How To Draft Commander Legends: Battle For Baldur’s Gate, Part 2

Jake Browne explores five key two-color combinations for drafting Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate and offers tips and tricks for navigating your next pod.

Rasaad yn Bashir
Rasaad yn Bashir, illustrated by Dan Scott

Welcome back to my look at Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate (CLB) in Draft and Sealed Deck. If you missed Part 1, I guess you’ll never know what Backgrounds do or what initiative is. It’s a weird, confusing world out there, but I have faith you’ll make it.

Today, I’m going to knock out the rest of our archetypes, and then we’ll dive into broader strategy, some tips, and even a trick or two. 


Acolyte of Bahamut Korlessa, Scale Singer

Archetype Creature Rankings:

Avenging Hunter Scaled Nurturer Young Blue Dragon Druid of the Emerald Grove Myconid Spore Tender Dread Linnorm Winter Eladrin Pilgrim's Eye Lurking Green Dragon Oceanus Dragon Sword Coast Serpent Pseudodragon Familiar Nimbleclaw Adept Ettercap Dragonborn Looter Chardalyn Dragon

Of the permutations of Temur Dragons, Simic is my favorite in terms of having a streamlined gameplan that is easy to buy into. Here, we’re looking to win the game through a strong aerial attack backed up by some instant-speed interaction and card advantage. Gotta love when blue gets some decent beaters, right? Your whole goal is to not present as a threat early while your opponents take turns bashing each other while getting enough lands on the battlefield to chain together some impressive turns and finish them off. 


Acolyte of Bahamut Thrakkus the Butcher

Archetype Creature Rankings:

Avenging Hunter Scaled Nurturer Patron of the Arts Druid of the Emerald Grove Myconid Spore Tender Young Red Dragon Tiamat's Fanatics Dread Linnorm Fang Dragon Hoarding Ogre Pilgrim's Eye Lurking Green Dragon Insufferable Balladeer Stirring Bard Ettercap Chardalyn Dragon

I’ll put it this way: you’re not getting into Gruul Dragons off the strength of the commons. Everything here is more perfunctory than synergistically strong, but sometimes that gets the job done when you have the right top-end. You’re borrowing some ramp in the form of Treasures from Rakdos, so keep a mental note of when your deck may just capitalize on artifact synergies. Dread Linnorm is a card I’m watching with the potential to protect expensive threats when opponents get cute and try to wait for the last possible second to remove it.


Dragon Cultist Lozhan, Dragons' Legacy

Archetype Creature Rankings:

Young Blue Dragon Winter Eladrin Patron of the Arts Young Red Dragon Tiamat's Fanatics Sword Coast Serpent Oceanus Dragon Hoarding Ogre Fang Dragon Pilgrim's Eye Dragonborn Looter Nimbleclaw Adept Marut Reckless Barbarian

Your Commander is going to make the biggest impact on this list. Lozhan, Dragons’ Legacy would obviously create a gravitational pull towards Adventure cards, but I’m also going to say that you need to broadly value making splashy plays. Izzet is not for the faint of heart in this set. I’m looking to creep (like TLC) into a game and then flop out some serious damage. Dragon Cultist looks like the weakest of enablers at uncommon, so this isn’t a pair I’m actively pursuing. It’s what I’m getting passed and going, “Fine.”


Inspiring Leader Cadira, Caller of the Small

Archetype Creature Rankings:

Roving Harper Cloakwood Swarmkeeper Avenging Hunter Druid of the Emerald Grove Myconid Spore Tender Dawnbringer Cleric Scouting Hawk Tabaxi Toucaneers Flaming Fist Officer Undercellar Myconid Irregular Cohort Guardian Naga Carefree Swinemaster Pegasus Guardian Steadfast Unicorn Wyrm's Crossing Patrol Dread Linnorm Ettercap

Now here’s something I’m trying to do like it’s The Worm at a wedding. Selesnya gives you plenty of access to cards that most people aren’t trying to grind with at great value. Create tokens, make your tokens big, win the game. Coming out aggressively is dangerous in Commander, but you get a little cover if you’re flipping the script with a key uncommon at the right time. Inspiring Leader can function at a high level as part of your maindeck and played opportunistically. All of your top commons provide a two-for-one, something that’s unheard-of in Limited. Just make sure you can finish the game.


Veteran Soldier Commander Liara Portyr

Archetype Creature Rankings:

Roving Harper Blessed Hippogriff Dawnbringer Cleric Flaming Fist Officer Genasi Enforcers Irregular Cohort Patron of the Arts Tabaxi Toucaneers Tiamat's Fanatics Scouting Hawk Fang Dragon Guardian Naga Young Red Dragon Hoarding Ogre Steadfast Unicorn Insufferable Balladeer

In the perfect world, you’re on Inspiring Leader here instead of Veteran Soldier, but there will be builds where you want to attack with as many things as possible. I figure we could at least discuss going as wide as possible, right? Myriad gives us a political out of “Who, me?” when bashing for a lot of damage, and the token synergies absolutely rule. Tabaxi Toucaneers is a card I’m obsessed with, both in terms of flavor and power at common. Steal cards from the Aristocrats decks when you can, as you’ll have a lot of things dying, too.

Big-Picture Thoughts

Invoke or Be Invoked

Bane's Invoker

You’ll notice I left Invokers out of any of these lists. First, I think you’ll usually wind up spending most of your time and efforts recasting your commander or Background in a perfect world, so no time for expensive mana sinks when you’re doing the actual thing. Second, these games tend to move swiftly with initiative and goad running around willy-nilly, so I think you’re banking on a marginal creature becoming great when there’s no time for that. Lastly, they’re fine inclusions, but they don’t actively move you toward a goal. I want every card in my 60 to count.

Late-Game Threats? Who Needs ‘Em

Guardian Naga Fang Dragon

At common, we’re presented with a number of cards like Guardian Naga (very strong) and Fang Dragon (very angering) that give us ways to close the game while having a short-term effect. I’m entirely focused on what they can do for me in the interim, even if they tip your hand slightly. Having a large threat hanging out in the open shouldn’t be looked at as a negative but as a bargaining chip if you have a decent political game.

Similarly to Invokers, I’d rather invest my capital in legitimate top-end threats and don’t need to waste a lot of time with an incremental advantage they give you. Play a couple to give yourself a haymaker, but focus on curving out and not getting walloped early.

What Archetype Does This Even Belong To?

Aarakocra Sneak

My lists of commons might seem weird because I’ve left out a number of cards I’m massively in favor of in other archetypes. Aarakocra Sneak is going to be a slam dunk in some decks, but others are happy to let someone else claim initiative and promptly steal it from them.

When I draft CLB, I’m constantly asking myself how a card fits into what my plan is, in the same way you agonize over your 95th through 99th cards in a traditional Commander deck. If a card doesn’t fit into your plan, it needs to be at or above rate. That’s part of the reason Avenging Hunter goes in just about every deck that has a Forest in it. It’s a good Magic card.

I Dream of Threenie

Bane, Lord of Darkness Nine-Fingers Keene

In any Limited set, we’re given a number of cards that are vastly more powerful in Constructed than they are in our seat. The biggest advantage you can have at a table is being able to spot these and avoid them.

In CLB, there are oodles, but I want to focus on three-color commanders specifically. First, having a God is going to put a big old target on your back because having the best card at the table face up is playing poker hopped up on goofballs. I’m saving my exile effect for the moment an opponent taps out for Bane, Lord of Darkness.

Second, there isn’t a ton of inertia in your favor. Nine-Fingers Keene is not going to come together because this set isn’t made to be drafted in a way that makes Keene into Keanu. Third, you need to put significant resources into fixing your mana, which isn’t a ton of fun. Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm and Gorion, Wise Mentor are the two I think are worth pursuing, and not because adding another would have made a real mess in terms of commas. [Copy Editor’s Note: For you, dahling, I’d bring out the semicolons.]

O Commander, My Commander

Rasaad yn Bashir

When in doubt, you should always default to what you think your plan is based on the keywords of your commander. Obviously, this may be obfuscated until you’re in Pack 2 and open someone ridiculous, but if you’re agnostic through Pack 1, you need to draft like that. Which of these cards appears in the most archetypes? When is a pick wasted when I move in another direction?

Roving Harper is always going to make your deck, regardless of whether you’re in divergent gameplans in Azorius or Boros, which is why I absolutely love it. Carefree Swinemaster barely goes in one deck. Okay, two if you count Rasaad yn Bashir. The point is, keep yourself open if you don’t hit a home run off the bat.

Crash the Gate

Prognostications aside, I can tell you that this is a deeply fun set that will give your brain tons of mini-games to solve. That’s what I crave in Limited. The fun part is that, depending on your pod, all of this could be dead-on or dead wrong. Multiplayer Magic has a profoundly human element that drives things; there’s no Deep Blue that can crack a game of Commander. I just know that these cards are good, and you’ll do okay when you cast them. Good luck, initiative takers.

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