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. Temporary Lockdown
Going big? Send the rest home with Temporary Lockdown. You can use this to shut down opposing token armies, but there’s another option – cast this, gather up your Phantasmal Images, Charming Princes and Spirited Companions, and then bounce or destroy the Lockdown for value. It’s a niche plan, but it’s not nothing.
9. Zeriam, Golden Wind
Following in the footsteps of Zuberi, Golden Feather, Zeriam is a Griffin tribal commander with quite a few available friends. In addition to Zeriam, we have 41 Griffins playable in mono-white, and that’s not counting changelings. Sure, many of them are truly terrible (see Charmed Griffin), but the point here is just to beat down with your Fearless Fledglings and Avian Changelings to get a bunch of tokens.
8. Valiant Veteran
Fans of Soldier decks will appreciate this hardened hammer-wielder. I love the flavor here – while in play, the Veteran inspires their fellow Soldiers, but once they’re gone from the battlefield, the Soldiers that knew them can be inspired by their teachings and memory. Pile on the Soldiers with Defiler of Faith, King Darien XLVIII, Queen Allenal of Ruadach and more cards that aren’t even in this set! Valiant Veteran isn’t the only Soldier lord out there, but it is the one that costs the least mana, so keep that in mind as you’re updating your list.
7. Robaran Mercenaries
Hey, it’s another card that forms an infinite combo with Kiki-Jiki! Activate your favorite Mirror Breaker targeting the Mercenaries, then use the new, hasty copy to make another copy of itself. Repeat until you’re satisfied with how many tokens you have! You can win by doing this in the end step of the player whose turn comes before yours, or you can add a Mogg Fanatic to the mix to make your chances of dealing arbitrarily large amounts of damage “drastic go up”, as some famous mathematicians might say. I’m sure I could fill a lot of articles with everything these Mercenaries can do, but I think the best plan is just to fill your deck with cards like Fain, the Broker and see what happens.
6. Historian’s Boon
For those who love Saga decks, Historian’s Boon is another addition to the short list of Saga-specific enablers. With read ahead, you can do a lot more with that second ability, and with Satsuki, Atraxa or even Ghen at the helm, it’s not too hard to move things forward at a reasonable pace. Remember, Historian’s Boon only needs the final ability to trigger – you don’t have to sacrifice the Saga as a result of that ability leaving the stack, so you can do plenty of shenanigans with Ghen or other blink/sac/bounce engine cards.
5. Urza Assembles the Titans
If you’re already Deploying or Calling the Gatewatch, Assembling the Titans is going to be on theme. You can stick with mono-white and build around Djeru or the new Mangara, but I expect this to show up in multicolor decks often enough. After all, that final ability is pretty ridiculous, and if you can bring this Saga back with something like Calix or Estrid and then read ahead to the third chapter on a subsequent turn, things just get even wilder. Sure, it’s not as much raw power as The Chain Veil, but the additional flexibility makes up for that.
4. Serra Redeemer
Sigil Captain is a very restrictive build-around, but Serra Redeemer asks much less of you. Just power two or less, please! That means we’re good to pump up a lot of defenders (hello, Arcades), a greater number of tokens (so many things make 2/2s, after all) and plenty of small creatures that start at two power and care about that number changing – Master Biomancer comes to mind first, along with a slew of lower-impact cards like Tanuki Transplanter. And what about some persist combos? Murderous Redcap and Kitchen Finks (once it’s persisting) are both in play here.
3. Danitha, Benalia’s Hope
Cheating Eldrazi Conscription into play is a time-honored condition going back to the days of Sovereigns of Lost Alara, and while Danitha can’t go get the Aura or Equipment of your dreams from your deck, she sure can access your hand and graveyard. Besides the colorless Conscription, plenty of options exist in mono-white, including Argentum Armor, Kaldra Compleat and Modern staple Colossus Hammer. You can also play Danitha in the 99 of another Aura/Equipment-focused deck, but being able to repeat her enters the battlefield effect makes her much more effective out of the command zone.
2. Defiler of Faith
Soldier decks, as well as other token-focused decks featuring sufficient permanents with white mana symbols, are going to have a field day with this one. I quite like this and the other available Defilers in Myrkul lists as well. Remember that the Phyrexian mana conversion applies only to permanent spells of the appropriate color – don’t try to cast your Swords to Plowshares for two life. You’re obviously getting a ton of Mentor of the Meek value with this, but don’t forget to pair this with cards like Soul Warden and Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim for some additional life total value.
1. Serra Paragon
This one was an easy call. Getting three-mana goodies back from your yard a la Sun Titan is nice, although you do have to pay, but don’t overlook the ability to play land cards from the graveyard. If the spells you’re casting from your graveyard have kicker or other additional costs, you’ll have the opportunity to pay those costs. Sure, these permanents get exiled next time they go to the graveyard, but if you can return them to your hand or blink them, they lose that clause (don’t be fooled by the life you gain – in Commander, this is more downside than upside). Is white good at blinking things?