Dominaria Brews

by Simon Nielsen on 08 May 2018, Tuesday

Simon Nielsen

Dominaria Brews

Dominaria seems to be one of the best sets in recent memory, both for limited and constructed. Now that the cards have finally hit the shelves on Magic Online, we can begin to explore the possibilities that this new reality will give us. Here is a collection of new and upgraded decks, by myself and others, with some of my thoughts attached.

Game of Thrones

In my last article I included this Mono Blue Throne of the God-Pharaoh deck as an afterthought. At that point I had only played very few matches, but thought that it was a fun list to present. Now I've played 4 competitive leagues with the list, even 5-0'ed one, and I now think that this deck is real.
Dominaria even contained some upgrades, but it wasn't actually Tempest Djinn that first sparked my interest. No, Artificers Assistant would allow us to play 19 1-drops! After getting destroyed by Goblin Chainwhirler though, I decided that the deck needed to board into big djinns in order to have an alternate angle of attack. This is my current list:

 This is what happens when you build around Throne of the God-Pharaoh. Full of flying vehicles and cheap creatures that are hard to block. While this is an aggressive deck, most of our creatures are sitting at just 1 power each. Throne of the God-Pharaoh makes this work, however, effectively acting as an anthem effect. Even better, however, it works well with Vehicles! For instance, if your opponent has an Aethersphere Harvester on defense, preventing your attacks, you can just turn all your dudes sideways for the Sky Skiff, then have it crew itself to deal a large chunk of damage with the throne.

Glint-Nest Crane works beautifully here, both as an evasive attacker, good blocker, and a way to find Throne of the God-Pharaoh or a Vehicle. Keeping a high artifact count is essential for this deck, which is part of why we run Walking Ballista, and the sole reason I allow myself to put Sky Skiff in my deck.

This deck plays a lot of bad cards, but it makes up for it by also turning the opponents cards worse. This deck takes out blocking entirely, so any card that has added value because it blocks, like Champion of Wits, is just much worse. Also, since everything is so cheap, basically all expensive cards lose value, especially removal spells like Vraska's Contempt.

This is also why I am not super hyped about Tempest Djinn. Even though my manabase would be 20 Island anyway, It just enables expensive removal spells so much more, and usually you could spend that mana deploying multiple things.


I must admit that with 19 1-drops, the deck gets quite one-dimensional, and the Djinns really help with this. Not to mention Goblin Chainwhirler. The Djinns are also another way to break through Aethersphere Harvester which is certainly welcome.

My main take-away from this deck though, is just how good Aethersphere Harvester and Walking Ballista seem to perform in every deck, even when it isn't obvious. I'm starting to think that maybe we should just put these cards in every single deck we build.

A return to Green-White Tokens

Man, if it wasn't for Goblin Chainwhirler, I would be super excited for the upgrades we got for Green-White tokens. This archetype has seen multiple different forms, but my favourite has been the token-heavy one with Jungleborn Pioneer to give us a safe target for Appeal/Authority.
Not only did we get Servo Exhibition 2.0 in the form of Saproling Migration (which helps power up Legion's Landing), we can also safely add the new legend, Shanna, Sisay's Legacy.

Not only will this card get superpowered by our deck that only contains token production, but it's actually surprisingly hard to kill. Yes yes, Fatal Push and Vraska's Contempt does it. But none of the white removal spells do, as they are all enchantments with triggered abilities. We can grow it large enough to dodge damage-based red removal. They can't even use Fanatical Firebrand or Walking Ballista to finish it off!


Shanna's ability protects herself every once in a while, which is nice, but somewhat lacking. And while her ability doesn't make her immune to Cast Down, her legendary status does. Sadly she is, like the rest of the deck, vulnerable to sweeper effects like Golden Demise, Sweltering Suns and, yuck, Goblin Chainwhirler!

I've tried to build the deck a little bit to better match-up against Goblin Chainwhirler, such as Snubhorn Sentry over Skymarcher Aspirant and the inclusion of History of Benalia. This is my suggested first list:

Tocatli Honor Guard is my sideboard tech against Goblin Chainwhirler. Being able to board into vehicles is a great way to circumvent their sweepers, and it makes sideboarding quite awkward for the opponent.


I'd also be interested in trying out Song of Freyalise in this style of deck. It has been quite good for me in limited, though maybe you'd need to go bigger with manasinks like Walking Ballista and Shalai, Voice of Plenty to make it work.

Historic legends

Going wide is not the only way to utilize Shanna, Sisay's Legacy. As the only multicolored 2-mana legend in standard, she is the perfect enabler for Mox Amber. She even shares a color with the only 1-mana legend, Oviya Pashiri, and the two of them seem to work well in the same strategy.
White also offers another 2 mana legend, and while we can't go off with Sram the same way Blue-White Auras can, I found a way to make it work in this shell. This is my first draft of a deck built around Mox Amber:

The idea here is that Unbridled Growth while fixing our mana, also enables both Sram, Senior Edificer and Renegade Rallier. Tesha, Ancestor's Apostle is enabled by our cheap historic spells, like Mox Amber and Legion's Landing, while working excellent with Fairgrounds Warden as our interactive spell.


There are many things I'm not sure about with this list. Like maybe we are not interested in Llanowar Elves (we're quite low on turn 1 green sources anyway), maybe we want to cut Tesha so that we can run Walking Ballista. Maybe this is the Song of Freyalise deck I've been musing about.  It can go many ways, but I think this list lays some solid groundwork for Mox Amber abusion.

Gift of Goblins?

Now, I've talked a lot about Goblin Chainwhirler, so maybe it's time to actually include it in a deck. I do think that Goblin Chainwhirler will become an impactful standard stable. Like, if it becomes popular, are we even interested in Glint-Sleeve Siphoner anymore?
While everyone can jam Goblin Chainwhirler into mono-red aggro, there could be other decks that are intrigued.

Blue-Red God-Pharaohs Gift got a different Goblin from Dominaria to upgrade itself. Skirk Prospector is another guy that easily sacrifices himself while also providing a mana advantage. In combination with a second goblin, it even enables turn 3 Gift!

But Goblin Chainwhirler could also be a nice addition to Gift-decks, especially when Skirk Prospector makes us care about Goblins. Maybe if we go this route, it might just be better to cut the blue cards? Magic Online user TacoFarmer has been farming not only tacos but also magic players, as they went 5-0 with this aggro/combo-hybrid:

Mono Red Gate (Standard (DOM) - Others)

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I would like to see all 4 Fanatical Firebrand in the maindeck. Hazoret doesn't seem like it fits too well, as this deck is already much more clunky than regular Mono Red Aggro. It has been an overperforming sideboard card for me in Blue-Red Versions, and since this sideboard has a lot of mediocre cards, I could easily see the inclusion of Hazoret here.


Rowdy Crew is quite ingenious. Not only is it a (semi-reliable) way to fill your graveyard, in a deck with 31 creatures you will frequently produce a 5/5 trample to boot. Maybe time will tell if Cathartic Reunion is better, but for the moment I like that this deck is an aggro-deck first and a combo-deck second.

These lists should get you started on indulging in what Dominaria has to offer. Which brews have you been looking at? Sound off in the comments!

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