Since I am primarily an EDH/Commander player (I’m going to use EDH for this article), I’m going to do a quick review of all the new legends we’re getting in Dominaria. This will include non-creature legends, such as the new legendary sorceries as well as enchantments and artifacts. I will also try to include some other effective cards, such as Broken Bond, which has great value during the first few turns if you can destroy an opponents Sol Ring/signet and ramp yourself ahead a land.
If you’re familiar with LSV’s set reviews on ChannelFireball, I will be using a similar scale to describe the value of the card. 5.0 will be the highest rank, reserved for legends that have strong “enter the battlefield” (ETB) effects or enough impact on the board to win the game within a few turns. A rank of 3-4 will be a strong card, like the new Jhoira, who has a good amount of utility to offer, but can’t win the game on her own. Cards that have a 1 or 2 are unlikely to have enough presence on the board to be worth including, but could still find a home in the right tribal deck or with enough combo pieces.
In the future I may update this section with specific examples of cards I consider a 5, 4, 3, etc., but for now let’s start with White and move through until multicolored and artifacts.
For one more W than a Ghostly Prison, but one less mana tax, you get a 2/4 body with Vigilance. This card seems fairly costed for an uncommon, and could be a decent include in a white deck, but not worth running as a Commander.
While I would probably still rather play Sram if I’m running a white equipment deck with a cheap creature, Danitha does make a better body to attach equipment and auras to. Fairly costed, and the combination of First Strike and Vigilance will make her a good attacker and blocker, especially once equipped. I probably wouldn’t run her as a commander, but she’s probably good enough to be included in an equipment deck.
While the dream of one-shotting opponents with a life-total sized avatar is still alive with Evra, that doesn’t make the goal any more realistic. At 6 mana, unless you already have something to buff Evra on the board, you will likely be putting yourself in a very dangerous place if you activate her (its?) ability shortly after playing. The Lifelink does have an obviously strong synergy, since if you can get a hit in with Evra you’re probably above where you started and your opponents really have to start worrying if they don’t have removal or blockers. Not having Flying or Trample (unlikely in white) makes this a bit harder of a sell, but Evra could find a home with the right amount of pillow fort or combo pieces. This card can turn into a threat, but starting as a 4/4 Lifelink for 6 may be too weak in stronger/faster metagames.
Another solid uncommon knight, but effectively being a 4/2 for 4 is not strong enough to run as a Commander. Kwende could still be a worthy inclusion in a tribal knight deck if you have enough cards natively with First Strike, but otherwise doesn’t get much done on his own.
I’ll admit that I’ve got a soft spot for angels (I’m a Kaalia player, sorry) and Lyra could very well be another Baneslayer in limited/constructed. For EDH, Lyra is strong on her own, and even obviously even better with additional angels in your deck. Angel tribal can be difficult to pull off because of their generally high mana cost, but Lyra definitely makes the cut for me, and only gets better if you build around her. She’s still vulnerable to removal, but 5 mana seems a very fair cost for her 5/5 body and abilities, and if you can equip boots or swords she can quickly close out a game or create a large gap in life.
Well I did say I was reviewing all legends, and here we have our first non-creature legendary. While this enchantment does have a strong combination of abilities, the danger of getting 2-for-1’d by removal is always high on enchantments. I could see this card being effective for its mana cost in limited, but in EDH the floor for power level is much higher than other formats, and while this enchantment has a lot going for it, it’s still probably not enough.
Hooray for another strong angel! Unfortunately Shalai can’t be played alongside Kaalia, but in a green/white tokens shell or Ghave deck she can do a lot of work. That’s only looking at her activated ability; while Shalai herself doesn’t have hexproof, she has a lot of value in protecting you and your board. Her activated ability obviously scales up with the number of creatures you have, and is reasonably costed considering she’s still a good turn 4 or earlier play, and only gets better the later the game goes.
While the sagas are a new card type with Dominaria’s release, Teshar can still provide a lot of value alongside your legends and artifacts. While it doesn’t do much on ETB, Teshar can still have a lot of impact on a game, especially with the right combo pieces and maybe a sac(rifice) outlet to recur creatures (imagine the synergy with Stoneforge Mystic!). The power level is fairly high here, but still requires some setup or build-around for maximum impact. A possible commander, but likely better in the 99.
The first of five legendary sorceries we’ll come across, Urza’s Ruinous Blast is an interesting boardwipe, but given how many legends are regularly played in EDH, this card could struggle to remove all of the powerful cards from your opponent’s boards. I can see this card being more effective in limited/constructed than EDH, but it could still find a place in your deck if you’re low on Wrath effects.
A fairly costed Confiscate, ignoring the legendary clause. Not too much to be excited for here, the art is a nice touch, but the art across all of Dominaria is some of the best Magic has ever had. Probably worth running in the 99 in blue, but not a new effect and the legendary clause is probably a downside more often than it will be helpful. Depending on how many Confiscate/Mind Control effects you want to run, this is probably a pass.
Time Walk effects always have potential, and this card has a decent upside if you have a legend to let you play it. Extra turns are always another untap and draw at minimum, and the ability to bounce one of your own permanents for another ETB trigger or remove a problematic blocker or other threat should not be taken lightly. Obviously the only downside is the “Legendary” prerequisite, but this card can still have a big impact in the mid-late game. Both the floor and ceiling on this card are higher than your average take-an-extra-turn effect, if you can reliably get around the extra cost.
As if wizard tribal needed any more help (looking at you, Azami), Naban can add a lot of value to the right deck. He’s cheap enough that you don’t really need value off of him immediately, and your opponents will have to respect his ability to double your other wizard’s ETBs. The obvious synergies with other wizards would definitely put him in my 99 in a blue deck, and if built-around you could make a case for him as a commander, though I think he’s better as a support.
While you can certainly get a lot of value off of Naru on your first cast, the biggest problem this card has is not having much impact on the board after she enters. Sure, +1/+1 for your wizards is nice, but wizards have never been an aggressive tribe that wins through combat, unless they lock you out of the game. With enough blink/bounce effects she could find the right home, but similar to Naban she’s more likely to be included in your deck and not at the helm.
I think a card that could copy any player’s spell would be more interesting, but I concede that was likely tested in development, and may have been too powerful without increasing the mana cost or altering her power/toughness or another mechanic on the card.
For 6 more mana than Whelming Wave you get an 8/8. I suppose this card has an appropriate cost and level of complexity for an uncommon, but an 8/8 for 8 with an upside for 10 mana can be a hard sell. Don’t get me wrong here; Slinn certainly has a strong effect, but mono-blue can have a hard time ramping to 10 mana and still having an impact on the game. Maybe a good fit in a blue/green ramp/big sea creatures deck, and likely a worthy inclusion, but definitely doesn’t fit the bill for a commander. Not returning merfolk is an upside, but I still don’t think that’s enough to push Slinn over the top.
Already fairly costed for the ability and their stats on their own, the ceiling on Tetsuko can be high in the right deck. Unfortunately doesn’t work with Master of Cruelties since they have different colour identities, and while blue does have a lot of looters when hitting opponents, there’s a lot missed from other colours. The biggest problem with Tetsuko would be doing enough damage to be relevant when your opponents start dropping bigger creatures. Sure, they can’t block your weenies, but the value of your 1/X’s effects need to outpace the damage you could be taking in return. Since you can’t enchant or equip your creatures without losing Tetsuko’s ability, there’s a limit to how effective they can be. Can be built-around, but likely not worth it as a commander.
Easily a bomb in other formats where 5 damage is a quarter of your starting life, but in EDH, even with a reduced casting cost Zahid can easily be outpaced by other bombs. While he can easily be replayed with the alternate cost after he’s killed or bounced, once he hits the battlefield he’s just a 5/6 flier. Even taking commander damage into account if you play him early, he’s likely to die to removal or another big flier later in the game.
Now we’re cooking with… whatever demon’s cook with. Especially in EDH where players tend to run more expensive cards (mana cost) and have a higher starting life total, you’re likely going to get a lot of value out of Belzenlok’s ETB trigger. Having Trample in addition to most demon’s access to flying makes him chew through chump blockers, so he can do a lot of damage in addition to filling your hand for the loss of a few life. Even considering if you only draw one card, that’s a pretty good upside to a 6/6 Flying and Trample for 6, and the ceiling here is ridiculously high. Definitely to be included in many black decks, and though you can find commanders that do more to affect the board, his ability to fill your hand should not be taken lightly.
Unfortunately for Josu, while a 4/5 with Menace for 5 is certainly aggressively costed, most of his value comes from the 6 cost kicker. 7BBB is a high cost to pay, and while 20 points of power (with Menace!) is no joke, you will have to a lot of work to get there. Not to mention if an opponent sees this coming they can save a Wrath effect and they’ll be spending less mana than you. The kicker is a pretty big upside if the game goes late, but for EDH almost all of Josu’s power is in the kicker.
7 mana might seem a high cost for what starts as a 4/4 flier, but to me Kazarov seems like a card that can easily warp the game around him as soon as the hits the battlefield. Opponents will have to reassess attacking and blocking since he grows from any opponent’s creature taking damage, and can quickly grow to unreasonable sizes. Having an ability to remove blockers or other problematic creatures, including finishing them off at instant speed is just adding fuel to the fire. While fans of vampires may already be playing Olivia Voldaren or Edgar Markov, Kazarov makes a decent case for a new premier vampire, and is a must have in any vampire deck, or anyone running R and B.
While Lich’s Mastery can dodge removal due to its Hexproof, you’re still putting a big target on your head if you play this without being able to prevent damage to yourself. You’re also exiling cards you own/control, so there’s little room to get back what you’ve lost to Lich’s Mastery. There’s definitely some space to build around this card in terms of building a pillow fort and gaining life, but there’s also significant risk.
I would have loved to see some relevant combat abilities on this card, but the ability to cheat him out by sacrificing creatures can lead to some pretty great early plays. His value does diminish later in the game, when your opponents would likely be losing less life, especially since he doesn’t Hidetsugu for their current life, but half of their starting life. Losing 20 life is nothing to sneeze at, but as I said unless you’re getting Torgaar out early, the value falls off dramatically. Not having evasion or trample and taking 4 turns to take someone out alone makes this a difficult card to include in most decks.
It’s a bigger Hypnotic Specter for twice the cost. I like the design, but the mana cost makes me wary that by the time you get Urgoros on the field getting damage past blockers could be difficult. This card could be a more effective bomb in limited or other constructed formats, and it’s certainly powerful for an uncommon, but the power level for 6 mana in EDH is lacking here. Urgoros can still do some good work if you get him to connect to an opponent and drawing a card is a great upside for dealing damage, but unless you’re playing some kind of black or blue/black discard shell, your opponents aren’t likely to have empty hands.
For one more mana than Victimize, you get a 2/2 that can activate every turn. This is a solid legend, and obviously can have a big impact in a green/black or Sultai (UBG) reanimator deck. While Whisper may not have a lot of value early, if you have enough creature to sacrifice this card can do a lot of work mid-late game.
I wish I could give this card a good rating, but obviously it’s a vanilla legend without even a combat ability. 5 mana is a hard selling point for only 3 toughness, as Yargle is likely to die to blockers or many combat tricks. Unless you’re a new player trying to fill slots in your deck, I’m sad to say you shouldn’t be playing Yargle (as fun as it is to say).
Reanimating a creature OR planeswalker from any graveyard as well as destroying a creature/walker all for 5 mana is a great value in any deck. The only downside is the legendary sorcery clause, but the value in this cards 2-for-1 is just too high, and you should have enough legends in your deck that this card will be playable most of the time. Absolutely worth the risk.
While she can replace most of the mana spent to cast her on curve, and the mini-Wheel of Fortune effect is very powerful in the right deck, Jaya doesn’t do anything to protect herself. You can do a whole lot with 5 mana in EDH, so I don’t think Jaya would be worth including in most decks. However, in the right artifact (Daretti) or storm deck she can shine in the right situation.
It’s a blocker you can recur. I think that covers it.
Getting even a couple equipments or auras on Valduk has a lot of upside, but unfortunately for him he’s in red and not white or blue. I feel like Kemba does Valduk’s job better: even though you lose the aura clause you don’t lose your tokens at end of turn. While red has been getting more access to artifacts and recurring artifacts, I don’t think Valduk is strong enough to stand on his own, and if you’re not playing him as a commander you likely won’t have enough in your deck to play around him as one of the 99.
A 4/4 flier would be playable in most other formats, but even considering playing Verix for 7 and getting 8 points of power in the air isn’t doing a whole lot more than damage. Even if you cheat Verix out early you’ll still need 3 extra mana to pay for the kicker, and you’ll miss the trigger if you’re not casting it. Dragon tribal is already taxing on mana and has cards with much more impactful ETBs and combat abilities, so 7 mana for two 4/4 fliers shouldn’t make the cut.
That’s one hell of an exalted trigger. While it’s not quite double strike, and this card is sorely lacking Trample it’s still a big green creature. Similar to the other legends with kickers, you’re highly incentivized to pay the extra 3 to go from a 5/5 to a 10/10. While this does delay you playing Grunn, the threat he presents is very real. Being able to attack for 20 is a big deal, though it does suck not having Trample natively. It wouldn’t be too difficult to ramp or build around Grunn, but there’s certainly better bombs and staples in green. Possibly worth including, probably not worth it as a commander.
While not as big of a bomb as Genesis Wave, having a choice can sometimes make an impact, though you are losing out on non-legendary permanents and you need another legend. Kamahl’s Druidic Vow can make a splash in the right deck, but it wouldn’t auto-include this in most decks where I’m already ramping to Genesis Wave.
Hey look, elves. I like elves, and Marwyn does a lot for an elf deck. I probably don’t have to inform many Magic players on the synergies of running multiple elves, just rest assured that Marwyn can quickly grow into a large threat or feed mana into your larger spells. You could make a solid case for running her as a commander, and she should definitely be considered for an elf deck. While she’s obviously not very strong on her own, she’s also not going to be the first or last elf your opponents are seeing if you’re playing elves.
Now here’s a green card you can really beat down your opponents with. Fitting for a tree (but not treefolk) elemental, Reach is often undervalued for being able to deal with pesky fliers. By the time you can play Multani he’ll likely have 4-6 power/toughness, and will only grow through the game. Recursion doesn’t mean as much in EDH since you may be sending him to the command zone upon death or exile, but it’s still nice to have options later in the game when you have excess lands. There are a lot of decks I can see running Multani, he’s not quite as big as a bomb as other high-cost green cards but he can still be a very effective blocker and finisher.
That’s it for all of the mono-coloured legends, check back later this week when I go over artifacts and gold (multicoloured) cards, there’s still a lot of legends to evaluate from Dominaria.
Thanks for reading,