Containment Priest
20, May, 22

Bizarre Baldur's Gate Card Replaces Commander Staple

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Article at a Glance

Commander Legends, Baldur’s Gate spoiler season is well on its way. We’ve seen old archetypes get a home in MTG’s favorite format, and we’ve gotten a bunch of wacky cards that let us do cool new things. This card wholly embodies doing a strong broken thing in a totally new way. The current translation for this card is Mirror of Life Trapping, and it brings a whole new meaning to being a Panharmonicon alternative:

Mirror of Life Trapping

Mirror of Life Trapping is a four mana artifact that cares about when anyone’s creature enters the battlefield. It reads “Whenever a creature enters the battlefield, or ETB, if it was cast, exile it and return all permanent cards exiled with Mirror of Life Trapping to the battlefield under its owners control.

This card is a lot like Panharmonicon, so comparing the two together is a good place to start. They both do the same thing, but Mirror of Life Trapping has a few extra steps involved. Because Mirror of Life Trapping allows a creature to ETB before exiling it, it’s essentially giving the entire table a Panharmonicon. The second ETB trigger is delayed, however, until another creature takes the place of the one(s) exiled by the Mirror. Giving the entire table access to an incredibly powerful ability is a downside. There isn’t a point in copying Mirror of Life Trapping either. While Panharmonicon can stack each of its triggers, there aren’t multiple copies of a creature for the Mirror to exile. Fortunately, there are some ways to make this card work for you, and you alone:

Blink the Mirror

The easiest way to break the parity between you and your opponents with Mirror of Life Trapping is to turn it into a removal spell. Exiling the Mirror while it has creatures exiled will reset the Mirror, trapping those cards in exile forever. There aren’t a ton of ways to do this at instant speed, but even at sorcery speed, you’ll typically be able to catch something that one of your opponents casted into Mirror of Life Trapping in the previous rotation. Mirror excels in a Brago Commander deck, where his attack triggers threaten to exile a creature each turn.

Sacrifice the Mirror

Destroying the Mirror outright to prevent an opponent’s creature from returning is an option. If you’re going to lose your Mirror of Life Trapping, get some value from it! Goblin Engineer allows you to find something you want cheat into play, and can sacrifice the mirror for something small. You can even exile the Engineer to the Mirror to tutor up two artifacts for your graveyard. If you want to reestablish your Mirror after getting rid of something, Goblin Welder can recycle it over and over. The optimal way to use this interaction is as such: allow your opponent to cast a creature and have it ETB. Sacrifice Mirror of Lost Trapping in response to it seeing the creature. This allows you to two-for-one your opponents, getting rid of whatever was exiled and the creature that’s getting exiled by the trigger.

Containment Priest and Mirror of Life Trapping

Containment Priest

Now for something completely different! Containment Priest and Mirror of Life Trapping create a lock on the board. Containment Priest does not allow non-casted creatures to ETB (they get exiled instead). This means that anything exiled by the Mirror will not be able to come back. Since the Mirror exiles anything that is cast, these two cards make it so no creatures will be able to stick around after it initially ETB’s. The downside is that you also are under this effect. If you have ways to flicker or bounce the priest, this could be incredibly powerful. Watch out for an opponent’s Containment Priest if you’re playing the Mirror. It doesn’t matter who owns the Priest, the lock effects everyone.

Using effects like Torpor Orb could also be a way to keep creatures trapped in your Mirror. If you’re trying to get value from the Panharmonicon-like card, these themes can clash.

Mirror of Life trapping is an interesting card, and I’m sure that there’s other ways to break it. I’m hoping to see this do something cool at a local table soon. Honestly, I don’t think this is good enough to replace Panharmonicon. This card is a lot more versatile though, and should find a place in some decks.

READ MORE: So Many Commander Decks Will Desire This Baldur’s Gate Bomb

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