March 16, 2018

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Adventures in Standard: Legendary Wizards Matter Possible in Dominaria?

So, lately, Wizards has had this habit of hearing some people's vocal opinions on reprinting iconic spells into Standard but instead of fulfilling that wish, in the sense of balance, scaling the card they're intending to bring back into Standard down.

A great example of this is Lightning Strike, which was brought back for the Ixalan block. There's no doubt in my mind that it was trying to fill the spot people want Lightning Bolt in, but they have to try and balance the power creep so that way it doesn't automatically ruin creativity and varying archetypes in Standard.

While their general outlook on bringing back really good archetypes have been to make the cards strictly worse, the limitation is usually based on mana cost or limited effect. I mean, look at the difference between the two cards I reference above for a moment as a great example:

As you can see, both do three damage to target creature or player but Bolt is strictly better because it only costs one mana where Strike costs two. The real problem here is that Strike is a reprint so it's not as though Wizards is concerned with whether cards should be reprinted. It's more of an obvious approach to which cards to reprint to fulfill customer's needs and demands without completely breaking a format.

What it would seem Wizards is doing with Dominaria is it looks like they're doing something very similar with trying to tiptoe around just reprinting some of the classics. Let's take a look at a couple of the more obvious examples spoiled from the leaked release notes as prime examples of what I mean.

wizardslightning wizardsretort

Now, look at what they're very clearly referencing:

They seem pretty similar, don't you think? That's because, without that additional CMC and the additional condition, they are all identical to their Modern counterparts. However, they both require you to control Wizard creatures in order to be used as efficiently. It would seem that one of the metas they're trying to force is a kind of Legendary Wizards Matter deck headed up by my man Baral.

Between that and the new releases for Dominaria that have been spoiled, I'm excited for...

jhoiraweatherlightcaptain moxamber

And, just for flavor...

I think you can all see where this is going. This is already getting close to a traditional Izzet spell slinging deck, one that would only be better if Storm was a thing in Standard - something that I'm pretty confident will never happen again. There are tons of options to make this viable in current Standard as it is, depending on whether you want to focus on control, card advantage, or burn - or some combination of the three. I'm banking on there being way more options in Standard, especially since Karn is making a return and he's just nuts, particularly because of how much support there is for him.

One way or another, I'm incredibly psyched to build into this archetype and I really look forward to seeing what kind of jank I can come up with in Standard with this archetype once Dominaria releases!