Magic Cards You'll See in Baldur's Gate 3

Magic Cards You’ll See in the First Five Hours of Baldur’s Gate 3

Kristen GregoryCommander

Baldur’s Gate 3 is already a monumentally popular video game in the short time since its Aug. 4 release date. If you’re as hyped as we are to be diving into Larian Studios’ new blockbuster, then join us as we journey through Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate to find references and easter eggs galore for the first five or so hours of Baldur’s Gate 3 — all on Magic cards!

Baldur's Gate 3 game poster
You may recognize some of these characters


You’d be forgiven for wondering why Wizards of the Coast didn’t release Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate alongside Baldur’s Gate 3. Well, they did — at least they planned to. 

Delays are commonplace in the videogame industry, and despite a generous estimation for the release window, the game got delayed that little bit too long. Wizards has a tight release schedule, and you’ll understand why the set came out before the game if you take a moment to consider the logistics. 

Between leaks, warehouse space and future reprints, delaying a Magic set is quite hard to do. It’s a constantly moving machine. 

With that out of the way, let’s get started on our adventure. There will, of course, be some light spoilers of the “prologue” section in today’s article, though nothing much more than what trailers and press releases have revealed thus far. Baldur’s Gate 3 is huge, so don’t worry.


Before you even start your game, you’re going to have to get past the first hour of gameplay: the time you spend building your character. Magic fans will immediately recognise the Classes previously printed in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, the first Dungeons & Dragons set release in 2021. Once you’ve decided on class and appearance, you’ll be asked to Choose a Background. 

A screenshot of character creation from Baldur's Gate 3

Commander players will clock that one straight away, and immediately Folk Hero and Guild Artisan will jump out at you. 

Whilst the other Magic Backgrounds aren’t one-for-one, they’re still represented: Urchin is Street Urchin, Entertainer is Popular Entertainer, etc. Once you finish your character, you can launch the game proper. 


The scene is set when we zone in on the Nautiloid Ship. Your player character and a host of others have been kidnapped by the Illithids. You know little of their nefarious scheme, save for the fact that they’re going to infect you with a Tadpole. 

You watch as another victim is infected and are forced to wait for your own toothy little friend to hitch a ride straight behind your eyeball. Gross!

Administering today’s treatment is an Illithid, represented by Illithid Harvester. The adventure side of the card represents sowing the seeds of discord, and the EtB on the creature part marks the turning point. There’s no coming back.

As you get your bearings in the ship, you’ll hear a voice softly tickling at the edge of your consciousness. If you follow the signal, you may happen upon a rather unfortunate man with half of his brain hanging out. If you pass a check, you might be able to remove the brain, at which point it sprouts appendages and transforms into this horrible little creature. 

It’ll help you through the ship, but keep an eye on it. Who knows what’s behind its machinations. 

As you emerge starboard, you’ll run into the first party member: Lae’zel, Vlaakith’s Champion. Flipping deftly from above, she means at first to cut you down, before realizing you share a psychic link and that you’re kindred spirits. 

It’s time to get to the bridge, that much is clear. But how much is that Lae’zel speaking, and how much is it the parasite?

You’ll have the opportunity to try and free Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar as you journey to the bridge. She’s the party Cleric, so her heals and semi-tankiness early on is much appreciated — especially if you opted to play a squishier class like Wizard or Warlock.

Fighting to get to the bridge, you’ll encounter Imps as the Nautiloid Ship’s journey takes it through Hell. Elturel isn’t the only thing Descending into Avernus, ehehe. 

Imps are pretty rudimentary mobs, so you won’t have too much trouble. If you’ve picked Warlock Class, you might even gain the ability to summon one of your own. Pro tip: it can go invisible and help with taking the advantage in encounters.


When you’re finally on solid ground, you’ll find Lae’zel is nowhere to be found. Grabbing Shadowheart, it’s time to get your bearings. And on the way, you might bump into a rather pompous but endearingly sardonic gentleman: Astarion

It’s not known to you straight away, but he does turn out to be a vampire. If you end up leaning into the same brand of sassy evil in your dialogue options, you might have Astarion let down his walls and make a rather pointed proposition. If you put your neck on the line for him, he just might return the favor in combat.

On your way to civilization, you’ll find a strange portal. What’s strange about it is that there’s a man stuck in there. Pull him out and you’ll meet Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy

Gale is a Wizard, and I’ve found him to be pretty likable so far. He’s clearly hiding something, but his charismatic lead-actor energy really rubs off on you. 

There’s a super fun easter-egg to be found if Gale ends up dying, so be sure to let him die at least once. I say let him die… you’re going to get party wiped plenty. It’ll happen without you trying. 

The sound of battle is ahead, and when you make your way through the clearing, you’ll happen upon Wyll, Blade of Frontiers. Along with Wyll, you’ll help fend off a Goblin vanguard who have tracked a band of adventurers back to a sacred place. 

Bad news bears, for everyone involved. You can recruit Wyll to your party shortly after this. 


After fighting off the Goblins, you’ll be able to convince Zevlor, the Tiefling in apparent charge, to let you in. You’ll find him moments later arguing with the party of humans that led the goblins back. They had been on a mission and been sloppy in their retreat. 

Zevlor leads a band of survivors from Elturel, mostly Tieflings, who have had to find shelter after Elturel’s Descent into Avernus. 

You soon learn that Zevlor isn’t quite in charge so much as at the whim of the Druids of the Emerald Grove, who are none too pleased about the Goblins finding their location. 

They mean to use a complex enchantment spell to block anyone from getting in or out of the Grove, while kicking out the Tieflings (whose numbers include women and children) to fend for themselves against the goblins. The math doesn’t quite add up. Something’s got to give. 

On your way to talk to the chief Druids, you bump into Volo, Itinerant Scholar. He’s curious to hear about the Goblins you encountered and otherwise bemoaning his lack of ability to talk to animals, as he really wants to see inside the mind of the bear next to him.

If you can talk to animals, you can ask a nearby sleeping bear to move off an elevator, which takes you to a certain squirrel and a fun interaction. 

Your quest to find a cure for the Tadpoles has led you to the Druid’s innermost chamber. Unfortunately, Halsin is nowhere to be found, and Kagha leads in his stead. 

She is fundamentally against helping the refugees, and honestly she’s a little sus. Your decision about how to help the refugees is great roleplaying for your character, and if you poke enough around, you might find a secret avenue that ends with the least bloodshed. 


Back out in the wild, your next step is to figure out the refugee situation, the goblin situation, and where to find a cure. You may or may not have found Lae’zel, and may or may not have left her where you found her. 

In your travels, you may come across an Owlbear. It’s very easy to mess this one up, and even if you’re roleplaying as an evil character, I challenge you to not have your heart strings pulled if the Owlbear Cub comes across a dead Mama. If you play your cards right, though, you could find yourself with one of two early-game Campsite pets. 

This might not have happened to you, but I encountered a man called Raphael while looking for a smuggler’s stash. He alluded to us that we would have difficulty finding a cure, but that we could always sell our souls to him to get things fixed. 

The encounter was tense yet civil, but with an undercurrent of malice. It reminded me of dealing with Crowley in Supernatural. I’m sure I’ll see more of Raphael again. 


Like most people trying (and failing) to not let Baldur’s Gate 3 displace their responsibilities, I had to end it there for now. I’ve had a lot of fun so far, and even as someone who isn’t huge on Dungeons & Dragons, I’ve been sucked right in. 

I haven’t met them yet, but I’ve heard reference to Halsin, Gut and Nine-Fingers Keene in conversations and in correspondence I’ve happened upon. I also am beginning to understand what the “True Soul” part of Gut’s moniker means, which is intriguing!

A big part of my excitement and onboarding for Baldur’s Gate 3 has been because I’m an invested Magic player. Seeing the attention to detail that Commander Legends: Baldur’s Gate had to the game, now I’m finally playing it, is a treat. 

CLB was an awesome set, and a true sleeper hit. It came at a time when we had a bit of a lull in “perceived power level” (I use air quotes there because the set has some super powerful cards in) and I think people passed up on it a little too readily. 

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, meanwhile, has even more references — but in a more general sense. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter and Burning Hands are two early game spells that had me pointing like Leonardo DiCaprio at my screen.

If you want to get reacquainted with the set, then check out my Commander Set Review for Battle for Baldur’s Gate

It was also a sweet set to draft. Card Kingdom has draft boxes for as little as $94.99, with Set Booster Boxes starting at around $10 more if you just wanna crack some packs. 

Let us know what character you’re playing as for your first playthrough over on Twitter.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is available now on PC. It’s due to arrive on PS5 Sept 6. Though you can play it on console, Kristen recommends PC because a mouse and keyboard is a lot more useful than a controller for this kind of game. We’re not sponsored by Larian Studios or Wizards to write about BG3 we’re just really enjoying it and hope you do too.