Dominaria United is a special set. Not only does it return to Magic’s original plane, but it’s also stacked with powerful cards that reference the game’s most iconic locations and characters which makes it the perfect locus for excellent Commander staples!
Since the pandemic began I’ve strongly felt the most interesting and best designs in the game have been centered in multiplayer Commander and thus the format has been the centerpiece of my Magic: the Gathering play the past year (along with tuning my Danger Room / Battle Box which will be my next article here on RIWhobbies.com). Dominaria United is no exception to the rule of awesome Commander cards leading the way in MTG; it’s an incredibly deep set for A+ Commander staples and today I’ll be sharing my picks for ones I believe will stand the test of time and appear on tabletops for years to come.
The cycle of Defiler creatures allows a player to forgo paying colored mana (and instead pay life) when casting permanents that share a color, essentially granting same color permanents Phyrexian Mana casting costs.
In addition to dramatically reducing the cost of casting permanent spells each of these creatures also has a useful tacked-on ability to generate board advantage once in play.
These creatures essentially make mana by virtue of being in play (even the turn they enter the Battlefield) and then impact the board while in play. It’s essentially the blueprint for great multiplayer Commander cards. Their one ‘drawback’ is that in order to take full advantage of both abilities they need the full support of being played in a mono colored deck. With that said, I think all five Defilers are easy fixtures of mono color Commander decks.
For fans of tribal decks, specifically Elves, Merfolk, and Goblins these three are snap auto-includes in any Commander deck going forward. As if a converted mana cost = 2 to grant a +1/+1 bonus to one’s entire tribal team wasn’t enough, each of these new lords also boasts an incredible static ability.
I would go so far as to say each of these three new printings are in the Top 10 of their respective creature types, all time… which should easily make the cut as a staple in every 100-card tribal Commander deck going forward.
I’m always on the lookout for new 5-color playoffs because my favorite Commander is Tiamat (Dragons) and it’s always fun to receive new playables that most other Commanders are not allowed to use. Dominaria United and the Rainbow Commander deck offer a ton of unique, new options to a combination that doesn’t tend to get too many.
Timeless Lotus is easily the most exciting Commander card in the set, if you’re playing a 5-color Commander with a Domain mana base. Gilded Lotus tends to be a card that would make most of my decks on power level alone and Timeless Lotus makes two MORE mana!
I’m also a big fan of Two-headed Hellkite and Unite the Coalition as big 5-color payoffs and will be adding both of these to my Tiamat Dragon deck. Unite the Coalition, in particular, seems like a ton of fun to cast because it offers a ton of useful options in abundance.
Jodah, the Unifier is an exciting 5-color payoff. I typically try to stay on flavor with my Commander decks, but Jodah’s ability to essentially Cascade Legendaries into more Legendaries is so cool I may give it a try despite it not technically being a dragon. It’s a fun ‘build around’ Commander!
These are cards that because of their high power level, flexibility, and easy to include color identity will slot perfectly into a wide array of decks and strategies.
Karn’s Sylex is an exciting card for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s a colorless artifact and thus usable in any Commander deck. Once in play it shuts down all non-mana activated abilities which is extremely useful against a ton of powerful Commander decks. It also doubles as a board sweeper with the ability to destroy all types of non-land permanents in a pinch. It’s an all star caliber card in the right deck.
Green tends to get a ton of great payoff cards and Silverback Elder continues that tradition. The choice between multiple great options ensures it will generate board and game advantage as a player continues to cast creatures. It’s also worth noting that Silverback Elder’s controller will get these triggers whenever they cast a creature (even if it doesn’t resolve) but not when a token creature enters play.
Vesuvan Duplimancy is a wild combo-off centerpiece card. The ability to make redundant copies of powerful cards is obviously a great boon, but the bonus of being able to copy Legendaries (including one’s Commander) is the truly exciting upside.
A neat utility land that seems explicitly designed for Commander without directly referencing it in the text. Plaza provides a unique way to protect one’s Commander from nearly all removal, targeted and/or sweepers that would destroy it.
Last, but certainly not least, is Sheoldred, The Apocalypse… I feel comfortable going on record and saying this is the most exciting, powerful, and interesting Commander card in the entire set. It also has great flavor since Sheoldred is a major character in the set’s narrative.
In terms of Commander play, Sheoldred punishes opponents for drawing cards in the form of taxing them 2 life per draw (including their draw step). It’s also absurdly powerful with Draw 7s which force all players to discard their hand and draw a new one, since they’ll lose 2 life points per drawn card.
TOP 5 DOMINARIA UNITED I’M EXCITED TO ADD TO MY COMMANDER DECKS:
I can’t wait to add Rundvelt Hordemaster to my Muxus, Goblin Grandee Tribal deck. It’s an auto-include.
I’m beyond excited to add Vesuvan Dupliomancy to my Rasputin Dreamweaver “Blink” deck. What’s better than value-blinking a creature… getting an additional free copy too!
It was hard to narrow down which 5-color payoffs I wanted to add to my Tiamat deck, but these two seem absolutely sweet. A great ramp spell, as well as payoff!
2. HEOLDRED, THE APOCALYPSE
While not ‘technically’ a Zombie… Sheoldred does kind of represent a zombie apocalypse (of sorts). I was lucky enough to crack a Phyrexian Language one while playing 2HG with my wife at the prerelease (which was a fun memory), and the card is insane against powerful decks with draw 7s and so I’m adding it to my Mikaeus, the Unhallowed deck.
Overall, Dominaria United looks to be one of the best MTG Expansions in a long, long time and is especially deep in playables that are strong in multiplayer formats such as Commander.
Tune in at the same time and place next week for a complete Danger Room / Battle Box review and update, right here at RIWHobbies.com.