Howdy Folks! It is that time of year again. Spoiler season is in full swing — this time for Magic’s latest expansion Dominaria. While I personally enjoy a variety of Magic formats, there is no doubt that my current favorite format is Modern. Today I would like to look at some of the spoilers we have seen from Dominaria, with the explicit context of how they could apply to Modern.
Let’s start with the obvious format bomb in Dominaria for Modern:
Like most Modern players, I was really excited to see a card like this get printed. Not only is this a powerful hate card, it is more importantly a flexible hate card. One of the chief complaints related to playing a fair deck in Modern is that you do not get enough sideboard slots. Damping Sphere is a colorless card that helps with this problem.
To name a few matchups where Damping Sphere is reasonable:
- Ad Nauseum
While Karn is no Damping Sphere, the fact that he is colorless means he could show up in all sorts of places beyond just the obvious Tron and Robot lists.
Up next we have a couple pieces of removal that would not surprise me if they worked their way into the format:
Cast Down strikes me as a card we might see to kill things that Fatal Push misses. Specifically in decks that lack Red to play something like Terminate. In the past, we have seen Go for the Throat and even Doom Blade occasionally see play to fill this role, but Cast Down in general is less narrow than either of these.
Seal Away might be a bit more of a stretch. I know in decks like Control I have often wanted a couple more pieces of instant speed removal past Path to Exile and this feels like it might fit that bill.
Up next we have a card that is kind of hard to evaluate:
In general “fast mana” like this automatically gets slid into the “busted” category in a format like Modern. Mox Amber might finally break this mold though due to not truly being “fast” mana. This is because it requires a legendary creature or planeswalker in play to activate, all of which cost at least some mana. The cheapest of these creatures is Isamaru, Hound of Konda.
This means the most obnoxious thing we can likely do with Mox Amber would involve several Moxes on the first turn of the game to power out something that costs a few mana? At a glance I am unsure if this will be format warping, but it does feel like it might be competitive at the very least.
Up next we have a card that might squeeze its way into Dredge:
In the past, Dredge decks have played a copy or two of Haunted Dead to have an extra card to bring back Prized Amalgam. Squee, the Immortal not only fills this role, but does not require cards in hand to do so. The fact that Squee can also be played from exile means that when your opponent plays some kind of graveyard hate you still have something that can be put into play.
Finally, it would not be a Modern analysis from me if I did not touch on potential new creature toolbox cards in a set:
Baird is similar to Archangel of Tithes, but the fact that he is much easier to cast when drawn is a big deal. Making for casting Archangel of Tithes is often prohibitive and leaves the card stranded in our hand.
Shalai, Voice of Plenty is a card that I am excited to try in a variety of decks in Modern. A 4-mana card that has a relevant text box against Burn is a big deal because it allows us to curve a 2-drop on two into Eldritch Evolution on three to go find this bullet. Because Shalai gives us Hexproof she turns off opposing Searing Blazes. Her four points of toughness means our opponent is going to need two bolt style effects to take her off of the table.
Past her applications against Burn, Shalai shuts down targeted discard as well as edict effects from cards like Liliana of the Veil. She is also a must kill before a Scapeshift opponent can kill us in a single turn.
This is not all Shalai, Voice of Plenty does though — she also has an activated ability. While this ability may seem costly on the surface, we could very easily pair it with two other powerful cards Modern has to offer:
While Shalai might not guarantee victory the same turn you make infinite mana like some of the other payoffs, the card quality of Shalai, Voice of Plenty outside of the combo is higher than any other combo piece this combo archetype has played in the past. So while she might not replace all the copies of Walking Ballista these decks often play, I think she will be a welcome addition to make the three card combo a bit more redundant, while also offering protection.
What do you think of the Dominaria spoilers so far? Do you think any of the cards I listed here could have a lasting impact in Modern? Do you think there is something else hiding out in the spoiler that I might have missed that could make a splash? Let me know in a comment below.