Dominaria in EDH

 

What a spoiler season it’s been for Dominaria, Magic’s spring set. First, the Chinese release notes were accidentally spoiled, leading to ~100 cards being spoiled. Then, Wizards released the English notes, so that people weren’t working with misinformation — this let us know that these leaked cards were legit. Since then, we’ve had a steady flow of new cards and information, letting us know that the Dominaria set was a truly awesome one, and one to really look forward to.

There’s been a lot of Dominaria spoiled since that initial flow. Let’s take a look at what I’ll be using in EDH!

Last year, we had some great Magic sets printed for EDH. Aether Revolt had lots of great multiplayer cards in it, like Metallic Mimic, one of the best tribal enablers ever. This was followed by Modern Masters 2017, which had lots of great reprints, driving down the prices of expensive cards. Wizards released the Egypt-themed set Amonkhet, which again, had a ton of great multiplayer cards, like new general Hapatra, Vizier of Poison and Dusk // Dawn. Then came Hour of Devastation, which saw the release of good old Nicol Bolas, who came back to chew bubble gum and kick the good guys’ collective asses. Then we had Commander 2017, which had a strong tribal theme, helping out the various tribes of Magic (but especially Vampires, Dragons, Wizards and Cats).

In Sept, Ixalan continued in this fashion, but upped the ante with a strong tribal set, featuring Merfolk, Vampires, Dinosaurs, and Pirates, all fairly popular choices. This set did have some great tribal enablers, as well as an amazing cycle of transform cards (that I gushed about here). Though considered a weak Magic set overall (and a terrible Limited format), Ixalan was popular with EDH tribal players.

Rivals of Ixalan was not nearly as good (in my opinion), and I was mostly disappointed by it. Unlike Ixalan, it didn’t really bring any universal tribal cards to the table (cards like Vanquisher’s Banner, Unclaimed Territory, or Pillar of Origins, which will be used by any tribe in Magic going forward, and which I thought were quietly some of the best cards in the initial Ixalan set). Still, it did have some fun cards for the tribes in it (Vampires, Merfolk, Dinos, and Pirates), so if you were playing one of those tribes, it wasn’t all bad.

The last year of Magic was, for the most part, full of tons of excellent EDH and multiplayer cards. Could Dominaria continue this?

To an enfranchised player like myself, who has been here since the very beginning of Magic, Dominaria is quite exciting. It’s very much like coming home, and I knew that Wizards would likely have something awesome and nostalgic planned for us all.

I initially went over the Dominaria leak here, and my conclusion at that point was that this was the most exciting EDH set to come along in a very, very long time. The legendary creatures all looked to be fun and powerful, and worth building around; the throwback cards were all extremely nostagia-inducing; there were random legendary generals for tribes that didn’t have one before (Knights, Specters, Apes, etc); overall, the set just looked like a blast, and I was really looking forward to it.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at the cards I’m going to slot into my EDH decks!

Our first card today is a simple enough one; seeing this in the release notes prompted me to rebuild our Esper deck into Dakkon Blackblade. I was a big fan of Dakkon back in the day (and still am), and so as soon as I saw that his sword was in Dominaria, I knew I had to build a deck around him. The deck is a lot of fun so far to play, and I’m looking forward to adding The Blackblade Reforged into it once it is released.

Speaking of nostalgia! The Weatherlight was the focal point of the MTG storyline for several years, so it’s extremely cool to see it make a return under Captain Jhoira. As with any nostalgia-based card, I’ll definitely try to find a home for it… in this case, since it puts historic cards in your hand, it’ll fit perfectly in my Captain Sisay “Legends matter” deck, where it can ‘draw’ you extra legends.

Not a super strong mythic, but one that I’m very glad to see in this set.

I’ll admit, when this card was spoiled last week, I did a double take. I had just finished saying to a friend that if Wizards wanted to really put this set over the top, they needed to reprint good old Cabal Coffers. Coffers has been a casual favorite for years, and has not had a reprint in a long, long time (and has become quite pricey for an uncommon as a result).

Well, they didn’t reprint it, but they gave us the next best thing: a new version that EDH players can run alongside the original!

I’ll be honest, there are multiple factors that make this card nowhere near as strong as the original. To start actually making positive amounts of mana, you have to have this and five Swamps in play; contrast that to the original Coffers, where you only needed it plus four Swamps to make six mana. This card only triggers off of basic Swamps, which is a huge drawback; the original Coffers is normally run with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to make any land into the right type, letting Coffers add even more mana. Sadly, that doesn’t work with this new version, unless your lands are basic. These are two very big drawbacks to the card, and will limit what it does.

Having said that, it taps for mana itself (something the original never did), and it isn’t a legendary land, so already I like it still.

This card has its drawbacks, but at the end of the day, it’s still a second copy of Cabal Coffers, and so it will be going into my mono-black control deck, Maga, Traitor to Mortals, where I currently have Coffers and 35+ Swamps to go with it. I expect that this card will be excellent in there, letting me power out even more game-ending Magas with ease. A great land.

Josu was spoiled right around the same time as the new Coffers (which I thought was cute, because you can use the extra mana from the card above to power Josu’s kicker cost), and this guy is my kind of creature. Either for four mana you get a 4/5 menace creature, or for ten mana you get twenty power worth of menace creatures, spread among nine creatures.

Doesn’t matter which way you play this guy, that’s a damn good card either way!

It’s worth mentioning that he’s part of the Knight tribe. With Dominaria, Wizards has embraced that tribe fully as an EDH tribe, giving us many generals to play the tribe with. Creatures like this one really make me want to build Knight tribal myself.

When Dominaria is released, I’m planning to add this card immediately to my Kresh the Bloodbraided deck. Whether as a large creature for four mana, or a whole bunch of creatures for ten mana, Josu will be excellent in that deck. I’ll be looking at adding Josu to our Maga deck as well.

Great card. He’s basically a more flexible version of Army of the Damned, which is a big spell I’ve always liked in EDH. This guy is going to see a lot of play at my EDH table.

As someone who’s had tribal Dragons built for a while now in EDH around Zirilan of the Claw (recently updated to The Ur-Dragon, which I’ll be posting about shortly), I’m always on the lookout for new Dragons to add to the deck. And this is a pretty sweet one.

For four mana (three with Ur-Dragon’s discount), you get a 4/4 flier, and for an extra 3 mana, an extra 4/4 flier. This is basically a more versatile version of Broodmate Dragon, who was already a pretty good card in the deck, so I can only see this one being even better.

Plus, the deck’s mana curve is extremely clunky, clogged up with Dragons that cost six and seven mana. Having one that I can play early on is always a bonus, so this guy will be great.

With each set that comes out, one thing I always look for are lands that have spell-like effects, which I can slot into my EDH decks (giving me spell effects, but not eating up a spell slot). Coincidentally, Dominaria just so happens to have a cycle of this type of land: the green one lets you ‘draw’ a creature from among your top five cards, the white one makes two 1/1 Soldiers, the black one is a Raise Dead, the blue one is Inspiration, and the red one is Stone Rain.

All of these are quite playable, and so I know I’ll be picking up multiple copies for my decks, especially the mono-color decks. As uncommons, these are excellent for budget-minded EDH players.

I’ll admit, I was not the biggest fan of how Sagas looked when the first one was previewed. As a purist, they just didn’t look right to me (and still don’t). However, I was willing to admit that they looked quite fun to play, and so I was definitely looking forward to giving them a try.

The Antiquities War looks like a good one, ‘drawing’ you extra cards (in the form of artifacts) for the first two turns, and then turning your artifacts into large 5/5 beaters. I’m always on the lookout for versatile card drawing spells, and so having one that also happens to function as an Overrun is pretty damn cool.

I’ll be using this in my Breya, Etherium Shaper artifact aggro deck, and I expect it’ll be quietly excellent in that deck, drawing me extra cards and then turning my robots into bigger robots. A great card.

I looked at Grunn already in my last piece, and I am quite excited that Monkeys and Apes now have a tribal leader (and that he can really smash some heads in with Xenagos, God of Revels)… but what I didn’t know was that this guy was uncommon! Holy crap! This guy packs a huge punch, and he’s at uncommon?!

This was our first hint that Dominaria was packed to the gills full of powerful cards, and the uncommons were no exceptions. The release notes didn’t have rarity of the individual cards spoiled, so I would have assumed this guy was rare.

Uncommon! This set is crazy!

Speaking of crazy powerful uncommons… when this card was spoiled, this was one of many that made me say “holy shit”, because it is just that powerful. “Play a land, draw a card” is a very strong ability… throw in some incidental lifegain on a beefy body, and you have one excellent creature (that just so happens to be a Merfolk, a very relevant tribe in recent sets!)

The power level of some of these uncommons just blows my mind.

I have no idea where I’ll be using Tatyova myself (likely in one of my four-color decks, or in Edric, Spymaster of Trest), but she was worth mentioning just as a great card. I foresee a lot of this card showing up at my EDH table, and tables around the world after Dominaria.

Again, uncommon. This effect on this big of a creature would have been rare or mythic in other sets; in Dominaria, this big fish is just casually hanging out at uncommon. I can only shake my head at this set’s overall power level.

I like this guy a lot for our Jalira, Master Polymorphist deck, which is themed to be ‘Sea Monster tribal’. He’s a huge creature, he bounces opposing threats, and he has a versatile casting cost, what’s not to love?

I’ll be slotting him right into Jalira, and I expect that he’ll be quite good. Again, these uncommons are excellent and highly effective EDH budget choices.

This card is one of several that win my “How is this not a mythic?” award for this set, because it is crazy powerful in multiplayer.

In EDH (and multiplayer in general), you will often find decks that are chock full of ‘value creatures’ — creatures that have an into-play trigger, and often one that is extremely good for you. These value creatures can be anything from Sun Titan, to Nekrataal, to Mulldrifter, and anything in between that gives you a bonus of some sort.

Well, one thing that this Helm does that makes it crazy good is to let you make a copy of that value effect every turn. This is really powerful, and I fully expect to see this card a lot in EDH, copying Sun Titans, Eternal Witnesses, and the like.

I don’t have a place for it yet myself, but I did want to point this card out, because it’s awesome.

One thing I don’t currently have in EDH is what’s known as a “Voltron deck” — one that plans to win by suiting up its general with infinite Equipment, and bashing people for 21 commander damage. (The closest I have is something like Bruna, Light of Alabaster, but that is much more Aura-based.) So when I see a general like this, one who just wants to suit him up with as many Auras and Equipment as you can so he can wreak havoc on people… that makes me really want to build around him, as he’s really cool.

I have no place for him… yet, but he’s worth mentioning as a great ‘build around me’ general.

Simple, effective, powerful, and again, uncommon. This guy is a Ghostly Prison on a stick, and as such, he’ll be slotting right into my Queen Marchesa pillowfort deck, where he’ll be doing his duty and protecting the queen from would-be attackers.

I mentioned in my last article that Dominaria is giving various tribes a lot of love, and Wizard tribal is no exception. Wizards get several excellent spells and potent creatures in this set like these two above, and I’m looking forward to reworking our Azami, Lady of Scrolls Wizard tribal deck after Dominaria with all these new goodies.

There are a lot of useful and powerful cards in the Dominaria set, tons of nostalgia, and just great cards. There is a lot to like here, and I’m really looking forward to adding these cards to my EDH decks! The prerelease cannot get here fast enough!

 

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