Commander Legends was one of Magic The Gathering's most interesting sets. Released during the 2020 "Year of Commander", Commander Legends was the first booster draft product made with the EDH format in mind. It featured many new legendary creatures to build around, powerful cards for the rest of your deck, and loads of great reprints of Commander staples.
With how great Commander Legends was, the news that we're getting Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate in June is very exciting. As both a successor to Commander Legends and last year's Dungeons & Dragons: Adventure in the Forgotten Realms, we can expect it to feature more famous faces from the D&D setting to build decks around. However, it's also a great chance for Wizards to reprint cards that have become major players in the format since the first set. Here are the top ten cards we're hoping for when Battle for Baldur's Gate rolls around.
10 Dungeon Descent
Dungeon Descent was meant to be one of the big, splashy rares of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Unfortunately, Wizards wasn't sure how powerful venturing into the dungeon would be as a mechanic, and it played it a bit too safe. Dungeon Descent was an underwhelming card, even after it was rebalanced for the digital-exclusive Alchemy format, but it could get a new lease of life in Battle for Baldur's Gate.
Now that we know how valuable dungeons are (answer: not very), it would be interesting to see Dungeon Descent reprinted at common rarity. Dungeons never really found a home in Magic's higher-powered formats like Commander, but it could be exactly what Pauper (and the Pauper Commander variant) needs to shake its metagame up.
9 All Ten Bond Lands
Bond lands are lands that can produce two colours of mana, but only enter the battlefield untapped if you have two or more opponents. The first five were released in the two-headed giant set Battlebond, before the cycle was completed in the original Commander Legends. Now that we've got all ten of them, it's time to make them more easily accessible and release the whole cycle in Battle for Baldur's Gate.
Bond lands are fantastic because they're not overly powerful like a shock or fetch land, but still provide Commander players with a better alternative to the endless, useless tap lands Wizards keeps releasing in its Commander products. With the Battlebond five (Sea of Clouds, Morphic Pool, Luxury Suite, Spire Garden, and Bountiful Promenade) being particularly difficult to find these days, they could be the set's big-pull lands in the same way the fetches were for Modern Horizons 2.
8 Archaeomancer's Map
Since Commander Legends launched in late 2020, we've has lots of really great developments in the Commander format. One of those is Wizards' desire to improve white, which has historically struggled in multiplayer formats. Archaeomancer's Map from Commander 2021 is one of the earlier examples, giving white some much-needed land ramping capabilities.
The problem is, Archaeomancer's Map has only ever been printed in one Commander preconstructed deck (Lorehold Legacies), and has never seen the light of day since. The further we get from Commander 2021, the more difficult it will be for players to find a copy of it.
Another card from Commander 2021, Inkshield took the usual 'fog effect' of preventing all combat damage and turned it into a fascinating token generation spell. For every one damage you prevent with Inkshield, you make a 2/1 Inkling creature with flying.
This isn't the most powerful card on this list – it costs five mana and requires two colours, and holding that open to cast it on someone else's turn is a big ask. But it's a fun card that's symbolic of what Commander should be: slower to play, but with a big effect that's memorable for everyone at the table. It's no wonder Inkshield has been described by Commander Rules Committee member Sheldon Menery as one of his favourite cards of 2021.
6 Heroic Intervention
Heroic Intervention is one of the best green instants in the entire game, as it gives all your permanents hexproof and indestructible until the end of the turn. While it has seen a lot of reprints, with the last one being in the Forgotten Realms Commander decks just a few months ago, we haven't seen it in booster packs since 2020's Core 2021.
Heroic Intervention is way too difficult to get a hold of for something considered essential to so many decks. Whether you're playing a Selesnya Tokens deck or just good ol' fashioned mono-green Stompy, Heroic Intervention is the go-to answer to the many board wipes, and targeted removal spells prevalent in the format.
It's not like reprinting this would even be that complicated either, as its latest printing already gave it Dungeons & Dragons-flavoured art.
5 The Meathook Massacre
The newest card on this list, The Meathook Massacre, was the runaway success of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Part board wipe and part Aristocrats tool, this was the standout hit from an otherwise mostly middle-of-the-road set. Some players may feel it's too soon for a reprint of The Meathook Massacre, as we only saw it last a few months ago in Innistrad: Double Feature. Unfortunately, that reprint has done nothing to bring its secondary market value down, making it simply unaffordable for most players.
It's a shame because The Meathook Massacre is an incredible card. It can be used to kill off all the creatures currently in play, and then immediately punish your opponents for having the gall to let their own stuff die in the boardwipe. A scarily good card that fits into many archetypes, giving more people access to it would allow for some spicy decks.
4 The Walking Dead Secret Lair Cards
In 2020, Wizards did its first 'mechanically unique' Secret Lair crossover. While we didn't know it at the time, this was the start of Universes Beyond, which has since gone on to include other properties like League of Legends, Stranger Things, and Street Fighter. However, while we're getting in-Magic-setting versions of the Stranger Things cards with Streets of New Capenna, we've not yet had word on when the Walking Dead ones will get its reprints.
There could be a few problems with adapting them to the Dungeons & Dragons setting, as lots of them create 'Walker Tokens', which are effectively zombie tokens with a different name. Regardless, the collection had some really powerful cards, like Rick, Steadfast Leader which has become one of the best Human Tribal Commanders in the game.
3 Smothering Tithe
Smothering Tithe is one of the best white enchantments in the game, thanks to it taxing the one thing every opponent will always want to do: draw cards. It might be something that earns you some salt at the table, but it's an indisputably great card. It's also so incredibly difficult to get a hold of that it's unreal.
Having never been reprinted in booster packs since its debut in Ravnica Allegiance, the only other place Smother Tithe is available is the Faerie Schemes Brawl deck released alongside Throne of Eldraine. Partly because it's a three-year-old preconstructed deck for a format nobody plays, and partly because it contains a Smothering Tithe and people are desperate for it, it's almost impossible to find a Faerie Schemes deck out in the wild in 2022.
2 Rhystic Study
Much like Smothering Tithe, Rhystic Study is one of those cards that a vocal minority feel Commander could do without. Although there are decks where Rhystic Study makes sense, you could easily argue it's an unfun card that is either immediately destroyed or ends a game before it even starts. You could even argue that it's such a generically good blue enchantment that it's an automatic inclusion in too many decks and eats away at the health of the format.
All of those are reasonable arguments to make. However, there's one reason why Rhystic Study desperately needs a reprint, and it's the art shown above. The Rhystic Study art most people are familiar with is by Terese Nielsen, an artist who Wizards of the Coast severed ties with in 2020 after she was found liking antisemitic, transphobic, and alt-right tweets, while also following a number of far-right QAnon accounts on Twitter.
Although some of her cards have been reprinted with new art since, most notably Swords to Plowshares in the original Commander Legends, her arguably most famous work hasn't yet been replaced. Rhystic Study's had alternate art in the past, but it's been in limited releases like Judge Promos and the recent Arcane Secret Lair, but there's never been one in a booster pack that wasn't Terese Nielsen's. Many players do not feel comfortable playing with her cards, and a reprint with new, D&D-flavoured art would be a great way to further distance the game from her.
1 Dockside Extortionist
No card has completely shaped the current Commander metagame more than Dockside Extortionist. Released in the Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect preconstructed deck, for better or worse, its launch has pushed Commander into a faster format that relies more heavily on treasure tokens. Some players love it, others hate it, and the debates as to whether or not it should be banned have been raging on for months.
For the moment, Dockside Extortionist is still legal, but is ludicrously difficult to get unless you're willing to drop some serious dough on it. You can easily find the other Commander 2019 decks, but good luck buying Mystic Intellect, as Dockside Extortionist has made it sell out virtually everywhere. The card has never been reprinted in any form since then either, forcing its secondary price to shoot up to frankly obscene levels. This isn't some Reserved List card, it was printed only three years ago in a mass-produced deck, and is now one of the most-played cards in the Commander format; it shouldn't cost upward of $60.
This isn't an endorsement of the card, and it probably will get banned eventually. But, for as long as it isn't banned, players should have a chance of getting a copy outside of paying through the nose for it second hand.
Source: Read Full Article