As Dominaria is the 1st world (also known as plane) where Magic: the Gathering began, it only makes sense that Wizards of the Coast would want to go back to the basics of what makes the game fun. The thought of casting Legendary Creatures who have made their mark in the lore, or having access to any and every spell in its history, are sumptuous to say the least.
But how does that affect power level or playability of precon decks – do too many cooks spoil the broth? We’re here to find that out with a full review of the 2 Dominaria United Commander precon decks. Legends’ Legacy focuses on playing Legendary Creatures and synergy, while Painbow tries to unleash 5 colour spells to outmanoeuvre the opponent.
Before we get started, a quick recap on our rating system:
Power Level: How likely can the deck hold its own and win against the other recent precon decks?
Value: How good is the deck in terms of financial value of reprints, as well as future potential gain?
Upgradability: How easily can this deck be upgraded and optimised with a small budget? A high potential for upgrades will lead to better scores.
Beginner Friendliness: How easily can a beginner pick up and learn the mechanics of the deck?
Table of Contents
Legends’ Legacy Precon Deck
Led by the Planeswalker Commander Dihada, Binder of Wills, Legends Legacy is a red, white, black deck that tries to make the most use of Legendary Permanents and triggers. It’s a fun iteration of the “super friends” deck – think of it as Magic: the Gathering’s own Fellowship of the Ring where you combine different heroes of different backgrounds and traits to eke out a win.
The game plan is quite straightforward. First cast any of the 28 Legendary Creatures in the deck. Next you get Dihada, Binder of Wills onto the Battlefield. Her ability to give a Creature Vigilance, Lifelink and Indestructible for 1 whole turn cycle will be crucial to establishing a presence since any Creature will be able to attack and still protect Dihada (thanks to the Vigilance and Indestructible traits).
This Battlecruiser mode of slowly building up your Legends can be good against other similarly built decks, but might struggle against other decks that like to go wide with dozens of Creature tokens. One or 2 big Legendaries may not be enough to stop a swarm of goblins pounding at your door.
A big part of the strategy also relies on your Commander Dihada staying alive. Without the keyword buffs or her 2nd ability of digging for more Legendary Creatures, your castle will fall apart pretty quickly. From a paper standpoint, the Creatures included in the precon deck also don’t synergise that well with each other.
Before its official release, Legends’ Legacy has a couple of highly-valued cards thanks to perceived potential in Commander and other formats. One of them is Gerrard’s Hourglass Pendant, an Artifact that stops players from going off with a combo for unlimited turns. Since it has Flash, it can catch the opponent by surprise, and as an added-on bonus, can also bring back most of your Permanents to the Battlefield after a board wipe spell like Wrath of God.
The other new, dangerous looking card is Reaver Cleaver, an Equipment with the ability to create Treasure tokens equal to the combat damage dealt to a player. Treasure generators are highly sought after since they allow players to ramp into their combos or finishers much faster, as players have experienced first hand through Dockside Extortionist.
The biggest dollar prize goes to the reprint of Shizo, Death’s Storehouse, a Land that is included in many Commander decks because of its ability to give a Creature Fear (cannot be blocked except by black or Artifact Creatures). It’s only been reprinted once since 2004, so the price has been in the steady $30 region for some time now. That price will likely dip, but it’s a good bet it will still retain value in the long term.
There’s a lot that needs to be done for the Legends’ Legacy precon deck, and that’s a good thing. Its Commander Dihada, Binder of Wills is a good focal point for your Legendaries, but there are better options for the Creatures themselves than what is included in the deck.
Obosh, the Preypiercer will be a nice damage doubler, even if it only affects a segment of your Creatures. Selfless Spirit, while not a Legendary Creature, might be a good way to protect your Creatures in the event of a board wipe. Avacyn’s Memorial could be a good inclusion too, although you will have to weigh the high casting cost over its incredible ability.
Legends’ Legacy checks many boxes for beginner friendliness. Most importantly, the theme is fun and players are introduced to several of the secondary characters of the game such as Krenko, Josu Vess, and Neheb. The deck strategy is also linear and easy to follow, where likely a player will only cast 1 spell a turn until well into the game.
Knowing when to cast and attach Equipments instead of planting another Creature onto the board might confuse new players but they will hardly go wrong one way or the other. Just as Wizards of the Coast had intended, this Dominaria United precon deck is a great entry into either the game or the Commander format.
We’re pleasantly surprised that an offbeat theme revolving around Legendaries can show a high level of fun, without sacrificing too much on competitiveness. Legends’ Legacy has even included a few valuable cards that will entice even some collectors. The deck may find it hard to dominate on the Battlefield, but it’s an absolute win as a gift or for someone who is trying out their 1st Commander game. (4.2 out of 5)
As you’ve already guessed, Painbow is a mix of 2 ideas – dealing pain, and playing the 5-colour rainbow deck. Having access to all 5 colours means any card is eligible for your Commander – Jared Carthalion. Jared is a Planeswalker that can either generate a 3/3, pump Creatures with +1/+1 counters, or return a multi-coloured card from your Graveyard to hand. But does more colours mean better? We’re about to find out.
When we think of 5-colour Commanders, flashing images of Kenrith, the Returned King, and Sisay, Weatherlight Captain haunt many Commander players. Unfortunately, Painbow tries hard to stay close to its 5-colour theme, and thus it can feel very unwieldy to operate. Just to cast out Jared Carthalion on turn 5, you’d need to be lucky enough that all your Lands’ colours don’t overlap.
The deck does have ramp spells such as Cultivate, Kodama’s Reach, and some Lands that tap for any of 3 colours, but in practice it’s not easy to get all 5 colours available by turn 5. While building your Mana base, you might find it hard to cast Creatures as well. Over 50% of the Creatures in the precon deck need 3 colours or more to cast, so while you may have 3 colours available, they might not be the right ones. That’s ultimately the main frustration of 5-colour decks.
When you get Jared Carthalion on the board, that’s when your Creatures can grow really fast, since his -3 ability adds a +1/+1 counter for each colour the targeted Creature belongs to. A 5-colour Creature gets +5/+5 permanently!
It’s still going to be a very slow build up with lots of hiccups, and thus we can’t rate this deck highly in power, even amongst its precon deck peers. While multi-coloured Creatures are cool and scary, they are just as vulnerable to single or mass removal spells as though it were mono coloured.
In terms of reprints, Painbow’s best representative is the Land Crystal Quarry that helps you convert any 5 Mana into 5 different colours. It’s a nice Mana filter that will come into handy in these kind of decks but sadly not much else.
On the bright side, there are a couple of new cards that have broader appeal to the Commander scene. The 1st one is Two-Headed Hellkite that is difficult to cast (5 colours and 1 generic), but it’s a 5/5 Dragon with Flying, Menace, and Haste that pretty much lets you draw 2 cards right away. Expect this to be a new auto-include for The Ur-Dragon Commander. Since Ur-Dragon has always been popular, we expect Two-Headed Hellkite to slowly appreciate over time.
It will be a challenge to find cards that fit into the 5-colour theme, but the good news is that any upgrade should be cheap and easily available as singles from shops.
One key card with an anthem effect is Glass of the Guildpact, which gives all your multicoloured Creatures +1/+1. And since we’re on keyword buffs, Maze Glider is also a fine addition since it gives everyone Flying. It costs 6 but it’s easier on the colour requirements so shouldn’t be that difficult to cast.
Painbow is short of card draw, but Tome of the Guildpact can help with that, letting you draw a card for each multicoloured spell you play. Although the deck has several Instant, Sorceries, and Artifacts that are 1 or fewer colours, you should be able to draw at least a few cards to make this worth your while.
Lastly, some cards in the precon deck are lacklustre for their purposes. Instead of Time Wipe as a mass removal spell, swap it out for Depopulate for a potential card draw. Likewise, instead of Search for Tomorrow with a Suspend trigger, a better option would be Circuitous Route that can search for 2 Lands for 1 extra Mana.
In theory, the more colours in a deck, the more difficult it will be to pilot, since you’re juggling decisions on what Lands to play 1st, and even questions on whether you should keep an opening hand. These factors can make a beginner’s experience more frustrating, and that’s on top or learning the game’s rules and managing a board state with 4 players.
Unless a player gets lucky in their opening hand and early draws, it can quickly become a bad experience when he/she is unable to cast their spells for many, many turns. Our recommendation is to keep this away from beginners, because Captain Planet may sound like a cool concept, but if a player is not ready, the deck is just going to fall flat on Earth.
Painbow struggles in many departments, simply because it tries to stick to its 5-colour theme too closely. Top tier 5-colour decks can already struggle in the Mana fixing process, so much more a precon deck. Jared Carthalion is a nice concept but its demanding casting cost will cause more problems than happiness on the Battlefield.
After playing from Tempest to Urza's Saga block, Ted took a 20 year break from the game before returning to the classic Plane of Dominaria in 2018. His favourite formats are Commander, Draft, and, grudgingly, Standard.