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. Moira, Urborg Haunt
This unassuming creature probably doesn’t make the cut as a commander, but she can absolutely get involved in combat-focused legend lists featuring commanders like Shanid or the new Dihada. The effect here is nice, if not mindblowing.
9. Cult Conscript
For fans of Reassembling Skeleton, here’s another option. If you’re looking for additional density on this effect, you could easily do worse. If sending the creature to your hand isn’t part of your plan, this can replace Sanitarium Skeleton if you were digging that deep.
8. Activated Sleeper
Body Double Jr. here is two mana cheaper than the original, comes with flash and requires the creature card you’re interacting with to have gone to the graveyard from the battlefield this turn. It’s not too hard to go off with this; generating infinite mana with Karmic Guide and an Altar is pretty trivial. This card’s power is all in the timing, so keep that in mind.
7. Evolved Sleeper
This is a solid role player in Cleric decks, decks helmed by the new Sheoldred and most notably, K’rrik decks. Yes, you can use K’rrik to compleat those black mana symbols making up the majority of the costs for this card’s abilities. It’s always nice to see a new version of Figure of Destiny, though cards like this always make me miss the level up mechanic. You know I love JRPGs, so that shouldn’t be a huge surprise.
6. Shadow-Rite Priest
This one’s pretty straightforward – a Cleric lord that helps turn other Clerics into something scarier. We’re in better territory than Dark Supplicant here, having to sacrifice just one Cleric but having to pay 3BB as compensation. Sacrificing a Cleric is no problem for my favorite Cleric commander, Orah, though you can also reduce the pain in this process with cards like Rotlung Reanimator, Taborax or even Minthara, Merciless Soul.
5. Cut Down
Cut Down answers a lot of cheap creatures at instant speed, and even some costlier commanders like Riku, Talrand and Prosper that might be pretty vexing can be dealt with handily using this simple spell. I’m seeing this in a lot of cEDH lists I’ve been browsing, so I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t show up a ton at tables focused heavily on efficiency. The more battlecruiser cards your group plays, the worse this probably is, though it honestly shouldn’t be bad in most games.
4. Defiler of Flesh
While the triggered ability will sometimes not measure up to the other Defilers, putting menace on something big and scary can make a huge difference late in a game. Still, the biggest value here is the ability that defines the Defilers altogether. Putting this in K’rrik as backup or using it to repeatedly recast Acererak on the cheap are both fun possibilities, but I have this strange dream of using this and a pile of Shadowborn Apostles to accomplish something wacky.
3. The Raven Man
Sure, you can make your opponents discard things, but why not make discarding work for you? Drop cards in the graveyard with Chainer, Nightmare Adept, use Vohar’s looting ability or store up discarded cards with Toluz or Bag of Holding. Throw in a healthy dose of cyclers with cards like Bone Miser and Archfiend of Ifnir to help you take advantage of this delightful opportunity. I suppose you could also just recruit Tinybones to burn everything to the ground. What a mischievous little friend Tinybones is!
2. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse
Free cards! That may not be what Sheoldred advertises directly, but it’s what you can absolutely get with her involved. Think about this new Praetor iteration in concert with Black Market Connections, Phyrexian Arena and even Greed. Throw in a Sanguine Bond and you’re off to the races! Of course, the most popular use of Sheoldred is likely in a Nekusar deck with all of the Howling Mines and Underworld Dreams effects you can muster, but Sheoldred can go it alone, cutting out many of the wheels but continuing to play the “drawing cards bad” game in mono-black. You still get Dark Deal, Teferi’s Puzzle Box and many other frustrating effects, after all.
1. Braids, Arisen Nightmare
A sacrifice-focused iteration of Braids that doesn’t look horrendously unfun? Sign me up! You can choose to target permanent types your opponents don’t control specifically to get card draws and make them lose life, or you can encourage them to sacrifice things they have – the choice of whether or not to give opponents a choice is yours. I’m excited about sacrificing artifacts like Prized Statue and Nimblewright Schematic, but let’s be honest: when am I not trying to do that? You can even play cards like Treacherous Blessing, Demonic Lore and Demonic Pact with an eye toward sacrificing them before really bad things happen to you.