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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jun 29 2022 11:02am
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BATTLE FOR BALDUR'S GATE

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 With Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate, we see Magic return to the Dungeons & Dragons universe after last year's Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Specifically depicting the besieged city of Baldur's Gate during the Time of Troubles, the set is also a follow-up to 2020's Commander Legends – therefore it's a very large set meant to be drafted (with two picks per pack) and then built for the Commander format. Just like with The Prismatic Piper in the previous set, a color-customizable always-available replacement commander is provided, in order to ease the deckbuilding process. This time it's called Faceless One and uses the new Background rules, which allow to start a legendary enchantment in the command zone if our commander has the "choose a Background" ability (this mechanic is intended mimic character creation in D&D).

 

 Since Faceless One has the ability to pick a Background, but it's also a Background itself, during drafts players can select up to two copies of it as joint commanders, assigning different colors to them. Alternatively, they could use Faceless One as the Background of another commander, or as the deck's commander paired with a different Background. Since Background is an enchantment subtype, Faceless One has no creature type.

 Given the sheer size of Battle for Baldur's Gate, which also includes four accompanying preconstructed Commander decks, the number of affected tribes is large, even more so than with the previous Commander Legends set (79 vs. 69). Some unusually high concentrations directly arise from the D&D setting, especially Dragon, which includes the Draconic humanoids. The set introduces to the D&D sub-world a few of the flavor-appropriate mechanics that were left out of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, most notably Adventure (from Throne of Eldraine) and party (from Zendikar Rising). The latter causes an enhanced focus on its relevant tribes, namely Cleric, Rogue, Warrior and Wizard. All the D&D-specific subtypes (Beholder, GnollHalfling, Tiefling) make a reappearance, as well as flavorful classes like Bard and Ranger. New creature subtypes include Gith and Walrus, while Calculating Lich gets its first reprint after the little-known introduction in Game Night 2019 (the other four creatures of that cycle are still waiting for a reprint).

 Let's have a look at the new creatures and their tribes. The tribes are presented alphabetically, and you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 IMPORTANT NOTE: Since Battle for Baldur's Gate will not be distributed in its entirety on Magic Online, we don't know yet which of the new cards will be included in Treasure Chests over time. The first 120, added on June 15, are listed here (the list erroneously includes Battle Display and Heart's Desire, the Adventure sides of the reprinted Embereth Shieldbreaker and Lovestruck Beast, respectively). 74 of these are creatures. In light of this, the tribal totals below are not updated, they just reflect the state of the tribes before the set's release.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 366 (+285 in the Commander decks)
  • New cards: 304 (+40 in the Commander decks)
  • New creatures: 177 (+23 in the Commander decks)
  • Reprinted cards: 62 (+245 in the Commander decks)
  • Reprinted creatures: 11 (+110 in the Commander decks)
  • New Legendary creatures: 58 (+8 in the Commander decks)
  • New Snow creatures: 0
  • New artifact creatures: 8
  • New enchantment creatures: 1
  • Triple-subtype creatures: 11 (+1 in the Commander decks)
  • Creature types affected: 79
  • Tribes with more than 5 additions: Dragon (+47), Human (+37), Rogue (+17), Elf (+15), Warrior (+13), Wizard (+13), Cleric (+11), Horror (+11), Druid (+9), Shaman (+9), Ranger (+8), Tiefling (+8)

Angel: +3

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 212, online: 209

 Related Tribes: Elephant, Knight

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: None of these Angels are in the Treasure Chests yet. The most striking element about them is the presence of novel subtypes for the tribe, namely Knight and Elephant. The latter looks extremely silly, like something out of an Un-set, so hopefully will remain a D&D thing only (Lulu is a character in the Forgotten Realms). She'd make for a strong commander in flicker builds, though, especially with the Background option allowing for a second color of our choice – most likely blue.


Artificer: +4

   

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 Previous Tribal Total: 140, online: 136

 Related Tribes: Bird, Dragon, Gnome, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter is the one new Artificer that's already online. He seems pretty cool in Treasure decks, since he can quickly, and with no further mana expenditure, turn a Treasure into two little robots, and later any one of those into two Treasures, constantly multiplying our resources. The ability applies in a pinch to non-Treasure starting pieces too, and Jan's body/cost ratio and color access are both excellent. 

 Among those we're currently missing, Ingenious Artillerist could be a wincon in Treasure builds (it's basically an Overrun effect with Old Gnawbone), while Renari is a commander for decks that care about flash-speed – Dragon decks as well, I guess, provided we picked a red Background.


Assassin: +2

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 67, online: 64

 Related Tribes: Human, Rogue, Tiefling

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Both new Assassins aren't online, but it doesn't seem much of a loss. Guildsworn Prowler looks like a typical draft common. Ravenloft Adventurer (which namecheks an extradimensional setting, thus introducing planar travel in the Forgotten Realms) uses the initiative mechanic, a monarch-like player's designation that allows to venture into the new Undercity dungeon.

 


Badger: +1

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 Previous Tribal Total: 5, online: 4

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: This common adventurer will be, once brought online (if that'll ever happen), the sixth Badger ever printed in the game, the third of the modern era after Charging Badger from Born of the Gods and Surly Badgersaur from Commander 2020. It won't make the tiny tribe much more efficient.


Barbarian: +5

  

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 36, online: 32

 Related Tribes: Dragon, Dwarf, Human, Tiefling

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Reckless Barbarian is the only tribal representative already online here. It's a good two-drop that can ramp up the proceedings of both Barbarian decks and Dragon decks.

 Surprisingly, the powerful combat doubler Karlach, Fury of Avernus hasn't been included in the Treasure Chests. With the Background option not limiting his services to monored, Karlack has all the signs of a popular commander. The rest of these Barbarians aren't particularly noteworthy. What's worth noting, though, is that the tribe has essentially been relocated to the D&D universe, because it otherwise wasn't used since 2006's Coldsnap. It has kind of racist connotations, to be fair. Maybe it's been decided that it needs a very high fantasy setting to free itself of that undertaste.


Bard: +5

  

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 9

 Related Tribes: Dragon, Dwarf, Giant

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Bard was introduced in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, although it has since branched into the MTG universe proper. All the non-common new members from Battle for Baldur's Gate are already online. Firbolg Flutist is an Act of Treason on legs with added myriad, which doesn't matter at all in one-on-one. It's more expensive than Zealous Conscripts and doesn't combo with Kiki Jiki, so it'll probably remain confined in Commander games. Korlessa, Scale Singer and Draconic Muralists are little helpers for Dragon decks.

 Still, these new additions more than double the current size of the Bard tribe, and that has to count for something.


Bat: +1

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 Previous Tribal Total: 23, online: 21

 Related Tribes: Insect

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This little guy has gotten the honor of a slot in the Treasure Chests. It's not a memorable card by all means, but it's a solid one-drop with evasion that can cycle itself later. Good to bring back with Lurrus or the likes.


Bear: +2

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 30, online: 24

 Related Tribes: Bird, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: New Bears not online yet, unfortunately. Owlbear Cub looks like a fun and challenging way to cheat creatures into play, even if the eight-land clause makes it too casual for its own good. Wilson, Refined Grizzly is a tongue-in-cheek solution to the "how to improve on Grizzly Bears" assignment, which is what new MTG designers are asked to tackle. But all jokes aside, the Bear tribe really needs more two-drops on par with modern standards.


Beast: +3

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 439, online: 429

 Related Tribes: Cat, Demon, Spider

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Two of these variously tinted monocolored Beasts are already online: the Astral Slide-like Displacer Kitten, probably seen as a valuable combo piece for Johnny/Jenny types, and the decent sideboard card Ettercap. We still have to wait to get our hands on Adventure enhancer Nalfeshnee, which is expensive but could potentially lead to interesting shenanigans, and not just with Adventure creatures – all impulsive drawing cards are cast from exile, and the same goes with suspend and cascade.


Beholder: +2

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 4

 Related Tribes: Skeleton

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: New Beholders have to be a given in any D&D-based set, though it's not impossible to conceive their existence in the Magic Multiverse as well. Ghastly Death Tyrant has made the Treasure Chests cut, though it doesn't look like a card that could see play outside of a draft environment. The monstrous Death Kiss is strictly a Commander card.


Bird: +5

  

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 310, online: 296

 Related Tribes: Artificer, Bear, Demon, Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Scouting Hawk and Vrock are the new Birds that are currently online, but they don't look too exciting. Nor do the others, to be honest, Owlbear Cub's shenanigans aside.


Boar: +1

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 Previous Tribal Total: 42, online: 40

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This Boar is, for some reason, the ultimate lord of mana dorks. It makes all of them into a threat and give them pseudo-vigilance. Furthermore, when we use the ramp potential to cast big spells, we deal even more combat-based pain. It has to be best friends with fellow Boar End-Raze Forerunners (which were indeed reprinted in Battle for Baldur's Gate). Too bad we can get access to Raggadragga on Magic Online yet! It looks like it would be a great addition to cubes, too.


Cat: +4

   

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 Previous Tribal Total: 246, online: 236

 Related Tribes: Beast, Devil, Ranger, Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Remarkably, all the new Cats are already available on MTGO via Treasure Chests. Displacer Kitten is the more interesting one, a build-around centerpiece that requires both flicker targets and noncreature spells, two categories that aren't inherently compatible. It's also pretty fragile for its cost. Mahadi, Emporium Master is a situational Treasure maker. The specific situation is the death of any creature on any side of the battlefield, which isn't a rare occurrence when playing a Rakdos deck and could lead to massive bursts of mana and/or artifact triggers and/or sacrifice triggers.

 The other two Cats are forgettable.


Cleric: +11

   

   

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 Previous Tribal Total: 504, online: 473

 Related Tribes: Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, Human, Orc, Snake, Tiefling, Warlock

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: The Treasure Chests feature the first three new Clerics in alphabetical order. Archivist of Oghma is the one that catches the eye, as a massive source of card drawing in monowhite, at least in formats with fetch lands. You don't even have to take the opponent by surprise with flash, any game of Vintage, Legacy or Commander will have players searching the library almost every turn. This card has mad Constructed potential in Hatebears lists.

 The other two we immediately get aren't as good. Bane's Invoker is part of a cycle of commons with a late-game activation, a callback to the Invoker mega-megacycle that started in Legions, then was reprised in Rise of the Eldrazi and, partially, in Battle for Zendikar. Historical value notwithstanding, they're all Limited cards. And Bonecaller Cleric is just an expensive version of Doomed Necromancer, even if it can be activated right away, circumventing summoning sickness.

 It's strange that none of the new legendary Clerics has been brought online yet, especially the two rares. Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar is a strong sacrifice-based commander that can turn creatures into large amounts of cards. The wording used here is more usually found in green (cf. Momentous Fall), but of course black is primary in all sacrifices. Black is also the color of Solemn Doomguide, which grants unearth to all our party creatures. I guess we'll have to wait before being invited to that particular graveyard party.


Construct: +3

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 147, online: 146

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Marching Duodrone is online, but there's little to celebrate about it, as it appears to be a weak "group hug" card with very limited synergy even in heavy Treasure builds, since we still need to attack with our 2/2 (rather than just tapping it, a la Magda), and the opponent will get a mana boost that'll prove useful even if they don't specifically care about Treasures. For that theme, Marut would have made a better impression, being a decent finisher with an ability that's essentially a roundabout way to spell "affinity for Treasures", but with the added value of triggering sacrifices in the process. Even more so, Rug of Smoldering is, at the very least, a legitimate storm hater – easy to cast with fast colorless mana, and sporting some evasive capability to boot. Another debatable pick for the first round of Chests inclusions from Baldur's Gate.


Crab: +1

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 Previous Tribal Total: 31, online: 30

 Related Tribes: Horror, Ooze

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: This self-replicating monstrosity cares equally about each of its three tribes. It's a bit slow to get going, but it's the kind of card that can run away with the game if left unchecked, and the tribal applications are real. Too bad it wasn't deemed worthy to get into the Treasure Chests just yet.


Demon: +5

  

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 137, online: 131

 Related Tribes: Beast, Bird, Frog

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Demons are smaller than Devils in the D&D universe, but this time, the designers seem to have split the difference: there are some little guys like the goad master Bothersome Quasit, but also massive fiends like the powerful modal Balor and the flanking provider Hezrou. We already saw that the Beast Nalfeshnee is not online, while the Bird Vrock is. But it's really with Balor that we're missing out. It's an iconic D&D creature, and its one-on-one baseline is a five-drop 5/5 flyer that deals extra damage to the opponent whenever it attacks, and then again when it dies. And sometimes it can deal with a problematic artifact (provided we're not facing an artifact-heavy deck) or mess with the opponent's hand. A solid midrange beater whose online status should have been prioritized.


Devil: +3

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 43, online: 42

 Related Tribes: Cat, Noble

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: We already reviewed the treasurer Mahadi, which we have online; and that's true of Chain Devil as well, though it's only a Fleshbag Marauder variant with some creature tokens synergy. The Devil tribe can certainly use a built-in version of that effect, anyway. Although adding an edict creature to their ranks won't console them from (currently) missing out on a much bigger fish: shared lord Raphael, Fiendish Savior. He rules over all "demonic" creatures, which include Imps and Tieflings (the Azra were probably considered too "alien" for the Forgotten Realms), but he seems to have a predilection for Devils in particular, since it's what he creates in their classic token form. It's his own tribe, after all, unlike those others that have been batched together mostly in virtue of their collective hornedness.


Dog: +1

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 Previous Tribal Total: 101, online: 96

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: In order to play with this robo-Dog that can potentially hurt us when attacking, we'll have to either open paper boosters or wait for one of the next Treasure Chest updates. Or we can just give up on ever putting Iron Mastiff into a deck of ours – which is probably the preferable course of action.


Dragon: +47

    

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 256, online: 251

 Related Tribes: Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Elder, Elemental, Horror, Noble, Peasant, Ranger, Rogue, Serpent, Shaman, Snake, Spirit, Turtle, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: More or less unexpectedly, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate has set the record for the largest Dragon population in Magic history. It's certainly one of the Ds in D&D, but 47 is a crazy boost number. For comparison, the previous most Dragon-friendly set was Dragons of Tarkir with 26 new additions. The precedent D&D set, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, stopped at 16. Baldur's Gate is so massively into Dragons that they even surpass the quantity of Humans – and that's a huge accomplishment that has happened hardly ever before (mostly, only Elementals in the original Kamigawa block did it).

 This approach is likely a consequence of so many iconic Dragon types not finding room to be included in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms – most notably, all the different metallic varieties. Also, the Dragonborn humanoids still count as Dragons, but they serve a very different role in the set, more akin to that of Viashinos or Minotaurs in regular sets. Their introduction has changed the Dragon tribe forever.

 The flashiest of the new additions are the five mythic Elder Dragons, three of which have been brought online via Treasure Chests. We'll discuss them under their secondary tribe, but they represent the ancient stage of the five strongest families of metallic Dragons. The only other mythic is Firkraag, Cunning Instigator, which is not online for the moment. It's one of the many "Dragons matter" cards in the set, though admittedly not an extremely appealing one, mostly working in multiplayer, as it's based on goading one opponent's creatures to attack the others. Among the rares that care for Dragons, we have Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm already available, and that's good news, because Miirym is kind of the ultimate Dragon tribal card and one of the best commanders for the Dragon theme. Simply put, with Miirym in play, every Dragon we cast is doubled, and that includes other legendary ones. Plus, she's a baseline 6/6 for six with ward 2, allowing access to Temur colors from the command zone – and that's exactly what a Dragon deck needs: green for ramp, blue for drawing, red to account for the bulk of the tribe.

 Also online is Earthquake Dragon, the tribe's Ghalta (because that's something the Dragons needed, apparently). It's playable only in Dragon lists, but to make up for it, it can also come back from the graveyard, a la Multani. It's also a new member of the 15 Mana club, aka the cards that aren't as expensive as Draco. Rare Dragons from Baldur's Gate we currently lack online access to include the monoblue Astral Dragon, the monoblack Brainstealer Dragon, and the monored Wrathful Dragon. The first comes with a double cloning ETB effect; the second is a library stealer that also deals damage in the process; the third transforms all our Dragons into a Boros Reckoner of sort.

 At uncommon, along with Draconic Muralists (which just dies into a better Dragon), Baldur's Gate contains a few legendary "Dragons matter" cards, as potential commanders for budget and/or experimental builds. Ganax, Astral Hunter gives every Dragon its own Treasure; the cheap Korlessa, Scale Singer lets us cast Dragons from the top of our library; and Lozhan, Dragons' Legacy deals damage whenever we cast a Dragon or, for some reason, an Adventure. Muralists and Korlessa are accessible online right now, Ganax and Lozhan aren't.

  

 Here are some more uncommon legendary "Dragons matter" cards that we can't currently play on Magic Online. Will Renari's universal flash, Skanos's attack boost, and Thrakkus's power doubling be available one day? Possibly. They all look okay, if unessential.

  

 "Dragons matter" theme even appears at common with the in-tribe mana dork Scaled Nurturer. Also not online.

 Finally, to better grasp what the existence of the Dragonborn does to the Dragon tribe, just look at these three (the first two of which are online) and imagine their cards as a Merfolk, a Goblin, and a Dwarf, respectively.

  


Druid: +9

  

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 249, online: 245

 Related Tribes: Dragon, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Goblin, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: None of the new legendary Druids is online. The two with "choose a Background" might have been discarded to avoid programming the ability in the first place, though it doesn't affect the gameplay outside of Commander. Halsin's ability wouldn't have been too crucial, anyway, but Jaheira is great in token decks. We're also missing out on the mad card selection and board advantage provided by Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald.

 Weirdly enough, both the non-legendary Druids are online, instead. Owlbear Shepherd is kind of the creature version of those green card-drawing enchantments that look at the power of creatures on our side of the battlefield, except it's more fragile and demands a very high power total to function. Silvanus's Invoker is one of the better members of its cycle, but still more of a Limited card than anything else.


Dwarf: +5

  

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 97, online: 89

 Related Tribes: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: No luck for the Dwarves, either, since the grand total of their new additions that are already online equals to zero. Might it be because none of them is actually any good in Constructed, even on kitchen table games?


Elder: +5

  

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 30

 Related Tribes: Dragon

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: And there they are, the majestic metallic Dragons depicted at their most formidable age level. Previously, we only had the one Adult Gold Dragon in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Now we get the real sense of their emblematic might in the form of... well, Timmy/Tammy cards, for the most part. They're all expensive curve-toppers that don't protect themselves at all and yet have to connect at least once to really unleash their potential. What's worse, they all use a "roll a D20" mechanic, which gives no guarantee of their effectiveness. Realistically, we won't connect more than once or twice per game with these big dorks, and if those connections happen to fall on the lower end of their RNG range, their high cost won't be justified. Otherwise, some of them will probably win the game the following turn, others might still not do enough, except under specific board conditions.

 The white one generates the most desirable outcome, creating an army of up to 20 flyers. The blue one mandatorily draws up to 20 cards, which might even kill us on the spot, though it'll probably end up going the other way. Black one and green one (the two that aren't online yet) depend on the resources at hand in all graveyards or on our battlefield, and their effects are easily counteracted by a single sweeper, which is true of Ancient Gold Dragons's 1/1 Faeries as well. The red one stands out for two opposite reasons: on one hand, making Treasures in the late game might not do much for us; on the other hand, it's the least expensive of these Dragons, and the boost it gives might still be relevant on turn seven. Of course, it'll be at its best in a build that cares for Treasures not just as mana sources. In this sense, it's sort of a cheaper Old Gnawbone.


Elemental: +3

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 494, online: 486

 Related Tribes: Dragon, Shaman, Spirit

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Not much to say about these three. Earthquake Dragon is an Elemental only for cosmetic reasons, as it requires to be played within a Dragon tribal build. Rescuer Chwinga is a strictly better Whitemane Lion, and that's certainly something – although, unfortunately, it won't be legal in Pauper. Both Earthquake Dragon and Chwinga are already online; Genasi Enforcers isn't, but we're not losing much there, as cards with myriad tend to be based around that ability, therefore exclusively working in multiplayer.


Elephant: +1

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 Previous Tribal Total: 61, online: 60

 Related Tribes: Angel

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: We've come to this: a winged Elephant. Thins thing is definitely bizarre as an Angel hybrid, but it's not that less weird as an Elephant, either. Maybe if it never comes online, it'll only be for the better.


Elf: +15

   

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 480, online: 466

 Related Tribes: Cleric, Druid, Faerie, Human, Monk, Ranger, Rogue, Scout, Shaman, Vampire, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Neera, Wild Mage is the only notable Elf (technically, Half-Elf) that made it online right away. She's the tribe's first Izzet-colored card, and has a static Possibility Storm-like ability. All pretty uncharted territory for an Elf. Her 2/7 body is also kind of wacky. She's clearly designed as a fun casual commander, since the replacement effect is too wide to build-around, except through a large amount of library manipulation.

 The mythic Elf we're missing, Baeloth Barrityl, Entertainer, is the second monored member of the tribe after Delina, Wild Mage (there's a number of "wild mages" in the Forgotten Realms, apparently). He's yet another goad-based card, though. They really went broke with those in the set. Is it such a popular ability in Commander?

 The new legendary rare Elves include Astarion, the Decadent, who either doubles our lifegain or the damage we dealt during the turn; (Jaheira, Friend of the Forest), who turns any token into mana producer; Jon Irenicus, Shattered One, who has arguably one of the most convoluted card-drawing engines ever concocted, as it involves gifting one of our creatures to the opponent tapped, goading it, and making it bigger yet impossible to sacrifice; finally, Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar, who's a very valuable sacrifice outlet. It's worth noting how most of the new monocolored legends in the set use the Background mechanic, so they can essentially pick a secondary color of the player's choice, which makes them very flexible commanders.

 The last new rare Elf is Tomb of Horrors Adventurer (there are a few cards in the set with this kind of complex attributive noun structure, and they all sound very awkward). It's a compelling, if expensive mix of initiative, "dungeons matter", and "second spells matter".


Faerie: +2

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 97, online: 94

 Related Tribes: Elf, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Winter Eladrin is online, so now all of its tribes, and most notably Faerie, got their own strictly better Man-o'-War. Moonshae Pixie would have been actually more interesting. The Adventure alone is the recipe for an alpha strike. And even in one-on-one, a 2/2 flyer that likely replaces itself on ETB is not bad.


Fish: +1

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 Previous Tribal Total: 34, online: 30

 Related Tribes: Horror

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: This horrifying fish-thing wants to catch our opponents dropping creatures with ETB triggers, and chances are they'll do exactly that, since those kinds of creatures are the foundation of modern Magic. It's also not too easy to get rid of, thanks to ward 2. However, in order to be able to parasitically siphon the strengths of our MTGO enemies, we'll have to wait for Aboleth Spawn to actually get online.


Fox: +1

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 Previous Tribal Total: 37, online: 35

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Just a variant on Limited filler cards like Filigree Familiar. Not sure why there are this many mechanical animals in the Forgotten Realms. Or why this one was selected for Treasure Chests inclusion.


Frog: +2

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 34, online: 32

 Related Tribes: Demon, Horror

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Gray Slaad is online, Hezrou is not. Neither of them feels significant enough to care either way.


Fungus: +3

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 48, online: 47

 Related Tribes: Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Out of these three, we've gotten Mold Folk online. It's an improved Carrion Feeder that's better as an aggro creature, worse as a sacrifice outlet. The other two might work as role players for their tribe, but both a three-drop mana dork and a four-drop Reclamation Sage aren't going to make the cut in an even only mildly competitive Fungus deck.


Giant: +3

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 191, online: 184

 Related Tribes: Bard, Knight, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The temporary stealer Firbolg Flutist is online (weird for him to be a Giant, by the way; that huge flute is going to make quite the racket), but the other Giants haven't gotten there yet. They're both initiative enablers. The rare Undermountain Adventurer is an intriguing ramp card for Commander – complete the Undercity (remember, that's what the initiative lets us do), tap your Giant for six green. It could be a good deal.


Gith: +2

 

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 Previous Tribal Total: 0

 Related Tribes: Monk, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Gith is the last in the series of creature types that are exclusive to the separete Magic universe based on Dungeons & Dragons. They're a humanoid race that was forced to serve the Mind Flayers for centuries. Eventually freed from their enslavement, they divided into two warring groups: the militaristic Githyanki and the ascetic Githzerai, who possess psionic abilities. Lae'zel belongs to the former faction, and her card offers a version of Hardened Scales, which is always a welcome static effect. By picking a green Background, she can easily command a great "+1/+1 counters matter" deck.

 However, so far only Githzerai Monk has been made available on MTGO. It's a much less spicy card, mostly an alpha strike enabler for Limited.


Gnoll: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 2

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: The Gnolls get a third member, which is clearly great news for the tribe. Too bad it's not a great addition, though, even if it can be an okay aggressive card in multiplayer. Also, it's not online yet, like all myriad cards. It might even never be ported.


Gnome: +5

  

 

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 12, online: 11

 Related Tribes: Artificer, Druid, Ranger, Soldier, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Dungeons & Dragons is majorly responsible for turning the Magic Gnomes into flesh and blood creatures, rather than the weird automatons that they used to almost exclusively be before. Most of these new ones are even already online, the exception being Deep Gnome Terramancer, which piggybacks on the opposing use of fetches or land-based ramp cards. As a solid two-drop 2/2 with flash, it was actually the most Constructed-playable of all the new Gnomes, so it's a pity we don't get to enjoy his services right away. We do get to craft Treasures and Constructs with Jan Jansen, though, so that prospect offers some amount of consolation.


Goblin: +2

 

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 384, online: 368

 Related Tribes: Druid, Shaman

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Two new uncommon Goblins in Baldur's Gate. Owlbear Shepherd is the one that's already online, but it seems completely out of touch with its own tribe (it's in fact only the fourth monogreen Goblin ever printed). Gut, True Soul Zealot would make for a better representative, his shtick being the upgrade of low-level creatures or inanimate artifacts into 4/1 menacing Skeletons. Gut doesn't even have to risk his own skin to accomplish this trick; it could be a worthy build-around factor, in Commander or otherwise.


God: +3

  

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 50

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The God subtype once more appears outside of one of the established, larger pantheons (Theros, Amonkhet, and Kaldheim). It happened before with Svyelun of Sea and Sky in Modern Horizons 2, and then with a couple of divinities from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (Asmodeus and Tiamat). So, on second thought, we could actually say we're compiling the Forgotten Realms pantheon now.

 These three, which are unfortunately not online yet, represent the three evil deities that had a role in the Time of Troubles: Bane and Myrkul precipitated it, Bhaal was killed during the events. Their cards form an incomplete cycle with shared abilities. All three of them become indestructible when our life total is halved and care for the death of our creatures (in the Forgotten Realms lore, they're all linked to the concept of dying in some way or other). Bane and Bhaal's main abilities aren't exactly groundbreaking – with Bane, the opponent gets to decide whether we draw a card or we cheat something from our hand onto the battlefield, and the choice might become very obvious in the late game or when they have information about our hand; with Bhaal, we just get a +1/+1 counter, or alternatively a goad option, which is pretty weak and situational.

 At the other end of the spectrum, the more expensive Myrkul grants a special brand of recursion, and that's definitely intriguing. The dead creature returns as a token, which is reminiscent of Nightmare Shepherd, except instead of a 1/1, the token becomes an enchantment with no other card types. This means returning a straight-up beater is pointless, but returning something with an ETB effect, a static ability or an activated ability is golden, because now they're not a fragile creature anymore and can be activated right away, ignoring summoning sickness. There's also plenty of juicy combos to be done this way. The first that comes to mind is with Devoted Druid, which can kill itself to turn into an infinite mana engine, since the -1/-1 counters become meaningless for a noncreature enchantment. Myrkul really needs to come online asap.


Hag: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 9, online: 7

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Hag returns with its tenth member. The last time the tribe had a new addition was in 2014's Born of the Gods, while Eventide still represents the bulk of the existing Hags, with six entries. This new one is nothing special, but it's online, and it's the tribe's second blue member since the original Brine Hag from Legends.


Halfling: +5

  

 

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 3

 Related Tribes: Cleric, Knight, Ranger, Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Big boost for D&D's Hobbits-by-any-other-name. The Baldur's Gate additions more than double their ranks, and they get the honor of counting among them the excellent card-drawing engine Archivist of Oghma. The Archivist is online, and so it's the much more prosaic Zhentarim Bandit. We miss the three legendary uncommon Halfling ladies, which are all okay. Alora is sort of a reverse Ninja: she makes another creature unblockable and then return that one to hand. Erinis has better chances of surviving multiple attacks, so she can keep returning lands from the graveyard, which is no joke in Eternal formats. Mazzy is Aura-based.


Hippogriff: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 7

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Another neglected tribe, which had only collected four members since its introduction in 2010 and before the release of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. The D&D sets doubled that number, in consideration of Hippogriff's general status as an iconic fantasy creature. This Adventure card has "Limited fare" written all over it, but it's at least functional, if a poor fit in a Hippogriff deck where everything else already flies. Also, it's online.


Horror: +11

  

 

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 235, online: 234

 Related Tribes: Crab, Dragon, Fish, Frog, Ooze, Pirate, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Horrors boasts a strong tribal component in Battle for Baldur's Gate, but their whole deal was sadly passed over in the latest Treasure Chest update, since none of the "Horrors matter" members got online. And there definitely were some powerful ones to bring to MTGO, in virtue of the tribe being the superset for the Illithids, aka the Mind Flayers, one of the most iconic D&D monsters. But the tribal angle touches all Horrors here. Captain N'ghathrod turns them into menacers and have them mill the opponent, then steal creatures or artifacts from them. Grell Philosopher potentially gives them extra activated abilities. The self-replicating Uchuulon looks at the number of Horrors to determine the power of both itself and its clones. Zellix, Sanity Flayer is another miller, this time with token-making attached.

 Other rare Horrors include the trigger-copier Aboleth Spawn; two different top-end card thieves in Brainstealer Dragon and Elder Brain; and a cheaper one in Intellect Devourer (messing with their victims' minds is what the Mind Flayers do, after all).

   

 The power level of Horrors in Battle for Baldur's Gate is so high that out of eleven new members, only two appear at rarity lower than rare.

 

 And the set features even more "Horrors matter" cards elsewhere!

 


Human: +37

   

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 2850, online: 2644

 Related Tribes: Artificer, Assassin, Barbarian, Boar, Cleric, Druid, Elf, Knight, Monk, Noble, Peasant, Rogue, Shaman, Soldier, Warlock, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: In Battle for Baldur's Gate, Human lost the race to largest tribe in the set to Dragon. It's not something that occurs very often, but in the past few years, it happened three other times in major sets: in War of the Spark thanks to Zombie; in Core Set 2020 thanks to Elemental; and in Kaldheim thanks to Berserker, Warrior and Cleric. Let's keep going in this direction!


Imp: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 39, online: 37

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Another low-impact card that somehow made it into the Treasure Chests. I'm not sure why they went this route. What purpose do Limited cards have when placed outside of a Limited environment?


Insect: +2

 

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 184, online: 180

 Related Tribes: Bat

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: These two Insects are already online as well. Giant Ankheg kind of looks like a fun curve-topper to reanimate or cheat into play in more casual-leaning creature-based decks. It's not as good as something like Craterhoof Behemoth or even End-Raze Forerunners, but ward 2 and trample are good keywords to spam.


Jellyfish: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 12

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: The Jellies get their second legendary ever, and this time it's an actual creature rather than a weird organic computer part, and what do they do? They don't bring it online! All right, that "choose a third player" clause didn't make it easy, I admit. But it just means in one-on-one, Gluntch won't apply the third ability to anyone. So you get two +1/+1 counters (worst case scenario on Gluntch itself, which carries those well) and the opponent gets a card, or vice versa. It's a nice card. Also, it's a flumph, which is the reason why it's the second non-blue Jellyfish (after, indeed, Flumph).


Knight: +4

   

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 339, online: 326

 Related Tribes: Angel, Giant, Halfling, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: None of these Knights is online yet. Battle Angels of Tyr is the one we really want. Myriad can just be ignored, the ability works just as well in one-on-one. And baseline is a four-drop 4/4 flyer with upsides.


Kobold: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 9

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Kobolds are really iconic low-level mobs in D&D, so it's surprising that between Adventures in the Forgotten Realms and Battle for Baldur's Gate we only got two new ones, the most recent of which isn't even online yet. Taunting Kobold feels like the opposite of those red beaters that prevent a creature from blocking when they attack. This one forces a creature to attack, instead. It probably also dies in the process, though.


Lizard: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 62, online: 60

 Related Tribes: Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: A simple initiative demo card for the Lizards. It hasn't been brought online, which feels like the correct choice for once. I may just add it's the eighth black Lizard in existence, the fifth in monoblack. But that's it.


Merfolk: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 248, online: 244

 Related Tribes: Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Merfolk aren't really a widely utilized trope in Dungeons & Dragons. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms didn't contain any of them, Baldur's Gate has this one, which isn't online yet and it's very basic Commander filler. Of interest there's only the clause that sets apart commanders that are creatures or planeswalkers from those that aren't, since the Background mechanics now populates the command zone with noncreature enchantments.


Mole: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 2

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Mole has three members now! Woot-hoot? The tribe started with Graf Mole in Scars of Mirrodin, then got Excavation Mole in Ikoria. The whole lot is able to function within a monogreen shell, but none of its members synergizes with the others. The latest, a mechanical variant which isn't online yet, is strictly meant for Commander, but can be played in one-on-one, too – it just becomes a bad Chronomaton in that case. And Chronomaton is not exactly a great card already.


Monk: +4

   

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 97, online: 94

 Related Tribes: Elf, Gith, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Half of these new Monks are online, namely Githzerai Monk and Oji, the Exquisite Blade. The former is a playable flash tapper, the latter is a flickerer that uses a "second spells matter" mechanic to enable itself. Not terrible, but also not the most efficient. Tomb of Horrors Adventurer also employs that mechanic, and it's an initiative card, so it would play well with Rasaad yn Bashir, which is an initiative payoff for toughness-based decks. He doesn't let defenders attack, but still does the "toughness as power" trick while doubling it occasionally (as in: during an alpha strike). For three mana, he could find a place in that type of build.


Naga: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 38

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Nagas of the Forgotten Realms look very different from the half-human half-snake beings that appear in Magic since Khans of Tarkir and are in turn derived from South Asian mythology. To an extent they're also true to myth, but these are more like big snakes with a human face. This common one, the first in white, has all the signs of a good Adventure card – utility instant in the early game, big efficient finisher later – though it feels more at home in Limited than in Constructed. It's not yet online, anyway.


Noble: +4

   

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 53, online: 52

 Related Tribes: Devil, Dragon, Human, Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Demonic super-lord Raphael is also a Noble, though it's not available on MTGO, same as The Council of Four with its intriguing routine that punishes an opponent that's trying to outdraw and/or outcast us.

 What's online here is Duke Ulder Ravengard. Too bad it's just an expensive way to give haste to our latest creature – with myriad as the only bonus, which at least makes it relatively appealing in multiplayer, but doesn't dispel the idea that the choices of inclusion in the Treasure Chests were poorly made. Apparently, the presence of myriad wasn't even a barrier, so a card like the Duke, which doesn't do much in one-on-one, has been prioritized over the many others that do.


Ooze: +2

 

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 37, online: 35

 Related Tribes: Crab, Horror

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Who doesn't love some new colorful Oozes? These two aren't the worst, but they aren't the most exciting, either. The self-replicating Uchuulon is obviously not as good as Biogenic Ooze; it compares to Consuming Blob, although it requires a black splash, and the secondary tribes don't really matter. Green Slime is a convoluted way to kill a specific artifact or enchantment with an activated or triggered ability, considering it's the same cost and body of Reclamation Sage, which doesn't need to be timed right to function. At least the Slime can be foretold and then cast for one at the right moment. At any rate, none of these is online yet, so we'll have to wait to test their playability in Ooze tribal.


Orc: +5

  

 

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 70, online: 69

 Related Tribes: Cleric, Ranger, Rogue, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Orcs got their Invoker online, as well as as bunny whisperer Cadira, Caller of the Small – that's a really cute ability one wouldn't expect to meet within the tribe. I wonder what a Uruk-hail would think of sensitive protector Cadira, who's the third green Orc and the fourth white Orc.

 Among the new additions that are currently missing an online port, there are a couple of initiative cards with strong payoffs for completing the Undercity dungeon, and then there's the mythic Burakos, Party Leader, which seems like a terrific inclusion in any party deck, being both an enabler, a ramper and a wincon.


Peasant: +3

  

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 18

 Related Tribes: Dragon, Human, Tiefling

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Peasant tribe keeps going, even if we'll have to wait before getting our hands on these three new members on MTGO. Thrakkus is strictly a Dragon card for Dragon decks anyway, but Ellyn provides excellent card advantage in token builds, and Elturel Survivors is a decent beater.


Pegasus: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 19

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The most expensive Pegasus ever printed has been made immediately available online for our enjoyment. It's a really unexpected mana value for a tribe that rarely ever exceeds three-mana costs. It's meant for flicker decks, the Adventure side being a one-off flicker spell and then the Pegasus itself paying off the strategy by making flyers. Not the most efficient card, but not unplayable.


Phoenix: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 30, online: 28

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Apparently Phoenix is the universal constant: every world in every multiverse has at least one of them. And they all do the same thing: they resurrect themselves. This one only accomplishes that if we're facing at least two opponents in multiplayer, so for once it makes sense that they didn't bring online such a niche card.


Pirate: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 116, online: 106

 Related Tribes: Horror

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Is this guy inspired to Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean? (He's from Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, which released in 2014, while the first appareance of Davy Jones in the movie series dates to 2006). If he is, it's a pity that he does absolutely nothing for Pirate decks, being all-in as a Horror lord. Granted, he could be used as the enabler of his own ability, but it doesn't feel as good.


Ranger: +8

   

   

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 35

 Related Tribes: Cat, Dragon, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Orc

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Rangers that are already online include Cadira (aka the Rabbitmaster), the Swinemaster and the Swarmkeeper. They all work well together, incidentally. We also have a new surrogate Kraul Harpooner in Sharpshooter Elf, which is good in a token deck as well; and, for some reason, myriad card Tabaxi Toucaneers is online, too.

 The missing Ranger that's most of a loss is Erinis, Gloom Stalker – returning lands to the battlefield is always a strong ability wherever fetches and land-destroying lands are involved.


Rogue: +17

    

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 375, online: 355

 Related Tribes: Assassin, Bird, Cat, Dragon, Elf, Halfling, Human, Merfolk, Orc, Tiefling, Vampire, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: There's a whole bunch of Rogues in Baldur's Gate, most of which have already been commented upon elsewhere, as they all belong to at least one other tribe. Two of the most prominent new legendaries, both already online, call back to older mechanics, namely Gates for Nine-Fingers Keene and party for Nalia de'Arnise (that's not how you spell an Italian name with de', by the way; you need a space after the contracted preposition, it's not like o' in English). This is as good a place as any to note how much the marriage between D&D and the party system appeased to disgruntled fans that were disappointed it wasn't included in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Now Battle for Baldur's Gate also introduces the very D&D concept of "multiclass", which is pretty cute and wasn't directly referenced in Zendikar Rising, even if it was already there in practice.

 


Scorpion: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 12, online: 10

 Related Tribes: Scout

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: This lone Scorpion reads as a strong addition to Adventure builds. It subscribes to the frequent structure of having a cheap spell paired with an expensive creature, so that the play pattern is casting the former early on and then the latter at some later point. The sorcery in question gives us access to the rebirth of a deceased creature, while the Scorpion itself would let us cast that creature for no cost, since it transitions through the exile zone before being cast. There's some tension here, because to get the most out of the whole deal, we need to be able to cast a seven-mana spell the turn afterwards at the latest, which makes Retrieve Prey more conditional than it otherwise is. It's worth noting that Tlincalli Hunter works with all manners of exiled creatures, including of course all of the adventurers. Once again we have to wonder why such an engaging card was passed over when deciding the content of the Treasure Chests update which contains the first group of Baldur's Gate cards.


Scout: +2

 

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 158, online: 150

 Related Tribes: Elf, Scorpion

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Here's the Treasure Chests conundrum again. Roving Harper is a perfectly fine card... for Limited. Its chances to be employed in a Constructed slot are close to non-existent. On the other hand, the Hunter has mad potential in Adventure decks and even beyond that; at the very least it's an attractive casual card. Do you wanna guess which one of these two was brought online?


Serpent: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 42, online: 41

 Related Tribes: Dragon

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Another solid Limited-only finisher that was included in the Treasure Chests for reasons.


Shaman: +9

   

  

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 439, online: 434

 Related Tribes: Dragon, Elemental, Elf, Goblin, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The new Shamans from Baldur's Gate mostly come in red (there are also two commons that aren't featured above which are monored, too). They got the short shrift of the Treasure Chests, though, since only chaos magician Neera, Wild Mage is currently online. We've reviewed some of the others already, with the high-powered token-generator Gut being among the most appealing. He's rivaled by the only green Shaman, the suspender Alaundo the Seer. He takes a lot to get going, but the ability is extremely fascinating; worst case scenario, it equals to tapping to perform a pseudo-loot where we draw a card and then we exile another we don't care about. But considering the more we activate Alaudon, the faster the suspended cards will reach the battlefield, it starts sounding like a legitimate wincon, and a great build-around in Cube formats.


Shapeshifter: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 112, online: 109

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Yet another Clone for Clone mana, with flash and goad (on the copied creature) to make up for the fact that it can't copy one of our own creatures. It's not online, probably doesn't even need to be.


Skeleton: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 61, online: 58

 Related Tribes: Beholder

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: So far there has been a pair of Beholders for each set the tribe appeared in (i.e. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, its Commander companion, and now Battle for Baldur's Gate). Two of those represent the undead version of the species, called Death Tyrant; in Magic, it's given the Skeleton subtype. And that's precisely what the previous skeletal Beholder card was called in Forgotten Realms Commander: Death TyrantIts Ghastly variant actually shares more similarities with Baleful Beholder, as a six-mana 6/5 common with a modal ETB that either kills an enchantment or grants an aggressive keyword to our team for the turn. It's very close to be a functional reprint, the most notable difference being that Ghastly Beholder's enchantment removal is targeted – the second instance of it in monoblack after Feed the Swarm, and still asking for a loss of life in return.


Snake: +2

 

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 102, online: 94

 Related Tribes: Cleric, Dragon, Warlock

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: These two new Snakes seem playable, but not to a high degree in Constructed. Dread Linnorm, which is online, feels more like a Limited curve-topper. Sivriss, Nightmare Speaker is a sacrifice outlet that requires tapping and most often than not just deals three to the opponent as a result. It has Background, so it might be better off starting in the command zone, though it doesn't look brilliant even there.


Soldier: +4

   

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 755, online: 694

 Related Tribes: Gnome, Human, Noble

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Commander Liara Portyr (who joins the ranks of legendaries whose potential role as commanders is explicitly stated) has a convoluted way to perform impulsive draws, an she's most effective at that in multiplayer. Still, it's hard to comprehend why she wasn't brought online, and yet Wyrm's Crossing Patrol was. What a one-drop 1/1 French vanilla with myriad is going to be used for in Constructed Legacy and Vintage? Or even in Commander, for crying out loud. Myriad creatures aren't that good for sacrifice purposes either, because the tokens are sacrificed at the end of the combat phase, so they necessarily require outlets that work at instant speed, and their attack can't even be completed.

 These new Soldiers have a high Treasure Chests affinity anyway, since the Duke and Flaming Fist Officer are also online, if to nobody's joy.


Spider: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 65, online: 63

 Related Tribes: Beast

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This Spider Beast is functional, but it's clear a lot of these new Adventure cards have been used as common fillers. And a lot of these common fillers has been brought online right away, Ettercap included.


Spirit: +3

  

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 569, online: 559

 Related Tribes: Dragon, Elemental

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: 29 years later, we get a new Will-o'-the-Wisp, which is now white and regrettably lost the article. Its ability also feels quite strange – but at least in one-on-one translates into a simple power boost to our team. It's the only new Spirit that's not online in any case; Miirym doesn't really concern its second tribe, since it's all about the Dragons, but Rescuer Chwinga is potentially a strong addition to WU Spirits, even if it doesn't fly.


Tiefling: +8

   

   

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 8

 Related Tribes: Assassin, Barbarian, Cleric, Peasant, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: The demonic Tieflings double their ranks in Baldur's Gate, albeit only Icewind Stalwart and Warehouse Thief are online at the moment. The former is a low-level flickerer, the second is a clunky engine that performs sacrifices in exchange for impulsive draws. The most attractive of the new Tieflings are the party unearther Solemn Doomguide, as well as one of the two legendaries, namely Karlach, Fury of Avernus, a strong provider of additional combat phases. The other legend is the Grixis-colored Zevlor, Elturel Exile, but that one only works in multiplayer, essentially "myriading" a single-target spell.


Turtle: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 27, online: 25

 Related Tribes: Dragon

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Dragon Turtles are iconic D&D creatures that had a homage paid to them in Adventures in Forgotten Realms already. This second instance, which is not online, better portrays their large size and hardened carapace. The affinity for instants, sorceries and Adventures is kind of random, but it makes the card a bit more Constructed playable, though not by a lot.


Unicorn: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 26, online: 23

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This is an extremely obvious Limited-only card. And, of course, it's in the Treasure Chests!


Vampire: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 335, online: 330

 Related Tribes: Elf, Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Only one Vampire in Baldur's Gate, and it wants to simultaneously enable "lifegain matters" strategies while also giving us the option of just dealing more damage. It would be more efficient if it wasn't so expensive; as a six-drop, it's kind of underwhelming. So the fact that we can't play it on MTGO yet feels less annoying.


Walrus: +1

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 0

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Battle for Baldur's Gate randomly debuts a new creature type that's not linked to Dungeons & Dragons. Did Magic really need a Walrus creature type? Are they planning a Beatles-inspired set? At any rate, we now have a mechanical Walrus that's essentially a better Alloy Myr – except it's not a Myr. Let's say a better Opaline Unicorn then, although that's not particularly flattering.


Warlock: +4

   

> summary <

 Previous Tribal Total: 59, online: 58

 Related Tribes: Cleric, Human, Snake, Tiefling

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: It feels strange that they did a homage to Slavic witch Baba Yaga in a D&D set, when Baba Yaga herself is already a Forgotten Realms character. But I get why they renamed her – Baba Yaga is a figure from real-world folklore, and they ceased to incorporate those names in Magic in the early Nineties. Even if D&D does it, it doesn't mean Magic should go back to that well, especially when the situation is further complicated by the passage through a different IP. So enter Baba Lysaga, Night Witch – which is, appropriately, very powerful (therefore, as expected, not online). She's kind of a Priest of Forgotten Gods on steroids. The requirements may look steep, but it's not actually too hard to set up by having her sacrifice a land, an expendable creature, and some artifact token, most likely a Treasure. She's a build-around card, clearly, but of the good kind. Tap to draw three cards and drain all opponents by three? Where do I sign?

 The other rare Warlock is Wyll, Blade of Frontiers, also not online. He's a "dice-rolling matters" type of card. Fitting for a D&D set, but probably cherished only by a small subset of players who really like rolling dice.


Warrior: +13

  

  

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 Previous Tribal Total: 870, online: 847

 Related Tribes: Bear, Dragon, Fungus, Giant, Gith, Human, Lizard, Rogue, Tiefling

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Believe it or not (but I have a feeling you'll do by now), none of the relevant new Warriors from Baldur's Gate has been brought online yet. Neither Durnan of the Yawning Portal's card selection, nor Harper Recruiter's party synergy. Seasoned Dungeoneer does a multitude of different things, by helping our party, opening a dungeon, and even exploring. Undermountain Adventurer can be a huge mana boost. Lae'zel is Hardened Scales on legs. This was an outstanding selection of Warriors. But nope, not suitable for MTGO right now, apparently.


Wizard: +13

   

   

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 Previous Tribal Total: 881, online: 857

 Related Tribes: Dragon, Elf, Faerie, Gnome, Horror, Human, Orc, Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Lots of new Wizards in Baldur's Gate, for party purposes or otherwise. The powerful Bant-colored Adventure enhancer Gorion, Wise Mentor is properly online, for once. And so is spellslinging enabler Wizards of Thay. But that's about it, where high-profile Wizards are concerned.

 A name that catches the eye is that of Volo, aka Volothamp Geddarm, who already had a card avatar in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms as Volo, Guide to Monsters. His monoblue (with a Background available) Itinerant Scholar iteration has a similar vibe, but requires some bookkeeping. The other blue legend, Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy, pairs instants and sorceries more strictly that they've ever been. The Jeskai mage Dynaheir, Invoker Adept works with creatures instead, more precisely with their activated abilities, which lose summoning sickness restrictions and get doubled when they're really expensive – the idea is that she's the most accomplished of all the Invokers.

 We already saw the new non-Human Wizards, like Horror lord Grell Philosopher, weird gifter/goader Jon Irenicus, and land balancer Deep Gnome Terramancer. What we didn't mention yet was the Wizard-specific equipment Robe of the Archmagi. It's shared with Shamans and Warlocks, which is an intriguing choice of batching, since those three are the characteristic spellcasters of the Grixis colors only, and they've being arranged in their own separate subset, leaving out Clerics and Druids. It kind of makes sense, as the latter two perform magic that is granted by external sources – a god, nature – while even Warlocks who have made a demonic pact are given mystical powers to hold as their own. Nice little piece of lore in action.


SUMMARY

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 Check the Complete Creature Types Reference Table here.


KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS