Aftermath: The Winners of Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate

Back Again with the Baldur's Gate discourse. 

 Welcome into the Aftermath series where I reexamine sets that have been out for at least a year. During preview seasons, many cube content creators, me included, will do a preliminary look at cards and try our best to gauge how they will perform in cube. This is a tough endeavor as cubes vary wildly between different restrictions and players preference. Combine this with the fact that we haven't really seen the cards in action and what we all provide is an incomplete picture of the ceiling and baseline. As time progresses, the cards are better understood and the community does an amazing job of putting out this information. These post are intended to highlight the winners, duds, and interesting cards in cube from the set.

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Baldur's Gate is my favorite set from 2022 and I already dedicated a whole piece defending the set and talking about the positives that I enjoyed from the set. You can check it out here. Today, we're just focusing on all the cards that have managed to maintain their positions in cubes and will probably do so for possibly the rest of time.

The Winner

Just to get this out of the way now, ALL of the 3-4 (and Feywild Caretaker) mana initiative cards are automatically in this list. I was skeptical about the mechanic and the value it brought to the game, however I am now a convert of the mecnahic. The mechanic is absurd to play against for a variety of reasons. Firstly the initiative triggering every turn will overtake the games. Combine this with the amount of ways to meaningfully interact with the mechanic other than just taking it from a player and you got quite a . This is further exacerbated by the number of Initiative creatures the cube designers chooses to include. In initiative light environment near impossible to interact with it. Looking at each of the creatures themself, these are designed to either help you hold the initiative or take it back if it gets stolen. This means that even the most meager option like Aarakocra Sneak is a hidden menace.

The levels of absurdity is a reason for these cards to also not be included, but this is one of several reasons. When it comes to drafting these cards, the initiative is something difficult to evaluate for those unfamiliar with the mechanic. I personally like the cards, but their design will turn some people away.

One of the bunch, White Plume Adventurer is easily the best one of the group based on the merit of it being 3 mana. If left unimpeded, this easily can becomes 5/5 with pseudo-vigilance. This rate is insanely good for the creature and with this initiative, it represents 15 damage over the course of 3 turns on its own. Combine this with other sources of damage and you're winning as soon as this drops. The creature fits in almost any white deck. It's fast enough to function as a curve topper for aggressive decks, while being well costed for midrange and control decks to take advantage of. There isn't a situation where I can see this card losing when played on curve.

Minsc and Boo, Timeless Heroes is one of the dumbest great cards from this set. With it being the cost of 4 mana, this card has pushed out every other competitor at that slot since nothing else can really compare. It is essentially a resilient and growing 4/4 beater with haste and trample that will easily take over games due to how difficult it is to properly interact with it. As long as Minsc is still alive, he will spawn a Boo token to replace the other token, this gets annoying after a while because he does it at no cost and is able to pump it with the +1 ability. Should there be situations when you need removal, you have the option to Fling a card at any target. If it was the hamster, you'll draw cards as well. This is so absurd that even at 5 mana in the Arena Cube this card was still difficult to deal with. In terms of power, this has become one of the strongest 4 drops I've seen and 4 is one of the most competitive slots for cards in cube.

Guts, True Soul Zealot is the biggest sleeper hit from this set for cube. She fits the bill for everything Red can be doing and serves as an amazing crossover for aggro, Aristrocrats, and artifacts. Though she doesn't have haste her attack ability is worded to work immediately the turn she comes down. This is insane as she produces a 4/1 Menace token, which is a nightmare early. The tokens deal tons of damage, are difficult to block, and stick around to the next turn. The condition to activate this ability isn't difficult to achieve either since you can sacrifice another artifact or creature token, which is you are playing on curve you should have almost 90% of the time. What's more cards that produce multiple sacrifice fodders play amazingly well when paired with this card and these are often already cube staples like Thraben Inspector and Voldaren Epicure. Even if you are unable to sacrifice another creature, you can always sacrifice Guts to her own ability. It does compete with the other Rabblemasters, but I am convinced that it can stand toe to toe with the best of them as long as you generate a single skeleton. This can easily start ending games within a few turns if proper measures aren't taken to stop it. As a cheap card at uncommon, this plays way better than it looks. 

The End Step

When looking back on this set, there are a ton of sweet sleeper cards from this set that should have seen more play than they actually did. Many of these cards are great for cube, however the perception around the set really bogged down how good the set is with many overlooking the cards. The more I relook at this set, the more I appreciate how good many of these cards are for cube and the variety they add to different archetypes and player types. We'll explore more of the underrated cards in the next article. 

Outside of blog writing, I've been streaming more on Rumble of the various games I'm currently enjoying, less effort and it doesn't take away from the writing. Video editting and Youtube weren't things I was feeling successful in the amount of effort made it more less enjoyable, while Rumble has been more receptive of me. If you want to take a look, just click this link here. I typically stream from 8PM Pacific- Whenever I feel like sleeping.

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