Continuing in my run through all of the Commanders I find interesting to build from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, it’s time for another of the Three Gods: Bane, Lord of Darkness.
“As long as your life total is less than or equal to half your starting life total, Bane, Lord of Darkness has indestructible.”
What makes Bane special is one of the more interesting text boxes on a legend in the set:
“Whenever another non-token creature you control dies, target opponent may have you draw a card. If they don’t, you may put a creature card with equal or lesser toughness from your hand onto the battlefield.”
Give your opponents a choice to either fuel your hand or call your bluff to see if you can plop something into play for free. Let’s see how we can make this work. Here are five cards I think Bane, Lord of Darkness players should give a shot.
Commander’s Insignia / Dictate of Heliod / Always Watching / Anthems
In my experience playing against Bane and playtesting my own half-built pile, Bane is going to get removed and with White getting ramp like Deep Gnome Terramancer, you’ll be able to keep casting him so the Insignia becomes more and more relevant. By boosting your creatures P/T, you’ll be able to ease the restriction of what can come out of your hand if an opponent chooses to let you put a creature into play. This makes it more likely that an opponent will give you cards, but hey, your now beefy creatures can be sacrifices and give you a card, or let you play any creature from your hand for free? It’s all gravy to me.
This OG Theros block god is the real deal. Slam it into play and each creature you own can make its way back to your hand and then back into play if Bane is out. The creature that just died is sure to have the same toughness as… the same creature right? Strike a deal at the table. “Hey token deck player, if I play Plaguecrafter, will you let me have it twice to make that opponent with a Voltron commander and Loyal Drake sacrifice two creatures?”
Otherwise, you’ll be pressuring life totals with each non-token creature heading to the bin. That’s pretty good, but I wish you could do it twice and target two separate opponents.
Teysa Karlov, aka Deatharmonicon, doubles “die” triggers you control. Sure, there might be a token build in here somewhere with Underworld Hermit or Chasm Skulker or something, but having your Bane or Athreos triggers happening twice is beautiful. Pitiless Plunderer, one of the most absurd uncommons ever printed, triggers twice per non-token. Junji, the Midnight Sky, Ao, the Dawn Sky, and Kairi, the Swirling Sky each have devastating death triggers that when doubled can be backbreaking for your opponents. Teysa Karlov and Butcher of Malakir or Martyr’s Bond will make your opponents wide open.
So many clone effects are 0/0! Phantasmal Image, Spark Double, Glasspool Mimic, Phyrexian Metamorph, Undercover Operative – all strong contenders for slots to follow-up a Fleshbag Marauder play or if your Esper Sentinel gets sniped. Agent of Treachery out? Time to make a deal and get a copy going.
Reasons To Not Let You Draw Cards
With Bane out, you need to give your opponents reasons to not fill your hand, but allow you to cheat a creature into play. Cards like Psychic Corrosion, Sphinx’s Tutelage, or Teferi’s Tutelage can slowly chip away at the entire table when you do draw. “Hey, you don’t like being milled, blame this guy for not letting me put a creature into play.”
Or maybe someone will say, “Next time, ask me, I’ll let you play the creature, I can’t be milled anymore.” Chip away at life totals with Psychosis Crawler and Queza, Augur of Agonies. Paired with Athreos or Kambal, Consul of Allocation, these effects will force at least one of your opponents to play into your plans.
Wizard Class maxed out, Chasm Skulker, Dream Trawler, Shabraz, the Skyshark, Body of Knowledge, Oneirophage, or Toothy, Imaginary Friend can make for beefy attackers. Ominous Seas lives up to its name forecasting to the table that Krakens are on the way. Minn, Wily Illusionist can make you an Illusion that will ultimately help you sneak stuff in anyway.
Approach of the Second Sun – Threaten to win if they keep giving you cards. Give them a real “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” scenario.
Here’s a hot list of honourable mentions.
- Mulldrifter/Shriekmaw: Evoke these out, get some value and then dump something into play or draw a card!
- Luminous Broodmoth/Mikaeus, the Unhallowed: Get extra value out of your creatures as they die. Combine both of these with a sacrifice outlet for infinite death triggers, ETBs, and depending on your opponents, draw your whole deck or dump your hand.
- Sakashima of a Thousand Faces: What’s better than one Bane, Lord of Darkness? Two!
- Agent of Treachery: At three toughness, there’s a good chance you’ll sneak this in sometime. Don’t forget that black and white are the best recursion colours.
- Deadly Dispute: Sacrifice a creature, draw cards, make Treasure, trigger Bane – what’s not to love?
- Liesa, Forgotten Archangel: Remember what I said about black and white being the best colours for recursion? Graveyard hate is also underrated in this format. It will absolutely require attention from your opponents especially those playing graveyard decks. Add Liesa, Shroud of Dusk in the mix to keep pressuring life totals.
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