Dominaria Draft is coming back to Arena! So if you’re looking to explore one of the best sets for drafting in recent years, you’ve come to the right place.
First, we’ll take a look at mechanics and best commons for each color. Further, we’ll discuss what each two-color archetype is trying to do. Finally, we rank all the colors and archetypes.
Okay, let’s get right to it.
UPDATE: If you’re looking forward to drafting the newest set, you can find Strixhaven Draft Guide here.
Dominaria has four mechanics: Sagas, Kicker, Historic and Legendary Sorceries.
Sagas are enchantments that work by installments. You get the first part (chapter) when it enters the battlefield. At the beginning of your next two first main phases, you’ll get chapters two and three.
You can learn more about Sagas here.
Kicker is a mechanic that lets you pay an additional cost when you cast the spell. If you pay it, your card will get another effect. Kicker really affects the format, as it allows you to spend your mana in the late game.
That’s why the default number of lands for most decks in Dominaria is actually 18. With kicker you have your mana sinks and you really don’t want to miss your land drops. You can also play 19 lands, if your deck is especially mana hungry. However, if you don’t have much ways to use mana in the late game, you can still stick with 17.
Historic is not just an Arena format. It’s also a name for the following group of cards:
- Anything with Legendary subtype
Some cards care about casting Historic cards, while others affect them in other ways (like Sanctum Spirit). If you want to trigger cards that care about Historic cards constantly, you’ll want to have enough (eight or more) enablers.
Legendary sorceries are powerful sorceries that can only be cast if you control a legendary creature or planeswalker. Generally speaking, they are a trap for draft and you should be wary of them.
You really want a lot of legendary creatures and/or planeswalkers, before you put one in your deck, probably at least 4. That’s quite a lot and even that number is pushing the limits. Legendary creatures are usually pretty strong and your opponents might kill them, before you get a chance to cast your powerful spell. In that case, you’ll end up with a blank card in your hand.
Best Commons for Dominaria Draft
The majority of your draft deck is represented by commons, so let’s take a look at which ones are best.
1. Blessed Light
Five mana seems like a lot for a removal spell, but in Dominaria, Blessed Light was actually very well positioned. Exile is very relevant and getting rid of an enchantment as well. Every white deck will happily play at least a couple of copies.
2. Pegasus Courser
Courser is best suited for an aggressive deck. Thankfully, most of the white decks tend to be aggressive. Flyers are great in this format and getting one of your big ground creatures into the air is also pretty strong.
3. Gideon’s Reproach
While Reproach isn’t the most effective spell, it’s at least cheap. For two mana you can stop early aggression, as well as remove a blocker (even though it already did it’s job).
Aven Sentry can also be surprisingly good in some situations as a 3-powered flyer for four mana, as it presents a serious clock.
Call the Cavalry is another good four drop, providing you with two bodies. As you can expect, this card is at its best in some kind of go-wide deck, that plays tons of creatures and tokens, and buffs them with cards like Wild Onslaught.
1. Cloudreader Sphinx
This Sphinx is a powerhouse! You already get a perfectly fine flyer for five mana, but Scry 2 is the real deal. By the time you’re casting this card, you mostly won’t need lands or cheap cards, so scrying those to the bottom is very close to drawing cards.
This makes Cloudreader Sphinx a very high pick in the Dominaria draft.
2. Blink of an Eye
Blink is also amazing. It scales perfectly with the amount of mana you have. For two mana you get a fine bounce spell (it can bounce any nonland permanent), and for four you get to draw a card on top of that!
You can also target your own stuff, which comes up more often than you think. You can save your creatures from removal, get their enter-the-battlefield effects again and generate value while doing so.
Each blue deck really wants at least some Blinks.
3. Academy Journeymage
Speaking of bouncing stuff, here’s Journeymage! While it only bounces your opponent’s creatures, you also get a body with it. You really want to have at least some Wizards in your deck, but once you do, it can really shine.
Divination was always fine, but in Dominaria it’s spectacular. Card advantage is great in this format so you’ll happily play multiples of it.
Cold-Water Snapper is almost an archetype all by itself. You want to pair it with Arcane Flight and your opponents often won’t have an answer to this “combo”. It’s pretty easy to assemble as they are both blue commons. Even better combinations is with On Serra’s Wings, which basically just wins you the game.
Finally don’t sleep on Vodalian Arcanist. It’s weak in Core 2021, but that’s not the case in Dominaria. First, it supports Wizards synergies. Additionally, providing mana for instants and sorceries is useful here. It also works very well with a great counterspell in this format – Syncopate.
Four mana. Destroy target creature. Simple. Effective. Best common in the set.
2. Vicious Offering
While, this removal spell is weaker then Eviscerate, it’s still pretty good.
It becomes even better if you have expendable creatures in your deck, for example Saproling tokens. Every black deck in Dominaria draft wants to have some number of both Eviscerate and Offering.
3. Thallid Omnivore
3/3 for four mana is usually very mediocre, however this ability is insanely powerful in this format. Your opponents are often forced to block Omnivore, just so they don’t die if you sacrifice your whole board.
Sure you want some support for it, but it really doesn’t need that much. Just play a couple of Saproling makers and you’re good to go.
Speaking of Saproling makers, Deathbloom Thallid is a great one. You might remember it being somewhat weak in Core 2021, but that’s mostly the fault of black being weak, then this Thallid’s power level. Besides, there are plenty of relevant Saproling synergies in Dominaria.
Another card that makes Saprolings is Fungal Infection. It looked weak at the beginning of the format, but it actually over preformed. It’s so cheap, yet it swings the combat in your favor – you just have to like it.
1. Shivan Fire
Shivan Fire is a perfect removal spell, that scales well when the game goes on. It can kill small creatures early, or even bigger ones, when the game goes on. If we check the stats of the creatures, it kills 45,1% of creatures when it isn’t kicked. Once it is that percentage raises to 85,5%.
That’s very good, so red decks want at least a couple of Shivan Fires.
2. Ghitu Chronicler
For two mana you get a 1/3 Wizard. While the body isn’t anything spectacular, it’s at least serviceable and Wizards subtype often ends up mattering.
However, once you get to 6 mana you get to bring an instant or a sorcery back from the graveyard – this is a very powerful thing to do in Dominaria draft. You might have used Fight with Fire early in the game as a removal spell. Now you can get it back with Chronicler to burn your opponent out. Pretty neat, huh?
3. Fiery Intervention
Five mana for five damage is somewhat clunky, but hey, sometimes you just need more removal spells and this one will get rid of 91,7% creatures in the format. Besides, artifact destruction often matters, as you have thing like Icy Manipulator and Helm of the Host in running around.
Keldon Raider is a very playable card, especially if you don’t have many mana sinks (cards that use your mana in the late game). It can replace the lands you no longer need with new cards. When you’re playing a longer game, remember to not play an unnecessary land, in case you draw the Raider.
Ghitu Journeymage has fine stats for an aggressive red deck. If you manage to get some early Wizards, it can become very good.
1. Llanowar Elves
One of the most iconic one drops has returned in Dominaria. It’s still as good as it ever was, especially if you’re playing Kicker cards, which give you use for additional mana even in the late game.
2. Yavimaya Sapherd
Sapherd is great! You get two bodies, both with tribal synergies. You can use them as a sacrifice fodder, or just as additional creatures to make your mass pump spells better. They become especially good if you mange to get Sporecrown Thallid.
3. Grow from the Ashes
This is a great ramp spell. Not only it scales well in the late game, it also enables splashing pretty easily. With kicker in the format, you’ll have plenty of uses for additional lands and remember, they come into play untapped.
Green has lots of great commons in Dominaria draft. In any other format the following cards might even be Top 3 green commons. Take for example, Saproling Migration. It’s another great versatile card, which becomes even better when you have Saproling synergies.
Baloth Gorger is your big green creature of the set, which also scales well into the late game.
Ancient Animus is an okay fight spell, which provides counters just to legendary creatures. That’s why it’s not higher on our list, but it’s still an useful effect to have.
Finally, we have to mention one particular artifact. It’s Skittering Surveyor! It really does a lot:
- it makes sure that you won’t miss your fourth land drop, which is incredibly important in this format
- fixes your mana
- enables splashing
- counts for Historic synergies
Besides all that you also get a body, which you can use for sacrifice stuff or just as a chump blocker.
That’s why you should pick Surveyor very highly. It’s one of the best commons in the set, as you will play it in any kind of deck you end up with.
Dominaria Draft Archetypes
The archetypes in Dominaria Draft are almost always 2 color, with occasional splashes. We’ll examine each one of them and what they’re trying to do.
Blue – White: Flyers
Blue-White has some Historic synergies, but it’s mostly better just to focus on its signature archetype, flyers.
Creatures with flying are very good in Dominaria, as games often stall out. This archetype takes full advantage of that fact. It’s also the best archetype to utilize the Deep Freeze, because you don’t care about ground blockers.
Black – White: Historic
While this archetype doesn’t have a ton of Historic payoffs, it does have a lot of enablers, with cards like:
Green – White: Tokens
Get a lot of creatures in play, then buff them. That’s the name of the game for Green – White decks in Dominaria.
You’ll want cards that make multiple creatures like:
The best ways to buff them is with Song of Freyalise, which provides two turns of additional mana and then has an insanely strong last chapter. If you don’t manage to get it you can play Wild Onslaught, which also works great. The weakest option is Charge, but that will have to do if you really can’t get anything else.
You’ll usually get some Saprolings, so you can also take advantage of Sporecrown Thallid
Red – White: Aggressive / Equipment
Red – White is once again an aggressive deck, this time with a small Equipment and Aura subtheme. Besides Tiana, you also have Champion of the Flame and Valduk, Keeper of the Flame, which can be very good in the right situation.
For your equipments you can easily get Short Sword and Jousting Lance, with lance being the better of the two. Best aura you can get is surely On Serra’s Wings, which really swings the game in your favor.
Because you’re playing Equipment, which is counts as a Historic card, you can also unlock cards like D’Avenant Trapper, which can be powerful in an aggressive deck.
Blue – Black: Control
While the Blue-Black has a soft historic theme, with cards like Rona, Disciple of Gix, you’re better of just playing a control deck.
You have access to a bunch of black removal spells and to blue counterspells. You want to control the early to mid game, then take over with some powerful cards like In Bolas’s Clutches or with Cold-Water Snapper plus Arcane Flight combo.
Blue – Red: Wizards
This is one of the best archetypes in Dominaria draft. It’s essentially a tempo deck with a soft tribal component. It wants to get ahead quickly, and beat the opponent down.
There are 11 Wizards in the set:
- 6 common
- 3 uncommon
- 1 rare
- 1 mythic
However the cards aren’t totally dependent on tribal synergies. You mostly get some cost reduction with cards like Wizard’s Lightning and Academy Journeymage, or some incidental benefit (Ghitu Journeymage).
The two cards that reward you the most for staying on tribe are Firefist Adept and the signpost uncommon, Adeliz, the Cinder Wind. Once you get Adeliz you also want many cheap instants like Opt, which can then provide a ton of damage out of nowhere.
Blue-Green: Ramp / Splashing
This archetype doesn’t have a very clear focus. However, you do want to play Tatyova, if you’re in green-blue, it’s amazingly good.
The color pair severely lacks removal, that’s why you’ll often splash red or black for some good removal spells. You really want to prioritize Skittering Surveyor or Grow from the Ashes. Both work well with Tatyova as well.
Black – Red: Removal Control
This archetype is a bit different then usual. It has access to a ton of removal spells, in both red and black. You can basically answer everything your opponent plays.
Once you run out of removal, you can get it back with Ghitu Chronicler and once it dies, you can bring it back with Soul Salvage. Furthermore, Dark Bargain fills the graveyard for both of those cards plus provides card advantage.
If you enjoy grindy decks with lots of value, you should definitely try to draft this archetype.
Black – Green: Saprolings
Saprolings aren’t just cute, they represent one of the best archetypes in Dominaria draft. So how do you draft this deck? Well, first you want to have enough Saproling makers, for example:
Then you want to get some payoffs, and there are a lot of them:
Fill the rest of your deck with quality cards and you’re good to go.
Red – Green: Ramp / Kicker
Red-Green uses green cards like Llanowar Elves and Elfhame Druid to cast their expensive cards ahead of schedule. Cards with kicker naturally fit right in that shell, as they are useful both when you have your ramp cards and when you don’t.
On top of that, there are some additional synergies with kicker cards:
However, you don’t have to focus too much on these synergies. The archetype works perfectly fine without them.
Dominaria Draft Guide: Power Rankings
It’s time for the Power Rankings. As all the great draft sets, Dominaria also strikes a very fine balance between most colors and archetypes.
Keep this in mind while drafting and only use this rankings as a tiebreaker.
Green has plenty of powerful commons and also enables splashes. Blue has some great versatility and cards that can give a good player a big edge. Both black and red are fine too, with some great removal spells.
White is the color that’s clearly a bit weaker than the other four, however it’s still perfectly playable and you don’t need to avoid it.
Best Archetypes in Dominaria Draft
- Black – Green: Saprolings
- Blue – Red: Wizards
- Black – Red: Removal Control
- Green – White: Tokens
- Blue – Green: Ramp / Splashing
- Blue – White: Flyers
- Red – Green: Ramp / Kicker
- Red – White: Aggressive / Equipment
- Blue – Black: Control
- Black – White: Historic
First three archetypes are a step better then all the rest, which are all similar in power level. Nevertheless, you can win with any archetype in Dominaria, if you get the right cards. As we said before, take these rankings as a tiebreaker when you’re deciding between two cards that slot into different archetypes.
More Magic Content
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Anyways, that’s all for today. Until next time, have a blast and may you easily win your next Dominaria draft.