What are the defining features of Dominaria Limited? How fast is the environment? How important is synergy? How important are bombs? How likely are you to splash? And how does that differ between Sealed Deck and Booster Draft?
We asked some notable players for their expert opinion …
Arne Huschenbeth, Standard champion of MKMS Hamburg 2017 and winner of GP Rimini 2016: “I try not to play 2/2s for 2 aside from white aggressive decks. The format feels very slow and bomb-heavy. Probably around 50% of my decks included more than two colors. Synergy is less important; just play powerful cards. Draft allows for some aggressive decks, Sealed is basically only a fight over who has the most haymakers.”
Thoralf “Toffel” Severin, veteran of two MKM Series Top 8s and three GP Top 8s: “The format is slow and value-oriented most of the time, but leaves ample room for aggressive decks like White-X Pegasus Courser and Blue-Red Wizards. Synergy is not super important, neither are bombs. It's nice to have them, but there is a lot of good removal, so it's better to look at the overall quality of your deck/archetype than single cards. That being said, some uncommons are too powerful. Splashing is harder and has costs—no free Evolving Wilds, instead we have to make do with Skittering Surveyor—but the cards to splash for are worth it. Most of the cards cost a single mana of a color, so you can get away with a few less sources per color. It's easier to splash in Sealed, since it is slower. Most of the time, you dont even want to play first in Sealed!”
Philipp Krieger, WMC semifinalist and veteran of three MKM Series Top 8s: “The defining feature of this format is its variety. Things can go fast, but can also be quite grindy. Synergy is very important, and it's nice to have bombs, as always, but it's not everything. I like to splash in Sealed, but in Draft, I'll only splash for excellent removal and real bombs.”
Jamin Kauf, veteran of two MKM Series Top 8s: “One thing that makes Dominaria Limited feel very different from recent sets is the depth of synergy. Especially the Black-Green Saproling archetype is very deep, but there are other, smaller combos too: Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive making certain creatures better, the equipment/aura theme in red and white, or putting Auras on Cold-Water Snapper. In general, the 2-drops are worse—no 2 mana 2/2 unblockable anymore like in Ixalan—which makes aggression worse which then slows down the format in general. In Sealed I'm unhappy if I have to choose to play first, whereas in Draft you can still make aggressive decks work. Bombs are very strong, especially at Mythic, but there's so much—easy to splash—removal around that you can often kill them before they take over the game. Skittering Surveyor is probably played in at least 90% of Sealed Pools that have the card, and it makes for solid mana bases all around.”