I love Dominaria draft. Love it. This is the first set in a really long time where I’m finding myself spending all of my free time playing draft! [Editor’s Note: For others at home playing Legacy in Toronto, this is not a preparation method endorsed by the Spellsnare.com team] The combination of an incredible diversity of archetypes and strategies and the awesome interactions that the cards (even at common!) lead to makes this format have an incredible amount of replayability. I’ve learned a ton about the format so far, but today I want to take a look at 5 cards that I believe most players are underrating in Dominaria draft. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
Call the Cavalry isn’t that exciting on its face, but I’ve found it to be an excellently reliable source of card advantage that can be picked up surprisingly late in drafts. I’ve been slightly less impressed with it in sealed, but draft specifically seems to highly
value 1-for-1 trades, which this card is very happy to exist in the midst of. Additionally, vigilance appears to be more relevant in this format than in most, thanks in large part to a glut of equipment and enchantments in the format, so making two vigilance creatures is huge in that regard as well. Cards like Vicious Offering or Thallid Soothsayer are also already good cards in this format that are really happy if they’re not using a full card to activate Kicker or draw a card.
Don’t get me wrong, I think this card is very strong, but don’t go around third or fourth picking it when you can just as easily get it around eighth or ninth. You will 100% wheel this card more often than you think.
This card is a huge, massive pain in the ass for decks that are looking to take the game slow and grind out advantages through spells, and not through massive creatures. Unfortunately for me, I love drafting those types of decks, so I’ve been losing a lot of games I had no business losing thanks to this stupid turtle. A 4/5 for 6 is already not atrocious in this format, but hexproof itself makes this card frequently the best creature on the battlefield. Spot removal specifically is all over the place in this format, and (if memory serves) The Eldest Reborn is the only sacrifice effect in the format, and Urza’s Ruinous Blast and Phyrexian Scriptures are the only board wipes that hit Snapper. If you can back it up with enough spot removal or tricks, you can ensure that your opponent never gets the chance to get this card off the board.
Just like Call the Cavalry, this card goes surprisingly late, due in large part to its tendency to get overrun a lot against the faster decks, but having access to this, either in the mainboard or the sideboard, is a huge boost to your deck’s ability to win matches in this format.
Speaking of The Eldest Reborn… This card is fantastic! My original view on this card was that you would potentially find yourself in situations where both of the first two chapters did almost nothing, thus rendering this an expensive Reanimate. However, it feels more like a 3-for-1 a lot of the time it’s played. Black has both Fungal Infection and Vicious Offering, which can pick off your opponent’s small and less valuable creatures, just like effects in other colors like Blink of an Eye, Shivan Fire, and Gideon’s Reproach do. This means that even just by playing the game out, The Eldest Reborn’s first chapter will frequently nab a creature of significant worth to your opponent’s game plan. As for the second chapter, this card is costed at a sweet spot in this format, where both players tend to start deploying their most valuable creatures that they are leaning on to win them the game. Every time this card hits its second chapter, it’s either nabbing a valuable card from your opponent, or it’s hitting a land in hand that is either preventing them from casting that large spell, or indicates weakness, all of which your’e pretty happy with. And lastly, let’s not forget about the third ability, which is superb in this format of frequent trades and removal spells taking down massive creatures. Also, let’s not forget that the important creature that you get with either of the first two chapters of The Eldest Reborn can be brought back.
My recommendation is that you should take this card early if you find it. It works in almost every black deck in this format, and is easily splashable.
Valduk, Keeper of the Flame
I mentioned this in my article last week, which you can read here, but I’m fairly high on this card. If you take it early enough (don’t first pick it, though), you can tailor your deck to be in a place where Valduk is far and away the best card you have. 3/1 is really nicely sized in this format and not needing to attack means you’re not risking throwing Valduk away if you’re looking to get some value out of it. As I’ve previously mentioned in my Dominaria analysis over the last few weeks, this format is jam-packed with equipment and auras, many of which will get passed around the table a lot of the time, but are playable in their own right. Short Sword, Shield of the Realm, Jousting Lance, and Frenzied Rage are all options for Valduk no matter how you’ve built your deck. Adding white for Dub or On Serra’s Wings, blue for Arcane Flight, or black for Demonic Vigor gives you a ton of flexibility.
Don’t scoff at this card. We’ve all been beaten by it, and the sooner that we all come to grips with its very high potential power level the better. Don’t first pick this card, but if you see it coming to you around the fifth or sixth pick, consider taking it and shifting priorities. It is that good if given the right support.
There were several green cards that I could’ve picked here, but none of them have over performed in the same way that Grow from the Ashes has. It sort of has two “modes” on it thanks to kicker, and they’re actually fairly different. The 3 mana mode lets you cast a traditional Rampant Growth with marginal upside thanks to the land entering untapped. However, the 5 mana mode isn’t just double Rampant Growth, it very frequently lets you cast a 2 mana spell in addition to it. There are several impactful 2 mana spells in this format (creatures and not) that you’re thrilled to use as part of a 1-2 punch with Grow from the Ashes. This format also highly incentivizes splashing both lightly and heavily, and it’s hard to think of a better card for those purposes than Grow. It even lets splashing double-colored spells seem fairly reasonable, or even splashing multiple colors.
Well that’s it for me today! Hopefully you learned more about Dominaria through the cards that I think are being underrated by far too many players. Next time you’re given an opportunity to, don’t be afraid to draft these cards and give them a whirl!
Until next time,
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