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Top Ten Cards #4 From Battle for Baldur?s Gate

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Hello Happiest of People! I hope your day is going awesomely well!

Today I want to take my final deep dive into the recently printed Battle for Baldur's Gate. Because these cards are not legal in popular formats like Standard and Modern, they have an enhanced power level at the kitchen table in formats like Commander specifically and multiplayer generally, as well as Cube, Type Four, Five Color, Highlander, and Pauper and other casual formats so my list looks at those sort of formats.

This is my fourth list, and our first top ten has two planeswalkers, an artifact at #2, two vehicles, a counter sorta and a powerhouse new broken card at #1. Our next list features three adventures, a broken cycle in the top three, and a common card at the top spot! Then I had a land cycle, a God, two key white uncommons, and a game changing green rare at my #1 spot in the next article.

Since this is my last Top Ten from this set, we'll be including two more Honorable Mentions than normal. With those four slots for Honorable Mentions, this list will be looking at cards from #50 - #37. We're going to have another big cycle(sorta) of cards - get ready.

Honorable Mention #1 (#50 Overall) - Split the Spoils

Split the Spoils

This is a whole lot of fun on a three cost sorcery. This exiles (up to) five permanents from your graveyard and you place them in two piles, and then hand it to a foe and then they choose the pile you'll get, and the rest get you into back to the graveyard. This is like a three mana Fact or Fiction in Green, with some weaknesses:

  • #1. It only targets your graveyard not your library.
  • #2. It's sorcery speed.
  • #3. It only chooses permanents.
  • #4. Your foe chooses what you get, not you.

That's not on the same level, but you are guaranteed two good permanent or three average ones, with a full library, and it works marvelously well in my Chaos Cube where you don't know what your getting until it resolves. Plus... this card is an event, and that's what this game is about, right? I also like this in the longer games of Five Color with its 300-size library and 25 cards of each color.

Honorable Mention #2 (#49 Overall) - Alaundo the Seer

Alaundo the Seer

Well, we all know how beloved Simic is in Commander. You can tap this one to draw a card and then you must exile a card from your hand with time counters equal to its mana value, and when the last time is removed, you cast it for free and then if it's a dork it has haste. So basically, this is fancy language for suspending it. Note that unlike our previous suspend lord Joira the more expensive it is the more counters you put on it, so they work with different cards. Then you remove a time counter from other things you own. So that means you don't get one free removal each turn. This wants to get untapped and reused and we are in the colors for that with Seeker of Skybreak and Kiora's Follower and then tapping synergies like Thousand-Year Elixir. See also #2 for another synergy. I love the space that this opens up. It's hard to break, since your pricey Expropriates won't get cast until many taps later, so it hits a lower list, but I do like what it offers and its card advantage on a stick as well. I enjoy the suspend space this is trying to work in. A lot.

Honorable Mention #3 (#48 Overall) - Earthquake Dragon

Earthquake Dragon

Three Green cards in a row!!! This 15-cost 10/10 flying trampler (double evasion) is one of the rare 15 cost dorks for the real life Momir Basic format; there are only three others: last set's disappointing in that format Shadow of Mortality, and then Emrakul Take 1 and Autochthon Wurm). It's also amazing in Type Four and one of the best cards in the set, since you have infinite mana but just one spell per turn. It can spend three mana, sacrifice a land, and get Regrowth-ed back to your hand. And then you can drop it's 14 generic mana by X equal to the total mana value of your Dragons, so this will easily slide in that tribal brew, and could easily be a 5 or 6 drop 10/10 flample body, which is pretty good. Great stuff!

Honorable Mention #4 (#47 Overall) - Bhaal, Lord of Murder

Bhaal, Lord of Murder

Another Green card! Our lowest-scoring God. He can be indescribable half of the time in the later game. Black has a lot of natural life loss from card draw and other fun things it does a lot, so when combined with shock lands, fetchs, and pain lands and the Medallion pain mana rocks, as well as the occasional Blood Artist and Guttersnipe trigger, getting down to 20 or so in a Commander deck seems pretty likely. And 10 life in 20-life formats too, although once there it's harder to stay alive. Bhaal turns the death of your non-token dorks into +1/+1 counters and goading onto creatures. That is build-around-able from multiple angles. Life loss. +1/+1 counters on your Commander in a Voltron-esque way. Politics. Goad matters. But it feels the weakest of the three Gods with this minor bump and goad trigger so it's hitting on today's list, and another will be hitting a few spots up above...so get ready!

Now let's get this list kicked off all proper like!

#10. (#46 Overall) - Swashbuckler Extraordinaire

Swashbuckler Extraordinaire

This Red uncommon Gray Ogre is fun! Actually, in the original set, there were four three-mana (with one Red) 2/2s, the common vanilla Gray Ogre, the uncommon with one ability Uthden Troll, then two rares with two abilities - Sedge Troll and Granite Gargoyle, since you got more abilities and were better the bigger your rarity. So actually this should be called Sedge Troll or Granite Gargoyle.

Anyways, that aside, let's turn to this fun maker of Treasures on arrival to the battlefield. Nice. Not broken like some other ones in this color that will be nameless, just one. Then when you swing with anything, you can sacrifice Treasures and give creature double strike this turn. In Commander I like this a lot for Commander kills off Commander Damage. In Boros with normal Treasure makers like Smothering Tithe this can kill very quickly with your leader winning in half of the time. Note that this does not need to attack to get it to work, so you can drop it pre-combat, swing with your Commander, sac and double strike and then keep this back to block. I like it lots in modern Treasure matters decks like Rakdos with Prosper, Tome-Bound making Treasures or in Gruul Voltron, or in Jund sacrifice that has sacrifice triggers for things like Mayhem Devil to win with. It's nice, and in a pinch, you can just use that Treasure to make mana.

#9. (#45 Overall) - Displacer Kitten

Displacer Kitten

I used to do a few articles after each set's normal Top Tens to look at my favorite art in that set, but we have way too many releases to do that anymore. If we were, this would be in my top three, and maybe #1. It's so cute! This Displacer Kitten is a 2/2 for four mana and it has a cast trigger for non-dorks which strikes up my Spellslinger Senses, since you really like these triggers there, as well as artifact brews, enchantment decks and planeswalker heavy tomes. This will flicker a nonland permanent you control. In a Super Friends deck your planeswalkers will trigger this and you can reload their loyalty counters, so this is really strong there. I also like this in midrange with ETB Dorks but not big creature counts, so loads of ways to flicker abuse things. Also, Storm with a few key things to flicker. Nice! D'awwww...

#8. (#44 Overall) - Halsin, Emerald Archdruid

Halsin, Emerald Archdruid

This is a fun token-loving uncommon in mono-Green. You can spend a mana to make a token a 4/4 Bear for the turn. Note that you can target non-creature tokens like Clues and Treasures. This is a 2/4 for 4 with choose a background and I like it a lot in Selenysa with creature tokens of the 1/1 variety, Gruul with Treasure tokens, Simic with Clue tokens, and Golgari with Food tokens, and, well, you get the idea. It's so nice that they made it twice with last week's Jaheira.

#7. (#43 Overall) - Crystal Dragon

Crystal Dragon

Another uncommon Dragon with the Adventure options. In this case you can Regrowth for two mana an enchantment, artifact, and legendary dork before playing your Serra Angel for one more mana. I like this in those three builds at the kitchen table, and in the Neon Dynasty build that cared about both artifacts and enchantments in the same build that were white this has a lot of value as well. Getting two options from one card is always valuable even if a bit pricey. Nice stuff here, right? Right!

#6. (#42 Overall) - Bane, Lord of Darkness

Bane, Lord of Darkness

Bane has the same benefits as the before scoring God at #11 with indestructible and also has a death trigger for your non-token creatures. He is different colors (Esper vs Jund). Bane can draw you a card when they die unless a foe lets you put a free creature with a cheaper cost from your hand to the battlefield. I think that they'll chose the former over the latter barring no or one or maybe two cards in hand. Good stuff for the winning and fun stuff for the punching. Nice sacrifice engines for the Command Zone. I don't think we've had an Esper Aristocrats leader before, so welcome to your new home, oh popular archetype!

#5. (#41 Overall) - Cloudkill

Cloudkill

This is a 6-mana uncommon sorcery that gives -X/-X to all creatures for the turn where X is the mana cost of your most expensive leader. Remember that this will kill indestructible and hexproof stuff so traditional answers like Heroic Intervention and White indestructible answers like Rootkin Defenses won't work here. This is another black tool for the "more expensive Commander" arsenal just like Stinging Study. A mass removal spell is great, and very strong with an expensive partner and a cheap enabler like Dargo, the Shipwrecker that are commonly played. Because it cares about your Commander (on the battlefield or in the Command Zone) it's not playable in other formats that would enjoy a beefy -X/-X sweeping spell. It's a nice game changing sweeper for a lot of powerful things, and I really like this at 6 for Titans and Consecrated Sphinx. I also feel that six mana into a -6/-6 sweeper feels right for the mana you spent.

#4. (#40 Overall) - Baba Lysaga, Night Witch

Baba Lysaga, Night Witch

Hitting at essentially a nice even #40 is this three drop Baba Yaga...er....Lysaga. A 3/3 on curve. You can tap her to sacrifice up to three permanents of any type. Did they have at least three card types in them? Then draw three cards and drain 3 life from each foe. Nasty card flow, since many cards like Dryad Arbor and Solemn Simulacrum and Bident of Thassa have multiple card types, so you can sacrifice one of these two type cards along with another one type one to draw three. Good card advantage over time and a win con as well, don't sleep on that. Obviously, this goes on Golgari Aristocrats brews, but will have new things to dig into to sacrifice. Our own Stephen Johnson built a deck around her here.

#3. (#39 Overall) - Eldritch Pact

Eldritch Pact

This sorcery will force any player to draw cards and lose life equal to the cards in their graveyard. In a 20-life game like Five Color and Type Four, this can easily win the game later aimed at the player with the fat graveyard or the low life total, in addition to just targeting yourself for all of the cards. You can also deck that player with the fat graveyard as well. In Commander it's less powerful with 40 life and 100 cards on your foes, but it's nice on you for 5 or 7 cards and a brand-new hand. Nicely done. It's also a way to draw and turn a loss into a win with Laboratory Maniac and friends. But a bit pricey so it's making my third list overall, but nicely done!

#2. (#38 Overall) - Four Manaliths and an Alloy Myr

Ever since Darksteel Ingot there have been three-drop colorless mana rocks that make all of the colors of mana, and these are called Manaliths. They are typically common or uncommon and cheap on the secondary market for budget purposes. They have many added abilities and there are four new Manaliths as well as a three drop 2/2 that taps for any color of mana as well. One of these is going to be a major new Mana Rock at the kitchen table, and all offer nice additions. Let's turn to them in alpha order now:

Bronze Walrus
Decanter of Endless Water

Bronze Walrus is the Alloy Myr I mentioned before. On arrival to the battlefield it scries two, which is nice for any creature. It's also a cute little Walrus. It's good anywhere, but I think it has enchaned value in Top of Library Builds with it's free scry, blink builds that need a mana dork hat's blink sensitive, artifact friendly stuff, and I included one in my Tappers Matter deck around Dynaheir The Decanter is the future staple of the kitchen table and Commander since it's a Manalith version of Thought Vessel with no maximum hand size on a Mana Rock that doesn't need to take up space. Thought Vessel is in a massive 167,518 decks at EDHREC.com, so you know that this cheap common Manalith should have a similar parabola.

Lantern of Revealing
Patriar's Seal

The Lantern is a nice Manalith that will spend four mana later and then ramp you the top card of your library if it's a land tapped. You can also send it to the bottom of your library if it's not. It's ramp in non-Green builds, and I also think it has enchanced value in Top of Library builds and cards like Scroll Rack and Soothsaying that you find in them. The Seal is a Manalith that can untap a legendary dork so it can always untap your leader. I just tossed one into my Jan Jansen deck that is looking for colorless untappers, and I love this twinned with any Commander with a tap ability like Arcanis the Omnipotent. As well as a tapper we saw earlier...

Vexing Puzzlebox

This rare Manalith in this set will roll a d20 whenever you tap it for mana, and then toss the number from it or other die roll results onto it and you can pull off 100 Tinker out a artifact and toss it onto your battlefield, which is gross with things like Blightsteel Colossus or in a dedicated artifact or die tossing deck. It also sticks around for more mana making and die rolling and artifact tutoring.

What's our top card?

#1. (#37 Overall) - Battle Angels of Tyr

Battle Angels of Tyr

Our top dork is this 4-drop 4/4 myriad flyer, very power creep-y. When it deals combat damage to a player, you draw if they have the most cards in hand, and then you make a Treasure if they have the most lands and gain 3 life if they have the most life. And when you attack one, you attack them all. This is great in multiplayer since you can hit three players with flyers and get the Treasure off the ramping Green and the life gain and card draw off the controlling blue player and keep up the damage dealt. It's less powerful outside of multiplayer but a 4/4 flyer for four mana is still fine in a duel. Even with the evasion, everyone has flyers or reachers to block, so getting additional unblockable like Rogue's Passage or wearing a Whispersilk Cloak will get one through, although the copies from myriad will copy the base 4/4 body, but not any counters, equipment, auras, or one turn abilities on them. It's a nice way to end things at the end of our final list!

And there we go, so what did you think of my 14 spots in my final list? Next week we'll turn to the Commander decks that debuted with Battle for Baldur's Gate!

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