Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate
Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate is the second Commander-focused Draft set ever printed. It’s new cards are legal only in Commander, Legacy, Vintage, and, of course, our favorite format — Cube!
In order to assess the Cube community’s excitement about this new set, we sent out a survey to Cube curators asking two questions: Which Baldur’s Gate cards are you trying in your Cubes? and how do you subjectively rate those cards as likely long term inclusions? We collected 164 survey responses from 144 unique Cube curators, and analyzed the data to find out which CLB cards people are most excited for.
This article is one of our set prospectives, a series in which we survey the Cube community about the cards they intend to play in their cubes from a particular set. Our survey is conducted between the set’s full-spoiler and official release and is meant to measure and document Cube designers’ first impressions of new cards.
Our community hailed CLB more favorably than its predecessor, Commander Legends, by nearly 50 responses. However, this is still nearly 100 responses short of the most recent premier New Capenna prospective. It’s possible that different segments of the community are responding, with CLB respondents skewed toward multiplayer environments. We did have significant numbers of respondents self-identify as curating multiplayer, Commander, or Brawl cubes.
The median respondent to our survey is testing 7 cards from Baldur’s Gate and has given 2 cards a high rating of 2.5 or more. This is roughly on par with recent sets like Adventures in the Forgotten Realms and Innistrad: Crimson Vow, sets which received slightly below-average enthusiasm from the community. Baldur’s Gate was set back somewhat by skipping legality in the most-played and most-talked-about competitive formats. Content creators simply aren’t analyzing or discussing these cards as visibly as they would a Standard-legal set. Historically, this lack of Constructed hype depresses Cube engagement. However, the lack of systematic analysis concerning CLB makes the set a dark horse contender for exceptionally well-designed cards that may have escaped the community’s notice.
“This set is gonna replace about a third of the cards in my D&D cube and I couldn't be more excited.”
Our respondents who did bet on the dark horse certainly weren’t shy about it; the respondents in our top quartile are testing more than twice as many CLB cards as the median. One respondent is even testing a mind-boggling 338 cards from Baldur’s Gate. (When we first saw this, we thought our analysis code had to be bugged. Bravo, DarthPinkHippo — even though I pity the LGS employee who fulfills your CLB order!)
View all our CLB survey respondents on the Cube Map.
|Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes||13.4%||2.6|
|Gut, True Soul Zealot||13.1%||2.3|
|Greatsword of Tyr||11.0%||2.1|
|Monster Manual // Zoological Study||7.8%||1.9|
|Amethyst Dragon // Explosive Crystal||7.5%||2.2|
|Delayed Blast Fireball||6.7%||2.2|
|Mahadi, Emporium Master||6.2%||2.0|
|Blessed Hippogriff // Tyr's Blessing||5.9%||2.0|
|Altar of Bhaal // Bone Offering||5.6%||2.0|
|White Plume Adventurer||5.6%||2.3|
|Black Dragon Gate||5.4%||2.7|
|Oji, the Exquisite Blade||5.4%||2.1|
|Young Blue Dragon // Sand Augury||5.4%||1.9|
|Kagha, Shadow Archdruid||5.1%||1.9|
|Sapphire Dragon // Psionic Pulse||4.8%||2.0|
|Archivist of Oghma||4.8%||2.3|
|Two-Handed Axe // Sweeping Cleave||4.3%||2.0|
|Wilson, Refined Grizzly||4.0%||2.1|
|Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy||4.0%||2.2|
|Baba Lysaga, Night Witch||4.0%||1.8|
|Crystal Dragon // Rob the Hoard||3.8%||1.7|
|Black Market Connections||3.8%||2.3|
|Erinis, Gloom Stalker||3.8%||2.0|
|Sword Coast Serpent // Capsizing Wave||3.8%||2.1|
|Horn of Valhalla // Ysgard's Call||3.5%||1.8|
|Lulu, Loyal Hollyphant||3.5%||2.1|
|Cadira, Caller of the Small||3.2%||1.9|
|Javelin of Lightning||3.2%||1.7|
|Pegasus Guardian // Rescue the Foal||3.2%||1.9|
|Livaan, Cultist of Tiamat||3.2%||2.1|
|Alora, Merry Thief||3.2%||2.1|
|Dread Linnorm // Scale Deflection||3.2%||1.7|
|Gray Slaad // Entropic Decay||2.9%||1.6|
|Guardian Naga // Banishing Coils||2.9%||1.6|
|Ghost Lantern // Bind Spirit||2.9%||1.9|
|Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward||2.9%||2.3|
|Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter||2.9%||1.8|
|Patron of the Arts||2.7%||1.9|
|Young Red Dragon // Bathe in Gold||2.7%||1.5|
|Circle of the Land Druid||2.7%||1.7|
|Jaheira, Friend of the Forest||2.7%||2.5|
|Caves of Chaos Adventurer||2.7%||2.1|
|Deep Gnome Terramancer||2.7%||2.3|
|Tasha, the Witch Queen||2.7%||1.9|
The most-tested cards from CLB are spread somewhat evenly between archetypal support and more broadly powerful options. Minsc and Boo firmly falls into the latter category, with much preview-season hype concerning its repeatable creature generation. Meanwhile, Greatsword of Tyr scales from multiplayer to 1-versus-1 Magic in a powerful manner, making it an appealing side-grade to older Stoneforge Mystic targets.
On the other hand, cards like Gut and Noble's Purse offer power level through interactions with popular Cube synergies like sacrifice-matters decks and artifact-matters decks. Gut is notable as the highest-tested card with the “Background” mechanic card, but it’s likely that most curators consider this effect irrelevant, and instead are interested in the rate in Gut’s sacrifice ability.
“It's like this set was made for me. It mashes all the sets, mechanics, and themes I was already doing into a new set.”
Monster Manual is the headliner for the Adventure mechanic’s return among Cube curators, with many interested in its Elvish Piper-adjacent effect as redundancy for combo or creature-cheat archetypes.
The new Initiative mechanic doesn’t manage to crack the top 10 most-tested cards of the set, with White Plume Adventurer being the top contender. The outside-the-game complexity of the Dungeon card type and the multiplayer-balanced modes on The Undercity may suppress the Adventurer's results.
A common feature among popular survey cards is a liberal sprinkling of returning mechanics, almost in a Modern Horizons-like way. These nostalgic mechanics on novel cards are a welcome design choice to increase the set’s depth, especially when the combination fuses flavor and functionality.
Interestingly, CLB’s highest-rated cards don’t align with the cards being tested in the most environments. Instead the appealing suite of taplands that offer Gate synergy all have the very high average score of 2.7. Interestingly, while often we see an increase in the rating of known quantities, this is the exact same rating the almost functionally identical cycle form Jumpstart. These effects fill a niche in the Cube community of rarity-restricted and budget curators who greet these well-established, performant designs with enthusiasm that belies the relatively low numbers of testers.
Battle for Baldur’s Gate is a fun and fresh set for Cubes that offers something rare in the the contemporary Magic scene: a card file that hasn’t been exhaustively evaluated by professionals in the context of competitive Constructed. Not surprisingly, it includes a slew of cards tuned towards multiplayer environments, but also a long tail of new takes on popular mechanics. CLB is a great opportunity to test your card evaluation chops and find undiscovered cards that fit your Cube environment.
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