Most Controversial Commons and Uncommons of Dominaria

17 Apr 2018

Magic is returning to it's home plane in the new set Dominaria. And with the release of a new set, that means a new limited format to explore. To prepare for this new limited format the community has graded each common and uncommon in Dominaria - and you can too! If you haven't already had your chance you can contribute right now at the Dominaria community review page.


Currently there are over 64,000 grades in the Dominaria community review - an amazing response. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to contribute, you guys are awesome! Not surprisingly, with hundreds of players putting their heads together to evaluate these new cards, there are going to be a few disagreements. Even non-controversial, innocuous cards like Yamivaya Sapherd can provoke a little disagreement.


While there's a very strong consensus that this card is an above average card - a solid C+ common - you can see that there's a spread of opinions, from players who would be unhappy for this card to make their deck (D+) to players who think there's enough payoffs for fungus tribal might push Sapherd to premium card range - B or even A-.


Is the consensus about Fungus and friend right? We'll find out as Dominaria limited unfolds. However, one thing we know for sure now is that not all cards are as easy to agree on as the Sapherd. If we rank each card by how much disagreement there was between the community grades we find that this little guy was the least controversial common in the set. What about the most controversial cards? What about those cards where there is no consensus? Today we'll look at the top 8 most controversial commons and uncommons in Dominaria. For each card I'll start by discussing what makes the card controversial, then offer my take...


...which, given these cards, is guaranteed to be controversial.


Honorable Mention: Yargle, Glutton of Urborg (Community Grade C)​​

The controversy: Let's start by addressing the frog spirit in the room. Yargle, Glutton of Urborg is the common or uncommon with the highest controversy score in Dominaria. Now, a card can be controversial for lots of reasons: disagreement about how fast a format is, disagreements about how good a mechanic or theme is, or in the case of Yargle, disagreement about how awesome a vanilla legendary frog spirit named "Yargle" is.


The controversy score on Yargle is based upon the players who found it the perfect thing to fill the 9-power-3-toughness-shaped hole in their hearts, and corresponding rated the Glutton of Urborg a solid "A+". If you discount those A+ grades Yargle gets for sweet flavor, you are left with a still controversial "C" level card - but not one that makes it into the top 8 of the set.


However, who am I to ignore the Yargle love, let's discuss.


What I think: How can a creature that dodges one of the most impactful removal spells in modern magic: well as the most iconic removal spells of all time:

..while hitting opponents for nine each turn be anything but an A+?


Obviously it's not really that good, but committing 9 power to the board for only 5 mana is really not something you can just ignore. Your opponent can't leave a single blocker back against Yargle without fearing a huge hit. And even if they do respect the frog's ability to bring the pain you could always assemble the combo:



Confession time, I have a soft spot for this particular card in limited:


Nothing fills me with joy quite as much as getting my opponent with a well timed bounce spell or two and letting Cobblebrute do his thing. And while Cobbles may trade with just about every creature your opponent can play, he can also block all but the biggest creatures and take them down with him. And sometimes you are on an empty board, with both players topdecking, and you just happen to draw a Cobblebrute. Big power creatures just sometimes just randomly end games.


One more mana for +4/+1? That's a rate a Boggles or Infect player could respect!


So, between the fact that Yargle might just randomly kill your opponent, the handful of Legendary bonuses in the set, and my irrational love for Cobblebrutes, I'm going to say you probably are going to actually want a Yargle in your Dominaria limited deck.


Verdict: C+


Now on to the top 8 most controversial non-Frog commons and uncommons in Dominaria:


8. Chainer's Torment (Community Grade C+)​​

The controversy: Chainer's Torment costs 4 mana, does nothing to affect the board for two turns and then costs you half your life. If that's not a recipe for controversy I'm not sure what is.


In exchange for all that time and mana you get an 8 point life swing and hopefully a huge creature to boot. The fact that this card may be worse than a creature that could attack or block in the here and now means that while the community on average thinks this is an above average card there is a substantial group that puts Chainer's Torment in the D or even F range.


What I think: The risk of drawing this when you really need a creature is very real, but the ability to recoup some life and make the biggest creature on the board is worth the risk.


My first impression of this format is also that you aren't going to get run over too often, and will be often playing cards into a standoff. Cards like Chainer's Torment are going to break a game at standstill wide open.


Verdict: B


7. Damping Sphere (Community Grade D-)


The controversy: The vast majority of the community feels this card is unplayable in limited. However, a minority thinks that the future Modern sideboard all star might be able to contribute in draft and sealed too.


What I think: Neither effect is going to do much against a typical limited deck, and even if you are hard pressed for historic cards, there are plenty of other artifacts, sagas and legends to go around.


Verdict: F


6. Navigator's Compass (Community Grade C-)


The controversy: Navigator's Compass is one mana fixing that any deck can use, and that's great. The downside is it doesn't give you any extra mana, but puts you down a whole card.


On the whole the community thinks compass is below average, but the question remains: Is color fixing this mediocre worth it?


What I think: Spending a card on Navigator's Compass just doesn't feel like a good direction for most decks. That said, I can imagine if this limited format is about jamming as much good stuff as you can in a deck and the question is: "How are you going to pay the mana cost?" then you might be reluctantly playing the compass more than you think.


Still, until I see the 4/5 color good stuff deck, I'm going to say I'm unhappy with this one.


Verdict: D


5. Curator's Ward (Community Grade D+)


The controversy: Making a permanent hexproof is pretty powerful, and can result in making a good chunk of your opponent's best cards irrelevant. However, to set this up you need a permanent that is causing problems for you opponent and to be able to resolve this when your opponent can't interact.


That's a hard ask and the community on average thinks that Ward is going to end up making the cut only some of the time.


What I think: I'm struggling to see myself play this card at all. I don't tend to play that many auras in my decks to begin with, and when I do, I want them to put lots of pressure on my opponent, something Ward just doesn't do.


The most confusing part about this card is the last clause on it. When I am supposed to be getting these two cards? I guess if my plan is to put this on a historic creature and then trade it in combat I end up ahead, since I've recouped my two cards and my opponent had to spend cards to block, but the whole scenario seems forced. I can pop this on a saga and get a delayed Divination, but on the other hand I could just play Divination, which is a common in this set.


Verdict: F


4. Sorcerer's Wand (Community Grade C-)


The controversy: Public service announcement: this does not hit creatures. I say that because I know at least a few contributors have confessed to misreading this on their first pass through the community review.


With that out of the way, hopefully you can go into the prerelease knowing better. While the version of Wand that could decimate opponent's boards would be insane, what about this version?


What I think: Sorcerer's Wand is probably most comparable to Lava Axe - a burn spell that just effect player.



Sometimes an aggressive deck can spend a card slot on a card like this, especially if it just needs a little reach to help it close out the game when opponents have stabilized.


If you are the lava axe/wizards deck, Wand is probably going to make the cut about half the time. Otherwise you probably aren't interested. More to the point: I'm not sure that deck actually exists.

Verdict: D-


3. The Flame of Keld (Community Grade C-)


The controversy: For some reasons players have a slight aversion to cards that say "discard your hand." Luckily the latest variation of One with Nothing has more text.



Over the next two turns you'll get a chance to draw some extra cards and then get a big one-time boost to all the damage your red cards were planning on doing.


What I think: I like the ability to refill my hand by tossing away unneeded lands. It's even better if The Flame of Keld was the last card in your hand. In my mind the third saga ability is icing on top of a card I'd already be willing to play in limited.


Verdict: C


2. Shield of the Realm (Community Grade C-)


The controversy: Cheap to play and move around, Shield of the Realm provides a strange twist on toughness boosting. One that is worse against toughness shrinking effects, but better if you creature is getting double blocked, and hilarious if your opponent's plan was to kill your creature with two burn spells.


That said, Shield of the Realm doesn't actually make your creature any scarier. As such the community average is that this card is below average but will make the cut in most decks.


What I think: Shield feels like it's a sideboard card to me, and really only good if you've got very specific creatures to protect and only against specific removal.


Frankly, if I have to play this at all I'm pretty unhappy.


Verdict: D-


1. Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep (Community Grade C)


The controversy: Time to break out the old standby: "Expensive but powerful spells are a mainstay on the most controversial list." Unless your opponent is all in on fish, Slinn Voda can reset their board and present a huge body for the low, low cost of ten mana.

What I think: Even if Dominaria limited turns out to be glacial, it's hard for me to imagine liking Slinn Voda. By the time Mr. Deep gets kicked my opponent can probably redeploy their threats in short order and if I can't kick Slinn, a vanilla 8 mana 8/8 is just not something I'm interested in.


Verdict: F

Those are the 8 most controversial commons and uncommons cards in Dominaria limited. What cards am I wrong about? Where is the community misjudging the cards? Do you have a better read on the environment? Let us know: rate the cards yourself.

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