Altar of Bhaal – Baldur’s Gate
Date Reviewed: June 3, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.92
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This appears to be the room where the final battle of Baldur’s Gate takes place. I’m not used to seeing it from this angle, because the game has a top-down camera! As a Magic card, the old familiar place is pretty solid, but perhaps not always spectacular. The obvious intention is that you can use the adventure part of the card to make sure you have a creature to fuel the reanimation activated ability, which is actually a pretty nice touch. You do sometimes have to be careful with additional costs like that.
As a repeatable effect, the Altar is somewhat held in check by the fact that it’s relatively slow and limited to once per turn; that means it’s less clearly broken as a combo piece (see Birthing Pod), but still adds up to a lot of advantage over time. It’s only legal in the super-fast Legacy environment, which decreases its current constructed prospects a little bit, though I’m sure it will do some stupid things in casual settings.
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
Repeatable reanimation can always be dangerous in the right hands, though Altar of Bhaal does carry a steep cost in exiling the sacrifice to bring back another. Of course, tokens work just fine, and if you don’t need to start sacrificing right away, you can cast the Adventure half of this spell to get a Skeleton; on-curve, you can play the Adventure on turn 3, the Altar on turn 4, and immediately get something back. I think it’s intriguing, as most repeatable reanimation tricks are, though it’s almost certainly too slow for Legacy and other formats, who prefer their reanimation to be a lot cheaper. Still, this does the job nicely in terms of presenting repeated threats, and if you can pair this with something like Bitterblossom, you might be in a good place.
Constructed: 1.25 (too slow to get going, and too expensive to keep going)
Limited: 4 (if you have one threat worth getting back, that’ll be more than worth it)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
As I’ve stated before, I love the Adventure mechanic and this is a fun take on it. For starters you get a pretty decent creature for three mana but that is really to fuel the artifact’s main ability by essentially reanimating a better creature already in the graveyard. I can see this fitting in reanimate decks as well as the pesky zombie tribal themes in commander (or even in a constructed deck, it’s not that slow). Definitely a pick up if you play graveyard strategies in commander, it’ll be sure to fit into a build!
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
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