on the stack, improving their chances of coming out ahead. The worst case scenario is if you only have one creature, in which case they can remove it and is essentially fizzled. The more likely scenario is that they remove your in response, and now your lowest-power creature is a 2/2 or a 4/4 instead of a 1/1, making it much more likely that they can also save a relevant creature.
- The "if you chose" wording also prevents (or at least disincentivizes) you from casting without a creature on board, as the board wipe wouldn't actually happen.
- Finally, outside of Shroud interactions, it's worth noting that unlike targets, no player has to declare which creatures they're choosing while is on the stack, meaning that any interaction happening before the spell resolves is done blind, before you know what folks are going to officially choose.
The going rate for taking the initiative is firmly established at four mana throughout Battle for Baldur's Gate, so it's worth mentioning that you're getting a discount with. What's even more noteworthy is just how good this Orc Cleric's second ability is, whether you've completed a dungeon or not. If you've raced through the (or any dungeon, for that matter), then is a for creatures. Even if you haven't, it makes any tapper you have into an , letting them do nonsense on each player's turn.
That's not an effect you want just anywhere, but in a deck with a commander with a relevant tap ability, like - well, allow me to throw together an impromptu Too-Specific Top 10 (ranked by EDHREC score):
Top 10 White Legendary Creatures That Tap
I think you get the idea. Now just imagine it in a dedicated untap deck. Helloooooooooooo,!
This is the kind of card I'd normally be bummed to see in a main set because it's never going to be good enough to put in a serious Commander deck, but would be an absolute blast in a Precon. Hopefully we'll be seeing that as spoilers go out for the Precons this week, but even if we don't, it's okay in this case. Why? Because this is a Commander Limited set, and while this thing isn't a bomb, it's more than good enough to make it into your deck to make a story.
I fell so deeply forwhen he was first spoiled that I immediately made a Pauper EDH deck out of him:
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I couldn't help myself, he's just so delightfully counterintuitive! The nature of's strategy is to flicker your nonland permanents over and over again, getting enter- and leaves-the-battlefield effects like candy. However, he's a Background-based commander, meaning that you're going to have a Background with him that only works when he's on the battlefield.
This either incentivizes you to use him strictly as a sorcery-speed, essentially only playing him when you're expecting a board wipe, or jump through a ton of hoops to try and make his nonsense work with his Background.
You can see which route I went.
Similarly,is not a powerful commander, nor should she be! Professional NPC that she is, she's only there to create backstories. What she lacks in power, she makes up for in intrigue. It's not hard to make tokens in Magic: the Gathering, but to do so consistently, on every turn? That's a deck-building challenge I can get behind, whether it be in Limited or full-blown EDH.
I have no idea whatwants, from a deckbuilding perspective, and I don't care. Who has time to think about things like deckbuilding focus when there's Elephant Angels to be had? I'll take one Blink-Go-Wide-Untappers brew with unknown Background, please!
Toughness Matters gets more and more robust every year, and there's no exception when it comes to. In a similarly unfocused fashion to , he does want to mix toughness with Dungeon crawling, but at three mana with , do you even really care if you never manage to stick a for double damage?
Commons & Uncommons
Just in case it's not clear on your first read,'s effect does not end at the end of your turn, meaning that during each of your turns, you can point at the most menacing player, -style, and just sit back and see who goes at the Archenemy for extra damage.
It happens every set, and it gets said every set: this would be a great card ifdidn't exist. As it is, it is still a fun card, and it does synergize with dice rolling decks.
Oh, hey. It's a good draw spell. In white. Weird.
Keeping in mind that this is going to be not great once players start dying, getting three cards for three mana is great value. I'd put this slightly aboveeven if it were blue, so to see this effect in white is a real breath of fresh air.
There's a lot of talk comparing this card toand trying to decide which one is better. A targeted draw allows for politics, and to help you and an ally catch up to an archenemy, but also provides a bigger advantage to an opponent than to the person who cast the Rendezvous, which could in turn create a new archenemy. The dispersed draw avoids the politics, but also potentially avoids that pitfall. Which would you prefer to play? Would you play both?
It's easy to overlook the "tapped" rider here, but there's no doubt that you're looking at what's going to be one of the most played Backgrounds, even if it might not be in the command zone. At three mana to blink a creature every turn, this will see play right alongsideand . The card appears in 32,000 decks, and appears in 15,000!
isn't gonna take over any tables, but it's worth mentioning just because it's an efficient creature with Myriad and kind-of-better menace. With that said, even aggro decks aren't going to find a place for this unless they also have enter-the-battlefield triggers galore.
Can we talk for a minute about the wording on this? I know it has to be done a specific way to avoid the pitfalls of, but it's really awkward to read.
Anyways,will make you some tokens, provided you play its game. likes it. It would just be nice if you didn't have to read the card five times to understand what its very simple game is.
It really seems like Wizards went out of their way to try and make easy synergies between Background commanders and Backgrounds a little difficult, and I'm kind of here for it. I like the challenge. With that said, this is going to be a Limited all-star, since it matches up well with just about any commander. 9,800 decks out there play, and they should consider changing that over to this card instead, since it doesn't fall off if your Voltron commander dies. An extra -lite sounds nice to me!
The name feels like it should be a red card, though.
Three-manathat exiles might not be wowing anyone, but it's not terrible either. Combine that with a late-game Überblocker, and you've got something that's gonna see a bit of play in budget decks, methinks.
It's rare that you're going to get up the eight mana to cast both halves ofin the same turn, but Blink decks are going to be happy to see both a blink enabler and a blink payoff in one card, no matter the price.
There are a surprising number of decks that care about bouncing your own stuff., , , and many other cards love a suite of , , and -style cards, and they're happy to pad their numbers out a little more.
There's nothing remarkable about, and that in itself is noteworthy. It's just one in a long list of small monowhite creatures that cantrip now, joining:
- , 1996, Alliances
- , 2009, Conflux
- , 2010, Rise of the Eldrazi
- , 2015, Dragons of Tarkir
- , 2021, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
- , 2021, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
- , 2022, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
- , 2022, Streets of New Capenna
- , 2022, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate
As for where it ranks on that chronological list, it'd be about halfway up it if we were rating on value.
In similar fashion, we're starting to get enough of the "on a creature" effect now that it's also becoming a real decision to figure out which ones you want in your deck:
- , 2008, Shards of Alara
- , 2015, Commander 2015
- , 2018, Commander 2018
- , 2020, Commander 2020
- , 2020, Commander Legends
- , 2021, Kaldheim
- , 2021, Commander 2021
- , 2021, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
- , 2022, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate
It's worth noting that whiledoes fall on the largely-thought-to-be-superior side of putting the Plains onto the battlefield instead of into your hand, it's also above-rate at three mana. With eight of these effects available, it isn't gonna take much mental math to cut this three-mana option unless you really care about the flying or Bird portions of the card.
While this is going to be a fun combat trick in Commander Limited, probably the bigger use-case here is the absolute beasts this is going to make in Toughness Matters decks. Eat your heart out,! is really excited right now.
I loved. I fought for it over and over again on social media, and I proceeded to attempt to put it in deck after deck, and cut it every time because it just didn't fit the theme or strategy of what any deck was trying to do (not even group hug).
Now we have. Giving your team indestructible is something that almost every white deck in existence is looking for in one form or another, and while there's no shortage of great versions of this effect, tacking card draw onto it is going to ensure that this sees play somewhere.
It would be all too easy to flip past this French Vanilla 1/1, but if your deck cares about enter-the-battlefield triggers, sac outlets, aggro, or combat damage triggers, then this is worth consideration.and will genuinely do some awesome work with this little guy.
Alright, Wizards, you win this time. I'll continue to buy your pretty cardboard, but only because you've somewhat lived up to my personal expectations over what an arbitrary color we've attached flavor and meaning to appears to be getting its just desserts.
Seriously, it's easy to be cynical about white's lot in life when it comes to Commander, but bravo for delivering on your promises to improve said lot. Let's hope that trend continues throughout the year!