Dominaria is coming, and it will inevitably have a big impact on Standard and other formats like Commander. Now is the time to get ahead of demand and acquire cards that are going to rise in price. That is easier said than done, but the spoiled cards provide some clues that can point us in the right direction. Many of the Dominaria cards spoiled so far care about specific types of cards, and it’s these card types that are an obvious place to focus attention and are the most likely to yield gains.
The biggest theme of Dominaria is legendary cards, including cards like Mox Amber and the legendary sorceries that require a legendary creature or planeswalker in play to function. There are also cards that trigger from “Historic” spells, which includes legendaries and artifacts. That makes the legendary cards already in Standard and beyond a great place to look for specs. There’s also an incentive to look at artifacts, which will be a part of decks using historic, and will support Karn, Scion of Urza, which is one of the most powerful cards spoiled so far.
Dominaria also has some tribal themes, including Wizards, which will be required to make the most of the new quasi-reprints of Lightning Bolt and Counterspell, Wizard's Lightning and Wizard's Retort. There’s a ton of power locked into these spells and cards like Adeliz, the Cinder Wind, with more likely to come, so there’s going to be many players focusing on Wizards in multiple formats, whether it be Standard, Modern, or Commander.
Knight is also one of Dominaria’s featured tribes, so I’d pay special attention to any Knight cards already in Standard. More importantly, there will be a rise in demand for past Knight cards, which will now have the critical mass of support to be featured in a Modern or Commander deck. It will be a stretch for Knights to really be competitive in Modern, but there’s sure to be a surge in players building a Commander deck around the tribe.
What’s exciting about the Knight tribe for Commander is that it was previously very fringe as a tribal deck, compared to a much more popular tribe like Wizards, so past Knight cards will see a relatively larger increase in demand because they are starting from nearly nothing. Today I’ll cover the Knights that will show up in any attempts at Modern decks, and the past Knights that could be worth targeting given the coming rise in Commander demand for them.
For Standard, the vast majority of Knights are Vampires, but I’d imagine that Knight decks aren’t going to care about the Vampire type, so that leaves out the Vampire synergy cards, and I doubt the deck will want black cards because it will need to be Mono-White to take advantage of Benalish Marshal That leaves Paladin of Atonement as the Knight that seems like it has the most to gain, because it could be a solid role-player as an efficient creature. It has synergy with Shefet Dunes, which any Mono-White deck will want to play, but is also just good insurance against opposing aggression.
Knight Exemplar is a lord creature and one of the biggest incentives for actually exploring a Knight tribal deck, so it probably has the most to gain from the tribe being supported in Dominaria. A competitive Modern Knight deck is a huge stretch, but Knight Exemplar would definitely play a part in it.
Another one of the few creatures that names Knight by name is Kinsbaile Cavalier, and it acts as a pseudo-lord that gives Knights double strike.
Knight-Captain of Eos produces Knight tokens, which means it works very well with the anthem effects that are going to play a big role in Knight decks. It might be powerful enough to make it into a Modern Knight deck, and will certainly be played in all of the Commander ones.
The Knight that has the most to offer on its own merits and has seen competitive play is Hero of Bladehold, which is a must-have in any Knight Commander deck and is likely to be a part of any Modern Knight decks.
Student of Warfare has a history of being playable in Extended, and even won a Pro Tour, and it’s the only really good one-drop in the tribe, so it’s the first place I’d look when building a Modern Knight deck.
Knight of the White Orchid has had multiple printings, but it’s the obvious first two-drop of choice for any Modern Knight deck.
The Knight tribe isn’t especially deep, so filling out a Commander Knight deck will require going deep and playing most of the Knights available. Ixalan’s Pirate tribe was even shallower, and as such it greatly increased demand for the few Pirates that were printed in the past, even uninspiring ones. This brought about some spikes in low-supply Pirates from Portal sets, and I could see the same thing happening with Knights. Alaborn Veteran is even halfway useful, so it seems like a good buy.
Champion Lancer is super on-flavor for Knights and has a great picture, and it has a pretty powerful effect when it finally makes it into play, so it’s another card to watch. It already commands a few dollars despite being essentially unheard of.
Lost Order of Jarkeld has a pretty powerful effect for a Commander deck, so this very old card could see its price increase.
No Commander Knight deck will be complete without Zhalfirin Commander, so I could see the foil Timeshifted version from Time Spiral spiking.
The Confluence cycle from Commander 2015 are heavily played in Commander decks and have even made it to Legacy. Righteous Confluence is right at home in a Knight Commander deck, so it’s status as the cheapest Confluence is likely to change.
There are a decent number of multicolor Knights that can be used as Commanders, but there aren’t many options for Mono-White decks, which brings the few that are available to the forefront. The best seems like Balan, Wandering Knight, which highlights that the Knight tribe is likely to include a ton of equipment and related cards. Alternatively, it could use the new Danitha Capashen, Paragon as the commander of an equipment-oriented deck.
Auriok Steelshaper isn’t a Knight itself but acts as an anthem for Knight creatures when it’s equipped, so it’s a perfect fit into an equipment-oriented Knight deck.
Another commander option is Sidar Jabari, which has a solid effect.
A deceptively powerful Knight is Knight of the Holy Nimbus, which is essentially indestructible unless the opponent sinks two mana into it, which taxes removal and makes it play very well in combat. It was great in limited play but never made the jump to constructed, but it seems like a great creature in a dedicated Knight deck, so I foresee its demand going from nothing to something with the release of Dominaria.
Any tribal Knight deck will have multiple anthem effects that boost its Knights, and that makes a creature like Knight of Meadowgrain more desirable, because they help extract more value from its First Strike and Lifelink abilities.
Another playable Knight is Sigiled Paladin, which replaces the Lifelink of Knight of the Meadowgrain with Exalted, which has extra offensive value.
Silverblade Paladin can convert to a ton of extra damage, so it’s a great fit into Knight decks, which are going to be highly aggressive.
Fiendslayer Paladin probably isn’t under consideration for Modern maindecks, but its resilience to black and red spells makes it a great sideboard card against Jund decks, and with lifelink may be even more useful in the Burn matchup.