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March 12, 2018

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Daily Dose of Dominaria – Sagas – Chapter I

The Daily Dose is back and that can only mean one thing, it’s preview season baby!

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Dominaria, where things are starting a little sooner than expected because of the leaked Dominaria release notes. If you haven’t heard, the release notes for Dominaria were leaked late last week and confirmed to be real. That means that we are all subject to reading about the new rules, cards, and mechanics that will take place in Dominaria. There is so much information to take in that I could write one 25,000-page article on all the new things we’ve seen from this document.

But even with all the information provided, there will still be plenty of surprises to come. I will continue to break down and analyse the new set on the Daily Dose as I always do, with each article reviewing a small part of what Dominaria brings to the table. The first part of Dominaria I want to talk about is a new mechanic/type of card. It’s so big that it’s appropriate that I will be breaking this up into three chapters.

In Dominaria, we are being introduced to a new type of enchantment called Sagas. These Sagas are meant to tell a story that takes place over a few turns. In the case of Dominaria, this will always happen over three turns, unless some counter shenanigans happen. Sagas are enchantments that have the following rule text:

“(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III)”

The release notes provide the following rules for resolving a Saga:

“A chapter ability is a triggered ability that triggers when a lore counter that is put on the Saga causes the number of lore counters on the Saga to become equal to or greater than the ability’s chapter number.”

Now that you’ve got the idea of how these new cards work, I want to go over three of them today. First off, let me talk about Phyrexia. Here is Phyrexian Scriptures:

Phyrexian-Scriptures

Most Sagas seem to have one powerhouse ability and two secondary abilities that give some additional value. In Chapter I, you can pump up one of your creatures by giving it a +1/+1 counter and making it an artifact creature. This is key, as it will allow this creature to survive its next ability. Making your creature an artifact creature could also help if you play other cards that take advantage of artifacts like Improvise cards.

In Chapter II, you get the major payoff of Phyrexian Scriptures. This Saga allows you to destroy all nonartifact creatures with a Suspend 1 attached to it when you cast it. This allows you to protect one creature with its Chapter I ability and prevents your opponent from playing any creatures on the turn after you cast Phyrexian Scriptures, since they know it will die from this ability. Being able to potentially blank your opponent for one turn can allow you to get ahead on the battlefield.

Finally, in Chapter III, you get the almost bonus ability of exiling all cards from all opponents’ graveyards. This can be useful to minimize the worth of cards like Torrential Gearhulk, and The Scarab God.

Next up is Keld, and when you think of Keld, you think of Warriors and battle. This is depicted in the new saga, The Flame of Keld:

Flame-of-Keld

Although this Saga costs only two mana, you most likely don’t want to play it until later in the game when you have already emptied your hand.

In Chapter I, you must discard your hand. There are some interesting uses for this other than just waiting until it’s your last card to cast it. I can see this card being used in Red decks currently in Standard. For example, if you have a Hazoret the Fervent on the battlefield, this card will ensure that you can attack and block with it by discarding your hand. In Chapter II, you get to draw three cards in one turn. Something that could be huge for a red deck. This can be like card advantage gained from a Bomat Courier.

In Chapter III, you will have four cards in your hand plus any creatures you have on the battlefield to help with this ability. A Shock turns into four damage, each Lightning Strike you cast does five damage, and each creature you attack with will deal two additional damage. This last ability could lead to a winning turn.

The next Saga brings us back to a time during Odyssey. Here is The Mirari Conjecture:

Mirari-Conjecture

The Mirari Conjecture is a blue/black control deck’s dream. In Chapter I, you can bring an instant card back from your graveyard straight to your hand. This could include removal spells like Fatal Push or Vraska’s Contempt. You could also use it to get counterspells like Disallow back. Right away you are replacing the card you just spent to play the Saga.

In Chapter II, you can return a sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand. Currently, there aren’t many sorcery cards that are played in a blue/black control deck, but there is one great target in Commit // Memory. Thanks to one half of the card being a sorcery, you can target it. So after two chapters you have already started to gain card advantage. Then, in Chapter III, you get the big payoff by being able to copy any instant or sorcery spell you play in that turn. This could mean that you get to copy cards like Fatal Push for extra removal. You could also use it for extra card advantage by copying cards like Glimmer of Genius or Hieroglyphic Illumination.

And there you have it everyone, your first look at Saga cards. What are your initial thoughts on them?

My initial thought is that you’ll need to play Sagas will with predetermined knowledge of what you intend to do in the following two turns. Being able to think ahead and plan how you can maximize the value on the triggers from Sagas will help you get the most out of them.

Join me again tomorrow as I continue with Chapter Two in my look into Sagas. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Dominaria, and I look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow. Let me know your thoughts and comments about any of the cards talked about today. I’m looking forward to Dominaria, and today is just the beginning of analyzing what the new set will bring to the table.