It’s Dominaria United Commander set review time, and let’s be real: I’m wordy. I have a lot to say, and I’m fortunate to have this platform, but sometimes when my reviews come around, my articles are a bit of an overload. This time around, I won’t be reviewing every card that piques my interest just a little bit – instead, I’ll be taking a look at each color, plus multicolored cards, colorless nonlands and lands, and reviewing my 10 favorite cards from each of those categories. That way, you can figure out which cards are must-haves for your decks faster without having to sort through a ton of cards you might not care about. Sure, you’ll miss out on my thoughts on niche cards, but let’s be realistic – if you’re super into a particular niche, you’ve already seen and thought about the cards that fit your specific deck but don’t do much elsewhere.
As a reminder, my focus is on social Commander rather than competitive EDH. These days, I’ve been leaning more toward a desire to play three 40-minute games in lieu of one two-hour slog, but I’ll be talking about cards from the wider social perspective. My goal when playing Commander is for everyone to have fun but also for me to have a good shot at winning the game – or at least doing the thing my deck set out to do – so if that’s your mindset as well, these reviews will probably resonate with you. When you inevitably disagree with a review (or think I skipped something good), please feel free to tweet at @RagingLevine with your thoughts!
I’ll be reviewing the whole of Dominaria United all at once – the main set plus the supplemental cards from the Commander decks, the Set Booster exclusives and the Legends Retold cards. I’ll be categorizing nonland cards by color identity, so a white card with a black kicker cost will have to compete with all of the other multicolored cards. I’ll also be categorizing cards with domain as multicolored cards, for reasons that should be pretty clear.
10. Walking Bulwark
More ways to send defenders into the red zone are nearly always welcome in defender-themed decks, and Walking Bulwark is cheaper and less bound by color identity than any other enabler out there. Sure, commanders like Arcades, the Strategist make it easy, but they’re not always on the battlefield, and Walking Bulwark is great backup.
9. Karn, Living Legacy
Karn’s Powerstone tokens can’t be used to cast nonartifact spells, but they can be used to activate ability or pay other costs – for example, the cost on Karn’s -1. I’m interested in how the Powerstones, when generated en masse (Anointed Procession, anyone?) can be used to help pay equip costs, untap Monoliths to filter the mana into something more useful or activate countless other abilities. The -7 is amazing, but overall, this card falls into “fine, if unimpressive” for me.
8. Gerrard’s Hourglass Pendant
You can get this with Urza’s Saga or Trinket Mage. Those facts make this card much more exciting to me, especially since it’s such a narrow utility artifact. Stopping extra turns is sweet, but the pseudo-Second Sunrise is what I’m most interested in. If you’re hurling your lands into the yard with something like Squandered Resources, sacrificing your board of creatures to an Ashnod’s Altar or going off with KCI, there’s something to be said for the effect here. The exile cost here prevents some degenerate loops, but honestly, that’s good.
7. Karn’s Sylex
A little bit of Nevinyrral’s Disk, a little bit of Pernicious Deed and a little bit of… Angel of Jubilation? This is a bit of a better representation of the Golgothian Sylex as a lore object than the original version of the card is, though if I understand the story correctly, this is the replica Saheeli made, not the original that Karn dug up during the Dominaria storyline. If you need a board wipe that can exclude some of your costlier permanents, this is a decent option, though the sorcery speed restriction is a bit of a sticking point.
6. Golden Argosy
Crew 1 is a nice low crew cost, but that doesn’t mean you only have to crew it with one creature. You can always over-crew, and that’s what Golden Argosy is hoping you’ll want to do. The creatures you crewed with come back tapped, which makes sense since they crewed this Vehicle, but that doesn’t diminish the power of a repeatable full blink effect. A 3/6 won’t die in combat in the early game terribly often, and I can see blink decks not helmed by Brago being extremely interested in this. You can even save the Argosy with something like Maze of Ith or Reconnaissance.
5. Tiller Engine
Tiller Engine calls back to Amulet of Vigor, though this one is land-specific. If you’re interested in playing a lot of lands that enter tapped, maybe because you’re a Gate aficionado, Tiller Engine certainly has a place in your list. You can also get wild with Tiller Engine, Razortide Bridge and a Krark-Clan Ironworks or Arcbound Ravager if you have Tameshi at the helm – many thanks to Eric Dustin Brown, my favorite Eric, for pointing this out (check out EDB’s Tameshi list here – I’ve died to it many times.) Silverback Elder and other ramp effects that bring lands in tapped also love Tiller Engine, just like they love the existing Amulet of Vigor.
4. Weatherlight Completed
While this one makes me a bit sad as a long time Weatherlight saga appreciator, I’m glad we’re continuing to follow this story here in 2022. This card has interesting internal tension – you want to get it to the point where it draws you cards, but once you hit four phyresis counters, you have a 5/5 creature. Sure, you can attack with it, but creatures tend to be more vulnerable engine cards than other types of permanents. Still, I think this goes well in any deck focusing on sacrifice synergies or aristocrats effects. Heck, even tokens decks can get in on the fun!
3. Obsidian Obelisk
So wait, Mana Cannons was multicolored but this is colorless? Let me break it down for you: Mana Cannons needs multicolored cards to work. Obsidian Obelisk is still a two-mana rock if you’re casting anything at all, and it has upside if you happen to have a multicolored spell lying around. This is what Arcane Signet probably should have been: a card where you look at it and have to ask “Is this better than Fellwar Stone, and if so, why?” Regardless, this will show up in plenty of decks – it’s always going to help you cast your commander if they’re multicolored, and that’s most commanders.
2. Relic of Legends
This is an interesting take on Honor-Worn Shaku. On the one hand, you can only use legendary creatures with this, but on the other hand, you get mana of any color, and I think that makes this better most of the time. Relic of Legends hits a lot of the same notes as Fallaji Wayfarer, and I expect to see the two showing up in many of the same places. Enabling multi-spell turns is the name of the game here, with even summoning sick legendary creatures able to get in on the fun.
1. The Peregrine Dynamo
I wrote a whole article about this card as a commander, and I think it has some fun possibilities there, but of course, you can find a ton of great uses for it in the 99 of decks as well. In particular, I think you can get some great value if you play it alongside a planeswalker commander!
We only have three real options for reprints since I consider the ETB tapped typed duals cycle as one entry, so here are your three options, ranked forever for all time.
3. ETB Tapped Typed Duals
They have types, they come in tapped, and they’re nonsnow. Hooray.
2. Thran Portal
It’s like a bad Terramorphic Expanse, except when it’s good due to coming in untapped early on. Nonetheless, I’m not sure this will find many homes in Commander.
1. Plaza of Heroes
I have to imagine this will show up in the legend-heavy decks spawned by the Dihada preconstructed deck, and rightly so. Once you have a legendary permanent in play, this can make mana that’s less restricted. Once in a while, you’ll want to exile this to save your Commander or another key legend, but the fixing is the thing here for me.
Okay! We made it to the end. I can’t wait to dig into the preconstructed decks and start building more lists with Dominaria United cards!