The Dominaria Prerelease is this weekend, and if you’re anything like me, you’re already really excited to play with the new set. I’ve said in my articles before that I’m more excited for this set than I have been for any set in a really long time. Old Magic being brought into a new light. New mechanics and types of cards. New and unique designs that are sure to make Limited and Constructed both very interesting. These are just some of the reasons you should be getting excited about this set. In this article, I’ll be looking at 2 of the cycles found in Dominaria, and analyzing them specifically through a Limited lens. Let’s get started.
The Uncommon Saga Cycle
We’ll start with the uncommon cycle of Triumph of Gerrard, Time of Ice, Chainer’s Torment, The Eldest Reborn, The Flame of Keld, and Song of Freyalise. This one is quite awkward, since black got an extra Saga at uncommon, but it doesn’t mean we can’t treat it as a cycle. Sagas are a very interesting new feature of Dominaria, and this uncommon cycle is likely at the sweet spot where it’s powerful enough to be a player in the limited format, while showing up frequently enough to be a somewhat common feature of the format.
Triumph of Gerrard is the white card in this cycle, and I’m a little apprehensive to get excited about this one. Two +1/+1 counters for 2 mana isn’t a bad rate, but being forced to put them on your largest creature greatly diminishes this card’s flexibility. Getting the one-turn bonus of giving flying, first strike, and lifelink is nice, but in general, games of limited come down less to temporary boosts and more to on-board or in-hand card advantage. Because of that, I’m a little skeptical about this card being a dominant force in the format.
Time of Ice is the next card, and this one is exactly what blue decks are looking to play. Tapping down the opponent’s two most menacing creatures over two turns, followed by bouncing those creatures and any other tapped creatures is a very powerful effect. Additionally, your opponent is more or less forced to hold all of their creatures back the turn before Time of Ice hits 3, or else additional creatures will be bounced. I expect Time of Ice to be one of blue’s best cards in this format.
The first black uncommon Saga, Chainer’s Torment, is less than exciting. While the third “chapter” making a potentially extremely large creature is attractive, the drawback of losing half your life and needing to spend 4 mana for no tangible on-board effect the turn it comes down (or the following turn) simply isn’t worth it.
The other black uncommon Saga, The Eldest Reborn, is more exciting. The real appeal of this card is the third chapter. The first two chapters are a nice bit of card advantage that can vary from 2 cards’ worth of value to hardly one, but regardless of where on that spectrum it ends up, the two beginning chapters help it to reach the third chapter.
The Flame of Keld has a powerful effect tacked onto a 2 mana enchantment, but I’m holding back judgment until I play with this one. In order to play it for full value, you’ll need to have no more important cards in your hand, meaning this will frequently be played late in the game, making the draw 2 a less impressive ability than it might seem.
Song of Freyalise is the last in this cycle, and I think this one might end up being a little awkward. 1 mana creatures are a little hard to come by, so it’s unlikely that this card will be a meaningful spell on turn 2. Instead, turn 3 or 4 is when you’ll end up casting this. You’ll also need a few creature in play to really get value out of the first 2 chapters. The final chapter is a nice payoff for the acceleration that the first two chapters will bring, but in order to make this card do good work for you, you’ll need to have a few things go right.
The Uncommon Legendary Cycle
One of the other major cycles of this format is the cycle of uncommon Legendary creatures. Each two color combination has its own Legendary, and they could give us an excellent indication of what that color combination is looking to do in this format.
Raff Capshen, Ship’s Mage is up first. The U/W card indicates that this color combination wants to play a tempo game with flyers and Historic cards. This card in particular is very powerful, as a 3/3 flash flyer for 4 mana is a good rate for most limited formats.
At U/B, we have Rona, Disciple of Gix, which has the ability to be a single card engine if you have a high density of Historic cards. Additionally, this card is an effective 2-for-1 if played later in the game after a Historic card has gone into your graveyard. U/B is very likely to be a grindy color that uses Historic cards to gain value deep into the game.
Garna, the Bloodflame is our B/R Legendary. It’s very different from most B/R cards, so I’m imagining that sacrificing creatures will be a good tool for this color combination to take advantage of. This card is potentially extremely powerful, and depending on how the format shapes up, this could be a premier card in the format.
In R/G we have Hallar, the Firefletcher, which is sized like many of the R/G cards we’ve seen in the past. What it also tells us is that Kicker will be a more meaningful option in this color combination than most. Hallar, the Firefletcher will undoubtedly be one of the best, if not the best, non-rare option in this color combination.
G/W has Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy, which tells us exactly what we should be doing in this color combination. G/W will want to put a large number of creatures into play. Additionally, having protection from the opponent’s abilities is a nice add-on.
In W/B, Arvad the Cursed is a very unique card. It rewards you for playing Legendary creatures, something that is a theme of the entire set. This makes Arvad the odd one out of this cycle, but it’s stats make it a very appealing option if you can get another legend
Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker is the W/R part of this cycle. It has great stats, especially in this color combination, and the added bonus of being able to take some of the risk out of playing aura or equipment is really nice. Any W/R deck will be happy to play this.
In U/R we have Adeliz, the Cinder Wind, which is very clearly pushing this color combination into Wizard tribal. A pretty decent body on its own, getting a few Wizards in play and casting an instant or two quickly turns Adeliz into the best card in your deck, one that gets extra value out of your Wizards and can even kill your opponent out of nowhere.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid seems to be pushing U/G pretty strongly into the classic big mana, grind the game out style that we’ve become accustomed to. A 3/3 for 5 is not amazing, but it has the possibility of drawing you and extra card every turn, something which is rarely beaten.
Lastly, we have Slimefoot, the Stowaway, which can almost be thought of as two different cards. The first of these cards is a Saproling payoff card, and the second is a one card engine that can produce a steady stream of 1/1 creatures. Either way, this is a pretty good card to take if you’re in both of these colors, and one that I would expect to be one of B/G’s best non-rare cards.
Well that does it for me today. I hope you’re just as excited about Dominaria limited as I am, and that you have a great time at the Prerelease this weekend. Let’s get some new cards!
Until next time,
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