April 18, 2018

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Daily Dose of Dominaria – Combat Tricks and Removal by Color

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Dominaria on Prerelease week! Today I’m going to break down the combat tricks and removal you can expect in Dominaria.

It's always nice to have some extra information. Especially in a situation like Prerelease where I've never played with the cards before, and I don't know how the games will play out. The best information to have is what kinds of cards are in what colours, so I know what to expect.

How is that useful, you might ask? With this information I can go into an attack knowing what kinds of spells my opponent could cast with the mana they have available. With a limited pool of cards, you can often rule out certain plays and be able to either attack freely or be cautious when attacking or blocking, depending on the situation.

What I’m going to do is breakdown all the combat tricks and removal by colour. I’ll only consider a creature for this list if they have an enter the battlefield ability that removes a creature like Ravenous Chupacabra did in Rivals of Ixalan.

Something to note is that there are no multicolour removal spells or combat tricks in this set. All the multicolour cards in Dominaria are Legendary creatures, sorceries, or planeswalkers, and none of them have enter the battlefield abilities that remove a creature.

White Combat Tricks and Removal Cards



White has the largest pool of cards you need to worry about.

Let’s start with the removal. White boasts the only sweeper in the set with Urza’s Ruinous Blast, if you don’t count four situational cards in red and a Saga in black. Even then, Urza’s Ruinous Blast won’t get rid of any Legendary permanents.

Invoke the Devine will allow you to destroy any artifact or enchantment while gaining some life as a bonus. Expect this to be played in most main decks since there are plenty of powerful enchantments and artifacts in Dominaria.

Blessed Light is the only outright creature removal white has, and you need to have five mana to cast it.

Gideon’s Reproach is a classic white combat removal spell that allows you to deal four damage to an attacking or blocking creature. At only two mana it can sneak up on you.

The two-mana spell you'll have to worry about the most when attacking is Seal Away. Far and away one of the best removal spells in the set, it can exile any tapped creature until it leaves the battlefield.

Don't get comfortable yet, you still need to worry about some combat tricks. Adamant Will can blow you out in combat, and beware of Charge if your opponent is making an all-out attack. Healing Grace is a cleverly designed spell as it saves its caster a total of six life, and can be used to save a creature as part of its effect.

Blue Combat Tricks and Removal Cards



As usual, when it comes to blue, the combat tricks and removal spells are a little bit different. There aren't any spells that can destroy or exile a creature here, but there are a few tricks to keep up your sleeve.

Deep Freeze is a way to remove a powerful creature on your opponents’ side, but it will leave them with an 0/4 Wall that could be a problem to get through during combat.

While Dominaria doesn’t have the usual blue Aura that taps down a creature permanently, there is a creature with a similar ability. Merfolk Trickster can allow you to tap a creature down or make a creature lose all its abilities, making it easier to kill during combat.

A card like Befuddle will allow you win a combat trade and replaces itself, which is a bonus. And speaking of cards that replace themselves, Blink of an Eye is a great combat trick that can also act as a cantrip. It is also the only spell that you need to worry about that bounces one of your own creatures.

There is one other bounce combat trick, but it can only be used to protect your own creatures. Rescue.

But what blue lacks in good removal spells, it makes up for in counterspells. Dominaria gives you a trio to worry about with Syncopate, Unwind and Wizard’s Retort. So, if your opponent has two mana up, make sure you have at least one mana when casting a spell to negate Syncopate. If they have three mana available, there might be nothing you can do to prevent them from countering your spell.

Black Combat Tricks and Removal Cards




As usual, Black brings us a card pool full of good removal spells, but not many combat tricks.

But when it does come to combat tricks, Blessing of Belzenlok is a great way to save a creature and gain some life at the same time. If played on a legendary creature, at least. Meanwhile, Fungal Infection can shrink down a creature and provide an extra 1/1 blocker at the same time.

There are also two instant removal spells in black, and both cast two mana. Cast Down can only target nonlegendary creatures, and Vicious Offering can give a creature -2/-2 unless the caster sacrifices a creature to turn that into a -5/-5 deficit.

At sorcery speed, black has plenty more removal at higher casting costs. Both Eviscerate and Settle the Score will take care of one threat for four mana. Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering can quickly swing a game in your opponent's favour if they have a Legendary permanent on the battlefield.

Black also has two Saga cards to watch out for. The Eldest Reborn can do some serious damage if you only have one creature on the battlefield, and there's a sweeper card in Phyrexian Scriptures. Sure, it might take an extra turn to cast. But it will prevent you from playing any additional creatures and leave a clean battlefield after it goes off.

Red Combat Tricks and Removal Cards




Red, as expected, has a flurry of damage removal spells, plus a few combat tricks up its sleeve.

Run Amok is the combat trick you need to worry about if you’re playing against red. Not only can it pump a creature by +3/+3, but it gives that creature trample as well.

Fervent Strike is a one mana combat trick that can surprise you, so be careful or risk losing an important creature in combat.

Next up is a trio of sweeper spells with the ability to do one damage to all your creatures. First up, Radiant Lightning will deal a damage to your whole board and throw some damage at your face simultaneously. Then there's The First Eruption, which has the chance to sweep the battlefield twice over a span of a few turns. Finally, Goblin Chainwhirler can hit a player, each of their creatures, and planeswalkers too!

If your opponent controls a legendary permanent, they could remove three threats at once with Jaya’s Immolating Inferno.

A couple of instant options for creature removal include Shivan Fire and Wizard’s Lighting, both being available for only one mana under the right circumstances. There are also three sorcery speed spells that can deal four or more damage to creatures. Fight with Fire and Fiery Intervention will deal five damage to a creature most of the time, while Goblin Barrage will mostly hit a creature for four, and occasionally deal four to a player as well.

Green Combat Tricks and Removal Cards



Broken Bond is a sorcery speed way to deal with a pesky artifact or enchantment, and it even provides some potential mana ramp.

Territorial Allosaurus can deal with a creatures, but has to be cast for seven for that to be an option. Finally, Pierce the Sky is an instant way to deal with those pesky flyers.

In terms of combat tricks, green is full of them, with most pumping up your creatures. Arbor Armament will allow you to block a flying creature while providing a stats boost. Gift of Growth lets you choose how much you need, or want, to pump a creature for.

If you want to pump up your entire team, Wild Onslaught can give all your creatures +1/+1 counters. Ancient Animus is the only of the green pump spells that can also be used as a removal spell by using it to fight another creature. At instant speed, this can lead to a potential blowout during combat.

Artifact Removal Cards


In terms of artifacts, there are only a couple. Bloodtallow Candle is an expensive way to deal with a creature, but one that can be put in any deck. Meanwhile, Sorcerer’s Wand is an equipment that could be used as a consistent way to damage you or your planeswalkers each turn.

As you can see, there are plenty of removal cards in Dominaria. But if you have the right information, you can know which ones your opponents can play and which ones they can’t.

Thanks to everyone who tuned in for another season of the Daily Dose of Dominaria. I hope everyone enjoys their prerelease as much as I will.