Is Dream Trawler the new Dragonlord Ojutai?

Arena Standard Competitive 
By: KillaDub - 03 Feb 2020

     Let's begin by taking a quick peek at Dragonlord Ojutaiimage. It's a 5/4 Legendary Dragon with flying that has hexproof as long as it's untapped, and if it deals combat damage to a player it lets you Anticipateimage. The Dragon is 1 less mana than the Dream Trawlerimage, and it isn't as color intensive because it only costs UW3 compared to UUWW2. That makes Ojutai much easier to splash in a tricolor deck such as Esper Control. Another notable mention is that usually when a card is legendary like Dragonlord Ojutai, it detracts from the overall value in most cases because you are unable to keep two or more copies in play simultaneously.

     Now let's talk specifically about their ability to net you card advantage. In the Dragonlord's case, he has to actually deal damage to a player to trigger his Anticipateimage effect. It is more difficult to activate the trigger with Ojutai because of this stipulation, however the reward is also much greater. Next we'll have to factor in that the Trawler only requires that it is declared as an attacker in order trigger it's draw effect. Therefore it will inevitably activate more often because it is less situational, however drawing a random card isn't nearly as powerful as being able to look at the top three cards and choose any one of them.

     Both creatures have flying, and drawing cards is certainly important in a control strategy. However the most important ability that these creatures share is hexproof. It wouldn't matter if they could draw you 5 cards when they attack, if they just get removed the same turn they hit the field. Hexproof stops your opponent's targeted removal completely with Ojutai as long as it's untapped, but in Dream Trawler's case you have to discard card a card and also tap it in order to bestow it with the ability. Giving a creature hexproof in response to targeted removal will generally cause the removal spell to fizzle unless it has multiple targets. The difference here is that Ojutai's ability doesn't cost you anything, but unless you can give it vigilance it will be vulnerable the moment you attack with it. Therefore it will require counterspell back up, as well as an open path to the opponent in order to work properly.

     The most important ability Dream Trawler has that Dragonlord Ojutai does not is Lifelink. Dream Trawler will allow you to gain a minimum of 5 life every turn. Let's say you cast Gadwick, the Wizenedimage in your main phase one, and you make X = 5. In that case Trawler will attack for 10 damage and you will gain 10 life because you drew a card for the turn, plus drew 5 cards with Gadwick, then drew one more when you declared the Trawler as an attacker which gave it a total of +7 +0 for the turn because of it's ability.

     Finally, I will leave you with a deck list that I think is both fun and competitive that features Dream Trawler, and I will allow you to be the judge whether or not Trawler is the new Ojutai. I would just like to point out the synergy between Gideon Blackbladeimage and Shatter the Skyimage before I finish. You can play Gideon turn 3, and then wipe the board turn 4 with Shatter the Sky leaving only Gideon alive on board while netting you an extra card at the same time.

Azorius Control w/ Dream Trawler

Main 60 cards (22 distinct)
Creature (12)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (17)
Planeswalker (4)
Land (27)
Side 15 cards (4 distinct)

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)
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During my pre-release today, I wound up having to change colors from Selesnya to Azorius because it wasn't working well for me. Despite the fact that I had stronger cards in Selesnya in theory, Azorius got me to a 4th place finish in no small part due to Dream Trawler. That card is bonkers. Yeah 6 mana is a little high, but what you get for it is just absolutely crazy.
You make an excellent case for this being the "kill-card" in Azorius. After Teferi Sr. rotated out, azorious control struggled to find something as effective for its kill-bomb. Indeed, this could be just what was needed. Great article! Very good read.
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