I haven’t seen the comments from What’s the Pick #2 yet, but I have reviewed the ones from #1. One of the picks most people disagreed with me on that I still stand by is Time of Ice. I think it’s a fantastic card in an aggressive U/W Flyers or U/R Wizards deck, but a lot of my other blue decks are very controlling. You have a lot of good blue commons that lend themselves to more controlling strategies in this format, and control decks really don’t get much from tapping and bouncing a blocker or two for a few turns. I’m not saying that I don’t play Time in more controlling strategies or that it’s not first pickable, just that it lowers the value enough that it’s worse than good removal and most other power cards.
The other pick that most people disagreed with was Arvad. On this one I’m probably wrong. Getting every legend you can when you’re W/B is important because you want to be able to turn on not only your historic-matters cards but also your legendary sorceries if you can get them. But I’m probably a little too aggressive with that—Arvad is a good card, but it probably shouldn’t be taken that early out of that pack.
Now let’s get to some fresh packs.
Two 2/2s for 3 mana is an excellent rate, and pumping them puts this card over the top. It doesn’t break any stalemate—it’s not always going to win the game like some bombs, but it also only costs 3 mana. I’m taking this card over every common in the set. It’s a close pick with the good uncommons, however. I think I would take Icy p1p1 because it’s an artifact, as well as Clutches and Tatyova over this, but I think it’s close.
Honorable Mention: Blessed Light
One white to cast and being an instant makes this unconditional splashable removal one of my favorite cards to first pick. Exile can even win a game where destroy might not. Soul Salvage is an almost automatic main-deck card in this format at common, and then there are rares like The Eldest Reborn and Multani where exile is relevant as well. This is a format where you play your card draw, so splashing is totally fine. If you first-pick this and must move out of white it’s no big deal. Just draft aggressively, take a Skittering Surveyor, and you can toss your Blessed Light into any deck.
This card just keeps growing on me. R/G kicker is the only archetype with which I’ve been able to 3-0 two different Drafts on Magic Online, and I think it might be third best in the format behind U/R Wizards and G/B Saprolings. I also like that red can be paired with any other color to make a good deck. R/B Grind is very good, and R/W Aggro isn’t one of my favorites but it’s a perfectly fine deck. Also, I know that I pointed this out the last time, I took a Shivan Fire but it’s worth repeating: Drawing first is great in this format, but you still don’t want to get run over. That further raises Shivan Fire’s value.
Honorable Mention: Torgaar, Famine Incarnate
This is not a broken rare, but it is still an early pick. Being able to set either players’ life total to 10 is a strong ability. This card is at its best in G/B Saprolings where you can play it turn 4 and sacrifice two 1/1s, but don’t think you have to be G/B for this card to be good. If you are a control deck, you will be very happy to sacrifice some Vodalian Arcanist or Skittering Surveyor and pay 6 mana to bring your life total back from 4 to 10, or to take theirs down from 20 to 10. That’s not broken, but it is a meaningful effect, so while I take Torgaar behind the best efficient common removal Shivan Fire, Blessed Light, and Eviscerate, it’s still an early pick and better than a lot of good commons like Pegasus Courser and Llanowar Elves.
This card is only broken in a green deck. The hexproof aspect barely matters because a 3/4 flyer is worth killing anyway, and it doesn’t have hexproof itself. I like that it’s relatively cheap, but I don’t consider it one of the best rares. That said, I also like that it’s a single white to cast, so if you first-pick it and end up drafting green but not white, it’s easy to prioritize a fixer and splash it into any green deck. If you end up white and not green, you still get a good 4-drop, though nothing special. You should get to play this almost every time you first pick it, but it will only really be broken in a few decks like G/W go-wide and G/B Thallids with a little fixing.
Honorable Mention: Seal Away
I like this efficient removal spell quite a bit. Even if you are a very aggressive white deck, sometimes you will attack with flyers and they will have to attack you back with their good ground creatures. Other times you can tap their best creature with Trapper and then Seal it away for good. I find this card extremely effective at removing good creatures, and for only 2 mana it gives you the ability to double spell for a positive tempo turn or catch someone by surprise in combat when they sacrifice creatures to their Thallid Omnivore or cast a combat trick. I love efficient removal, and if you make it cheap and instant speed, you have a very valuable card.
Wow this pack is good. Tatyova, Weatherlight, and Icy are windmill-slam first picks that make me feel like I got lucky to open them. Whoever cracks this pack in Draft was very foolish—they should have saved it for a Sealed deck. It even has two of the best commons in Blessed Light and Shivan Fire. I think Weatherlight is the most powerful of all of the cards, and it’s an artifact, so it’s a clear first pick. It’s hard to kill and generates an immediate advantage if it connects a single time. Even if your opponent goes on to draw their removal later, they will probably still lose to the card advantage it generated. And of course, if they leave Blessed Light mana open, just play other creatures, and if they tap out, hit them with the Weatherlight and tutor up your historic stuff.
Honorable Mention: Tatyova, Benthic Druid
This is a very close pick between Tatyova and Icy. I really like that Icy is an artifact, but when we are talking about such powerful effects, I think getting the card immediately with Tatyova is more valuable. There are more ways to kill Tatyova, but then again, drawing two cards a turn is a lot more powerful than tapping your opponent’s best card. It’s also not like it costs UUGG1—it’s easy to splash in this format. Pick up one Skittering Surveyor and the only way you can’t play Tatyova is if you are W/R, W/B, or B/R.
Also, there are plenty of ways to recur dead creatures and card draw, including Tatyova itself, to help find them. In a format like this where you see so much of your deck and a lot of winning is about going over the top of the opponent, most of the time you want to take the more powerful card, and that’s Tatyova by a pretty wide margin.
It’ only fitting that we have one of the worst packs I’ve ever seen right after one of the best. I really like Thallid Omnivore, but I also really hope that I never have to first-pick it. Omnivore is near broken in G/B Saprolings but is also just a good creature in almost every black deck. There are a lot of bodies in this format that provide value but can’t attack or block well. Skittering Surveyor, Skin-Witch, and Fungal Infection come to mind. I still think Omnivore is a good card even if you aren’t green. It’s been growing on me since day one, but I still wouldn’t take it over any of the good removal and it’s not a card you should first-pick often.
Honorable Mention: Time of Ice
I’m nowhere near as big on Time of Ice as a lot of people. I like it a lot in U/W Historic aggro and it’s okay in U/R Wizards, but other than that, Dominaria is not a tempo format and I don’t think it’s a great card. Lowering its value further, U/R Wizards cares about instants and sorceries, so while I would always play Time of Ice there, I don’t even think it’s especially important.
People have always overvalued the cards that end the game, because they look like they created the game-winning value and undervalue the contributions made by just hitting your curve. I know I’m going to end up disagreeing with most people on how good this card is, but pay attention to the close games you lose, and how that might have changed if this had been a 4-mana 3/2 flyer. It’s a lot easier to see when this wins you the game than when it loses a close one that an average 4-drop might have won. That said, you still see me taking it second out of this pack, and that’s over Squee and Skin-Witch, even if behind Omnivore, so by no means am I saying that it’s not playable. I just don’t take it over cards that I really want like removal or good creatures like Omnivore, Pegasus, or Llanowar Elves.
I think I’m going to do a couple more of these, then switch to the P1P2 style. This format lends itself well to going deeper into Drafts for picks because it is very archetype driven. The picks I make once I’m U/R Wizards, G/B Saprolings, R/G Kicker Ramp, R/B Grindy Control, or any white historic aggro deck are very different than just sorting the cards by power level. I’m also considering doing archetype guides because I feel like the card values fluctuate a lot between different decks. It’s cool having a set like this that just makes me want to draft all day every day, as well as think, talk, and write about Magic. I really hope everyone else is enjoying Dominaria Limited as much as I am and that it will encourage WotC to make more sets like it.