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Upgrading the Legends' Legacy Precon


One of the things I absolutely love the most about the latest Magic: The Gathering set Dominaria United is just how many old characters are making glorious returns. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was seeing the Legends Retold series I've been gushing about, but also classic characters like Braids, Ertai, and Rith showing up. Many of these were faces I remember growing up with and getting to see them back again just blew my mind. Even better, some of the characters that have come back are far deeper in their lore.

Jodah is one of the face cards of the set now and one of its primary story characters, but he hadn't had a card for several decades despite showing up in several Magic books over the years. Astor, a character long thought dead and a notable figure in early stories including the original Invasion block, made a showing here as well. We even got a Greensleeves card finally after nearly 30 years without one, as she was the main character of some of the game's very first novels, appropriately nicknamed "The Greensleeves Trilogy." Two of the ones who surprised me the most, however, were Jared Carthalion and Dihada, Binder of Wills.

You see, both of these were critical characters to some of the earliest Magic stories told through the comic books printed throughout the 90s. Jared was a character who sought revenge against the dark planeswalker Ravidel for destroying his family and nearly bringing Dominaria and the multiverse to ruin. Geyadrone Dihada, meanwhile, was a dark sorceress planeswalker who traveled the worlds to seek new pawns in her grand schemes - ensnaring the likes of Dakkon Blackblade and Sol'kanar the Swamp King to her will. Both ended up clashing in the events of the Planeswalker War - a grand event we never truly got to see that ended just prior to the first invasion of Dominaria. Now we see them once more again on Dominaria in the present day thanks to Dominaria United.

In truth, I had hoped we'd be seeing some closure to the unseen Planeswalker War. Instead, what we got was a small side story (possibly setting up to a greater conflict later on) and two great preconstructed decks. I'm going to be talking about upgrading both of them, but today I would like to focus on Dihada's. Dihada, Binder of Wills is the face commander of the Legends' Legacy precon. This deck is absolutely stuffed full of legends and sweet stuff - all perfect pawns for the great Geyadrone Dihada! Let's see what the initial precon list looks like first!

Legends' Legacy Precon | Commander | Wizards of the Coast

Over the last year, it's pretty safe to say that Wizards has just been absolutely knocking it out of the park with their Commander precons. With some rare exceptions, they've been an astounding delight to pick up and play with. This one, with a wide range of legends at its disposal, is certainly not one of those exceptions. It's a really sweet deck that features a plethora of great cards and excellent options for both new and veteran players alike to enjoy.

After all, one of the joys of Commander is the appeal of the legendary creatures. Many of these represent characters that we've come to love in some form or fashion. Even the ones that get awesome cards but never really actually show up in any actual stories get their own sorts of stories and fan mythos spun just because of how cool cards are. Remember The Will of Zedruu? Anybody? As such, there's truly something that virtually everyone can love here. Old players get to see familiar favorites like Alesha, Ashling, and even Bladewing while newer players can get to meet them for the first time.

Ashling the Pilgrim
Bladewing, Deathless Tyrant
Odric, Lunarch Marshal

What's great about this deck is that the selection is by and large pretty damn solid. The usual mana base issues aside, it plays great out of the box and really has something for everyone. It's hard to argue that anyone looking to play with a nice, solid, aggressive-leaning legend-filled Commander deck is going to have a bad time here. I'd happily grab this, sleeve it up, and play with some friends almost as is because by and large the selection's just that great. But I think we can make some improvements, and that's just what an upgrade article like this is for. Let's see what we've got!

Legends' Legacy Revamped | Commander | Paige Smith

As I obviously just gushed about above, the selection of legends is phenomenal. You could easily make an argument that just about every one of these has a place somewhere here and I'd go with it. There are definitely some, though, that I think are pretty solid misses here. I admittedly am not a big fan of some of these newer legends myself. Cards like Verrak, Warped Sengir and Zeriam, Golden Wind just seem weak and boring. Bladewing, Deathless Tyrant is cool and all, but do we really need a seven-mana dragon that spits out a bunch of tokens? I'm not really feeling it myself, though it's a great inclusion at the precon level to appeal to newer players.

The problem I end up having is just how many cards feel so unnecessarily top-heavy and yet do so little. Josu Vess, Lich Knight is super boring on his own and is only good if you can kick him. The problem is, you need so much mana that getting to that point is almost unrealistic. It's also unlikely you'll often hit Zetalpa, Primal Dawn at a mighty eight mana. Even Kothophed, Soul Hoarder feels bloated and unnecessary. It's like the whole top end is virtually unnecessary and by extension the need for quite so many mana rocks, cost reducers, and even lands - of which the precon has 39. I know some people like that, but this deck has the look of a much lower to the ground aggro Commander build vibe to it and I think it's perfectly acceptable to shave one or two of those lands and cut the top of the curve a little bit.

Verrak, Warped Sengir
Sword of the Chosen
The Circle of Loyalty

Some of the cards are just outright bad as well. Why is Thrill of Possibility here? Faithless Looting's whatever, but going so deep on discard feels weird with so few reanimation effects. Kari Zev, Skyship Raider is a terribly dull card in Commander unless you manage to stick a Heroes' Podium or something. Sword of the Chosen - a card I very much loved as a kid when legends were truly sparse - is just downright pointless nowadays in a deck like this. Tajic is somewhat bland and Bell Borca is weird and confusing. There's also The Circle of Loyalty which is meant to get cheaper for every knight you have yet the deck has so few actual knights you're usually going to be playing it at full cost.

So, I started looking through the list of legends for apt replacements. Weirdly, despite calling out the lack of reanimation and knights, I ended up including a bit of both into the list. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar spits out knight tokens regularly. Even though The Circle of Loyalty can go really crazy with how many tokens you can spit out in a turn, Gideon's much more consistent, easier to cast, and does other things as well. Similarly, adding the likes of Feldon of the Third Path and Chainer, Nightmare Adept lends to some direct reanimator-style effects while Ravos, Soultender gets them back to your hand. I like to run this less as justifying discard effects and rather as a way to utilize your creatures tying naturally in an aggro setting.

Other excellent inclusions would be Queen Marchesa (long may she reign) who can get the monarch into the game, get you card advantage, and some tokens if it's stolen away. There's also Olivia Voldaren who you can utilize to steal your opponents' creatures away. Aurelia, the Warleader is the one true top end I added in, however it's well worth it when she closes games out on her own handily. Gonti, Lord of Luxury's absence in the deck felt weird as it's a relatively affordable legend with a super cool effect. I have to imagine this was part of the whole sort of Spelltable effect where it's not so fun to try doing Gonti things over a webcam, but it's still a great and easy addition here.

Chainer, Nightmare Adept
Queen Marchesa

There were also some other excellent utility options that were put in too. Vindicate makes for a much better version of Mortify any day of the week and is easy enough to get your hands on that it should be a very simple upgrade. Other forms of removal would be the likes of Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile - both absent from the precon list - and the repeatable Profane Procession. Damn is also a great addition as it either goes a little more pointed or can go wide in a pinch. You should also absolutely include the very affordable Weatherlight to find all of your legendary permanents and fill up your hand while beating your opponents' faces.

What you end up with at the end of the day either way, though, is a wonderfully flavorful deck to play with your friends. Dihada herself admittedly feels a little weird in Mardu colors being notoriously Grixis in the past, but this still feels like you're manipulating pawns to do your bidding. And that bidding is bringing all your enemies to their knees. There're many other great legends you can include in here and these are merely a couple of the additions that stood out to me. Whatever additions you personally end up making, you're sure to have a good time at your next Commander night. Which legends will you add for your list?

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

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