Magic’s newest set has some large shoes to fill and tons of hype to live up to. Just the mere mention of the name “Dominaria” ushers in waves of nostalgia for older players and sends ripples of excitement through newer ones. Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to be one of the players who experienced the plane in its prime, so I am so stoked to experience it for the first time. “Legendary matters” is the name of the game for Dominaria, and it doesn’t take a pre-mending planeswalker to figure out what that means… EDH goodies for all!
Well… at least there better be some EDH goodies. No more time to waste—let’s get right into the set review to find out if Dominaria will be truly historic or if we should kick it to the curb.
I will adamantly suggest that you don’t play this card.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way…
Many of the sweet legendary creatures in this set would be better as generals if they were multicolor. While I certainly understand the need to have abundant mono-colored legendaries (especially at uncommon) for Dominaria Limited, it does also limit the options for your deck. I will try not to reiterate this too much in this article, but it is an important takeaway. Generally, the more access to colors your deck has, the stronger it will be.
Baird, Steward of Argive
If Baird were white-blue or white-green he might of worked in a turbo fog deck or stall strategy. But we’re not in Dream Halls—we’re in Dominaria, and at just mono-white it is better off serving your cause in the 99. While this effect is not particularly strong singlehandedly, if you combine Baird with Windborn Muse, Ghostly Prison, Collective Restraint, and Archangel of Tithes, all of a sudden you give your opponents’ considerable reasons to attack anyone else but you. He also extends his protection to planeswalkers in addition to you, which is nice, but being a creature does make him worse with Sphere of Safety, so keep that in mind!
A nice fit for decks like Heliod, God of the Sun, Oketra the True, and Kemba, Kha Regent. This Marshal has a respectable body with the upside of an anthem effect for mono-colored decks, but you may have a tough time fitting him into multicolored decks due to the highly restrictive mana cost.
Board the Weatherlight
2 CMC makes this a pretty subpar cantrip, but if your deck doesn’t have access to blue for more options, this card could be solid. You will obviously need a substantial amount of hits to find off of this (such as a dedicated super friends deck).
Danitha Capashen, Paragon
Sram, Senior Edificer, Kemba, Bruna, Light of Alabaster, and Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith all appreciate this kind of effect. Danitha may find a home in decks dedicated to Auras and Equipment but you will need to incur lots of value from her cost reduction to justify her inclusion. This isn’t Limited–she’ll need more than stats to make waves in these waters.
I just really want to play this card so that I can play it on my creature and say, “Dub on them haters.” Just me? Oh, okay.
Evra, Halcyon Witness
This card requires some real guts to use and it isn’t for the faint of heart! If this card finds anywhere to shine it’ll be in 1v1 formats where you won’t randomly get picked off by one of your opponents and have a higher chance of one-shotting your opponent. You can also combine this with cards like Soul Conduit or Axis of Mortality. Brawl wombo combo—can I get a witness?
Fall of the Thran
Some prison decks can make use of this card, but Armageddon, Ravages of War, and Catastrophe are all better inclusions. If you still require more of this effect, Fall of the Thran is a serviceable card to slow a tough table down. For the most part though, don’t play this kind of card if you have a playgroup that doesn’t appreciate mass land destruction. They won’t forgive you just because you helped them rebuild.
Kwende, Pride of Femeref
I’m only including this card because I will be going over all the legendary creatures in this set. At 4 mana this card is unimpressive, and as a creature it’s too fragile to make a lasting impact. You’re better off with True Conviction.
Lyra will bring dawn in Cubes and Constructed no doubt, but does she have what it takes in Commander? If you are playing Angel tribal, this card certainly warrants a spot. But I do like Avacyn, Angel of Hope slightly more as a Commander. And naturally, if your deck plays Baneslayer Angel, certainly you should make room for Lyra.
*Fun Fact: This beautiful Chris Rahn original recently went for over 15k at auction.
Shalai, Voice of Plenty
I know this is an EDH set review, but can we take a moment to enjoy the insane art on this?! As for the card, I do like the solid stats and static ability on Shalai. The fact that she provides plenty a use for excess mana is a nice bonus. She’s a possible inclusion for Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, Rhys, the Redeemed, or any other go-wide token deck. Gavony Township eat your heart out.
Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle
I’m sure that there are ways you can do cool things with this general. But the fact remains that if you put this in your Command Zone you only have access to white cards and artifacts, which is extremely limiting. And if you just add this into your 99, you don’t have much control over when/how often you draw this card with A) something juicy in your graveyard and B) a historic spell to cast. There are some infinite combos you can assemble such as with Kor Skyfisher, Lotus Petal, and Phyrexian Altar, but I still think this is just too much work to be worth it.
Urza’s Ruinous Blast
Because this card can’t destroy opposing generals or planeswalkers I am a bit reticent. Super friends decks like Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice and decks with a legendary theme like Captain Sisay should make great use of this card, though. Being able to ruin opposing mana rocks is always a beautiful bonus.
Blink of an Eye
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Hey, don’t look at me like that!
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Karn’s Temporal Sundering
Narset, Enlightened Master likes this! I will throw one in right away, thank you very much. If you aren’t playing a deck where you will always have a reliable way to make this card active, you’ll want to skip on this. Don’t be tempted because it has a bonus bouncing clause and cool artwork/Karn flavor. It’s still much worse than Temporal Manipulation or Part the Waterveil.
The Mirari Conjecture
This is the Pyromancer Ascension that every EDH player always wanted. It may stick around and be vulnerable to enchantment removal, but at least by then you’ve recouped one card and maybe even more. It may telegraph a bit to the table when your “go off” turn is going to happen, but hopefully they won’t be able to stop you (especially if the sorcery you return is an extra turn effect).
Naban, Dean of Iteration
If you loved the 2017 Commander precons, you will know all about Inalla, Archmage Ritualist and the crazy things she does with Wizards. Yeah, just throw Naban in there—you won’t be disappointed. Azami, Lady of Scroll decks may also appreciate Naban if they have a large number of ETB triggers.
Naru Meha, Master Wizard
Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep
Flavor win! Whelming Wave has always been underwhelming Wave, but here we have a bounce effect that aptly doesn’t affect a larger majority of marine life. This could even be fun as a mono-blue Merfolk general. Mostly casual, but oh so flavorful.
Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive
I am sad that she isn’t a Ninja because Ninjas are pretty rad. I would love to throw her at the helm of an infect deck, but being mono-colored is too large a drawback (I told you this would come up often). If you have a multicolored infect deck you can certainly slot Tetsuko right on in.
Unwind does a solid job of refreshing your mana to continue to fight a counter war before you untap. There will be many times you wish you could cast multiple counterspells in the same turn cycle and Unwind makes those wild dreams come true. Of course, this all hinges on the fact that you will have enough action to work with (but we can dream, right?). Baral, Chief of Compliance is a nice and cozy home for this spell.
Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp
Yeah, no. I’m turning off this lamp.
Sure, it doesn’t hit literally any general in the game, but so what? I know it’s easy to argue that this can hit most other things, but I still think it’s a trap for Commander. There are many other fine black options like Go for the Throat, Vendetta, Fatal Push, Dismember, and Malicious Affliction. Sick flavor text, though slightly ruined by the fact I have no clue who Mazeura is.
If there is a way to break this card, I haven’t found it. It does feel like the quintessential EDH card though, leading to fun stories and swingy plays. Griselbrand this is not, but it sort of looks like it, right?
The Eldest Reborn
Tons of value packed into one itty bitty card. That said, I still think it costs a bit too much mana and the payoff too prolonged to make the cut for most decks. But this is an interesting Saga that I could see being a nice fit for some decks.
Is it me or does this art depict Liliana skipping through a death meadow with vultures like an evil Snow White? Being able to fetch a reanimation spell and snag a creature for your graveyard all in one card is a nice attribute to have. Final Parting is everything Jarad’s Orders wishes it could be. I think this will find a home even if it does have a pricey mana cost.
Josu Vess, Lich Knight
Well, um… yeah, I think this card is kinda cool? Even provided I was able to kick this card via Cabal Coffers or Caged Sun, I would still be holding my breath that I even get there with my Zombie Knights. It is nice to have a reusable Army of the Damned in your Command Zone I guess, but it just seems too gimmicky.
Kazarov, Sengir Pureblood
Kazarov disappoints all of the Sengir lineage. Pass.
My absolute obsession with Phyrexians aside (just for a moment), I am not too fond of this Saga. Delaying the reward is risky. Sure, there are times where this delayed wrath can be an excellent political tool. It will wipe the board next turn and anything else you play will be wiped out. But they can just take the turn off and develop their mana or draw some cards or do their own little EDH things. Most EDH decks aren’t just jamming creatures turn after turn anyway. At least it saves one of your creatures, but at a huge expense. Exiling all graveyards is nice, but that is just icing on a cake I don’t want to waste my calories on. Plus, this ability is telegraphed for two turns, so Phyrexian Scriptures could never take the slot of a true dedicated graveyard hate spell. If you are playing a deck full of artifact creatures, I can see this card slotting right in. Otherwise, just stick to Damnation, Toxic Deluge, or Decree of Pain.
*Fun Fact: Joseph Meehan’s art for Phyrexian Scriptures fetched over 8K at auction.
Settle the Score
I would have fawned over this card at instant. Close your eyes. Imagine this. Right before untapping on your turn, you surprise the table by ticking up your planeswalker to ultimate. What a delicious EDH story. But instead, you’re left spending 4 mana during your main phase ticking up your planeswalker just to pass the turn whistling, twiddling your thumbs and hoping no one notices you.
Torgaar, Famine Incarnate
This card can be a fun way to single out a player and make a great enemy. Still, all this work to, at best, dome someone for 20 leaves me hungry for more. I’ll stick to Sorin Markov and Magister Sphinx and stay hungry, thank you very much.
Urgoros, the Empty One
With a name like Urgoros, I was hoping this turned all your lands into Swamps in addition to their other types. The slot for Urgoros in my EDH decks will remain an empty one.
Yargle, Glutton of Urborg
Speaking of up to snuff as a general, I introduce to you The Gitrog Monster’s newest apprentice. Ribbit.
Whisper, Blood Liturgist
I am truly torn on the Blood Liturgist. If you make the commitment to sacrificing two creatures just to have your reanimation target killed, it can set you very far back. I guess what I’m saying is that you shouldn’t ever activate a careless Whisper.
Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering
There isn’t enough upside on this glorified Reanimate/Doomblade to be worth the potential awkwardness of it being stranded in your hand. Great artwork, though, and a nice homage to original Dominaria lore.
It only takes a quick glance to figure out what home Jaya has. Sadly, she’ll be relegated to heavy red, spell-based decks. Her abilities are pretty much useless everywhere else. You deserved perfection Jaya, not this.
Jaya’s Immolating Inferno
The flexibility of this spell allows it to hit multiple targets, which is useful in multiplayer where there’s a better chance to hit worthwhile permanents. This can even kill all opponents with infinite mana. Sadly, being a legendary sorcery will relegate this spell to the sidelines overall. It’s just too unreliable to have a legendary card in play to make this truly worthwhile.
Valduk, Keeper of the Flame
I prefer Kemba’s ability to make Cat tokens that stick around to Valduk’s singular strike of damage. He seems cool, but I would just stick to Godo, Bandit Warlord if you want a mono-red equipment Commander deck. Unexciting.
Solid stats for Limited/Cube but not what we want from a general. I’d much rather Broodmate Dragon have been legendary than Verix, here.
Squee, the Immortal
Look at dat widdle face—what’s not to love? Plus, Food Chain players having access to a new toy should make them Squeel with delight. This goes infinite with the powerful Mercadian Masques enchantment and added redundancy for that combo is always excellent.
This was originally going to be a one-part article, but after seeing the insane number of legendary cards in this set, I decided to split this into two for easy reading! Green, multicolored, and colorless cards will be reviewed in part 2 of my Dominaria Commander Set Review. What are your thoughts so far of this set? As an EDH enthusiast, are you happy with the direction this set took and the final product? Let me know in the comments and see you soon for Part 2! Until then, move over Fblthp—there’s a new Yargle in town.