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Clayton Lin: Weighing In

Adventures in Cardboard: MTG: Dominaria- The Limited Experience

Andrew Ryan

So between Saturday and Sunday, I finally got to gather some legends from Dominaria into sometimes neatly arranged 40 card decks.

Dominaria, the set itself, introduces 2 mechanics into the Standard environment, one returning, and one new, as well and 2 new card subtypes. The old mechanic is named Kicker, which adds an additional kicking cost on spells with the associated keyword. The new mechanic is Historic, which triggers upon casting either a spell with the keywords legendary, artifact, or Saga (which is one of the new subtypes). Certain cards care about the keyword, such as the humble and fierce D’Avenant Trapper or the monstrous but somewhat wimpy Cabal Paladin. The other subtype is Legendary Sorceries, which are really powerful spells that require you to have a Legendary creature or planeswalker on the battlefield as a casting condition.

Kicker is a solid, dependable mechanic. It mitigates those moments where you and the guy on the other end of the table is locked in a board stall with no trump card to break that deadlock, each of you racing one another hoping to topdeck the trump- Kicker spells have a base effect when cast for its base converted mana cost, but you can upgrade the effect upon paying the kicker cost (which must be paid during the cast itself), which can either give you the edge or straight up run away with the game from behind. Historic is functional, though when you cast a garden variety artifact, it apparently has enough value to be considered as a museum exhibit, which is slightly humorous.

So for my first pre-release, the pool was rather average, and from the six packs I opened- white and black were the most two powerful colours. Then with one Skittering Surveyor, I thought I would be fine with splashing blue, adding a single copy of Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage (a 4 mana flying 3/3 is a real bomb), a Time of Ice and a Cloudtreader Sphinx. I won the first round, through some cautious play on both ends of the pitch, but opted to cut the blue as I wasn’t too happy with the inconsistent third colour.

 Magic: The Gathering, as originally intended.

Magic: The Gathering, as originally intended.

Cut to simply white and black, and the second game produced Magic as it was originally intended- a board stall where my opponent and resident judge just created an endless amount of saprolings that caused joy to both of us and the audience that came to watch, who contributed by hoovering up as many Saproling tokens with the exact same art work.

I decided I want to add the green cards from my pool in order to replicate the last round, except with me doing that. I win the last two in rather safe and unexcited fashion to close out the night 3-1, with the green never really doing anything except being inconsistent. Then I found this format fun enough to do a casual sealed pool- open a ton of legendaries, go 0-2 and drop as it was getting late.

On a whim on a nice Sunday afternoon, I decided to do another one, rushing towards the bus stop with a few minutes to spare. It turned out to be a good decision as I opened the most insane pool- Shalai, Voice of Plenty, Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp, Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage, Naru Meha, Master Wizard, Danitha Capashen and a Urza’s Ruinous Blast, Paragon formed the core of an unbeatable Blue/White pool focused on things that fly, in addition to a smattering of random artifacts to help trigger Zahid’s alternate casting cost (for the most part I was hard-casting the genie).

The entire ensemble went 4-0 with some really classy highlight reels to go with it. One such a highlight reel was flashing in a Raff at the end of my opponent’s turn and then casting an Urza’s Ruinous Blast to hose my opponent’s board and began the lethal counterattack.

 The Invincible Flyers- inexplicably missing one Danitha.

The Invincible Flyers- inexplicably missing one Danitha.

The format is weird, and prone to long, dragged out games and that legendaries really matter. I can’t wait to draft Dominaria as soon as it launches on Friday.