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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Apr 19 2018 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Today is the Dominaria Sealed Set Review and a day from now the Dominaria Prerelease will happen in paper allowing us to finally play with the new set.  I am definitely excited for the Prerelease and I'm also excited for Dominaria Sealed Leagues to come out on that day as well.  I'll be opening my two sealed league pools that day before going out and playing in the paper events all weekend long.  The set overall looks like a blast for constructed and casual fans alike, but how does it far in terms of Limited play?  Let's take a look and find out!  That being said, let's first take a look at the upcoming schedule before discussing Dominaria.

  • Today - Dominaria Sealed Set Review
  • 4/26 - Dominaria Draft League #1 video, Dominaria Sealed League #1, Dominaria Sealed League #2
  • 5/3 - Dominaria Draft League #1, Dominaria Draft League #2, Dominaria Sealed League #1 videos, Dominaria Sealed League #2 videos
  • 5/10 - Dominaria Draft League #3, Dominaria Sealed League #1 video, Dominaria Sealed League #2 videos

Dominaria Card Rankings

This scale is meant to give a card a letter grade based upon what you would expect an A/B/C/D/F card to look and play like. A's are cards that win the game on the spot, that produce an immediate impact and must be dealt with quickly otherwise they will win the game for you. Cards such as Gideon, Ally of Zendikar) and Pack Rat are examples of A's. B's are cards that are quite strong but do not necessarily win the game outright. They help you win the game or are powerful pieces of removal. (Fatal Push) and (Winding Constrictor) are examples of B's. C's are filler cards that go in most Limited decks, or higher rarity cards that don't have a high impact on the game. (Kari Zev, Skyship Raider) is an example of a C. D's are either bad cards that aren't unplayable, or sideboard cards that have narrow effects but are strong in the right situation. They fact that they are so dependent on the right situation means they are less reliable than other cards you can play. F's are unplayable cards that make your deck worse for having them in your deck. Fog is a classic example of an F.

The purpose of this scale is to see how good a card is on its own, not how good it is with or against other cards because you won't always have those cards to go with it. Furthermore, I do have to admit some bias towards this scale. Generally speaking I like decks that go a bit longer in sealed deck and since longer games tend to happen, I view the cards towards that lens. Aggressive cards will have a lower grade and grindier/lategame cards will have a better grade. That isn't to say that pools/cards that are aggressive are bad, it's to say that I feel slower decks have more of an advantage due to how powerful their spells can be. Of course a fast format is going to dictate those viewpoints change, but that won't be clear until the games play out. If that happens then rankings will change and cards will get better/worse.

Dominaria Mechanics

Saga

Sagas are a type of enchantment that have effects over the course of three turns.  During your first main phase immediately after your draw step you'll put a lore counter on the enchantment and trigger the ability for the current chapter.  Once you've resolved the third chapter/ability, you'll immediately sacrifice the enchantment.  All the Sagas are playable to a certain extent and offer different abilities every turn, with the third ability generally being the most powerful of the bunch.  Each Saga interacts differently, so make sure they fit well with your deck before playing them.  

Historic

Historic is a keyword trait that encompasses all artifacts, Sagas, and legendary cards.  A fair amount of cards in Dominaria reference "historic spells", such as drawing a card when you cast one or scrying one.  You are incentivized to play as many historic cards in your deck so you can enjoy the benefits that the cards that reference them give you.

Legendary Sorcery

You may cast a legendary sorcery only if you control a legendary creature or planeswalker.

Legendary Sorceries are powerful spells that may only be cast if you control a legendary creature or planeswalker at the time you wish to cast them.  The spell is not countered if you don't control a legendary creature/planeswalker when the spell goes to resolve, and you may play as many of them in a turn as you like.  Currently there are only Legendary Sorcery cards at rare, so don't expect to see too many of them.  They are more powerful than regular sorceries, so if you can cast one make sure to do so.

Kicker

You may pay an additional X as you cast this spell

Kicker is a mechanic that allows you to invest more mana into a spell to get a stronger effect.  Perhaps it's dealing 4 damage when kicked instead of 2, or you get 4 1/1 tokens instead of 2.  Kicker also allows you to have a smoother curve as you can decline to kick spells early on and kick them later on when you have more mana to spend.  Both sides of the card (kicked/non-kicked) are generally both playable, but there will be times when a spell is only worth it when you play the Kicker cost.  Don't be afraid to play cards on curve if that's the only play you have, Kicker is a bonus option that you have access to and not a must do.

Dominaria Sealed Set Review

Dominaria by the numbers - quick hits

  • Around 20 creatures in the set have natural toughness above 4.  This makes Fiery Intervention almost a hard removal spell, and Goblin Barrage/Gideon's Reproach quite good at common.
  • Around 40 creatures in the set are Legendary.  There are ten two color legends and every color has at least one mono colored legend at uncommon.
  • There are 13 Sagas, each color gets at least two Sagas with some colors getting three.  Each color has at least one uncommon and one rare Saga.
  • Historic spells are as follows: 29 artifacts, 3 Planeswalkers, 6 Legendary Sorceries, around 40 legendary creatures, 13 Sagas, 3 legendary enchantments.  This makes close to half the nonland cards in the set Historic (~96/237)
  • Major tribes in the set are: Knights, Wizards, Saprolings, Goblins.
  • 24 creatures in the set have flying.  In contrast, only two have reach.

Conclusion

Dominaria seems like a great set, it has the feel of a Core Set but it also has some complexity built in so it doesn't seem to stale.  The two color uncommon legends help to flesh out what each archetype wants to do and there's enough tribal support to draft tribal decks without getting cut out of key cards like in Ixalan block.  I didn't grade a whole lot of A's, so either I'm misevaluating a lot of cards or there aren't that many overpowered cards that you can't deal with.  Most everything dies to -5/-5 or 5 damage, so that should make a lot of threats manageable.  I'm really looking forward to playing with the cards and seeing how my evaluations come out in practice.  

If you have any comments, questions or concerns leave them in the comments section below!  If you disagree about a rating leave a comment and we can have a discussion about it.  I'm very open to being wrong, the point here is to learn and having other viewpoints helps with that process.  You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel here where you can find all my videos out early along with some exclusive content.  I'm starting up a video blog of sorts on a FNM Hero challenge I'm doing, so if that suits your fancy come check it out.

Thanks for reading/watching!