Mind Flayarrs New Card Review - Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate

Mike Carrozza • June 14, 2022

Captain N'ghathrod | Illustrated by Andrey Kuzinskiy

Party Time | Mind Flayarrs | Draconic Dissent | Exit from Exile

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate Preconstructed Deck Review - Mind Flayarrrs


YARRR, MATEY!

The Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate Dimir deck is looking pretty spicy. As a mill boy who loves stealing from graveyards, I am very excited to talk about these new cards.


Mythics


Captain N'ghathrod

Yeehaw! I mean, YARRR! Captain N'ghathrod is a very cool way to not only mill your opponents but take advantage of doing so at the same time. Cap'N feels like a cross between Umbris, Fear Manifest and Anowon, the Ruin Thief. The main difference is that you don't need the tribal elements to get the payoffs. That means your Psychic Corrosions or Telemin Performance can give the good Captain plenty of treasures to plunder. A great deck for Thieving Amalgam!

In the 99, N'ghathrod can fit very nicely in Umbris, Fear Manifest or Phenax, God of Deception. Gyruda, Doom of Depths can't be a Companion to the Captain, but with Captain N'ghathrod at the helm or in the 99 of a Gyruda deck, you're snagging potentially two creatures or a creature and a value artifact from your opponents. Take your pick from among half an opponent's deck with the Captain in the 99 of a Lord Xander, the Collector deck after swinging in with him.

I am really digging Cappy!

Haunted One

This is spicy for tribal decks. Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver decks are already tough as nails, but now they have even more to play with. Wizard tribal builds of Arcanis the Omnipotent get icing on the cake even after drawing three cards. If you run Anje Falkenrath as a Vampire tribal deck leader, leave her untapped going into combat and watch your opponents squirm as you swing with a Champion of Dusk. Zaxara, the Exemplary taps for two mana and gives your Hydra army +2/+0 and Undying? Seems almost too easy. Maskwood Nexus or Arcane Adaptation don't even care about what creature type anymore! Tribal Tribal lists are more and more popular, and it's cards like this that help.

Out of the box, Haunted One cares about Horrors, as is the theme of the deck, and it can start in the command zone as long as it's paired with...

Zellix, Sanity Flayer

This is a card that I'm just tempted to write "okie dokie" for. It's fine in the context of this deck; paired with Haunted One, you're happy to get Horror tokens because they get beefed up when you tap Zellix, but Undying doesn't work with tokens! In this deck or in the 99 of a mill deck (I have one of those and this one fits right in), Zellix is great for getting a little army incidentally. It's no Undead Alchemist, but at least Zellix doesn't make your Horrors not deal damage, either. The activated ability is fine, but tapping for it is "meh" territory. Ambassador Laquatus laughs from his Training Grounds.

They must want you to look into other Backgrounds, I reckon.

In self-mill, a Simic shell with Zellix and Cloakwood Hermit can crank out creature tokens to swarm your opponents, which could be a new way to enjoy the color pair without diving into Lands, Lands, Good Stuff™️.

Turn the Sanity Flayer into a Dimir Voltron beast with Cultist of the Absolute or Criminal Past. Piecing together this deck seems like a balancing challenge between having enough creatures to mill yourself and make enough sacrifice fodder for the Cultist Background all while maybe running a reanimation package as a backup.

Inspiring Leader takes mill to Azorius, which I personally haven't seen! Make an army from knocking cards off your opponents' libraries and swing in with beefy Horrors who just want to say hi!

I started off "okie dokie" on Zellix, Sanity Flayer, and I might have just talked myself into three decks.


Rares


Aboleth Spawn

This card is hilarious to me. There are so many incredible enter-the-battlefield triggers that get played in a game. Your opponents' triggers are no longer their triggers, they're yours too. And yours likely happen first if it's not your turn! This card could be as simple as flashing into play in response to a Solemn Simulacrum or as messed up as you taking a game-winning Gray Merchant of Asphodel trigger before theirs resolves. Playing this or even having multiples in a clone deck - why, yes, I do have a clone deck - will mean your opponents have to think twice about blinking their Cloudblazers. This has the potential to be format-changing, especially in metas with decks whose commanders have ETB abilities.

Brainstealer Dragon

I like it, but I can already feel the dorks out there calling this unplayable because it's seven mana. A big Dragon Horror that draws you likely three cards at your end step that could incidentally wreck face when playing one of their seven-drops, like Mind's Dilation. You probably won't miss a land drop after this guy hits. The Ur-Dragon gets a requisite mention since this becomes easier to drop at six mana. Time for the requisite Prosper, Tome-Bound mention! This is great for Prosper since from what I've noticed in online Prosper talk is that people are beginning to get bored with the way the deck plays. Enter more battlecruiser and grindy and combat-based gameplay. Prosper can have Kami of Celebration and Brainstealer Dragon wane your opponents down. Thieving Amalgam says hello! They say hello a lot this set!

Endless Evil

A Followed Footsteps that can only target your own creatures and nerfs P/T to drop mana cost significantly isn't a bad move. If you enchant a Horror this way, you get this back when the creature dies and you get to reset the copy machine. Tribal Tribal lists, once again, love this tech. Ghastly Mimicry was the last time we saw a riff on Followed Footsteps and that a Disturb cast from Mirrorhall Mimic. This comes down cheaper and can be recurred with a Sun Titan if needed later in the game. I have an enchantress deck that can't wait to pop this onto a Setessan Champion! The Horror rider on this feels a little tacked on, but I'll take it. Little niche things like this are fun to find lines for!

From the Catacombs

So much happening here. I love when Commander products just happen to include a card with an ability from another set. Escape is a home-run mechanic in my books and I quite enjoy its return. This card lets you snag a creature from any graveyard, takes the initiative, and can be cast from your graveyard for the extra cost of exiling five cards from your graveyard. Incredibly fun design. My Anje Falkenrath discard deck is also a reanimator shell and I don't have to feel bad discarding one of my Animate Dead effects.

Use Conjurer's Closet to flicker the creature you've taken to override the corpse counter exile clause. If you used this on a creature from your own graveyard, any blink effect does the trick. Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Teleportation Circle, and Thassa, Deep-Dwelling are my favorites.

Grell Philosopher

Horrors gaining abilities can be pretty great when you've got a whole bunch of them (more and more likely I'll be building Zellix, Sanity Flayer). If somebody has a mana rock, this is a roundabout way to blue ramping. If it's a Manascape Refractor or Nyx Lotus, yowza that's a lot of mana. Liquimetal Torque is a rock I've been putting in more and more decks and cards like this just convince me that I'm absolutely right to do so. Turning a Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker into an artifact before this trigger and getting a whole board of Horrors to copy something massive and impactful, like Brainstealer Dragon, means that you'll get to exile that many cards from the top of your opponents' libraries before the tokens go away. Plus you'll have this ephemeral hand of your opponents' cards that they can't have back. It's fun!

Psionic Ritual

This is the card I'm most bummed about being connected to Horrors. I understand that flavorfully this is a mind flayer spell, it's 100% perfect in that regard, but I wish that this could do more in decks like Zaffai, Thunder Conductor. This could have fallen into Elementals, flavor-wise, no? Unless you're afraid of targeted removal like Lion Sash snagging your spell, be sure to target different spells with your Replicated copies; you can only exile a spell from your graveyard once. This can be a real bomb in the Horrors deck, but Memory Plunder is out there, and for one more mana Diluvian Primordial gets your three spells from your opponents' 'yards and leaves behind a big ol' body. Not to mention we just got Flawless Forgery at five mana with Casualty 3. I'm fine with being nine cards into the review and finally hitting a card I'm not into. Pretty good cards!

Uchuulon

I love what WotC has been doing with Oozes. The tribe has been given a lot of "make a copy of this creature by absorbing stuff around it", and I am very pleased. Is it a tribe I feel drawn to at all? No. But I appreciate them big time. Once you have a few copies of this Crab Ooze Horror, you'll have eaten up the creatures in opponents' graveyards and buffed up your army of slimy pinchy ding dongs. Eh, okay, two cards I'm not into. There are a lot more cards out there for graveyard hate and this card actually comes in a precon deck built around stealing your opponents' stuff from the yard. There will be situations this will put in work, but ultimately, it'll only be in tribal situations I reckon.


WALK DE PLANK

Well, there you have it! A bunch of really cool new cards next to some amazing reprints, like Hullbreaker Horror and Mindcrank, one of my all-time fave cards.

What do you think? Is the Captain calling to you? Are any of these Horror cards begging for a spot in your decks? Sound off in the comments!



Mike Carrozza is a stand-up comedian from Montreal who’s done a lot of cool things like put out an album called Cherubic and worked with Tig Notaro, Kyle Kinane, and more people to brag about. He’s also been an avid EDH player who loves making silly stuff happen. @mikecarrozza on platforms