An Aggressive Stance On Dominaria

One way to survive The Scarab God is to get underneath it! Dominaria houses a lot of aggro cards that could go all out and all-in! Donegan puts a few ideas together here!

It’s that time again for Magic players that never seems to get old: preview
season! Dominaria has looked far from disappointing and perhaps
one of the better sets in recent years. I’m especially excited for the
expected shake up to the Standard format that has begun to stagnate, and it
appears as though Dominaria is shaping up to have quite a large
impact on the format. Llanowar Elves is certainly a large part of the
picture there and will without a doubt be one of (if not) the best cards in
the format. On top of that, we get the return of enemy check lands to
improve the rather poor mana situation in the format. And lastly, I’m
expecting a variety of new aggressive archetypes to be born because of the
new set.

One could write an entire piece on the effect Llanowar Elves will have on
the Standard format. Standard games where one player starts with a turn 1
mana creature and the other doesn’t are typically laughable. Unfortunately,
while this set looks quite good and should shake things up, I’m a bit
scarred to see Magic’s iconic mana creature back in Standard. I’m just not
sure the power level of the rest of the cards will be able to keep up. But
if it’s here, might as well abuse it, right?

My squad for the team RPTQ will be team BCW members Brennan DeCandio and
Tannon Grace, and I fully expect Brennan to be casting some turn 1 Llanowar
Elves. It’s my duty as a teammate to help with his deck selection,
especially in a format like Unified Standard where we lack experience. So,
for the next few months, I’ll be playing with as many Llanowar Elves brews
as possible. Let me present some of my initial ideas for the new format.

Prepare for the return of Mono-Green Stompy, a deck we haven’t be
successful seen in quite some time. Dominaria looks like it should
help revive this archetype in the new Standard format. It goes without
saying Llanowar Elves is the biggest and best addition to the deck, but
there are quite a few other new cards that look like they could be quite
impactful. On top of that, the rebirth of this deck means we might see some
older cards that never had the chance to see play before.

Steel Leaf Champion, while not flashy, is quite a powerful card. You know
that Whirler Virtuoso has proven time and time again to be an absolute pain
for getting your creatures through? This guy stomps right on over Whirler and the tokens.

Speaking of big dumb green idiots, Rhonas’s Last Stand is a card we haven’t
had the luxury of seeing be a playable Standard card due to its strict
color requirements. Now, however, might finally be time to see this
Tarmogoyf-sized two-drop to have its day in the sun. Also note being able
to tap your Llanawor Elves to cast it is a great way to minimize the impact
of the “don’t untap your lands” clause. I can’t imagine Mono-Red Aggro
having a chance to win when facing down a turn 2 5/4.

Ghalta, Primal Hunger is another card that didn’t have much time to shine
in Standard. Only briefly did Brennan DeCandio champion it in his unique
take on G/R Monsters. Any card that lets you cheat on mana is one we should
be cautious of and although the card places a restrictive requirement, it
can feel quite close to busted if you power it out on turn 4 or 5. Both
Steel Leaf Champion and Rhonas’s Last Stand are probably two of the better
enablers for the powerful Dinosaur. I could even see some nasty Verdurous
Gearhulk into Ghalta turn 5s that are impossible to overcome without a

There are infinite possibilities with Llanowar Elves.

This is the deck that won the last North American Standard Grand Prix and
that was before it got a busted turn 1 mana creature! I’m excited to see
what G/R Monsters can do in the new format, and this is certainly one of my
frontrunners of decks I want to play for SCG Atlanta at the end of the
month. One thing I love about this build of G/R Monsters is the fact that
all the creatures are two-for-ones or better. They either draw cards, come
back from the graveyard, or have immediate impact on the battlefield. I’m
guessing that G/R Monsters will be a deck that I like quite a bit in this
new format. It’s an established deck, all the cards are good, and it plays
well both early and late which is exactly what you want your deck to do in
a midrange format.

One of the decks that I think we can all agree will benefit greatly from
the addition of Llanowar Elves is Sultai Constrictor, a deck that time and
time again has proven itself in various iterations of Standard. The rather
recent innovation of Hadana’s Climb by Jadine Klomparens has been a nice
addition to the deck, helping it power through battlefield stalls. Let’s
look at an updated take on this deck with some new Dominaria

While some of the newer cards don’t play as well with Winding Constrictor
as others, this deck certainly got some exciting new additions. Woodland
Cemetery was the land B/G players wanted and needed for so long; it’s
finally time to toss those Foul Orchids in the trash where they belong!
Llanowar Elves is going to be incredible in this deck, as powering out turn
3 Bristling Hydras turn 4 Verdurous Gearhulks will win games on their own.
And a Jadelight Ranger on 2 doesn’t sound so bad either!

Sultai Constrictor is an archetype that will almost certainly remain a
staple of the format as long as Winding Constrictor is around. With the
addition of the powerful green one-drop, it might finally become the tier
one archetype people have been waiting for it to be. Add four Dauntless
Bodyguard to this beast and it’s good to go.

The next deck that I’ve taken an interest in is some form of Mono-White
Aggro as it appears to have gotten some hits from the new set. This deck is
trying to just get under basically everything in the format so when facing
an opposing copy of The Scarab God, hopefully they’re low enough to the
point that Standard’s most powerful card doesn’t matter. Knight of Grace is
a nice Knight of Glory spinoff that might do some serious work versus the
U/B centric format, and History of Benalia is a new and exciting
enchantment that provides both resilient threats and a temporary Glorious
Anthem. Hopefully this take on Mono-White has enough resilency, but there’s
a very good chance that this is just an underpowered mess.

is shaping up to be an absolutely fantastic set with some exciting new
innovations! I think it’s safe to say WotC R&D has a winner with this
one. This article is only scratching the surface on what the set will do to
impact Standard. On top of that, we might see a few new cards appear in
Modern. And who can forget about Brawl? The exciting new format that is
essentially Standard mixed with Commander, where the set must have endless
implications and possibilities. As always when a new set is on the horizon,
it’s an exciting time for Magic players. Now more than ever are we blessed
with opportunity to brew and experiment with new and fun cards.

So go take advantage of that, check out that Dominaria spoiler,
and get to brewing!