With two new Commander preconstructed decks coming from Dominaria United, you know I had to get right in there and start the upgrade process! I’ll be giving each deck a tune-up, upgrading them on a $50 budget. As always, I’d like to remind you of a couple of things regarding my budget articles:
- $50 has a different impact on different people, but given that it’s less than the price of a triple-A console game release, I think it’s a price many will be willing to pay for hours of entertainment, which a Commander deck should provide.
- I’ll be using prices from the ChannelFireball Marketplace to track our costs, specifically the lowest available Near Mint price at the time of this writing. I apologize if listings have changed since then, but that’s just part and parcel of a budget article.
Dihada doesn’t generate creature tokens or anything like that for her own defense, but she does help legendary creatures defend her using that +2 ability. As it happens, that ability also defends you! Her -3 is a great card advantage generator, and any whiffs are compensated with Treasures. And her -11? Well, it’s Insurrection+. It should almost always win the game. If you make it happen, you’re going to love it.
Legends' Legacy Precon
Out of the box, this deck is pretty sweet – another home run from the folks designing these nowadays. 39 lands, a decent amount of low drops and an average mana value of 3.52 among nonlands is a recipe for success. As always, though, we can change things up a bit to make the engine run a little better. Let’s give it a try!
Today we’ll start by cutting six creatures and replacing them one for one.
Getting cards back from the graveyard is nice, but in the case of Alesha and Teshar, I feel we don’t have enough targets to make them worthwhile. Moira does a better job, and I’m fine with sticking with her.
These cards have lovely homes in other decks. Ashling may not be new, but these other three are much better fits in decks focused around them, and Ashling probably lives in the same home as The Peregrine Dynamo. Let’s set them free.
Our six replacements? Well, here they are.
|Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful (NEC Extended)||Adeline, Resplendent Cathar (DBL)||Mila, Crafty Companion // Lukka, Wayward Bonder (STX)|
Yoshimaru fits perfectly in this deck as a growing threat, as does Adeline. Though they may work a little bit differently from each other, the outcomes are very similar – a wider board and a taller creature. Mila helps protect our board, Dihada especially, while doubling as a planeswalker that might, very occasionally, be a better play than the creature side.
|Ratadrabik of Urborg (DMU)||Junji, the Midnight Sky (NEO)||Liesa, Forgotten Archangel (MID)|
Ratadrabik fits perfectly into the “legendary matters” format here, brining creatures back for a second try as a Zombie. Liesa and Junji also give us some recursion options, with each having a little extra utility to boot.
We’ve now spent $19.42, so we have plenty of room left to fine-tune. We’re cutting and replacing eight noncreature spells.
I love Sword of the Chosen because of its thematic elements, its connection to the story and its art. I do not love how it plays. If we are trying to optimize – which is not always the only goal, and should not always even be on the list of goals – then we should cut this unimpressive artifact.
I’m out on these cost reducers with trinket text. Let’s replace these with proper mana rocks and call it a day – I know we’re sometimes casting creatures with RWB in their costs, but the high-roll scenario will happen basically zero percent of the time.
We can get some better card draw going, and we will. I find Ambition’s Cost particularly outdated.
Similarly, there are better mana rocks, especially with this deck’s theme in mind.
I don’t love this casting cost, and I want to swap this out for something a little easier on our mana.
Here’s what we’re adding:
|Damn (MH2)||Farewell (NEO)|
Damn is easier to cast than Kaya’s Wrath and doubles as a piece of point removal, while Farewell can clear away as much or as little of its list as we’d like. Both are going to be great assets for protecting Dihada.
|Painful Truths (BFZ)||Anguished Unmaking (2X2)|
Painful Truths is a much better card draw option than either Thrill or Ambition’s Cost – three cards for three mana is where we want to be (for what it’s worth, Read the Bones, at scry two plus draw two, is about the same). Anguished Unmaking is another solid removal spell that will help avert disasters.
|Boros Signet (MM2)||Orzhov Signet (CLB)||Rakdos Signet (AFC)||Relic of Legends (DMU)|
Here are the better mana rocks I’ve been talking about. The Signets do a much better job of helping us cast our various legends than the Monuments – red, white and black mana go a lot further than that cost reduction here. Meanwhile, Relic of Legends backs up Honor-Worn Shaku as a perfect three-cost rock for this deck. Shaku still has a place, it’s just not as good.
We’ve now spent $33.74, so we have plenty of room to upgrade the lands. Here are our six cuts:
These legendary lands are great, but they’re all colorless, and with these less-than-impressive effects attached based on our theme, I’d rather have something with a little more oomph.
Scrying and being duals is nice, but entering tapped is not if we’re trying to curve out and cast Dihada on turn four with some legendary creatures flanking her in our curve. Let’s reduce the instance of entering tapped a bit.
Our six replacements are pretty sweet, and five of them are legendary.
|Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire (NEO)||Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance (NEO)||Takenuma, Abandoned Mire (NEO)|
These three legendary lands are great hits off of Dihada’s -3 at any stage of the game. They produce relevant colors of mana, they come in untapped and best of all, they can be channeled if necessary. Takenuma is the best of the three in terms of the channel effect, but all three have a place.
|Flagstones of Trokair (TSR)||Sulfurous Springs (DMU)||Untaidake, the Cloud Keeper (CHK)|
Flagstones may not get destroyed much, but when you think of it as a legendary white source that Dihada can get with her -3, it sounds a lot better. Untaidake comes in tapped, but that’s fine when you’re getting that legendary-style Ancient Tomb value, and you can get the life back from Dihada’s +2. Sulfurous Springs just rounds things out – we already have Battlefield Forge and Caves of Koilos, after all.
We’ve now spent $49.64, which means we used our budget well, but I want to make one more change – I need to add a few more white sources. With that in mind, a Swamp and a Mountain have become two Plains just to adjust the mana production stats. We really added a lot of white mana symbol costs to the update, so this is an important shift. We managed to keep the average mana value among nonland cards the same at 3.52, which I think is a good spot for this deck. Here’s the full list – see you next time with something non-upgrade-flavored!
Legends' Legacy $50 Upgrade by Eric Levine