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Is MTG Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate worth it for newcomers?

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate artwork
(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

The latest Magic: The Gathering set is out in the wild, but just what makes Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate special? Is it worth bothering with if you're a D&D fan who doesn't play MTG? We've had our hands on the set for a little while now, so we've got thoughts on the matter.

Basically, our team is here to help newcomers decide whether MTG Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate is where they should start their journey into one of the best card games on shelves right now. We've also got details on what makes this set different to standard Magic: The Gathering decks (because this isn't the normal MTG).

Confused? Intrigued by our exclusive Battle for Baldur's Gate card reveals a little while back? No problem - let's get right into it. You'll find all the info you need below, including deals on where to get Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate for less.

Where to buy Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate boosters

One Commander game variant has you building a deck entirely from boosters (Image credit: Future)

What is Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate?

As the second crossover with Dungeons and Dragons, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate offers you some iconic D&D characters and locations to go with your usual MTG shenanigans. As the name would suggest, it takes us to the city of Baldur's Gate - a classic setting from the Forgotten Realms that's featured in video games and many of the best Dungeons and Dragons books. This is a world of high fantasy and is often seen as the 'default' universe for modern D&D; many adventures, including the Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set, take place here. As such, you can expect a few familiar faces (like the barbarian Minsc and his miniature giant space hamster, Boo) to pop up.

Because this is a Commander Legends pack, it's also designed as a special, slightly larger multiplayer set.

D&D's 'initiative' turn order mechanic has been carried across here

However, that isn't to say it's all different. Much like the last Magic-D&D crossover, Battle for Baldur's Gate features dungeon cards as well. These allow you to gain bonuses as you traverse its depths, but this time, there's a new addition - backgrounds. Used by your deck's commander, they offer a boon for them to call upon during the match. 

Similarly, D&D's 'initiative' turn order mechanic has been carried across here. Players will squabble over this because having the initiative provides certain boosts and allows you to access the 'Undercity' dungeon.

How is Commander Legends different to normal MTG?

Unlike standard games of Magic: The Gathering, Commander Legends can be played with multiple people - often between three and five, though you can still go head-to-head if you'd prefer. Depending on the game variant you're playing, decks are also made in a slightly different way.

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate initiative card

The Initiative is a key way Battle for Baldur's Gate stands out from other MTG sets (Image credit: Future)

First up is the 'Commander' version of the game. This uses a pre-built deck that's ready to go right away (be it one of the four official premade packs or a custom 100-card deck), and it's led by a special character card. All players start with 40 life, and you can't have any repeated cards within your deck - only singles are allowed here, please. Similarly, your deck has to match the color type of your commander.

The second variant is 'Draft'. Here, each player has 40 life and builds their own 60-card deck from unopened booster packs they've brought with them. You open a booster, draw two cards, and keep going until you have a full deck.

Either way, battle then commences… and the last person standing wins.

It's worth noting that you cannot use Commander Legends cards in Standard, Pioneer, or Modern formats, though. That means these decks are purely for Commander games

Why Baldur's Gate?

Why return to the Forgotten Realms with this set when there are so many other D&D universes to choose from? The steampunk-inspired Eberron would make a great deck, for example. Senior game designer James Wyatt is on-hand to shed some light on how the team picked this location for the second D&D-MTG crossover.

Even if you’re a D&D player who’s never tried MTG, there should be a lot of cool stuff to recognise

James Wyatt, senior game designer

"There are players who enjoy both MTG and D&D," Wyatt says. "We know from the launch of Adventures of the Forgotten Realms that both sets of fans loved how we realised all the D&D flavour in a Magic set. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms was designed to make it easy for MTG players who may not be familiar with D&D to understand some of the lore, characters and mechanics of the game. It didn’t give a full understanding, but if you’d never played D&D, your interest might have been piqued just by playing the new set. We spent a lot of time making sure it was as faithful as possible. That’s why we wanted to revisit the Forgotten Realms for this crossover, because even if you’re a D&D player who’s never tried MTG, there should be a lot of cool stuff to recognise while playing."

Should you buy Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate?

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate cards

The Faceless One is an interesting Commander option in Battle for Baldur's Gate, mostly because it's what you use if you can't find anything else (Image credit: Future)

Whether you should buy this set or not will come down to the kind of games you want to play. Eager to battle multiple friends at once or go head-to-head with a pal who also has a Commander Legends deck? Battle for Baldur's Gate is worth a look. Although it'll take a while to get your head around, the fact you can grab a premade deck that's been designed and balanced by experts also makes things all the more accessible.

Love D&D and want to get into MTG for the first time, on the other hand? While this is a cool set with a lot of winks and nods you'll appreciate, I'd probably recommend opting for the slightly older Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set instead. Those decks can be used in Standard games, so you'll get more flexibility than the Commander Legends alternatives provide. They're also crammed with general D&D lore rather than Easter eggs focused on Baldur's Gate itself, so you'll probably get more out of them as a fan too.

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate deals

Want more recommendations? Don't miss the best tabletop RPGs or the best board games. It's worth checking out these board games for 2 players as well. As for upcoming MTG sets, see our exclusive Double Masters 2022 preview.

Benjamin Abbott
Benjamin Abbott

As the site's Tabletop & Merch Editor, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to Lego buying guides. I have been writing about games in one form or another since 2012 and can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.