April 6, 2018

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Daily Dose of Dominaria – Dominaria previews with a kicker bonus

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Dominaria, where I’m wrapping up another preview week of new and exciting cards.

Earlier this week I talked about a new mechanic called historic that focuses on artifacts, Legendaries and Sagas. Today, I’m going over an older mechanic that’s returning in Dominaria. This popular mechanic has appeared in six major expansions before, most recently in Worldwake.

Kicker is a mechanic that allows you to pay an additional cost, whether it be mana, sacrificing a permanent, or discarding a card in order to have an additional ability added to a spell or permanent. In my opinion, kicker is one of the best designed mechanics they’ve ever made as it allows any card with kicker to be valuable in the early and late game.

This first spell might remind you of a similar spell from Zendikar called Into the Roil. That’s because it has the exact same wording on the card. Well, close enough at least. Here is Blink of an Eye:

Into the Roil was an important card in the Standard metagame years ago as a removal spell that was also a cantrip. With its return in the form of Blink of an Eye, it will be interesting to see if it will have the same impact.

It’s a great spell in a control deck build as you can cast it during your end step to bounce something and cycle through your deck as well. Being able to cast it for two mana can be helpful in a control deck, where sometimes an aggressive deck can blow you out of the water in the early turns. In the later game, if you can combine it was some discard spells you can make sure your opponent won’t be casting that permanent again. I hope this sees play in Standard as much as it will in Limited.

Next up we have a combat trick that you can use early on to help protect a creature and later in the game to finish off your opponent. Let’s take a look at Gift of Growth:

There’s a history of spells that give creatures +2/+2 or +4/+4 dependant on additional cost or trigger. Cards like Mirran Mettle, Groundswell, and Might of Old Krosa have all seen play during their time. Gift of Growth also has that option, but at a higher cost than all the other spells I’ve listed above.

There are times that you can’t always trigger the spell to have it give +4/+4. You won’t need to worry about that with Gift of Growth if you have the four mana available. Where Gift of Growth has an advantage is that it untaps the creature as well. This means you can surprise an opponent with a blocker that they weren’t expecting, or use it while attacking to make a creature survive combat.

As usual, a spell with kicker like Gift of Growth provides versatility not seen on all combat tricks. You can spend two or four mana when needed.

It’s always nice to have cards with kicker to be strong enough on their own, without having to pay its kicker cost for it to be worthwhile. I think that Territorial Allosaurus is good without its kicker cost, but great with it.

terriotorial

This is a shining example of the type of kicked cards I like most. Even without the kicker ability on the card, I would still be happy with a 5/5 for four mana. Luckily, I can have the best of both worlds. I can cast this on turn four to put some pressure on my opponent, or if I draw it later in the game I still get a sweet 5/5 creature while also removing one of my opponent’s creatures when Territorial Allosaurus fights it.

I think that the kicker is well costed at only three additional mana, and I wouldn’t mind paying seven total mana to use it. To top it off, Territorial Allosaurus is a Dinosaur if you want to put it in any existing Dinosaur deck you might have from kicking around from Ixalan.

One big addition in Dominaria are cards that gain a bonus when any other spell you cast is kicked. Here is a look at a Legendary creature that wants your deck to be filled with spells to be kicked. It’s Hallar, the Firefletcher:

Hallar, the Firefletcher is nothing but pure value across the board. To start off, you get a 3/3 Trample creature for only three mana. That makes it hard for your opponent to chump block with smaller creatures.

If 3/3 isn’t big enough for you, don’t worry. Hallar gows with every kicked spell you cast. An ideal play would be to cast Hallar, the Firefletcher on turn three, attack with it on turn four, and cast a kicked Gift of Growth making it an 8/8 trample creature that does one damage to your opponent for the +1/+1 counter you just added to it.

The true power of this card will come from how many spells there are in Dominaria with kicker. We haven’t seen many previewed so far. However, more could appear as we see a full list of commons and uncommons from the set.

I’m very happy to see kicker being put back into a set like Dominaria. Like Cycling, it adds a versatility to a card, making it like a split card where you can cast either half of the card. What’s your favorrite kicker card from Dominaria so far?

Thanks for reading another week on the Daily Dose of Dominaria as we inch closer and closer to the release of the new set. Join me again next week as I continue analyzing the new cards from Dominaria, and their impact on the game.