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.
Adeliz, the Cinder Wind
Adeliz is great even by herself, and is unlikely to appear alone. She’s a beater, and she makes your other Wizards even better (and most of the Wizards in this set are pretty good).
Arvad the Cursed
Even without the second part, Arvad is a fine 5-drop, and he does make a couple of the other creatures in your deck more threatening. Treat the legendary part of the card as a bonus, and play this for the 3/3 deathtouch, lifelink part.
Aryel, Knight of Windgrace
Aryel is exactly where you want your bombs to land—cheap, powerful, and good both early and late. She will dominate most boards, and gets out of hand very quickly if the opponent doesn’t stop her.
Even as a tri-color card, Darigaaz is an incredible bomb. It swings for a million damage with haste, and is resistant to removal, which makes it worth branching into a third color. I’m happy splashing Darigaaz, and in fact have already gotten to do so once (with good results).
Garna, the Bloodflame
Garna is a really strange card. Flash + granting haste is bizarre, but she plays well on both sides of the court, and will either ambush a creature or draw one from your graveyard in most games. You don’t need to do a ton of work to enable Garna—she will find a use for herself in just about any game.
Grand Warlord Radha
Radha is a beater, and will lead to some pretty absurd turns. You can curve into her and still play a 3-drop on turn 4, or you can wait a turn and enable a huge kicker card. I’ve been on the receiving end of the second part, and it is brutal. Even in more controlling decks, she’s got good enough stats the make the cut, though she is at her best in beatdown.
Hallar, the Firefletcher
Hallar won’t trigger all that often, but you are already playing with house money anyways, since a 3/3 trample for 3 is a good deal by itself. I’d be happy with Hallar in any deck, and wouldn’t change my drafting too much because of the kicker clause (mostly because the kicker cards are already good and I’d be taking them anyway).
Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
Jhoira has a historic trigger I can buy (and buy again, and again). I look forward to trying to storm off with her, though more realistically she will draw you a couple cards and be great while doing so.
Jodah, Archmage Eternal
Jodah is a 3-color card that I’m not really that interested in splashing. Adding a third color to get a 4/3 flyer isn’t a great deal, and you are never using the domain ability.
Muldrotha, the Gravetide
Muldrotha buries the opponent in a tide of card advantage if it lives for even a turn, and late enough in the game it might not even take that. If you have a little self-mill, playing this and replaying a land plus a cheap creature is quite doable. This also makes Bloodtallow Candle a lot better, and I’d certainly play one if I had a Muldrotha.
Oath of Teferi
It takes a lot to make this more than a glorified Cloudshift, and I don’t see that happening often at all. If you have a planeswalker and a ton of ETB effects, maybe run this, but still probably don’t.
Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth
Challenge Level: 5.0
Having a legend in play and a bunch of legends in the graveyard seems like an impossibly tough sell, but I would like to see someone go for it.
Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage
Raff is an efficient flyer and can lead to some pretty funny plays once he gives your artifacts and whatnot flash. An end-of-turn Saga could be a blowout, not that any of that is needed to make him good. Come for the Phantom Monster (with flash), and stay for the historic nonsense.
Rona, Disciple of Gix
Limited: 2.0 // 3.5
Rona’s power fluctuates wildly, and I can give you one guess as to what it’s based on. I will just say that today I had the pleasure of playing Rona and immediately exiling, plus playing, Phyrexian Scriptures, which worked out quite nicely. In a deck full of historic cards, Rona is awesome, and you’ll often want to save her for 6+ mana so you can get value right away.
Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy
Hexproof from abilities is a bizarre line of text, but it is a (slight) bonus. Shanna will usually be a 3/3 or 4/4 without much work, and in a Saproling deck she can be quite a bit bigger than that. That’s a card I’m happy to play, and she’s even in both the token colors.
Slimefoot, the Stowaway
Slimefoot is very annoying to play against, and can slowly grind out most opponents. He locks up the ground and enables sacrifice abilities, though he’s more than playable in any deck that can cast him. You can eventually just start throwing Saprolings into the red zone, as the opponent takes a damage whether they block them or not.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Tatyova is awesome, and a card I wouldn’t hesitate to splash. She tirelessly gives you card advantage, and the extra life doesn’t hurt either. I always feel like I’m winning as a matter of course when I have a card like this in play, as every turn goes so well. You are hitting land drops, never run out of gas, and the opponent’s odds of winning go down quite rapidly.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Teferi lives up to the hype. He bounces their best card (and delays it for multiple turns), draws a card each turn, and has a solid amount of loyalty. He’s worth splashing for, and makes me want to draft a good curve of defensive creatures when I have him.
Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker
In the vast majority of games, Tiana is a 3/3 flying first striker. That’s a fine deal for 5 mana, though I wouldn’t go into 2 colors early for this. Buying back Auras (and I guess Equipment, though that’s never going to happen) is a bonus, but not a very big one.
Karn, Scion of Urza
I normally don’t give planeswalkers that can’t defend themselves this high a grade, but Karn is colorless, has a ton of loyalty, and draws you cards every turn. Karn crushes the opponent if you can defend him, and having such a low cost makes that likely.
The main predictor of whether you want this in your deck is how aggressive your deck is. It does trigger historic, but being unable to block makes this undesirable if you aren’t beating down, so don’t play this in a control deck unless you have a ton of great cards that care about history.
This does stick around, but partially because the opponent can’t be bothered to try and remove it. It’s a little too expensive and only stops ground creatures, making it a filler at best. Indestructible filler is still filler.
Limited: 2.0 // 4.0
In decks with zero legendary creatures, this does still serve as a finisher. It gives a huge bonus, and can make any Saproling into a hero. Where it gets really dangerous is in a deck with a couple legends, as all of a sudden you are getting +5/+5 out of nowhere, as you can play and equip in the same turn. This card is strong enough to impact my pick order, and is a card I wouldn’t mind taking early.
I’ve been unimpressed with this card thus far. Cheap historic triggers is not something I’ve found to be that valuable, and 7 mana total to kill a creature is on the pricey end. Some decks will want this, but most won’t, and I’ve seen enough people play this that I bet it ends up being overplayed.
I still can’t believe this is an uncommon.
Vigilance is what really makes this pop, as the opponent can’t just take the damage and race. You will make trades with this card, and it will be effective. It is at its best with Saprolings, but can also wreak havoc with flyers, and if you need a finisher, its value goes up.
Limited: 1.5 // 3.0
In a deck without any high end, this isn’t generally worth a slot. If your curve ends at 5 or 6, just cast a 5-drop creature and move on with your life. In a deck with expensive kicker cards and some card draw, this can do a lot of work, and I like using this to overpower the opponent.
Guardians of Koilos
Guardians have mostly been guarding my sideboard, in the few Sealeds that I managed to do this morning, and as such I’m not giving them a high grade. They can re-trigger some cool effects and are of reasonable size, but I think that you can find better ways to spend this much mana.
Helm of the Host
This is the kind of card that can overpower the opponent easily or lose to a bounce spell, but I suspect the first happens more often than the second. Unless you’re really far behind, you can just keep trying until this sticks, at which point you’ll bury the opponent in cards, especially on a creature with an ETB ability. This makes all of your creatures must-kills, and is definitely a good way to close out a game.
It’s rare that you’ll get a big advantage out of each player drawing a card, and the stats are under-rate, so this just seems like noise to me.
If you have never played with or against Icy, you make think I’m overrating this, but I assure you that I am not. This essentially kills whatever their best creature is at the time, but can also do so much more. It can tap lands during their upkeep, it can tap a creature end of turn and then on your turn to get in for damage, and it can negate any equipment they might have. Icy is also colorless, and a completely safe Draft pick, making it one of the best cards in the set to open. This is on the short list of top cards, and yes, the 1 mana difference between this and Pacification Array really is that big.
If this reduces the cost of a few cards per game, it’s more than paid for itself, and a 2/2 flyer tends to be relevant on most boards. I’m not building around Jhoira’s Familiar, but am more likely to play it than not.
I’ve been relatively impressed by this—it’s not good on defense, which is a good top-down design, but it can steamroll the opponent if you are the aggressor. The Equipment in this set is pretty appealing, so watch out that you aren’t playing too many. Most decks want one or two pieces of the heavier Equipment (cost 3+), and not more.
Nothing can stop the Juggernaut, especially not Walls. Even if Juggernaut trades down every now and then, it’s still a lot of stats for 4 mana, and plays very nicely with combat tricks or Equipment like the Lance. I’d even run this in midrange/control, as it’s too big to ignore and will always trade for something.
This looks to be worth building around. Given enough time, it just goes off, and if you can untap with it you will often clog up the board completely. Once you get one copy off, it’s very hard for the opponent to eradicate it, so as long as you’ve got enough historic cards this will be one of the better cards in your deck. See, I’m not dead-set against the historic stuff—I just want good payoffs, and this is one of them.
I’d basically only play this if I was super deep on both legendary creatures and really wanted historic triggers. That won’t be most decks, and I suspect the vast majority of those who play this are wrong to do so.
Actual Limited: 1.0
I give the two grades because of how often people want to play this. I played 10 rounds of Sealed today and saw three of them, which indicates that most people see this as just another fixer. It is not, because it doesn’t produce mana itself, and you should really not be playing this unless you are that hard up for historic triggers, which most decks aren’t. This card is a trap, and an effective one.
I’ve already made enough Colossal Dreadmaw jokes that I don’t want to reprint any, so I’ll just say that the stats here are underwhelming and it’s not really worth a slot.
Having a couple of these gets out of control quickly, but the main reason I would play this is if you want 3-mana ramp spell and care about historic. That will come together every now and then, and sometimes you’ll even get to kick a 10-drop by chaining a few of these together.
Shield of the Realm
Giving a creature more toughness isn’t very exciting, so I’m going to try my best to avoid playing this. It doesn’t do enough, and is exactly the kind of card I don’t want to play to trigger historic. Cramming your deck full of these to make your 1/1 scry or your 4/2 deal 2 is how you lose games, and is why I’m not advocating for going ham on the mechanic. I like the cards that are good, but don’t want to play bad enablers for mediocre payoffs.
This one I’m a lot more OK with. It’s not great, but it’s cheap enough that it’ll get some work done. I like it in aggro (as little as there may be) and I like it in historic, and am even willing to play it in Thallids to make my Saprolings into 2/2s.
This guy definitely knows the way. I would always play this, and it’s good even in a normal 2-color deck. It fixes your mana, gives you a 1/2 body for free, and interacts nicely with sacrifice and historic themes both.
In aggressive Wizard decks, this is a fine finisher, especially once you start moving it multiple times a turn. Otherwise, it’s quite bad, so use it wisely.
Sparring Construct doesn’t provide quite enough value to be worth a card, and I’m skeptical that historic triggers will make up for the deficit. I’ll be on the side that pummels the Construct, not the side playing it, thank you very much.
Thran Temporal Gateway
I don’t know what it would take to get me to play this card, but I can tell you that it won’t happen.
Traxos, Scourge of the Kroog
Move over Juggernaut. Traxos is a very good reason to play some kind of loose historic cards in your deck, as the reward of getting a 7/7 trampler for 4 is very real. You don’t even have to attack, so if you run out of triggers you can have Traxos chill on defense until you draw one.
Limited: 1.5 // 3.0
In a deck with 6+ historic cards to exile, I like this well enough. It’s too expensive to play just as a looter, but if you’re reliably drawing cards it will be a good way to pull ahead.
A minor defensive body plus giving a big artifact vigilance is a fine deal for 2 mana, and this even combines nicely with artifacts that have tap abilities. I’m not looking to play this, but it could be key in some historic decks.
I would play this as the base Vehicle alone, and it drawing you cards every so often makes it a much bigger threat. Weatherlight is a beating, and makes it worth picking up some extra historic cards if you can.
Limited: 0.0 // 3.0
It’s not worth playing a mono-black deck for Cabal Stronghold, but if you’re mono-black you would play this. Don’t play this with fewer than 14 Swamps in your deck, and unless you have two Dread Shades, I’m not sure how you get to that point.
Clifftop Retreat, Hinterland Harbor, Isolated Chapel, Sulfur Falls, Woodland Cemetery
These are all great if you’re in both colors, and enable splashes. Don’t take them highly, but always play them if you get them.
Memorial to Folly, Genius, Glory, & Unity
I like all of these, and would take them over midrange playables any day. They all provide solid advantages later in the game, and it’s well worth the risk of your land entering tapped on a crucial turn.
Memorial to War
What the hell, red? Did you forget to do your assignment and tried to scribble something down as the professor was collecting papers? How did we get here?
If your deck can afford a colorless land, this is worth playing. I’d avoid this if I had a bunch of double-colored spells, and play it otherwise.
Well, that gets us to the end of another historic set review. Thanks for reading, and enjoy playing with Dominaria! I’ll be back soon with Constructed, as well as plenty of drafts, Brawl, and more— Magic is pretty sweet right now.