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Tatyova, Steward of Tides by Howard Lyon - Dominaria United

Underperformers and Overperformers of Dominaria United Limited

What cards have exceeded expectations and came up short in the Dominaria United draft meta? We update a bunch of card ratings in our Limited Tier List and explain how these cards have been performing so far.

Hey everyone! We’re a week into Dominaria United and I’ve been having a splendiferous time jamming as many drafts as I possibly can (my wife’s starting to worry about me). That means it’s time for me to let you know what cards have been doing better than expected and which ones have been stinking up the joint. The ratings have been updated accordingly in the Dominaria United (DMU) Limited Tier List (as well as few minor updates since its first version). Let’s do this.


Aron, Benalia’s Ruin

3.5 to 2.5

I saw Aron absolutely wrecking dreams during the Early Access Event and thought it was going to be an amazing card for black white tokens. Once the dust settled, it’s not looking so hot anymore. In a go-wide tokens deck, you would rather just have Heroic Charge to finish them off instead of having to hold a decent body back to get the pump off. Still a fine playable that you’re going to play if you’re in the colors, just not a world destroyer.

Combat Research

2.5 to 1.5

If you’ve done your research, then you should already be off of this card. There are just so many better ways to accrue value than to hope you have an evasive creature that you can keep hitting in with. It’s just begging to get two-for-one’d, especially in a format with a bunch of cheap removal running around like Lightning Strike.

Najal, the Storm Runner

3.5 to 2.0

Playing with Najal feels like when you finally take that hottie you’ve been crushing on out on a date and find out they have some serious issues that you’ve missed until now. Instead of waking up in a bathtub full of ice missing a kidney, you just end up taking an L in a draft.

It’s a difficult to cast five mana 5/4 in a format where you can just do soooo much better. Sure, it’s got other abilities that can be great, but everyone else is either killing you when you tap out for this or going over the top. It doesn’t even give you any value when it comes into play. What is this, 2003?

It even has trouble fitting in with its own color pairing. Izzet either wants to be very low to the ground tempo or to play high spell velocity Tolarian Terror decks. Najal doesn’t fit into either of those, but hey it slides right into the middling Izzet decks with no real plan.

Sengir Connoisseur

2.5 to 2.0

What exactly is this a connoisseur of? Being a slightly over-costed creature. As with almost any form of this effect, your mileage will vary drastically. Sometimes it provides inevitability on a massive flyer and sometimes it just dies.

The Painlands

2.5 to 2.0

Oh baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me no more. It’s not actually the pain that’s a big problem with these. It’s that, similar to Strixhaven, the common mana fixers are just better than the rare ones.

Not contributing to Domain is a pretty big deal with a lot of cards in the set and it’s not like there is a shortage of the common duals floating around to fix your mana. They are still playable, just not an auto-include in every deck.

Stronghold Arena

2.0 to 1.5

I’m not going to say this is unplayable, but it has been performing extremely poorly. It really requires a specific set of circumstances to work or it can end up basically being a dead card.

Stronghold Arena can be great if you have plenty of life and can keep getting in for damage. But aren’t you usually fine under those circumstances anyway? That makes this more of a win more card which ironically enough usually causes you to win less if its in your deck.


Bortuk Bonerattle

2.5 to 3.5

More like Bonkers Bonerattle, am I right? The reason this is overperforming has absolutely nothing to do with Golgari decks and everything to do with being a great source of endgame value for the Domain decks. It’s also amazing to bring back with Urborg Repossession to get the graveyard shenanigans started all over again.

Once you have Domain, this realistically brings back almost everything except the reduced cost creature cycle (like Argivian Phalanx). That, plus a 4/4 is a lot to add to the battlefield for one card and six mana.

Nishoba Brawler

3.0 to 3.5

I thought Nishoba Brawler was going to be good, but as Tony the Tiger would say they’re GR-R-R-R-REAT.  It’s just so HUGE on turn two that it puts your opponent in a position they don’t want to be in right away. All it takes is two duals and a normal land for you to be attacking for five on turn three. Sort of a “You got Lightning Strike or no?” situation.

It’s also a key part of the Gruul Domain beatdown deck which has been popping up all over the place lately.

Sunbathing Rootwalla

2.5 to 3.0

My buddy Wally loves to get rowdy. They come down early and present one of the stronger threat of activations that we’ve had in recent memory. It is basically an unblockable bear early in the game unless they want to go down cards in exchange for your mana.

It also combos nicely with Colossal Growth to present an 11/11 trampling mon-star that is going to cause serious problems.

Tolarian Terror

2.0 to 3.0

I’m going to be honest here. I graded this one way early in the process and forgot to circle back to it after I had looked through the whole spoiler. My bad. I also undervalued the discount creatures in general because I was expecting a faster format.

Tolarian Terror is the best of the discount bundle as you can usually drop it for only a couple mana while holding up spells to protect it. The ward two is really clutch the turn you drop it because it makes it a lot harder for them to play more than one spell that can deal with Terror. That singular spell’s fate is, of course, to get wrecked by Shore Up.

Tatyova, Steward of Tides

2.5 to 3.5

Oh Tatyova, how could I have doubted you? The mana really isn’t as hard to get to work as I expected it to be and the format is slow enough for this to take over a game. If you’re already playing green, I’m sure you can find a way to come up with a blue pip by turn six.

This slides right into any domain deck as a finisher to go wide and over the top of pretty much anything in the format. Don’t underestimate this as it is a mythic uncommon.

Wingmantle Chaplain

2.0 to 3.5

I’ve written and talked about this card more than any other card in the format. I initially graded it lower because I assumed that you needed to get this early and then get the rest of the cards to get the whole thing to work. While I was correct about that, it has still been punching above its weight class so I bumped it up a lot.

It’s still nowhere near the “OMG best uncommon ever” status people are tossing about. The data is highly flawed because it doesn’t include all the times someone takes this card and it just rots in their board because they didn’t get all the rest of the specific cards it required to go off. The deck also crumbles if two people are going for the same deck in the same pod.

To be clear, the Defender archetype is a very real deck. It is very good, it’s just not what it’s being made out to be. All of the decks with four copies of Wingmantle Chaplain and all the enablers are aberrations. Hell, there is only 0.9 of each uncommon per draft pod so how often can that even happen. Those extreme variations will barely exist in a week once every one is in the know. This is still a very good card under the proper circumstances.

Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading! That brings us to the end of our over and underachievers for Dominaria United. I’ll be doing a full update on the Tier List this weekend and of course I’ll be back next week with another article. What’s it going to be on? Well now that’s a surprise, but I feel like it’s something you’ll definitely not want to miss out on. ::suspenseful music::

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

You can find me at:

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Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

Articles: 108

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