Dominaria Limited Guide (Part 2)
Welcome to Part 2 of my Dominaria Guide! I am going to jump right into each color and go over the Bombs and best common/uncommon cards for each.
I am only going to include cards in the ‘Bomb’ sections if they are better than any common or uncommon in the set. These three fit the bill for White, although Shalai does require you to be in GW for it to reach bomb status. My favorite here is Lyra Dawnbringer, but try not to get too disappointed when she gets eviscerated or turned into a wall. Dominaria has common answers to many of its biggest threats.
White has some very good uncommons at its disposal. I was actually somewhat conflicted between Baird, Kwende, Sanctum Spirit, Triumph of Gerard, and Dauntless Bodyguard, so the list could go even deeper. My favorites are the bottom three shown above. Serra Angel is a card I always want to be playing, and her enchantment admittedly sets up a 2-for-1 but is well worth the risk. Seal Away is one of the best removal spells in the set and can often be a 2-for-1 against enchanted creatures or pump spells. The first strike on Danitha/Knight of Grace can be really frustrating to play against. Speaking of frustrating, the tax Baird provides often buys you a lot of time to develop your board, and 2/4 vigilance is a surprisingly great body in this set.
Adamant Will is a trick to be on the lookout for in this set. Be wary about casting your removal when your opponent has 1W untapped, especially in combat. I am a huge fan of Pegasus Courser and Call the Cavalry, and the two removal spells are very solid. T(r)apper is a bit of a build around because you don’t want your 3-drops dying to bears, but if you have many ways to trigger the ability it is an awesome card. Altogether I think White is middle of the pack when it comes to ranking the colors.
None by definition, but I was tempted to include Time of Ice and In Bolas’s Clutches in this section (see below). I want to reserve this section for cards that are better than any common/uncommon and there are enough notable uncommons that I cannot justify any promotions.
As I mentioned above, Time of Ice and In Bolas’s Clutches are phenomenal uncommon cards. Time of Ice works best in an Aggro deck, while Clutches gets the most done in Control. Merfolk Trickster is one of many good flash creatures in this set. You really need to be on the lookout for your opponent baiting you to attack into cards like this. Taking away abilities like flying or first strike after attackers are declared can be devastating. Lastly, Tetsuko is a really interesting build around card. Notice it reads 1 power or toughness, so you can really push some unblockable damage through with certain cards. You might be thinking ‘poor Blue’ at this point. No bombs and only four notable uncommons? Luckily for Blue players the color is stacked at common.
While it is sometimes clunky to include in your deck, the Arcane Flight/Cold-Water Snapper combo is really obnoxious so I felt compelled to include it. The rest of the cards are all really solid, and Cloudreader Sphinx and Academy Journeymage are standouts. Blink of an Eye and Syncopate are two cards you should definitely be aware of in this format and play around if possible. Deep Freeze works best when you are playing flyers but is worth including most of the time due to taking away key abilities in addition to demoting something to Wall status. Overall I like how deep Blue is at common and I am happy to draft it.
The Demonlord is pretty awesome, generating value even if your opponent has an answer to its 6/6 flying/trample body. Scriptures is the only ‘Wrath’ effect in Dominaria and I like that it saves one of your creatures even though sometimes your opponent will have Artifact creatures of their own. The 10 mana cost may seem insane on Josu Vess, but I have been able to pay it several times in BG decks and it is an epic finisher. Having a ‘downside’ of a 2BB 4/5 menace makes it a clear bomb in my opinion.
Similarly to Blue there are only four notable uncommons here, but all of them are good, and Black also really shines at common. The standouts are Cast Down and The Eldest Reborn, both of which are great first picks. I thought about including Yargle, Glutton of Urborg as well (vanilla 9/3 Legendary Creature for 4B) but he only works in certain decks. If you need more historic cards or have a means to provide evasion his value goes up, but Yargle is not always a good card to draft.
The common removal suite of Eviscerate, Fungal Infection, and Vicious Offering is the main reason I am really high on Black in this format. The other three are efficient creatures that each provide value in their own way. There are other commons that are more situationally good as well, but I think these six cards are the most solid for any deck.
Both of these cards should put you in Red. Verix Bladewing is a great deal whether you can pay the kicker or not, and Siege-Gang Commander is even better. Being able to put (eventually) 8 damage wherever you want means that opponents must kill the Commander, but even if they are able to you still get 3 goblins out of the trade. These are two of the very best rares in the set.
The three damage spells are your best options, but I am also pretty high on Valduk. He is definitely a safer bet than Champion of the Flame, but I have won enough games with Champion to include it here too. Attaching anything to either of them ends the game pretty quickly unless your opponent has a clean answer. Skizzik is fine, often taking your opponent by surprise since there is very little haste in Dominaria.
This is where things get really ‘meh’ for Red. Shivan Fire is the only great card here. Run Amok is another combat trick you need to be aware of in this set as it can be a blowout. I think it is significantly better than (Sure Strike) the typical Red trick due to the trample getting damage through while still protecting the creature you cast it on. Keldon Raider is a fine card but the 2RR cost gets annoying when you are just trying to splash Red, and Ghitu Chronicler is okay but really only shines in the UR Wizards deck.
Multani is one of the best rares in the set, while the dinosaur is efficient enough to make this list.
Green really likes to mana ramp and play saprolings, and these are not bad things to do in Dominaria. Lonely or not, Grunn Lives up to his name, and if you are able to hook him up with flying or trample your opponent is going to have a bad time. 5 mana for a 5/5 vigilance/trample is a great deal in this set. Bonus points if you cast Untamed Kavu on turn 3 with Elfhame Druid.
Green runs pretty deep at common too, but as an individual color I would rank it slightly below Black, Blue, and White. Green has a lot of really great tools but playing it as a straight creature archetype can get punished by this format. Most decks will be able to set up blockers for your saprolings and remove your larger threats. Because of this it is important to create synergy with the cards Green is able to contribute. Its primary weaknesses are a lack of removal and evasion which can be added with your other color. You also want to consider how the saprolings are going to be used. Green offers a couple ways to pump/sacrifice them but again there is more synergy to tap into elsewhere. Finally, Green is very susceptible to flyers. Mammoth Spider is a great option but make sure you have several ways of dealing with flying threats.
Ah Teferi, the card everyone either loves or loves to hate. Aryel is just as good in Limited though. Muldrotha is a little hard to cast, but is one of two cards (Darigaaz) that absolutely demands a splash. In part 1 I commented on all of the uncommon multicolor cards, and truly all of them are good playables but Slimefoot and Tatyova are the most exciting to me. Really there are only three multicolor cards in the set that are not worth playing:
Card you should NEVER play
You are very happy to open any of these, especially since they can slot into any deck and be good. Icy Manipulator is the top dog uncommon and better than most rares in the set.
Other Great Artifacts
These aren’t exactly bombs but you are nearly always going to be happy about picking up. They slot into any deck and add a lot of value. Traxos needs some other historic cards to work, but the payoff there is real. Skittering Surveyor is an early pick because it is one of the few cards that enables splashing in this set.
Bloodtallow Candle and Howling Golem work best in control archetypes, while the Sword and Lance are most effective in decks that benefit from equipment. All four of those are playable in any deck in a pinch, though. Sorcerer’s Wand on the other hand is only good in UR Wizards, and you should only seek out Voltaic Servants if you have Traxos or something like Icy Manipulator that benefits from its ability.
Dual lands are rare in Dominaria but definitely help enable splashes if you acquire one. There is also a colorless scry land (Zhalfirin Void) that is worth picking up late if you are running a 2-color deck with minimal double-costed cards. The tap lands are pretty nice though, and the three above are the best ones. The Green one (Memorial to Glory) is playable but not great, and the Red one is awful. This seems fitting as I would rank the individual colors Black > Blue > White > Green > Red
Targetting the best common and uncommon cards I have outlined here and finding synergy between them to support an overall archetype (outlined in part 1) is the best way to be successful in Dominaria. This is not a set where you can force specific archetypes, or abuse the power of individual cards. Dominaria is a balanced format that tends to punish greedy decks on both the aggro and control sides of the spectrum, and reward decks that operate around a cohesive theme. While it can be a slow format, it also tends to be highly interactive and most turns are about gaining small advantages that add up over time. Be careful about the combat tricks that I mentioned in each section and you shouldn’t get blown out. This is a great set to practice the fundamentals of Limited magic, and I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I have. If you need help with the fundamentals such as drafting around a solid mana curve, deck composition, strategy, etc.. check out my article on the subject: https://mtgltd.net/2019/04/30/mtg-limited-strategy-a-guide-to-drafting-deck-building-and-tactics/
If you want to see me draft and play some decks in Dominaria with commentary, you can check out my stream: http://twitch.tv/compulsion02.I am nearly on summer break (I teach High School Chemistry) and will be streaming quite a bit over the summer. That’s all for now, I need to go back to playtesting my constructed deck for the Mythic Championship Qualifier tomorrow! Good luck to those of you that are competing against me or trying to qualify for the next one by reaching Top 1000 Mythic this season or next.