For the most part, I prefer not to cover legendary creatures at the helm of a deck as soon as they come out, or even as they exist during their run through Standard. I often wonder if I will have much to add to the discussion, as sometimes I find the true heart of a deck once I’m building it out of physical cards and especially when I have time to get to know the cards existing around it.

Obviously I have made exceptions. The Scarab God came to me as an interesting deck that I wanted to see exist. Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca is one of my favorite cards aesthetically, from the art to the frame to the mechanics of the card—something that struck me almost immediately upon seeing it previewed. And the Commander 2017 cards all felt like things I wanted to cover the second previews started.

Dominaria has awoken a similar feeling as C17. No Standard legal set has been this inspiring with its legends to me since Khans of Tarkir injected the format with a new suite of wedge commanders. Today I would like to put a spotlight on the uncommon enemy colored legends from Dominaria, as I believe enemy pairs don’t get enough press and I would like to see more of them. For the less entrenched, this means we’ll be looking at Arvad the Cursed, Adeliz, the Cinder Wind, Slimefoot, the Stowaway, Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker, and Tatyova, Benthic Druid. In a different world I would have loved to see the partner mechanic on these, as I feel they are at the right power level to mix-and-match well with each other, but I get why they can’t put partner in a standard expansion set. They are still promising on their own.

Arvad the Cursed

I’ve spoken in the past about how there have not been many Orzhov legends that inspire me. Arvad the Cursed might break that mold. While the deck mostly builds itself, what I appreciate about Arvad is that he takes a theme only really seen on Day of Destiny and makes it into a creature covering two colors. This allows us the protection and synergy white has with legendary creatures and planeswalkers, combined with the removal and evasion black brings to the table.

To cover the legendary theme, include Heroes’ Podium, Thalia’s Lancers, Tenza, Godo’s Maul, Honor-Worn Shaku, Champion’s Helm, Shizo, Death’s Storehouse, Goryo’s Vengeance, and the new kid on the block, Benalish Honor Guard. But I also believe that this is a good place to inject a planeswalker theme without the deck needing to conform to the skeleton of a Super Friends deck. All of the Gideon cards will get a bonus off of Arvad, Day of Destiny, and Heroes’s Podium. But we can also look to Ajani Steadfast, Call of the Gatewatch, and Djeru, With Eyes Open to play well with our ‘walkers. Sorin, Lord of Innistrad can create an identical emblem to Gideon, Ally of Zendikar; Sorin, Solemn Visitor’s emblem is often overlooked until it’s game winning; and Elspeth, Knight Errant might take some work, but her emblem is worth it.

Finally, in terms of some of my picks to include in my legends deck, I would include Akroma, Angel of Wrath for just being awesome and Athreos, God of Passage to either reclaim creatures or bleed opponents. Konda, Lord of Eiganjo is a powerful late-game beater, Oketra the True pumps out creatures, Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts provides protection, and Yomiji, Who Bars the Way punishes others for removing your stuff. Your experience may vary.

Adeliz, the Cinder Wind

This deck has me a little undecided. It reads as Wizard Tribal, but it wants to be Delver of Secrets deck. Wizards are a pretty popular creature type in Magic, and in red and blue we have a lot of choices, coupled with a wealth of instants and sorceries. I approve of any deck that supports one’s choice to play Docent of Perfection, but this deck doesn’t make a lot of sense in terms of selection of generals.

The biggest issue is that it really wants you to play a lot of spells—which leans towards a storm deck—while at the same time playing creatures with the wizard creature type. This context may mean that spells like Ground Rift, Haze of Rage, and Temporal Fissure could see play, since they would help make an alpha strike more viable. While I believe we’re better off playing this card in the other 99 than at the helm of its own deck, it should be noted that Adeliz and Inalla, Archmage Ritualist are different decks, with Inalla wanting you cast to almost entirely creatures over the healthy mix required with Adeliz.

I believe that a deck using wizards like Baral, Chief of Compliance, Azami, Lady of Scrolls, and Goblin Electromancer to keep your hand full and spells cheap combined with cards like Mindmoil or Teferi’s Puzzle Box might be enough to allow you to storm off with your wizards and eventually alpha strike one or two other players. As I said, I am unsure of this deck and how viable it will really be outside of theorycrafting.

Slimefoot, the Stowaway

Slimefoot almost got its own article. Even considering Vorthos Mike covering the deck recently, I really like the implications of a Fungus/Saproling deck, but don’t know that I would add much to the conversation by dedicating an entire week’s time to filling out the same 40 to 50 cards everyone else would recommend. That said, I don’t know that I pick Slimefoot over Ghave, Guru of Spores if I wanted to build a true Fungus/Saproling deck—though Ghave might end up being a little more Aristocrats-flavored by having access to white. What we can build, however, is a worthwhile tokens bleeder deck. Think Patron of the Nezumi meets Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter.

We’ll want to generate tokens with Thelonite Hermit, Sprout Swarm, Tendershoot Dryad, Fist of Ironwood, Verdant Embrace, and Mycoloth. Then we pump them up with Gaea’s Anthem or Muraganda Petroglyphs.

Utility creatures can be turned into saprolings with Conspiracy, before we start sacrificing to our tokens to Ashnod’s Altar/Utopia Mycon to generate mana, or Razaketh, the Foulblooded to tutor out win conditions like Blood Artist/Falkenrath Noble or Coat of Arms. Psychotrope Thallid, or the new Thallid Soothsayer, can draw tons of cards. Stack on Kothophed, Soul Hoarder/Dark Prophecy for extra cards draw and Wound Reflection for extra damage to our opponents and the deck can win pretty quickly. We’ve all been warned.

If nothing else, when supplied with the right amount of ramp and something like Akroma’s Memorial, Slimefoot, the Stowaway could create an inpenetrable wall of blockers. Golgari decks like this probably exist somewhere out in the Commander ecosystem, but I’ve never faced one.

Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker

Thank you, Wizards. I really like Tiana as a Boros general not locked entirely into combat steps. She brings together themes previously only conceivable in mono-red or mono-white decks like Godo, Bandit Warlord or Kemba, Kha Regent respectively. Being able to combine the efforts of Balan, Wandering Knight, Danitha Capashen, Paragon, Sram, Senior Edificer, and the new Valduk, Keeper of the Flame as multiple second-in-command generals can make for a very potent deck. I think this quality is enough to overlook the fact that Tiana is really more of an enchantment in her own deck.

While still not the enchantress deck I have been longing for since getting into the format, the ability to use spells like Open the Armory, Sigarda’s Aid, Idyllic Tutor, Sram, Senior Edificer, Puresteel Paladin, and Mesa Enchantress in tandem with red does mean that Weapons Trainer, Goblin Gaveleer, Godo, Bandit Warlord, Kazuul’s Toll Collector, Champion of the Flame, and Vulshok Battlemaster could see considerably more play they have ever have in the past. This is another deck where Benalish Honor Guard, Heroes’s Podium, Thalia’s Lancers, and Tenza, Godo’s Maul would likely see a lot of play. That overlap of synergy within a set is pretty nice to see.

In terms of what I would be putting into the deck, Masterwork of Ingenuity is a homerun, as is Angelic Destiny and On Serra’s Wings. For creatures I would include both Odric, Lunarch Marshal and Odric, Master Tactician for affecting combat; along with Auriok Windwalker/Brass Squire, Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer, and Leonin Shikari for playing well with equipment. Toss in Daretti, Scrap Savant for card draw and recursion. Bosh, Iron Golem as an outlet for sacrificing equipment for damage and Faith Healer as a method of turning auras into life. When in doubt, keep Tragic Poet or Restoration Specialist around for instant speed recursion.

Tatyova, Benthic Druid

At first glance, I didn’t know if Tatyova brings anything new to the color combination. If anything I felt one step closer to making my five color The Gitrog Monster deck. But after some reflection and research I realized that no general in Simic really does anything like Tatyova. In fact, she is one of three legends with a landfall ability, along with Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and Omnath, Locus of Rage. With access to Burgeoning, Oracle of Mul Daya, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Rites of Flourishing, Kiora, the Crashing Wave, and Wayward Swordtooth we could ramp out lands without losing hand size thanks to Tatyova’s redraw.

But unless we’re digging for Chasm Skulker, Lorescale Coatl, or Psychosis Crawler, what is our end game? Then I remembered Jace’s Erasure and Sphinx’s Tutelage. Suddenly Excavation plus Splendid Reclamation sounds amazing.

Unfortunately, my hypothetical deck is the aforementioned cards, Long-Term Plans, Alhammarret’s Archive, Aetherflux Reservoir, Reminisce/Feldon’s Cane, Genesis Wave and upwards of seventy lands to make a highly repeatable mill deck. Now, I for one happen to love any chance I can get to mill out the table in a format where it’s thought to be impossible, but I don’t know if you get invited back to your playgroup after that. There is likely something more interactive to do with this deck, but I think Tatyova might be best in the other 99.

The wealth of new legends coming to us from Dominaria is infectious. Not only will it support Brawl really well out of the gate, but it makes for really budget friendly generals who can be someone’s first from-scratch Commander deck if they are jumping into the format from a pre-constructed deck. I hope that at least one or two of my pitched ideas might inspire someone to flesh out an entire idea. Let me know if that person is you. Until next time, thanks all!

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH, the story of Magic and the EDH community in his down time. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.
Pet Deck – Shattergang Eldrazi

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