Welcome back to another week of Commander theorycrafting and consequently more Dominaria talk. Last week I covered the cycle of uncommon legendary creatures in the enemy pairs, and as of Thursday I was content with leaving the topic there. I think enemy pairs in general should get more love—seriously Wizards, where are our enemy colored Battle Lands or Cycling Duals? But these uncommon legends are too sweet to skip over, so here we are.

Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage

Raff is possibly my favorite general of this bunch, though another strong contender exists further down this list. As previously stated on this website, Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage is the Shimmer Myr we never knew we wanted as a general. What I love about Raff is just how open ended he look, but my gut says this deck could play a lot like a color-shifted version of Captain Sisay. I envision a stack of 99 legendary cards that substitutes the general being able to toolbox for any answers by using blue and white’s ability to find artifacts, along with the card draw inherit to the color identity to find its cache of acceptable answers. This means we will have to keep a wider band of utility spells available; but it they happen to be historic, we have a Vedalken Orrery on hand.

The right combination of historical spells to harness here is hard to pin down, as it might really come down to preferences and play style. But the relatively untested sagas are one subset of cards I might have some interest in leveraging, along with the two legendary sorceries, Karn’s Temporal Sundering and Urza’s Ruinous Blast as huge effects not meant to be done outside of your turn. From there, flashing in planeswalkers like Venser the Sojourner or Tezzeret the Seeker is a fantastic plan to keep them safe and progress our game by resetting things like sagas or tinkering out artifacts respectively. With enough time, I think this can become one of the noteworthy legends to come out of this set, even if just in a Peasant Commander variant.

Rona, Disciple of Gix

I wish I could easily see what a Rona, Disciple of Gix deck looks like. Keeping in mind that not all legendary creatures are meant to see play in Commander, I accept that she doesn’t really seem to be worth all the hoops in a singleton format, let alone as a general. But the weird thing is, she seemingly doesn’t have a purpose in Limited or Standard either, highlighting a problem Zach Barash pointed out while I was trying to do some research: Blue/Black signposts uncommons have a history of being underwhelming.

But you might want to play Rona anyway. If so, I would want to build something around her flavor as a zealot of the long-forgotten Phyrexians by making something that plays well with stuff like Phyrexian Metamorph and Phyrexian Juggernaut. Yeah this is probably going to involve Infect. Even on theme, it would be smart to mine the Esper shard and Kaladesh for anything fitting well within her color identity that wants artifacts to matter. By incorporating cards like Master of Etherium, Foundry Inspector, Etherium Sculptor, and Chief of the Foundry we can make our exiled spells better coming into play and as they sit on the battlefield. Finally, we can take game enders like Wurmcoil Engine, Inkwell Leviathan, and Blightsteel Colossus to make for something that plays well, even if Rona ends up as more of an easily recast enchantment for our deck.

Garna, the Bloodflame

Rakdos is not really my color identity. I don’t often understand the tactics the decks employ, and tools that are widely available in the color combination are often beyond my comprehension. It should be no surprise that staring at Garna, the Bloodflame and not knowing where to even begin was my first instinct. In the end this proved to be easier than mapping out Rona, as in reality Garna is a more useful Dragonlord Kolaghan, offering your creatures haste and while doing something else relevant within Commander. While I suggest reading my article on Kolaghan, I will summarize the elements I would carry over from that deck and save everyone the experience of reading my very early writing.

I think having enchantments like Onslaught and Uphill Battle on hand is still a good call. With all of our creatures having haste, it’s smart to clear a path wherever we might want to go. This makes token makers like Siege-Gang Commander, Abhorrent Overlord, or Descent of Dragons really powerful for surprise attacks, while also supplying bodies that can be returned if you find yourself casting Damnation or Blasphemous Act.

This is the point where I divert from the plan that had been laid out for Kolaghan, as Garna’s enter the battlefield ability is something we can build around. Being able to a return a creature we exploited to Sidisi, Undead Vizier, sacrificed to Altar of Dementia, or milled with Mesmeric Orb is very powerful. Turning attention to the support Wizards included in Dominaria, I was first inspired by Keldon Raider, reminding me that spells like Faithless Looting will play well with this deck. But it was Jaya Ballard and by extension Daretti, Scrap Savant who make me believe that a reliable method of sending creatures to our graveyard paired with a method of blinking like Conjurer’s Closet could keep the card advantage going and make this a viable deck.

Hallar, the Firefletcher

In Hallar I see a very powerful general, maybe the best of this group in the right build. Where Raff was very open-ended, I find Hallar, the Firefletcher to have half of the deck already built for you. This is not a bad problem to have for players looking for some direction. We want to lean hard on our spells being able to be kicked, which isn’t an insane hoop to jump through. I imagine most people would rather have Burst Lightning or Shivan Fire over Lightning Bolt anyway. But it might be harder for people to forsake their Mind Stone or Hedron Archive for an Everflowing Chalice, since you lose the ability to draw extra cards when the mana is no longer as useful.

Scrolling through Scryfall, it was easy to see the usefulness of cards like Breath of Darigaaz and Canopy Surge in a deck where we’re looking to kick spells often; but it was Comet Storm and Molten Disaster that really got the gears the turning. X spells are very promising if we have the ability to make large swaths of mana. Since I had already been down this road before with Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix and Tana, the Bloodsower, it was not hard to see that a saproling package paired with Mana Echoes could make ending the game with a large X spell very possible. There even exist some overlap with the rest of the theme of the deck, as Verdeloth, the Ancient and Saproling Migration want you to kick them, and Saproling Symbiosis wants you to have a flooded board and plenty of mana on hand.

From there we use Death’s Presence, Strength of the Tajuru, and Hunger of the Howlpack to supercharge Hallar’s triggered ability so that when we do kick a spell, it will bring all our opponents’ life totals down steadily.

Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy

What might a deck look like if your general was Beast of Burden, but slightly better equipped to handle multiple opponents? That was the question I had to ask myself as I looked for something to do with Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy. The easy answer is build a new player-friendly version of Rhys, the Redeemed with plenty of tokens of all shapes and sizes, but with the endgame of equipping Shanna with Whispersilk Cloak or Canopy Cover to knock players out with commander damage instead of simply casting Overrun. But that sounds like Hallar, so I ask myself what can Selesnya do that Gruul can’t as easily?

The logical answer is mass token-making and -pumping shenanigans, even without them needing to share a creature type. Where Verdeloth or Nemata, Grove Guardian can supply us with saprolings for synergy, Avenger of Zendikar can make us an army of plant tokens that Huatli, Radiant Champion or Jazal Goldmane will make great use of of. While not terribly complex, I appreciate that Shanna—and many of the “build-around” uncommons of Dominaria—exist in a zone akin to what I liked about many of the legends coming out of Kamigawa block. She is a direction without being a full plan that only works one way. Maybe you take her pseudo-hexproof ability as a jumping off point to build EDH Boggles, or maybe you just take Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice out of the command zone in favor of Shanna.

With so many legends coming to us out of Dominaria, this seems like a golden time to be a Commander player or get into Brawl. While I imagine that I will get to diving into the rare or mythic legends at some point, I hope this dive into the less complex legends will inspire players to keep them in mind when they are looking to build their next deck. I will be seeing you all very soon, as my next article will be my review of Avengers Infinity War, which will likely be out earlier in the week. 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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