Drafting with Siggy: Dominaria

Dominaria is out, and I must say, it’s a breath of fresh air. The format isn’t packed with evasive 2-drops, so the games are slower and you’ll have more time to make decisions that matter. Also, you can draft much cooler decks and they’ll be competitive. I have been doing quite a few Dominaria Drafts to practice for GP Dallas last weekend and for the Pro Tour, which is about a month away. I just finished up one of them, so let me walk you through it.

Pack 1 pick 1

My Pick: On Serra’s Wings

This pick is tough. This is a fairly weak pack, and the higher power cards have a lot of built-in variance. On Serra’s Wings is an Aura, so you can get blown out by a removal spell. Firefist Adept will only be good if I end up in Wizards, and Karn’s Temporal Sundering won’t end up in my deck a high percentage of the time because it’s difficult to get enough legends to turn on these sorceries reliably. Garna, the Bloodflame is a solid card, but also a gold card. On top of all that, there’s no common removal spell to take as a safe pick.

I take On Serra’s Wings here because it’s going to end up in my deck when I’m white almost always, and it’ll be solid most of the time. On Serra’s Wings also counts as a legend for future legends-matter cards. The real upside to On Serra’s Wings is that casting it on a Cold-Water Snapper is an easy way to steal games, and incredibly hard to interact with. Since the format is slower, it’s a lot easier to cast your 6-drop and live long enough to suit it up.

Pack 1 pick 2

My Pick: Blessed Light

This pick is easy. On Serra’s Wings plays nicely with Arvad the Cursed, but Blessed Light is a quality removal spell that doesn’t move me into another color immediately. Since it’s early in the Draft as well, I’m going to take what I consider the best card, and Blessed Light is what I’d take if I didn’t have a pick already out of this relatively weak pack.

Pack 1 pick 3

My Pick: Gideon’s Reproach

I’m staying the course here and selecting another white removal spell in Gideon’s Reproach. Gilded Lotus is always a tempting card but it often doesn’t play well in the same decks as On Serra’s Wings because you want to keep a lower curve. White is also the worst color at using excess mana as there are not many good kicker cards and it tends to be the most aggressive color. Gideon’s Reproach, while not ideal removal in an aggressive deck, is a solid removal spell nonetheless.

Pack 1 pick 4

My Pick: Aesthir Glider

This is again a weak pack, and I’m not sure I even make the right pick. My deck has two white removal spells and an On Serra’s Wings, which means I can still go in any direction. The On Serra’s Wings leads me to want to be more aggressive, which means Aesthir Glider would be the best pick if I plan on going into a deck like U/W Flyers. Urza’s Tome is playable, and arguably a better pick at this point, or I could branch out into green for a Baloth Gorger. Taking an artifact here is reasonable as staying open has a lot of value, which is why I took Aesthir Glider over a card of another color.

Pack 1 pick 5

My Pick: Cold-Water Snapper

I see a couple of playable but weak white cards in Adamant Will and Benalish Honor Guard, but what stands out immediately is Cold-Water Snapper. Cold-Water Snapper with On Serra’s Wings is just an unfair combination of cards in Limited, and picking one up this early means I could easily get a second down the road and maybe another On Serra’s Wings or Arcane Flight to build a hexproof Aura deck. The white 2-drops are all replaceable since there are a few at common, and combat tricks aren’t my favorite cards in this format, though Adamant Will has extra utility in protecting creatures from a lot of the format’s removal. This is an easy Snapper here, and I now have a plan.

Pack 1 pick 6

My Pick: Aven Sentry

There’s two cards you could consider here in Aven Sentry and Urgoros, the Empty One. Aven Sentry is in my dominant color, and Urgoros is a solid black flying creature, but in a vacuum might not even be better than Aven Sentry. This is an easy pick.

Pack 1 pick 7

My Pick: Jousting Lance

The Fiery Intervention indicates red may be open. While it’s not great as a 5-mana removal spell, it’s still a card I’m happy to pick up this late in the Draft. But I haven’t seen much other red at this point, and Jousting Lance is a solid card in a white aggressive deck and can trigger historic. I’m happy to play my first Jousting Lance in most white decks, so this is a good time to pick it up instead of using the pick to speculate on red.

Pack 1 pick 8

My Pick: D’Avenant Trapper

This pack has a couple of playable 3-drops, but I’m going to take D’Avenant Trapper. Trapper, while not exciting, is a serviceable 3-drop that can lead to some aggressive swings, tapping down an opponent’s blocker while you progress your board. Since I know I’m going to be in white at this point, this is a pretty easy pick.

Pack 1 pick 9

My Pick: Mammoth Spider

This is a late Garna, the Bloodflame, but I’m nowhere near being able to play it. Instead, I get to choose from a few other 5-drops of different colors. Excavation Elephant is a card I’ve never put in a deck, and while I’m mostly white with artifacts, the likelihood that I play it is extremely low. Flame Elemental is double red and another card I don’t play often. Mammoth Spider is a solid green 5-drop that can stop opponents from attacking dead in their tracks. I speculate on the Mammoth Spider here in case I end up in green, as the other cards in this pack are just so unlikely to ever be put in my deck.

Pack 1 pick 10

My Pick: Pierce the Sky

There’s a couple of low level playables in this pack, but after taking the Mammoth Spider I speculate on a high value green sideboard card in Pierce the Sky. Pierce the Sky has a ton of value when it’s good, and I typically don’t want to play creatures like Stronghold Confessor and Drudge Sentinel.

Pack 1 pick 11

My Pick: Healing Grace

I sideboard Healing Grace sometimes against red removal spells, and 6-drops are a dime a dozen in this format, so I’m not particularly interested in the Primordial Wurm. I haven’t had much success with Chainer’s Torment. I’ll just take a sideboard card I occasionally play.

Pack 1 pick 12

My Pick: Rampaging Cyclops

Perfectly serviceable 4-drop if I end up in red. Not a bad target for On Serra’s Wings.

Pack 1 pick 13

My Pick: Krosan Druid

I like Krosan Druid a lot. Korsan Druid can be a mediocre 3-drop or a creature that gets you out of a jam with a huge boost to your life total. Blue isn’t particularly open it seems, and I may need to play a couple of these green cards I picked up late.

Pack 1 pick 14

My Pick: Fervent Strike

Last Pick: Plains

So after this pack I’m firmly in white and have a red card, a blue card, and a couple of green cards I could play. I’m still pretty open, however.

Pack 2 pick 1

My Pick: Demonlord Belzenlok

Well, this is the reward you get sometimes for staying open. Demonlord Belzenlok is an excellent threat as a 6/6 trample flyer, but is also a value creature that can occasionally draw you two or more cards, and always draws you at least one. If I wanted to stay true to my plan of suiting up a Cold-Water Snapper with On Serra’s Wings I could take Time of Ice, but Demonlord Belzenok is just too good, and I know I haven’t seen a blue card in a pack in quite some time. I don’t even mean a playable blue card—I mean literally just a blue card. I’m going to take the bomb mythic rare here every time.

Pack 2 pick 2

My Pick: Skittering Surveyor

I almost always regret passing Skittering Surveyor. We don’t have great fixing in this format, and it’s one of the first in a while without Evolving Wilds. Instead, we get Skittering Surveyor, which both gives me a body to equip and helps me fix my mana if there’s anything I want to splash. While Aven Sentry would be a fine pickup here, I just picked up a double black spell I want to cast and the Surveyor will help do just that.

Pack 2 pick 3

My Pick: Eviscerate

Easy Eviscerate here. Eviscerate is a great way to deal with whatever powerful creature you’re staring down in this format and is one of the higher value commons in the set for that reason. Getting an Eviscerate third is a signal that black is potentially open this pack, which is excellent news as I will likely end up playing my bomb mythic rare Demonlord Belzenlok.

Pack 2 pick 4

My Pick: Dark Bargain

A much less exciting pack. My choices are Sylvan Awakening if I want to reconsider green and have a big damage effect, Academy Journeymage if I want to speculate back into blue, or Dark Bargain, a playable card draw spell that will help me find the Demonlord more often. While I like Dark Bargain it’s not a card I like taking especially early because I find that I’ll get them if I want them. Since there’s not much else here, I’m fine picking up a copy right now. It’s also worth noting that the life loss can be mitigated in B/W because of the lifelink creatures white offers.

Pack 2 pick 5

My Pick: Mesa Unicorn

While blue does appear more open this direction, I’m still getting playables in every pack and filling out my curve. Mesa Unicorn is a bit better than white’s other 2-drops as it offers lifelink, which only gets better when you’re equipping it with a Jousting Lance or Short Sword. I have no 2-drops at this point so I’m happy to pick one up here.

Pack 2 pick 6

My Pick: Mesa Unicorn

Rounding out my curve with yet another solid 2-drop, I take the Mesa Unicorn again. I’ve been hooking up the seat on my right with a solid blue playable every pick, so they’ll likely be pretty cooperative in pack three as they didn’t get much reason to bounce around.

Pack 2 pick 7

My Pick: Sergeant-at-Arms

I get my choice of Sergeant-at-Arms, Serra Disciple, and Howling Golem this pack. Serra’s Disciple might be better if I can reliably trigger the historic trigger every turn, but my deck is pretty light on triggers at the moment, and I have a few quality removal spells so I just want to be able to block when necessary, and Sergeant-at-Arms does a better job of that. Howling Golem is a worse 3-mana 2/3 if you consider the card drawing a neutral effect, so I’ll stick with Sergeant-at-Arms.

Pack 2 pick 8

My Pick: Aesthir Glider

I don’t have any Sagas to bounce, or really any reason to play Guardian of Koilos, so I just take another Aesthir Glider in case my deck ends up more aggressive and wants another flyer.

Pack 2 pick 9

My Pick: Cabal Paladin

I take Cabal Paladin here as I could end up in an aggressive historic-matters deck with enough triggers to make Cabal Paladin playable.

Pack 2 pick 10

My Pick: Stronghold Confessor

I like Stronghold Confessor a little more than Cabal Paladin because it’s a more effective blocker with a flexible mode of casting a 1/1 menace, which doesn’t happen often, but sometimes you just want a cheap chump blocker.

Pack 2 pick 11

My Pick: Thallid Soothsayer

Thallid Soothsayer is unlikely to make my deck, but is certainly playable if I end up with some tokens.

Pack 2 pick 12

My Pick: Feral Abomination

I board in Feral Abomination sometimes against bigger green creature decks when I can’t go underneath them.

Pack 2 pick 13

My Pick: Tragic Poet

Pack 2 pick 14

My Pick: Cabal Paladin

Last Pick: Swamp

Pack 3 pick 1

My Pick: Gideon’s Reproach

Not an exciting pack for me, but Gideon’s Reproach is a serviceable removal spell. I like Thallid Omnivore, but my deck doesn’t have a high creature count and doesn’t have ways to make a bunch of tokens for it to reach its full potential. I see this pack and anticipate wheeling something because it’s pretty dense. I’d be pretty happy to wheel the Omnivore, Caligo Skin-Witch, or Memorial to Folly.

Pack 3 pick 2

My Pick: Windgrace Acolyte

Not excited for this second pick, but it’s a close choice between Windgrace Acolyte and Fungal Infection. Fungal Infection is a cheap trick or removal spell that can often rot in your hand if you don’t play against a deck with a lot of cheap creatures, but it can be incredible in the right matchups. My deck’s curve is relatively low at the moment, so I’d rather add the 5-mana creature than another low cost spell that mostly shines against aggressive decks.

Pack 3 pick 3

My Pick: Vicious Offering

Nothing to really consider here other than Vicious Offering. Adding another solid removal spell to the mix.

Pack 3 pick 4

My Pick: Caligo Skin-Witch

Thallid Soothsayer isn’t particularly good in my creature light deck so I definitely don’t want a second copy, and Serra Disciple still doesn’t have much to trigger it. Caligo Skin-Witch fits nicely as an early blocker or a way to Mind Rot the opponent later in the game and back it up with the removal I already have. My deck is starting to look more like a control deck than an aggro deck, and Caligo Skin-Witch fits in nicely.

Pack 3 pick 5

My Pick: Memorial to Glory

Sanctum Spirit is a playable creature, but how much better is it than the other mediocre 4-drops I already have in Cabal Paladin and Stronghold Confessor? It’s not much better and maybe even worse than Stronghold Confessor in this deck, but Memorial to Glory is a huge upgrade to basic Plains. I’m always happy to pick up value lands at relatively low cost, and this is just that time.

Pack 3 pick 6

My Pick: Deathbloom Thallid

Easy pick here. Benalish Honor Guard is basically a Grizzly Bears in this deck, and Deathbloom Thallid is a nice creature that leaves you value you when you trade. That Saproling can do some work when equipped with a Jousting Lance.

Pack 3 pick 7

My Pick: Arvad the Cursed

While I like Dark Bargain, this is a nice time to pick up Arvad the Cursed. Arvad only pumps my already huge Demon, but also anything with On Serra’s Wings. It’s still a fine card despite that since it can trade with anything and gain life in the process. Pretty easy and intuitive pick here.

Pack 3 pick 8

My Pick: Pegasus Courser

Excellent pick here. Pegasus Courser is a great way to race with opponents, and combining it with lifelink creatures like Mesa Unicorn and Arvad the Cursed makes it easy for my deck to to do that. I don’t normally expect to see Pegasus Courser this late, so I’m pretty happy with it.

Pack 3 pick 9

My Pick: Memorial to Folly

While I still feel like my deck is short a card or two, picking up Memorial to Folly this late is excellent. With two value lands I don’t mind playing an eighteenth land as much in a deck that may not necessarily need it, so it kind of counts as a playable in that regard.

Pack 3 pick 10

My Pick: Final Parting

I’m never going to want the second Feral Abomination so I’ll just take the 5-mana tutor in case.

Pack 3 pick 11

My Pick: Knight of New Benalia

While I don’t love Knight of New Benalia in a format with a lot of Saprolings and Solider tokens running around, I’m fine playing it and my deck needed another playable, so I’ll consider this a gift.

Pack 3 pick 12

My Pick: Opt

Pack 3 pick 13

My Pick: Seismic Shift

Pack 3 pick 14

My Pick: Adventurous Impulse

Last Pick: Island

Here’s the final deck:

The deck turned out solid, but was a card or two short. Aesthir Glider is not great in a deck like this—with this much removal, you want to be able to block so you can trade off and remove the creatures that matter while playing a long game and winning with your bombs.

On Serra’s Wings was my first pick of the Draft, and didn’t look particularly good in my deck, but it played out better than I anticipated and carried me to a couple of game wins by turning races around immediately. I simply played it out of my hand last and hoped that they didn’t have an answer.

I managed to earn a trophy with this deck, and didn’t lose a game for a quick 3-0, 6-0. Demonlord Belzenlok was as good as advertised and managed to draw me multiple cards two of the three times I cast it.

With the amount of artifacts in this format, it’s possible to just stay in a lane and focus on one color and pick up some artifacts and let the packs reward you later, as I demonstrated in this Draft.

This format is especially fun during the Draft portion, as there are a ton of different ways to draft it and I’ve had a tough time reaching consensus with other players on the correct way to do so. You can draft aggro, control, synergy decks, or midrange good-stuff decks, and the best part is they’re all pretty competitive.

What do you think about this format? Is there anything you would have done differently?

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