Nope, no Deception checks here. Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate (CLB) is Magic: The Gathering’s second foray into the world of Dungeons & Dragons, and it’s a really amazing set.

While Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (AFR) took us into some familiar territory and introduced card slingers to Faerun’s colorful denizens and monsters (many of them featured in existing campaign books, rules resources, and game literature), this “sequel” brings back NPCs from the old Bioware/Black Isle Baldur’s Gate computer games, introduces new ones from Baldur’s Gate 3, and introduces flavorful mechanics themed off D&D’s character Backgrounds, more cards to utilize d20 dice rolls, the Adventure mechanic (first introduced in Throne of Eldraine), and something called Taking the Initiative (but more on that later).

Check out the media drop from WotC-senpai!
We pulled some great Mythics this time! We also dig the Tasha-themed AR pin and the Commander Tray that came with the media drop!

There are several helpful reprints (such as Arcane Signet, Basilisk Collar, Blade of Selves, Lightning Bolt, Nature’s Lore, Swiftfoot Boots), more gates (including the titular Baldur’s Gate) so we can legit win with Maze’s End, and more value dragons (such as the Ancient Copper Dragon) to complement the previous D&D set’s Old Gnawbone and friends.

This being a set designed for the Commander format, it’s also chock full of Legendary Creatures styled after NPCs from the Baldur’s Gate games for you to use, like Bhaalspawn protagonist Abdel Adrian and his evil twin Sarevok, and even the Dead Three – the gods Bane, Bhaal and Myrkul, who featured prominently in the lore of the earlier Baldur’s Gate games.

Mono-colored Legendary Creatures in this set allow you to “Choose a Background”, which lets you to pick from any of the Background flavored Legendary Enchantments printed to provide not just a secondary color identity for your Commander deck, but also useful perks that make your Commander better.

The good thing about Backgrounds is that you can incorporate them into existing Commander decks as one of your 99, adding a whole new dimension to your plays.

The Initiative is also arguably one of the best new mechanics for this set. It’s a lot like Monarch (introduced in Conspiracy), except it’s keyed to delving the Undercity, a 5-room dungeon that grants flavorful and rewarding perks.

We were, of course, also impressed by the planeswalkers, who were fan favorites (and capable of serving as your Commander).

All told, this set is incredibly flavorful and well designed (and we dig D&D lore every time), and if you’re cracking boxes for cards to beef up your Commander decks, this is definitely one set you don’t want to miss.

Tasha’s Cauldron – A Tasha-themed Commander Deck

What’s an article from us without a deck brew, right? This time, we’ll be putting together a deck based on Tasha, the Witch Queen.

She’s a famous D&D NPC, lending her name to Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (a book of D&D character options, items and spells). She can be encountered as Zybilna, archfey of Prismeer in The Wild Beyond the Witchlight (an adventure book), and traces her roots back to the earliest days of D&D, where, as Iggwilv the demonologist, she was known to have penned a book detailing various demons and their true names.

We’ll be borrowing heavily from her backstory (she was raised by the greatest witch of all time), her exploits (which included conquering a kingdom and romancing a demon lord), necromantic and psychic type spells (which she excelled in), and some related magic items.

Commander (1)
1x Tasha, the Witch Queen

True to her lore, Tasha’s abilities revolve around spells and their use, as well as the creation of Demon tokens. Naturally, the effectiveness of Tasha increases the stronger your opponents’ decks are.

Her +1 lets you draw a card, and also steal instants or sorceries from each opponent’s graveyard, which then become fuel for summoning Demon tokens when you use her -3.

Familiars, Underlings & Wicked Coven-mates/Creatures & Planeswalkers (16)
1x Arvinox, the Mind Flail
1x Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
1x Consuming Aberration
1x Diluvian Primordial
1x Displacer Kitten
1x Gonti, Lord of Luxury
1x Havengul Lich
1x Hostage Taker
1x Intellect Devourer
1x Narset, Parter of Veils
1x Professor Onyx
1x Riddlekeeper
1x Rune-Scarred Demon
1x Thassa’s Oracle
1x Vhal, Candlekeep Researcher
1x Xanathar, Guild Kingpin

Ashiok, Narset, and Liliana (in her Professor incarnation) are all important members of Tasha’s coven. Ashiok’s +1 provides blockers that eventually feed their -7 ability (which spawns demons for you), while both Narset and Professor Onyx help you dig for spells (which you have plenty of). Professor Onyx is also an important combo finisher (but more on that later).

The adorable Displacer Kitten from CLB is going to be your most treasured familiar. It flickers almost everything, netting you value out of Diluvian Primordial, Gonti, Hostage Taker, Intellect Devourer, Rune-Scarred Demon, and Tasha herself (which allows you to utilize her loyalty abilities multiple times).

Other creatures in the deck supplement your ability to steal spells from your opponents, and even our friend Xanathar (whom we wrote about when AFR was first released) makes a cameo.

Also printed in this set is Vhal, Candlekeep Researcher. This cloistered scholar’s ability to provide what’s essentially 3 colorless mana you can use to cast stolen spells and to pay for the activation cost of artifacts is incredibly versatile and helpful in the deck, and it also functions as a combo enabler (see below).

Tasha’s Spells/Instants (17)
1x Baleful Mastery
1x Bane’s Contingency
1x Counterspell
1x Demonic Consultation
1x Didn’t Say Please
1x Dramatic Reversal
1x Drown in the Loch
1x Hero’s Downfall
1x Hinder
1x Induce Paranoia
1x Memory Plunder
1x Muddle the Mixture
1x Perplex
1x Price of Fame
1x Siphon Insight
1x Thought Collapse
1x Vraska’s Contempt

Tasha’s instants include several potent removals and counter magic. She’s learned plenty of magic after all, and you’d expect her to have answers up her sleeve. Hinder works with spells and creatures that steal from your opponent’s deck (such as Arvinox above), and steal options like Siphon Insight and Memory Plunder are a must. Muddle the Mixture and Perplex were included for their versatility and the transmute option, which can help you search for answers or a missing combo piece.

Tasha’s Spells/Sorceries (16)
1x Bond of Insight
1x Crux of Fate
1x Diabolic Tutor
1x Feed the Swarm
1x In Garruk’s Wake
1x Maddening Cacophony
1x Mind Grind
1x Mnemonic Betrayal
1x Mnemonic Deluge
1x Rite of Replication
1x Solve the Equation
1x Stolen Goods
1x Talent of the Telepath
1x Tasha’s Hideous Laughter
1x Whelming Wave
1x Xander’s Pact

Some board wipes, mill, and steal options here. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is an auto-include since it’s one of her signature spells, while the other picks are somewhat in-theme since she’s known for using magic that inflicts psychic damage (which translates to mill in MTG). Diabolic Tutor and Solve the Equation both provide tutor options, and Xander’s Pact, from the recent New Capenna set, can be surprisingly effective (just make sure you sacrifice a demon token).

Mind Grind helps dump your opponent’s cards into the graveyard, and is also a viable finisher here, especially if nobody has mill prevention.

Ritual Casting/Enchantments (5)
1x Bloodchief Ascension
1x Cunning Rhetoric
1x Leyline of Anticipation
1x Propaganda
1x Psychic Corrosion

Once Bloodchief Ascension has racked up a few counters, it starts punishing opponents whenever they’re milled. It’s also a combo piece that can potentially close games (with Mindcrank, see below). Cunning Rhetoric steals spells whenever an opponent attacks you, and Propaganda can buy you some time. Leyline of Anticipation is a vital flash enabler, and Psychic Corrosion helps get more targets into your opponents’ graveyards whenever you activate Tasha’s +1.

Arcane Foci/Artifacts (11)
1x Arcane Signet
1x Chaos Wand
1x Commander’s Sphere
1x Fellwar Stone
1x Isochron Scepter
1x Mindcrank
1x Replicating Ring
1x Skyclave Relic
1x Sol Ring
1x Vexing Puzzlebox
1x Wizard’s Spellbook

Lots of staple mana rocks here because Black and Blue aren’t great colors for mana fixing and needs all the help it can get. Vexing Puzzlebox is a CLB rock that also lets you tutor artifacts, so that’s a win in our opinion, and Wizard’s Spellbook is not only suitably flavorful (Tasha is a wizard after all), but also relevant. Chaos Wand steals spells directly from an opponent’s deck, which means more options and more demons.

Lands (34)
1x Clearwater Pathway // Murkwater Pathway
1x Command Tower
1x Darkwater Catacombs
1x Dimir Aqueduct
1x Duskmantle, House of Shadow
1x Evolving Wilds
1x Exotic Orchard
1x Hall of Storm Giants
1x Morphic Pool
1x Mystic Sanctuary
1x Nephalia Drownyard
1x Reflecting Pool
1x Reliquary Tower
1x Shipwreck Marsh
9x Snow-Covered Island
7x Snow-Covered Swamp
1x Tainted Isle
1x Temple of Deceit
1x Temple of the False God
1x Waterfront District

I’d feel a lot more comfortable with 35 lands, but Tasha’s Chaotic and living dangerously is par for the course. Several utility lands are included to provide more versatility and options.

Winning as Tasha

Tasha is an incredibly versatile Commander, and while this deck can win using all the stolen spells and win cons of your opponents, and/or swinging with enough demon tokens, it would be rather out of character if a legendary archmage didn’t have numerous backup plans in place.

1) Isochron Scepter + Dramatic Reversal + several mana rocks or Vhal, Candlekeep Researcher

Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal (which sounds suitably epic, btw), together with enough nonland mana producers can result in unlimited untaps, unlimited copies of Dramatic Reversal, and unlimited mana. This mana can be poured into casting Mind Grind, or spamming Chaos Wand. Assuming one of your rocks is Vexing Puzzlebox, using it enough times can also help you tutor out all your artifacts.

With Professor Onyx on the table, this also means unlimited life loss for your opponents, and unlimited life gain for you.

2) Bloodchief Ascension + Mindcrank

A classic in Black. Bloodchief Ascension takes awhile to ramp up, but once it’s got at least 3 quest counters and Mindcrank is on the field, any life loss or an opponent’s card going to the graveyard sets off an infinite loop.

This can be expedited using Duskmantle or Nephalia Drownyard (both cause target player to mill) even if you don’t have a damage or mill spell available.

3) Demonic Consultation + Thassa’s Oracle

Perhaps the most flavorful combo of the lot, since Tasha consorts (literally) with a demon lord.

Casting Demonic Consultation and Thassa’s Oracle while both cards are in hand exiles your entire library and wins you the game (just name something you know for a fact isn’t in the deck, like Thassa’s Oracle). Be sure to keep some counter magic handy to protect the combo from pesky opponents!

Deck Upgrades & Variants
1x Acquire
1x Arcane Denial
1x As Foretold
1x Blatant Thievery
1x Bribery
1x Cabal Coffers
1x Cyclonic Rift
1x Damnation
1x Dauthi Voidwalker
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Desertion
1x Drowned Catacomb
1x Expropriate
1x Fabled Passage
1x Fabricate
1x Gather Specimens
1x Helm of Obedience
1x Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant
1x Mana Drain
1x Mind’s Dilation
1x Mystical Tutor
1x Narset’s Reversal
1x No Mercy
1x Opposition Agent
1x Polluted Delta
1x Praetor’s Grasp
1x Reanimate
1x Rhystic Study
1x Rise of the Dark Realms
1x Rogue Class
1x Sire of Stagnation
1x Spark Double
1x Sunken Ruins
1x Thada Adel, Acquisitor
1x The Chain Veil
1x Torment of Hailfire
1x Toxic Deluge
1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1x Vampiric Tutor
1x Watery Grave

Upgrades mean a better land base, more efficient counterspells, removals, tutors, wipes, and enablers. Cards that let you steal directly from an opponent’s deck are especially relevant.

And there you have it! We hope you enjoyed this deck idea as much as we did brewing it for you. If you decide to build this deck, be sure to let us know how you fare at the card table!

The Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate set for Magic: The Gathering is currently available at your favorite local game store! If you’re a D&D fan that’s planning to try out Magic: The Gathering (and especially Commander), this is definitely a great time to jump in and get started!

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