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.
A Wind Drake that can become an Air Elemental is an incredibly powerful common. Casting this on turn 3 is going to be pretty good, and casting it on turn 7+ is even better. Being good in both spots is a quality most people are going to underrate, and this is the perfect example of the power of flexibility.
I was a big fan of Ogre Savant, and sometimes this comes out for 4 mana. That’s a premium common, and one that doesn’t ask a whole lot from you—if you’ve got a few Wizards, awesome, and if not, this is still fine.
The Antiquities War
There just aren’t nearly enough artifacts floating around to make this worth tinkering with. It’s cool, and might be sweet in Constructed, but it’s good for absolutely nothing in Limited.
This again? Is it mandatory that we have some kind of Spectral Flight in every set? I’m guessing this will be solid, though 1-mana +1/+1 is on balance worse than 2-mana +2/+2 (except in Constructed). This is cheap and grants evasion, so it will be playable. Oh well, beats.
I’m largely unimpressed by this little bird—you need to trigger this 2-3 times for it to be exciting, and I don’t think that’ll happen most of the time. The payoff isn’t not worth building around, leaving this in the uncanny valley of needing support but not paying you when you provide it. Where I’m most optimistic is in a blue aggro deck, which could happen (blue-red tempo for example).
This is a 2-for-1 when it works, but is expensive and doesn’t help you kill anything larger, so I’m not very high on it. If you have room for some air, this is fine, though I doubt that’ll be the case in most decks.
Blink of an Eye
I’m in for any number of these, and in any kind of deck. Cantrip bounce is very powerful, and you can cast this for 2 mana in a pinch. With multiple great bounce spells at common, I’m eyeing tempo decks—maybe blue is the beatdown this time around.
Wow, blue is not messing around when it comes to commons. I really don’t think my pro-blue bias is leading to higher ratings here—these cards are just very pushed. A 3/4 flyer for 5 is solid, and not out of this world, but adding scry 2 all of a sudden makes it really appealing. By the time you have five mana, lands aren’t great draws, so this can mimic a draw 2 quite nicely. I want two of these in every blue deck, and would love to curve Blink of an Eye into them.
Limited: Please, no more hexproof (1.0 // 2.5)
This at least doesn’t have flying, but one Arcane Flight later and that is no longer true. I would snap this up if I had two to three Auras to put on it, but avoid it otherwise. It’s too expensive to be good unless you’re buffing it.
OK, this kind of hexproof I can accept. This looks atrocious to me—it is too expensive to be good as just protection, and pays you off with a Divination sometimes when the thing dies.
This card has a range. In aggressive decks that attack on the ground, it’s quite bad, but in control or flying decks it’s basically hard removal. I’d lean toward taking it and aiming for the skies because it is so good when it’s on, especially given that it removes abilities. The parade of good blue commons just doesn’t end.
Some of the uncommons, on the other hand, aren’t much to write home about. There really isn’t a mill deck, and given how hard it is to get multiples of this, I don’t think I’d go digging for one. There’s a small amount of U/B self-mill incentive, but not enough to make me take this highly.
I could see bumping this plus or minus half a point depending on format speed, and even if I like the card, I’m not insane. It’s a fine way to hit land drops and smooth out draws in a slow deck, and far from what you want to be doing in aggro.
If you want a Hill Giant (or Mill Giant), this is fine, but the ability isn’t all that impressive.
In Bolas’s Clutches
A 6-mana Control Magic that gives you two legendary permanents is a great deal, and certainly one of the best cards in the set. This is such a huge swing that you will win most games where the opponent doesn’t have bounce or enchantment removal, which is still great at 6 mana.
Karn’s Temporal Sundering
The effect here isn’t all that impressive, sweet art notwithstanding, and you won’t be able to cast this all the time. Taking an extra turn is historically only great when you are winning, and requiring you to jump through a hoop to do so really negates a lot of the value. Save this one for Constructed.
Merfolk Trickster lives up to its name—you can use it to tap a creature precombat, or after they attack to remove flying or first strike (or any other combat-relevant ability). It can also be used proactively to get damage through, and at the end of the day is a 2/2 for 2 as well. This card seems sweet, and I look forward to playing with it.
The Mirari Conjecture
Limited: 1.0 // 3.5
In a spell-heavy deck, this can be an awesome finisher. Imagine a deck with 10-14 spells, where you curve removal into removal into this. All of a sudden you get two spells back and then get to copy them, putting the opponent into a huge hole. If you can afford to spend 5 mana and not affect the board, my theory is that this is awesome, though it’ll be a blank card unless you really do the work to make it good.
Naban, Dean of Iteration
Limited: 1.5 // 3.0
The range is a little narrower on Naban, with a 2/1 for 2 being fine even without text and double-triggering all your Wizards being less impressive than copying all your spells. Most Wizard decks will want this, but it’s not a strong enough build-around that I’m looking to slam it early.
Naru Meha, Master Wizard
Naru, on the other hand, is much more appealing. A flash lord is a game changer, and she also is big enough to brawl by herself. If you can pick up some cheap spells, she really shines, and all of that together makes for a solid card. You have multiple deck-building paths to choose from, all of which are good.
Unless you have spells-matter cards, this is usually an easy card to cut. It’s just hard to make room for air like this, even if it always does well if you have to include it.
I may not be able to see the future, but I sure can predict losing with this in play. This one is a bit expensive for my tastes, as spending 4 mana to start with is a tough sell. At least The Mirari Conjecture gets you your mana back on the turn it copies spells, while this just asks you to dump more mana into it. I’m a sucker for build-arounds, so I’ll try this, but I think it’s going to be bad.
Relic Runner plays double-duty as an early drop that can randomly get in for the last 4-6 points. That’s worth running some of the time, especially if you want both halves.
This is a marginal sideboard card against In Bolas’s Clutches, and not much past that. The effect is too narrow and not nearly powerful enough.
Sage of Lat-Nam
The artifacts in this set are largely bad, and cycling through them isn’t a huge upside. Adding a 2-mana 1/2 to the deal isn’t exactly a saving grace either.
Sentinel of the Pearl Trident
There are a ton of flash 3/3s in this set, so I recommend not sending 2/2s into a lot of mana. This can provide decent value if you’ve got three or more good historic cards, particularly Sagas, and is at least playable even if you don’t.
Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep
10 mana is just so much, and you really need to kick this to get value from it. I might try going deep with Powerstone Shard, but past that I don’t see how you are getting the real Slinn Voda to stand up.
The first Syncopate is pretty good, as it’s a 2-drop when you have it in your opening hand and still a relevant card later. They do get worse in multiples, as counters can get stranded in your hand, but I’ll happily run one to start with.
The mana cost is obviously a real drawback, but I’m not that picky about 4/4 flyers for 3, and this can even grow larger. If you see this early, try to slam blue to the point where you can run 11+ Islands, at which point it will be the best card in your deck.
Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive
I like Tetsuko—she slips in for 1 without fear, and can really power up your X/1s. She does also help 1/Xs, but those are naturally less exciting, so try and draft a bunch of 3/1s and get busy.
Time of Ice
Time of Ice is extremely powerful, especially in an aggro deck. Locking down two blockers, then bouncing them, is a big tempo swing, and it even prevents the opponent from attacking on the last turn if they did have anything to attack with. It loses a lot of luster the more controlling you get, but this is powerful enough to make me want to take it and draft a tempo deck.
Not only is this a sideboard card, it’s much worse than Negate. Untapping three lands on their turn is just not exciting, and paying an extra mana up front is quite bad. Still, it can stop powerful Sagas and protect your cards, so you will sometimes bring it in.
I obviously want to draft decks where this is good, but realize that it shouldn’t make the cut more than half the time (and it may even be less). If you’ve got 8+ spells, especially expensive ones, this becomes interesting, but it’s filler up until then.
Weight of Memory
5 mana for three cards isn’t a great deal, and adding a mill three doesn’t exactly turn a bad memory into good tidings. I’d play this in a spell-based deck, but avoid it outside of that.
In a deck with 5+ Wizards, this is passable, but not exciting. Outside of that, it’s mostly a sideboard card (though I do like counterspells more in Sealed).
Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp
Top 5 Blue Commons
Blue really knocked it out of the park this time—four of the top five commons are cards I’d be happy first-picking, and all of them are better than white’s best common. I also think they are super close together. If I got to pick six to have in my deck, I’d probably want like 2-2-1-1, which shows the range quite nicely. Deep Freeze isn’t even a bad 5th, and in some decks, moves up dramatically, which is just gravy. Delicious, frozen gravy. I might like blue, but I suspect everyone will in this set, and I’m curious how that plays out.