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Previous Dominaria Set Reviews
Let’s take a look at the grading scale, with the usual caveat that what I write about the card is more relevant, as there are many factors that aren’t reflected in a card’s grade.
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Radiant Flames. Shambling Vent.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat. Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Anticipate. Transgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living Guildpact. Naturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing). (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)
Apologies on the delay on this review—a lot of things caught up to me at once, and this had to be pushed back a few more days than I’d hoped. I’ll get there faster next set (he says, optimistically), and I appreciate your patience (unless you’re one of the people that yelled at me). On the plus side, I did upload a bunch of Draft videos, so you will get to see me getting amply punished quite soon.
Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
Adeliz is priced to move, and quickly at that. There are a bunch of good Wizards in Standard, and Wizard’s Lightning in particular is a nice reward. The combination of cheap haste creatures, good burn spells, and good counterspells is a fearsome one, and fans of tempo will get a second wind with the release of this set.
Aryel, Knight of Windgrace
I don’t have high hopes for a 4/4 for 4 that doesn’t protect itself, but Aryel does exert a lot of influence on the board if she survives to grace you with her presence. She could be a sideboard option for B/W midrange mirrors, or something along those lines.
I like the idea here, but there are too many exile effects running around for Darigaaz to reignite consistently. Getting Sealed Away or hit by Vraska’s Contempt is brutal enough that I don’t see a 7-drop making it, despite the high power level of the card.
Grand Warlord Radha
Curving out into Radha is a beating, and can lead to some really overwhelming plays. If she generates 2-3 mana, you can play a ton of material in the same turn, and put the opponent in a spot where they need to have a sweeper or they lose. That said, the R/G Monsters decks tend to have a lot of 4+ drops, and Radha isn’t as useful in that kind of setup.
Hallar, the Firefletcher
Kicking it and reversing it doesn’t seem very easy to do, but if that changes you’ve got an arrow in your quiver here. Hallar needs to consistently trigger twice in the first few turns before it earns a spot, and we aren’t there right now.
Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
Izzet got some nice gold cards, as Jhoira is another sweet engine card that can lead to a ton of action. She’ll lean mostly on cheap artifacts, and there looks to be a critical mass of such rewards in Standard. Jhoira may take a while to find her home, but she’s powerful and explosive, so when she does I expect good things.
Jodah, Archmage Eternal
On the Constructed scale, this gets a 1, though on the Infinity Wars scale this definitely gets 5 out of 6 soul gems. Fist of Suns is the better way to go about getting this effect in older formats, though maybe now you have 5-6 copies and can really get that Emrakul going.
Muldrotha, the Gravetide
You can’t fight the tide forever, and this generates wave after wave of card advantage. Playing this in a midrange deck full of different permanent types seems very real, and it looks like a good way to close out games. Playing this, then a land and a cheap creature is good value already, and if Muldrotha survives you can play 2-3 cards a turn easily. I really like this card, and once Baral gets banned in Brawl, may just make a Muldrotha deck.
Oath of Teferi
While you won’t want to jam a ton of these, having 1-2 Oath of Teferi in a heavy planeswalker deck could be really sweet. If you can consistently get value off the blink effect, and have a planeswalker in play most of the time, this is well worth 5 mana. Those are two big asks, but the reward is there.
Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth
Any card that has the potential to dump a bunch of permanents into play for free is worth noting, even if that same card costs 7 mana and requires a legend to be cast. This is the kind of card that is junk 95% of the time, but Rally the Ancestors the other 5%.
Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage
This may be my favorite card to play with in Constructed. I love flash-style decks, and Raff is not only a sizable threat on his own, he gives your deck a ton of flexibility and threatens lethal out of nowhere. Raff into History of Benalia end-of-turn is awesome, and in a deck full of countermagic, just having him in play makes the game difficult for your opponent. He also enables the legendary spells, like Karn’s Temporal Sundering, and does so better than almost anything else. All that put together makes this an appealing card, and Raff will show up in a lot of different decks.
Rona, Disciple of Gix
Rona is powerful and provides cheap card advantage, which is a lot for just 3 mana. In an artifact-heavy deck, she could help recast 1-drops, making her a Trinket-Mage-style source of extra cards.
Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy
Shanna is a cheap beater that dodges Teferi activations and Seal Away (plus plenty of other things), which makes her a solid Constructed threat. She can easily be a 5/5 or greater, and is a good deal for just 2 mana.
Slimefoot, the Stowaway
I don’t think Slimefoot will be able to sneak into Constructed quite as easily as Limited, but he does have a powerful trigger and could be a 1-2 of in Saproling-based decks.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Tireless Tracker loses a little luster at 5 mana, but at least you don’t have to pay to crack Clues. I hope Tatyova makes it into some sort of turboland deck, though you’d really have to be serious about ramping to make her good enough.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Teferi is the real hero here, as he has what it takes to dominate Standard and even make appearances in Modern. Teferi checks all the boxes I look for in a sick planeswalker: he protects himself, he draws cards, and he does so efficiently. In a deck full of flash cards, untapping two lands is very powerful, and Teferi plus Seal Away or Blink of an Eye is a common line of play. Teferi slots perfectly into control decks, midrange decks, and tempo decks, making him a threat in all sorts of archetypes. This is one of the best cards in the set, and just one of the best cards in Standard.
Karn, Scion of Urza
Karn is no slouch either. A colorless source of card advantage that has a ton of loyalty is a great deal for 4 mana, and if you’ve got a few artifacts lying around, Karn’s -2 ability can also put you ahead on board. Karn is so flexible that you will get sick of how often it shows up.
This is a powerful sideboard option for Modern (and maybe Vintage/Legacy), though it won’t make an appearance in Standard.
I hope this shows up somewhere, though it would take a lot of high-end before the payoff is worth it. I loved Tinkering this out in formats past, and think it would be really sweet if people were casting these.
As sick as Beta Icys look, I don’t think I’ll have a reason to bust them out for any Constructed games. Icy is a powerhouse in Limited, but doesn’t do quite enough to warrant Constructed inclusion.
This is too expensive to serve as a ramp card, but it may be a hoot as some kind of combo piece. Making cards cost zero is always dangerous, and Aetherflux Reservoir and Paradoxical Outcome just scream to be broken.
I suspect Mox Amber will be more of a niche card than a staple. It’s powerful and dangerous, so don’t dismiss it, but I feel like we are slightly short of having the tools to really make it tick. Because it demands a legend or planeswalker before it gives you any mana, it’s most frequently will jump you from 3 to 4 mana or greater. That takes away a lot of the busted Mox value, leaving it to combo decks trying to do things with Teshar or ramp decks that really do care about hitting 6 mana a turn early. That’s a different feel from most Moxes, and this will occupy a different (and less busted) slot than they traditionally fill.
Tron is back, and it costs 3 mana per piece. Wait, that doesn’t sound so good…
Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
Traxos might be at its best in Vintage, where it gets cast off Mishra’s Workshop and wreaks havoc in the mirror. Hey, it’s neat when old formats get cards, and this seems like a fine addition. Also, restrict Workshop.
You’d have to be going really deep on artifacts or discard outlets to want this, but there are incentives for both in Standard right now, so here it is.
Weatherlight is a serviceable high-end finisher for Vehicles, as it hits for a lot of damage and draws you a card just about every time.
Mono-Black actually has gotten a lot of stuff in this set, with Karn being one of the most important pieces. Given that the deck has real card advantage and good removal, the incentives are there, and Cabal Stronghold is a good engine to drive it all.
The Bant memorials are the most interesting, but all of them have potential (okay, maybe not the red one). If you can afford a tapland or two, these are good ways to spend those slots. Getting a spell or half-spell out of your lands is good value, and these offer a new way to do that.
These are great and I’m happy to have them back. Maybe mana in Standard will be playable again?
Similarly, if your deck doesn’t have strict color requirements, this is a sweet payoff.
Top 10 Constructed Cards
10. Lyra Dawnbringer
8. Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage
7. Steel Leaf Champion
6. Goblin Chainwhirler
5. Seal Away
4. History of Benalia
3. Karn, Scion of Urza
2. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
1. Llanowar Elves
Dominaria really brought the fire. Llanowar Elves completely changes how green decks are built, and there are a ton of deck-defining cards here. Between History of Benalia, multiple powerful planeswalkers, and Raff Capashen, we have new angles of attack for all sorts of decks, and the cycle of triple-colored cards even pushes you toward mono-color. There’s a lot to unpack here, and despite things being well under way, the format is far from solved.