Arena is currently providing the opportunity to draft some older sets and casual player Bexx here is saying “I AM SO EXCITED!”
Let’s talk Dominaria.
I was the Manager at the ChannelFireball Game Center when this set came out. It was around the time I started getting a little more into Magic in hopes of really becoming better at my job. The unfortunate news, we were moving from an old location to a new one and it was midterm season so, guess who did not get to play at all during this time? This girl.
I missed my opportunity to play Dominaria. This was the time I was strictly playing Sealed due to the fear of being judged by others when drafting. Anxiety is the worst. I didn’t get to play in prerelease and I didn’t have time between exams and setting up the new location to play our Tuesday night Sealed events. I was super bummed, so I continued with life, skipping out on yet another set in Magic despite how cool it looked.
This week, Arena gave me the opportunity to experience what everyone said was the best draft set in a very long time. And oh my, they were not wrong!
I logged into Arena, noticed the newest event was Premier Dominaria Draft, and didn’t even hesitate to click “play” without realizing it wasn’t in Standard and I probably should have thought about spending my Gems on that.
Being a filthy casual means not reading anything before trying it and hoping it works out. Good news everybody, it worked out! This set was so easy to pick up. Obviously, card text was different from the printed set since it referred to Historic very often, but it was still such a blast.
Pack 1, Pick 1 was Adeliz, The Cinder Wind. I saw like 3 wizard cards in my pack and figured that was the best way to go. Considering I didn’t read anything or know anything about Dominaria beforehand, my only thought process was “Okay pick a keyword and stick with it”.
Pick 2 comes up, no wizards. Ugh. Pick 3. Still none.. Oh no.. I need to change my plan now! Let’s try Artifacts! I picked a Damping Sphere already so.. maybe…
Crap. That isn’t working either. I’m already on Pick 6. I don’t actually know when it’s too late and you should just give up. Okay it looks like I have a lot of cards with they keyword “Historic”. Let’s see what happens from here.
A few packs and picks later, I was able to put together an Azorius Historic deck together.
I don’t remember the exact decklist but these are a few of the cards I was able to draft:
Part of drafting and playing as a casual player means figuring out how things interact in the moment rather than knowing beforehand exactly how that works.
The Historic keyword was the first thing I had to understand. I didn’t know what actually was considered Historic until I played it and one of my card triggers went off. Thank you Arena for having my back on learning this game.
Excuse me, would you like to pay for those attackers? Thanks
Syncopate was a fun way to counter cards in this deck. I have never played with that card before. I am so used to playing Mystical Dispute in my Standard decks. It always requires the opponent to pay 2 more mana rather than my choice of mana based on X. I didn’t realize how useful that mechanic would be when I drafted it until I utilized it. I wish this card was in Standard still.
Seal Away is a great removal card. Obviously, Standard has removal already with Glass Casket and others I can’t remember the name of (Casual, remember?) but it was so helpful to be able to slow them down with this card when I pulled it.
Serra Angel is a go to for me. I don’t know if it’s the familiar name, the fact that flying and vigilance is a wonderful combination, or the art in this set being so beautiful, but I had to pick her and when I was able to play her, she beat face and it was great.
Opt is always a card I’ll take if it’s in the set. Being able to scry and draw is something I didn’t realize was so powerful in a game of Magic until I learned how to draft. I was so used to playing my Elf Commander deck and never having any draw or land problems that when I switched into Standard, I realized I had to actually care about getting usable cards in my hand often and quickly.
I wouldn’t be a true casual if I didn’t talk about the card art. Like a fine wine, Magic cards can and will be chosen by their art whenever I can’t find another good reason. Yes, I do choose my wine based on the bottle. And so far, I’ve only be failed once or twice (I do drink a lot of wine).
I definitely took a few of the following cards due to their art rather than playability when I didn’t have a better choice:
Arcane Flight – SO FREAKIN CUTE! But no use for it in my deck. I’ll just stare at it when I’m bored and admire the cuteness.
Cold-Water Snapper – I did end up playing him since I needed some top-end cards but man am I a sucker for big beefy creatures. Definitely influenced my pick.
Excavation Elephant – Elephants are one of my favorite animals, so I couldn’t resist. Plus, It really reminds me of the Oliphaunts from Lord of the Rings and well, that’s my favorite movie series. I put this in my deck but it was pretty useless.
Seal Away – Another card I chose for play ability but want to point out how freaking awesome the art is. Like wow.
Dominaria was a great set to play and I’ll definitely make the most of it being on Arena while I can. There goes all my hope of playing Standard, especially after those bans messed up all my decks, so I might as well enjoy the Historic ride until Zendikar Rising comes out. I was able to take my deck 3-3 in Draft and honestly, I’m content with that. From the interaction to the art, everything about Dominaria has been a great experience.
Let me know your thoughts on Dominaria Draft in the comments and your favorite parts about the set.