Review and Upgrade Guide
Legends Legacy

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Legends Never Die

… is the old saying, right? This is Foxglovelass, a legendary creature themselves, bringing you a review of the Dominaria United preconstructed deck ‘Legends Legacy’. Dominaria United features two preconstructed decks this time around, with Legends Legacy being the Mardu-coloured (white, black, red) deck with a heavy legend theme. This deck can be a great choice if you enjoy playing iconic Magic legendary cards from a wide range of previous sets – or perhaps some of the legends new to this deck.

If you categorise yourself as a Vorthos like I do (a Vorthos is a player who enjoys the flavour and creativity of Magic, and may be heavily invested in the art, story, and how those are expressed through the cards) you might really get a kick from the strange and wonderful situations that can arise while playing these iconic characters.

The default commander of the deck is Dihada, Binder of Wills, an ancient demonic planeswalker of Dominaria with a tendency to enslave or corrupt notable characters to do her bidding – notably Sol’Kanar (printed recently in Dominaria United) and Dakkon Blackblade (printed recently in Modern Horizons 2) became pawns in her schemes.

Lore-wise Dihada is a conniving villain who may or may not currently be plotting something big in the multiverse – and that’s why I feel she’s a wonderful choice for a commander in Dominaria United leading a host of powerful legends that she has bent to her control.

Finally, Dihada has business with the Carthalion line, the progenitor of whom she manipulated, which is fitting as Jared Carthalion and his descendant Jenson Carthalion lead the other Dominaria United Commander deck, ‘Painbow’. Mechanically, Dihada’s +2 can buff a legendary creature with keywords until your next turn which allows her to protect herself by granting boons of power to a character (on-theme with her lore interactions with Dakkon).

Vigilance, indestructible and lifelink are a powerful combination which should allow you to attack recklessly while simultaneously keeping back an indestructible blocker that simultaneously generates life. Her -3 allows you to find more legendaries to power your schemes or create resources (treasure) to fuel them (note here that putting the legends to hand is optional if you really want that treasure to ramp you, or if you want a legend in the graveyard). Finally, her -11 threatening to steal almost everything can represent a massive game-ending challenge for your opponents to overcome.

The back-up commander for this deck is Shanid, Sleepers’ Scourge, a paranoid knight out on a quest to rid Dominaria of Phyrexian sleeper agents (but often persecuting innocents instead). Shanid shares the legend theme synergy with Dihada, granting passive menace to your legendary creatures and generating card draw whenever you play a legendary land or cast a legendary spell at the cost of a life. Although Menace can be useful to push extra damage in, and card draw is (almost) never a bad thing, Shanid does comparatively little to actively advance your game plan when compared to Dihada and in my opinion may be better served in the 99 than at the helm of the deck. Shanid’s benefits are also very much dependent on him staying on the battlefield, whereas Dihada has a bit more range in how she interacts with the board and graveyard.

A third potential commander in the deck is Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, a transgender woman and the last khan of the ancient Mardu Horde. Alesha focusses on returning creatures with power 2 or less from the graveyard to play attacking. She is clearly not intended to be a commander in this deck but claims the right by technically meeting the colour requirements – there are only 11 targets for her ability in the preconstructed deck. I would therefore not advise playing with Alesha as the commander unless you want to drastically rebuild this deck.

The deck represents ten exciting new cards and also a bunch of first-time reprints. New cards to look forward to include Cadric, Soul KindlerThe Reaver Cleaver and Gerrard’s Hourglass Pendant.

Cadric copying a Dihada for a free -3 is an exciting and unexpected play. Some most exciting reprints I’m looking forward to are Shizo, Death’s StorehouseDay of DestinySword of the Chosen and Ashling the Pilgrim.

Themes of the Deck

Legends Matter

Because both primary commanders care a lot about legendary cards, this is the major overarching theme of the deck. We want to prioritise having legendary cards over non-legendary cards so that Dihada and Shanid can be more effective.

The default deck contains 28 creatures, 17 artifacts, 1 enchantment, 7 instants, 7 sorceries and 39 lands (excluding Dihada as the planeswalker commander).

Of these, 45 are legendary (28 creatures, 10 artifacts, 1 enchantment, 2 sorceries and 4 lands). That means that Dihada’s -3 is on average hitting 1.8 legendary cards that may be returned to hand (remember this is optional). Similarly, Shanid will generate an additional card for just under half of the cards in our deck.

There are also 19 other cards in the deck excluding Dihada and Shanid which care about whether another card is legendary for a particular reason (such as Day of DestinyThe Peregrine Dynamo and Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth).

Going Wide

This theme represents cards that synergise with developing a board state representing a large number of threats. This is broadly split into two sub-categories in this deck – token generators like Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin, Zeriam, Golden Wind (which may initially seem weak but exponentially increases in value as your griffins keep growing) and Josu Vess, Lich Knight paired with effects that grant all of your creatures a bonus so that all of your legendary creatures and/or tokens each represent a threat in and of themselves, such as Heroes’ Podium, Jazal Goldmane and Odric, Lunarch Marshal.

The token generators generally greatly benefit from these anthems or similar effects, particularly cards like Krenko which can generate a lot more tokens. Sixteen cards loosely fall into this category.

Going Tall

The deck also has eight cards that play more towards building sizable individual threats, usually by buffing a single creature. Blackblade Reforged, Sword of the Chosen and Shizo, Death’s Storehouse are good examples of these cards.

These effects may be particularly relevant in combination with the keywords associated with or granted to the creature you are buffing – Dihada’s +2 in particular can be highly relevant here.

Resurrection, Revival and Sweeper Protection

We have five cards invested in graveyard shenanigans in this deck. I’ve seen some people complain that there should be more given how neatly Dihada’s -3 lines up with a self-mill reanimator strategy, and although I agree that this could be an interesting way to build the deck, I hesitate to lean strongly into these styles of decks as they are very weak to graveyard interaction and drawing the right combination of cards. I think five cards are more than enough for me in a precon, and I look forward to playing with Moira, Urborg HauntTeshar, Ancestor’s Apostle and Bladewing, Deathless Tyrant (the last of which doesn’t really reanimate but does leverage creatures in your graveyard).

This category is also related to another – that of Sweeper Protection which includes four cards (plus Dihada’s +2 ability). That’s a lot more protection than I’m used to in a precon and quite welcome given how pivotal sweepers can be in Commander. Being able to effectively save at least some of my board when everybody else loses theirs can end a game.

Card Draw and Filtering

There are eight pieces of card draw/advantage in the deck as well as Dihada’s -3 (which as stated above can generate an average of ~1.8 cards). That’s a fair bit of value for a mardu deck, particularly when one takes into account the commander does so too. To add to this, we have five pieces of filtering (discarding cards to draw the same number of cards for a net equal exchange or lower) which also synergise with our reanimation subtheme.

Although it’s difficult to say what number of card draw or filtering is correct, I do like the numbers in this deck. Cards I’m most excited for in this category are Night’s WhisperMikokoro, Center of the Sea and Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion.

Keyword Soup

Dihada grants three very strong keywords to the champion she corrupts. Vigilance can be an outstanding keyword in commander, allowing one to attack with impunity while simultaneously holding back a blocker – an indestructible blocker in this case. That can be a lot to deal with, especially when lifelink means both attacking and blocking are helping you stay alive, particularly when Dihada is likely drawing enemy attacks.

But wait, there’s more! If you have Odric, Lunarch Marshal out, your whole team gets this boost! In addition, there are a few legendary creatures included in the deck which seem to be in here primarily due to the keywords they contain. In particular, Verrak, Warped Sengir has a bunch of great keywords for Odric (note his last ability cannot actually be activated in this precon as built), and Zetalpa, Primal Dawn represents a devastating finisher, particularly if paired with Odric.

This can be a very fun way to end games with this deck and a fun minigame too – see how many different keywords you can stack up in a single game!

Rocks and Ramp

This precon features ten mana rocks (Fellwar Stone and Honor-Worn Shaku being excellent reprints) or ramp cards (looking at you, Captain Lannery Storm). But again, this is another theme our commander also accomplishes! For every card Dihada puts into our graveyard with her -3, she grants us a treasure. That means we can use her +2 to keep her alive for a turn, then follow up the next turn with a -3 to ramp into a huge threat like Zetalpa! This is an essential category for an up-to-date commander deck and one that is pretty exciting for our commander to help out with again.

Removal and Board Wipes

There are five premium targeted removal spells in the deck, which is a bit on the low side, but does include favourites like Wear // TearBedevil and the sad epilogue of Odric’s tale, Hero’s Downfall. Great to have here, though I would feel a bit more comfortable with a few more slots dedicated to this role. We also have three sweepers though two are conditional – Urza’s Ruinous Blast (now with new art!), Ashling the Pilgrim and Kaya’s Wrath.

Note that Dihada can protect Ashling for maximum recurring ruination with her +2 granting indestructible, while the granted lifelink means I hope you’re ready for some quick maths to add greatly to your life total. Dihada granting indestructible can also allow one of our creatures to live through Kaya’s Wrath.

Urza’s Ruinous Blast can represent a theoretically one-sided wipe that also takes out mana rocks but requires a legendary creature. 

Lands

Thirty-nine lands is a lot for Commander, but I generally like running high on my land counts anyway so I’m a big fan of this. Three of these lands are also bounce-lands, which represent additional value. Unfortunately not a lot of the lands are legendary despite Shanid’s ability, but these lands normally come at a premium anyway. I’m extremely happy to see Shizo, Death’s Storehouse here, and the newly-reprinted painlands of Caves of Koilos and Battlefield Forge are fine additions. I’m not a huge fan of Reliquary Tower in decks like these which don’t seem to do a lot of card draw, but my first game of the deck resulted in my having a fist full of eleven cards with the Tower down so I probably shouldn’t besmirch it. 

Graveyard Hate

We have only a single card (Bojuka Bog) in this category, and although I am grateful for it I would definitely look to improve this number if I were planning to upgrade this deck as graveyard strategies are highly prevalent. What is nice with this solution is the synergy with the bounce-lands like Rakdos Carnarium which can be used to trigger the effect later in the game again.

It’s Time for an Upgrade

After a few games with this precon you may want to look at some potential upgrades. I’ve seen some advice to turn this deck into a reanimator build, using Dihada to dump large creatures in the bin and generate treasures that can be used in the same turn to reanimate these targets.

Although there is some merit to this approach, I’m not personally a huge fan as I generally favour commanders that synergise more with reanimation for an approach like this and feel they are susceptible to being countered badly by graveyard hate. Dihada can bypass these by using the treasures to ramp out the big creatures from hand instead, but I’d personally rather lean in to the main theme of the deck as is – legends matter. There aren’t a lot of cards that care if another permanent is legendary and I feel Legends Legacy provides an excellent excuse to gather them all together in a single place.

I may be somewhat biassed – my cEDH deck is a Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful + Jeska, Thrice Reborn deck that also cares about legendaries  – but I do feel that at the very least even if you do decide to work on another theme for this deck the legend count can always be improved.

To add to the cards in the deck that care about other cards being legends, I would consider adding Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful, Ratadrabik of Urborg, Helm of the Host, Kaya the InexorableMox Amber, Untaidake, the Cloudkeeper, Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep, Eiganjo Castle, Plaza of Heroes and the legendary sorceries Yawgmoth’s Vile Bargain and Jaya’s Immolating Inferno. I feel each of these cards add quite a bit to the flavour of the deck by caring about the legendary supertype.

Ratadrabik also aligns with our sweeper protection and reanimation synergies, and Kaya doubles up as sweeper protection or removal as well as eventual reanimation.

Mox Amber is a premier mana rock which Dihada can hit with her -3 and Yawgmoth’s Vile Bargain doubles up on removal, reanimation and a Dihada target.

Unfortunately Yawgmoth’s Vile Bargain and Jaya’s Immolating Inferno have yet to receive updated art so they probably won’t make my lists as I try to play without Noah Bradley art, but I am quite pleased that in the main deck the other two legendary sorceries (Urza’s Ruinous Blast and Primeval’s Glorious Rebirth) have been updated.

Untaidake is an Ancient Tomb with the limitation of only being usable on legendary spells but is itself also legendary so Dihada can find it, and Shinka and Eiganjo Castle complete the legendary land cycle from Champions of Kamigawa as legends that grant keywords to legendary creatures.

Plaza of Heroes is a great new addition from Dominaria United that can mana fix two different ways or be sacrificed to protect a legendary creature.

Then there is a category of cards that can enhance or protect our commander, and are therefore worth consideration if you are focussing on the deck with Dihada at the helm.

These include Lae’zel, Vlaakith’s Champion, Mila, Crafty Companion // Lukka, Wayward Bonder, Semester’s End, Luxior, Giada’s Gift and The Chain Veil.

Lae’zel and Mila can add extra counters to Dihada, Semester’s End can protect her or recharge counters in a pinch, Giada’s Gift can make Dihada avoid attacks by creatures (though she does become susceptible to creature removal, yet can also target herself with her +2 to become indestructible), and giving Dihada the Chain Veil means one can easily chain +2 into -3 to protect her and generate card advantage or treasures (or even multiple +2s to race for a game-winning ultimate).

I mentioned how graveyard hate is an area the precon could perhaps improve on – cards like Liesa, Forgotten Archangel, Tymaret, Chosen from Death, Anguished Unmaking, and Kaya, Orzhov Usurper may be worth consideration here.

And then a catch-all category to investigate would be legendary upgrades to cards already in the deck – that is, switching out non-legendary cards for legendary counterparts that fill a similar role. 

This would include cards like Sword of the Animist as an aggressive ramp spell that also works with going tall, Embercleave as an excellent aggressive finisher with good keywords, The Meathook Massacre as a terrifying sweeper (note that Dihada can’t protect our creatures from this but the X is variable), Oath of Kaya as a cheap removal spell that is findable by Dihada, The Celestus as a legendary mana rock with filtering enabled, the Neon Dynasty legendary land cycle of Takenuma, Abandoned Mire, Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire and Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance as untapped legendary lands with upside, Kher Keep as a colourless legendary land that can produce blockers at instant speed, and Flagstones of Trokair as a pseudo-Plains with the legend supertype.

While we’re fixing the mana base, the usual inclusion of fetchlands, shocklands (Godless Shrine, Sacred Foundry and Blood Crypt), triomes (here Savai Triome) and multiplayer lands (Spectator Seating, Vault of Champions and Luxury Suite) would greatly benefit this deck but are not always possible.

What to take out would depend a lot on what one is able to substitute in. I feel this is always a rather subjective thing to do, but particularly so here in a deck leveraging legendaries with a wide variety of flavours fitting into several different themes. It may be wise to trim on themes that are undesirable or unlikely to land often, like keyword soup inclusions, or to try to keep the overarching categories more or less similar while substituting cards within a category (such as removing a Commander’s Sphere for a The Celestus).

I hope that the suggestions above provide some contributions that guide your own decision for what kind of legacy you want your legends to leave. 

Happy brewing, and be sure to let us know what you think about the deck on Twitter or elsewhere.