Magic: The Gathering is returning to the Forgotten Realms with their second Commander Legends set, Battle for Baldur’s Gate. Check out an exclusive preview for three cards made for this new draft experience.
The Commander format arose from the fan-created “Elder Dragon Highlander” variant, which tasks players with making 100-card Singleton decks headed up by a Legendary Creature who serves as their “Commander” on the playing field. Just as Magic: The Gathering as a whole, dragons have always been a popular tribal focus for these decks, and that will likely remain true for Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, which launches next month.
We’re honoured to present you with an exclusive preview of not one, not two, but three new cards for this draft-focused set, which should appeal to those who like to play dragon-tribal decks, as they may help fill out one particular niche: common-rarity dragons.
The first of our trio is the Lurking Green Dragon. For 3G you get a 4/4 flier, but unfortunately, it cannot attack unless your target has a flier of their own. Depending on your opponent, this youngling may end up being grounded more often than not. However, its strength as a blocker is nothing to scoff at.
Our second Battle for Baldur’s Gate preview employs the Adventure mechanic, which returns from the Throne of Eldraine set. You can cast the Young Red Dragon as printed on the right side to get a 3/2 flying dragon which can’t block for a decent 3R; or, you can cast the instant Bathe in Gold from the left side first, create a Treasure token for 1R, and exile the card, casting the Young Red Dragon from there later.
There’s a good amount of utility on this card as far as commons go. The creature itself is slightly costly, but if you cast the instant on turn 2, you can use the treasure token to cast the creature on turn 3, one turn “early.” Or, that treasure token can help fix your mana base, depending on the situation. It’s good to have options.
The last of our previews is the Oceanus Dragon, a hefty 4UU for a 3/5 flying dragon—but when it enters the battlefield, you can tap a target creature an opponent controls, then goad it into attacking someone other than you, each combat if able. Pretty great if you’re in a complicated multiplayer game, right? You essentially get to send another player’s troublesome creature into battle against other opponents, and if it dies in the process, no sweat!
This will especially be neat if you’re playing a deck that leans into blue’s ability to blink or flicker, temporarily exiling cards and return them to the battlefield. Something like Venser, the Sojourner or Blur could help turn this sea serpent into a major agitator.
If you’re leaning into the draft purpose of the Commander Legends series, you may find yourself throwing one of these three commons into your deck just to pad it out. At press time the full set hasn’t yet been revealed, but you can already identify some potential synergistic commanders. The Young Red Dragon is practically designed to gel with Lozhan, Dragons’ Legacy, who can burn any non-commander target when you cast either part of it. Any red or green dragon would benefit from Thrakkus the Butcher’s power-doubling leadership, while Korlessa, Scale Singer can accelerate your deck by playing dragon cards from the top of your library.
Outside of the draft situation, however, Commander players might find some interesting homes for these three commons. Let’s look at a few candidates that could house our new trio, all at once:
Despite their prominence in these colours, there aren’t a lot of legendary dragons representing this exact colour trio (blue/red/green, often called Temur after the Khans of Tarkir faction). Intet, the Dreamer is about it, actually. If you were to cast any of these three common dragons with her ability, it wouldn’t be a loss; they would all be cheaper to cast this way, though you would lose some of the Young Red Dragon’s utility.
Speaking of Temur, the founder of that clan would gladly welcome these recruits to his deck. Each would benefit from trample—especially if you can sneak him onto the field after they’ve been chump-blocked—and dodging counterspells is always handy in Commander games.
Some of the most popular dragon Commanders are five-coloured, however, and they can still benefit from these Battle for Baldur’s Gate recruits. Of these elite legends, however, our top pick is also a familiar face from Dungeons & Dragons crossovers, Tiamat. Her ability will allow you to call out five other dragon cards from your library—which may already be picked over by the time you can get her on the battlefield once or twice.
To get the most bang for its buck, you’ll want as many dragons as possible in that library, and our new common friends can fill that need. Ideally they would be a little cheaper, but it’s still a great way to keep dragons on your playing field if you need as much tribal synergy as possible.
Look for the Lurking Green Dragon, Young Red Dragon, and Oceanus Dragon in packs when Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate releases on June 10.