Drafting Digest: Dominaria Observations And Interactions

Sometimes your intuition fails you in a new Limited format! Ryan Saxe takes you through several unusual Dominaria interactions that require some thought…and perhaps a new stop for Magic Online players!

While we don’t have the entirety of Dominaria available yet, many of the rares and uncommons are out there. In any Limited format, there are nuanced interactions between complex cards that aren’t necessarily intuitive. It’s important to have some thought-out understanding of what these interactions are and how to abuse them.

Often such interactions are learned via losing; your opponent beats you with an interaction you didn’t even know existed, and then you end up drafting it soon due to the excitement and novelty. But you can discover these on your own. Consider this combination of cards:

While it isn’t important for the Saga represented to be Phyrexian Scriptures, it makes the point quite well.

Giving Sagas flash enables triggering both Chapters 1 and 2 in a much smaller time window, allowing for potential abuse. One of the reasons Phyrexian Scriptures doesn’t appear to be absurd is that an opponent won’t play into the Wrath effect, since they will see it coming, but that is not the case when the card has flash. Consider flashing in Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage on the opponent’s end step and then Phyrexian Scriptures on your upkeep. This is a devastating line of play.

“But that isn’t that crazy. I knew of that interaction,” you say. Well, have you considered that Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage may incentivize you to play Sagas on your draw step? That’s right: all of you Magic Online veterans reading this had better get ready to add a draw-step stop for your own turn, an extremely rare occurrence in the game. Because Sagas trigger “after your draw step,” if you draw a Saga and have Raff Capashen on the battlefield, you actually can cast the Saga and get two Chapter effects that turn!

While we don’t have the entirety of Dominaria at our fingertips yet, cards like Cabal Paladin at common suggest that a “historic matters” archetype could certainly be represented in the Limited format. Cards that don’t appear good (think this four-mana 2/2) could fuel an unexpected archetype. If nobody is trying to capitalize on “historic matters,” then you could easily wheel multiple copies of the Paladin, and boy do they stack well!

This archetype will likely prioritize, as expected for the mechanic, legendary creatures and artifacts. There appear to be a reasonable number of cheap artifacts at common, and there is an abundance of legendary creatures in the set, given that it’s a subtheme. Additionally, we know that there’s at least one legendary creature per pack, and so hitting a density of them to optimize for “historic matters” cards such as Mishra’s Self-Replicator doesn’t seem all that difficulty. Additionally, the B/W uncommon, Arvad the Cursed, suggests that this may be a good choice within the color combination.

The last observation I would like to bring to light is the overall complexity of the set. Given the abundance of legendary creatures at uncommon, plenty of the cards have a lot of relevant text. Consider the above gold cards: they do multiple things and have mana sinks. Ixalan Block Limited struggled, some would say, due to a low complexity. Even Rivals of Ixalan had a huge mana-flooding problem, as there were not many places to put your mana once your resources were exhausted. This does not seem like a problem for Dominaria Limited.

However, if the set has a high complexity, comparable to Future Sight, there will be a portion of the player base that will be quite unhappy with the game. Personally, though, I’m excited to see where the set ends up and have high hopes!