The newest Magic: The Gathering set is on its way in just a couple of weeks (prerelease starts a week from Friday, so go sign up for events at your local game store). Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate returns the game to the setting of Dungeons & Dragons and the Forgotten Realms, but as it says in the name, the set focuses on an important location in video games as well as tabletop adventures, Baldur’s Gate. Last week, we posted a rundown of the set and its mechanics, so check out that story to get the lowdown on the new and returning mechanics.
Wizards of the Coast has graciously allowed us to preview one of the cards coming with this set, and this creature may want all of the big-brain plays you can muster. Take a look at Intellect Devourer.
Art by Brian Valeza
This creepy fellow will do its best to make sure you always have a play to make after slamming this 2/4 horror into play for 3B, and you don’t even have to dig through your own deck. Intellect Devourer exiles a card from each opponent’s hand (of their choosing) until Intellect Devourer leaves the battlefield. Then, you can play lands or spells from among those exiled cards and spend mana as though it were of any color to cast them. You may not get the best of what each player is holding, but this creature can offer tons of value to you in the right deck while becoming a major annoyance to the rest of the table.
Art by Martina Fačková
Naturally, Intellect Devourer fits into decks that care about playing spells you don’t own or control. Battle for Baldur’s Gate already has a great Commander for this theme with Tasha, the Witch Queen, a Planeswalker that rewards you with 3/3 fliers any time you cast someone else’s spell. Tasha also steals spells from an opponent’s graveyard, which will work wonderfully with Intellect Devourer because the spells exiled and cast with it are going straight into its owner’s bin after you’re done with them.
Art by Zack Stella
To keep the hand-stealing of Intellect Devourer going strong for multiple turns in a Tasha deck, might I suggest a copy of Thassa, Deep-Dwelling? Thassa can exile and return up to one creature you control to the battlefield (also under your control) at the end of your turn. Blinking Intellect Devourer in this way essentially refills your hand just in time for your opponent’s turns. You can also work some fun political plays with allies by having them give you their removal spells, land drops, or creatures to cast that would benefit the truce you’ve built. Be careful with Thassa’s blinking, though, as Intellect Devourer specifically says it exiles cards until it leaves the battlefield, meaning once Intellect Devourer is blinked by Thassa, those stolen cards go back to the owner’s hands if they weren’t used. Make sure you’ve played and cast as much as possible before restocking your supply of swiped spells.
Those are just a couple of use cases for this brainy horror that’s sure to cause some frustration in any Commander playgroup if used in the right way. If you have any devious ideas on how to use Intellect Devourer to its fullest, let me know in the comments below.
Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate is a fully draftable Commander-focused set that releases in paper on June 10, with prerelease events starting on June 3 at participating WPN game stores. If you’re looking to play digitally, Battle for Baldur’s Gate can be drafted on Magic Online on June 10, while MTG Arena will also get in on the Baldur’s Gate fun with an injection of cards in the Alchemy and Historic formats on July 7.