Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate is on the horizon. Magic: the Gathering‘s latest expansion sees a return to not one, but two themes that inspired sets in the game’s recent past. Not only is this set a sequel to 2020’s smash hit set Commander Legends, which focused on introducing new cards to Magic‘s premier casual format, but it’s also a sequel to 2021’s summer expansion Legends of the Forgotten Realms, a much lauded crossover with fellow Wizards of the Coast game Dungeons & Dragons.
In short, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate has a lot of expectations to live up to.
Arise, Ye Heroes
The first Dungeons & Dragons crossover expansion introduced a variety of legends to Magic taken from the long-running Baldur’s Gate series of video games. Battle for Baldur’s Gate not only adds new characters from the series to the CCG, but also includes new versions of fan-favorite heroes from Legends of the Forgotten Realms.
Every set focused on the Commander format needs a hefty number of Legendary creatures and Planeswalkers to serve as leaders at the helm of players’ decks. Based on early previews from the expansion, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate will not disappoint on this front. Creatures ranging from humble chefs to ancient gods will inspire eager adventurers to build new decks around them (personally, I’m most excited for Myrkul, Lord of Bones, and think Lulu, Loyal Hollyphant is absolutely adorable!).
The Mechanics of Baldur’s Gate
Scrolling through the slideshow of legendary creatures, you may have noticed one or two game mechanics you didn’t recognize. Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate features of bevy of special new mechanics (and a couple of returning ones) designed to spice up your Commander games. The biggest one is probably…
Every hero has an origin. Some started as humble farmers. Others were born into wealth and the body politic. Others still were ambitious cultists, driven to madness by the pursuit of power. The Background mechanic allows you to add flavorful and mechanical depth to a variety of commanders from Battle for Baldur’s Gate who allow you to “Choose a Background” by using a new enchantment subtype as a second Commander in your command zone.
Taking the Initiative
Magic‘s first Dungeons & Dragons expansion introduced the “venture” mechanic, which allowed players to journey into a variety of dungeons, where each room granted a new boon or sprung a new trap. Battle for Baldur’s Gate introduces a variant on this ability known as “The Initiative.” The Initiative is a static trait that players can take from one another using cards with the ability or by dealing combat damage to the player who currently has the Initiative. Whenever a player takes the Initiative, and at the beginning of their upkeep if they already have it, they venture into the Undercity, a brand new dungeon built specifically for Battle for Baldur’s Gate.
Adventures are a returning mechanic from 2019’s Throne of Eldraine expansion. A much beloved and flavorful ability, creature cards with the adventure mechanic have the ability to be cast as instant or sorcery spells (where they go on an adventure), and then be cast as creatures down the road (returning from their journey). In a world where everyone is going on epic campaigns, could there be a more apt mechanic?
Denizens of the Realm
Along your epic journey through the Forgotten Realms, you’ll inevitably meet a variety of friends and foes. From allies to monsters, Battle for Baldur’s Gate has it all.
Study those Spellbooks
It’s not Magic without, well…magic. Both Magic and Dungeons & Dragons allow players to live out their childhood fantasies of wielding world-changing spells. Have you ever wanted to be a pyromancer? A necromancer? A subtle rogue or an angelic warrior? Through the power of classic spells like Lightning Bolt, you’ll be able to do all that and more.
The Eponymous Gate
Battle for Baldur’s Gate wouldn’t be complete without the structure itself.
Gates were a subtype introduced in the near-decade-old Dragon’s Maze expansion, and have retained a place in player’s hearts thanks to the card Maze’s End, which allows you to win the game if you control 10 or more gates. Until now, there only were eleven gates in Magic, but Battle for Baldur’s Gate seems poised to drastically increase that number, making it much more likely players will get to live out their dreams of getting to the treasure at the end of the labyrinth.
But it’s all new lands– some of the lands in Baldur’s Gate are reprints of old classics. It wouldn’t be a Commander set without Command Tower, and we’re all cheering for the return of the multiplayer-focused Battlebond dual lands.
Ancient Treasure and Mythic Weapons
What’s an adventure if there’s no spoils to be gained? Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate will reprint a variety of Commander format staple artifacts from Swiftfoot Boots to Arcane Signet.
The set will also introduce new tools to aid adventurers on their quests.
And in the end, all the battles and wounds will be worth it once you have treasures like the Robe of the Archmagi.
In recent years, Magic players have gotten used to cards having special visual treatments. From borderless cards to extended art rares, there’s plenty of ways to customize your decks to your heart’s content. Exclusive to the Dungeons & Dragons expansions, however, Battle for Baldur’s Gate sees the return of the “rulebook” treatment, which echoes the visual flavor of classic D&D books.
Let’s Go on an Adventure
Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate release on June 10th, 2022. Featuring draft boosters, set boosters, collector boosters, bundles, and preconstructed Commander decks, there’s a way for every kind of Magic player to join the adventure. Are you ready?