Deckbuilding Around Dominaria United Previews Cadric And Verrak In MTG Commander

The Dominaria United Commander MTG decks caught Bennie Smith’s attention. He shows how to build new decks around two of their legendary creatures: Cadric, Soul Kindler and Verrak, Warped Sengir.

Verrak, Warped Sengir
Verrak, Warped Sengir, illustrated by Alix Branwyn

Dominaria United preview season has kicked off in spectacular fashion, launching with such a cool bunch of cards, with many of them sure to find homes in Commander decks!  And speaking of Commander decks, they shuffled the reveal deck a bit and let us see both of the Dominaria United Commander decks on Friday. Our own Commander VS team revealed the Legends’ Legacy deck, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you should check it out below.

It’s a Mardu deck with Dihada, Binder of Wills leading as commander, with a very heavy “legendary matters” theme that plays quite well with all the legendary cards that Dominaria United – as well as the original Dominaria – included in the main set.  The deck looks really cool right out of the box, and I can’t wait to see what Commander VS does with their deck upgrade video, sure to be coming soon.

The deck has a pretty sweet backup commander in Shanid, Sleepers’ Scourge, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people switch to have Shanid riding lead in the command zone. But there are also a handful of other brand-new legendary creatures that would do really fun things leading, and I’d like to dig into two of them right here today – one Boros, and one Orzhov.  So, buckle up, let’s check them out!

Cadric, Soul Kindler

Cadric, Soul Kindler

Boros fans who tire of the numerous commanders who are combat-oriented will rejoice to see Cadric, Soul Kindler, who is looking to do something quite different. Cadric wants to be surrounded by legendary permanents that you might be interested in copying for just one generic mana.  That copy gains haste, and at the beginning of the next end step, you’ll need to sacrifice it, so make it good!

Now, wait a minute, what about the rule that makes you sacrifice all but one of the legends if more than one ends up on the battlefield? Luckily for you, Cadric is a wise Dwarf Wizard and has already thought of that, making sure the “legend rule” doesn’t apply to tokens you control, written right there in the text box. There is no end to the various legendary permanents you could include in a Boros deck, so the trick is to leverage the ones that benefit most from entering the battlefield, having haste, or dying at the end of the turn.

Legends with Enters-the-Battlefield Triggers

Nadaar, Selfless Paladin Legion's Landing Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder Pia and Kiran Nalaar

Here are a few legends with awesome enters-the-battlefield triggers that you’d love to double up on.  Nadaar, Selfless Paladin even gets to immediately leverage its attack trigger too!  I love that the copy of Bruse Tarl can go ahead and give himself double strike and lifelink, since he’ll get to attack right away, and then give another attacking creature double strike and lifelink. Now that’s how you punch!

Legends Getting Haste

Ilharg, the Raze-Boar Magda, Brazen Outlaw Brion Stoutarm Etali, Primal Storm Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin Drakuseth, Maw of Flames Delina, Wild Mage Godo, Bandit Warlord

Quite a few legends in the Boros colors appreciate having haste, and probably the biggest of the bunch is Etali, Primal Storm. Imagine attacking with the copy right away, getting a couple of free spells, and having another one just waiting in the weeds ready to rock and roll next turn. If you are able to get Brion Stoutarm and another legendary creature to enter the battlefield at the same time and copied by Cadric, you can attack with the other legendary creature and then sacrifice it to the Brion copy to deal lifelinking damage to a player. Godo, Bandit Warlord and copy let you search up two Equipment cards to put onto the battlefield, and then potentially attack twice right on the spot.

Sacrifice/Dies for Profit

Atsushi, the Blazing Sky Icingdeath, Frost Tyrant Tuktuk the Explorer Ryusei, the Falling Star Ao, the Dawn Sky Yosei, the Morning Star Hope of Ghirapur Ashnod's Altar Trading Post

The original Dragon Spirits from Champions of Kamigawa and their new incarnations from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty make fantastic subjects to copy, since the copy will die to its sacrifice trigger at the end of the turn and get you a free dies trigger.  You can also use something like Ashnod’s Altar or Trading Post to cash in the copy after you’ve attacked with it, since it’s going to die anyway.

Legendary Artifacts

Blackblade Reforged Helm of the Host Embercleave Eye of Vecna Lithoform Engine Aetherworks Marvel Hand of Vecna Gerrard's Hourglass Pendant

If you build an Equipment-heavy deck, there are some great legendary Equipment cards that might be nice to copy if you can cheat the equip costs and get an extra use of the copy right away. And guess what?  Dominaria United’s main set has the perfect legend for this with Astor, Bearer of Blades!

Astor, Bearer of Blades

Cast Helm of the Host, copy it, equip both to some awesome creature, and go to combat to watch the sparks fly!

Legendary Enchantments

On Serra's Wings Inspiring Leader Veteran Soldier

I know some of you are thinking about Shrines, but I don’t think there’s enough in Boros to really make it worthwhile, though a couple of legendary creatures might be worth copying. On Serra’s Wings can temporarily enchant another creature that can hopefully get a good attack in.  Inspiring Leader and Veteran Soldier are Backgrounds that make sense to double up on if you have the extra mana and your commander on the battlefield.

Legendary Planeswalkers

Ugin, the Ineffable Chandra, Acolyte of Flame The Wanderer Sarkhan the Masterless Chandra, Awakened Inferno Nahiri, the Harbinger Ajani Steadfast The Wandering Emperor

And then there are planeswalkers, which are also legendary permanents.  While most of them won’t really benefit from the haste given to a copy (beyond Sarkhan the Masterless and the various Gideons), you can certainly leverage the copy for more loyalty ability activations. Use a minus ability on the copy for a sweet effect that hopefully protects the original version while you tick up its loyalty. Ugin, the Ineffable; The Wanderer; Nahiri, the Harbinger; and The Wandering Emperor all have nice removal options that are perfect to use with the copy. I also love using Chandra, Acolyte of Flame and Ajani Steadfast’s loyalty-boosting ability on the copies if you’re really leaning hard on the planeswalker theme.

Legends Matter

Tyrite Sanctum Urza's Ruinous Blast Hero's Blade Mirror Box Search for Glory Thalia's Lancers Honor-Worn Shaku Heroes' Podium Avacyn's Memorial Day of Destiny Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful Jhoira's Familiar Weatherlight

Since a Cadric deck is going to have a lot of legendary permanents, we can tap into cards that play well in such an environment. Urza’s Ruinous Blast is a beating in Commander, but is probably necessary. And Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful is sure to grow to enormous size quickly when Cadric is firing on all cylinders.

Teleportation Circle Felidar Guardian Golden Argosy Luminous Broodmoth Eerie Interlude Ephemerate Semester's End Sword of Hearth and Home

White gives us a fair number of effects that can “blink” some legendary permanents, so that’s a way to leverage Cadric’s copy ability again without casting the spell.  Teleportation Circle is particularly nice since it can also let you blink legendary artifacts.

Sundial of the Infinite

Lastly, I’d like to mention Sundial of the Infinite. This weird little artifact can let your copies get around the sacrifice trigger at the beginning of the next end step. You put the trigger(s) on the stack, and then end the turn with Sundial of the Infinite. Welcome to the rest of the game, copy tokens!

Verrak, Warped Sengir

Next up is Verrak, Warped Sengir!

Verrak, Warped Sengir

Verrak’s got a lot going on—a 2/2 with flying, deathtouch, and lifelink is a pretty sweet package for just three mana, calling to mind Vampire Nighthawk. But that text box is where we’re really cooking with gas—whenever you activate an ability that isn’t a mana ability, if life was paid to activate it, you may pay that much life again. If you do, copy that ability. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Black has a ton of activated abilities that include paying life as part of the activation, so paying that life again to get a copy of the effect is sure to be sweet.  And since we’re playing Orzhov there are a ton of ways we can recoup that life loss along the way to grinding out value!  Let’s fly through some of the cool cards we might want to include.

Pay Life: Lands

Marsh Flats War Room Westvale Abbey

As if we didn’t already have plenty of good reasons to run the fetchlands in Commander, with Verrak on the battlefield, these lands become ramp spells. Pay one life and then one life again, and you get to search up two lands for each one. Marsh Flats is a given, but if I owned more of the off-color fetchlands, I’d be tempted to go ahead and add them all in, and likely a Crucible of Worlds too!  War Room and Westvale Abbey each have abilities worth paying that extra life to copy.

Pay Life: Creatures

Vilis, Broker of Blood Yawgmoth, Thran Physician Razaketh, the Foulblooded Priest of Fell Rites Forsworn Paladin Chainer, Dementia Master Bloodtracker Vona, Butcher of Magan

So many creatures with powerful effects that require life payment, and we’ll put a bunch of them in the deck! Then there’s something like Forsworn Paladin that might not make the cut in any deck other than a tribal theme, but Verrak really kicks it up a notch—yes, I’d happily pay two mana, tap it, and pay two life to create two Treasure tokens!

Pay Life: Enchantments

Phyrexian Reclamation Greed Underworld Connections Righteous Aura Martyrs' Tomb

Black has some excellent enchantments for trading life for cards in hand, so let’s save some mana and copy it, shall we?  And look, even white gets in on the action with Righteous Aura and Martyrs’ Tomb!

Pay Life: Artifacts

Trading Post Glass-Cast Heart The Cauldron of Eternity Bloodsoaked Altar

What’s better than activating Trading Post and paying a life to make a 0/1 Goat? Paying an extra life to make two Goats, that’s what!  But seriously, there are a few other artifacts with life payment in the activation that you can double up with Verrak. I might even give Bloodsoaked Altar a try—you could sacrifice one of those Goats to bring forth two 5/5 Demons with flying!

Enhancing Verrak

Hatred Nighthowler Bonehoard Criminal Past Blackblade Reforged Commander's Plate Cranial Plating Heirloom Blade Shadowspear Loxodon Warhammer Sword of Vengeance Akroma's Will True Conviction Odric, Lunarch Marshal Halvar, God of Battle Hyena Umbra Power Matrix

One easy way to get back life lost from copying activated abilities is to enhance the power of your commander and then rumble into combat.  Permanent enhancements like Bonehoard and Blackblade Reforged make excellent boosts, but I also like the surprise Hatred in the deck, pouring in nineteen life to make Verrak big enough to kill someone with commander damage if they have their shields down, and then getting all that life back plus two from Verrak’s lifelink.

Giving Verrak trample and/or first strike also plays great with the deathtouch ability. One point of deathtouch damage is considered lethal, so you can push through all the remaining damage to the next blocker or your opponent’s life total. And with first strike and deathtouch, you can kill most creatures before they can deal damage back.

Vampire Stuff

Blade of the Bloodchief Bloodline Keeper Champion of Dusk Blood Tribute New Blood Edgar, Charmed Groom

While you could make Verrak the leader of your Orzhov tribal Vampire deck, I think there are much better options. That doesn’t mean we can take advantage of having a Vampire as our commander and likely on the battlefield for much of the game. Blade of the Bloodchief is very cheap to cast and equip, and you can start racking up those +1/+1 counters at double the speed. I also like that you can bank on your commander to leverage the extra value out of Blood Tribute and New Blood.  And Edgar, Charmed Groom is a solid card for resilience to battlefield sweepers that also gives your commander a boost.

Font of Agonies

Lastly, the one card you should probably add to a Verrak deck first is Font of Agonies, which should accumulate Blood counters in a hurry!

What other cards are you looking forward to adding to your Cadric or Verrak decks? What other legends from the Legends’ Legacy Commander deck are you excited for?

Talk to Me

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And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

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