Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate Set Review - Black
The Dawn is Especially Cruel this Morning
For our opponents, that is!
Welcome to my review of the black cards of note from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate! Whether you're an avid fan of the Forgotten Realms or a newcomer to the Sword Coast, it's a great time to be playing black. Now, enough introduction: let's see the cards!
(If you haven't already, make sure to familiarize yourself with the new mechanics featured in this set!)
Nonlegendary Elder Dragon? That's a first!
This card needs haste to be really good. Our dear opponents won't simply let us untap with this bad boy.could do the trick. I think it'd be a good fit in , which allows us to play cards like or . You just don't want to be casting a seven-mana 7/6 flyer that does nothing else for a turn. It's also is a potential inclusion in .
When you do hit one of your opponents, the effect can be quite good. A middling roll - a 10, for instance - can bring back a surprising number of creatures. I still don't think you want to include this in any Reanimator deck that can't give haste; at this cost, you'd want a creature that can reanimate on ETB, like.
Okay, hold your horses. The Treasures come in tapped, and seven mana is a lot. There are a lot of efficient wraths in black:, , or . I know the first two are a bit pricey, money-wise, but is playable, and can cause some serious hurt. I find myself cutting and more and more from decks because they just cost too much.
With that out of the way, oh my God, Treasures. Consider a pretty conservative board state: two creatures per player? That's eight Treasures right there. Sure, you can't use them on the turn you cast, but they're waiting for your next turn, and it'll be much faster for you to rebuild that board.
What about decks that can benefit from Treasure synergy? I wonder if this is good enough foror , who already have access to good colors for board wipes. wants to sacrifice a lot of tokens, and I would argue that Treasures are the easiest way to trigger her Surveil ability. This strategy also pairs well with and .
As for new commanders from this set, I'd consider including the card inand decks, or any commander that chooses the Background.
in weapon form!
I wouldn't get too excited about the "not losing the game" part, though. It's a pretty fragile strategy to rely on having an artifact stick to the board to stay alive, and the Equip cost is a bit steep. Yes,will get you card advantage in the long run, but you have to swing three times to be up a card.
I do think that's design is interesting. You want to draw a high-mana-value card to pump the equipped creature a decent amount, but then you lose that much life. My first thought is to go with commanders with lifelink, since it immediately gains you the life back, like or . Then, there are commanders that love when you pay life: and . Equipment decks that include black, like , might want to consider this, and Syr Gwyn in particular lets you bypass the Equip cost.
I thinkoffers interesting gameplay, but don't count on it to save your butt. We all know how pacts with otherworldly entities end.
I feel like every knob on this card has been turned down a notch. Three mana for a tapped skelly guy, at sorcery speed. Exiling a creature to reanimate another, at sorcery speed. You're driving a hard bargain, Bhaal! Of courseand exist, but that engine costs a lot of mana. There are so many ways to reanimate stuff efficiently: , , , etc. Being able to reanimate repeatedly is appealing, but it's a lot easier if it's on a creature, like , , and company. You can always exile token creatures to pay the cost (thanks ), but to me, just isn't worth the trouble.
Four mana is what we usually pay for this effect, e.g.,. lets you reduce that cost to two mana by giving your opponent a card, and everything I just said until this point is meaningless because exists and why wouldn't you play that instead?
seems fine. You need at least one or two exile effects in your deck to get around indestructible and graveyard recursion, so this could serve. This card's value goes up if you have a deck that cares about +1/+1 counters, like maybe?
Also, hot Vampires are hot.
Inspired design that will lead to funny moments, but ultimately, not a very reliable card.
Do you choose the most dangerous creature on the board? Or do you go for the second-best one because obviously someone will pick? And on your side of the board: do you sacrifice your worst creature, or your best one because it's gonna die anyway? Maybe there's four big threats sitting there. Who's to say that the four players won't all choose the same one?
People will play this card for the lols, and lols will be had - just expect the unexpected.
Are you willing to sacrifice a few friends for some spooky tentacles? The effect is okay; it makes your commander a good blocker, or gives it evasion in the case that it wants to attack. It also provides a sacrifice outlet. The ward ability, though, is basically meaningless in Commander.
seems like a good candidate for this Background. also has a trigger about permanents having left the battlefield, and who wouldn't want to transform this cute Elephant Angel into an Eldritch abomination? I can imagine a low-to-the-ground deck that recurs small creatures, like , to trigger , for instance.
This Backgroud will like having cards likein the deck. As for playing in the 99, or might be interested. needs to attack for her trigger to go off, so a bit more evasion can't hurt, and you'll be able to bring back the creature that you just sacrificed.
We have the same issue here as with: will you untap with this creature? People don't like when their hand goes to exile (even if they draw seven cards afterwards). feels very slow, and its stats are underwhelming. Menace is a form of evasion, sure, but far from the best, and you might have nowhere safe to send this creature. When it hits, though, that's a lot cards! Its saving grace is that you can cast the cards from exile even if gets removed.
My guess is thatwill find a home mostly in Horror tribal decks, like and . We also might see it in theft decks, like , , or .
I find it difficult to believe that you would want to cast this at any time. It seems like it'll always be too early (not enough cards in the graveyard) or too late (it'll kill me if I cast it). I understand the appeal of drawing fifteen cards for fifteen life, but - at the risk of repeating myself - seven mana is a lot. Another use foris targeting someone else to kill them. Graveyard strategies are pretty popular, so you could face those kind of decks a decent amount of the time. I think, though, that you want to work for you most of the time and consider it upside if you finish an opponent with it. Another thought: graveyard decks that would play this card already have tons of card advantage because their graveyard is their second hand, so this card falls in a weird spot. I, for one, will not be dabbling in the dark arts.
After, it's ! The possibility that your opponents will exile three lands is quite high, but it's not bad if that's the worst case, I suppose. It's still card advantage! So what do we think about a four-mana 2/4 that draws you three cards? Pretty decent. I'm not sure people will waste removal on this guy, so you'll probably be able to play the cards across a few turns at least.
will mostly fit into decks where we will see , as listed above, though it might also fit into .
The second ability alone is good enough to be playing this card.makes a lot of lives miserable with its incidental graveyard hate. And taking the initiative is nice. There's a lot of work required for 's third ability to trigger, but that's just gravy.
Now, let's talk about hit counters. Not too long ago,was the only card that cared about those. In Streets of New Capenna, though, we got , and now we get . There is definitely someone at Wizards working very hard to make their deck work.
All joking aside, there's already some tension between the cards.lets you remove hit counters, whereas and want you to accumulate them. Obviously Ravenloft still goes into those decks because there's just not enough hit counter generators at the moment. I'm willing to bet there will be more support for this in the future.
A lot of the cards found inwould be good here: low-mana high-power creatures, like , aristocrats payoffs, like or , or for untap synergy.
will likely come out on turn three or four, but the fact that the sacrifice outlet costs two mana makes her a bit slow. Also, her effect is quite powerful, and people are not going to let you draw all the cards willy-nilly, so be ready to get out your and your s.
Appealing Backgrounds forinclude: for yet another aristocrat payoff, for some token generation and access to green, or maybe for some additional flexibility and access to red.
The word "artifact" is what caught my eye here. A Background likecan be very scary with all the Treasures we see nowadays, and it can pair well with a lot of commanders, from to . It can be played in the 99 of aristocrats and artifact decks, like and , respectively. It might also be a consideration for decks that just use a lot of Treasures, like or .
This gives your commander essentially a "better" Dethrone, because you can be the player with the highest life total and still get the benefits. It also will pair well with commanders that want to attack to trigger their abilities, like , , or . can get you additional counters. It's a useful Background, if not an exciting one.
This seems a bit weak to me. There is no toughness boost, and I'll say it again: I think menace on a single creature is no big deal.or can potentially profit from this Background, though. I can also see in the 99 of a turbo-mill deck, like . It's not the swinging that wins you the game in Konrad, but it can be a nice plan B. You can also play it in , who already wants you to have a lot of creatures in your graveyard. is not an exciting payoff for graveyard decks, but it does enable attacking strategies.
Safana is both a Treasure and an initiative commander. She can be either paired withfor dungeon value, or with for that "unblockability" to get the initiative back, or for sweet Treasure synergy. Unfortunately, I don't know if is good enough for . Dungeons get completed pretty fast in that deck, so Safana would pay for herself the turn she comes in a lot of the time... but she doesn't give you the initiative. Otherwise, I seriously would have considered her.
The man himself!
I really want to like's effect, but I get the feeling that permanents will leave the battlefield very often. Whether it be Treasures, or your opponents working together to attack creatures into each other so they can die, I feel like too much agency is given to your opponents. But you might not need many triggers if Sarevok's power is high enough. Equip him with a and he becomes real scary.
Like I mentioned before, he can be partnered with. You could also go Orzhov Blink with , as flickering is still "leaving the battlefield", or you can slam down a and people will start sweating. If you want the flavourful route, go for .
He still is pretty cool, and his alternate art is friggin' metal.
As a commander, Sivriss is pretty open-ended. Sacrifice, artifacts, mill, and "leaves-the-graveyard" synergies are all explored with this Snake Cleric Warlock. The real question is, at what point do people stop paying life to give you cards? Pretty darn late, I think, so we have to think of this commander as a group slug/mill engine first and foremost. Backgrounds that synergize withwill also be applicable here. Choose and go for a Rakdos artifacts deck, or go mono-black with . Sivriss does a lot of things that wants to be doing, so maybe they're worth a try in that deck.
Viconia is doing her impression of, but with a little gambling involved. Of course, if you built your deck right, it's always good no matter what you get back (insert obligatory "My Grandpa's deck has no pathetic cards, Kaiba"). Boiled down, Viconia is a three-mana 2/3 that draws you a card every turn, and that's just so fair nowadays. You could build a deck with very low mana-cost creatures with a good ETB and/or death trigger, and play them, sacrifice them, get them back, do it again, but exists and is kind of better for that? Ultimately, Viconia is a bit too tame for my taste.
Commons & Uncommons
- is at least a decent consideration if your commander has a mana value five or higher. As discussed with , six mana is usually where I draw the line for board wipes, so I expect to see a decent amount.
- I wonder if triggering on permanents instead of creatures is enough to make it better than, say, , who doesn't see a lot of play outside . But again, think of the Treasures!
- If you want to fill your graveyard, can help. It's a kind of that never flips? It's slow, but it provides some card selection.
- does a lot of small things. Deathtouch definitely facilitates attacking somewhat. This might be interesting for , , or maybe , who all have synergy with counters as well.
- I can possibly see in deathtouch decks, like or , and maybe it makes the cut in .
- Five mana is a lot to pay for , but I think the effect can be good. It's like 's pet bird! It's at least a consideration for every deck that wants to sacrifice things, be it creatures ( ), Clues ( and friends), or even Food ( ).
I Have Become Death, Destroyer of Worlds
So how did black fare?
Theft decks, like, got new toys in and . It's slow, but I do like ; when it hits, it's really good. If we're going for power level, might be in the running for the best black Background. Seeing on a card makes me very happy, even if his effect can be avoided somewhat easily.
But what do you think about the black cards of Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate? What are the ones that'll go directly into your decks? Am I totally wrong about? Are you excited to draft the format? I'm Philomène, and this was my set review. Enjoy the new cards and see you next time!