- Ascend From Avernus (translated name TBA)
- Call of the Void (translated name TBA)
- Owlbear Cub (translated name TBA)
Today continues the slower, quieter pace of weekend previews, as Magic: The Gathering's Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate preview season gears up for much more to come next week. We saw just four cards revealed on Sunday, and no legendary creatures for the first time this season.
Today's highlights include… basically everything, really. There's a fascinatingly political mass-destruction spell, a major new reanimation tool for white, an adorable Owlbear, and Magic's second-ever Demon Bird just one set New Capenna's Falco Spara.
Ascend From Avernus (translated name TBA)
X generic, three white sorcery:
Return all creatures and planeswalker cards with mana value X or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. Exile Ascend From Avernus.
White is getting a lot of love in Baldur's Gate, and Ascend From Avernus may be one of the best reanimation spells it's ever had.
White is the colour of cheaper creatures, so you'll likely not have to spend too much mana to get the majority of your graveyard back into play. Esper Sentinel, Drannith Magistrate, Grand Abolisher, Mother of Runes, Skyclave Apparition, Mentor of the Meek, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben are all less than three mana and have a huge impact on Commander games.
Ascend From Avernus also specifies it returns planeswalker cards, which makes this a must-have for Superfriends decks as well. Planeswalkers can skew a little on the expensive side, but even then, the most you'll be paying is twelve mana to pull any planeswalker in the game back from the graveyard. Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker; Ugin, the Spirit Dragon; Ashiok, Dream Render; Narset, Parter of Veils; Oko, Thief of Crowns; there is so much power you can dump onto the battlefield for a surprisingly reasonable mana cost.
Of course, you should also use all those enters-the-battlefield triggers by using cards like Cathar's Crusade, Aura Shards, and Angelic Chorus. Don't forget that Streets of New Capenna just introduced the alliance mechanic, which is full of effects that trigger on a creature entering the battlefield, like Devilish Valet (which would get incredibly big) and Witty Roastmaster.
Three generic, two black creature – Demon Bird – 3/3:
Toxic Spores: At the beginning of your end step, if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn, each opponent loses three life.
Magic's second Demon Bird is hot on the heels of Streets of New Capenna's Falco Spara. In Dungeons & Dragons' lore, these vulture-person-things would sell out their own kind for any kind of trinket or jewel you dangle in front of it. They're also peculiar mages, requiring them to come together in groups before being able to use any kind of magic – but often being far more powerful when they do.
We see little of that on the card, but it still has some utility. While three damage once per turn sounds underwhelming for Commander, it does add up and can contribute to other, more powerful cards like Bloodchief Ascension and Savage Gorger. It's particularly good for a handful of Commanders, like Strefan, Maurer Progenitor to make three Blood tokens, and Sygg, River Cutthroat to draw a card.
More interestingly, Vrock triggers on any permanent leaving the battlefield. It doesn't have to be a creature, it also triggers off of any token permanents, like Strefan's Blood or a Treasure tokens. This makes Vrock a surprisingly effective card in decks like Kalain, Reclusive Painter, which use lots of Treasure tokens and incentivises you to cast spells using them.
Call of the Void (translated name TBA)
Four generic, one black sorcery:
Each player secretly chooses a creature they control and a creature they don't control. Then, all the chosen creatures are revealed. Destroy all creatures chosen this way.
Targeted removal gets an interesting twist with Call of the Void. For five mana you can potentially destroy eight creatures, though it will likely be less if something particularly frightening is on the battlefield.
The game here is to make sure you're not picking a creature an opponent is, otherwise, your choice is useless. This is why the choices being secret make this such a fun card – trying to make your choice count while also ensuring the big bad creature on the board is destroyed could lead to second- or triple-guessing your opponents until the major threat somehow slips through the cracks.
Another interesting twist of this is that is somewhat benefits players with fewer creatures. If you have one creature, you must choose to destroy it. That leaves another seven choices at the table to be aimed at anyone else, which could be far more painful.
Owlbear Cub (translated name TBA)
Two generic, one green creature – Bear Bird – 3/3:
Mother Is Here: Whenever Owlbear Cub attacks a player that controls eight or more lands, look at the top eight cards of your library. You may put a creature card from among those cards onto the battlefield tapped and attacking that player. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
Weirdly, Owlbear Cub is a much better card than Forgotten Realms' fully grown Owlbear. While it lacks trample and is smaller than the original, it is also much cheaper and has an incredible attack trigger. A Collected Company you can use every turn and take any creature from is wild – the creatures don't even leave at the end of combat; they just stay on the battlefield.
There aren't many stand-our commanders in Baldur's Gate for Owlbear Cub to slip in with, although it's such a generally good card anything with green in its colour identity will love it. Probably the best so far would be the Background Master Chef, which allows your creatures to enter the battlefield with +1/+1 counters to make them hit harder.
Outside of Baldur's Gate, there is one clear commander this is perfect for, and it's still in the Dungeons & Dragons flavour: Wulfgar of Icewind Dale. Doubling attack triggers means dropping multiple heavy hitters like Ghalta, Terastodon, Nyxbloom Ancient, and End-Raze Forerunners as early as turn three.
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