Thursday, 25 July 2019 12:37

Review: 'Commander 2017: Draconic Domination'

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Review: 'Commander 2017: Draconic Domination' WOTC / JAMIE JONES

 Magic: The Gathering has gone tribal with its Commander 2017 preconstructed EDH decks with each of the four decks having their own creature type focused themes -- Cats, Dragons, Vampires, and Wizards.

The Dragons deck is big.  I mean, it's still 100 cards like a Commander deck should be, bit what's in it is big.  I'm taking 10/10 big.  Win-the-game big.  How does it fare?  We take a look.

Dragons have always been a popular creature type.  Since day one with Shivan Dragon (which at one time was work more than the Power Nine), Magic players have had an infatuation with the scaled winged beasts.  It's only natural that Wizards of the Coast would make on of its four tribal-themed Commander 2017 decks around them -- especially when you consider Commander probably exist without them.  After all, EDH does stand for Elder Dragon Highlander.

The Draconic Domination deck features five new dragon legends with the face of the deck being none other than The Ur-Dragon itself.  We've had reference of it in the past with Scion of the Ur-Dragon (which is included in this deck), but never The Ur-Dragon on its own.  Now we do.  In short, The Ur-Dragon is sweet.  Its Eminence ability makes all your dragon spells cost one generic mana less (which helps considering just how mana-intensive dragons tend to be) and its second ability is just stupid.  You get to draw a card for EACH attacking dragon you control, then can a permanent -- ANY permanent -- from your hand into play for free.  Oh, and did we mention it's a 10/10 with flying for a converted mana cost of nine?  Check mate, bro.

Three of the four other legendary dragons are also well worth a mention.  Ramos, Dragon Engine (from Mercadian Masques lore) is a fun colorless five-color commander that pairs up with Door to Nothingness (note included in the deck), which is great for Two-Headed Giant EDH.  The three-colored cat dragon mama Wasitora, Nekoru Queen provides players with a nice combination of board control and "go wide" tactics.  O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami of Kamigawa fame is pretty much karma incarnate, though it would probably better serve as one of the deck's 99 rather than its commander.  The final legendary isn't a dragon.  He's a monk.  Taigam, Ojutai Master is a decent card to be sure and it does help protect dragons when they're being cast, but it just seems a bit out of place theme-wise overall.

Of course, Taigam isn't the oly creature that doesn't fall into the tribal theme.  There are some dragon-helping goblins as well.  The dragon discounting creatures Dragonlord's Servant and Dragonspeaker Shaman are also included in this deck.  Between the two, that's a three colorless mana savings on your dragons.  Add The Ur-Dragon's Emenince abaility, and that's a whopping four mana per dragon you're saving.  Big Lots has nothing on that sort of discounting.

Other original singles of note include Scalelord Reckoner, which is like a walking (flying?) Karmic Justice on steroids.  There is also the 2RR 6/5 flying-with-haste Territorial Hellkite that's great in multiplayer games but all but useless when it's one-v-one.  Even better is Boneyard Scourge, which is a 4/3 with flying for 2BB with surprisingly affordable recursion.  Going outside of creatures, Fractured Identity  is a great political card with which you can pull some neat schenanigans.  Our only knock against it is that it's at sorcery speed and could bite you in the butt.  Kindred Discovery is also a great card for pretty much any tribal deck that includes blue thanks to its immense card drawing abilities.

Draconic Domination also has a couple of uncommons that are worth mentioning.  Mirror of the Forebears and Herald's Horn -- cards that are found in other Commander 2017 decks -- prove most useful in this one.  Mirror is nice because it lets you copy your expensive dragons on the cheap.  It's a more restrictive version of Mirage Mirror, but it works great in tribal --  especially expensive tribal.  Herald's Horn adds (possible) free card draw and also discounts the mana cost for your creatures.  It's yet another way to make your dragons cheaper.

The deck's player curses featuring the multiverse's most unlucky planeswalker are also most featured in this deck than any other Commander 2017 deck.  Curse of Opulence is great because it provides a great incentive to get other players to target one of the players who isn't you.  And it's even better in 2HG EDH.  Curse of Verbosity is also great because, well, everybody likes drawing cards for free.  It's almost like having Edric, Spymaster of Trest but for one specific player.  They're both great lures and Draconic Domination contains both of them.

In terms of how the deck plays, it should come as no surprise to any player that it can take a little time to get things going.  Dragons tend to be more expensive than most creatures and, save for a couple of low-costed ones, that is the case with Draconic Domination.  Players can expect to spend their first few turns putting out cards to help discount the deck's draconic mana costs such as the aforementioned Herald's Horn or Dragonlord's Servant.  Once it gets going, however, players can expect to be able to deliver some powerful blows.  Late game offense shouldn't be much of a problem.  The player just has to get there with enough momentum to allow their dragons to swoop in for the win.

The Magic: The Gathering Commander 2017 deck Draconic Domination is available now and retails at $34.99.