Dominaria United Commanders R-Z And How To Use Them

Chase Carroll continues their brew review of Dominaria United for Commander! Can they really put together a plan around Rivaz of the Claw?

Vohar, Vodalian Desecrator
Vohar, Vodalian Desecrator, illustrated by Daarken

We’re back again, folks! This week, I will be picking up back where I left off with detailing and providing sample brews for each and every new legendary creature from the Dominaria United main set.

In a set as iconic as this, with as many new legendary creatures as there are, it can be downright overwhelming to sit down and brew something new. It is my hope that this series can provide some inspiration or direction on how to brew around the set’s latest commanders. Domain commanders will not be included in this article after a community gauge. 

Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart

Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart

Let’s start off strong with Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart. I know it doesn’t say this on the card anywhere, but Raff really makes me want to lean into brewing tokens with a secondary focus on card draw. This set just so happens to love both of those things, so recommendations for this Human Wizard will be easy as pie!

Let’s start off with the token makers. Of course, you have Talrand, Sky Summoner and Murmuring Mystic, but we also have the newly printed Tura Kennerud, Skyknight! Since Raff likes instants and sorceries, and so does Tura, they seem like a match made in heaven! The tokens will serve as fodder for Raff’s card draw. Speaking of card draw, let’s move into my other recommendations. Teferi’s Ageless Insight is a fun addition to any deck that wants to draw cards because it automatically doubles the amount you draw. Instead of one with Raff, it’s two! Another fun way to increase your card draw in this list would be to run Archmage Emeritus. The magecraft trigger will give you card advantage all day long. You love to see it. 

Since you’ll be drawing a lot of cards, my final recommendations are absolute necessities. Thought Vessel, Decanter of Endless Waters, and Reliquary Tower assure that you have no maximum hand size, thus preventing you from discarding your hand. Since we are leaning Raff into this direction, losing out on possible spells is not what we want for this Azorius legendary.

Ratadrabik of Urborg

Ratadrabik of Urborg

Ratadrabik was a puzzler for me. My initial thought process was to go straight Zombie tribal, but that’s boring. Ratadrabik prefers to make his own Zombies out of legendaries he’s ground up. He cares about legendary creatures, so let’s go ahead and give the geezer what he wants!

Since Ratadrabik makes token copies of legendaries that die, I think an easy addition to a list would be Anointed Procession. You get double the tokens that have all the legendaries’ abilities without having to worry about that pesky legendary rule. Speaking of double, my next recommendation is Teysa Karlov. Not only does she double your death triggers, she also gives your tokens vigilance and lifelink! That is absolutely perfect and downright nauseating. 

Since we’re already in the realm of things dying, it should be noted that Mikaeus, the Unhallowed would make for some fun interactions in Ratadrabik. Your non-Human legends will die, but they’ll come back thanks to Mikaeus. Ratadrabik will still trigger, and you will get a nonlegendary token copy. Seems like a win-win to me. Lastly, I recommend running Minthara, Merciless Soul. When your creatures die, Minthara gives you experience counters that will give your creatures you control a buff equal to how many you have. This deck thrives off things dying and leaving the battlefield, making Minthara a great way to buff your tiny 2/2 Zombie token copies. 

Rith, Liberated Primeval

Rith, Liberated Primeval

I remember the day this card was previewed. The Magic community online was in awe of Rith’s awesome might. This brand-new legendary Dragon is definitely a sight to behold, giving your Dragons ward 2. Oh, and don’t forget that it can also generate Dragon tokens as well. 

First things first, this deck needs all the token doublers. Anointed Procession, Parallel Lives, Doubling Season, you name it. This deck needs it. Two tokens are always better than one, so why not max out all of those stats? Now that we have that out of the way, let’s hone in on the concept of excess damage. This is how Rith makes tokens. Pieces like Dragon Tempest and Wrathful Red Dragon are perfect for Rith because they constantly deal damage to your chosen target. This will ensure you confident token generation by your end step.

My final recommendation for Rith is actually a planeswalker, Sarkhan the Masterless. While his +1 isn’t necessarily the best in a Dragon tribal deck, I am more interested in his static ability. He makes it so that your Dragons are providing you a constant stream of protection though damage. Attacking you will seem less likely when your opponent finds out that your Dragons will kill their creatures before they even touch you. 

Rivaz of the Claw (Is Better for the 99, But I Still Like a Challenge)

Rivaz of the Claw

Rivaz is an interesting creature card because, while better in the 99, it still presents an interesting deckbuilding challenge. A Rakdos mana creature for Dragons only definitely piqued my interest and led me down a very interesting Scryfall rabbit hole. Let’s grab a shovel and see what Dragon bones we can dig out of the graveyard. 

While Rivaz can cast Dragons from your graveyard, I didn’t want that to be the main focus of this list, as the creatures you get back exile when they die. In fact, I wanted to find another way to recur things. Enter Ancient Brass Dragon. This bad boy lets you get things back based on how high your d20 roll is. Sure, chance is involved, but that adds to the thrill of the game! Since Dragons have such high mana values, I also want this list to include cost reducers like Dragonspeaker Shaman and Dragonlord’s Servant. This reduction also impacts the cost of your Dragon spells in your graveyard as well. 

My final recommendation for Rivaz is Dragon Tempest. Whether you’re casting them from your hand or graveyard, Dragons aren’t particularly fast. Thankfully, Dragon Tempest gives creatures you control with flying haste with the added bonus of dealing large amounts of noncombat damage to target creature or player. Rivaz is definitely a great card for Tiamat or Ur-Dragon decks, but I can’t help but find it interesting as a commander. 

Rona, Sheoldred’s Faithful

Rona, Sheoldred's Faithful

Let’s gooooooo, Dimir spellslinger! Rona is here to spread Sheoldred’s good word through instants and sorceries. Sure, people will lose a life each time she does it, but it’s all worth it, right? Let’s compleat this brew right away with some nifty recommendations. 

Rona definitely likes cheap card draw spells. Consider, Brainstorm, Ponder, Opt… all the card draw spells that are based around thinking work well with Rona. More cards in hand mean more spells to cast. Life totals will slowly start to dwindle down. Another interesting addition comes in the form of Vohar, Vodalian Desecrator (who will be explored later in this piece). When you discard instants and sorceries with Vohar’s ability, you make your opponents’ life totals dwindle down even more. Sure, your spells go to the graveyard, but you can just flash them back with Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

My final two recommendations for a Rona brew come in the form of Sedgemoor Witch and Hullbreaker Horror. Sedgemoor’s magecraft trigger is absolutely amazing because you’ll get the life loss off Rona with a possible future lifegain from her Pests. Hullbreaker Horror, on the other hand, bounces things back to your opponents hands, clearing the way for possible attacks from Rona and her Phyrexian ways.

Rulik Mons, Warren Chief

Rulik Mons, Warren Chief

It’s Goblin time… right? Rulik Mons made me squeal with excitement because we finally get another Gruul Goblin commander after what feels like years! Of course, I’d want to brew Goblin tribal. Wrong, we’re doing land junk!

Rulik Mons seems to be the weirdest lands commander ever, so I had to lean into it and see how he would fare. Let’s start on the right foot by tossing in a Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer. Wow, this card is positively insane. She spits out tokens when lands enter the battlefield under your control and gets bigger the more lands you have. Rulik putting the land onto the battlefield tapped definitely agrees with Greensleeves. This can also trigger our landfall cards. Retreat to Kazandu; Moraug, Fury of Akoum; and Geode Rager are fun pieces that I think will make Rulik super spicy. Counters, goad, and extra combat are just too cool not to try out.

Lastly, we have our iconic creatures: Avenger of Zendikar and Phylath, World Sculptor. These two big battlers poop out a boatload of tokens that only get bigger the more lands you play! While Rulik’s attack ability might get you one land, you can’t deny that he would make for an interesting lands commander. 

Shanna, Purifying Blade

Shanna, Purifying Blade

We’re back in Bant, and boy, does Shanna make this color combination look good. Last time we saw Shanna, she was an uncommon Selesnya legendary that was a bit underwhelming as the general. Now she is an insane mythic that likes to draw cards and gain life. It just so happens that Bant loves to do these things in excess, giving us a lot to choose from in terms of a soft brew. 

Let’s start out simply with Soul Sister cards. Soul’s Attendant and Soul Warden will help you consistently gain life in small doses. Of course, pieces like Boon Reflection and Rhox Faithmender can help increase that. That brings us to my next recommendation, Accomplished Alchemist. This mana creature stands out from amongst the rest because the more life you gain, the more mana it taps for. This can help cast some of your bigger late-game spells.

Speaking of large late-game spells, I have two that I would really love to see in a Shanna list: Alhammarret’s Archive and Archangel of Thune. The Archive is a card that needs the right home, and Shanna is the perfect place for it. It doubles your life, which will impact your card draw with Shanna’s pay X ability. I live for this synergy. Lastly, we have the Archangel. This Angel beefs up your creatures whenever you gain life, which will happen constantly with Shanna. While your life total goes up, your opponent’s life totals will go down.

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

Card draw almost always hurts us when we’re in mono-black…and yet this is not the case with Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. Sure, she hurts your opponents, but she gains us life when we draw. This is in stark contrast to the iconic black card draw of Phyrexian Arena, Read the Bones, and Sign in Blood. Let’s take this and roll with it in a fun black card draw brew!

As a lover of wheels, the first card that came to mind when tackling Sheoldred was Dark Deal. It’s black’s iconic and only Wheel effect. Not only will you gain a ton of life when casting this card, your opponents will lose a ton as well. Speaking of forced card draw, I had no idea Seizan, Perverter of Truth was a thing! While you lose no life, your opponents will be taking four during each of their upkeeps. Master of the Feast, while not dealing damage like Seizan, forces card draw on your opponents just the same. 

Now that we’ve forced card draw, let’s punish your opponents even more with some added damage. Fate Unraveler and Underworld Dreams are fun spells that deal damage to your opponents whenever they draw a card. These little pings add up over time, especially since card draw is built into most commander decks. Lastly, let’s talk about what I consider this deck’s murder spell. It’s Peer into the Abyss. Sure, the mana value may be high, but this spell will almost certainly kill the targeted opponent if Sheoldred is out. Or, if you want to be sly, you can target yourself to gain a ton of life. When I saw Sheoldred, I knew this spell was going to be an all-star. 

Squee, Dubious Monarch

Squee, Dubious Monarch

Squee is definitely an interesting addition to the long roster of Goblin tribal commanders. There are practically dozens to choose from, but you can’t deny that there is a bit of an allure to that goofy smile on his face. 

Tokens are the bread and butter of Goblin tribal decklists, so let’s stuff this list full of them! Krenko, Mob Boss is quite literally the king of Goblin tribal. He eats, breathes, and sleeps tokens. Even pieces like Legion Warboss and Goblin Traprunner have a home in Squee’s court. With all these tokens entering the battlefield, Impact Tremors will ping all of your opponents for some extra bits of damage. Heck, give your tokens haste with Goblin Warchief and Goblin Chieftain for some extra spice. 

Goblins’ one major weakness is that they are unfortunately pretty small. My final recommendation helps alleviate that. It’s Shared Animosity! This is probably my favorite enchantment in Magic because it will almost always win you the game. It takes in your tiny Goblins and turns them into muscled green Goblins, turning your combat step into a full-on war. 

Stenn, Paranoid Partisan 

Stenn, Paranoid Partisan

Stenn is definitely an interesting commander because he seems to be made for the 99. The ability to reduce the cost of things that aren’t creatures or lands is useful, but in the command zone? I’m unsure. However, a friend inspired me to take a stab at brewing Stenn as a foretell commander.

Foretell is not seen too often in commander. The mechanic is interesting and definitely deserves a bit of exploration with Stenn. While Stenn cannot choose creature as a type, that doesn’t prevent us from running some pretty gnarly ones. Cosmos Charger and Ranar the Ever-Watchful are amazing creatures that will help Stenn reduce the cost of your Foretell spells. Vega, the Watcher will, in turn, draw you cards whenever you cast cards for their foretell costs. Stenn’s ability to Flicker and re-enter the battlefield can help you choose either instant or sorcery so that you can maximize your foretell value. 

This then leaves you to run your bounty of foretell spells. Alrund’s Epiphany, Mystic Reflection, Saw It Coming, Doomskar, the list is practically endless! Most Stenn brews I’ve seen as of late have leaned heavily towards artifact shenanigans, and I think foretell would be an interesting divergence. 

Tatyova, Steward of Tides

Tatyova, Steward of Tides

I loved Tatyova the first moment I saw her previewed. In fact, I adored her so much, I brewed my own budget deck on my stream last week. Turning creatures into lands is often overlooked as a deckbuilding theme due to the fact that it puts your manabase at risk for removal. While this may still be true, Tatyova makes the risk worthwhile in a fun and interesting decklist. 

Tatyova makes your lands creatures after a bit of ramping, but I’m impatient. Sure, you could run Azusa, Lost but Seeking or Wayward Swordtooth, but I want land creatures now! Pieces like Embodiment of Insight and Life and Limb definitely help speed this along. Embodiment does this off a landfall trigger with the bonus of giving your land creatures vigilance. Life and Limb, on the other hand, only affects Forests. However, a Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth can easily fix this. Quickly turning your lands into creatures will make this uncommon legend a mythic commander. 

You have the creatures, now let’s talk about buffs. Tatyova makes lands aggressive, and we could really use some beefy beaters. This is where Sylvan Advocate and Earth Surge come into play. Both of these permanents give your land creatures a +2/+2 buff, which is definitely a push in the right direction.

This leads us into win conditions! I would love to run Triumph of the Hordes in this list, mainly because Tatyova gives your land creatures flying. That kind of evasion makes infect even more problematic and terrifying. Sure, you can run a Kamahl, Heart of Krosa, but the allure of infect is too hard for me to ignore!

The Raven Man

The Raven Man

The Raven Man almost does it for me. He is just a hair away from doing what I want him to do. I wish we could get tokens for each card discard; however, I can completely understand why this isn’t the case. Despite this, The Raven Man can definitely still be a disgusting commander. He just needs the right pieces to get him going. 

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Tergrid, God of Fright would be amazing here. She is amazing in basically any deck that likes the word ‘discard.’ Stealing an opponent’s things is just too good to ignore. With that out of the way, let’s talk about forced discard. The Raven Man only rewards you; he doesn’t make people discard. This is where Bottomless Pit and Necrogen Mists come into the picture. These enchantments force each player to discard a card at upkeep, ensuring you will always get a Bird token at each end step. 

So we’ve got your opponents discarding; now, let’s make them pay for it. Cards like Megrim and Liliana’s Caress are amazing because they only punish your opponents. If you discard, you’re fine. If they discard, they lose two life. Since The Raven Man only gives you so much, it’s up to you to offset this by padding out the deck with extra punishments.

Lastly, let’s talk about rewards! The Raven Man can be a giver when he wants to be. He just expresses it in weird ways. Two such ways are Tinybones, Trinket Thief and Waste Not. Tinybones is a fun addition because you get some sweet card draw if your opponents have discarded a card. Sure, you lose one life, but the trade is definitely worth it. Waste Not is absolutely amazing because the rewards are even bigger. Depending on what your opponents discard, you could get a token, mana, or card draw. The Raven Man definitely appreciates these gifts…even if your opponents didn’t want to give them in the first place.

Tori D’Avenant, Fury Rider

Tori D'Avenant, Fury Rider

Tori D’Avenant is one of the few legendaries from this set that really made me want to build a deck. There’s just something about her ability caring about colors that intrigued me enough to start a soft brew. Let’s see what we can do with her!

As soon as I saw that she cared about colors, my mind immediately went to Assemble the Legion and Outlaws’ Merriment. These two enchantments pump out multicolored tokens on your upkeep consistently. Because they are both red and white, Tori will give them trample and untap them as well! She is just that good! But what if I told you that we could make these tokens even more obnoxious? This is easily accomplished with Iroas, God of Victory. Give them menace! Trample and untapping is one thing, but giving them menace makes your creatures even more annoying to deal with mid-combat. 

Since Tori loves to move to combat, I want to talk about some of my favorite instants for this list. Starting out, we have Unbreakable Formation. While I prefer to cast this during my main phase for that addendum ability, casting this to save your creatures is definitely not a bad idea, especially since you cannot recur tokens. Lastly, we have my favorite white spell of all time: Akroma’s Will. This spell will no doubt end the game in a flurry of keywords that are sure to make Tori’s feathers fly. 

Tura Kennerud, Skyknight

Tura Kennerud, Skyknight

Tura is definitely one of the simpler legendaries to be printed in Dominaria United. The rewards for casting instants and sorceries are tiny little tokens. Sure, Tura isn’t the first creature to do this, but we are going to make this deck happen! So, let’s maximize this as best we can. 

Tura likes tokens (a running theme in this set), so I feel like you already know the basics. Cheap cantrips like Brainstorm, Consider, Frantic Search, and Ponder are easy casts that get you value and tokens in a snap. Of course, you could also run other token generators like Talrand, Sky Summoner, but let’s think bigger. This deck is the perfect place for an Anointed Procession. Double the tokens Tura makes can definitely send her over the edge in terms of power level.

Speaking of power, my final recommendation is actually a background: Inspiring Leader. This enchantment seems like it was made for Tura, as it buffs your creature tokens! No one worries about 1/1s, but 3/3s? That’s a whole other story that Tura is all too happy to tell. 

Uurg, Spawn of Turg

Uurg, Spawn of Turg

I won’t lie. When I saw Uurg, I practically flipped out. I love Frogs, and this seemed like a great piece to slot into The Gitrog Monster or run on its own. Uurg is all about that free real estate, so let’s dive in and see what his timeshare presentation is all about.

Circle of the Land Druid is a new piece that will help set the tone for how to build Uurg. Milling into your graveyard is what this Frog wants. The more lands, the bigger he gets. This brings up the concept of dredge. Pieces like Stinkweed Imp and Golgari Grave-Troll are notorious in The Gitrog Monster, but also find a great home in Uurg as well. Dredging puts more into the graveyard, after all. 

I didn’t really expect to take a tokens route with this brew, if I’m being honest. But cards like Worm Harvest and Titania, Protector of Argoth seem to be perfect. Titania not only gets you a land back, she gives you tokens when your lands hit the graveyard from the battlefield. Uurg’s sacrifice ability will help fuel your tokens while gaining you life and making him bigger. Worm Harvest, in a similar vein, gives you tokens equal to the number of lands in your graveyard. This is literally everything your deck wants! You can create a wall of tokens to attack or block with as you so desire.

However, even in a deck that wants a lot of lands in your graveyard, sometimes you want them back. This is where Splendid Reclamation comes in. While yes this will ultimately make Uurg small, this spell can help with land enters the battlefield triggers or help you ramp to cast that big X-spell late-game. It doesn’t hurt to get a few dozen acres out of the graveyard when you need it most. 

Vohar, Vodalian Desecrator

Vohar, Vodalian Desecrator

Vohar is definitely one of those legendaries that just has way too much going on. His text box reads like a novel, and she is probably the legendary creature I’d be least likely to brew on my own. That being said, everyone has different tastes, which maintains the charcuterie metaphor from last week’s article. Continuity!

Vohar has a lot of moving parts: card draw, discard, and spellslinger all in one. This is a bit overwhelming, I won’t lie. So where do we start? Let’s really lean into the spellslinger aspect of Vohar first. Lier, Disciple of the Drowned and Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy are two amazing creatures that seem at home with Vohar’s desire to chuck things into the graveyard. Lier gives your instants and sorceries flashback, while Gale lets you cast them from your graveyard after you cast an instant or sorcery from your hand. Vohar doesn’t like when spells are wasted, so these two definitely help recycle things.

Every time I see a commander that cares about slinging spells, Hullbreaker Horror comes to mind. This Horror is the ultimate control creature, bouncing spells and permanents to their owners’ hands. Vohar can’t help but be pleased with clearing the path for possible combat.

We cannot forget that Vohar also makes you discard. Thankfully, there are some very strong self-discard synergies to run in this brew as well. One of my favorite pieces is Archfiend of Ifnir, which lets you distribute -1/-1 counters onto your opponents’ creatures whenever you discard. This can slowly whittle down your opponents’ battlefield states into practically nothing. Lastly, we have Bone Miser. Discarding is never a fun thing, but Bone Miser definitely makes it worth your while. Tokens, card draw, and mana seem like a good trade, and Vohar definitely agrees. 

Zur, Eternal Schemer

Zur, Eternal Schemer

When I saw that we would be getting another Zur card, I was skeptical. There is absolutely no way they could top the original… right? Weeeeeeell, Eternal Schemer gives the Enchanter a run for his money, opting for an even more aggressive approach than his predecessor. But how do we brew around this scheming sorcerer?

One thing I enjoy is redundancy. There is no such thing as too much of a good thing in commander. This is why I recommend running Starfield of Nyx. I love this enchantment so much because even if Zur isn’t out and about to play, this enchantment will still make your other enchantments creatures. But what if I told you that we could make everything on your battlefield enchantments? Let me introduce you to Enchanted Evening. This gorgeous piece turns all of your permanents into enchantments, meaning they can interact with Zur and Starfield. However, I should warn you that this paired with Starfield will turn your lands into 0/0’s (meaning they die). On the other hand, with Zur, things will be just fine because you won’t target your lands. 

So now you have this massive army of enchantment creatures that have some pretty nasty keywords. What now? Well, you attack, of course! This is where one of my favorite enchantment creatures kicks in: Whitewater Naiads. This creature can end games, and under Zur’s control, I can see things playing out similarly. Each time an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, you make target creature unblockable. With enough enchantments, you can make your keyword soup creatures unblockable and probably lethal. You love to see it… at least, I know I do.

Lastly, we have to talk about protection recursion. With an aggressive commander like Zur, you’re going to face a bit of aggression and removal. Losing your creatures is never fun, but thankfully, we have plenty of ways to protect yourself and even get your enchantments back. Let’s start with protection. Zur is in the perfect colors for this with pieces like Ghostly Prison, Propaganda, and Sphere of Safety coming to mind. Sphere of Safety is particularly nasty next to Enchanted Evening. But just because you’re protected doesn’t mean your enchantments are. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! My favorite recursion spell for enchantments has to be Dance of the Manse. The more you pay, the more you can get back, with the added possibility of them becoming 4/4s! What’s not to love about that?

The End of the Alphabet

And there you have it. Every single (non-domain) legendary from the creature from the Dominaria United main set. I won’t lie; that was intense. There were over 40 brand-new legendary creatures in Dominaria United, and even more in the supplemental products. With so many options, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start in the deckbuilding process. I hope I helped alleviate a bit of that. Enjoy the new set, and remember, happy brewing, deckbuilders.