Baldur's Gate Cards for Traditional Cube

 With the ending of spoiler season and the arrival of prerelease weekend for Commander Legend: Battle for Baldur's Gate, comes the most important question for cube designers: What am I including from the set? For those looking to maximize power, multiplayer products have been something to look forward. The sets are designed with multiplayer in mind, thus there are cards from these sets that are just bonkers since they were never intended to be played in the 1 vs 1 environment. Examples that are commonly played in cube are True-Name Nemesis and Council's Judgment. On the flipside, a lot of these cards are slower and less playable because they are designed for the multiplayer experience. Another point of interest is that these sets are more experimental. This paves the way for interesting new builds and inclusions into our cubes and reevaluations of cards we might have liked, but never had the opportunity to run. 

In this post, I'll be looking at this from the traditional cube perspective. I will not be mentioning any cards that won't make it. Also note, this was written prior to the release of the deck list

The Short List


Zhentarim Bandit

Monster Manual

Caves of Chaos Adventurer

Minsc and Boo, Timeless Heroes

Black Market Connections

The Metallic Dragon Cycle

Cards of Interest

Raggadragga, Goreguts Boss

Greatsword of Tyr

Reckless Barbarian

Blessed Hippogryff

Irenicus' Vile Experiments

Passageway Seet

Candlekeep Inspiration

Archivist of Oghma

Altar of Bhaal

White Plume Adventurer

Lae'zel's Acrobatics

Seasoned Dungeoneer


These are cards that excite me and I will prioritize these cards as inclusions. These will be the cards that I highly recommend for you guys to consider running.

I'm hesitant to include this card because I feel like it's really strong, but at face value it could just fall flat and not do enough.

Zhentarim Bandit is an interesting piece for black decks. It has slightly below average stats by being a 2/1. The main selling point is that it acts as a pseudo mana dork by being able to generate a treasure for 1 life per attack. Even if this card gets to attack once, this will push you ahead one mana and deal damage. The longer this card stays the bigger its impact is. When played on curve, this can lead to playing thing ahead of curve and overwhelming your opponents on pure. The tokens generated are treasures so this can fit into artifact decks as well. This card will have a home in at least aggro decks and Braids stax decks minimum. I'm sold on the prospect of playing a turn 3 Braids.

The strongest comparison to this card is Elvish Piper. This is better than piper as it can enable more decks.

As someone who just recently replaced Elvish Piper from his cube, the printing of Monster Manual bare a lot of resemblance to that card. Elvish Piper was removed from my cube because I felt like it did very little to impact the board at the floor level. As a 4 mana 1/1 without haste, there just wasn't a lot to impress me with. With the Monster Manual, this does even less on board with a more expensive activation, however the fact that it is an artifact and an adventure lends itself to being a powerful long term inclusion. First off as an artifact with a tap ability, it plays really well in untap strategies and Tezzeret the Seeker. This means you can tap it the turn it comes down and do it again if you manage to untap it. The part that really sells it to me is the adventure. Being able to self mill 5 cards and grab any creature from your graveyard is nice. It increases your chances of cheating down a devastating fatty when you play this card. In addition, milling yourself plays well graveyard strategies like reanimator and cards like Liliana, Last Hope.

TLDR: This card seems potent. Being able to draw an extra card each turn is strong already, but you do need to attack. Without haste, I can't see aggro decks wanting it, but midrange decks would be overjoyed to have this one. Venture is a mechanic I'm still iffy on.

Caves of Chaos Adventurer seems like a mix bag and it might be, but being a 4 drop 5/3 with trample in red does pique my interest. The stat line is good for a 4 drop especially when you take into account the trample. It doesn't have an immediate impact when played, which is what red aggro decks are looking for in their curve toppers. Instead you are getting card advantage in the form of exiling the top of your deck per attack. Once you complete a dungeon, which can be independent from you having the initiative, this is casting free spells every turn and needs to be answered. This is all without taking into account that it gives you the initiative. I like venturing when it came out because it was interesting and the effects were play. The reason why it never made it in my cube before was that the cards they were attached to was the problem. This card is a huge improvement from the AFR venture cards and I'm really looking forward to playing with it. It should be noted that I have a difficult time evaluation venture since it is not an clear cut as some of the other mechanics. This cards longevity in my cube will be dependent on how well venturing plays.

TLDR: This card is a constant 2 for 1 with immediate impact on the board. The value on the card might be enough to make it a top 3 Gruul card in cube

Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes might be the best Gruul card. It fits into almost any GRx deck and can end games on its own. When you comepare this card to Bloodbraid Elves or Huntmaster of the Feels. this simply out classes both of them. This is thanks to the fact that you are always getting a Boo token as long as this card is out. On the turn the duo enter, you can +1 Boo to have a 4/4 haste trample beater. This is already better than some of the 4 drop options in Gruul, Red, and Green already. Even if your opponents answer Boo, the problem of Minsc still exists and needs to be dealt with otherwise Boo will come back. This card is always trying to 2 for 1 your opponents, which puts them in  rough spot for decision making. Should they not have answer to Boo, you can continue to grow him or another target creature to apply more pressure to end the game. Looking at his second ability, he can sacrifice any creature to deal damage to anything.  This is removal for creatures, planeswalkers, and players if they're low enough. He can act as a sacrifice outlet or a draw outlet since he does get Boo every turn. The value on this card is way too much and is probably going to see a long term home in my cube and other cubes for years to come.

TLDR: This can be offset by life gain, which black excels at in my cube. Strong but slow, inclusion that will definitely find a home in my cube.

Black Market Connections seems like a mix of a bunch of things that black already does. Since I already run both Bitterblossom and Phyrexian Arena, I want to give them card a shot. This is more flexible to play than Phyrexian Arena. It's main function will be to generate a treasure every turn for 1 life. This is nice as it gives black ramp option especially since their 4 drops are not known to be stellar anyways. If I'm not needing that the versatility of the other options are welcomed. Outside of generating a treasure, the other two choices will take a heavy toll on on the players' life. The tokens are 3/2 changelings, which might be important for any tribal strategies, though do be aware that option cost 3 life. The higher life cost might be the balance WotC decided for the versatility it gives. Overall, seems solid, we'll see how it actually plays.

I'll discuss the Elder Dragon Mythic Cycle collectively, since these cards are all similar and playable in cube. These cards are an ideal target for fatty cheat decks especially Sneak Attack and Show and Tell. All of them have a trigger when they deal combat damage: white makes flying tokens, blue draws cards, black reanimates, red makes treasures, and green places +1/+1 counters on 2 creatures. Their effects is dependent on a d20 roll, which makes them unpredictable. They have two glaring problems that is shared among them: They cost a lot of mana and none of them have haste. Of this group, I'm wanting include the white, blue, and black one because they have the strongest ability. Those three are more than likely ending the game, while green and red are easier to deal with even if they connected. They are all worth testing.

EDIT: Reexamined the set and realized I am underestimating Gut, True Soul Zealot.

TLDR: Gut might be an all star in any format.

 The card plays well in creature based red decks. It turns creatures and artifacts into 4/1 skeletons with menace. This card has an immediate impact when it hits the board since the ability is triggered when any creature you control attacks, much like Adeline, you do not need to ever attack with Gut. The sacrifice fodder can be any artifact or creature you control, not just the one attacking this includes cards played on later turns that might not have haste.  In powered environments, you can cash out your powered artifacts to deal a ridiculous amount of damage by turn 2. The token you generate is coming in attacking, which is extremely threatening because your opponent will need to commit at least 2 blockers to block the skeleton and with a power of 4, this could become a 2 for 1 situation. Another way to look at this card is a pump for your small drops since you will technically turn a weaker creature into a 4/1 with menace. Combine this with any Rabblemaster variant and you essentially spawn a skeleton token every turn.

Cards of Interest

These are cards that I'm not planning to run, but they provide interesting effects that you might want to include in cube

It's hard to include him because Minsc and Boo exist in that same spot in the same set.

Raggadragga seems really interesting to play with. At 4 mana, his stats are on par with other creatures of a similar value. Of the options in my current cube, this would compete with Bloodbraid Elf and Huntmasters of the Fells. What I like is that there is a lot going with this card. This is a lord for your mana dorks in a color combination that loves its mana dorks. He can immediately impact the board by being able to turn all of your mana elves into Wild Nacatls. This is a huge damage boost for any deck running him. He enables players to get the best of both worlds by allowing the mana dorks to attack and immediately untap to be ready to use for mana generation. The last ability plays well with x spells, but will rarely come into play. When it does, this should end the game. 

Strong common will help you push damage, the main issue is that Maul of the Skyclave exist.

Greatsword of Tyr helps white decks push in more damage. This card will also add +1/+1 counters to the equipped creature. This card feels a lot like Luminarch Aspirant which is an all star card in white aggro currently. The big setback is that you have to attack with this to get the counter putting your creatures at risk, whereas the Aspirant will grow your creatures every turn. The tap ability messes with combat math since you can always void any potential blockers. The existence of Maul of the Skyclave makes this card impotent since it functions the same way as this card but significantly better. 

The burst mana on this card is the main point of interest. I like the potential this card represents but the base body being okay is not that exciting.

Reckless Barbarian on its base stats are adequate. Sacrificing the card can generate 2 red mana leading to potential turn 5 plays much in the same way that Seething Song does. I would treat this as a creature Seething Song if you don't sacrifice him right away, 

Since I run prowess as an archetype, cards that can protect my creatures are something I want to include. Blessed Hippogryff being an adventure adds extra value since I can later turn this card into a creature that gives my other creatures evasion. This isn't stellar but it fits well into my cube. I would be looking to swap it with one of several protection cards. Main issue with this card is that it grants indestructibility versus protection, so I can only use it to defend my creatures.

Making a clone of any creature you control except it has flying can lead to some interesting plays, especially strong legendaries. 

Passageway Seer is essentially a 3/3 with lifelink the turn it comes down. Depending on how valuable the initiative is this card can be really strong or average. It does accrue in value the longer you have the initiative. I will be keeping my eyes out for this one especially if people are reporting positively about initiative. 

Candlekeep Inspiration looks like a fun Overrun for a token based spells matter deck. This card becomes game ending if you are able to get X to 3 or more, which does seem feasible. Unlike Overrun, this does not give your creatures any evasion, which hurts the prospects of this card. Fortunately, the cards typically played in U/x decks have evasion themselves. This is relatively easy to run since it only demands one blue mana. Furthermore this is in blue, which doesn't often get effects like this. If I supported that version of spells matter I would run this.

TLDR:This card does not really stop people from tutoring, it just helps the controller draw cards. 

Archivist of Oghma is pretty interesting in that it hates on tutoring. When discussing this cards with my friends, I felt like this card would be inadequate as the moment your opponents are tutoring, the most likely scenario was that they were going to win. They reminded me that I entirely disregarded land ramp and fetch lands. So it works more often than it should. I still am not sold on this card for traditional cube because it doesn't prevent your opponents from tutoring the same way Aven Mindcensor does. Giving white a chance to draw cards may seem tempting, but my white section is not interested in drawing cards.

TLDR: This card is not Recurring Nightmare and if you run that card, don't even bother with this one if you want redundancy. If you're in the market for midrange reanimator, this might be the card you're interested in.

Altar of Bhaal looks like a very fair version of Recurring Nightmare. I'm not to big on this card because I have a copy of Recurring Nightmare. There's a lot to not like about this when you compare it to Nightmare. Main two issues is that the card is more vulnerable and less efficient. The total cost to get this card to activate once is a minimum of 5 mana versus Recurring Nightmare's cost of 3. Second this ability can only be used once per turn at sorcery speed and you have to exile the creature instead of sacrificing it. Finally, Recurring Nightmare can activate its own ability to bounce itself protecting it from removal. With all this being said, why would I bother with this card? Easy, Recurring Nightmare is horribly busted and this card seems to do an okay impression of it and it'll be easier to get. To begin, this might be one of the cheaper sources of constant reanimation with the only other card around the same cost I can think of is Whisper, Blood Liturgist. The adventure on this card makes a reasonable token that is threatening and can be used for the activated ability later. 

TLDR: Card seems strong, but Brimaz and Monastery Mentor exist and I'm unsure about initiative.

White Plume Adventurer reminds me of Nadaar, whom I have considered adding to my traditional cube. As a 3 drop 3/3, this card is pretty average just looking at the stats. When looking at what else, this card might become the reason I start reevaluating Nadaar since both card synergize with one another. Much like Cave of Chaos Adventurer, this cards evaluation will be dependent on how well Venture into the Undercity plays. Aside from that, being able to untap a creature every turn let's you protect the initiative every turn. This card does play will with blink strategies being able to venture each this card ETBs due how the initiative wording works. When I compare this with whites other 3 drops, this card is hard to slot in since I find it interesting, but it's not better than what I already have. 

Lae'zel's Acrobatics seems neat. You can use it to retrigger ETB effects and dodge board wipes since this is an instant speed card. This seems good in general and I might run it, but I'm currently not in the market for the ETB archetype, so I'm not too big on this. Unlike some of the other roll a dice cards, this will consistently get you the effect you want since you're always guaranteed one flicker. The dice roll isn't hard either and you should be a 50/50 on either effect, but we know how RNG goes.

TLDR: This card is heavily dependent on how your construct your cube since this does want to support the party mechanic. Good news is that this card is only asking for another party member to fully function.

Seasoned Dungeoneer is iffy for me because I haven't taken the time to look at my other creatures. Right off the bat, this card seems okay, being a 4 drop 3/4 is alright. As mentioned, the venture is the hard to evaluate part of this card. What I do like about it is that this card can have an immediate impact by giving a party member unblockable and explore (When X explores, reveal the top card of your library, if the revealed card is a land put it in your hand, if the card is nonland, put a +1/+1 counter on X, then you may put it on top or your library or into the graveyard) before combat damage is dealt. This is great for ending games, which white has some trouble doing. Main issue is the party mechanic and the fact that the card is competing with other .


This raps up my preliminary look at CLB cards for my traditional cube. There was surprising a decent amount of cards that I am looking forward to getting. My main concern is how well Venture into the Undercity will play in a traditional environment. Thanks for reading. 

Feel free to leave questions or comments especially on how I can improve the structure of these pieces. Also if you want to join my email list there's a link on the side. Please join me next week as I do a preliminary look at CLB for my Commander cube.