Dominaria Draft is once again coming back to Arena! So if you’re looking to explore one of the most popular sets for drafting, you’ve come to the right place.
First, we’ll take a look at mechanics and best commons for each color. Then, we’ll discuss what each two-color archetype is trying to do. Finally, we rank all the colors and archetypes, and talk about some of the best uncommons to start your draft with.
UPDATE: If you’re looking forward to drafting the newest set, you should read our New Capenna Draft Guide.
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.
If you played Neon Dynasty Draft lately, you’ll notice that Sagas in Dominaria are less complex. They don’t transform into creatures with their last chapter. You get the chapter’s effect, and then you have to sacrifice the Saga.
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 many 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 the 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 (at least eight or more) enablers.
Legendary sorceries are powerful sorceries that you can only cast if you control a legendary creature or planeswalker. Generally speaking, they can be very tricky to pull off, 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 doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to cast it. 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, which can come back to bite you.
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 well positioned. Exile is very relevant, and getting rid of an enchantment is too. Every white deck will happily play at least a couple of copies.
2. Pegasus Courser
Courser is works best in an aggressive deck. Thankfully, most of the white decks tend to be aggressive. Flyers are great in this format, and making one of your big ground creatures fly 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 its job).
The problem is that more experienced opponents can easily play around them and not attack with their Tatyova, Benthic Druid or Slimefoot, the Stowaway. That’s why you shouldn’t play too many Reproaches.
Aven Sentry can also be surprisingly good in some situations, since a 3-powered flyer 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 a card.
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’d 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.
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 quite easy to assemble it, as both cards 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 not something to write home about, but it’s a nice role player. First, it supports the Wizards’ synergies. Additionally, providing mana for instants and sorceries is useful in this format. 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. 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.
1. Vicious Offering
While this removal spell is weaker than 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 a nice mix of both Eviscerate and Offering.
Deathbloom Thallid is a great Saproling maker. You might remember it being somewhat weak in Core 2021, but that’s mostly the fault of black being weak, than 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 performed. It’s so cheap, yet it can swing the combat in your favor, if you time it correctly.
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% of creatures in the format. Besides, artifact destruction matters occasionally, as you have things like Icy Manipulator and Helm of the Host 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 extra lands in your hand with new cards. When you’re playing a longer game, remember to not play a useless 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 made a return 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 supporting 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 manage to also get Sporecrown Thallid.
3. Grow from the Ashes
This is a great ramp spell. Not only does it scale well in the late game, it also enables splashing. With kicker in the format, you’ll have plenty of uses for additional lands and remember, they come into play untapped, which is rarely the case with such spells.
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. Only legendary creatures will get a +1/+1 counter, and that’s why it’s not higher on our list. Nevertheless, it’s still a 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:
This deck doesn’t come together that often, but when it does, it’s usually because of some powerful rares you get in these two colors, like Aryel, Knight of Windgrace or History of Benalia.
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. The best aura you can get is surely On Serra’s Wings, which heavily 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 off 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’ll certainly want to play Tatyova, if you’re in Green-Blue, it’s absurdly 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.
When you have enough splash enablers, try to include powerful cards in the deck, even if they’re not in your colors, for example Fight with Fire or The Eldest Reborn
Black – Red: Removal Control
This archetype is a bit unusual. It has access to a ton of removal spells, in both red and black. You can basically answer anything 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:
Besides, you can also use cards that don’t specifically mention Saprolings, but work well with multiple creatures, like Song of Freyalise and Wild Onslaught.
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 these 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
The first three archetypes are a step better than 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.
Best Uncommons to Start the Draft With
This is a bit of a bonus section that we don’t usually do, but we added it for the latest return of Dominaria to MTGA. We’ll talk about the best uncommons that you’ll happily start the draft with.
Coming all the way from the very first Magic set, Icy Manipulator is still amazing – at least in Dominaria Draft, if not in Constructed. For a measly one mana, you get to lock down your opponent’s best thing. You can also use it at the end of your opponent’s turn, and then again in your turn, to effectively remove two blockers.
It’s colorless, which means that you’ll play it in any deck, no matter the colors you end up with,
Fight with Fire
An amazing removal spell, which can win you the game on the spot when you get to nine mana. As we mentioned before, you should pair it with Ghitu Chronicler, so you won’t mind casting it early, knowing that you will be able to bring it back.
Getting to nine mana is certainly viable in Dominaria, so you can also try to get the “achievement” by casting Fight with Fire twice in the same game and win without attacking.
In Bolas’s Clutches
Mind Control effects are always backbreaking in draft, and this one is no different. An amazing card to put in any blue deck.
A Couple of Multicolor Cards
We already mentioned Tatyova and Slimefoot in the archetype breakdown. In some sets, you don’t want to start your draft with a multicolored uncommon, but these two fell like rares. You’ll happily first pick them and draft around them.
Both of them are green, which makes them more flexible than you’d think at first. Let’s say you picked up an early Slimefoot. That doesn’t mean that you have to play Black-Green. You can easily play any type of green deck, and just splash black with Grow From the Ashes.
On Serra’s Wings
An amazing enchantment that can make a random creature into a powerhouse. Paired with Cold-Water Snapper it’s practically unbeatable. And hopefully you’ll be as well, as this marks the end of our Dominaria Draft Guide.
More Magic Content
If you’re looking for more Magic content, we got you covered. Want to know what new cards are coming soon? Check New Capenna spoilers here.
Maybe you just want to improve your game? If so, you might find these following articles helpful:
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Anyway, that’s all for today. Until next time, have a blast and may you easily win your next Dominaria draft.