I just got back from GP Dallas and I can’t say that my opinions on the format have changed. Card advantage is king. I draw first if either player has cheap removal because blocking is easy. I think the best decks are U/R Wizards and G/B Saprolings, but I also think you can draft just about anything and win if you can make your land drops, get value, and net extra resources. Now for some fresh packs.
I really like this card. White is the color that cares the most about legends and most wants to play Equipment. With Jousting Lance and Serra Disciple at common you have multiple first strike cards to turn into double strikers, and that’s a big deal in Limited. Also, if you enhance this card with anything, you have pretty much assembled Voltron.
Honorable Mention: Skittering Surveyor
This card is so much better than it looks. Besides the fact that it’s a value format where you want to make a lot of land drops, this card basically leaves you up a 1/2 creature. There are also a bunch of splashable common removal spells in Blessed Light, Eviscerate, Shivan Fire, Vicious Offering, and Fiery Intervention in this set that make getting an early Surveyor worth even more than it already is as a nice value card.
Unconditional, efficient removal is always good. But in this format, it’s great. This format is about putting powerful enchantments or Equipment on creatures, casting important powerful legendary creatures, and ramping out giant monsters. A lot of cards create lesser amounts of value but don’t affect the game much, and then there are a few important cards that often must be dealt with. If this card were BB2 it would still be great, but the fact that it’s so easy to cast and splash makes it one of my favorite cards to first pick.
Honorable Mention: Seal Away
Pretty close with Skittering Surveyor, and maybe the Surveyor is a better first pick because it’s colorless. But high-quality removal like Seal Away is tough to get. There aren’t many cards that can stop a Multani, and this one does it for the hefty cost of 2 mana. White can attack with flyers or tap creatures with Trapper, so I don’t see the creature having to be tapped as much of a drawback. Creatures tend to tap in Limited. It is a small drawback that Seal sticks around because enchantment removal is maindeckable in this format. White decks tend to play Equipment and care about historic, so there is a good chance that they will bring in as many as they have against you as well. Still, this card can trade up on mana, or 2-for-1 against a combat trick. It’s cheap, efficient, and powerful, so it’s a good early pick.
I have deemed this card the mythic uncommon of the set (all due respect to Clutches and Icy—you two are great). This pack is fantastic with Territorial Allosaurus, Goblin Barrage, Eviscerate, and Vicious Offering all being cards I’m happy to first pick as well. The thing I really like about the Druid is that you play it on turn 6 and then play a land so even if they have the removal you still get a 2-for-1. If they don’t have a removal spell you win the game. That’s better than some cards that might look even more powerful, like Lyra. You will win the game most of the time if either survives, but when Tatyova is killed, you still get to draw a card.
Honorable Mention: Territorial Allosaurus
This is a broken rare. For 7 mana it’s a guaranteed 2-for-1, and if you only have 4 mana you can just run out a 5/5. I think this card might even be better than Tatyova in most green decks, but I like taking the Tatyova because if I end up blue and not green it’s easy to splash whereas the Dino is unsplashable at GG to cast and another G to kick. Both Tatyova and Allosaurus are the type of cards I consider to be the most broken because they still net an advantage when they’re dealt with. I love Eviscerate, but I’m not taking it over either of these two cards.
This is a close pick between Shivan Fire and Rona. I think Rona is a more powerful card, but Shivan Fire offers you something special in this format. Drawing first is excellent in Dominaria. But to cash in the value of having an extra card on each of your turns you must not get run over. That means you need cheap removal.
But it’s a slow format, so a Shock would be bad in the mid-to-late game. But let me tell you about a split card. In the early game it kills their early drop and in the late game it can kill a lot of their bigger creatures. That split card is Shivan Fire, and it’s excellent. It’s not better than Blessed Light and Eviscerate because they deal with broken cards, bomb rares, creatures, and enchantments, of which there are plenty, but it’s cheap and efficient enough to allow you to draw first.
Honorable Mention: Rona, Disciple of Gix
Usually I try not to fully give away what I’m going to honorable mention when talking about the first pick, but I consider this pack a two-horse race. Warcry Phoenix could be third out of this pack and it’s not close. Rona is splashable, cheap, and powerful. I really like to prioritize Candle in decks with even just one Rona. If you can play the spell immediately, then you can go up a card before your opponent can untap and kill Rona. A 3-drop that commands removal is already a good card, but one that can net you an extra card right away is incredible. There are also plenty of stalemates in this format that Rona can win singlehandedly.
You know what’s better than playing a bomb? Yep, stealing theirs. I already like to play card draw and a lot of mana sources, so I don’t find hitting six lands to be very difficult in this format. If you steal something big or great you are going to win most of the time. I know Clutches looks good to everyone and I haven’t said anything profound here, but I would consider taking it over some broken rares. I think this is a format where Control Magic overperforms (it’s always good).
Honorable Mention: Benalish Marshal
I like this card more than most people I’ve spoken to about it. A lot of my white decks are heavy white. White is deep at common and not involved in the best two archetypes, B/G Saprolings and U/R Wizards, so there are a lot of Drafts where it’s really flowing. Anthems have always been strong in Limited and attaching it to a 3/3 body for 3 is great. Also, the casting cost isn’t as prohibitive as it looks at a glance, because you don’t need to play this card on turn 3 for it to be effective. You can play it after you dump out your small stuff or kick your Sergeant-at-Arms for a powerful attack. Additionally, you have Call the Cavalry at common, too, so it’s easy to go wide and get massive value from an anthem in this Limited format. It’s even worth noting that Pegasus makes Marshal better because now you can attack with your 3/3 anthem without them being able to block and kill it. It’s not super close with Clutches, but it’s well ahead of Skittering Surveyor, which is the next best card in this pack.
This format has not let me down. I have been drafting virtually every color combination. In most formats I play two colors most of the time, but in Dominaria Draft I have been splashing like I’m LSV. I’m really enjoying all of the subtle synergies that do positive things but don’t completely take over the game. Historic synergies, legendary synergies, Wizards, and Saprolings are all extremely fun. The grindy nature of a format with 2-mana kicker value creatures and Soul Salvage with self-mill and life gain floating around produces long interesting games where you can get punished for using your removal too early or for waiting too long and missing your window to alpha. As a result, this is probably my favorite Limited format since the first Modern Masters.