An Old New World: Brewing with Dominaria

Posted: April 08, 2018

There are few things that get me more excited than a new Magic set. Pouring through the spoilers to try and find what new things are possible is a feeling very akin to ripping through presents on Christmas. Dominaria in particular presents so many new possibilities that I’m frankly having trouble wrapping my head around it. All of you who have just recently found the game through MTG Arena are coming in at a truly exciting time.

For those who don’t know Dominaria is the first plane we ever visited in Magic’s multiverse. It’s the place where Magic found its narrative footing and developed the core gameplay we all know and love today. Magic’s newest set attempts to re-imagine the themes present the last time we visited Dominara the better part of two decades ago and in doing so provides us with the tools to explore a wide array of interesting strategies. Even though I feel like I have barely scratched the surface I wanted to share some of the things I believe Dominaria will bring to the format with all of you, starting with some builds based around my favorite iteration of the new card type coming to the game in this set.

Sagas are enchantments that have three chapters. Each of these chapters has as associated ability that triggers based upon how long the Saga has been in play. Chapter one triggers right when you play the saga, chapter two triggers after your next draw step, and chapter three at the end of the draw step after that. In my opinion the most attractive element of Sagas is how they offer powerful effects on turns where you will have mana open to capitalize on them. In the case of The Mirari Conjecture you pay five mana up front to get some spells back from your graveyard and then two turns later have the ability to Reverberate every spell you cast with all of your mana open. That is an incredibly powerful effect that can easily result in you winning the game on the spot if you combine it with cards like Torment of Hailfire or Jaya’s Immolating Inferno.

The first place my mind went was to some kind of storm deck that tried to combo off on the turn chapter three triggered, but I soon realised how untenable that was after appreciating how long it takes to get to that point even in the most ideal of circumstances. The next logical step was to play it in a control deck that used Conjecture as a card advantage engine with the ability to potentially make chapter three a lethal threat with the aforementioned X spells. This is one of the first builds I came up with.

Deck: [DOM} U/R Conjecture Control {u}{r}
2Field of Ruin 2Abrade {1}{R}1Squee, the Immortal {1}{R}{R}
4Island 4Censor {1}{U}
7Mountain 3Chandra, Torch of Defiance {2}{R}{R}
4Spirebluff Canal 3Commit // Memory {3}{U}//{4}{U}{U}
4Sulfur Falls 2Hour of Devastation {3}{R}{R}
4Zhalfirin Void 2Jaya's Immolating Inferno {X}{R}{R}
3Magma Spray {R}
2Search for Azcanta {1}{U}
3Supreme Will {2}{U}
2Sweltering Suns {1}{R}{R}
4The Mirari Conjecture {4}{U}
4Tormenting Voice {1}{R}
 Display deck statistics

This deck was partially inspired by Todd Anderson’s old UR Goggles deck with Conjecture filling a similar role that Pyromancer’s Goggles did. The goal here is to control the game enough so you can afford to take a turn off to cast Conjecture and then snowball the game from there with Jaya’s Immolating Inferno eventually finishing the job. The only legendaries we have to enable the Inferno are Chandra and Squee, but given Squee’s immortality once we draw him he will be a permanent fixture within the game. The only card in Standard that puts Squee away for good is Ixiilan’s Binding due to the cast prevention text. You could certainly attempt to run more legends and allow yourself to reasonably cast Inferno earlier on as a pseudo sweeper, but for now i’m content to play it mainly as a finisher.

Some important elements of maximizing Conjecture are having a reasonable split of Instants and Sorceries to enable the first two chapters as well as making sure a fair amount of those cards be proactive to give chapter three a solid floor. For example this build plays Tormenting Voice not only as a way to smooth out our draws early, but also to act as powerful card draw when Conjecture’s third chapter is active. Because the copies of Tormenting Voice do not require you to discard as an additional cost casting one with Conjecture’s final chapter active results in you discarding one and drawing four.

Another approach you can possibly take would be playing black instead of blue which gives you access to powerful cards like Vraska’s Contempt and Battle at the Bridge. Here is a potential build.

Deck: [DOM] UB Conjecture {u}{b}
4Drowned Catacomb 3Battle at the Bridge {X}{B}
4Fetid Pools 4Censor {1}{U}
3Island 2Commit // Memory {3}{U}//{4}{U}{U}
10Swamp 3Doomfall {2}{B}
4Zhalfirin Void 3Fatal Push {B}
2Glimmer of Genius {3}{U}
2Search for Azcanta {1}{U}
3Supreme Will {2}{U}
4The Mirari Conjecture {4}{U}
2Torment of Hailfire {X}{B}{B}
4Vraska's Contempt {2}{B}{B}
3Yahenni's Expertise {2}{B}{B}
 Display deck statistics

Battle at the Bridge in particular is great alongside Conjecture as it is a sorcery that you would like to cast early on, but also scales very well into the late game if you were inclined to buy it back with Conjecture’s second chapter. Cast it with the third chapter active to kill two creatures and you are very likely stabilized. I’m actually inclined to make a more artifact centric build to accentuate the power of Battle, but finding the balance between artifacts for improvise and Instants/Sorceries for conjecture has been challenging.

One concern I have about this build is how reactive it is. There isn’t really a serviceable replacement for Tormenting Voice from the UR build and that certainly hurts the deck. Most of black’s proactive Sorceries are discard spells which are not the kind of cards you want to be rebuying in the late game or Reverberating. It’s possible you can run something like Live Fast, but I’m concerned about how much damage we would take from recurring such an effect. Though maybe Battle at the Bridge and Vraska’s Contempt provide enough life gain to offset the danger.

I know it may seem silly to play UB without Torrential Gearhulk or The Scarab God, but there is allot of value in playing a deck that presents 0 targets for opposing Vraska’s Contempts or removal of any kind. Opposing The Scarab Gods also get considerably worse when you aren't playing any creatures. Magic is a game that at it’s best rewards people for being creative and attacking the meta from unexpected angles. Dominaria appears to be a set filled with the tools to reinforce that paradigm. I look forward to exploring all it has to offer and can’t wait to share more of my ideas with all of you soon. Be sure to check back here for more of my content in the coming days.

The article was written by Truedawn. You can find him on Twitter and Twitch!


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