If you missed Part 1 of my Dominaria Review for Commander, you can find it here.
As I mentioned last week, this is a set review for Commander only. Some of these cards are going to see lots of play in other formats and might bring you great joy when you draft them, but this assessment is for the 100-card format. Last week, I went over White, Blue and Black. Today, I’ll be going over Red, Green, multicolored cards, and artifacts + lands. I’ll pick my favorite three cards from the color and give each color a grade.
Let’s get back to it.
The first Saga that I found less than good.
Now we’re back on track. You’re not playing this until you have very few cards in your hand in the first place (or you want that stuff in your graveyard). Fill back up, and then do some serious damage.
A nice nostalgic callback to Ghitu Fireslinger. Damaging everyone is a plus.
I know that Pro Tour Scorekeeper Nicholas “I Love Me Some Chaos” Fang will love Haphazard Bombardment. Neat, thematic design, and you get to potentially do something that red isn’t good at: blowing up enchantments.
I was starting to worry that red was getting no great cards. Jaya Ballard upsets that particular apple cart. The second and third abilities play nicely with each other.
You’re telling me that it’s basically Fireball I don’t have to pay extra mana for? Sure, I’ll wait until my commander is on the battlefield. Deal.
I haven’t been a fan of the Squee character (or name, for that matter), but I’ve been and remain a fan of what Squee does in his various incarnations. This one is no exception.
Really cool design on a card that’s probably not getting played in Commander. That’s a shame.
If your Voltron commander isn’t quite enough, why not add some 3/1s to it as well? Be sure to pack your Goblin Bombardment so their lives aren’t lost in vain.
Another well-designed card from a thematic standpoint which will unfortunately not see much play.
Remember to play this in your deck with Kwende, Pride of Femeref. It’s not really a combat trick, since it’s a sorcery. If you have Leyline of Anticipation on the battlefield, Warlord’s Fury becomes a blowout card.
There aren’t three…
Grade: F. Red, once again, is left wanting in Commander. The last several sets have been pretty good to the color, so as long as it’s not a trend, we’ll be okay.
Having trouble with a Voltron commander in your local environment? Harken back to Argive and eat all that metal.
I wouldn’t have thought we could get much better art than the Rebecca Guay original; I would have thought wrong.
For one more mana than Skyshroud Claim, you get the benefit of being able to get something other than Forests, but at the cost of not being able to get dual lands. Note that, just like Skyshroud Claim and as opposed to Ranger’s Path, the cards don’t enter the battlefield tapped.
I suppose we’re going to see Grunn, the Lonely King get Berserked and then attack alone. All you’ll need is a nice Sword of Fire and Ice to make him a 7/7 and then Berserk for the giant damages. Even as one of 99, if you have Grunn with Xenagos, God of Revels, you’re going to deal some damage.
I like cards that make you figure out the optimal time to cast them. The legendary creature to have so that you can cast Kamahl’s Druidic Vow is Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, since she’ll provide extra mana to shove into that X.
For Chapters I and II, if you happen to mill something good, then you basically get to draw it. When you’re on Chapter II, you cast Scapeshift and have insane value on III. Great theming and great art make this a card I really want to see in foil.
Regrowth for permanents still seems like good value without being broken. I’m in full support.
If you’re on the Saproling or even just random token plan, there’s value here. Too bad you can’t get it back with Nature’s Spiral.
This tune seems a little delicate. You use the creatures you have to put out more creatures so that then they can all have a mini-Overrun, which is good unless someone Wraths in between.
Again, reasonably costed Saproling plan cards.
If you’re on that plan, you might as well make them bigger. It just goes to show you that not every card needs to be an individual powerhouse; there can be some role-players or synergistic bits.
You’ll see less of this in Commander than you will in Standard, where I think it’s going to be a house, but it’ll fit nicely into the curve of the Elf decks we have as well.
The historical problem with most cards which animate lands is that they subject you to getting completely wrecked. Sylvan Awakening (mostly) solves that by making them indestructible as well as 2/2 (as opposed to Living Plane’s 1/1). You’ll still get ruined by Infest, but sometimes you just accept your beatings. I’m not sure what kind of deck I would play it in, but I’m definitely more likely to play it than other land-animators.
Grade: C-. Density is a little low, and for once, green doesn’t get the splashiest top cards. I think it will still survive as the format’s best color.
Want to turn your Wizard army from a bunch of little book learners to a savage strike force? Adeliz, the Cinder Wind will help you. Nice that it’s in U/R but cheap enough that you can recast it a few times from the command zone.
You could commit to the nearly-all-legendary-creatures deck, but in Commander, Arvad has a kind of lieutenant ability to buff up your commander. Turning that five-hit five-power creature into one that only needs to hit three times makes a world of difference.
A commander at a nice cost which strongly suggests a build. I like Aryel a great deal. There hasn’t yet been a good Knight commander and that’s now changed.
Time for the math people again. Waiting three turns to save two mana seems not great, but if you must spend six or eight extra, it gets onerous. Whichever way you play it, the card has great flavor.
Wow! Having Garna available in the command zone means that everyone else needs to make sure you don’t have enough mana to cast her before they kill all your stuff. Note that Garna says “from anywhere,” so if they get milled into your graveyard, you get them back as well. There are several directions to take her and I’m a fan of this because it will lead to deck design exploration.
Creatures sure have gotten better since old Dominaria. Grand Warlord Radha seems great to lead that Saproling deck, since you’re just going to slam into people with the Saprolings to get the mana to cast huge creatures, or even better, extra attack steps. Think about the fact that if you attack with seven creatures and have no mana open, you can still cast Savage Beating entwined. It might seem a little one-dimensional because it just leads you to battle without forethought, but the paths you can take a Grand Warlord Radha down are varied.
The kicker spells have mostly been mediocre, but Hallar might suggest a little re-evaluation of those spells, especially since it damages each opponent. You’ll want to add counters to Hallar independent of the kicker spells as well so that you’re not quite so dependent on them.
Finally, a Jhoria that doesn’t make me want to roll my eyes. Jhoira is a straightforward, no-nonsense woman; you cast certain spells, you draw cards. No games, everything right up front. I am quite fond of her.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a five-color commander that was different. Jodah fits the bill and encourages you to play the giant, splashy cards on which Commander made its bones. Note that Jodah’s ability only pays the mana cost for the spell—the part in the upper right-hand corner. You’re still responsible for other costs, like the commander tax. Another commander which gives you lots of ways to go.
I’m ready to renounce all other faiths and submit to the church of Muldrotha. This is my kind of card because it lets you—no, encourages you—to use your graveyard. If that blue in the mana cost were white instead, we might have a replacement for Karador, Ghost Chieftain.
This Teferi is quite strong. You don’t even need to be committed to a Superfriends deck to make good use of it. A few choice ones like Venser, the Sojourner or Elspeth, Knight-Errant and you’re in business. You can use Gideon, Ally of Zendikar to get an emblem and keep it alive (well, in the other order). Even cooler is to blink a planeswalker that’s low on loyalty counters when Oath of Teferi enters the battlefield to reset it. And we’re definitely not going to mention Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.
It’s really cool, but it definitely requires a commitment to the legendaries. It might be an excuse to let your commander go to the graveyard instead of putting it back into the command zone.
Artifacts with flash is nice enough. Legendaries makes it very strong, since surprising people with creatures can lead to game-turning situations. It’s also nice to see a W/U commander that doesn’t automatically suggest blinking things.
I’m a little cooler on Rona than the other multicolored things, but let’s be honest, some of them have been a tough act to follow. I’m just skeptical about exiling my own stuff, lest it be lost forever.
Hexproof from abilities might be more valuable in Commander than other formats, as I think we see comparatively more targeted abilities doing things than target spells. The fact that she can be huge and no one can Maze of Ith her makes me super-happy.
Well, here we are. Finally, the reason to play all those Saprolings. Someone asked me if we thought about pre-banning Slimefoot. It’s a reason to play Saprolings, but it’s not that much of a reason.
We’re down toward the end, but we’re saving the best for last. Tatyova gives you more stuff for the things you’re already doing. It’s not like you’re going to need incentives for playing additional lands. Now, do what you like to do and get paid extra for it.
When someone plops this card onto the battlefield, be afraid. Very afraid. They’re in colors which can protect it and get that emblem before you say “Oath of What?” Teferi’s first ability is a wonderful nod back to the days when you would leave two Islands untapped and make sure your opponent saw them.
Tiana-as-Voltron makes a great deal of sense. Cast the Equipment, and if someone blows them up, just get them back. Sure, you have to wait until next turn to cast them, but it’s better than them just rotting in the graveyard.
Grade: A+. This right here is what the set is all about, and they knocked it out of the park. Great job and these cards will have long-ranging impact on the format.
Colorless, Artifact, and Land
Karn is one peaceful Golem. No one will take heroic effort to get rid of him (unlike Teferi, Hero of Dominaria), so it’s going to be continuing, solid value. A card a turn for zero mana. I like those numbers.
Now you can make any creature into Dakkon Blackblade! Love the flavor that legendary creatures can handle it much more easily than normal people can.
If you want to slow down some of the rolls in your group, Damping Sphere is your jam. In addition to your big hitters like Gaea’s Cradle, Cabal Coffers, and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, it shuts down the bouncelands like Simic Growth Chamber as well. Cool card.
You can see the story unfolding on the card, which is great artistic design. Equipment that you don’t have to pay to equip has historically been not all that great or kind of narrow, but this one is solid. Giving the creature +3/+0, vigilance, and trample is well worth the cost of three. That you often don’t have to pay for it is even better. Trample, especially on commanders, kills.
Lots of potential uses for the Guardians but rescuing depleted planeswalkers might be the best.
The equip cost is high because the ability is strong. Getting another copy of something deadly means you’re doubly deadly. Note that copies of your commander don’t have “commanderness.” That only applies to the card(s) you started the game with in the command zone.
I would have been surprised if it didn’t get reprinted.
If you cast a bunch of mana-producing artifacts, you’re going to have more Self-Replicators than you know what to do with.
I’m sure it’ll be a chase card just due to the name; it’ll be useful, but it’s no Commander’s Sphere.
Need some mana smoothing? Navigate this direction.
Quicksilver Amulet for legendaries is super-strong for several reasons, the cost being only one of them; they’re also way less likely that they get countered. Another well-placed piece of card design.
You can cast Amulet of Kroog to untap it. If you do, I award you one million style points.
Get out of here with that exiling nonsense! I’m keeping my stuff. But I’ll throw this nice thing in the graveyard. You know—for later.
There are plenty of quite useful artifacts to untap. Don’t underestimate the value of untapping something you attacked with.
Free cards! Sign me up as a deckhand on the best skyship in the Multiverse. The crew cost of only 3 makes it very attractive indeed.
A fixed Cabal Coffers should make everyone happy.
Grade: A. Not a great deal of dross, and strong top picks with some of the best flavor in the whole set.
My grade for the whole set is a strong A-. Red’s failure and green’s mediocrity only slightly dampen my enthusiasm for what is certain to be one of the most impactful sets for Commander in some time. Get ’em while they’re hot—and they’re going to be hot for a while.
Just like last week, Deck Without Comment will return after release season.
Check out our comprehensive Deck List Database for lists of all my decks:
Lavinia Blinks; Obzedat, Ghost Killer; Aurelia Goes to War; Trostani and Her Angels; Lazav, Shapeshifting Mastermind; Zegana and a Dice Bag; Rakdos Reimagined; Glissa, Glissa; Ruric Thar and His Beastly Fight Club; Gisa and Geralf Together Forever.
Shards and Wedges
Adun’s Toolbox; Angry, Angry Dinos; Animar’s Swarm; Borrowing Stuff at Cutlass Point; Ikra and Kydele; Karrthus, Who Rains Fire From The Sky; Demons of Kaalia; Merieke’s Esper Dragons; Nath of the Value Leaf; Rith’s Tokens; The Mill-Meoplasm; The Altar of Thraximundar; The Threat of Yasova; Zombies of Tresserhorn.
Adun Oakenshield Do-Over; Animar Do-Over; Glissa Do-Over; Karador Do-Over; Karador Version 3; Karrthus Do-Over; Kresh Do-Over; Steam-Powered Merieke Do-Over; Lord of Tresserhorn Do-Over; Mimeoplasm Do-Over; Phelddagrif Do-Over; Rith Do-Over; Ruhan Do-Over.
If you’d like to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987) which is just beginning the saga The Lost Cities of Nevinor, ask for an invitation to the Facebook group “Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers.”