Top 5: Cards to Buy, Baldur's Gate Edition
- Rodrigo Martin
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
|Azorius Bomberman by xJCloud, 5-0 in Legacy League, June 18|
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.
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.