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Commons of Dragons of Tarkir

Hello all. Today we're discussing the best commons in Dragons of Tarkir. For each color, I'll list what I think the best four commons are and then talk about the color in general. In sealed, these top cards will help form the basis of a good deck and in draft, getting passed multiples of these cards is strong cause to believe the color is open. Let's start!


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White looks to be a strong color in Dragons of Tarkir. White is generally a solid foundation in Limited archetypes as it has access to aggressive creatures backed up with decent removal and combat tricks. Dragons of Tarkir is no exception in that regard, granting white lots of fun tools for building powerful decks. The best commons are quite strong. Honorable mentions are Enduring Victory and Sandcrafter Mage.

Some intricacies of white that I want to mention:

  • Pacifism is a strong card that some were surprised was reprinted at common in this era of bad removal for limited. However, each color has a specific common-rarity answer for this card. White can use half of a Center Soul giving protection from white to make the aura fall off, Blue and Black can Exploit the pacified creature, and Red and Green still get to count that creature's power toward their Formidable threshold. 
  • Curving a turn two Lightwalker into turn three Sandcrafter Mage is excellent value and I recommend you try it.
  • Using Center Soul with a green high power creature such as Ainok Artillerist or even better a Conifer Strider can yield eight to ten points of unblockable damage if your opponent's blockers all share a color.
  • Dromoka Dunecaster really hurts the Red/Black Raid-everything strategy.


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Blue appears to be a tempo color with commons such as Ojutai's Breath and Taigam's Strike, but as you'd expect of blue, it has few good aggressive creatures to make good on that promise. Ojutai Interceptor is the only real semblance of an aggressive creature since Elusive Spellfist is a poor imitation of its great forebear, the Kiln Fiend. I'd recommend putting the tempo parts of blue with your Ojutai decks and card advantage/grindy parts of blue with your Silumgar Exploit-heavy decks. Honorable mentions for best blue commons are Reduce in Stature and Zephyr Scribe.

Some notes on blue:

  • While generally worse than Center Soul, Glint is still an acceptable answer to an opponent's with many kill spells or other ways to target your creatures for value.
  • Sidisi's Faithful looks like a slow Unsummon effect at first, but can stick around as an 0/4 blocker for a while before becoming fuel for a better exploit card such as a Vulterous Aven or Gurmag Drowner. Try not to overlook this card.
  • Don't be too hateful of the Defender keyword on Dirgur Nemesis. This Serpent can attack as a morph, flip up, and crash in once as a 7/6 attacking defender. It can also attack for as long as you wish as a 2/2. 
  • If you successfully Exploit Youthful Scholar with Gurmag Drowner, you will feel as if you have done something very clever. Let me congratulate you in advance: it is clever.


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I'm very excited by the black commons in Dragons of Tarkir. Many are strong and even the worst commons for black I wouldn't be appalled running. That's with the exception of Foul-Tongue Shriek; I really don't like that card. 

Honorable mentions for Black include Defeat and Reckless Imp.

Some thoughts about black:

  • Butcher's Glee can change a suicide attack or chump block into a kill spell that gains the caster a lot of life. Although this trick can be disrupted, it can also be a blowout if successful. Use it wisely when you hold it and watch out when your opponent has the mana for it up.
  • If your hand is too good, there's no rule saying that you can't wait on casting Sibsig Icebreakers until you have an extra land in hand or no cards in hand at all. I'll be using it to try to snag my opponent's last card in hand, but don't be afraid to just cast it on turn three if the situation is correct.
  • Gravepurge can keep you drawing nonlands for a few turns, but it can backfire. If you use it and your opponent plays a Dragon or similar which you need to kill, you're going to be quite upset if you know that the top two or three cards of your deck are going to do nothing to help. 
  • The more Exploit in your deck, the more you should be looking to jam a copy of Dragon Fodder into your deck.


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In Dragons of Tarkir, red is as usual, an aggressive color. The majority of the cards are playable and focused on dealing damage quickly. My honorable mentions for best red commons are Sabertooth Outrider, Screamreach Brawler and Tail Slash.

Keep these interactions with red cards in your mind:

  • The best combo card with Sabertooth Outrider is another Sabertooth Outrider. Together they grant Formidable and attack with a heavy hit that's difficult to block.
  • Dragon Fodder tokens have a lot of variability in how good they are. They can get outclassed by 2/2 blockers, but work great as Exploit ammo and are incredible at blocking Conifer Striders and Dromoka Warriors.
  • Sarkhan's Rage will very often Shock you and works better in an aggressive deck that doesn't mind dealing itself damage.
  • I think Impact Tremors is a trap. If cast on turn two, it can deal five or more damage over the course of the game, but as a top deck, it's useless. Turn two is also an important turn for an aggro deck to put out an aggressive creature.


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The theme for this color is pretty clearly Big Green. Acquire eight power worth of creatures and bash your opponent in with attacks. My honorable mentions for good green commons are Conifer Strider and Colossodon Yearling even given that they are on opposite ends of the power/toughness spectrum.

These notes should help you fine tune the Green Machine:

  • Ainok Artillerist and Conifer Strider need some help. Whether it's white combat tricks, red removal, or just a Tread Upon, find something to pair with these creatures so you can get in for lots of damage without trading with half of a Dragon Fodder or being stopped by a tiny Dragon's Eye Sentry.
  • With Pacifism and Reduce in Stature at common, Naturalize isn't as terrible main deck as it would be normally. However, I'd still try my best to keep it in my sideboard until my opponent gives me an explicit reason to play it.
  • Shape the Sands is a generally worse Glint which is in turn a generally worse Center Soul. Despite two levels of inferiority, it is cheap and still does a decent job of protecting your creatures in combat. 
  • Segmented Krotiq is the new king of the morphs now that Woolly Loxodon is gone. Interesting trivia: it's the exact same casting cost, megamorph cost, and stats as Dirgur Nemesis except it doesn't have defender (and it's an Insect instead of a Serpent).


My prediction for color power level based on commons alone is White > Black > Red > Green > Blue. Based on that, I expect the five Dragon broods to be roughly ordered: Kolaghan > Dromoka > Atarka > Ojutai > Silumgar. So there we have it: my pick for pre-release based on commons alone would probably be the black-red speedy clan. Of course, it doesn't hurt that there's a chance my seeded pack rare could be this monster:

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Reach out to me in the comments below or on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG with cards you think I overlooked or overrated or just to say that you agree. I should have one more article out before Saturday, but if you don't see it before then, good luck at your pre-release!

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