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.)
This will see play at closer to a 2.5 rate, but I like the effect here. It’s a nice bit of card filtering and increases consistency, while not asking too much in terms of deck construction. You want to have a lot of creatures (30+) and untapped green sources (15+), but those requirements can be met in a ton of different ways. Calling this the green Ponder is a stretch, but it does reward you for meeting its requirements.
Getting an extra land drop is a nice bonus, but putting that on a card that you will rarely get to cast on turn 2 is definitely not broken. It takes a few too many unlikely occurences to make this anything but a sorcery-speed Naturalize.
I think I’ll stick with my Llanowar Elves. You’d need a ton of powerful kicker cards before you’d want a 2-drop over a 1-drop, and I’m not seeing the payoffs here. This one could improve over time, as more kicker cards see print (though with 1-set blocks, that is less likely).
Both these abilities are intriguing, if slow. I really like the 0-cost on the sacrifice ability, and think that Plots could be an interesting long-game card for Saproling decks (if such decks end up existing).
Constructed in 1998: 4.0
I just want to mention that this used to be a control finisher (by looping two of them so you didn’t run out of cards), back when countering or killing everything the opponent did was much easier than today. We don’t live in that world anymore, and I suspect Gaea’s Blessing will no longer be put to use.
Kamahl’s Druidic Vow
Constructed After Fully Reading the Card: 1.0
Seriously, this only puts legendary permanents (and lands) into play? Genesis Wave this is not, and the amount of work you need to do, both in deckbuilding and in game, is vastly more than the reward it gives you.
Welcome back, my old friend.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the most impactful card from Dominaria. Turn-1 Elf threatens all sorts of dangerous starts, from beaters like Steel Leaf Champion to value cards like Karn, and this will greatly influence how every deck is built. Green decks will play more untapped lands and a curve concentrated on 3-5, while nongreen decks need to either be very fast, have 1-drop removal, or both.
This may let you explore higher land count decks that are trying to maximize Tatyova (the new Tireless Tracker), but seems a bit short on power to me. Sakura-Tribe Scout sees some Modern play, but the difference between 1 and 2 is the whole ballgame.
Marwyn, the Nurturer
Most Elf lords end up being good enough (Ezuri and Elvish Archdruid as examples), but Marwyn seems like the baby of the family. My main problem with her is that she doesn’t do anything right away, and needs to live for multiple turns before she gets value. It is powerful once she taps for 2-3 mana, but getting her to that point is challenging.
The Mending of Dominaria
Draw two creatures + play a couple lands is a powerful ability, but at 5 mana and over three turns, I’d mostly be looking at this as a sideboard card. It does seem effective against a removal deck, so having one in your G/B sideboard against control or midrange could be a good plan.
Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar
The main use I can see for this is to bounce all your lands, which could work with something like Seismic Assault. Past that, Multani is large and hard to kill, but too expensive and soft to exile effects for it to see play as just a finisher.
The sweetest use for this is to go infinite with The Mirari Conjecture, though in a pinch it can pick up a dead creature or even a land. This is a little too expensive to just play as a value card (paying 2 mana + the cost of what you’re getting back is too much to justify the extra selection it can provide), but can enable some combo shenanigans.
Song of Freyalise
After playing with this in Limited and bumping up my rating dramatically, I’m ready to sing its praises in Constructed. This is a powerful ramp card in a tokens deck, and not only lets you explode onto the board, but pays you off for doing so. It does require a starting point of a lot of creatures to be good, but an enabler that’s also a payoff is really powerful, and worth building around.
The Fungus is among us. A 2-mana lord is decent value, and Saprolings do sprout fairly easily. I think this is missing one really good Saproling card, as the current crop is a little lacking.
Steel Leaf Champion
This can definitely steel some games, especially with the help of Llanowar Elves. It’s worth bending your mana base to accommodate the Champion, and I’ve gotten beaten down by this multiple times already. Green has some aggressive creatures in Standard right now, and this may lead the charge in making it one of the premier aggressive colors.
Rude Awakening did an effective 6 more points of damage, which made it a powerful finisher. This attempts to make up for that with indestructible and some defensive options, but doesn’t quite get there. This is a way to spend a ton of mana and kill your opponent, but I assume that you can likely do better.
A 4 mana 5/5 isn’t quite there, but this does come with a 3-mana kill spell stapled on. That’s enough for me to play it as high end in some decks, with the backup plan being to board it in where both sides of it do work (like in midrange mirrors).
The same goes for the best fatty ever printed, which was a tournament staple alongside Natural Order or Recurring Nightmare. I will continue to enjoy this card in Draft, though I don’t expect it to be a force in Constructed.
Top 3 Green Cards
Green is on the hunt these days, with a sick mana accelerant, a huge beater, and a powerful token incentive. Get ready for a bunch of different proactive green decks to emerge, and be prepared for them to attack quickly and often.