Dragons of Tarkir: Playing to your Weaknesses – White
(NOTE: “Playing to your Weaknesses” is a series of articles I have been doing on my own blog since Avacyn Restored that cover all of the uncommons and commons in a new expansion and which ones I would choose to use as one of the 23 cards in a 40 card limited deck. For those of you uninitiated to limited, it simply means sealed and booster draft, where you open packs and then proceed to make a deck out of them. I’ve purposely left out the rare cards because it is much more likely that you’ll see multiples of uncommon and commons in your packs/pools.)
As for my rating system, I’ll merely state if it’s a high, medium, or low pick in draft. A HIGH pick means that you should take it as soon as you see it (if it’s in your colors of course). HIGH picks are bombs that won’t come around the table a second time. MEDIUM picks are cards that have good synergies with other cards and are great at filling your mana curve or acting as role players. These cards might come around a 2nd time if you pass on them, so if there is another card that ranks higher, take that one and wait for this to come back. LOW picks are cards that are the leftovers. Maybe you need a 23rd card for your deck to round things out – THAT’S what a LOW pick is. You can take these ratings to mean the same for sealed as well. )
Well, I’m not going to say that this set came out of nowhere, but it is going to take some time for everybody to get used to this new release system of 2 months for each new set. This will give us more chances to draft, but it will also mean that cards will be opened a lot less and that we could see some supply issues with certain chase cards down the road. But I digress, we aren’t talking about finance today, we’re talking about Daragons of Tarkir/Fate Reforged Limited. Today I’ll be covering which white cards I think will work well in this format, but before I do make sure you check out my previous article from Fate Reforged to see which white cards I picked from that set. Some of the synergies might be different (which I’ll cover in today’s article), but overall I think a solid card from that last draft environment will be good in this one as well.
I believe that the pre-release will be similar to Fate Reforged one, meaning that we’ll get 4 packs of Dragons of Tarkir, 1 Fate Reforged, and a seeded pack. This should be somewhat easier to build a sealed deck with because DTK is a large set and has a lot of cards to work with. This set-up also means that we lose out on a lot of our mana fixing because we are only opening 1 pack of FRF and ZERO KTK. This will lead to a lot of 2 color decks with a splash of a 3rd I believe, and I’ll be making my recommendations based on this belief. Without further adieu, lets get started.
When history was rewritten, more than just a few things were lost. One ability lost was the Jeskai’s Prowess. While limited environments usually don’t have a lot of spells being played, it still creates a missed opportunity for combat tricks and the like. Strongarm Monk is the last hold over of the “old ways” you could say, picking up where Monastery Mentor left off. I think his best color combination is going to be in RW due to all of the cheap burn. He’ll fit on the top of your curve in an aggressive BW or RW decks, and has really good synergy with Soulfire Grandmaster.
RATING: Medium to High
If I learned anything from FRF/KTK limited, it was that the first person to land a dragon card usually took over the game and won unless the other person had removal for it. Dragon Hunter is going to do a lot of work in the late game of FRF/DTK matches, and can really become a pain in the ass for your opponent. I think he would work really well in a GW deck with a lot of Bolster to make him bigger and bigger so he can actually kill the dragons he blocks as well. There are tons of Bolster effects in both green and white in DTK, so you should have no problem making him the bane of dragons everywhere.
Speaking of Bolster effects, I think this guy is pretty awesome at his rarity. Yes he’ll die to everything, but given the right kind of evasion such as flying or a juicy enchantment he can slowly take over the game. If he attacks on turn 4, there’s a good chance he’ll become a 2/2 first striker, but you still have to be careful. I kind of feel like when Anafenza died in this timeline her powers were split up, and this guy got one of them. If you can help him to survive through 2-3 attacks to boost his own power, you’ll have quite the powerhouse on your hands. I really like this guy in BW with all of the 3/1 and 2/1 warriors such as Wandering Champion that can easily benefit from his Bolster.
Graceblade Artisan could benefit from Lightform and Cloudform in Fate Reforged, but that would take a lot of luck. The Runemarks are probably your best bet, but there are a few playable enchantments in DTK that would work well with him too, namely Glaring Aegis and Mirror Mockery. I think it will depend on your pool, but if you get a few Artisans and 2-3 good enchantments he’s worth playing. With a single Runemark he goes from a 2/3 to a 6/7. I like him best in a UW deck, but RW and GW also wouldn’t be too bad. By himself he’s an okay creature, but in the right pool he can be an absolute beating. Consider an aggr/aura strategy!
I miss the Alabaster Kirin from KTK just because it could attack and block so well, but Misthoof Kirin also shouldn’t be too bad in limited. By playing it’s Megamorph cost you get a 3/2 vigilance flyer and that’s not something to scoff at. The only problem is that there are A LOT more things in the ‘friendly’ skies of Tarkir in DTK than there were in KTK. This guy will have to deal with dragons, and a lot of them. Luckily you have bolster to boost his toughness and power up, and by doing it once you will be able to trade with quite a few Dragons while still being able to attack without worry. Not a high pick in draft, but I think it’s a good roleplayer and worth a spot in your 23.
RATING: Medium to Low
If you don’t kill an attacking dragon, it WILL kill you. Five mana is pretty high, but then again most dragons will be coming into play on turn 5 and after meaning you’ll be able to play this at just the right time. It’s basically a Divine Verdict with an extra mana tacked on to give you bolster (also not bad). I could see this being a decent combat trick, especially if you have trample of some kind. Kill the creature blocking yours, bolster, damage +1. Not bad. It can also be used on defense effectively too. Block one creature, kill the other attacking creature with this, and then bolster your guy to trade/survive. 2 for 1. If you’re not playing red or black, then you’ll want to draft this fairly highly. Removal is going to be pretty important in this set due to all the big creatures flying around.
RATING: High to Medium
I see this guy as a solid body that becomes a pretty good blocker/beater if megamorphed. Play on turn 3 for morph cost, then make him a 4/5 on turn 5. Hard to kill and hits hard too. Roleplayer, good in non-aggro white decks. GW jumps to mind, as well as UW.
RATING: Medium to Low
Slightly worse than Supply-Line Cranes, but could still be a good card in limited. By itself it’s a 3/4 flyer for 5 mana, but coming onto a stabilized board on turn 5 it could also boost one of your 2 power guys to 3. Again, not a great card but not something I would overlook either.
RATING: Low to Medium
He definitely won’t be winning any awards for being economical, but Shieldhide Dragon has a good ability when megamorphed that will be very important on a stalled board with multiple dragon cards in play on both sides. A 6 mana 3/3 flying lifelink is kinda “meh”, but if you’re playing multiple dragons, he fits on the curve well. You’ll be playing him turn 3, a smaller dragon on turn 5, a big dragon like one of the Elder Dragons on turn 6, and then flipping him on turn 7 to attack with overwhelming power in the air. I don’t think I’d play too many of these in a deck, but if you’re playing 3-4 dragons and can put up with his low power/toughness, he could serve you well. Just make sure you can survive long enough. Probably best in UW and GW decks.
Other Cards that Might See Play
- Champion of Arashin – Lifelink and a decent body, good target for bolster.
- Dromoka Warrior – Again, good power level and good target for bolster. Works well with Dromoka Captain.
- Fate Forgotten – Good sideboard card, don’t think you need it main.
- Glaring Aegis – nice little trick in a fast White/x tempo deck. Also makes your low toughness creatures like Dromoka Warrior a bit scarier.
- Lightwalker – If you have enough Bolster effects this could be good.
- Pacifism – Cheap removal (of sorts)
- Sandcrafter Mage – another good bolster effect. 3 mana 3/3 possibily, otherwise curves well in a W/x deck and gives a variety of 2/1 and 3/1 creatures a token.
- Silkwrap – you really want to be stopping those big fatties, but this might have its uses again certain decks.
- Student of Ojutai – if you need the life gain and are playing 5-7 spells, might be a good idea to side him him.
- Surge of Righteousness – Pretty good sideboard card against those colors.
Coming up Next
For once I ample time to put together a full run down of the cards in a set before the pre-release. It should be no problem to get out the next on Monday sometime. Looking through white, I definitely see that the focus will be on counters and the bolster ability, which is not very far off from the outlast ability. The overall power level is weaker than that of the Abzan cards in KTK, but you still get some neat abilities and can share the tokens amongst non-Abzan colors as well now. White is pretty aggressive, so I see it as fast and sneaky. Playing spells to tap and bounce creatures, bolstering weak creatures and combat tricks . . . all of these things will be part of its repertoire. The raw power is gone from Mardu aggro and Abzan Outlast, but it can still be potent.
Blue will be our next color, so be sure to check back in a few days to read it. If you have any suggestions, ideas, synergies, or general comments on today’s article please feel free to post them down below. Thanks for reading and see you next time.