Baldur's Gate Cards for Commander Cube

 This past weekend was Baldur's Gate prerelease. I'm still holding out on impressions from playing the set since I am planning to play again on release weekend. 

For this post, I'll be discussing the cards from Baldur's Gate that I plan to run in my commander cube. I will be categorizing cards based on their function in Commander cube since the format is constructed differently from traditional cube. The categories will be Recommended, Recommended as Commander, Backgrounds to test, and Cards of interest. Each category will be explained in their own section.

Short List


  • Lae'zel, Vlaakith's Champion
  • Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar
  • Gut, True Soul Zealot
  • Imoen, Mystic Trickster/ Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy
  • Erinis, Gloom Stalker
  • Far Traveler
  • Feywild Visitor
  • Agent of the Iron Throne
  • Tavern Brawler
  • Master Chef


  • Prized Statue
  • Stonespeaker's Crystal
  • Nautiloid Ship
  • Undercellar Sweep
  • Descent into Avernus
  • Wand of Wonder
  • Horn of Valhalla
  • Caves of Chaos Adventurer
  • White Plume Adventurer
  • Battle Angels of Tyr
  • Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes
  • Astral Dragon
  • Black Market Connections
  • Sarevok's Tome
  • Seasoned Dungeoneer

Recommendations as commander

  • Tasha, the Witch Queen
  • Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm
  • Alaundo the Seer
  • Myrkul, Lord of Bones
  • Raphael, Fiendish Savior
  • Commander Liara Portyr

Cards of interest

  • Barroom Brawl
  • Baldur's Gate/ Other gates
  • Rug of Smothering
  • Oji, the Exquisite Blade
  • Minthara, Merciless Soul
  • Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter
  • Monster Manual
  • From the Catacombs
  • Aboleth Swarm
  • Undermountain Adventurer


When I first saw this mechanic, I was displeased that the mechanic did not really interact with any other mechanics available. Through posts and conversations with the cube community, I'm more open to trying the mechanic since they are a powerful buff to your  commanders. Since I was already planning to cut out some dual color lands for more cards in the 2 color section, I would instead which it over to including 5 commanders with background and 5 backgrounds, one for each color. Most of the cards are not good on their own.


The best white option for background. Plays well with any counters like +1/+1 and loyalty counters.

Lae'zel, Vlaakith's Champion was the best of the bunch of background commanders for White. I wasn't too big on any of the white ones and was hoping that the BW party commander deck would have something interesting , but it didn't. Lae'zel was chosen because she is a counters support in white, which I'm not running any. She not only grows your creatures faster if they get a +1/+1 counter, but she can increases the amount of loyalty counters your planeswalkers enter the battlefield with and how fast they acquire counters. She will also interact with any counters you acquire as well, which is normally experience counters. Combine this with an average size creature and she's really playable, just a bit more on the boring side for me.

If Initiative is relevant in your cube, this card might be strong enough to run if you want to support background. Otherwise easy skip.

What I like about Imoen, Mystic Trickster is that it's decent statted, has a lot of relevant creature types for tribal play, and has ward to protect itself. Being able to draw a card or 2 at the end of every turn is particularly strong, however you need the initiative to trigger this. Her game plan wants her to make attempts to get the initiative forcing the player to interact with others to get it. This is where the card's problems come from, she has no way to take/create the initiative herself. Her relevancy in my cube will be dependent on whether or not, initiative is prevalent enough in my cube or not. There are some initiatives I want to add in, so I'm hoping this becomes relevant. I have an alternative planned if Imoen doesn't work out.

Easier to play background commander that is less demanding on build. This card is not as interesting as Imoen.

Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy is the alternative planned. This card plays well with archetypes already existing in my cube. It also has the relevant creature types so there won't be an impact on tribal decks when I do the switch. The card is not well statted and it can not protect itself, but the ability is potent. The card functions as another source of instant/sorcery recursion. The ability on this card demands that you have a balance of instant and sorceries ran in this deck. Fortunately, blue is one of the colors to be plentiful in both. 

Might be one of the easiest to include background commander for having a generic ability and decent stats. The elf creature type helps me further increase the density of elves in my cube to support elf tribal.

Shadowheart, Dark Justicar is the only background card that I was planning to include even without background. The two big reasons were that the creature had relevant creature types, it functions as a sacrifice outlet, and a source of card draw. The body is decent sized for cost and is a respectable blocker. The activated ability reminds me a lot of Ghoulcaller Gisa and Disciple of Bolas. The ability is a little clunky because it cost 2 mana and requires both a creature and a tap but it should be manageable since the format is slower. The selling point for me is that the card is an Elf. In my current cube, I am making changes to support GB elves as an archetype and this card fits right in. The card is not parasitic, which is a problem tribal cards run into and it fits into a typical black game plan.

Aggressive creature that is highly versatile and powerful. Adds density to goblin tribal.

Lots of things I like about Gut, True Soul Zealot. The reasons are similar to why I like Shadowheart. Gut has a below average body for mana cost, but average when compared to other popular red 3 drops. The ability of this card is pretty sweet as you can use it to sacrifice creatures or artifacts to turn into 4/1 skeletons with menace. Unlike Shadowheart which has to wait a turn, Gut's ability will activate as long as you attack with anything, meaning the card has an immediate impact and that Gut does not need to be the one attacking. The token it creates is a threat to the board state and with menace is going to be difficult to stop since it has 4 power and it stays around if it doesn't die. This plays well in aggressive creature or welder decks as either a "pump" or a sacrifice outlet. The main attraction for myself is that it is a goblin, which further increases the density to support goblin tribal. My only gripe is that it doesn't create goblin tokens.

This is Sun Titan bringing back lands for half the cost, half the body, and a fraction of versatility. That's still strong.

Green's choices were somewhat difficult since my main criteria was on whether or not the creature was an elf. My first choice was between Halsin, Emerald Archdruid or Jaheira, Friend of the Forest because they were both elves. Neither of these warranted their own spot because I don't really support green tokens, though Gruul and Golgari have a decent amount. Erinis, Gloom Stalker was what I went with instead. The card has an average body of 3/3 for 3 mana with deathtouch. When it attacks it gets to return a land from graveyard to battlefield. The land will enter untapped, which is huge decks trying to mana ramp or get value out of their graveyards. Like similar cards such as Ramunap Excavator, this card plays well with graveyard and self mill decks, both of which exist for green, where tokens did not. The deathtouch is nice as it will act as a kind of pseudo evasion since your opponents won't want to block it. If this card manages to get haste, this is going to be problematic for anyone. Honestly, my biggest gripe is that the card is not an elf. I'm a purist when it comes to these things, so I won't alter this card in anyway.

Background Enchantments

This is potentially one of the cheapest versions of recurring flicker, the conditions to get it running aside from having your commander can easily be met without any additional support. If you want to push this card, run vehicles even if the decks do not need them.

This is easily one of the best of the bunch for Backgrounds. This card is a slightly more conditional Conjurer's Closet and Thassa, Deep Dweller. This is cheaper than those options in white as well. All colors have ETB abilities, which makes this easily playable in any deck. The main concern is that it can only target tapped creatures. One of the easiest ways to tap your creatures is to attack with them, though this method puts your creatures at risk. Fortunately in a multiplayer environment, this is more feasible due to more players being available to attack. The option is to run cards that will tap down your creatures. Enchantments like Opposition and Mind Over Matter can facilitate this. An even easier method is to crew vehicles since the ability can be activated even after you crew the vehicle. I'm convinced this card is well balanced since if any of the requirements for this to work, this card would more than likely be broken, especially in partner commander decks.

This is one of the safest options as a background. Unfortunately, it is nothing crazy, but it has an effect that is always relevant and helps any deck. 

Feywild Visitor is an easy option to include. The other two options that were being considered are Dungeon Delver and Clan Crafter.
My main problem with those two was that they were pretty narrow in their effect. Dungeon Delver wanted me to warp my cube around it for it to be effective, which much like Imoen will be dependent on the number of initiative and venture cards I run. Clan Crafter is a choice I'm still evaluating since it requires artifacts to be used. Blue is an artifact color for my cube, but for now I'm leaning towards Feywild Visitor. One of the main reasons is that the card is easy to trigger and it can go to any deck with various degrees of success. The tokens have flying, which makes them solid for blocking and sneaking in extra damage. Otherwise, this is a relatively boring card and I might end up making the switch to Clan Crafter at some point. This card does get spicy with partner commanders since you'll be making 2 tokens per trigger. This ability also plays well with first strike and double strike since the game treats them as separate instances of combat damage dealt. This also applies to extra combat steps.

TLDR: Because I want to further support death triggers, I opted for Agent of the Iron Throne because I wanted to support sacrifice decks, but any of the other options are strong.

Black easily had some of the better backgrounds to exist currently. I ended up opting for Agent of the Iron Throne because it lends itself into supporting aristocrats and welder, two strategies that are prominent in black. All of my black archetypes involve some form of grave play and this just fits right in. This adds more density to death payoffs. With partner commanders, this can start doing 2 damage per death trigger, which will add up over time. 

Criminal Past was the other options I was heavily considering because this functions like Bonehoard and Nighthowler. It scales well into late game and turns any of your commanders into voltron. This fit into less decks, which is why Agent won out.  

TLDR: This card is really strong in red as it is the cheapest source of exile card advantage in red. The damage pump is a nice boost but it is inconsistent and is not really the main appeal of this card.

Tavern Brawler is similar to Far Traveler in that it is easily one of the best backgrounds in red. Typically, the aspect of exiling a card that you can play every turn is already 4 mana any thing extra is a huge plus. This card already exceeds that expectation by being 3 mana. With added damage on your commander, this card exceeds expectations for its mana value. For those who aren't familiar with red game play, it is normally a color that struggles with card advantage. There are many cards in the colors that will draw you cards, but are essentially do not net you a card like Cathartic Reunion. Exiling a playable card was one of red's main methods in dealing with this problem. It is based on your commander and you do have to play the card that turn, but typically these are not real issues. In partners, you will be exiling two cards per upkeep, but the power boost will not stack and will apply to each commander. Be aware that the card reads play, not cast, which means you're allowed to play lands off of these triggers. The cards exile will go away if you do not use them, so make sure to sequence your turn correctly. The card is a little slow since it will only start working at your next upkeep, but once it gets going, the advantage will add up.

TLDR: This background is the easiest background to use in Green. It provides counters which has synergies with various strategies. Raised by Giants for 10/10 Marwyns

Master Chef was the only option that seemed pretty straight forward other than Raised By Giants. This turns your commanders into Grumgully or Renata, both of which have stricter casting cost than this. This also has your commander entering in with +1/+1 counter. This is strongly reminiscent of when I talked about Muzzio's Preparation in my review of conspiracy cards for commander cube. The reason I chose this over Raised by Giants was because of the +1/+1 counters.  Counters have more interations and synergies, thus they fit better in my environment. Raised by Giants is just a really goofy card that seems fun to since it turns your commanders into 10/10s (imagine a 10/10 Atarka, World Render or Marwyn), however it lacks interesting lines of play outside of that. The other backgrounds are interesting as well, but I felt the others were more complex to work with.

This wraps up my little sections for the Background mechanic. Aside from Shadowheart and Gut, none of these cards will be staying if I decide the mechanic isn't there yet. Depending on how this mechanic is testing, I might up the number to 10 each to provide more variety and I'm already hedging that 5 of each is too little. We'll see, but now we can finally move on to the next section.


In this section, I'm planning to cover the cards I am going to run and would recommend for your commander cubes as well. The criteria I am basing these cards on is synergy and power. This list will include potential commanders. There is a separate section for commanders on this list, so commanders featured here are coincidentally strong cards that would have made it on their own even without their commander status. (NOTE: Gut, True Soul Zealot and Shadowheart would have made this list, but were covered already in the Background Section)

TLDR: If you want to increase your artifact count, this is essentially the artifact version of Mogg War Marshall. This at minimum is 2 artifacts. Decks that can interact with it will generate way more artifacts.

The treasure variant of Ichor Wellspring and Mycosynth Wellpsring. I've been wanting to further support artifact themes in my cube and these cards were good enough since they have a trigger upon entering and being destroyed. Prized Statue is the best version of these when it comes to supporting artifacts. Unlike the other 2, this functions similar to Mogg War Marshall. When it enters, it increases your artifact count by 2. When this card is destroyed for any reason, it leaves behind another treasure. For welder decks, this essentially becomes 3 artifacts for them to use, especially with the deck's namesake Goblin Welder, which can lead to some insane shenanigans by turn 2. Outside of these artifact centric decks, this functions as a bad Pentad Prism. They are different however, as prism granted itself charge counters based on sunburst where as Prized Statue creates treasures. This means that cost reduction on the prism would actually hurt it. An example is if you had an Ugin, the Ineffable on board, playing the statue would turn it into a Lotus Petal, while playing the prism would be a strictly worse Darksteel Relic. Last note, Sunburst asks the players to spend colored manaIn addition, this can be flickered with cards like Brago to generate a token upon reentry. Lots to look forward to with this card.

TLDR: Incidental grave hate attached to mana ramp. 

Stonespeaker Crystal is another strict upgrade to Sisay's Ring and a sidegrade to Hedron Archive. Currently, I am running Hedron Archive and I am planning to make the switch over to this. In terms of mana ramp, they both function the same as one another. Where they differ is the activated ability. Between the two, you have two options. You can choose between grave hate and a cantrip for 2 mana or you can opt to draw 2 cards for 2 mana. I saw having the incidental utility of grave hate was more valuable than the card draw, especially since my players will tend not to slot in the dedicated grave hate because it's "narrow". You also sacrifice it meaning players can recur and repeat the effect if needed. If you do not run 4 MV mana rocks, this might not cut it since the grave hate portion is essentially 6 mana.

TLDR:  This card scales up well with any point of the game. Respectable creature and anytime you can trigger the ability that's a huge positive in your favor.
Nautiloid Ship is going to be crazy in multiplayer environments. For a vehicle, it is well statted. The main concern is that the crew cost is 3. This cards main function at the floor level will be grave hate against 1 player, which is a relatively poor rate, however this is made up by its incredible ability to play the creatures it exiled. This is achieved by connecting combat damage to other players, which is easier to do since you have multiple targets to attack. What makes this even more feasible is that the Nautiloid does have flying to avoid grounded blockers. This makes triggering the damage trigger fairly easy. Every creature you bring back is a huge advantage to your board state. Even if you're unable to bring back creatures, Nautiloid Ship is a respectable creature that can block and deal a chunk of damage. One important aspect of this creature is that it scales well and can be played at any point in the game. If you manage to have it reenter the board, you can exile another player's graveyard and keep the value engine going. This will fit into a lot of decks as just a value card.

TLDR: Initiative, can generate tokens to take initiative.

Undercellar Sweep has a lot going that I like. First thing to note is that it gives you the initiative and it creates tokens. As prerelease has passed the cube community has judged it as being relatively strong. From my own experience, each trigger is powerful and the options were relevant each time I got a trigger. Shifting focus to the token generation, this will turn any creature you control into Hanweir Garrison as long as you hold the initiative or try to take it. The cool part about this card is that it tries to help you take back the initiative by creating the attacking bodies. This synergized well with what white aggressive commanders want to be doing particularly Isshin and Aurelia. The tokens don't even have to attack the same target. Even after you get the initiative you can continue swinging to push your damage. 

TLDR: There's a lot of chaos to be had with this card. The treasure and tokens will expedite the game, which is good since it can drag at times.

There's a lot I like about this card. It's a confusing mix of group hug and group slug and I'm here for it. In a vaccuum, it accelerates games to an endpoint, which is nice since commander games can get durdly at times, making games take longer than they should. This fixes that by giving treasures and dealing damage to each player. This will end the game in two scenarios, the mana generation will create big plays that end the game, or player can't handle the damage and die. Since it creates treasures, cards that care about your opponent's artifacts will excel here like Dockside Extortionist. The burn portion plays well with commander burn strategies as well as lifegain strategies. It should be noted that Zedruu is one of the commanders that can offset this effect easily. Overall, game ending explosive card when it gets played. 

TLDR: Fun card in a multiplayer environment. Power and disruptive effect that will change how the game will go everytime it is activated.

Wand of Wonder seems like peak edh fun and powerful in multiplayer environments. The initial investment of 8 mana is rough for one activation, however it pays itself off easily within a second activation. The results will vary based off what you get as well, but since you are in charge of what you're casting, this card is only upside. The activation cost is 4 generic mana, thus this card is easily splashable in any deck and plays especially well in decks with mana ramp. It fills a role for red that it struggles in and that is card advantage. Each activation is similar to Etali, Primal Storm and Stolen Strategies where you play off of someone else's deck and you cast them for free. From how I am understanding how the card works, the card will keep anything you exile until you cast it with each activation. This means that you can use the card to disrupt your opponents as well by denying them access to their cards. The card is an artifact, which meaning it interacts with any form of permanent and artifact reanimation to mitigate its cost to get on the battlefield and you can untap with artifact untappers like Voltaic Key. This card seems like a lot of fun and a potential powerhouse in commander cube.

TLDR: This card supports equipment and tokens decks as one package and generally does what white wants it to do.

Horn of Valhalla fits the bill for what the white decks want to be doing. It functions in two ways, generating tokens and rewarding you for generating tokens wrapped into 1 package.  This plays well with equipment and tokens because of this. This strongly reminds me as a cross between Pennon Blade and Secure the Waste. Thanks to the adventure portion, this card can scale at any point of the game. This portion of the card can be compared to Secure the Waste, in which case, it is worse. The change to sorcery speed restricts the card to only playing it on your turn. This makes up for this ability by being an equipment as well. It is an okay late game if you have a decent board of at least 4 or more creatures. You can tutor for it with any artifact or equipment like Fabricate or Open the Armory. Where this gets really spicy is the ability to recur this card back to your hand from the graveyard with cards like Hanna, Ship's Navigator. Being able to rebuy the adventure and use it each turn is a solid mana sink to start pushing yourself. This card can be clunky to play, but it adds value when played in any form.

TLDR: Card Advantage for red and introduces initiative.

Caves of Chaos Adventurer is another solid addition to Red from this set. It introduces/ takes the initiative, which is solid when you want to swing at someone else without taking into account the initiative. Since the effect is upon ETB, this card is a solid flicker target on just the initiative alone. With each swing, you are essentially drawing a card since you play the card from exile. If you manage to complete a dungeon, you get to play the cards for free. As a 5/3 with trample, the card can comfortably swing in against other creatures. This makes the card solid at taking back the initiative if someone takes it from you. This is boosted by the fact that you have multiple other opponents to swing at. This card gets better with cards that care about attack triggers like Isshin or get multiple attack triggers like Aurelia, the Warleader. You can nab the benefits of taking the initiative and the attack trigger by playing it with red's style of copying creatures (Kiki-Jiki)

TLDR: One of the best initiative creatures as it the lowest cost creature for the mechanic while also being able to defend it

White Plume Adventurer is probably one of the best creatures with initiative. It reminds me of Nadaar, who is already present in EDH cube. As a 3 drop 3/3, this card is pretty average just looking at the stats. This card does synergize with other venture cards and cards that care about untapping. The untap portion of this card will allow you to better protect the initiative from getting to other people's hands. If you manage to complete a dungeon, this card becomes significantly better at holding the initiative since it gives your board pseudo vigilance. If you run tap ability, this will get them out of hand quickly. Much like the rest of the adventurer cycle, you can flicker this card to reapply the ETB effect. Not much else needs to be said as I can see this being in every white deck when available.

TLDR: This is Smuggler's Stash the creature. If you don't know what that means, this card will help white decks play catch up.

Easily, Battle Angels of Tyr is one of the more exciting cards for me for white. It has solid stats being a 4/4 with flying. Combine that with Myriad and you have a decent beater for moving the game along. What makes this card special is the combat damage triggers. The triggers let you gain resources as long as you're not first in life totals, cards in hand, and lands on the field. Since it has myriad, it will be able to attack each of your opponents every turn making it very possible to get all three triggers every turn. Combine myriad with Isshin or a Blade of Selves and this card goes bonkers. Really solid card when you're behind. Even if you  caught up, this is a solid beater as well. The hard part will be making cuts to fit this in since this is a general value card, which means it doesn't synergize with a lot of decks, but will be played just based on its power.

TLDR: Gruul Aggro the commander that also offers direct damage, card advantage, and is self sufficient on a planeswalker.

Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes offers an expansion to the Gruul Fires deck. The card is extremely self sufficient on its own being able to generate a hasted trampling threat, while also maintaining card advantage. It can pump any of your creatures with haste or trample into being a more significant threat and at worse you can start sacrificing them for more direct damage. If you sacrifice a hamster (currently only Boo), you get the draw cards. This card will be a big role player in any Gruul deck since a majority of the creatures have either trample or haste. Combining this with Fires of Yavimaya or sources of haste/trample will enable Minsc & Boo to buff anything. When it comes to sacrificing hamsters for cards (lmao the phrasing) , you have the options of Changelings as hamsters. At worse, you will always have Boo available to work with. Lastly, this being a commander option is a huge plus as it provides another option for your players. Overall, solid card that will almost never feel bad to play.

TLDR: An expensive card that should have a huge game swinging impact in most scenarios.

Astral Dragon initially looks too expensive and lacked impact when it is played. For 8 mana, you get a 10/10 over the course of 3 flying bodies. Upon further reflection , I realized this card makes 2 copies of any noncreature permanent. This includes lands, artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers. Since at minimum, you can target lands, this card will 99.99% will work. At the floor level, you can get 2 flying 3/3s that can tap for mana. Where this gets really spicy is that because the tokens are copies of these other cards, you can grab 2 additional copies of any effect you need. Just imagine having extra copies of Staff of Nin or Thousand Year Storm. This card plays well with almost any deck. It is a threatening top end that synergizes with flicker and is a solid target for reanimator decks. Even if the card were to be removes, the two tokens will stay around with whatever effect is still attached to them. Since the card and tokens are dragons this adds a huge count of dragons for that deck. The main concern for this card is the 8 mana, but I think the card might play just fine in multiplayer. Upon even further inspection, this is just Whirler Rogue the dragon and I am a huge fan of that card in any cube.

TLDR: This a Phyrexian Arena with more options. The life cost is much higher but options.

Black Market Connections
 seems like a mix of a bunch of things that black already does in one package. This is more flexible to play than Phyrexian Arena since there's less commitment to black. It's main function will be to provide with a variety of options that you need. You can choose any combination of these 3 options: a treasure token for 1 life, drawing a card for 2 life, and  generating a 3/2 changelings for 3 life. You can opt to select every option for 6 life. This card plays really well in life gain strategies as the life gain will help you overcome the significant life cost. Even without significant lifegain, starting the game off at 40 life does provide you with more than enough life to better the life lost. Lastly, the option to generate a changeling is significant as it provides more support to tribal strategies. The value and versatility of this card easily makes it one of the best card to be added to commander cube.

TLDR: This is a more conditional Hedron Archive. The initiative provides enough card advantage that I believe merits the switch.

Sarevok's Tome is another side grade to Hedron's Archive and it competes with Stonespeaker's Crystal. The strongest point of the card is that it gives you the initiative when the card enters the battlefield and it rewards you late game for completing the dungeon. The ETB portion is important as you can flicker this card to take the initiative or further venture in your dungeon. The main downside is that it can only generate 2 colorless when you have the initiative, which makes this card inconsistent with the other 4 mana rocks.

TLDR: Provides a ton of card advantage in white, while opening white up to more graveyard strategies. Card is self sufficient and does not need support to create an impact.

Seasoned Dungeoneer provides a ton of card filtering and card advantage for White decks. When this card enters, you take the initiative. Much like the adventurer cycle, you can flicker these cards to retrigger the initiative. The dungeoneer's second ability is useful for a ton of different things. At first glance, it's clearly intended for party support, but this card can function independently without a party since the dungeoneer is a warrior, meaning it can target itself. In theory, this card will be able to take back the initiative, if you ever lose it, which makes it actually pretty similar to White Plume Adventurer. The quietest, but a really important aspect is that the target of second ability explores. This means either you are drawing lands or you're growing the target creature. Since this is prior to combat, this functions similarly to Luminarch Aspirant, which is a monster 2 drop in traditional cubes currently. Lastly, you can mill the nonland cards you reveal with explore, letting you play into any graveyard strategies you may be playing with. Since this second ability works immediately, this card has a lot going on that is sorely needed for white card advantage. The card gets better in attack trigger decks, though be aware you cannot target the same creature multiple times due to protection from creature. This card strongly synergizes with Alesha if you run that as a commander option.

Recommended as Commander
The cards mentioned in this section would be included based solely on the fact that they can be your commanders and would add or enhance existing archetypes found present in commander cube. Cards that are way too specific like Mazzy, Truesword Paladin will not be recommended since I do not support an aura theme.

TLDR: Self Sufficient Commander that gives another identity to Dimir. Gets better if you actually support her mechanic, but is not necessary.

Tasha, the Witch Queen adds an extra dimension to Dimir decks on a gameplay element that already exist. She acts as a pay off for running cards that steal and cast your opponent's spell. Every time you cast a spell you don't own, you create a 3/3 Demon. There's no limitation, so you can trigger this card to your hearts desire. On her own, she already is self sufficient in supporting the strategy. Running her with other cards that do the same thing can push her into being powerful on her own. Her first ability is unimpressive since you can have consistent card draw for cheaper cost. Her second ability is where she really shines. With the way it's worded as long as you have cards in exile with page counters. you can use it, even if Tasha was removed from the battlefield. What's keeping this card back is that there are not enough stealing cards currently present in my cube. 

TLDR: More dragon support in Temur and can function as a commander for that deck.

Currently, I am running Intet, the Dreamer, Sarkhan Unbroken, and Riku of the Two Reflections in my Temur spot. This card would be replacing Sarkhan Unbroken since both cards support dragon tribal with Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm acting as a commander for the deck. At its lowest point, Miirym would be a 6MV 6/6 with Flying and Ward 2, which is kinda meh when compared to other 6 drops. The warding ability does protect it a little from other players. This card becomes good if you are able to trigger the ability 1 time because at that rate you are essentially getting 2 dragons for the price of one. Not much else about this card other than it reinforces dragon tribal.

TLDR: Acts as a fatty cheat/ suspend commander that gets significantly better with tap/untap. This might replace Vannifar in my Simic section.

My Simic section was already in the business of untapping and tapping permanent and cheating them out; this card is in the business for both. When you activate Alaundo the Seer, he draws a card, suspends a card equal to its MV, and remove a time counter on suspended cards. The suspend ability will mitigate mana cost allowing you to cheat out huge spells. As you keep activating the ability, the faster the suspended cards will come out. You can activate this ability multiple times by untapping the card with cards like Swords of the Paruns or copying the ability like Rings of Brighthearth. Going beyond just this card, Alaundo plays well with other suspend cards. I currently am not running any suspend cards, however my simic section runs untap/tap support. This card will excel with card draw, which is already prevalent on the card itself and in the blue section. The main downside is that you have to exile a card when you activate it, which hurts when you start having less card in your hand. Also Upheaval

TLDR: I wanted an Abzan Enchantment commander, I kinda got it. Concerned it might be too clunky, but when it works it keeps activated and static abilities around.

Myrkul, Lord of Bones is a card that is clunky to use, however it facilitates the enchantments and aristrocrats in Abzan. At worse, this card is a 7 drop 7/5 with no keywords. This card like the other two gods in this set is able to give itself indestructible once you reach half life. This is good since as a 7 drop, this card is already costly to bring out and having to recast it anytime after the first is going to be a struggle. The main attraction of this card is the second ability where any nontoken creature you control that dies comes back as an enchantment. This works really well with creatures that have strong abilities, both triggered and activated, but are hampered by the fact that they are creatures. Examples of cards like this are Ghoulcaller Gisa and Zulaport Cutthroat, which are played for their abilities. Also it let's Devoted Druid combo cause there's always a Devoted Druid combo. Since the cards will enter as enchantments, this card strong synergies with devotion strategies as well as enchantress since both decks card about their permanent count. This ability is also a may ability, so not everything has to be exiled.

TLDR: This is potentially Ophiomancer the commander as long as you can meet the requirement, which are not hard. You can easily grow your board state if played correctly. The token he creates are a legitimate threat since he buffs them to being 2/2s.

Raphael, Fiendish Savior was a card I overlooked initially until I got to see it in action during release weekend. At first glance, this just seems like a lord for Devils, Demons, Imps, and Tieflings, however it is in his second ability that he really shines. He is able to generate a devil every turn as long as something entered the graveyard that turn, which extremely similar to Deathreap Ritual. It should be noted that the ability reads that the creature can come from anywhere, so the card also plays really well with self mill and discard strategies as well, however aristocrats will more than likely be the most common deckbuilding choice. The card doesn't care what type of creature it is, so you can sacrifice tokens every turn to keep this engine going. Each token Raphael creates will be essentially a 2/2 with lifelink that can deal 1 damage when it dies, which is a pretty strong token. This card plays extremely well with Ghoulcaller Gisa, which is a sacrifice outlet and a token generator, as well as Ophiomancer, who is able to generate a token every turn for Raphael to sacrifice.  Even in the worse case scenario, a 5MV Flying 4/4 is still a respectable threat, even more so since the ability can work the turn you play it. The biggest downside to this card is that it is a 5 mana card, however I can't see this set of abilities being cheaper than 4MV, which would make this card really strong.

CORRECTION: Raphael only triggers off creature CARDS. This means he cannot trigger off of the tokens he creates. Disregard any mention of triggering off of tokens. The card is still strong, but he's no ophiomancer. I would still recommend it as a commander as he does enable graveyard strats that Rakdos doesn't really have a commander for. 

TLDR: Card Advantage and Spell cost reduction in Boros, which are things the color combination traditionally struggles with.

Commander Liara Portyr is an interesting option for Boros as she offers card advantage, which is one of many things that the color combination struggles with. When you attack you exile X cards from the top of your deck and spells you cast from exile get a discount with both numbers being based on the number of players attacked. Since the card reads when you attack, this triggers as long as you attack with any creature, which is similar to Gut, True Soul Zealot which we mentioned earlier. As a reminder, a player is considered attack as long as a creature is attacking them, it does not need to be declared. So if you are playing with myriad or cards like Undercellar Sweep, the other players that you did not declare on will be counted as well. If you manage to get multiple copies of this ability, the mana discount does stack. The biggest issues with this card is that it has an unimpressive stat line for its mana value and the ability says cast, so you cannot play lands with it. Other than that, this card might be stronger than I think it is and playtesting will let me find out.

Cards of Interest
These are cards I think would be fun to play, however I do not have the space/design for them. Because of the nature of multiplayer, some of the cards are on the list simply based on the chaos they can create.

TLDR: Potential Green Board Wipe and multiplayer interaction.

Barroom Brawl is an interesting card as it can create be a boardwipe for just 2 mana. With the way, its worded it can create interesting sequences of play since there will be a lot of politicking and salt involved with each copy made. The main reason this didn't make the cut is that I'm trying to minimize the amount of sorceries and instances in green. Green is able to have removal without the need for instances and sorceries.

TLDR: This makes gates more viable and the changes to support Gates are not design warping.

Baldur's Gate reminds me a lot of a Nykthos for gates. It does play much more inconsistently though since devotion can be on any permanent while gates are specifically on lands which can only be played once a turn. Currently, I am not running the Ravnica gates as part of my land base, however the printing of Baldur's Gate and other gate payoff cards is making me reconsider it. These cards do not need that many gates to work combine this with the existence of Golos and Maze's End and there is a gates deck waiting to be played. Aside from rearranging my cube to add more gates, one of the bigger problems is that gates would have to be a minimum of a 3 color deck due to color restrictions. This might be a smaller concern than I'm making it out to be since this does encourage players to play with more colors. 

TLDR: A punisher card that hurts players from casting spells, especially multiple spells. The main concern is that it is an artifact creature which makes it easy to remove. 

Rug of Smothering is an interesting card that punishes your opponent for casting too many spells. The card works on everyone's turn, so it will punish, but also encourage anyone to play more flash/instant cards. The card has flying and is colorless, which means it can be played in any deck that wants to run. Decks that are built around playing fair, burn, or gaining life work best with this card as they can mitigate the amount of damage this card will deal to them. As a creature, this card can stop small threats from dealing damage to you. Main issue with the card is that it is a creature, which makes it easier to deal with than had it been an enchantment or artifact. I'm not too sold on this card, but I might test it to see how it plays.

TLDR: There is a lot I want to like about Oji, but it just seems like he has the worst of everything, where his only saving grace is that he is a commander.

Oji, the Exquisite Blade has a lot going on, but none of it is strong enough. It's like the weaker hybrid of Soulherder and Cloudblazer as a commander. You can use the card to signpost a second spell archetype which is already found on Ledger Shredder and Clarion Spirit. The neat thing is that Oji can target himself with his ability. Had this card had a keyword or the scry 2 was replaced with a draw 1 card, this would have been really playable. As it currently is, it's hard to appreciate this card.

TLDR: Experience Counters are broken and make this card scale up really well late game. Main concern is getting this card started because it's clunky and awful otherwise.

Minthara, Merciless Soul is another card that I am the fence about. One of its main attraction is that it reintroduces the experience counter mechanic, which hasn't been seen since Commander 2015. When you gain experience, this card becomes harder to target and your creature including herself deal more damage. She plays well in both aristocrat and flicker strategies since that is how you gain experience counters. Her ability works once per turn cycle, however you can gain more experience counters by playing proliferate. The main downsides are that the body is unimpressive and that it doesn't really protect itself until later, however having 1or 2 counters can make this card a huge threat. This does have a chance at making it into my Orzhov section.

TLDR: Cool commander and opens Mardu up to artifacts, but my Mardu is not too big on artifacts.

Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter does open up Mardu to being more artifact oriented. As a 3/3 with haste, it has a decent body to cost. The two activated abilities are always good and they play well into welder and token decks. The first ability can quickly accelerate you into your larger threats while the second ability can generate for you extra bodies for anything you need. The main issue is that the card is not self sufficient, but artifacts are easy to come by to get this started. for my own cube, Mardu artifacts is available as a partner combination and I do not feel that Jan Jansen beats out the current options of Queen Marchesa and Isshin from their spots.

TLDR: This is better than Elvish Piper, but Piper supports more archetypes.

Monster Manual is a pretty sweet card that enables the fatty cheat strategy. The main thing I like about this card is that it can fetch you a creature for you to use with this card. Had I not been running Elvish Piper, I would have included this card. The reason is that Elvish Piper fits and supports more archetypes than Monster Manual does, which is more important in commander cube.

TLDR: Monoblack repeatable Unburial Rites that exiles creatures if they die again. I don't have room for this card, which is why I'm not including it.

From the Catacombs does a lot of what I like. It is a reanimator spell that does not mind being in the graveyard similar to Unburial Rites. This makes the card great with discard and self mill strategies since the card is active in hand or graveyard. In addition to reanimating creatures, you also get to take the initiative for added value. The big downside is that cards reanimated with this card will exile themselves if they leave the battlefield. You can get around this with your own flicker exile effects such Restoration Angel and Ghostly Flicker.

TLDR: Copying every ETB is busted and might be too powerful

Aboleth Swarm is a card that will probably end up making it into my commander based on sheer power. Every deck runs ETB triggers and this is get tons of value every game it will be played in. That's the main reason I'm on the fence about it. The card is powerful, but it doesn't synergize with anything. As part of my design philosophy for commander cube, synergies are the priorities over power level and based on that, this is where this card struggles as I'm concerned that it will just overtake games without trying. Playtesting is planned if I can get my hands on it. Having Flash and ward 2 guarantees that the card will work at least once, though probably longer based on how often creature removal is being played.

TLDR: This is a strong card, but it lacks any real synergy with the rest of my commander cube. This is just another card that does  what green is already doing well, which makes this card less interesting to me. Had it supported tribal strategies I am already running, easy slam dunk.

Undermountain Adventurer has a lot to like about. First off, being a decent bodied mana dork with vigilance is enough to make me want to play this card. Combined with the fact that when it enters and I can take the initiative really pushes this card. What's exciting is that the card generates 2 green mana meaning you will be able to hit your 6 drops the following turn. As a total package, this in theory should mean that it will be very hard to take the initiative away from you since you will always have a concerning threat preventing your opponents from doing so. The problem I have with the card is that it just doesn't fit into any deck other than ramp, especially since it is looking like dungeons are going to be a primarily white mechanic in my commander cube. This could have easily been a slam dunk for me if it just had the creature type elf or dragon (I'm a purist and will not alter the creature types) ,but without it its just a value card that lacks a synergy with the rest of my cube. 


This articles took much longer than anticipated due to some complications on top of being much longer than I expected. Having played the set at this point, I am more confident that Initiative is a relatively strong mechanic. The other mechanics were solid to play with, however I still have very little exposure to background. Hoping playtesting them in cube will get me a better feel for the mechanic. Other than that, CLB is a lot of fun to play and the cards that were printed in the set, really do offer a lot for cubes, especially commander cube.

Thanks for reading and with this is the conclusion for the CLB set. Hopefully I get around to doing and end of the year review of cards that earned their spots in either of my cubes. After this, I am planning  continue working on my spotlight articles with a single card spotlight just waiting to be published and an archetype spotlight waiting to be finished up. So look forward to that. 

Again thanks and come back weekly or make sure to join my email list