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Rise of the Dark Realms
Good evening. My name is Michael Celani, and I write How They Brew It, which means I always fairly evaluate cards based on their objective strength instead of impulsively trying to do something stupid with them. Therefore, my opinions are correct, which means I get to review cards again!
Dominaria United is the long-awaited Universes Beyond crossover between Magic: the Gathering and United Airlines. Whether it be horrifying, twisted flying metal monstrosities or decrepit, ugly nightmares shambling through tight, dark corridors, a collaboration with United means all sorts of evil sorcery is guaranteed to come out of the woodwork. Let's get started reviewing the black cards!
is goodstuff: she's cheap, has a titanic body, and tossing her onto the battlefield is tantamount to sniping your opponents for ten or more. You're also gaining tons of life at the same time, further widening the gulf between you and your opponents, and all of this is predicated on players doing something they want to do anyway: drawing cards. It's absurd how universally useful is; it's not quite "black ," but it's close, and that's terrifying.
Despite that, this is one of the few Praetors that won't have much of a home in the command zone. It doesn't bode well for her that there are other legendary creatures we can directly compare her against. Without white, she's worse as a lifegain commander than, since there's fewer payoffs. Without red, she's worse as a wheel commander than because there's simply fewer wheels for her to take advantage of. Both of these options having not one, but two additional colors to play with makes them way more attractive as the leader of a deck, leaving Sheoldred a denizen of the ninety-nine.
Perhaps she'll end up carving out a niche as a super-specificgroup slug deck, effectively subsuming . In fact, the average Seizan deck looks pretty good helmed by Sheoldred:
But other than that, I think Sheoldred is lacking the flare she should have as a Praetor. She's very, and I mean that in a bad way, in an "it's as boring to read as Jane Eyre" sort of way. Yes, the Apocalypse: two stacked on top of each other. Snore!
is a conspicuous Commander plant, and she's insane value for three mana. Admittedly, your opponents are given more agency with this iteration than the original, so this is less and more an anti- . I'm looking at her like three stapled together, because using her to take out actual threats will be inconsistent at best.
If you're looking to absolutely maximize card draw, the abundance ofand neuters choosing to sacrifice an artifact or creature, though you can always try one of them if you think you can snipe a few lesser threats. There's no way you're fielding enough planeswalkers to make that choice consistent, and even if you could, they have to survive until your next turn for you to get a shot at getting value out of them. That leaves enchantments and lands, and since sacrificing your own lands (while admittedly ballsy) makes it impossible to cast the grip of cards you're cultivating, we're left with the former.
Braids is pretty unique as a sacrifice outlet for enchantments and luckily, there's no shortage of enchantments that black wouldn't mind sacrificing, with, , and chief among them. I'd build a deck with a core of enchantments and then try to assemble a win from sheer value. Try getting a completely full grip of cards and then pitching all of them to to power an incredibly large . You can even add in some Constellation cards, like and , for a little extra oomph.
That's just one way you can take the new Braids, though. You could also use her as just a generic sac outlet for tokens and maybe catch your opponents in a tough spot every once in a while. Even if you're drawing only one additional card a turn, that's still a great rate for only three mana. If you don't feel like offering your whole deck up to the gods on a platter to draw four cards a turn, Braids might still have something for you, and I'm excited to see if someone's actually going to build the planeswalker version. If you are, congratulations: you passed the test and I'll see you at How They Brew It next week.
is positioned uniquely badly amongst the members of its cycle because already exists and does the job better for the same price. I can't imagine a deck that would want both of them, so will end up relegated to the bargain bin.
It's a good thingcosts two black pips, or someone might have made the mistake of putting it in a deck that wants to have many different types of lands.
If it targeted only your opponents' creatures, that would be one thing, but this truly has no advantage over any other board wipe either in black or out of it. You're better off playing, , or even over this, because at least these aren't hard-capped to -6/-6.
I also have a pet peeve with the fact that this card's name is distressingly similar to, which is also mono-black removal. Oh, well.
Thesealways seemed too slow for Commander. If you go with the mana values that gives you, it's secretly a 3/3 creature with deathtouch for four, which is . I like this one's ability to generate an endless supply of deathtouch counters that you can redistribute with , though. That relatively cheap pump and card draw ability is like adding heated seats to your new car, but it's not worth cutting a real draw spell for.
I think this only makes the cut if you're doing counter shenanigans, are deep in on Clerics, or are consistently finding ways to make tons of black mana but not the cards you cast with it all.
This is a pretty straightforward Cleric lord that can also cheat your, your , or your out of your deck at the low cost of one poor soul.
It's a no-brainer to slot this into your deck if it's Party-themed, it's helmed by, or it has any number of . Hell, if the commander just happens to be a Cleric, like if you're running a bog-standard reanimator deck, you can still get value out of that activated ability. It's not even limited to sorcery speed: sacrifice a Cleric at instant speed to fetch out and take down the token player that has an on the stack. If your deck wants this card, it really wants this card; if your deck doesn't want this card, it really doesn't want this card.
would be a fine mono-black card draw engine, except that they added a completely useless Kicker to this card that doesn't matter other than the fact that it makes your cheap replacement Abzan because Wizards of the Coast hates you.
If you hit all three opponents, sure, you draw three cards (and likely lose a bunch of life), but that requires a lot of things to go right at once, and it's not really fair to judge this card on the extreme best cast scenario. Most strategies that mono-black players run aren't incredibly aggressive in combat unless they're in a position to win the game outright, making this card too little, too early. The fact thatalso requires you to be in white and green brings it to an entirely separate level of useless. Against those colors, it's completely outclassed; you might as well play . That draws you a card per hit instead of per player, and it's an indestructible creature instead of an easily removed enchantment.
Basically,is a that costs two more, but for your investment, you get a delayed reanimate effect. People play for removal plus a reanimate, so searching your library for a card seems like a reasonable tradeoff at this price point. Sure, five mana is steep, but that's about the going rate for modern bring-out-your-dead spells anyway, so it's really up to you if you want to use this as a tutor first or not.
Oh, and like a steamy romance novel, you're almost always better off skipping that first chapter. There's no action there compared to the later parts, and you definitely don't want to give your opponents more time to catch you with your pants down by either blowing up the Saga or exiling your graveyard.
finally gets his own card, and it's for the birds.
A few 1/1 flying tokens that can't even chump an opponent's commander is simply not a payoff worthy of the command zone slot, and that's not even mentioning thatis competing with perhaps the best discard commander ever in . here is also gifted with one toughness, meaning he's destined to get pinged over and over if you do play him out.
His only advantage is his activated ability, which could genuinely be useful, but it's expensive, only usable at sorcery speed, and since it taps, you have to jump through hoops to get more than one use out of it a turn. You could possibly build a deck around suiting him up with effects likeand making tons of black mana, but I don't know why you wouldn't just win via or something actually good at that point.
He's destined for the ninety-nine of discard decks, maybe, and that's it. He deserved better.
Stay with me on this one:is the Magic equivalent of running Java in the browser. If you want to beef up a creature, you're almost certainly going to try protecting them by giving them keywords like indestructible and hexproof, and all the choose-a-creature ability does is open up a side-channel that makes it easier to get at them. All this for what, +3/+3 and flying, a keyword that's probably superseded by some form of unblockable in an aggressive deck anyway? God forbid your opponent has a on the board; choosing a creature is not optional.
Of course, you could playinto an empty board, but then all you have is a turbo- that's outclassed by .
Uncommons & Commons
Nobody seemed to like, but has the advantage of hitting everyone and potentially slotting into . On the other hand, black has the fewest creatures with defender out of all five, including red, which was frankly surprising to me. This effect really needs to be in white so it can fit into .
Like, suffers in Commander from the fact that most threats are just bigger than what it's asking for. The vast majority of popular commanders aren't even vulnerable to , though it notably hits , so there's that. Stick to the two-mana removal spells, like or ; they'll never be as dead as can be.
This can easily end up as a four-mana 7/7 in a reanimator deck, which is a statline that upsets Hearthstone players specifically. Outside that, the only use I could think of for this is after you pitchin your deck. That pile has no shortage of ways to make things unblockable, and an unstoppable 16/16 Leech barrelling towards me would be so distressing that even reading current monkeypox statistics would calm me down.
is better than .
I'm serious. Assuming you have three land types, you get to look at the top three cards of your library, take two of them, and then the last one goes not to the bottom of your library, but into your graveyard. Grab two cards and put a card with Flashback into the 'yard. Find yourand your . Someone exile your graveyard and then cast ? Screw it, just put all the creatures into your 'yard; it's up to two. Even if you have only two land types, it's still an above-rate instant-speed , and if you have more than three, you're laughing.
This is by far the best black common in the set and you should stock up on these if you get the chance.
My lord, what a disappointing showing this time around! Very few commons and uncommons worth talking about, and the rares mostly seem like bulk. There's maybe three or so cards I'm interested in here, tops, for mono-black. Just bite the bullet and buy youras a single instead of cracking packs for it; trust me, your wallet will be much happier.
What cards in Dominaria United are you looking forward to playing with? Let me know in the comments below, and stay tuned for the rest of our set coverage this week here on Commander's Herald and over at EDHREC!