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. Tail Swipe
An instant fight effect for green decks looking for cheap removal sounds okay off the bat, but I think Neyith and Zangief are happiest to see this. You can use this with Gargos to have it fight two things, and you can even put some extra damage on your Grothama if you like. This is also pretty useful in Vrondiss decks despite not involving die-rolling. Overall, while this may look unassuming, this card has a lot more applications than you might think.
9. The World Spell
This would fit really nicely into Saga-focused decks if you could actually put Sagas into play with it. Sadly, to avoid weird World Spell looping, that’s not allowed. Tooth and Nail this is not, but a fairer version of everyone’s favorite(?) game-ending sorcery sounds like a fun addition to some battlecruiser games. Already have what you need? Read ahead to chapter three. Still digging? Well, paying seven mana and hoping this doesn’t get blown up is a little scary, but isn’t that part of the fun?
8. Threats Undetected
Didn’t green get the last Gifts Ungiven variant too? Realms Uncharted and Gifts Ungiven both put the extra cards into your graveyard, whereas Threats Undetected shuffles them sadly back into your library. That said, the multiplayer nature of Commander rears its head here to help this card out. Perhaps you can convince an opponent to give you what you need to thwart a greater threat. There are also Threats Undetected piles that can win you the game if you have sufficient mana and your spells go uncountered – I’ve seen Kiki-Jiki piles that involve cards like Imperial Recruiter, Rocco, the exploit Sidisi and other weird tutors with disparate power values. You can also get your fill of Elf lords with a pile including Leaf-Crowned Visionary, Imperious Perfect, Canopy Tactician and, uh… Wolverine Riders seems like a good card to fill this out.
7. Baru, Wurmspeaker
Wurm tribal gets a new Commander! If you have a powerful Wurm creature, Baru’s ability gets easier to activate. Here’s a tip: Wurms made of metal count, so Wurmcoil Engine can make the cut if you’re not concerned about the flavor fail. If you are, well, it’s a little weird that Baru is a lord for a tribe not known super well for going wide, but I suppose you can create a 1/1 Wurm for 3GG by casting Wurmcalling with buyback. You can also get wild with Riptide Replicator or Volrath’s Laboratory if you’re really determined. At some point though, you should just commit to the bit and play all of your favorite Wurms from history. Let’s go, Craw Wurm!
6. Llanowar Loamspeaker
A solid utility creature here, Llanowar Loamspeaker makes mana of any color while also having the ability to put your lands in danger. Slogurk, the Overslime loves putting land in danger, and Uurg, Spawn of Turg might be able to find a home for this one as well. At the end of the day, it’s still an Elf that makes mana of any color, so you might even see it in Lathril lists.
5. Quirion Beastcaller
Remember Quirion Dryad? Well, this is somewhat reminiscent of that. You get counters when you cast creature spells this time, but that’s about the end of the resemblance. This starts as a 2/2, which is an upgrade from the original inspiration, and it hands out its counters to your creatures when it dies. Yikes. I’d love to play this alongside any number of modular creatures, especially ones that cost little to no mana, but counter-focused commanders like Ezuri, Claw of Progress will surely have a field day with this.
4. Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer
A five-mana Molimo that trades trample for some niche protection abilities and a landfall trigger? Sounds like a great start for sure. That landfall trigger is no joke – it’s not quite Rampaging Baloths, but 3/3 Badgers are some pretty solid rewards. Good rate is what you see, and it’s what you get here. You can use Greensleeves as a commander for a landfall-based deck or drop him in another landfall deck, and either way, you’ll be quite happy.
3. Silverback Elder
If you’re all about casting creature spells, especially cheap ones, Silverback Elder is a perfect 5/7. There are always artifacts and enchantments to destroy, but if you’re not feeling that mode, you can always gain four life… or you can head for the second mode, which is, in my opinion, the Super King to this modal New Justice Team (it’s the best one of the three). It’s Elvish Rejuvenator++ – you can get any land, not just a basic, though it does come in tapped. For bonus points on my Futurama reference here, let’s slot in Ruin Crab alongside Silverback Elder to work with that land-grabbing trigger. Citizen Snips!
2. Leaf-Crowned Visionary
This Elf didn’t just glimpse nature – they’ve got nature permanently in their sights! To be fair, you have to pay G for each card draw, but this card seems like an easy inclusion in any Elf deck out there. I’m big on Lathril myself, but there’s more than one Elf commander out there.
1. Defiler of Vigor
This is my favorite of the five Defilers – +1/+1 counters to your whole team is a pretty great bonus. This should fit naturally in counter-focused and token-focused decks as long as you have enough green permanents. I love this alongside Chishiro, but I can see Falco Spara enjoying this one as well. I’m interested in seeing whether or not this can fit in a Hazezon, Shaper of Sand list.