It is time for us to dive deeper into Dominaria. Prerelease weekend is upon us, and as of the time this article is posted, we have only less than a week to wait for the official release of this set on the 27th of April, 2018. If you did not catch my first article on Dominaria (get up to speed here), this analysis is definitely geared more towards the Modern format. I am personally a Modern player, the Standard format does not have a large bearing on my life when it comes to Magic. The only real influence that Standard has on my as a player is in terms of cost. For example: I would really enjoy a playset of Mox Amber; however, I will probably wait to purchase mine until they rotate out of Standard.
Dominaria has brought many great things to the table. There's one little guy called Skirk Prospector, he recently had a spot in the limelight on Blood Moon. I see a possibly untapped potential in him; thought he has been around for a while, Dominaria recently made him legal to play in the Modern format! Here is that article.
Song of Freyalise
If you've seen any spoilers from Dominaria, you're probably already up to speed on the new sub-type of Enchantments called Sagas. They work just like it says on the card, still a permanent... pretty self-explanatory for the most part.
This particular Saga I see as having the most potential in Modern, for multiple reasons: its affordable mana cost, its mana acceleration, and the timing attack that it creates. Each of these aspects bring Song of Freyalise to the deck-building docket as a strong contender. It is very rare to see a card that provides that possibility to do so many different things.
And while it seems to have potential inherently, just imagine the synergies that this bad boy could be part of. Hardened Scales would be great with the 3rd chapter. Not to mention the mana that could become available early on. Assuming you haven't been hit with a Pyroclasm: by turn 3 or 4 you have around 3 to 6 creatures, typically on the higher end if you're playing a creature token deck. Each one of those creatures is potential extra mana once this Saga enters the battlefield. Ultimately, this means that mana no longer becomes a problem. This can give you the freedom to either: play fewer lands (mana comes from creatures), play more expensive cards (more mana available), or draw more cards (and have the ability to cast them quickly).
Shanna, Sisay's Legacy
I could see Shanna being used alongside Song of Freyalise, even in Modern (I'm sure someone will do it in the current Standard environment with a Saproling deck). While this would be a fun combination, Shanna's also has other notable attributes. She fits great into a Human or Warrior deck — which is exciting to see, as Humans have recently became a very popular in the Modern Meta. +1/+1 for each creature you control really just gives you the freedom to "go wide" and Shanna will "go big" for you on the side. Her pseudo-hexproof is really the icing on the cake: because while she doesn't drive any combos or synergies, she is perfect to have on the side while the rest of your deck does its thing.
Likely doomed to never be close to a tier-1 deck, Wizard Tribal decks got a nice lot of fresh cards to mess around with in this new set...
For Modern play, Cast Down probably still won't beat out Fatal Push. However, it is nice to have a removal option that is not restricted by converted mana cost of creatures. As you can see, the qualifier on Cast Down is that the creature must not be legendary. Here is a list of the top 20 play creatures in Modern, as of the time this article was posted:
Noble Hierarch, Street Wraith, Snapcaster Mage, Bloodbraid Elf, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Reflector Mage, Mantis Rider. Thought-Knot Seer, Thalia's Lieutenant, Champion of the Parish, Birds of Paradise, Meddling Mage, Kitesail Freebooter, Scavenging Ooze, Hollow One, Tarmogoyf, Bloodghast, Grim Lavamancer, Walking Ballista, and Gurmag Angler.
Only Thalia (in bold) is legendary. Cast down is a great option for black removal, especially for budget players. I don't suspect it will see regular movement above $1/$2 each.
That is all for now, folks. Thanks for tuning into this installment of Blood Moon Media!
- Evan Davis