Top 5: Cards to Buy, Baldur's Gate Edition

Rone

For the first time, Cards to Buy takes a peek at Magic's most famous multiplayer format. The occasion is the recent release of Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate. Let's look at the financial implications of the set in the months to come, and for the cards that are worth buying!

Fiasco's Gate?

Before we dive into our Top 5, let me address the elephant in the room: After reading a wide variety of opinions and watching content creators (here and there, for instance), I have come to an understanding why one can deem Baldur's Gate a considerable failure in Magic's recent era.

The reasons are numerous, but the main problem is the low expected value of cracking boxes. While the set features great flavor and cool designs based on the D&D lore, as well as good stuff for Commander, it contains too little in the way of high-demand reprints. What's more, there hasn't been enough time between preview seasons. Streets of New Capenna's release was not long ago, and right after the full reveal of Baldur's Gate the first Double Masters 2022 cards started showing up. The multicolored Capenna already was a bit of a Commander set in disguise, and when it comes to impactful reprints for Commander, Double Masters offers more than the actual Commander set.

Call it product fatigue, bad timing, or wrong advertising, the truth is Battle for Baldur's Gate didn't receive all the dedication it deserved, and that might backfire in terms of price trends. If the set ends up not selling well enough, the chase cards that currently command a reasonable price could end up skyrocketing. Again my suggestion is to grab everything you need before moving onto the next product, which sadly is right around the corner. (Please, Wizards, give us some time to digest all the cards you want us to buy before it's too late!)

5. Sweet Commander Reprints


morphic pool price
Morphic Pool price development

One of the best feelings for Magic players is to get staples at a great discount. That's why in fifth place we find some Commander-focused reprints that people should take advantage of. For starters there's the the allied dual land cycle originally from Battlebond: Sea of Clouds, Luxury Suite, Spire Garden, Bountiful Promenade

This is one of the greatest recent designs for Commander, and its members were becoming quite expensive due to the high interest in the format. They were hovering around the fifteen-euro barrier right before Battle for Baldur's Gate's release, whereas now they can be found for less than ten euros per copy. So purchase them now since they're unlikely to become cheaper anytime soon.

Speaking of lands, Reflecting Pool is another one that needed a reprint for a long time, and not only for Commander players. It also sees play in Modern from time to time in five-color shells, and it was becoming quite expensive, up to twenty euros. This was especially true for the Tempest versions due to Premodern, a format that is experiencing much popularity lately. Thanks to the reprint, you can find newer copies between seven and ten euros now, or get an extended-art version for about thirteen—my personal favorite.


reflecting pool deadly dispute

Last but not least, Deadly Dispute closes up this collection. Just like I predicted in my last article, its previous price wasn't sustainable at all for a common, and this reprint has instantly brought singles down to one-and-a-half euros. So don't wait and get your playset while you can!

4. Precon Pros

When evaluating the best cards from Battle for Baldur's Gate, we can't forget about the ones from the preconstructed decks. Though technically part of a side set, you should be aware of at least a couple of them.

Black Market Connections seems to be the next-generation Phyrexian Arena, offering three options: It generates a Treasure Token, an extra card, and/or a 3/2 Shapeshifter body, all for the price of some life. And/or? Yes, you can even get the three modes for a total of 6 life, isn't that a nice deal? I envision this enchantment an instant staple in every black-based Commander strategy, and despite being featured in the Party Time deck, the price trend is clearly holding on to the fourteen-euro range. Don't expect to go below that. If anything, it will increase as soon as people stop cracking boosters.


black market connections deep gnome terramancer

Up next, this white Gnome Wizard comes from the same preconstructed deck (making it an interesting choice as well) and is the best way to fight opposing ramp decks in Commander. Searching your deck for any Plains card means dual lands and tricycles as well, even Mistveil Plains! Aside from that, Deep Gnome Terramancer presents reasonable enough stats, the usual 2/2 for two with flash incorporated, that you could even try it out in Legacy's Death and Taxes, to take advantage of all the fetch lands played in the format. Financially speaking, cheaper copies start at eleven euros for the regular version, and while the price is trending downward, it seems destined to stabilize somewhere in the ten- to fifteen-euro range.

Before moving on, the preconstructed decks also include a bunch of reprints. Worth buying now at a discount price are:

  • Jeska's Will, an absolute Commander staple from the first Commander Legends set, now down from twenty to ten euros,

  • Three Visits from Portal Three Kingdoms, also reprinted in Commander Legends with an actual price around three euros,

  • Drown in the Loch, which has been a Modern staple for a while now,

  • and finally Selfless Spirit, a pillar in every tribal Spirit shell across formats, going down to two euros per copy.

3. Archivist of Oghma


archivist of oghma price

I don't think Archivist of Oghma has what it takes to be a Legacy contender. You only need to dig around a little bit on the Internet to see that no serious Death and Taxes players are trying them out successfully.

That said, this Halfling Cleric has a lot to say in Commander. Granted, it is no Opposition Agent, but you get card advantage plus some life gain whenever an opponent searches their library, it can trigger multiple times per turn, and it is extremely cheap—at least in mana. Archivist of Oghma is one of the best rares from the set and is going to remain popular in Commander for a very long time.

Moneywise, cheaper copies start at fifteen euros, while the average now moves around seventeen. The price graph looks quite stable while the set is still being opened. But clearly this is one of those cases that will rapidly go up as soon as the next set shows up, so grab your copies quickly.

2. Ancient Dragon Cycle

As a Dungeons & Dragons set, it was pretty obvious that flying monsters would be one of the main appeals. And they really are! When looking at the most expensive cards, the new Elder Dragon cycle stands on top of the list, representing the jackpot when opening a box, especially in case you open a blue or red specimen. A quick ranking gives us: Ancient Copper Dragon over Ancient Silver Dragon over Ancient Brass Dragon over Ancient Gold Dragon over Ancient Bronze Dragon.


ancient copper dragon ancient silver dragon

Overall, connecting to roll a d20 feels great in every case. Getting +1/+1 counters is the least attractive among all options, while drawing cards or creating 1/1 fliers or Treasure tokens sound like a very sweet deal. In terms of playability Ancient Copper Dragon is the cheapest from the cycle at six mana and yet the most expensive financially, since it can be deployed early and the Treasures it creates are quite in demand these days. Streets of New Capenna just added some synergies, not to mention the old cards from the Ixalan cycle, like Revel in Riches winning the game on the spot.

Although it started at twenty euros, the Copper Dragon has steadily been going up and further up, high into the skies, becoming the most expensive card in the set, with an actual price trending toward €40. It's basically the dream card everyone wants to pull from a Baldur's Gate booster, more so in the case of the alternate-art versions.

The bad news: If you didn't get yours yet, you either have to pass or pay up. The good news: This cycle is relevant nowhere else than in Commander, so at the end of the day you can get away with just one copy. Either way, the Elder Dragons are here to stay.

1. Displacer Kitten


displacer kitten price

Number one goes to the cutest, most competitive card in the set. Displacer Kitten caught people by surprise during the early release days, though the Cat Beast is on everyone's radar by now. At first glance, it seemed a card advantage enabler that synergized with enter-the-battlefield triggers, but at the end of the day, this four-mana 2/2 is capable of assembling several infinite combos to win games on the spot both in Legacy and Commander.

The easiest combines the Kitten with Teferi, Time Raveler and a zero-mana noncreature permanent like Mishra's Bauble. You use the avoidance ability to flicker Teferi, use his minus ability to return the artifact to hand, cast it again, and repeat the process ad nauseam. This way you can draw your whole deck and find the desired finisher, all protected by Teferi's static ability.


Displacer Kitten can also go off with Karn, the Great Creator in a much more convoluted fashion. Get Lion's Eye Diamond from the sideboard, cast it, blink Karn, get Tormod's Crypt from the sideboard, and reset Karn for the second time. Sacrifice both artifacts, adding three mana and exiling them from the graveyard, so you can search for them and start the process anew. With infinite mana you finally get a Walking Ballista and win.

All in all, this is the one card you should get a full playset of if you're planning to enjoy Baldur's Gate in Legacy. It is also a great addition to any blue-based archetype in Commander. Regarding its price, now it's too late to pick the Cat up at the discount price where it sat for a while. But it's already down again from its all-time high earlier this month. Paying twelve euros isn't as good as paying four, but it clearly beats paying sixteen.

Product Fatigue?

This concludes our Top 5 for Baldur's Gate. While I write these lines, Double Masters 2022 is already dominating the news, showcasing tons of interesting reprints for Modern, Commander, and Legacy as well. You might feel a bit dizzy from this neverending preview season. But we'll get our deserved rest soon. After the Masters release we are finally free to enjoy the summer—until early September when Dominaria United will bring back some of the most well-known characters from Magic's history.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, not of Cardmarket.



7 Comments

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pokerfish(30.06.2022 21:36)

This expansion is a big treta, more one barrete. Put more power in commander cards. In my opinion mtg is dead.

Tuardian(30.06.2022 22:05)

Pokerfish
I heard that since the end nienties about a hundred times.

Rone
RonePro(06.07.2022 11:07)

Pokerfish

Thanks for your comment, there are several magic players saying that but we keep buying magic products nonetheless...

sieben-wiesel(13.07.2022 23:06)

RonePro
There are enough old playerswith money and new players. We all love this hobby, but imho WotC made so many weird decisions.
From card quality to power creep to force the sellout
Its just a little sad, we all know it, but most of us continue to buy the products.

Yeah capitalism

Vayra86(30.06.2022 19:42)(Edited: 30.06.2022 20:03)

What struck me most about this Baldurs Gate set is that its support for the mechanics is basically nonexistant. I really wanted to make a 'take the initiative'-sort of build with Imoen, but really, in 2 colors you'll never get consistency as there are... 7 or 8 cards with the effect in those colors, and that includes artifacts. It becomes a gimmicky fun one-off build more so than anything with real staying power, at best.

The dungeon mechanic similarly, is still pretty horrible both in execution and support. I wanted to build a Sefris dungeon diver thing... But its just not happening because of similar reasons. There also isn't a single 'dungeon bomb' card either.

And then Commander Backgrounds. Same deal. Why did they not merge this into the Partner mechanic so we can truly expand on it? Practically none of the Background-Commanders are powered too high to not partner them, after all, they GET a partner effect basically, and its even harder to interact with as Enchantments.

The whole sweet deal Commander is, the fact that you can get any card from anywhere to combine and build cool decks, is basically nonexistant with Baldurs Gate. I suppose its a neat Draft Set... Only to be left with disposable cards after drafting. It is as if the design team was ordered to build a set that really didn't fit alongside the rest of Commander, but still carries its format name. OTOH, I had a similar feeling with the Adventures D&D set in Standard. And even together, they don't really inspire. Its just a bunch of cards we already had, but now you can roll a 20 on them and maybe get a minor improved effect (often still with another drawback to existing cards!). Oh yeah, and text of course. ENDLESS. WALLS. OF. TEXT. Much like this one :)

Extremely forgettable is the key phrase to me. Not just value wise, but also the mechanics. Most d20 roll cards in BadGate are similarly... Just... So bad... It feels like work more so than doing cool things. Okay, you might roll that 20 but on most cards even that doesn't really make waves. Apart from a few Dragons and exceptions.

The upside beyond this rant though... Every set appears to be a Commander centric release lately. Not complaining about that. Even Double Masters is virtually 3/4th Commander oriented, I had really not expected that at all.

Rone
RonePro(06.07.2022 14:02)

Vayra86

Great comment and insight, thanks for sharing it, I honestly think every set, even worst ones have something that sooner or later end up seeing play in the format; on this case tough the lack of impactful reprints and new mechanics in conjunction with Double Masters spoiler season really harmed the set's impact.

Vayra86(06.07.2022 14:16)(Edited: 06.07.2022 14:29)

RonePro Yeah it is telling that Wizards is half-cannibalizing its own line up, release calendars are inconsistent and overlap, and as a player you're left piecing it all together in some way that works, but its hard to unsee the commercial drive winning from overall game and community health. Money talks, clearly, and we're just going to get flooded now so we'll buy something anyway, even if most of it is pretty weak. Universes Beyond is around the corner with WH40K cards... Fortnite... I love the former but even then, where is my puke bucket?! If I want 40K, I'll play thát game.

Similarly for past sets... If I wanted hollywood and 80's horror, I'd watch 80's horror... Not play Innistrad's latest brainfarts. Its all so... Cheap, mainstream. If I want Harry Potter, I'll watch the movies or read the books. I don't need it copied to Strixhaven. Etc. Etc.

I mean, how much cooler would it have been if the last and coming sets within a standard rotation had at least a semblance of cohesion? Where things come together beautifully? There is nothing of the sort, there's just an endless stream of card releases, hoping some of it sticks. Instead we have a single kamigawa set that fails to re-do or reinforce Arcane/Splice (potential for greatness... Mechanics and flavor is highly sought after and was previously released alongside similarly flavored sets), a D&D set with disconnected mechanics, a Commander Legends release that is substantially worse than its predecessor (and again, disconnected), somehow there is a cohesion between two Innistrad sets... Someone help me understand the madness.

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