The new Magic: The Gathering set takes up residence in Baldur’s Gate

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An old friend is returning for a visit in Magic the Gathering’s new set, with Commander Legends – Battle for Baldur’s Gate taking a stroll down the memory lanes of Dungeons & Dragons’ most famous city.

Intended for the multiplayer Commander format, Battle for Baldur’s Gate is the sequel to late 2020’s original Commander Legends set. While the original Commander Legends did introduce a few troublesome cards, the set was beloved for its references to characters from Magic’s past, and for delivering interesting new Commander choices. This time around, Battle for Baldur’s Gate has mashed up the idea of a Commander-focused set with Magic’s second crossover into D&D’s Forgotten Realms world.

Whether you’re a fan of the classic Baldur’s Gate games, love tossing dice around the table, or just love Magic—Battle for Baldur’s Gate looks like a classic in the making.

As a Commander-focused set, you won’t find Battle for Baldur’s Gate on MTG Arena right away, but it comes to paper on June 10, with prerelease events starting on June 3. In July, MTG Arena will get Alchemy Horizons Baldur’s Gate, which will bring “hundreds of new cards” to MTG Arena, including all the bells and whistles.

So grab your 50 feet of rope and some rations and let’s go on another adventure in the Forgotten Realms.

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Which past mechanics are showing back up?

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - Old Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - Old Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - Old Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - Old Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - Old Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - Old Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - Old Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - Old Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - Old Mechanics Cards

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We know that Adventure is making a return for the first time since it debuted in Thrones of Eldraine.

Adventure is a powerful mechanic, allowing you the versatility of casting spells that can then be cast again as creatures. Flexibility is key, and the value you get from being able to draw—in essence—two cards in one may give Commander players some more options.

The other mechanic to return is Dice Rolling, which is another throwback to the previous D&D set: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Cards like Wand of Wonder may lack reliability, with their unpredictable results, but they’re a lot of fun to include in your 99 card Commander deck.

The last mechanics we know will return are the Gate subtype on land, and multiplayer lands. Guild gates won’t be showing up, but other gates will join Baldur’s Gate across the set. The multiplayer lands are a welcome reprint, being critical additions to most Commander decks that have shot up in price.

What new mechanics does Battle for Baldur’s Gate introduce?

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - New Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - New Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - New Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - New Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - New Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - New Mechanics Cards

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - New Mechanics Cards

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The simplest option added in Battle for Baldur’s Gate is the new Backstory mechanic. Certain Legendary Creatures will have “Choose a Background”, which allows you to pick between a bunch of Legendary Enchantments with the Background subtype. These Enchantments act similarly to the Partner mechanic from past Commander sets, which allowed you to have two Legendary Creatures with Partner as your commander(s) at the same time, using both of their colors as your color identity. With Backstory, you’re allowed to have an enchantment and a creature as your commanders at the same time, otherwise working the same.

Also new is the Take the Initiative mechanic, which is a version of the Venture into the Dungeon mechanic we’ve seen previously in the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set. Take the Initiative lets you venture into Undercity—a dungeon you can only start with Take the Initiative. In addition, once you have the Initiative, you keep it and automatically Venture at the beginning of your Upkeep phase. However, if anyone attacks you with a creature and successfully deals damage, they steal the Initiative for themselves.

What about showcases, special frames, and alternate arts? 

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldurs Gate - Showcase frames

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldurs Gate - Showcase frames

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldurs Gate - Showcase frames

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While we aren’t getting a huge variety, we are seeing some old favorites return.

  • We’ll be seeing extended and borderless cards once again.
  • Rulebook frame cards make a return from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, if you’re keen on the retro style look for your decks.

What about the rest of the spoiled cards?

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Magic: the Gathering Battle for Baldur's Gate - General Cards

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Hang onto your space hamsters, there’s still a lot of previewing to be done.

Spoilers for the set will continue each day, including an exclusive preview card here on Thursday, May 19.

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