Hello, and welcome to the next installment of Making It In Modern! Dominaria officially released on Friday, April 27, 2018 and I am as excited as any to have returned to our home plane. Dominaria looks to be an incredible set and should be set to shake up the standard format, introducing many new archetypes and bolstering old ones, but what does the set have in store for modern? In This article, I intend to delve into the set and show you the cards I believe will show up in modern deck lists that haven’t been given the hype that they deserve.
I want to display five cards from Dominaria that I feel have a place in modern. As a whole, I believe that this set was well designed and may make the biggest splash in Modern since Oath of the Gatewatch in terms of sheer volume of cards. I am not saying that any of these cards will specifically bust the format, but I think they have a chance of pushing some decks higher on the tier chain. Before I go into the list, I do want to talk about a few cards first.
Karn, Scion of Urza, Mox Amber, Skirk Prospector, and Damping Sphere
These four cards will definitely see play in modern, but I am not including them because they are so obvious. Karn is Karn. Karn, Scion of Urza is a four CMC planeswalker that comes down with five loyalty which is already impressive. The +1 and -1 abilities are both good card advantage abilities and the ultimate, -2, can put a giant body in play in the right artifact build. Mox Amber is another conditional zero cost mana rock that can be early mana ramp for decks with cheap legendary creatures in it. People have been talking about this paired with Isamaru, Hound of Konda and Kytheon, Hero of Akros since the Dominaria data leak. Also, this can be another mana rock for Cheerios, paired with Sram, Senior Edificer to have more redundancy with Mox Opal. Skirk Prospector has already been tested by many players since Dominaria released on MODO that you probably already know that you can build a storm deck with it and Fecundity. Damping Sphere has sideboard hate written all over it. The sphere hoses any big mana deck and also disrupts any deck that plans to cast more than one spell a turn. Now that those are out of the way, it’s time to head into the list!
There is one card that I have as honorable mentions. This card is very good, but the list is only five cards long. It also has obvious fits in Modern decks and didn’t take a lot of research to figure it out.
Cast Down already started with a higher presale price because of its implications in modern, but kind of lost momentum as spoiler season came to an end. Cast Down is a conditional removal spell with a not so bad condition. Destroying any non-legendary creature in modern has a wide range of options. It’s not as good as Terminate or even Fatal Push, but it is stronger than Go for the Throat. I would expect to see this to show up in some non-red black decks that will replace Go For the Throat with this as a one or two of.
5. Dread Shade
The first card in the actual top five is Dread Shade. Dread Shade has decent statistics as a 3/3 for three black mana with an upside of getting +1/+1 for 1 black as an activated ability. This card has a home in the Mono Black Devotion deck. Those three black mana symbols give the deck an extra three devotion for Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx on turn three to pair with Geralf’s Messenger. This in turn helps Gray Merchant of Asphodel drain more life from your opponent. If you have extra mana after it is cast, you can pump it with a single black mana to get it out of Lightning Bolt range which can be helpful. Although it doesn’t have evasion, it can still be a large beater when you can dump a lot of mana into it; you can attack with it for seven on turn four if you don’t have a spell to cast. Overall, this is a decent utility card for the deck that I would like to see be played.
4. Board the Weatherlight
Board the Weatherlight is card advantage for specific archetypes. This card allows you to dig five cards deep in your library and put a historic card into your hand. A historic card is either an artifact, legendary, or saga card. The thing that makes this modern playable is the fact that artifacts are historic spells. This also won’t be the last time this comes up. The best way to describe this is another Ancient Stirrings, but not as busted, as it is not able to find the wider range of cards Stirrings does for less mana. Board the Weatherlight is good at any point in the game, bridging together artifact plays. Any white based artifact deck that may appear in the future will more than likely be playing this.
3. Shalai, Voice of Plenty
Shalai, Voice of Plenty is a very well designed card. A 3/4 body for 4 mana with flying is pretty good by itself is good but it is really set apart by its other abilities. Shalai gives you, Planeswalkers and creatures you control hexproof and also can be Gavony Township for two green and four generic mana. This angel slots perfectly into any creature toolbox deck. Some of the toolbox decks were playing Sigarda, Heron’s Grace in the sideboard or even main deck, but this is a strict upgrade. Shalai, having four toughness is already out of Lightning Bolt range and any kill condition that would target the player would have to target Shalai first. The mana sink ability of putting +1/+1 counters on all of your creatures also provide an inevitability in the late game
2. The Antiquities War
The first and only Saga on this list, The Antiquities War is good for all the reasons Board the Weatherlight is, but with a much larger upside. When you play it and during its second turn on board, you look through the top five cards of your library for any artifact card. Over two turns, you can dig eleven cards deep to find a win condition. Its third ability can be a win condition in itself by making all of your artifacts 5/5s just like Tezzeret the Seeker’s ultimate ability. This card slots well into Egg decks because you will amass a large amount of artifacts by the time this goes up to three counters. You can also play this one turn three with mana rocks like Mind Stone. This would have been my top card on this list, but there is one more that I cannot get enough of.
1. Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
The top spot goes to the card that I am personally most excited about. Traxos, Scourge of Kroog is a 7/7 with trample for 4 mana with the downside of entering the battlefield tapped and only untapping when you cast a historic spell. This downside isn’t so bad in modern, of course, with so many viable artifact based decks. You can even go as far as using Amulet of Vigor to have it enter the battlefield untapped. However, where I see it making the most waves in the format is in the Blue Steel deck. It seems this card was designed to fit in the deck. Etherium Sculptor makes artifacts cost less making it easier to artifacts to untap Traxos. Also, Chief Engineer allows your artifacts to be cast with Convoke. You can tap Traxos to help pay for an artifact spell and then untap it when it is cast! The 7/7 trampling body is nothing to be taken lightly either.
I believe that all of these cards have certain homes in the modern format, but to what extent, only time will tell. I am currently working on a list with Traxos, Scourge of Kroog and think it is coming together well. Let me know what you think of this list and these cards! Did I miss any that you think have a home in modern? Feel free to follow me on Twitter @T2TKS to let me know! Also, please give us a like on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/) and give us a follow on Twitter @MTGDecktechs! Thank you for your time, and I will see you all next week!