Whenever I look at the still-growing Dominaria spoiler, I conclude that it's hard to evaluate many of the potentially best cards without having a thorough understanding of the legendary and historic cards that are in Standard. These card types matter to some of the most powerful cards in Dominaria – like Mox Amber needing a legendary creature or planeswalker in play – and legendary sorceries like Karn's Temporal Sundering requiring one of these in play before they can be cast. There's also some cards that benefit from historic spells, like Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, which brings attention to Standard's artifacts. There are plenty of important historic spells coming in Dominaria, but it's likely that the bulk of those we'll be playing with over the coming months are found in previous sets.
Today I'll comb over the sets already in Standard with the goal of figuring out what legendaries and artifacts mesh well with Dominaria. It turns out that there are a lot of these cards in Standard, and it's going to be impossible to analyze what matters and narrow down the list without a good idea of what the new Dominaria cards care about exactly, so I'll also take a look at what we're building around.
The premier Dominaria card that requires a legendary creature or planeswalker in play is Mox Amber. Getting the most out of its ability to generate extra mana means enabling it as soon as possible, which requires plenty of cheap legendaries, down to one-mana plays that extract full value from Magic's newest Mox. It has potential uses in decks of all colors and combinations, so it means taking a hard look at every legendary creature and planeswalker in the format.
Legendary sorceries have even wider implications for legendaries than Mox Amber. They can be found in each color, and they also require a legendary creature or planeswalker in play to function, but they don't require one in play so early in the game, so they have a wide potential cast of supporting cards that they elevate in playability. These spells look like some of the most powerful cards in the entire set and provide a huge inventive for playing with legendary creatures and planeswalkers, so along with Mox Amber – which they'll go hand-in-hand with – they are the biggest reason to play legendary creatures and planeswalkers.
There are also a handful of cards that benefit legendary creatures specifically and could potentially be relevant. The best of these is Benalish Honor Guard, which could be a nice payoff for a deck that wants to be filled with legendary creatures for a card like Mox Amber or one of the legendary sorceries.
Ancient Animus is interesting because it's an efficient fight card that gives a nice bonus to legendary creatures and could potentially be playable, especially in Brawl where there is more often a legendary creature available and decks are stretched further in their removal options.
There's also Blackblade Reforged, which is probably just way too slow, but does become increasingly powerful as the game goes on and seems perfect for Brawl.
Baral, Chief of Compliance looks like one of the most important legendary creatures going into Dominaria. If the best use of these creatures is to enable the legendary sorceries, then Baral, Chief of Compliance is perfect because it also accelerates into them.
Karn's Temporal Sundering is a Time Warp with a Disperse attached, which makes it one of the best Time Walk effects ever because it actually tangibly impacts the board, so it might be the best legendary sorcery in Dominaria. It's a big boost to Baral – which combined with Mox Amber could cast it on turn four as a tempo play – and will take over games where multiple copies are cast in succession.
It's a small benefit, but it's notable that Baral, Chief of Compliance could also be a nice enabler for Yawgmoth's Vile Offering because of its loot effect, which could put a creature in the graveyard to reanimate.
Jace, Cunning Castaway is another card that looks like it will go hand-in-hand with Karn's Temporal Sundering. It will need more than four legendaries to support it, and a planeswalker is an especially attractive option because the extra turn provides an extra loyalty activation, potentially on multiple planeswalkers if Jace can ultimate and create copies of itself.
Another legendary creature that can accelerate into legendary sorceries is Captain Lannery Storm.
Jaya's Immolating Inferno is a Blaze with the upside of targeting three things, making it something of a super-Fireball, which gives it the potential for generating both tempo and value, and with the versatility of being an X-spell.
Captain Lannery Storm would also work well with Karn's Temporal Sundering, which can clear room for an attack on the extra turn to generate an extra Treasure.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance is also an important enabler for legendary sorceries, both because it's such a strong card and because its +1 ability to generate two mana can set up Karn's Temporal Sundering ahead of schedule or supercharge a Jaya's Immolating Inferno.
Jaya's Immolating Inferno has the benefit of being in a color with many cheap playable legendary creatures, as both Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Pia Nalaar, and Hazoret, the Fervent are already competitive staples. That means it's no big stretch to include it in normal-looking red decks if it does end up being powerful enough to warrant playing, and I expect it will be.
Multiple quality red legendary creatures also make it a nice home for Mox Amber, which will find plenty of cards to enable it. It's a welcome addition to a color with cards like Hazoret, the Fervent and Bomat Courier that benefit from emptying the hand.
Red also seems like the best pairing to white in a Benalish Honor Guard deck, which could realistically have multiple legendary creatures in play alongside it.
Yawgmoth's Vile Offering can generate a tremendous amount of tempo and serious value as a two-for-one that destroys a creature or planeswalker and Reanimates a creature.
It can target a creature in either graveyard, so it works well with creature removal in addition to self-mill, so finding value won't be too difficult. Its biggest barrier is having a legendary in play to enable it. Its best pairing seems to be Gonti, Lord of Luxury, which is the most heavily-played mono-black legendary creature in Standard, and conveniently comes down a turn earlier on curve into the sorcery.
Yahenni, Undying Partisan has seen some minor Standard play and sits on the verge of viability, and it could be pushed over the edge by Yawgmoth's Vile Offering because they work well together in a few nice ways. Yahenni, Undying Partisan will be boosted by the sorcery destroying a creature, and there's also the benefit that it can sacrifice a value creature to return for extra value. Best of all, it's relatively immune to removal, so compared to other creatures it can more consistently stay in play against disruption because once the metagame develops players will catch on and work to prevent opposing legendary sorceries from being cast.
It goes without saying that The Scarab God, the most important legendary creature in Standard, will go well with Yawgmoth's Vile Offering, and I expect it to see play alongside Karn's Temporal Sundering as well.
Green has the distinction of being Standard's only one-drop legendary creature, Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter. It's a decent body that blocks Bomat Courier, but its main use is generating creature tokens – ideally large tokens that will take over the game – which makes it a solid roleplayer that can grind out the opponent if given enough time. Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter is the single best enabler for Mox Amber because it enables it as early as turn one and allows it to accelerate into a three-drop on turn two.
The green legendary sorcery Kamahl's Druidic Vow might end up being the best legendary sorcery of all, due do its potential as an X-spell that can take over a game. It's reminiscent of Genesis Wave, but because it includes lands it's as much a mana-acceleration spell as it is a way to dig for threats. It's limited to legendary permanents, which primarily means legendary creatures and planeswalkers, but it also hits legendary artifacts, enchantments and lands, which could be relevant. Kamahl's Druidic Vow digging for lands means each successive copy gets better, so it lends itself to being a four-of that is built around.
A useful legendary creature for enabling Kamahl's Druidic Vow or other legendary sorcery is Rishkar Peema Renegade, which has great acceleration potential.
Nissa, Steward of Elements is another cheap green legendary, and it can accelerate mana into Kamahl's Druidic Vow or Karn's Temporal Sundering. It's useful with both sorceries, since as a planeswalker it makes taking an extra turn even more valuable, and it's a great mana sink for extra lands from Kamahl's Druidic Vow, although it is a poor hit off the sorcery.
Heart of Kiran deceptively turns on the legendary sorceries, because crewing it turns it into a creature that enables them. It's probably more important as a cheap and aggressive historic card, which will pairs well with cards like Weatherlight.
One of the most playable cards that cares about historic is Weatherlight, which digs for historic cards when it hits the opponent. Smuggler's Copter was banned because its loot ability was too good, and while Weatherlight is not nearly as efficient or accessible, its ability is significantly more powerful. It's the kind of card that will quickly take over a game if unanswered, and it's a nice fit into decks that are already designed to crew Heart of Kiran with three-powered creatures. For that reason, I could see Weatherlight fitting into a Mardu Vehicles deck with Scrapheap Scrounger and Veteran Motorist and even another legendary in Depala, Pilot Exemplar, which can dig for Weatherlight.
An elegant and flavorful use of the historic keyword is Board the Weatherlight, which digs for a historic card just like the trigger of Weatherlight. It's expensive for an effect of this type, but it could be good enough for a deck with important historic cards. One such example would be a deck built around Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, which is likely the most powerful card in the set that cares about historic. It generates significant tempo and value from the graveyard for the low cost of casting a historic spell.
Daring Archaeologist could be at home in a deck with Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, since it comes with a similar ability of generating value from the graveyard and can become a sizable threat in a deck with many historic spells.
Another card that could be extremely powerful with historic spells is Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, which draws a card for each one cast. Mox Amber alone is a pretty nice payoff, and when you consider the power of some of Standard's other historic spells like Walking Ballista, I could see multiple styles of decks built around drawing tons of cards with Jhoira.
A very powerful card using historic was just spoiled, Thran Temporal Gateway. A four-mana artifact that taps to put a historic permanent in play makes it reminiscent of Quicksilver Amulet, which does see some fringe Modern play in sideboard as an expensive Show and Tell. Standard has some good candidates to put into play like Zetalpa, Primal Dawn and Razaketh, the Foulblooded, but being historic also opens up planeswalkers like Nicol Bolas, the Deceiver and Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. It can also put God-Pharaoh's Gift into play, which seems inefficient but is worth noting.
Bomat Courier was the most-played card in the Top 8 of GP Seattle last weekend, where it was used in the winning Mono-Red deck, the Black-Red aggressive artifact deck that took up two of the Top 8 and five of the total Top 16 slots, as well as the Top 8 Mardu Vehicles deck. Its use in aggressive red decks is nothing new, but it's also a staple and key graveyard enabler in the Blue-Red God-Pharaoh's Gift deck that dominated the event, taking three of the Top 8 slots and announcing itself as the most broken deck in Standard. Bomat Courier also happens to be a historic spell, it's in the color of Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain and has great synergy with Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle because it can be reanimated by it or can discard creatures to be reanimated. Bomat Courier is already at the top of Standard and is only going to become more useful with Dominaria.
What Dominaria cards are you excited to build around, and what existing cards are you using them with?