Dominaria is one of my favorite Limited formats ever. The removal is powerful and splashable. Synergy matters, but it’s not all-or-nothing, broken synergy—its more about getting the most out of your specific cards each Draft by pairing them with other cards that make them perform better. With Dominaria coming to Arena this week, let’s look at the main archetypes, key cards, and common strategies.
Top 5 Commons: Pack 1 Pick 1
Multiple Surveyors is fine, but each additional copy is much worse than the first, and a big reason it’s my #1 is that it’s an artifact that lets you grab good splash cards, like all four of the commons that follow it.
1) Skittering Surveyor
3) Shivan Fire
4) Blessed Light
5) Cloudreader Sphinx
*Llanowar Elves is the best green common, and just a little below these.
Uncommons You Take Over Every Common
If it’s roughly tied with Surveyor pick 1 or Eviscerate when you have colors, I left it off. These are the cards that are substantially better than any common.
1) Fight with Fire
2) Icy Manipulator
3) In Bolas’s Clutches
4) Slimefoot, the Stowaway
5) Tatyova, Benthic Druid
6) Song of Freyalise
7) Cast Down
The Best Rares
The best rares in the set are the ones I take over Fight with Fire. This is roughly the order I rate them, but if they are better than Fight with Fire they are a windmill slam, so I wouldn’t worry if you disagree with which one is #1 and which is #3
1) Siege-Gang Commander
2) Demonlord Belzenlok
3) Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
4) Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar
5) Verix Bladewing
6) Lyra Dawnbringer
8) Helm of the Host
9) Josu Vess, Lich Knight
10) Phyrexian Scriptures
11 ) Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
12) Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp
If I missed one card that you feel should be on the list, please suggest it. We did draft this a year ago, but I remember it pretty well since it’s one of my favorite formats ever!
The Best Archetypes
U/R Wizards is the archetype I think the pros liked the best. I personally thought it was the second best behind B/G Saprolings, but both are clearly good, so it’s not important which one is actually better.
U/R Wizards is a tempo deck. It’s interested in getting ahead on board and having that snowball. It wants to finish games quickly and win before the opponent can deploy their late game.
I almost never splash in my U/R Wizards decks. These are the top 5 commons I take aggressively for U/R Wizards, listed in roughly the order I prioritize them once I’m settled into this archetype.
If you want a more in-depth look at how to draft U/R Wizards in Dominaria, I wrote an archetype guide for drafting it back when Dominaria was the current Limited format. You can find it here.
B/G Saprolings gains value from token makers and things that either pump them or use them for profit. It’s a true synergy deck in that if you have too many small token makers but not much to do with them, or too many powerful ways to use them but not enough efficient ways to make them, then your deck will be bad. If you get a nice balance, your deck can be great. It plays a midrange strategy where you are on the attack when playing against grindier U/B and R/B control decks in this format but can also win with your powerful mid-to-late-game when playing against aggressive decks like U/R Wizards or WW decks. These are the top 5 commons I take aggressively for B/G Saprolings, listed in roughly the order I prioritize them once I’m settled into this archetype.
If you want a more in-depth look at how to draft B/G Saps in Dominaria, I wrote an archetype guide. You can find it here.
B/R Grindy is my favorite control deck to draft in the format. You might not usually think of B/R as a control deck and you would usually be right. But Dominaria is a special place full of powerful removal and amazing card advantage.
Black and red are the 2 colors that get the most removal, so they are well positioned to deal with threats and win the late game with card advantage and recursion in Dominaria Draft. It’s not surprising for B/R to have good removal, but what allows it to be a control deck in this format is its card advantage. Ghitu Chronicler, Dark Bargain, and Soul Salvage are all excellent and all work well together. These are the top 5 commons I take aggressively for B/R Grindy listed in roughly the order I prioritize them once I’m settled into this archetype.
If you want a more in-depth look at how to draft R/B Grindy in Dominaria, I wrote a guide for this one as well. You can find it here.
Don’t think you have to play one of these three archetypes. You can do almost anything in Dominaria. These are the three decks I put together the most often out of the commons, but I also found success with green ramp decks, and blue-white and blue-black control decks.
Don’t be afraid to splash, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Dominaria is a wonderful world where you can win with anything. Just be ready to battle, because Dominaria will provide some of the most fun, long, and interesting games of Limited you will ever play!