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Welcome to the World of Dominaria

2018.04.26 Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Welcome to the world of Dominaria. The prerelease tournaments are in the books and with the introduction to Magic Online a lot of Magic was going on over the course of the weekend.

While we always have our opinions how a format will play out after exploring the whole spoiler you can only know for certain when you get some games in. Everybody was excited to go back to the origins of Magic, going back to old mechanics and reducing the tempo by a fair amount.

Since Amonkhet came out I always thought that formats would by much slower than they actually played out. This time I am almost certain that we won't be in a limited world where games are decided by turn 4. The format is slow and with all the Kicker cards and lategame bomb rares everybody has the incentive to work up towards them. 2 drops are hard to find in all colors and besides green there is real way of ramping out of the gates. 《Llanowar Elves》, 《Elfhame Druid》 and 《Grow from the Ashes》 are the real deal though. From what I have experienced the power of ramping is real and it is basically the only way to gain an advantage in the early game.

Llanowar ElvesElfhame DruidGrow from the Ashes

There was a lot of discussion in Twitter whether or not it is correct to be on the draw in this limited format or you rather want to be on the play. While I think it is almost always correct to be on the draw, there is a fair point of arguing that you can never come back from a turn 1 《Llanowar Elves》 on the draw or a turn 2 《Elfhame Druid》 into a 4 Drop and a Kicker 6 drop on turn 4. While 《Grow from the Ashes》 is not as unfair as the other two, it really helps to build your sealed deck towards the most powerful version.

I tried to get my hands on as many Sealed pools as possible to give you some examples to explain the format. At least my judgment after the first 2 days of Dominaria.

Sample Pool 1

Sample Pool 1

Tragic Poet

2

Benalish Honor Guard

2

Mesa Unicorn

1

Kwende, Pride of Femeref

1

Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle

1

Excavation Elephant

1

Serra Angel

1

Adamant Will

1

Blessed Light

1

Dub

1

Artificer's Assistant

2

Academy Drake

2

Tolarian Scholar

1

Academy Journeymage

1

Cold-Water Snapper

1

Arcane Flight

2

Opt

1

Rescue

2

Syncopate

1

Unwind

1

Wizard's Retort

1

Time of Ice

1

Stronghold Confessor

2

Deathbloom Thallid

1

Thallid Omnivore

3

Cast Down

1

Dark Bargain

1

Final Parting

1

Skirk Prospector

1

Champion of the Flame

1

Ghitu Journeymage

1

Valduk, Keeper of the Flame

1

Skizzik

1

Keldon Raider

1

Firefist Adept

1

Fire Elemental

1

Fervent Strike

1

Shivan Fire

2

Warlord's Fury

2

Fight with Fire

1

Radiating Lightning

2

Jaya Ballard

1

Llanowar Elves

1

Llanowar Scout

2

Krosan Druid

1

Yavimaya Sapherd

1

Gaea's Protector

2

Primordial Wurm

1

Verdant Force

1

Pierce the Sky

1

Song of Freyalise

2

Grow from the Ashes

1

Spore Swarm

1

The Mending of Dominaria

1

Garna, the Bloodflame

1

Tatyova, Benthic Druid

2

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

1

Sparring Construct

1

Skittering Surveyor

1

Bloodtallow Candle

1

Short Sword

2

Sorcerer's Wand

1

Jousting Lance

1

Forebear's Blade

1

Powerstone Shard

2

Memorial to Folly

1

This was the most exciting sealed pool I have seen so far. So, let us walk through the pool:

I always check my rares, multicolored and artifact cards first as they might give an early lead where we might end up. We are short on common lands - which all overperformed for me - and besides 《Skittering Surveyor》 and 《Forebear's Blade》 there is no artifact we will play.

Our multicolor cards are crazy good though.

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 is an insane bomb and we will see his presence in Standard over the next 2 years. If you have not done yet, check out our HareruyaWayfinder decklists from last week and look for the 《Teferi》 Deck! But there is not only 《Teferi》, we also have 2 《Tatyova, Benthic Druid》.

Tatyova, Benthic Druid

When I saw that card at first, I was almost sure it is a rare because it's so powerful. So, I do have a strong incentive to play UWG of some sort.

I then checked black and it was a quick discard as there is no real card besides 《Cast Down》. While we have another Planeswalker in form of 《Jaya Ballard》, I am not really high on any of the red cards besides the 2 《Shivan Fire》.

Shivan Fire

《Shivan Fire》 could arguably be the best common in the set and we might come back to a potential splash.

Next, I looked at white and we can spot a lot of flying power with 《Serra Angel》 and especially 《Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle》.

After basically discarding red and black we need to make the other 3 colors work and white is not really helping as the color is not deep enough. But the bomb rare alongside 《Teferi》 sounds like a decent splash.

Academy DrakeSyncopate

Then we explore the blue cards and I see 2 《Academy Drake》 and a 《Syncopate》 alongside not a whole lot else.

Now green really has to deliver big time and fortunately for us it does. We have a lot of fixing and ramping, Token producers and a bomb in form of 《Verdant Force》.

Verdant Force

This card used to be good enough for constructed, so you can imagine how much of an effect this card will have once it hits the battlefield. We are a little shy on removal so we might need to splash a little more than we liked at first but we have the tools to do so. Here is the list I ended up playing:

Sample Deck 1

Forest

9

Island

6

Mountain

1

Plains

1

Llanowar Elves

1

Llanowar Scout

2

Academy Drake

2

Yavimaya Sapherd

1

Skittering Surveyor

1

Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle

1

Academy Journeymage

1

Tatyova, Benthic Druid

2

Verdant Force

1

Shivan Fire

2

Syncopate

1

Grow from the Ashes

1

Spore Swarm

1

Blessed Light

1

Song of Freyalise

2

The Mending of Dominaria

1

Forebear's Blade

1

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

1

So, we are heavy 4 color but it worked pretty good and I would not change a whole lot about that deck. I should have played the 《Cast Down》 over 《Academy Journeymage》 as it was too easy to make the mana work and the 《Mage》 is not really as strong as imagined. We are very short on creatures and this ended up costing us something once in a while. I ended up 4-1 and here is my favorite impression:

Verdant and...

Click to Enlarge

Sample Pool 2

So, let us jump from this 《Verdant Force》 to another deck.

Sample Pool 2

Tragic Poet

1

Benalish Honor Guard

1

Mesa Unicorn

1

Serra Disciple

2

D'Avenant Trapper

1

Aven Sentry

1

Baird, Steward of Argive

1

Excavation Elephant

1

Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle

1

Healing Grace

1

Gideon's Reproach

1

Seal Away

1

Blessed Light

1

Merfolk Trickster

2

Tolarian Scholar

2

Cloudreader Sphinx

1

Opt

1

Syncopate

1

Deep Freeze

3

Divination

1

Weight of Memory

1

The Mirari Conjecture

1

In Bolas's Clutches

1

Caligo Skin-Witch

1

Rat Colony

1

Drudge Sentinel

2

Feral Abomination

1

Divest

1

Fungal Infection

1

Settle the Score

1

Ghitu Lavarunner

1

Skirk Prospector

3

Champion of the Flame

1

Frenzied Rage

1

Ghitu Journeymage

2

Rampaging Cyclops

1

Keldon Raider

1

Run Amok

1

Radiating Lightning

2

Seismic Shift

2

Fight with Fire

1

Llanowar Elves

1

Yavimaya Sapherd

1

Mammoth Spider

2

Primordial Wurm

1

Territorial Allosaurus

1

Arbor Armament

1

Gift of Growth

1

Pierce the Sky

1

Saproling Migration

1

Song of Freyalise

2

Rona, Disciple of Gix

1

Adeliz, the Cinder Wind

1

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace

1

Grand Warlord Radha

1

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

1

Sparring Construct

1

Voltaic Servant

1

Aesthir Glider

2

Amaranthine Wall

1

Juggernaut

1

Pardic Wanderer

1

Bloodtallow Candle

1

Jousting Lance

1

Powerstone Shard

1

Icy Manipulator

1

Isolated Chapel

1

Memorial to War

1

Zhalfirin Void

1

Mountain

1

We again have our beloved 《Teferi》 and no black cards, so the starting point is pretty similar to the last pool. Unfortunately, the power level here is much lower than in a general pool and therefore I tried to scratch something different together.

I tried my best to be as aggressive as possible, but it did not really work out as expected. Here is what I ended up playing.

Sample Deck 2

Island

8

Plains

7

Swamp

1

Isolated Chapel

1

Mesa Unicorn

1

Merfolk Trickster

2

D'Avenant Trapper

1

Aesthir Glider

2

Aven Sentry

1

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace

1

Baird, Steward of Argive

1

Juggernaut

1

Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle

1

Cloudreader Sphinx

1

Syncopate

1

Gideon's Reproach

1

Blessed Light

1

Seal Away

1

Deep Freeze

3

In Bolas's Clutches

1

Jousting Lance

1

Icy Manipulator

1

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

1

In some Sealed formats this might have been a great deck, in Dominaria this is not the place you want to be in. Tempo oriented flyer decks can't apply enough early pressure and get eventually classed out by bigger and better cards.

Juggernaut

《Juggernaut》 is probably at its worst point ever as it trades with everything and you can't build a board the push damage aside.

Merfolk TricksterAesthir Glider

We do have enough removal in this build but the problem is that 《Merfolk Trickster》 and 《Aesthir Glider》 do not support our lategame plan. While the first deck is great and fun to play, the second deck is the other side of the medal.

Conclusion

After showing 2 decks and walk them through I give you some general information I explored so far:




Well, that's it for this time and I am really looking forward to play more games of Dominaria limited and hopefully find out a whole lot more.

Thanks for reading and you will hear from me soon.

Oliver

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