Wednesday 15 June 2022

Baldur's Gate Commander Decks Preliminary Review Part I

0 - unplayable in 40 card singleton

1 - effectively unplayable

2 - has low tier constructed decks it might go in

3 - has mid tier constructed decks it does go in

4 - pretty powerful stuff with several potential homes, able to perform well in lower powered cubes

5 - powerful stuff that is either just too narrow or has too many superior alternatives

6 - fringe cube worthy

7 - cube worthy

8 - cube staple

9 - unpowered cube bomb

10 - powered cube bomb

I think the various commander deck front facing legends snuck into the main set review somewhere. Mostly they were bad and narrow except the Gruul one.

Burakos, Party Leader 1

Not even sure I would play this in a party deck. The type support is nice but can be found on cheap supporting changeling cards rather than this huge tempo risk. The body is weak too so even if this does survive to combat it likely will not survive past it. Assuming that the card still isn't even great when you have a full party and get to attack. Oops. 

Durnan of the Yawning Portal 0

I do like the effect this card has but it is tragically bolted onto a Hill Giant so we can move on. 

Harper Recruiter 5

This is how you do on-attack triggers; make the body more desirable, cheap, and more likely to actually survive combat. If Recruiter draws you one card it is good, more than that and it is great. It has enough range that you could play it in a bunch of non-party decks and still have decent odds on getting around 1 hit per trigger. You could slap it in a party deck and look to get closer to two hits per trigger. It is probably just a little narrow for cube needing that type support to some extent but it isn't off by a lot. It is also quite potent card advantage in white which is always worth noting. If you want to entice people to play white in your cube sticking in stuff that draws cards is a good way to do that and this could easily be supported in cubes without having to affect much or upsetting any balance in your design. Over a quarter of the dorks in my cube are one of the four party types. That is a natural 0.5 cards per attack already! So close! The real issue here is the floor, three mana for one toughness and no immediate returns just make this too risky.  

Stick Together 2

This can be quite a savagely one sided Wrath in a party deck but outside of that it is hard to support, unreliable and over cost. 

Seasoned Dungeoneer 4

A bit of immediate value and then some ongoing reach and value. As I break it down the card sounds good, the sort of thing you want and a decent price for what you get but I do not like it at all and cannot easily think why. Perhaps that it is because this is so vanilla and bland as a body itself. It just doesn't feel like it is the kind of card I want at that point in the curve. I can't ever see myself playing this over something with real punch such as most of the 4 drop white planeswalkers. 

Deep Gnome Terramancer 2 

Very good against some decks and cards but too unreliably so in cube leaving this as flashing Bear. It is also not the best hate bear as it fails to disrupt, value is nice and all but it doesn't stop you losing to degenerate things opponents get up to while you play around with your small fair dorks. I might want to bring this in against a rampy green deck but probably not, a Mirran Crusader just feels more likely to get shit done!

Aboleth Spawn 3

What a phaff of a card. Stealing EtB triggers is kind of funny and on average fairly potent in cube. Sadly it is inconsistent in returns and not going to be powerful enough to justify running a 2/3 dork for three. 

Endless Evil 1

Very fun card, doubly so in a horror deck, but even there still a very risky card to play in the face of exile and instant speed removal. 


Psionic Ritual 1

Probably pretty easy to setup some devastating plays with this. Might be quite fun to do both in practice and in theory, but it isn't going to be competitive. 

Artificer Class 3

Powerful and useful in a broad selection of decks. The main drawback this has is not being an artifact itself and thus competing with the likes of Urza and not the likes of Etherium Sculptor. There is just such a heightening of the bar when it comes to non-artifacts in artifact decks. Limiting the cost reduction to the first card only also makes this far less useful to any combo decks. 

Astral Dragon 1

Cool affect an powerful card. Sadly it costs at least one mana too much for cube, likely two too much. 

Black Market Connections 7

Powerful ongoing value and utility. This is a Phyrexian Arena with some tempo based options for mana or board presence. If you can really abuse the treasure, the changelings, or you can just comfortably support the heavy life cost then this card is nuts. It is like a Super Sylvan Library meets Bitterblossom. I think I will look to increase the lifegain options in black as this is going to benefit from support and looks to be strong enough to make it in cube. You really want to be doing all three modes all the time but that is not going to be easily done. When you have 40 starting life this looks absolutely amazing! 

Uchuulon 2

This gets out of hand pretty fast assuming it has some fuel given that it is potentially doubling each turn and getting on with that relatively quickly. The need of targets not only keeps this contained but kindof ruins it for cube. You just can't rely on there being fuel to double this up and without it the card is hot garbage. A nutty ceiling to go with the low low floor. 

Solemn Doomguide 1

Cool and cute and an OK floor. Sadly just a bit too top end, fair, and narrow to really excite in any situation, including those best suited to the effects this offers somewhat awkwardly... 

Nalfeshnee 0

Great fun but really the kind of effect I want to see on a 2 drop so that I can actually build around it. On a six drop that lacks power and good board presence for cost it just isn't getting a look in.

Spectacular Showdown 2

Good fun again but probably just worse in almost all settings than the relatively unexciting Assault Strobe. 

Bothersome Quasit 2

Quite powerful even in 1v1 but quite powerful is a long long way from the bar. We are looking for very powerful at a minimum to break into cubes at three or more mana. 

Loot Dispute 1

This is the really interesting and fun kind of card I want to build around. In 1v1 that sounds hard to do and quite a long way off competitive. Perhaps I do need to get into EDH...

Delayed Blast Fireball 7.5

This ticks a lot of boxes as far as mass removal spells go with only one real downside, that being it is doing less damage to each dork than the mana spend to play it. On the plus side however we have a degree of scaling or modality, we have face damage, it is instant speed, and it is one sided. These are all pretty big deals. You can play this in an aggressive deck and not only does it have no impact on the dorks you are able to play it also slaps them in the face making it a card that is never dead. Five is also quite a big slap in the face making this a card that offers impressive reach. It is cards like this getting abundant printing of late that has forced the cube to go quite midrange. Too many powerful and playable cards punish swarming out with small dorks and this is a great example of that. Despite this pressure on the meta the card is fairly well designed being interesting and powerful without being oppressive or broken. Sometimes it is just going to be mana inefficient burn while other times it will be too slow or low impact to help with the situation at hand. 

Venture Forth 2

I like this but it is really all a bit slow. The first ramp is never quick enough to make a significant impact and subsequent ones are so late in the game that they impress little. This would be strong in really really slow draw go control decks but short of that I'm out. 

Journey to the Lost City 1

This seems like a planeswalker that you can't easily kill. Comically the 20 roll can be the worst for you, particularly if you hit it early. This is quite a slow and clunky card so I am not sure it has a place in my cube presently, the control decks are too far behind to deploy this early and the rampy green decks just seem to batter face too hard and quick to be bothered with this sort of ongoing value. I do still like this but the killer for Journey is that you exile 4 cards a turn which means you can't hang around with it in a 40 card deck and thus making it entirely unsuitable. Too slow for punchy decks and too dangerous for slow decks to run. 

Green Slime 2

A Reclamation Sage with a Stifle twist. Yes, this is more powerful but that comes with a big old pile of narrow. Too narrow to just main deck I suspect and then too fair to be something I am often wanting as my sideboard solution. Not a bad card as such, just short of the various marks it needed to meet at least one of. 

Tlincalli Hunter 1

Cool and interesting but also slow and narrow. You can do some busted stuff with this but it is a whole load of setup to do and without much setup this is two pretty weak cards in one. A shocking Raise Dead and a big seven drop that compares poorly to cube five and six drops.  

Sarevok's Tome 1

I'm not even sure I want this in a venture deck. I do like dungeons but this is a fairly awkward card to be jamming into builds that might complete dungeons. 

Multiclass Baldric 0

Another party card I don't think I have any interest in even in a party deck. I absolutely want party members over things that buff them. The payoff isn't even all that impressive, there are no raw stats boost. No thanks. A low equip costs, some stats boost, perhaps a ward effect, these sorts of things might have made this at least tempting. 

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