Dominaria Remastered is a new set compiling iconic cards from Magic: the Gathering’s history. Although its release has been troubled by delays, if you can get your hands on some packs, it’s an excellent limited experience. The set is a highlight reel of the best Magic’s original plane has to offer.
Since many of the cards here are from far back in the game’s history, the power level for the commons and Uncommons is a bit lower than in contemporary sets. This is a format of Savannah Lions rather than one of Ushers of the Fallen.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of valuable and powerful Rares to keep things interesting. You can get your hands on Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, Sylvan Library, and even Force of Will in these packs.
Let’s go over the Limited archetypes of the set and discuss how to build your deck when drafting.
Blink is a classic limited archetype. Fill your deck with creatures with powerful enter the battlefield abilities and recur those effects by bringing them into and out of play or ‘Blinking’ them. Sawtooth Loon and Momentary Blink are the signpost cards of this archetype.
Blink your Peregrine Drakes to increase the amount of mana available to you. Flash your Floodgates in and out of existence for a repeatable board wipe effect and use Man-o’-War both to recur your own effects and to bounce your opponent’s threats.
Dominaria Remastered contains the original Counterspell, which is still one of the best cards of its type after all these years. It also features a fantastic suite of black removal spells such as: Terror and Chainer’s Edict.
Combine Blue’s counterspells and bounce effects, with Black’s powerful removal options in order to ensure that your opponents will never be able to keep any of their creatures in play.
Black/Red: Goblin, Zombie, Sacrifice
Possibly the weirdest archetype in the set. This strategy brings together two of the game’s most iconic creature types and encourages you to sacrifice them for value.
Red encourages you to flood the board with goblins and then kill them for little bonuses. Cards like Pashalik Mons and Skirk Prospector enable you to sacrifice your Goblins. Siege Gang Commander is particularly notable, as it both provides you with several Goblins and is a sacrifice outlet.
Black gives you several other options for sacrificing your cards and some zombies with useful support effects. Nightscape Familiar makes all of your goblins cheaper, and Phyrexian Ghoul gobbles them up in order to grow stronger. Black even offers some goblins of its own: like Goblin Turncoat and Festering Goblin the latter of which has the advantage of being both a Zombie and a Goblin.
This archetype is brought together by the card Dralnu’s Crusade, which turns all of your Goblins into Zombies and gives them a +1/+1 buff. If you can combine Dralnu’s Crusade with Deadapult, a card which allows you to pay a red mana in order to sacrifice a Zombie and deal two damage to any target, then you can close out the game quickly.
Cycling is an ability that has been featured in many, many sets from the 1990s to today. Cards with cycling can be discarded from your hand, for a small cost, and then replaced by drawing another card. Although cycling cards are present across all five colors in the set, they are most concentrated in Red and Green.
Red and Green also have pay-off cards which reward you for cycling. Lightning Rift deals two damage to any target if you pay one extra mana when a card is cycled. Invigorating Boon lets you put a +1/+1 counter on a creature when something gets cycled. Notably, these cards provide their benefit whenever any player cycles a card, so they punish your opponent for making use of the plethora of cycling cards in the set.
Threshold is a keyword that rewards you for having seven or more cards in your graveyard. In Dominaria Remastered, White and Green have a large number of cards with this ability. Mystic Enforcer is the signpost card for this strategy. Although a 3/3 for four mana is unappealing, the enforcer becomes a 6/6 with flying if you’ve crossed the threshold. Its protection from black also keeps it safe from a large number of removal effects.
As well as rewarding you for crossing the threshold, White and Green also have several cards to help you get there. Crop Rotation puts two cards into your graveyard for only a single green mana and helps you with fixing. When Gamekeeper dies, it digs through your deck, searching for a creature card, chucking everything else along the way into the graveyard. Savannah Lions is a powerful early game attacker in this format. It also helps out in the mid and late game by contributing to your threshold total once it has died.
Use cards with cycling and artifacts like Jalum Tome to ensure you fill your graveyard as fast as possible.
White/Black: Life Management
White has a lot of cards which heal you, black has a lot of powerful cards which damage you. Mash these two seemingly separate, strands together, and you mitigate the self-destructive nature of Black using White’s life restoration effects.
In terms of white life gain, it’s better to have cards which impact the board state and provide incidental healing, than cards which exclusively increase your life. Prioritize taking cards like Cleric of the Forward Order and Kjeldoran Gargoyle over cards like Congregate and Spirit Link.
In terms of black self damage, cards like Flesh Reaver and Phyrexian Scute provide excellent stats for their cost, especially with your white cards nullifying their downside.
The namesake mechanic of the Storm Scale, a system that show how likely a mechanic is to return in a Standard-legal set. Storm will, according to its namesake scale, never return to Standard. It’s infamously powerful and a favorite of cube designers everywhere. It’s always a blast to draft.
Cards with Storm copy themselves for every card which has been cast prior to them in a turn. Dominaria Remastered features many Blue cards which untap the lands used to cast them, like Frantic Search, Cloud of Faeries, and Snap. In one big turn, you’ll cast as many of these cards as possible. Once that’s done, use either Grapeshot for a game winning blast or Empty the Warrens to fill the board with so many goblins that your opponent will be doomed unless they’ve got a board wipe tucked away.
There’s something fundamentally fun about playing giant Green creatures. Even more so when an arsenal of powerful Black removal effects supports those creatures.Spiritmonger is the signpost card for this archetype. A 6/6 for five mana with an upside was absolutely astonishing when this card was first printed in Apocalypse in 2001. Whilst in the current era of Questing Beast and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, Spiritmonger no longer has the same impact it once did, it’s still a powerful threat that will help Black and Green midrange decks dominate the board.
Red and White want you to play creatures, and them buff them with a selection of enchantments.
This strategy can be risky, as when a creature equipped with an aura is destroyed by an opponent’s removal spell, they are destroying two of your cards at the cost of only one of their own. Fortunately, Dominaria Remastered has several cards that circumvent this downside. Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker, returns your auras to your hand when the creature equipped with them dies. Messa Enchantress lets you draw cards whenever you play an enchantment, whether it’s an aura or not, preventing you from losing card advantage.Valduk, Keeper of the Flame is one of the most important cards for this strategy. His ability to generate 3/1 elemental tokens for each aura attached to him is incredibly potent. He can deal a lot of damage very fast if your opponent is unable to deal with him.
Get as many lands as possible into play as quickly as possible, and then use them to cast big spells. This is probably the most common Blue/Green limited archetype, and Dominaria Remastered doesn’t rock the boat too much here.
In the early game, use Nature’s Lore to fetch forests, and mana dorks like Birds of Paradise and Werebear to keep the mana flowing.
In the late game, smash your opponent’s with flying threats like Aven Fateshaper or overrun them on the ground using Kamahl, Fist of Krosa.
Three Colour Strategies
Three color strategies are absolutely possible in Dominaria Remastered. The cycle of three color ‘lair’ lands helps you get the required mana fixing. There are also a handful of Legendary tricolor cards such as Rith, the Awakener, and Zur the Enchanter to try out.
When building a three-color deck, it’s best to combine themes which share a color and are inherently synergistic. For example, Red/Green cycling can fill your graveyard up to support White/Green Threshold strategies. Blue/Green ramp can get your mana base ready before you combo off and win using your Blue/Red storm cards. Splashing that third color is always a gamble, but the rewards are there if you’re willing to pursue them.
Although this format is still in its early days, here are five helpful takeaways that may assist you as the community figures the set out.
- Given the low power level of most of the creatures in the format, don’t worry if you feel your deck is a bit weak. Everyone else may be thinking the same thing.
- Storm is always a very popular archetype. Make sure you don’t get cut if lots of players are all trying to build it in your pod.
- Red/White auras are likely to be one of the weaker archetypes. Without the key pieces, you may find yourself on the backfoot if your opponent removes your enchanted creatures.
- White/Black life management may also not turn out to be very strong. Cards which exclusively gain you life are never very appealing and many of the pay off creatures lack evasive abilities to push damage through.
- Keep your options open. Don’t be afraid to change your plans if you open a powerful rare in your second pack.