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May 2, 2018

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Going for the Gold: Dominaria Archetypes

Welcome back to Going for the Gold!

I’m actually in the middle of packing for my trip right now, so my attention is split!

GP Columbus is this weekend and I’ve been spending a lot of time in the lab getting ready for this limited format. The format is team sealed instead of solo, so it’s slightly different. Team sealed is typically as fast as the draft format, so I found that my time was better spent in the draft queues this week.

Before I start, let me tell you that synergy is so much better than brute card strength in this format. If you draft decks that are solely based on good cards working together then your win rate won’t be nearly as high as it could be if you focused on synergy. This makes it worthwhile to understand each of the various archetypes are available in this format. I’ve been able to draft each of these multiple times and I’m going to show you what their cores are.

Note: Some cards are obviously amazing and every deck is going to want them. In those cases I won’t include them (i.e. Icy Manipulator).

U/R Wizards:

One of the first things you’ll notice when you start opening your packs of Dominaria is that a bunch of cards say, “if you control another Wizard” which means there must be a Wizard deck here… right?

Well when you take a look at the cards you’ll see that most of this archetype is built out of the red cards. There are other commons and uncommons in this archetype, but they aren’t necessary. If you get passed Naban, Dean of Iteration, then you have a big reason to go into Wizards.

Best commons:

AcademyJourneymage BlinkOfAnEye ShivanFire FieryIntervention  GhituJourneymage GhituLavarunner

Best uncommons:

FightWithFire FirefistAdept WizardsLightning AdelizTheCinderWind InBolassClutches MerfolkTrickster TimeOfIce

U/W Historic Aggro

The best decks in limited have typically taken advantage of the cards that no one wants. Everyone wants removal spells and bombs, but no one wants weak creatures that have no synergy with their “good cards”. That’s what this archetype has going for it. If people start to value these cards higher, then this deck will lose a lot of its potency.

Best commons:

AesthirGlider BlinkOfAnEye DavenantTrapper JoustingLance RelicRunner ShortSword

Best uncommons:

DanithaCapashenParagon InBolassClutches KwendePrideOfFemeref OnSerrasWings TetsukoUmezawaFugitive TimeOfIce RaffCapashenShipsMage IcyManipulator JhoirasFamiliar

U/B Control

This is not really an archetype but just a go long deck that hopes to use good cards to grind out opponents. Its gold card (cornerpost) is just a card that tries to accumulate value as the turns go by.

Best commons:

BlinkOfAnEye CaligoSkinWitch ColdWaterSnapper DeathbloomThallid DeepFreeze Divination Eviscerate Syncopate VodalianArcanist

Best uncommons:

CastDown InBolassClutches LingeringPhantom MerfolkTrickster RonaDiscipleOfGix SettleTheScore TheEldestReborn UrgorosTheEmptyOne

G/B Saprolings

Every format has a go-wide deck, and Dominaria is no exception with the saproling deck.

If you remember from my last article, the colours green and black are very deep in Dominaria, so you can typically support about two saproling decks per draft pod. If you look below, you will see that there are so many commons and uncommons that you can add to the deck. This doesn’t even take into account the other great cards in the colour that you would still be happy playing.

Best commons:

DeathbloomThallid Eviscerate FungalInfection LlanowarElves SaprolingMigration ThallidOmnivore ViciousOffering YavimayaSapherd

Best uncommons:

CastDown SettleTheScore SongOfFreyalise SporecrownThallid SporeSwarm ThallidSoothsayer SlimefootTheStowaway

G/W Creatures

Very similar to the G/B saporling deck, the G/W archetype is more of a mix between saprolings and knights that tries to go wide without as much synergy between creature types. This makes cards like the Sporecrown Thallid less effective and results in a higher reliance on the spells that anthem your creatures. I still don’t think Charge is playable in this format.

Best commons:

AvenSentry BalothGorger BlessedLight CallTheCavalry GideonsReproach LlanowarElves MesaUnicorn PegasusCourser SaprolingMigration SergeantAtArms YavimayaSapherd

Best uncommons:

DanithaCapashenParagon ElfhameDruid KnightOfGrace KwendePrideOfFemeref OnSerrasWings SealAway SerraAngel ShannaSisaysLegacy SongOfFreyalise SporeSwarm UntamedKavu WildOnslaught

G/U Tempo Midrange

This archetype is the epitome of a midrange deck that focuses on using tempo spells along with ramp to get ahead of the opponent. Unlike other green decks, which focus on smaller creatures, the only creatures that make the cut here are either huge, or ones that can trade off with multiple opposing creatures.

Best commons:

AcademyJourneymage AncientAnimus BalothGorger BlinkOfAnEye CloudreaderSphinx DeepFreeze GrowFromTheAshes LlanowarElves MammothSpider Syncopate YavimayaSapherd

Best uncommons:

ElfhameDruid GrunnTheLonelyKing InBolassClutches MerfolkTrickster SentinelOfThePearlTrident TatyovaBenthicDruid TimeOfIce UntamedKavu

B/W Historic

Black and white is chock full of great cards because of its depth. There are many cards that work well with the B/W Historic deck because it is looking for great rated creatures, great removal spells, and historic permanents.

Best commons:

BenalishHonorGuard BlessedLight CabalPaladin CallTheCavalry DavenantTrapper Eviscerate GideonsReproach PegasusCourser SerraDisciple ViciousOffering AesthirGlider ShortSword

Best uncommons:

ArvadTheCursed BairdStewardOfArgive BoardTheWeatherlight CastDown DanithaCapashenParagon KnightOfGrace KnightOfMalice KwendePrideOfFemeref OnSerrasWings SealAway SerraAngel TheEldestReborn UrgorosTheEmptyOne YargleGluttonOfUrborg IcyManipulator JhoirasFamiliar

R/B Midrange/Reanimator

Red and black doesn’t really have a creature theme, but it does have a slight reanimation theme. This is going to look like a bunch of good cards more than the other archetypes do. As such, the competition for these cards is very high, so you will rarely make a good red black deck unless it is fully open.

Best commons:

CaligoSkinWitch DeathbloomThallid Eviscerate FieryIntervention GhituChronicler KeldonRaider ShivanFire SoulSalvage WindgraceAcolyte

Best uncommons:

CastDown FightWithFire GarnaTheBloodflame SettleTheScore TheEldestReborn UrgorosTheEmptyOne WarcryPhoenix WhisperBloodLiturgist

R/G Kicker
This archetype is another hyperaggressive deck that abuses the kicker mechanic. Because there are so many great cards with kicker, this is an archetype that your opponents will be stealing cards from for their own deck. This makes the fail rate of this deck much higher than the others. But, if you can get the deck it can be very explosive.

Llanowar Elves shines in this deck as a top common as it lands on its best foot and wants to get mana out fast. Very similarly, the uncommon Elfhame Druid allows you to get maximum value from your spells.

Best commons:

BalothGorger BloodstoneGoblin GhituChronicler GrowFromTheAshes KeldonOverseer LlanowarElves ShivanFire

Best uncommons:

ElfhameDruid HallarTheFirefletcher Skizzik UntamedKavuFightWithFire GoblinBarrage

R/W Pump:

This archetype is focused on small creatures that get various boosts through pump spells, equipment, and auras. The land count in this deck is typically much lower than the traditional 17 because its curve is not very high. A lot of these cards are not valued highly and will wheel, plus there are many replacement one and two drops which can take the place of the ones that I selected below.

Best commons:

BenalishHonorGuard BloodstoneGoblin CallTheCavalry Dub FrenziedRage JoustingLance KeldonOverseer KeldonRaider MesaUnicorn PegasusCourser RunAmok SergeantAtArms ShivanFire ShortSword

Best uncommons:

ChampionOfTheFlame DanithaCapashenParagon DauntlessBodyguard FightWithFire GoblinBarrage Juggernaut KnightOfGrace OnSerrasWings Skizzik TianaShipsCaretaker WizardsLightning


Well that was a lot of card images, but I hope it helped! What’s your favourite archetype? Have fun trying them out and let me know!

Sammy T