Dominaria is a plane filled with legends, with an entire historic theme coming from the original Dominaria. In its return, Dominaria United didn’t disappoint, bringing with it a swath of fantastic new commanders to play with. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the top 10 best Dominaria United commanders to try out. Do note, this is only for the main set, so it doesn’t include any of the box topper or Commander set cards. Sorry, Ramirez!
10. Rith, Liberated Primeval
Rith has a pretty strong set of abilities, as ward is very annoying to play against and it’s not difficult to deal excess damage when playing with huge Dragons. While it might be a good inclusion in existing five-color Dragon decks, I can’t see it making a huge impact as a commander. The issue with any new Dragon commander is that it has to compete with an extremely powerful and well-established cadre of Dragon commanders that have been around for years and years – not to mention that the best and most popular Dragon decks are all five-color, so anything less than that is probably coming in with a disadvantage. As sweet as Rith’s abilities are, it does hurt to lose access to EDH dragon staples like Ancient Silver Dragon, Silumgar, the Drifting Death, Lozhan, Dragons’ Legacy or Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury.
9. The Raven Man
The Raven Man comes with a very clear set of instructions: make people discard cards each turn. A 1/1 flyer that can’t block isn’t the best reward, sure, but generating four of them every turn cycle? That’s not bad, and The Raven Man does say “each end step.” Include cards like Bottomless Pit, Gibbering Descent and Necrogen Mists and The Raven Man will trigger every turn, and from there you can enjoy the benefits of all the usual discard deck favorites. Waste Not, Geth’s Grimoire, Tergrid, God of Fright, Bone Miser, Megrim – all the classics are ready to team up under The Raven Man’s leadership as he shreds their hands and chips away at their life totals with his Bird tokens.
8. Nemata, Primeval Warden
Saproling tribal decks are pretty well-established with Slimefoot as the go-to commander, but could Nemata upset this particular apple cart? There’s a good chance, I think. Slimefoot is terrific because of how you can sink tons of extra mana into his activated ability without restriction to flood the board with Saprolings, and Nemata certainly doesn’t offer that potential – but having a commander that shuts off creature-based graveyard nonsense is huge, in addition to generating tokens and drawing cards. I think the +2/+2 ability will end up being pretty marginal, overall, maybe useful in combat here and there, but combining Nemata with a ton of token generators will give you a steady stream of cards, and exiling everything that dies on your opponents’ boards will hamstring plenty of decks.
7. King Darien XLVIII
I have a bit of a soft spot for this card, based on its ludicrous name alone, but I do think it has a role to play in go-wide token decks. Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice and Rhys the Redeemed are good commanders – great commanders, even – but King Darien is cheap, powerful and has terrific static and activated abilities. Being able to both sink mana into Darien or use him to save your team is really, really useful flexibility, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Darien muscle in on the best green-white token commanders and find some space for himself there. A three-mana anthem effect is always welcome in a deck like this, and one that both makes more tokens and protects them when necessary? Darien is the complete package.
6. Astor, Bearer of Blades
In recent years, there has been a concerted push to find more design space in EDH for Boros decks, and I’d say it has been pretty successful. But the core of this color combination will always be Equipment, and Astor, Bearer of Blades is a return to red-white’s traditions in the format. It’s nice that he replaces himself with an Equipment or Vehicle card, but the real reason we’re playing him is for the equip and crew cost modifications. Colossus Hammer, Argentum Armor, Helm of the Host – all now cost just one to equip, which is utterly ridiculous. Not to mention crewing a Consulate Dreadnought, Colossal Plow or even Parhelion II with a single 1/1!
5. Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim
I don’t think Elas il-Kor is the best life gain commander on offer, even though a Soul Warden-style effect is pretty strong when attached to a commander. Rather, I think it’s her second ability, her Blood Artist-style ability, that might help her carve out a place as a commander of Orzhov sacrifice decks. Zulaport Cutthroat is a hell of a card, and while Elas il-Kor doesn’t gain life as creatures die, it’s not too difficult to set up combos that see you burn out the table in one go. Having access to one of your combo pieces from the command zone is huge, in addition to her just being generally very good in a sacrifice deck – I think she’ll meaningfully challenge Teysa and Liesa as an Orzhov sacrifice general.
4. Braids, Arisen Nightmare
This new Braids looks like it’s ready to do some work. There are so many ways to break the symmetry of Braids’s sacrifice effect: playing recursive creatures like Reassembling Skeleton, or artifacts that want to be sacrificed like Ichor Wellspring or enchantments with considerable downsides like Treacherous Blessing. You can shred through your opponents’ boards, making them sacrifice their mana rocks or utility enchantments or even their creatures, or instead allow you to draw a ton of extra cards. Despite the original Braids being banned in EDH, this card does a great job of evoking the same sort of feeling as the original, and consequently I suspect it’ll do pretty well as a commander.
3. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse
Sheoldred offers so much potential for mono-black decks, opening up opportunities for dedicated card draw strategies or even to try to wheel people without red or blue. Traditionally, black card draw comes at the cost of life (Night’s Whisper, Phyrexian Arena, Greed, etc.), so having a commander that offsets that is pretty huge. Surprisingly, however, there are more than a few ways to force opponents to draw cards in mono-black, and we don’t need Windfall or Wheel of Fortune. Howling Mine, Teferi’s Puzzle Box, Font of Mythos, Temple Bell, the list goes on: all of a sudden, Sheoldred will be throwing around life loss like it’s going out of style – not to mention how many commander decks have ways to draw extra cards themselves.
2. Jodah, the Unifier
Five-color legends has two well-established commanders that tend to dominate leadership of the archetype: Sisay, Weatherlight Captain and Esika, God of the Tree. Jodah, the Unifier has an uphill battle to unseat these well-established generals, but I think he’s up to the task. Assuming you only really play legendary creatures, Jodah is a Coat of Arms for your team, and gives your legendary spells cascade! He might not be able to tutor things up like Sisay or spin the wheel like Esika, but make no mistake: Jodah has a very powerful suite of abilities that, in view, position him extremely well to lead five-color legends decks in EDH.
1. Zur, Eternal Schemer
Zur the Enchanter is a very old and very powerful Commander archetype, sneaking out enchantments of all kinds for fun and profit. New Zur takes a slightly different angle, but is still very ready to do fundamentally unfair things with enchantments. You can either play a bunch of enchantment creatures and enjoy them being granted a ton of keywords: Archetype of Courage is pretty busted with Zur, given how strong first strike plus deathtouch is, and there are also all the Theros gods. Alternatively, you can play a bunch of regular enchantments and wake them up with Zur – but my favorite approach is to play Enchanted Evening, meaning you can give hexproof to anything you control for just 1W!