Snapshot: Dominaria I

It’ been a little over a week since Dominaria’s hit the servers, and the metagames is slowly settling into place. While some of the older archetypes remain largely unchanged, new ones have emerged and will hopefully continue to develop and emerge until the developers introduce the Kaladesh Block.

This time around we’ve decided to present the snapshot a little differently and it's now divided into three sections. In the first, decks are ordered by popularity (all the games are sampled in diamond/master so the metagame might differ slightly in bronze - gold) while the second holds mostly new archetypes that show promise but haven’t been tested sufficiently or their meta share doesn’t warrant a spot in the first one.

The third section is new, experimental one - Compleat’s Tier List. It’s an absolutely subjective power-tiering of decks, based on the combined opinions and experience of multiple master ranked players. As such it’s to be taken with a grain of salt. We’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions for the future.

Meta Distribution - Top 8


All decklists chosen have been played with success at Master Tier level and have completed Quick Constructed event at 7-x. Some of the card choices are influenced by the meta or the personal preference of the deckbuilder and might not be percieved as optimal by everyone. Nonetheless, we feel putting a name behind a deck surves a better purpose than presenting you with an untested, theorycrafted list. Each decklist has a list of key cards from Dominaria listed separately.




UB control is one of the decks struggling heavily in the Bo1 format. With the rise in popularity of UW control decks with Approach of the Second Sun, ongoing popularity of RDW and the onset of new, efficient aggro decks, UB control is an even worse spot than before Dominaria has landed, yet that doesn’t reflect in its popularity. Syncopate helps slightly in battle against recurring creatures, but much like RDW, the most popular decklists remain largely unaffected by Dominaria.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Nossr's UB Control {u}{b}
LandsEnchantmentsInstantsSorceriesCreatures
4Drowned Catacomb1Arguel's Blood Fast2Commit // Memory1Bontu's Last Reckoning3Champion of Wits
4Fetid Pools2Search for Azcanta3Essence Scatter2Duress3The Scarab God
4Field of Ruin3Moment of Craving3Golden Demise
1Ipnu Rivulet2Negate1Mastermind's Acquisition
6Island1Supreme Will1Torment of Hailfire
5Swamp2Syncopate
4Vraska's Contempt
2Wizard's Retort
24cards3cards19cards8cards6cards
 Display deck statistics



Approach of the Second Sun decks are likely the biggest winners of the Dominaria changes in MTG Arena. With a plethora of new toys to play with, UW control shot rapidly in popularity from the bottom of the snapshot to the very top. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, new counterspells and most importantly Seal Away have put this deck, and the entire UW color combination at the front of the pack.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Datapunkt's UW Control {w}{u}
LandsEnchantmentsInstantsSorceriesPlaneswalkers
1Arch of Orazca3Cast Out2Cancel3Approach of the Second Sun3Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
2Evolving Wilds4Seal Away4Censor
1Field of Ruin2Search for Azcanta2Countervailing Winds
4Glacial Fortress2Essence Scatter
1Ipnu Rivulet3Hieroglyphic Illumination
4Irrigated Farmland1Negate
7Island3Settle the Wreckage
6Plains1Supreme Will
1Syncopate
26cards9cards19cards3cards3cards
 Display deck statistics



Gruul and Naya midrange decks were held back mostly by it’s insane rare/mythic count. As our collections grew, so did the meta share Monsters took. With the introduction of real money purchases to the Arena, the popularity of these aggressive, creature based decks soared. Sped up by the addition of Llanowar Elves, they remain otherwise unchanged by Dominaria

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Macabr's Gruul Monsters {r}{g}
LandsInstantsCreatures
6Forest1Abrade3Carnage Tyrant
2Hashep Oasis3Magma Spray4Earthshaker Khenra
8Mountain3Struggle // Survive4Glorybringer
4Rootbound Crag4Jadelight Ranger
4Sheltered Thicket4Llanowar Elves
4Rekindling Phoenix
2Resilient Khenra
2Rhonas the Indomitable
2Thrashing Brontodon
24cards7cards29cards
 Display deck statistics



The merry fish-folk of Ixalan continues to sail the meta even without the support of Dominaria cards other archetypes have received. An extremely important addition to the Merfolk decks people often tend to overlook is the Hinterland Harbor. In a swarm deck such as this a single tapped mana or color screw can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Mortomeh's Merfolk {u}{g}
LandsEnchantmentsInstantsCreatures
5Forest 4Deeproot Waters {2}{U}2Dive Down {U}4Deeproot Elite {1}{G}
2Hashep Oasis 2Unsummon {U}2Jadelight Ranger {1}{G}{G}
4Hinterland Harbor 4Kumena's Speaker {G}
6Island 3Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca {1}{G}{U}
4Unclaimed Territory 4Merfolk Branchwalker {1}{G}
4Merfolk Mistbinder {G}{U}
2Seafloor Oracle {2}{U}{U}
4Silvergill Adept {1}{U}
2Swift Warden {1}{G}{G}
2Tempest Caller {2}{U}{U}
21cards4cards4cards31cards
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Mono-white Aggro, otherwise known as Weenie is defined by it’s swarming capabilities and plethora of small, synergistic creatures. If the deck was occasionally ran before, often based as a mono-white Vampire deck, Dominaria bolstered this deck immensely. History of Benalia, Benalish Marshal, Dauntless Bodyguard, and Knight of Grace essentially rebuilt the deck from the ground up.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Rhoxx' White Weenie {w}
LandsEnchantmentsInstantsCreatures
18Plains 4Cast Out {3}{W}3Pride of Conquerors {1}{W}4Adanto Vanguard {1}{W}
4Shefet Dunes 4History of Benalia {1}{W}{W}1Adorned Pouncer {1}{W}
4Legion's Landing {W}4Benalish Marshal {W}{W}{W}
4Dauntless Bodyguard {W}
4Knight of Grace {1}{W}
4Skymarcher Aspirant {W}
2Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle {3}{W}
22cards12cards3cards23cards
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Much like UW approach, the tokens received a ton of new tools to tinker with. The lists often opt to include Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and History of Benalia, which introduced a new way for the deck to pressure the opponent early, or finish them off in the late game. The addition of Seal Away helps the deck stabilize against aggressive opponents, and the planeswalkers help out in the grindy midrange stalls.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Gravez' UW Tokens {w}{u}
LandsEnchantmentsSorceriesPlaneswalkersCreatures
2Field of Ruin4Anointed Procession1River's Rebuke2Teferi, Hero of Dominaria4Anointer Priest
4Glacial Fortress2Cast Out4Champion of Wits
1Ipnu Rivulet4History of Benalia4Sacred Cat
6Island2Legion's Landing2Sunscourge Champion
9Plains2Seal Away4Vizier of the Anointed
1Scavenger Grounds
2Shefet Dunes
25cards14cards1cards2cards18cards
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Vampires are one of the decks that’s dropped in popularity since the introduction of Dominaria, in part due to their matchups against the UW control, and in part due to the novelty of new decks such as White Weenie. The most important new cards for the Vampires is the Isolated Chapel, allowing the deck a more reliable early aggression, and efficient new removal in Seal Away and Cast Down. The creature core hasn’t changed due to its tribal nature and remains Ixalan focused.


Deck: Bile's BW Vampires {w}{b}
LandsSpellsCreatures
1Field of Ruin4Call to the Feast2Champion of Dusk
1Ifnir Deadlands2Cast Down4Dusk Legion Zealot
4Isolated Chapel2Cast Out4Legion Lieutenant
6Plains2Legion's Landing4Martyr of Dusk
4Shefet Dunes2Moment of Craving2Skymarcher Aspirant
8Swamp2Queen's Commission
4Radiant Destiny
2Seal Away
24cards20cards16cards
 Display deck statistics





Developing Archetypes


Dominaria has introduced a few new and bolstered some old unpopular archetypes that remain largely untested or haven't been popularized in the meta yet. Below you will find some of those we think have the greatest potential and are clsoe to breaking into the meta.

Llanowar Elves and Steel Leaf Champion were a clear sign that mono green aggro be a contender in the post-Dominaria meta. The deck is rather draw dependant, but a t4-5 Ghalta, Primal Hunger or Carnage Tyrant are often too much for other decks to handle. Our good friend ImpetuousPanda rode our preliminary list to Master Tier.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: ImpetuousPanda's Mono-Green Stompy {g}
LandsSpellsCreatures
18Forest3Adventurous Impulse4Carnage Tyrant
4Hashep Oasis2Savage Stomp3Ghalta, Primal Hunger
1Scavenger Grounds4Llanowar Elves
4Merfolk Branchwalker
2Ranging Raptors
4Resilient Khenra
3Rhonas the Indomitable
1Ripjaw Raptor
4Steel Leaf Champion
3Thrashing Brontodon
23cards5cards32cards
 Display deck statistics



This aggressive hybrid of ramp, swarm and saproling tribal deck was played extensively and to a great success by Thundermo_Hellkite. The low curve, great snowbally potential and incredible power of the new Dominaria cards allow the deck to race/blow out Mono-red, and Shalai, Voice of Plenty helps the deck terminate the increasingly popular UW Approach deck by preventing them to cast Settle the Wreckage. The absolute star of the deck is Appeal // Authority, which combined with the swarm of fungi and plants leaves with little to do.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Thundermo's WG Tokens {w}{g}
LandsEnchantmentsInstantsSorceriesCreatures
10Forest4Song of Freyalise4Spore Swarm3Appeal // Authority4Jungleborn Pioneer
4Plains4Saproling Migration4Llanowar Elves
2Scattered Groves2Lyra Dawnbringer
2Shefet Dunes2Shalai, Voice of Plenty
4Sunpetal Grove3Shanna, Sisay's Legacy
4Sporecrown Thallid
4Yavimaya Sapherd
22cards4cards4cards7cards23cards
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Knights are a tribe we haven’t seen in quite a while. With Knight of Grace and Knight of Malice, new versions of Black and White Knight, Dominaria has shown some love to them. Aided by the History of Benalia and an angel, these 2 mana 3/2 first strikers, each hexproof to one of the two most powerful removal colors can efficiently trade upwards and put immediate pressure on control opponents, while being able to hold back the onslaught of most aggressive decks.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Gravez' WB Knights {w}{b}
LandsEnchantmentsInstantsCreatures
4Isolated Chapel2Cast Out2Cast Down2Aryel, Knight of Windgrace
10Plains4History of Benalia4Benalish Marshal
3Shefet Dunes3Radiant Destiny4Dauntless Bodyguard
7Swamp2Seal Away4Knight of Grace
4Knight of Malice
3Lyra Dawnbringer
2Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle
24cards11cards2cards23cards
 Display deck statistics



Wizard tribal received quite some love with Dominaria, and while Shock is currently unavailable, they can still steal games from any deck with their glass-cannon play style and incredible speed potential. Wizard’s Lightning works as a pseudo-Lightning Bolt and allows the deck to burn the opponent from a high life total with the aid of Lightning Strikes and Ramunap Ruins. Adeliz, the Cinder Wind synergises with the other wizards in the deck and can amount for some incredible blow-ous.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Gravez' UR Wizards {u}{r}
LandsSpellsCreatures
6Island 1Abrade {1}{R}3Adeliz, the Cinder Wind {1}{U}{R}
6Mountain 4Lightning Strike {1}{R}2Fanatical Firebrand {R}
4Ramunap Ruins 3Magma Spray {R}4Ghitu Lavarunner {R}
4Sulfur Falls 4Opt {U}4Soul-Scar Mage {R}
4Riddleform {1}{U}4Spellweaver Eternal {1}{U}
3Warlord's Fury {R}
4Wizard's Lightning {2}{R}
20cards23cards17cards
 Display deck statistics



Mono-black is a very peculiar deck. It abuses Cabal Stronghold to produce unholy amounts of mana (pun very much intended) and dump it into one of it’s mana sinks; Josu Vess, Lich Knight, Torment or Dread Shade. It’s supported by some of the best non-white removal and card drawing engines like Karn and Twilight Prophet. The deck is in a weird spot due to its weak matchup against UW control and some trouble dealing with hyper-aggressive decks on the draw.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Macabr's Mono-Black {b}
LandsSpellsCreatures
1Arch of Orazca4Cast Down1Demonlord Belzenlok
4Cabal Stronghold2Doomfall4Dread Shade
2Desert of the Glorified2Duress1Josu Vess, Lich Knight
3Field of Ruin3Golden Demise2Twilight Prophet
16Swamp2Karn, Scion of Urza
2Liliana, Death's Majesty
4Moment of Craving
2Phyrexian Scriptures
2Torment of Hailfire
3Vraska's Contempt
26cards26cards8cards
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Mono Blue fliers is a contrast to blue’s more usual control side in that it tries to care about little other than going upstairs with it’s fast evasion creatures. With Dominaria it received a sizeable upgrade with another 1-cost flier, the Artificer’s Assistant and the huge body of Tempest Djinn. The deck can have a very explosive start, setting up a board of decently sized flying creatures backed up by the Favorable Winds anthem and several ways to hinder its opponent’s meddling in Unsummon and Lookout’s Dispersal. It can reasonably race many of the faster matchups while also comfortably chip in damage in the slower ones.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: MonoU Fliers {u}
LandsSpellsCreatures
22Island1Chart a Course4Artificer's Assistant
4Curious Obsession1Merfolk Trickster
4Favorable Winds4Siren Stormtamer
4Lookout's Dispersal4Storm Fleet Aerialist
4Unsummon4Tempest Djinn
4Warkite Marauder
22cards17cards21cards
 Display deck statistics



GPG is one of the more peculiar lists. While lacking some of the key cards from the Kaladesh block, it is reasonably positioned even with the current card pool. Filling up one’s graveyard as quickly as possible to cheat out a God-Pharaoh’s Gift usually ends games through the use of Combat Celebrant, giving the deck a rare Combo-y feel. It comes in two variations. The UR one utilizing blue’s exceptional looting/milling tools such as Champion of Wits and Ipnu Rivulet while also making use of the Vizier of Many Faces to make extra copies of the celebrant. The mono-Red one gives Skirk Prospector more fuel and utilizes solid standalone creatures while also helping further the goal of cracking the Gate fast.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: UR GPG {u}{r}
LandsSpellsCreatures
4Ipnu Rivulet4Chart a Course4Champion of Wits
5Island4Gate to the Afterlife4Combat Celebrant
9Mountain2God-Pharaoh's Gift4Fanatical Firebrand
4Sulfur Falls1Spell Pierce4Skirk Prospector
4Strategic Planning2Vizier of Many Faces
1Tormenting Voice4Warkite Marauder
22cards16cards22cards
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With Dominaria came Lyra Dawnbringer, a bane of those who try to outrace her once she’s resolved and slayer of those who don’t answer her when played on curve. And the only thing better than playing Lyra on curve is playing her on curve during your opponent’s end step. This deck revolves around (ab)using Raff Capashen’s ability to give all historic spells flash, holding mana open to answer potential threats while also being able to flash in huge threats yourself.

Dominaria Cards:
Deck: Historic UW {w}{u}
LandsSpellsCreatures
1Arch of Orazca2Cast Out3Lyra Dawnbringer
1Field of Ruin2Essence Scatter1Nezahal, Primal Tide
4Glacial Fortress2Hieroglyphic Illumination3Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage
3Irrigated Farmland1Karn, Scion of Urza1Shalai, Voice of Plenty
7Island4Seal Away
8Plains2Search for Azcanta
1Zhalfirin Void3Settle the Wreckage
1Sorcerous Spyglass
1Supreme Will
2Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
2Treasure Map
2Unwind
3Wizard's Retort
25cards27cards8cards
 Display deck statistics





Compleat's Tier List


We've included all the archetypes that have encountered in more than a 2% of our matchups, so if you can't find a specific list tiered, it's most likely too rare to warrant a spot. Decks within each tier are not ordered by strength. There are decks grouped togethered that differ in strength, and RDW could warrant a tier of it's own while we're stuck with a Best of One format.

Tier 1:
These are the best decks/decks to beat in the meta. They have very few if any bad matchups, and can reliably compete against the metagame.

Mono-Red Aggro is the absolute topdog of the format. In a Bo1 where players don't get to sideboard and have to take a wild guess on mulligan whether they are sitting across with an aggro or control deck, there are few decks that can beat it reliably. UW Control is similar in a way. Approach of the Second Sun is a card that requires specific answers, and as most decks are heavily teched agaisnt aggro decks, this creature-less archetype renders a ton of enemy's cards useless and neutralizes the others with efficient use of countermagic and removal.

Tier 2:
These decks are solid and coherently built. They are often tuned to target one or multiple tier one decks but have significantly unfavorable matchups against a decent share of the meta pool. The second meta tier essentialy consists of aggro decks that are not RDW and Control decks that aren't UW, with a few exceptional midrange decks thrown in the mix. Especially the latter are the ones that suffer the worst in a Bo1. They are not quick enough to put sufficient amount of pressure on control decks in the early games, and they don't stabilize efficiently enough in the late game to reliably beat hyper-aggression. Most of the decks at this tier has a decent matchup against one of the two in the tier one, and a lackluster agaisnt the other.

Tier 3:
Decks that can take games off tier 1 and 2 decks, but are either not consistent enough or have a very bad matchup against a significant share of the meta. Although the lowest tier seemingly suggests otherwise, these are not bad decks. For the greater part they are unoptimized, insufficiently tested and do not provide the desired consistency agaisnt the meta-field. Nonetheless, they are perfectly capable of snagging 7 victories in QC and are arguably a lot more fun to play that the two tiers above them.


Archives:

Title Category Published Patch
Meta Snapshot: Core Set 2019 Meta Snapshot July 22, 2018 v786_640159
Preliminary Meta Snapshot: Core Set 19 Preliminary Snapshot July 12, 2018 v786_640159
Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh Snapshot II July 01, 2018 v744_635428
Meta Snapshot: Kaladesh Snapshot I June 17, 2018 v727_633495
Preliminary Snapshot: Kaladesh Preliminary Snapshot June 07, 2018 v727_633495
Snapshot - Dominaria III Snapshot III June 03, 2018 v667_618725
Snapshot - Dominaria II Snapshot II May 20, 2018 v667_618725
Snapshot - Dominaria I Snapshot I May 06, 2018 v667_618725
Preliminary Snapshot - Dominaria Preliminary Snapshot April 26, 2018 v667_618725
Meta-Snapshot II Snapshot II April 16, 2018 v607_607936
Preliminary Meta-Snapshot Preliminary/Snapshot April 01, 2018 v607_604597

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