Focus on Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is the preferred way to win

Four Copies of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Earlier in this still-young format, players would run maybe three copies of Teferi.

Now — despite the “Legend rule” disadvantage of diminishing returns — four copies has become absolutely stock. In contrast to versions that ran Torrential Gearhulk or Gideon of the Trials to ultimately deal 20 points of damage… Now all that pressure falls on Teferi to actually win the game.

Torrential Gearhulk is the worst test spell!” claims Patrick. You can’t really pretend the opponent doesn’t have Essence Scatter. Playing a creature — especially an artifact creature — will turn on the opponent’s removal in a way a card like Pull from Tomorrow won’t.

How to win with “Just” Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

The one Commit // Memory can potentially be valuable… But it is presumably not essential.

Teferi is a great realization of control elements. It is this card that largely is there to build advantages; but can ultimately ensure the game going very, very long.

Imagine you have built lots of card advantage primarily through card draw. Then you have the emblem going. Then drawing cards (regardless of how they get drawn) you trigger the opponent down to a small number of permanents.

Maybe that number is even zero!

At this point you can start using the [-3] ability just to not lose the game.

There is nothing stopping you from targeting the Teferi itself, then playing a Teferi out of your hand. You can draw, exile, and library-push / repeat indefinitely with your Teferi[s]. Meanwhile your opponent keeps drawing one card per turn… Until his library is depleted. Yours may go low, but never goes to zero due to all those planeswalkers.

Given a very long game, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria requires no sidekick.

But Can Teferi Beat a Lich’s Mastery?

Don’t get me wrong.

It is not yet the right time for Lich’s Mastery to contend in Standard.

Part of that is the popularity of Teferi decks.

More important, Teferi typically comes alongside Negate, Disallow, etc.

But if you are in the unfortunate position of the opponent actually resolving Lich’s Mastery… The game will probably end in a stalemate.

You can grind the opponent down to no [other] permanents.

You can prevent your self from decking out.

But you still can’t win-win unless you have a direct way of removing the Lich’s Mastery.

It’s a spot like this where Gideon becomes a nice one-of. Cripple the opponent’s resources first, then winning becomes trivial, six cost enchantment or no.

If you’re considering a weird one-of like River’s Rebuke, or playing an actual damage source… Don’t make it because of Lich’s Mastery, though. Please.

Check “Focus on Teferi, Hero of Dominaria” out here:

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Goblin Chainwhirler Against the World!

Goblin Chainwhirler
Despite a prohibitive RRR, Goblin Chainwhirler has been ubiquitous in one- two- or even three-color Red Decks

“Goblin Chainwhirler is the kind of card that gets me to play Unlicensed Disintegration.”
-Patrick Chapin

Goblin Chainwhirler + Soul-Scar Mage

Grand Prix Birmingham’s Top 8 was a wall of Rakdos decks!

While the decks had many cards in common, one could argue that there were two or more sub-archetypes represented, not just one. While most of the B/R decks played four copies of Unlicensed Disintegration, the GP champion himself played only three.

Superficially, we might all look at the Scrapheap Scroungers, vehicles, and burn cards and say “beatdown” … We might be wrong.

Case in point: Some folks played Bomat Courier, some didn’t.

Bomat Courier, a hasty one-drop, is the kind of card you might expect to see when pairing red cards with Unlicensed Disintegration. After all, though Bomat Courier is an artifact, it’s basically a red card… But being an artifact, turns on the enviable instant.

Bomat Courier’s haste lets you hustle out early. Its card advantage long-term has made it a favorite of aggressive red mages.

Why then did it get cut (in some Red Decks)?

There is no one, no one great, answer. But we do know that some Rakdos mages embraced Soul-Scar Mage at the one. This “one-two punch” [really one-three punch] makes the already great Goblin Chainwhirler even more messed up. The ability to spread -1/-1 counters across all the opponent’s creatures is potentially a really big deal.

Goblin Chainwhirler Rounds Out an Eclectic Removal Suite

The Rakdos decks of the Grand Prix Birmingham Top 8 played a wide variety of point removal cards. As we’ve already noted, not all of them even played four copies of Unlicensed Disintegration!

Some played Magma Spray; most “only” Abrade. There was a Cut // Ribbons hither or thither.

Sideboard cards included everything from Fatal Push to Doomfall. Four mana black removal was up for debate, with a split between Vraska’s Contempt and Hour of Glory. And at five? Get ready for The Eldest Reborn!

Point being, there is no consensus among B/R mages as to how they will kill creatures (other than, largely, Unlicensed Disintegration). But even more ubiquitous is Goblin Chainwhirler… a four-of top to bottom. And with good reason…

Goblin Chainwhirler Beats Up Llanowar Elves

Llanowar Elves may be the most important card to come out of Dominaria.

It was heralded as possibly the best card in Standard.

Llanowar Elves gets its butt absolutely kicked by Goblin Chainwhirler. Multiple Llanowar Elves draw? More butt kicking. Possible teammates like Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, and oftentimes Jadelight Ranger / Merfolk Branchwalker can all be swept up in the Chainwhirler’s sweep as well.

If anything limits the power and popularity of the Winding Constrictor decks, it may well be this mighty red three drop.

Not for Nothin’ but Goblin Chainwhirler Crews Heart of Kiran

Consequently, this is a powerful pairing of two cards that can both play offense, and both also play defense.

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How History of Benalia is Lingering Souls

This is History of Benalia:

History of Benalia
History of Benalia
History of Benalia is a three mana Saga.

A Saga is a sorcery-speed enchantment.

It produces two power on the first turn you play it. Then, when you reach Chapter II of the Saga, it produces an additional two power. Consequently — and not to be too obvious — but that is four power across multiple bodies for three total mana.

Thanks to Chapter III’s “Knights you control get +2/+1 until end of turn[,]” with only the two Knights, you can attack for eight on the card’s third turn in play! Because of this, History of Benalia can both burst forward offensively and slow the opponent down with multiple blockers defensively.

This is Lingering Souls:

Lingering Souls
Lingering Souls
Lingering Souls is a card of extraordinary power. It was banned in its original Block Constructed format, and has contributed to any number of decks across multiple formats. Not Block of course, but other formats. Jon Finkel played it to his umpteenth Pro Tour Top 8 in an Esper Delver deck. It has contributed to everything from a white splash in Jund to a colorful wink in Eldrazi Modern decks.

Like History of Benalia, Lingering Souls produces two power for your initial three mana investment. To get the next two power, you need to invest an additional two mana (and in another color).

Certainly, Lingering Souls has some considerable upside relative to History of Benalia. You get more bodies. Those bodies in fact fly. You can get all four on on turn if you have five mana available… But that’s the crux of it; with History of Benalia, you never need to pay the additional two mana!

This is Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage:

Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage
Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage
Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage really likes Historic cards.

“Saga” is a Historic type; consequently, Raff likes History of Benalia.

One of the many synergies that you can exploit thanks to Dominaria‘s heavily Historic themes is to play History of Benalia during times that you couldn’t normally play an enchantment or other sorcery-speed card (e.g. Lingering Souls).

History of Benalia has already started showing up in a variety of decks. It is going to be a great card in Historic-themed decks, white swarm decks (or B/W Tokens decks), and will be a consideration for everything from G/W Aggro to U/W Control.

Someone should write a song about how good this card is.

But for now, please settle for this podcast:

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Lyra Dawnbringer Debuts!

Lyra Dawnbringer
Lyra Dawnbringer was at least the second most successful Dominaria card of the set’s first sanctioned weekend.

Lyra Dawnbringer and Llanowar Elves

The Legendary Angel wasn’t the most successful Dominaria card to debut this past week. That honor would belong to Llanowar Elves… But in at least one MTGO 5-0 deck, Angel and Elf Druid worked hand in hand.

Lyra represents a powerful top end. Not only does this card pay you off for your commitment to cards like Merfolk Branchwalker (that can help dig you to five or more lands), but Llanowar Elves can get you to your powerful 5/5 ahead of schedule.

And what is better than Shalai, Voice of Penty followed by the Dawnbringer? In times past, tapping out for an awesome 5/5 creature might be good defense… But it can stink when the opponent removes it and crushes you with an attack. If you lead off with Shalai, Lyra will have hexproof. So not only will she not be going anywhere (unless the opponent removes your other Angel), but Shalai will crush in with lifelink. Par-tay.

Lyra Dawnbringer and Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage

Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage changes everything!

Leading off with this creature on turn four (presumably at the end of the opponent’s turn, ideally when the coast is clear), you will be able to play cards like Lyra at instant speed!

Instant speed Walking Ballista?

Instant speed Teferi, Hero of Dominaria? It may seem counterintuitive to play a planeswalker on the opponent’s turn, but the ability to guarantee it resolves may be worth one lost activation. If there is a card that will have zero trouble recouping the lost utility, it is the card-advantageous Teferi.

How about instant speed History of Benalia? How top notch is this potential move? You can make a token at instant speed (potentially blocking with it) and then still get the next 2/2 on your own next turn! This will feel very much like getting both Chapter One and Chapter Two immediately (though only one will be allowed to attack).

Lyra Dawnbringer, Sideboard Superstar

One of the cool things about Lyra is that she isn’t even played main deck all the time! U/W decks in the market for creatures might play it main (or they might play only Torrential Gearhulk). But Approach of the Second Sun decks probably wouldn’t. Neither would Orzhov Tokens or white Swarm decks.

You know what they all have in common?

2-3 copies of Lyra Dawnbringer coming in after sideboards.

Here.

To.

Stay.

Check out 106:49 on Lyra Dawnbringer now!

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