MTG Commander Legends: Battle For Baldur’s Gate Preview: New Adventures Await

MTG Commander Legends: Battle For Baldur's Gate Preview: New Adventures Await 9
| May 17, 2022

Wizards of the Coast’s worlds will continue to collide when Magic the Gathering Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, the second crossover between these tabletop titans, arrives on June 10.

Last year, Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons crossed over for the second time—this time in the card game, instead of in the role-playing game. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms functioned as the year’s summer core set and translated the familiar setting into Magic terms, and now Wizards of the Coast is following up on it with their latest Commander Legends set.

Battle for Baldur’s Gate is, like the first Commander Legends, a set designed to be drafted in the popular Commander/Elder Dragon Highlander format. Normally, Commander is a format with 100-card decks and no duplicate cards except for basic lands, but the Legends format puts this aside for 60-card decks and ignores the singleton rule, while also allowing for players to pick 2 cards at a time.

Picking up where Adventures in the Forgotten Realms left off, Battle for Baldur’s Gate will feature more familiar faces from various Dungeons & Dragons media—like Elminster, Minsc, and Boo, who appear as Commander-eligible planeswalker cards. (However, as with Bahamut and the other characters who appeared as planeswalkers in the previous set, they do not canonically possess the planeswalking gift.) Rulebook frame variant cards return as well and are no longer limited to creature cards, appearing on spells like Fireball and Lightning Bolt.

To further play into the RPG feel, the Adventure mechanic from Throne of Eldraine returns, grafting a spell onto a creature card and bringing some more high-fantasy or fairy tale energy. And of course, it wouldn’t be a D&D-inspired set without some dice rolling, so some cards will feature the Roll a D20 mechanic.

As for new mechanics, MTG Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate will introduce two which will seem familiar to anyone who’s played D&D. The Backstory mechanic is catered to Commander Legends, allowing a player to choose a second Commander—specifically a Legendary Enchantment with the subtype background. These cards are themed toward specific origin stories for D&D characters, and typically enhance your primary Commander. The Raised By Giants Background, for instance, increases your Commander’s base power and toughness to 10/10 and makes them Giants.

Meanwhile Take the Initiative expands the Venture into the Dungeon mechanic from last year’s set. However this variation interacts with only one specific Dungeon card, the Undercity. When you play a card with this mechanic—like the Aarakocra Sneak, who triggers it upon entering the battlefield—you trigger the next effect on the branching paths of the Undercity dungeon card. Another player can then ”take the initiative” by dealing combat damage to you with a creature.

While players may want to mix cards from Battle for Baldur’s Gate and Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, they’ll only be able to progress through one dungeon at a time; you can’t have more than one active dungeon, and you cannot access the Undercity with cards from the older set.

That being said, players can expect a few reprints from the previous set, specifically a handful that “make a lot of sense” to include in this draft set. Otherwise, the set will be full of even more adventure-themed artifacts, spells, and creatures, many of which will be familiar and related to the titular city of Baldur’s Gate. Among them will be a Mythic cycle of metallic dragons and even a few gods of the Dungeons & Dragons pantheon—like Bhaal and, personified for the first time, Myrkul.

Wizards of the Coast sounds open to continuing this marriage between their two premiere tabletop franchises, if the new draft experience proves popular enough. Perhaps we could see a return to the Forgotten Realms after Magic: The Gathering takes a detour to crossovers with Warhammer 40, 000 and Lord of the Rings.

MTG Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate will be available June 10 in the regular formats—set, draft, and collector bundles; prerelease packs; and bundles, now including set boosters. There will also be four premade Commander decks releasing simultaneously, with more information on them coming soon.

MTG Arena players, meanwhile, can look forward to a special Alchemy Horizons Baldur’s Gate event in July, including more digital-exclusive Alchemy effects and everything you’d expect from other sets. Our fingers are still crossed to see the Commander format hit the mobile platform someday.

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