Last updated on November 28, 2023
Force of Will | Illustration by Donato Giancola
Dominaria Remastered has just been spoiled, and it’s a beast of a set! It’s made for Limited play and to reprint old cards, and it consists only of cards with Dominarian settings. There are many great 90s sets to choose from, like Alpha, the Mirage block, and the Invasion block, but some recent sets like the Time Spiral block and Dominaria are also represented.
The best of the set is a mix of classic cards, with cards that you can play in older formats like Modern, Legacy, and EDH. The first 1/3 or so of my rankings are the best reprints, and after that I’m mostly weighing the playability of each card. The average quality of this set is very high, so let’s see how everything measures up!
#65. Faceless Butcher
Chainer's Edict is getting its second reprint in a long time, which is good because the card is needlessly expensive. It doesn’t look strong; it’s an edict effect at sorcery speed. There are formats like Pauper where control players will play them, and this one has got flashback so you get at least two creatures out of the deal.
This is one of the best creatures from MTG’s past (well into 2011, I dare say), and it doesn’t hold a candle to actual creatures. Siege-Gang Commander generates lots of bodies and stuff to do with them.
At least you can play this in goblin EDH decks!
Spiritmonger is a clear testament to how the mighty have fallen. It used to be a beast of a card, almost immortal. Today it’s just a Draft uncommon.
Nevertheless it’s hard to deal with a Spiritmonger, and it can be a strong threat.
Worldgorger Dragon is an expensive reprint that allows for some crazy loops involving your permanents. If you Animate Dead it you’ll create an infinite loop of your permanents (including lands) being tapped, generating mana, leaving the game, and then returning to play.
The green counterpart of the banned Simian Spirit Guide, Elvish Spirit Guide has the potential to be powerful consisting of a free mana (like a Lotus Petal) mode. You’ll see it in play in some green decks in Legacy.
Do you know what token maker decks need? More tokens, more ETB triggers, and more sacrifice fodder.
Rith, the Awakener is a good Naya () threat that makes tokens if that’s what you’re aiming for. It saw some Standard play in its day.
Deep Analysis digs “deep” into your deck, offering you four cards for some mana and life. The interesting part is casting from your graveyard by paying two mana and three life. That’s almost ideal in decks that want to draw and discard a bunch or decks that play wheel effects.
Damping Sphere is a card that was printed to be a good sideboard against storm combos and mana cheating lands (yes, UrzaTron). Sideboard staples tend to be expensive cards too, so thanks for the reprint.
It’s not often that you tap a creature to draw three cards, and Arcanis the Omnipotent is also a wizard, a well-supported tribe. With four mana you can save Arcanis from removal and recast it, which made for a good control finisher some 20 years ago.
Play it in decks that want to draw a bunch of cards, wizards, or combos.
The key part of Frantic Search is “untap three lands.” It’s effectively a free spell and has all kinds of synergies with lands that produce more than one mana, like the bounce lands or even Islands after you cast High Tide.
You already have more than the usual 20 life in EDH, and you usually pay seven mana for a 20/20 (or at least a 15/15) in a slow format. A well-timed Fling can easily win you the game from there.
Goblin Matron is a goblin tutor in decks that want it, and you may find powerhouses like Goblin Recruiter and Goblin Ringleader. A goblin creature that’s also a goblin tutor is valuable in goblin decks, and it can also lead to infinite combos.
Battle Screech is one of the best token producers out there. You make two 1/1 fliers and flashback it by tapping three creatures, two of which you just made. It’s like Lingering Souls, and we know how good that card is.
This sees a lot of play in white Pauper aggro decks since it's common.
Windborn Muse is Ghostly Prison on a creature. It doesn’t look like much, but you probably won’t be attacked while this card is around. Players need to play four just to attack you with a single creature if you add both effects.
This is a nice sideboard card in formats like Pioneer, especially against red decks.
Selesnya () enchantment-heavy decks rely on card draw from enchantments by playing “enchantress cards,” cards that draw you a card whenever you cast an enchantment. Mesa Enchantress is usually part of the team, though not the best player.
In opposition to Deep Analysis, Fact or Fiction (or FoF) is instant speed. That helps a lot. The interesting part is that the decision goes to your opponent, so you can get a bunch of cards by playing mind games.
FoF saw lots of play in its Standard format, and players would practice which pile to give their adversaries. Decks interested in cards in the graveyard should also play it because the non-chosen cards go to your graveyard.
Simple but very effective.
Opposition together with a bunch of small creatures means that you’ll tap lots of creatures and dominate your opponents. A former Cube staple some five to six years ago, and you can still play it in prison decks and lists with small creatures like elves.
Gauntlet of Power is another EDH staple because it helps all creatures from the chosen color. You also generate extra mana from your lands.
I’ve seen enough goblin decks on MTG Arena that combo off with Skirk Prospector. You can sacrifice a goblin in response to removal, make lots of tokens with cards like Mogg War Marshal, and have a sacrifice outlet with Mayhem Devil to kill opponents.
Free sacrifice outlets are good, and one that turns your “gobos” into mana is good too.
Your Islands generate one blue mana more with High Tide. If you have untap strategies you’ll generate lots of mana to win the game.
This is a key combo card, and it's dominated many formats before. You probably still play it in Cube if you like to draft the storm deck.
Grim Lavamancer used to be a premium 1-drop in Modern decks thanks to its ability to add reach to a deck. You exile some cards from your graveyard and deal direct damage. A burn deck often lets each card you use deal an extra damage on average.
If a creature dares to cause combat damage to you, it'll be destroyed. No Mercy is a great symmetry breaker, especially in decks that want creatures to attack each other player or decks with the monarch mechanic.
Dread Return is one of those key reanimation spells that saw play in many formats along with the dredge mechanic. Don’t worry about sacrificing three creatures for the flashback cost; they’re mostly fodder cards like Gravecrawler and Narcomoeba anyway.
Playing two lands a turn is good, but you’ve spent a full card to do it unless you’re ramping hard. Exploration is better accompanied by cards that let you see the top card of your library and play, like Courser of Kruphix.
Fez lands have the capacity to neutralize a single threat, and that’s what Maze of Ith does. It’s actually good for the game that WotC doesn’t print game-warping powerful lands anymore.
Although it comes with only three charges, Gemstone Mine is especially important to fix the mana in the early stages of a game. It has no downside in life or coming into play tapped.
What screams more tribal than reducing the cost of creatures by two? EDH definitely drove the demand for Urza's Incubator up, and this card is expensive as hell. Keep in mind that it works for everyone, so it’s better used in niche tribal decks to only let you get the benefit.
There’s a reason why wrath effects have that name, and that’s Wrath of God.
Fireblast is a mainstay in burn decks across many formats like Pauper and Legacy. You’ll convert a land into four damage, so what’s not to like?
Yes, it technically costs six mana. Force of Will costs five. Free spells are good.
Crop Rotation is one of the best ways to tutor for a specific land you need, and that has some implications. From the missing piece of an Urza land to Urza's Saga and The World Tree, you’ll get any land from your deck at instant speed, and that can be activated in response to removal.
The second storm win condition to Grapeshot, Empty the Warrens is more expensive but has more staying power. Sometimes you won’t kill your opponent in one, so the tokens can attack for more sustained damage over multiple turns or even defend so that you can combo off on a later turn.
Making four to six goblins with a single card is huge in Limited.
If there’s a storm deck that’s viable and competitive, it plays Grapeshot as a wincon. Formats like Modern that don’t have access to Tendrils of Agony play Izzet () colors and Grapeshots their foes for the win.
Play this in your blue EDH decks. Play it in Modern, in Pauper, everywhere.
Swords to Plowshares is probably the best spot-removal spell ever printed. You get to exile almost any threat, and the downside is negligible. Just compare it to Path to Exile: you give your opponent a basic land.
This is probably the first option you have when thinking about a removal spell.
One mana to tutor for any instant or sorcery is a great deal. Tutors aren’t reprinted that frequently, so Mystical Tutor is one of the best cards in the set.
A card that’s one of the most expensive from this set and a very welcome reprint, Enlightened Tutor has skyrocketed in demand thanks to EDH. You get to tutor for an enchantment, and that’s relevant for a lot of EDH decks.
Mystic Remora is a card that’s sometimes played in Vintage because of the nature of the format, and it’s an incredible way to draw some extra cards in EDH. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll draw extra cards since the tax of four is very high.
It’s also hard to interact with a combo that revolves around lands.
#15. The Enemy-Colored Check Land Cycle
Although not technically the more powerful cards from the list, the check land cycle are the most versatile. It's important to reprint lands like this to drive the prices down, and these are the first options to include in a Modern, Explorer, or EDH deck.
Fire // Ice is a spell that’s never dead. Some decks are even playing one or two in Modern.
You have a very good answer to weenie threats in Fire and a draw spell in Ice. The problem with spells like Fire is that you don’t do anything against, say, a 3/3.
Zur the Enchanter is one of the most popular Esper () commanders. You get to attack with it and tutor for an enchantment, and that serves for a lot of builds including prison, Voltron, and more.
Cycling for two life is basically going through your deck and putting Street Wraith in your graveyard for reanimation shenanigans. The best part of this card is that you’ll actually want to lose the life in decks like Death's Shadow!
I’ve said that tutors are good and in dire need of a reprint, right? Worldly Tutor gets any creature and puts it on top of your library, which opens the door for tons of combos.
Few cards in Cube scream more red deck wins and burn than Sulfuric Vortex. This enchantment is a 3-drop that damages your foes for at least two damage, usually more.
It’s another card that EDH, Modern, and other competitive formats have made expensive, so hello reprint!
Look, there’s a style of a deck called reanimator that thrives on playing big threats from the graveyard with cards like Animate Dead and the like.
What do those decks need? A big card in the grave. Fortunately Entomb does that like a few other cards.
Sylvan Library is a blue (or black?) card in disguised in green. Every turn you’ll have the option to get one or both of the top two cards from your deck. The card selection and advantage it provides shines in lots of formats, from Legacy to Cube to EDH.
Another very expensive card that got a much-needed reprint!
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician is a very popular commander that can cash in creatures for cards, distribute -1/-1 counters, and proliferate. Just the fact that you can proliferate at will gives Yawgmoth many routes for deckbuilding, and it can sometimes be seen in other formats like Modern.
Yes, it’s literally a Gamble. You tutor for a card and then discard a card at random, so you may very well discard what you looked for. It’s not card advantage.
What if you don’t care about discarding at all? There are successful land deck builds across Legacy that don’t care about discarding an Arclight Phoenix or a land that can be recovered with Life from the Loam, or even a dredge card.
Sneak Attack is one of the premium ways to cheat big creatures into play. You pay a single red mana to put a creature onto the battlefield attacking with haste, which can be game over depending on what you have in hand.
Expect to see tons of Eldrazi being “snuck” into the game. The card has seen play in Legacy decks called Sneak and Show, as well as Big Red and Gruul () EDH decks.
Yep, tutors are good, and Vampiric Tutor gets any card. One of the most needed reprints from the set, you’ll usually play it in black EDH decks to fetch the pieces you need.
This is usually in the most expensive cards from MTG and certainly from the set, so the reprint is much appreciated.
Sulfuric Vortex | Illustration by Greg Staples
Dominaria Remastered is a set that’s both nostalgic and brimming with powerful and interesting cards. It brings good memories for those like me that have been playing for a long time, along with reprints from Commander products and more recent sets like Dominaria.
What's your favorite reprint from this set? Which card do you think should have made the cut? Let me know in the comments below or in the Draftsim Discord.
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