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.
Before I start this section, I just want to note that this was the most difficult one to cut down to just 10. Nevertheless, restrictions breed creativity (and hopefully enjoyment on your part as you find novel and exciting ways to disagree with me), so here goes.
10. Mana Cannons
Hey, this card is red! Well, okay, sure, but it’s all about multicolored cards, so it lives here. This set has been a huge boon for any deck that wants to pack itself full of multicolored spells. Imagine all of your two or three-color Charms sending out Shocks and Bolts when you cast them! This fits quite naturally in decks featuring the new Jared Carthalion planeswalker commander, and while I’m not totally sure it makes Transguild Courier good enough to play, this card is cheap enough to make it an attractive option for picking off utility creatures, blowing up planeswalkers or finishing off players in the late game.
9. Timeless Lotus
While this won’t send Gilded Lotus to the scrapheap, it’s a sweet one for five-color decks specifically. Entering tapped is a little rough, but that makes sense for other formats. This is a very powerful fixer for decks looking to cast their five color Commanders (hello again, new Jared Carthalion) or activate abilities like the one on Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin. Once you activate this twice, you’re up mana on Gilded Lotus, so if your mana pips are spread out across all colors, give this one a try.
8. Jodah, the Unifier
Despite his poor performance in my Early Access draft deck (discarding him to Thrill of Possibility was the best thing I did with him), Jodah is an awesome five-color unifier for legendary creatures. I’ve been looking for someone less tutor-focused than Sisay (or Sisay, take your pick), and Jodah’s legendary cascade trigger fits the bill quite nicely. While I’m not sure Jodah is necessarily “better” than Esika, I really like the one-sided Coat of (Legendary) Arms effect here, so I’ll be giving this one a try in paper.
7. Fallaji Wayfarer
Yes, I know, this one isn’t actually multicolored either – the rules text even calls that out regarding its color identity (weird, but not bad)! That said, this card wants you to be playing multicolored spells, so into this crowded category it goes. The more colors your existing creatures are, the easier it is to convoke things with this, and because this card is all colors, it does a great job of convoking things itself. It’s effectively a mana Elf for your multicolored spells even by itself, and as long as your five-color deck has enough creatures, I think you’re in for a treat. This looks best to me in Jenson Carthalion decks among all the new stuff, but I’m sure there are old commanders that will love this too.
6. Shanid, Sleepers’ Scourge
I’m really excited about Shanid. I love the ide of Mardu legendary-based aggro – call in the dogs (Yoshimaru and Isamaru) as well as other aggressive legends, then back them up with cards like Arvad the Cursed and Heroes’ Podium for a serious buff. Utility legends like Tymna get to shine as more than just color setters, and Drana, Liberator of Malakir will play even better than she did when she destroyed me in a three-player Jumpstart game a couple of weeks ago (nice work, Luke). And yes, if you aren’t playing your copy of Ragavan in a tournament Constructed deck, Shanid will be all too happy to see everyone’s (least) favorite monkey pirate.
5. Tetsuo, Imperial Champion
Tetsuo is the first and only Legends Retold card to make this list. That’s not to say the Legends Retold cards aren’t sweet – they are, I’m just largely more excited about the cards from the precons. Tetsuo cares about the mana value of Equipment attached to him, so to really get value out of the attack trigger, you’ll want to find alternative ways to attach Equipment besides paying mana. Equipment with non-mana costs like Pact Weapon apply well here, as do auto-attachers like Embercleave and Brass Squire. Maybe I’m just really hyped about Grixis Equipment/spellslinger combo here with the second mode of this ability, but I think this is going to be an incredibly fun deck to play since it’s so different from most Equipment decks.
4. Bladewing, Deathless Tyrant
Bladewing the Risen reanimates Dragons, but this incarnation of the undead former pit fighter is all about quantity. Mill yourself with cards like Stitcher’s Supplier or play a sacrifice-focused game and then flood the board with Zombie Knights. You can back those up with Zombie synergies like Death Baron and Undead Augur, or you can focus more on using your graveyard as a resource with cards like Egon, God of Death. You can lean into sacrifice as well by using those Zombie Knights as fodder for cards like Priest of Forgotten Gods or Plumb the Forbidden. No matter which direction you pick, you have a solid foundation for a deck here.
3. Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim
I’m excited about this as both a role player in Orzhov Aristocrats lists and as a commander for the same style of deck. Elas provides you life gain while handing out life loss, allowing you to play with Aristocrats synergies, life gain synergies and even simple token aggro. It’s hard for me to say whether it’s more “optimal” to have Teysa Karlov or Elas in charge of an Aristocrats Tokens list, but that’s the fun of Commander – we get to try stuff out and figure out what we like most. Personally, I’m most excited about Elas, and I don’t think that’s just the excitement of a new card.
2. Jared Carthalion
Five-color planeswalker Jared Carthalion backs up his +1 quite nicely with his -3 – make a couple of 3/3 five-color Kavu tokens with trample, then give them both five +1/+1 counters and bash for enormous numbers. The -6 is kind of whatever, but that’s what you get with a planeswalker commander a lot of the time, right? With powerful new five-color creatures like Two-Headed Hellkite and Primeval Spawn available alongside old standbys like Maelstrom Archangel, there are plenty of great options to play alongside Jared, and I’m excited to see a five-color commander that pushes you to play other five-color cards rather than just acting as a container for some Greatest Hits.
1. Dihada, Binder of Wills
It’s pretty wild that the top two members of this list are planeswalker commanders. Not because they’re inherently bad, but because I’m historically not a fan. Nevertheless, this Mardu version of Dihada looks sweet – with a focus on legends and an ultimate that actually wins the game, I’m sold on this card. The +2 is likely to give a lot of vigilance for defensive purposes, and the -3 gives you value even when you miss entirely – in fact, sometimes you’ll want to mega-whiff and get four Treasures! That said, using a hypergeometric calculator to figure out your hit rate during deckbuilding is a strong call. Dihada gives you more of a midrange approach than Shanid, though Shanid still has a place in this deck list. You’ll lose that early game punch, but I think the tradeoff is worth it for better draws in the late game, especially ones fueled by Dihada’s -3.