New sets mean fun toys for EDH, and Scott is looking at what inexpensive cards from Baldur’s Gate could have a big impact on the format!
The Battle for Baldur’s Gate has begun! Preview season has come to an end, and this set is looking to be one of the most exciting and impactful for Commander in a long time. There’s a new dungeon in the Undercity, more than thirty dragons, and dozens of new commanders, all waiting to be explored by players looking for some spice.
Since Magic can be a bit tough on the wallet on occasion, I decided to take the Initiative and compile what I believe to be some of the best affordable cards from Battle For Baldur’s Gate. They cover a wide range of staples, like removal, card draw, and combat tricks. Don’t let the prices fool you though; these may be light on your wallet, but they pack a punch! You’ll find you’ll be happy to run many of these in decks of almost any power level, and you’ll be impressed with their performance.
Many commanders are crucial to their deck’s game plan, and it can be tough to win (or even play the game) if they become too expensive to cast. Campfire’s second ability is a perfect contingency plan for when this happens. It’s particularly useful for legendaries that are expensive to cast in the first place, like Zacama, Primal Calamity or Velomachus Lorehold. It’s also brilliant as a way to protect key pieces in your graveyard from exile effects, like Bojuka Bog. Shuffling those important cards back into your library is invaluable to any deck that runs graveyard combos.
Goggles of Night / Mystery Key ($0.25 / $0.35)
Card advantage is always highly sought after in equipment decks, and Goggles of Night and Mystery Key are incredible additions to any Voltron commander’s arsenal. Goggles of Night’s ability effectively gives you a free Opt every time you connect with an opponent, and Mystery Key reads almost like Ancestral Recall in equipment form. Mask of Memory and Mask of Riddles already see a decent amount of play, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see these being played alongside them in similar numbers down the line. Mystery Key will be great in decks that want equipment, but it’ll be best in decks with evasive creatures, like Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow. It’s even better if you can recur it, like with Tameshi, Reality Architect’s ability!
Patriar’s Seal / Stonespeaker Crystal ($0.25 / $0.49)
I’ve talked at length before about less efficient mana rocks with abilities being better for casual Commander. This is thanks to their utility; they give you something to do with your mana, and they’re better top decks in the late game. Patriar’s Seal and Stonespeaker Crystal are two such rocks that will be added to this list.
Patriar’s Seal’s untap effect is perfect for commanders with tap abilities, like Marwyn, the Nurturer, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, and Emry, Lurker of the Loch. It gives you multiple activations of their abilities, allowing you to effectively get multiple turns worth of value from them. Stonespeaker Crystal is like Hedron Archive, only much better. There is card draw aplenty in Commander, but graveyard hate is often necessary; you don’t want it to take up a dedicated slot if possible, making Stonespeaker Crystal another excellent choice alongside other hate rocks like Honored Heirloom.
Contraband Livestock ($0.25)
Cheap, efficient removal is always good. Whenever I see a card like Contraband Livestock, I’m compelled to pick up several copies. White may have access to Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile, but it doesn’t hurt to have more options! The worst case scenario for this card’s effect is still pretty good, as replacing any threat with a 4/4 green Ox is a worthy tradeoff, roughly on par with Resculpt. The best case scenario is even better, as a 0/1 white Goat token is often inconsequential. Plus, this art will be a fantastic addition to any deck!
Wild Magic Surge ($0.25)
Chaos Warp is the single most popular removal spell in red, showing up in nearly 200,000 decks on EDHREC! Wild Magic Surge isn’t quite the same, but it’s certainly Chaos Warp adjacent. The ability to target any opposing permanent is invaluable, allowing you to take care of creatures, enchantments, or even lands. Much like Chaos Warp, it’s a lot less of a feels-bad removal spell, as it replaces the removed permanent with another one. It also invites some randomness and variance into your plays, which allows for the most memorable games. It is harder to cast than Chaos Warp, however, and may just see play in red-heavy or mono red decks, but it’s a powerful staple that you should expect to see a lot of going forward!
Jaheira’s Respite ($1.99)
I believe that fog spells are underplayed in Commander. They often save you from a lethal attack, punish overextending, and allow for some dramatics in combat. Jaheira’s Respite is, in my opinion, one of the best fog spells that has been printed in recent years, specifically for lands and landfall decks. Not only is it a way to prevent damage, but it also ramps you proportionate to the number of attackers you’re facing. If you pair this with landfall creatures like Rampaging Baloths or Scute Swarm, it will generate an absurd amount of creatures; this is what makes me think it’s the landfall equivalent to Inkshield, and it should be respected.
Wyll’s Reversal ($0.49)
Wyll’s Reversal is one of the best redirection spells in a long time. As with all dice rolling cards, you should evaluate them by the worst result. If you’re happy enough with the worst outcome, then the card is good; everything else that can happen is just upside! Three mana to redirect a spell or ability is a fine rate, but if you get 15+ on your d20 roll, you’re getting a Wild Ricochet for a very efficient cost. The fact that the dice roll is influenced by the power of your creatures makes it even easier to rig the roll in your favor. This can be used to reselect targets for removal, card draw, or even as a way to help red decks fight with counterspells on the stack. No red deck should be without this kind of effect, and this is arguably the best one yet.
Lae’zel’s Acrobatics ($1.29)
Lae’zel’s Acrobatics is one of the few mass flicker spells in Magic, and it’s perhaps the best one. Like Eerie Interlude or Semester’s End, this lets you save your team from a board wipe, retrigger their enter the battlefield abilities, or both. Similarly to Wyll’s Reflection, the worst case scenario is a good effect at a decent rate, so it has a fairly high floor. 50% of the time, however, you will re-trigger enter the battlefield abilities an additional time, giving you twice the value as any other effect like this! The only downside is you don’t get to choose which creatures get exiled, which Eerie Interlude and Semester’s End can both do. It’s not going to be relevant very often though, and the upside is well worth it.
Call to the Void ($0.79)
It might be a bit of a high mana value for something that isn’t a full board wipe, but Call to the Void is a fascinating card for casual tables. If it’s played properly (i.e. the players don’t discuss who they will choose beforehand), this will lead to a minigame where everyone needs to weigh up what they think they can get away with not choosing, in the hopes that it’s a big enough threat to warrant someone else picking it. Even if they do discuss it beforehand, they can bluff and see what way it plays out! This is the perfect card for players that like a little bit of dramatics in their games, or like the social deduction involved in puzzle-like cards.
Your Temple Is Under Attack ($0.25)
Secret Rendezvous caused quite the stir when it was revealed back in Strixhaven, and it led to a divide between players over whether it was any good. The same might happen to Your Temple Is Under Attack, though I think the arguments for it are much more convincing. Your Temple Is Under Attack may draw one less card than Secret Rendezvous, but it’s easier to cast, it’s an instant, and it can be used to protect your board when needed. In fact, I’d even say that this is a solid board protection spell first and foremost, that also happens to have a political option available for when it’s needed. Many white decks that play to the board will want to consider this going forward, as its flexibility and power is very impressive, especially for a common!
This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the powerful and affordable cards in the set, but rather a taste of what’s available. Battle for Baldur’s Gate is a set that players will keep coming back to for years to come, finding niche tech cards and new combos with commanders that are yet to be released. I hope this has helped to show you the wide variety of gold that can be found here for a bargain.
Do you have any particular cards from this set that you like? What’s your pick for the best sleeper card right now? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to let me know on Twitter! Happy adventuring!
Scott is an Irish content creator and the Head of Budget Magic for the Izzet League. He focuses on affordable decks in Pioneer, Modern, and Pauper, particularly ones that stray from the mainstream. When he’s not writing about his favorite decks, he can be found talking incessantly about them on Twitter and on The Budget Magic Cast.