Dominaria United: Limited First Look
Subscribe to Ja3k
That's right this blog is now a newsletter.
Thanks for subscribing!
I'm really looking forward to playing DMU. I'm planning on playing one sealed RCQ and am writing this to prepare. DOM was one of my favorite sets for limited ever and this one looks potentially just as sweet. In this article I'll discuss what I see as the major themes and give my ranking of the commons.
- Go Wide
- Commons Ranking
Despite there being no gold commons this set is extremely multicolored. With the full 20 possible off color kicker cards at common and again at uncommon. All of them seem to be good to premium limited cards assuming you can kick them. And most are playable but weak even if you can't. At uncommon there is an additional 20 gold cards, 2 legendary creatures for every 2 color pair. If you count kicker cards as gold this set is even more gold than SNC.
The fixing is also quite good. If you count Floriferous Vinewall then the set has 3 common green fixers. Most sets have one or two. The set also has two common fixing artifacts but neither are great. Also 10 common dual lands. Thanks to having the basic land types they'll be premium picks with domain. They may have finally made a playable Shimmering Grotto as well in Crystal Grotto .
The themes blend across the colors too. Domain is of course a five color theme but spells matter is in every color but green. Every color has some cards which pair well in a sacrifice deck. The defender deck is in esper colors.
All this is to say there will be a lot of pressure to splash in draft. My sense is the two color pairs each have a theme you'd be better served sticking to if possible though. The best decks will resist the temptation to splash a lot.
There's a spells theme in UWRB. What's interesting is there are two slightly different decks between UW and UR. UW has Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart which play well with counterspells, of which there are slightly more than normal with Essence Scatter and Negate as well as Protect the Negotiators and Ertai's Scorn which isn't really better than Cancel . On the other hand the UR cards like Balmor, Battlemage Captain , Najal, the Storm Runner and Ghitu Amplifier want you to play more spells proactively, pre or during combat. In the middle there's Tolarian Terror which plays well with both.
UB has Rona, Sheoldred's Faithful and Vohar, Vodalian Desecrator as payoffs. But if you go all the way from white to black or white to black you switch themes to sacrifice and go wide.
The sacrifice deck is centered in black with some draws to every other color but mostly white and red. Lagomos, Hand of Hatred and Aron, Benalia's Ruin are good payoff and enablers for the deck. Bone Splinters is really good with Captain's Call and other Soldier generators. In red In Thrall to the Pit , Warhost's Frenzy and Garna, Bloodfist of Keld will be good pick ups.
Domain is naturally in every color but thanks to land the tutors Scout the Wilderness and Slimefoot's Survey will naturally want to be in green. For each green two color combination there is a gold legend with domain and one without domain which hints more at that color combination's particular flavor.
There are 5 common walls and 4 uncommon payoffs centered in esper. The most important card for this deck by far seems to be Wingmantle Chaplain . It seems to be the only card powerful enough to justify playing the inefficient Shield-Wall Sentinel . A downside for this deck is outside of the Sentinel all the common walls seem like reasonable inclusions for other decks. Sacrifice decks will be happy to play Gibbering Barricade , spells decks won't mind an Academy Wall and domain decks will be happy with Floriferous Vinewall .
This is sort of Captain's Call the set with a red captain's call, Keldon Strike Team , a green one, Scout the Wilderness and a black one, Phyrexian Warhorse . There's plenty of payoffs too. At common there's Charismatic Vanguard and Heroic Charge . Don't be tricked by Warhost's Frenzy looking like Trumpet Blast , it's an excellent card. Every white legendary gold card either pays you off for having a wide board or makes soldiers. Queen Allenal of Ruadach does both.
On rate this card is just hill giant. But every deck is going to be happy to have it. It's good if you're going wide with Griffin Protector and Heroic Charge . It's good with Gibbering Barricade and other sacrifice cards. It's a spell so it plays well with Tolarian Terror . Whatever your game plan you'll be happy to have this one.
They really got me with their spoiler order. I was surprised when Yavimaya Sojourner wasn't a 5/5 and then they spoiled this guy who doesn't even cost 8. Best friends with the Cavalier. Of all the cards in the cycle this is the one easiest to live the dream of casting it for one mana. But it'll be very difficult to cast it before turn 4 at which point the pay off of a 4/4 vigilance isn't huge. Certainly solid. It reminds me of Sky-Blessed Samurai which was always sort of a disappointment. Rewarding you for playing creatures instead of enchantments makes it a lot better and being a common I have lower standards.
I'm always really high on sleep. This one being an instant and cantripping makes it particularly good.
A 2 mana 2/2 and 3 mana 3/3 split card is decent and that's before you even factor in putting the counter anywhere. I like this card a lot better than Timberland Guide because the 2/2 is a real card in a way that the 1/1 isn't which makes you much more free to put the counter on a flyer or trampler and not feel like you're getting a bad deal on your cards.
This seems designed as an enlist card but as a 2 mana 2/1 which accrues advantage as it attacks it just seems generally pushed.
Enlist is a clunky mechanic. It involves some set up and your opponent will see it coming. But a 2 mana 2/3 vigilance is a good card and this card is a fair bit better than that.
I could have sworn this card was a faithbender like some kind of avatar character but is is fact a bonder. Which I guess means it trades securities?
Really good with Argivian Cavalier and Captain's Call .
I'm glad it's an instant so you can nab Griffin Protector s. It even gets Citizen's Arrest so it'll definitely be good in the white mirror. I usually lean towards not main decking Smite the Monstrous effects but with the cycle of cost reducers and enlist I think this set may be an exception.
I'm going to force 4 color defenders every draft.
You can play this in a two color deck but I think you need to have access to 4 before you're happy about it. Good with Clockwork Drawbridge and in the defenders deck generally.
Every set they push these combat tricks a little harder. This one gives you a permanent advantage with the counter and is good against removal and racing. It's only bad when you have no creatures or no mana up. At what point do I stop putting these tricks in the bottom half of the commons?
The sacrifice effect varies a lot in value so it being optional here makes it quite a bit better than Fleshbag Marauder . Note it's one of two commons with more power than cmc, the other being Toxic Abomination . Enlist makes that sort of relevant.
Between this and Soaring Drake this is a high powered set for wind drakes. I expect fliers to be slightly less good in this set than normally because there's one more common with reach than normal but it won't be a huge effect.
It's clunky and I don't like 3 mana 3/2s. It is synergistic with white's plan though. It obviously plays well with going wide but it also plays well with enlist since if you activate pre combat you get a double pump. It's also one of the higher powered white commons itself.
This card is very on theme for white so there will definitely be a fair number of decks that want it. It's not that efficient though so I have it on the bottom. Trample will definitely end some games out of nowhere. It doesn't play well with the go wide part of the card but it plays well with enlist, especially since enlist not boosting toughness means they'll often block your enlisters with low toughness creatures.
Double blue might be a bigger cost in this set than most but this is still quite the Elvish Visionary .
Sweet card. Doesn't seem too hard to cast it for 4 at which point it's a pretty great rate. Hard to cast it on turn four though.
Neither a 1 mana 1/1 or a 5 mana 3/3 is particularly efficient so you're paying for the optionality here. I wouldn't play this card unless I cared about fixing or domain. Most decks will though.
Is it just me or is there a lot of vigilance in this set?
More fodder for my terrors. Good with negate and essence scatter .
Good and bad news for the walls deck that all the common walls are reasonable cards that play well in other decks.
This card is funny next to Automatic Librarian which is just better in a two color deck. I wouldn't play this card unless I was serious about domain but if you are it makes some sense. It helps you fix. It digs for your action. Presumably as the five color deck you picked up some bombs you're anxious to find.
It's possible I underrate the cards which aren't role players but just have a good rate.
Another excellent combat trick.
I prefer this card as a trick than as a removal spell. Can definitely pick off a utility creature here and there though. I wish it didn't require a target so I could really power out my terrors.
Casting kicked spells is huge as the as fan is about a fifth.
Removal that doesn't actually remove the creature from the battlefield is a little suspicious. And this only removes it from combat for 4 blocks and 3 attacks. I'd have to be all in on Tolarian Terror s to consider it.
You don't even need blue mana to be happy with this card.
Great stats and a great sacrifice outlet.
Like every card in this set, it's good with Captain's Call .
Playable but weak even in a two color deck. Hopefully you can get to five.
I was a fan of Spark Reaper and Soulreaper of Mogis . Gaining a defense and defender is definitely downside. It'll be valuable in the sac and wall decks.
The black Samite Herbalist . Note it triggers when it dies too. Scrying a bunch doesn't create a durable advantage and it's just a 2 mana 2/2 so I don't think it's incredible. But happy to have it in any black deck particularly sacrifice ones.
Creatures don't go to the graveyard as easily as instants and sorceries so it's a little harder to power this guy out than the terror.
Not the best Blightning but not the worst. I love casting mindrot so I'm glad to have an excuse.
It's interesting that this set has two cheap creatures with deathtouch. Most only have one. It makes Bite Down even better, not that it needs the help.
It's a little clunky on the backside but as a 3 mana 3/1 that's okay. It's good in multiples to hit them on the mill. Also good with Writhing Necromass and Tolarian Terror .
Much like Juniper Order Rootweaver having 2 power makes it a lot better than it's closest analogue festering goblin . Still not great.
Essentially +infinity/+infinity in combat and counters removal spells.
Has to be activated once to be on rate and twice to be a deal. I don't like these cards but they are great top decks.
I'm definitely rating this card as if you'll always be UR. I wish it could be Flowstone Infusion ed.
Awesome card. Again you really want to be able to kick it.
Basically Shock .
I like the stats combined with menace here. The option between high toughness or high defense will make it hard to line up good blocks. Also plays well with enlist.
I sort of hate the design here. We're supposed to work for our 1 for 1 with Threaten . Still look to pair this card with bone splinters or whatever for marginally more value or efficiency. Act of Treason is one of those unusual cards like Mind Rot which gets a little better when you make it more expensive for only slightly more value since you cast it in strategic spots and not on curve or in response to their spell.
This guy hits hard.
This card will make playing against red scary. There's sort of a tension where the more aggressive you are the less happy you are to play a bunch of colors.
This along with Smash to Dust make a lot of artifact hate at common. There really aren't many artifacts in the set though.
This card is best friends with the other ones in the cycle.
I remember casting this card in RTR. It overperformed then and I expect it to be great in aggressive decks again.
Interesting combination of options. Neither a 1 mana 1/1 and 4 mana 3/3 is exciting but with haste and the activated ability it's a fine card. Haste is nice with enlist.
Always a fine card. Particularly good in blue.
I think this card should be main decked. It's excellent against a go wide white deck or the defenders deck. Most decks have at least one X/1 to snag. You can cast it post combat in certain spots. There aren't a ton of artifacts but it adds up to a ton of scenarios. Great against all the Captain's Call s.
Finally just a medium combat trick. Great with Coalition Warbrute. Reasonable playable but I think you'll cut it more often than not.
The removal in this set is so good I don't think you should play 5 mana sorcery removal with basically no upside that doesn't even get everything. If your pool has no removal consider it.
They took what's always the best green common and made it an instant. It even hits planeswalkers.
Better late than most ramp/fixing. Not the fixing you want in the domain set.
Good on curve and has the potential to end the game out of no where.
Good in the domain deck and the walls deck. Note this is the only green wall but presumably the defender deck will want to splash to support domain and other things fairly often.
You can actually cast this card as early as turn 3 thanks to the common land cycle. I don't think you'll see that too often but domain 4 on turn 4 doesn't seem too unlikely with the land cycle and various land tutors.
Can't believe after they made the activated ability cost 4 they also made you only able to activate it once. If you get to 8 mana you should be able to 12 them. It's only fair.
I'm always a little low on the random red and green five drops but this one does hit quite hard. Totally fine playable.
Just like every card in this set it's good with Captain's Call . Unfortunately it's also quite bad against it. Good with Enlist.
Not the stats you want on an enlister. It'll just trade for a 2 drop. Ward isn't the most relevant on a 3 drop either.
This is a sick card. It's not terribly efficient but getting your win con (Coral Colony ), removal (Clockwork Drawbridge ) or Wingmantle Chaplain is a lot of versatility. Luckily it's so inefficient the serious walls player can likely get all of them.
Good with Captain's Call . Some decks really benefit from the first equipment and this is close enough to Bonesplitter .
Not the best fixing and doesn't play well with domain. I think a lot of people are going to want to be five color though. It'll make the cut sometimes.
I hate 3 mana 3/2s.
- W: Artillery Blast , Destroy Evil , Take Up the Shield
- U: Essence Scatter , Impulse , Negate , Shore Up
- B: Battle-Rage Blessing , Extinguish the Light , Shadow Prophecy
- R: Flowstone Infusion , Furious Bellow , Lightning Strike , Thrill of Possibility
- G: Bite Down , Broken Wings , Gaea's Might
- RU: Timely Interference
- RW: Heroic Charge
- UW: Stall for Time
- BU: Tribute to Urborg
- GR: Colossal Growth
- W: Join Forces , Prayer of Binding , Resolute Reinforcements
- U: Ertai's Scorn
- B: Cut Down
- R: Twinferno
- G: Tail Swipe
- RU: Fires of Victory
- BG: Tear Asunder
- RW: Cleaving Skyrider , Hurloon Battle Hymn
- GU: Joint Exploration
- UW: Protect the Negotiators
- BU: Rona's Vortex
- BR: Warhost's Frenzy
- GW: Strength of the Coalition
- In most sets Micromancer would be pretty bad but here is a combo with kicker spells, Rona's Vortex , Strength of the Coalition and others.
- There's a cycle of rare 2 drop lords. My opinion is the soldier, cleric and elf ones are playable but the goblin and merfolk ones are not. There aren't a ton of elves and being a 2 mana 1/1 is bad for Leaf-Crowned Visionary but there are some premium elves in Deathbloom Gardener and Vineshaper Prodigy and some of the green legends.
- I can't believe the templating on Serra Paragon and Llanowar Greenwidow . Is this a computer game? We're just supposed to remember what happened earlier in the game?
- Pilfer has delightful art and name.