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Dominaria is here and I wanted to take a look at the dual color archetypes in Limited. This Limited format looks to be very interesting and diverse with good support for many different strategies. With the enemy check lands being in packs of Dominaria I figured we could start with the enemy color pairs and breakdown what each color pair is trying to do in Limited and reasons for being in the color pair.
Black and white have the highest concentration of legendary creatures in any colors. Both colors contain 7 legendary creatures and white also has access to On Serra’s Wings, a legendary aura that gives any creature the legendary type. In a BW deck you have access to basically a possible 17 legendary creatures including the enchantment and gold cards with 8 of them being at the uncommon level. There is also a sub theme with knights in this archetype and which direction you go can depend on what exact cards you pick up. At the most basic this archetype wants to be aggressive and beat down the opponent. Whether you are going wide with knights and removal or attacking with huge legendary creatures this archetype seems to be very strong and cards like Benalish Marshal and Josu Vess, Lich Knight make me want to go into these colors.
The obvious synergy here is a Saporling deck and even if you don’t pick up Ol’Slimey then you can still have a strong sacrifice deck or go wide deck. Slimefoot, the Stowaway is your big payoff for being in these colors with his triggered ability slowly bleeding your opponent while gaining you life to help you grind out the game. You can also have a B plan of just going wide with Saporlings and using things like Wild Onslaught and Sporecrown Thallid to pump your team. If you are heavier black then things like Thallid Omnivore can turn your Saporlings into extra damage and life gain. Thallid Soothsayer can draw you cards when you sacrifice a Saporling and they can help you power out an early Torgaar, Famine Incarnate. Then after you have sacrificed all your creatures you can use Soul Salvage to bring them back. Bombs like Torgaar, Famine incarnate, Muldrotha, the Gravetide, and Verdant Force would pull me towards this archetype.
Green does what green does by ramping and playing big creatures but the blue allows you access to powerful cards such as In Bolas’s Clutches. Tatyova, Benthic Druid a 5 mana 3/3 which is very below rate, yet that ability is very powerful and this card is just a bomb. If we are ramping then on turn 1 Forest Llanowar Elves, turn 2 Island Grow from the Ashes, turn 3 land Tatyova. This helps to solve the problem of ramp decks flooding out since every time you draw a land with Tatyova on the battlefield it turns into a redraw and you gain a little life. You can then use cards like Llanowar Scout to play two lands a turn and draw more cards and gain more life. You have access to disruption in your blue cards and if you have lot of Islands in your deck then Tempest Djinn can be very good in this archetype. You then use big finishers like Thorn Elemental, Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar, or some other card you happen to be splashing to win the game. Tatiyova is a big reason to play these colors but you also can have access to a lot of fixing in these colors and can allow you to splash some other powerful bombs.
This is the Wizards color pair that seems to have a really high ceiling but a low floor for the deck. Having multiple copies of Wizard’s Retort and Wizard’s Lightning are what will make this deck really shine. Blink of an Eye is another card that can help you gain a lot of tempo in this deck. There are two different Wizard lords one at Uncommon and one at Mythic Rare both of which seem really strong but Adeliz gives you a chance to combo off by casting multiple spells in a turn to attack for large chunks of damage with your other Wizards. This deck seems to be your typical tribal tempo beatdown deck that uses bounce and removal to continue to attack every turn and eventually overruns your opponent. Shivan Fire will be another card I will be looking to pick up in these decks. It’s an extremely versatile card that can be used early and taken back out of the graveyard by various effects so you can later recast with the kicker cost if needed. It can also be used as a combat trick to say kill an opposing X/2 and pump a wizard to win a combat with Adeliz on the battlefield. Shivan Fire will be on my mind when looking at what the best common in the set is. Picking up either of the Wizard lords is the main reason to be in this archetype or multiple Wizard’s Retorts/Lightnings.
Boros is looking to suit your creatures up and get aggressive here in Dominaria. RW is a typical aggro color pair but here you get rewarded for drafting auras and equipment to make big creatures. Your gold card here is Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker who has a pretty interesting ability allowing her to return auras and equipment that went to the graveyard from the battlefield this turn to your hand at the next end step. But I would be looking to combine the cost reduction from Danitha Capashen, Paragon with cards like Forebear’s Blade, Helm of the Host, Blackblade Reforged, and Dub. Slap those on a Champion of the Flame who gets +2/+2 for each aura and equipment attached to it or Valduk, Keeper of the Flames who makes a 3/1 Elemental for each aura and equipment attached. I think these are the cards you really want to have in this color pair. Danitha would pull me into the archetype and then I would be looking to pick up these other cards for the deck but I don’t think Tiana is necessary but will make the deck a bit better. One issue with this color pair is that there are only three auras spread across the two colors. In black you have Demonic Vigor for an interesting combo. Demonic Vigor returns the enchanted creature to your hand when it dies and Tiana will return Demonic Vigor to your hand at the next end step so you can build yourself a pseudo-indestructible creature. Dub is an aura in white at common so you could just pick up a bunch of those but I feel like Tiana is just the icing on the cake if you pick her up and not the reason to be in these colors. Throwing On Serra’s Wings on Valduk will definitely end games.
This set looks like it’s going to be a lot fun and Limited will not be very linear so keep your eye out for interesting interactions across all the colors. There a going to be a lot of moving parts in this format and it’s up to you to put them together in new and powerful ways. Join me next time as we go through the allied color pairs and flesh out what they look to accomplish in Dominaria.