30 years ago, Magic: the Gathering, the world’s first trading card game, launched. For the first ten years of the game’s life, the vast majority of its stories took place on the world of Dominaria, an archetypal fantasy world of legendary heroes and insidious villains. No plane in Magic‘s vast multiverse has more history than Dominaria, and with the upcoming launch of the game’s next expansion, Dominaria United, all of that history threatens to be erased.
The Phyrexians, a Borg-like species that marries machine and flesh, were one of Magic‘s very first villains. Their goal is “compleation:” the total assimilation of all living beings in the Multiverse into Phyrexia. A group of heroes once eliminated them, but a single drop of Phyrexia’s infectious oil survived, corrupting an entire world and turning it into New Phyrexia. After years of scheming and building out the infrastructure of Phyrexia’s new home, Elesh Norn, Praetor and the new Mother of Machines, is ready to expand Phyrexia’s gift to the rest of the Multiverse. Starting last year, Magic players caught glimpses of Phyrexia’s other Praetors on worlds like Kaldheim, New Capenna, and Kamigawa, performing reconaissance and executing plans to prepare for invasion. And now, with Dominaria United, at long last, the war begins.
The Phyrexians Among Us
As Dominaria United’s story begins, Sheoldred’s invasion of Dominaria is already underway. A group of planeswalkers, including the silver golem Karn, pyromancer Jaya Ballard, leonin Ajani, and time mage Teferi have gathered to mount a defense. However, as they traverse the plane to recruit soldiers and more allies, they discover that a variety of individuals they think can be trusted are, in fact, Phyrexian sleeper agents.
As the defense of the plane falls into disarray thanks to the uncertainty our heroes are faced with at every turn, greater Phyrexian threats emerge, including Sheoldred herself.
Old Friends, Old Foes– All Will be One
Longtime fans of Magic: the Gathering will be familiar with many of the faces that appear in Dominaria United. Legendary creatures from as far back as the 1994 Legends expansion make a return with newly empowered forms. Many of these aren’t present in the main set, but form a special collection of 48 possible “box topper” cards included as a bonus if you buy a booster box from the expansion. These cards are always foil, but you can open special foil etched versions in collector booster packs as well.
That said, many other old legends are in the main Dominaria United set. If you’ve ever wanted to build a Commander deck with a character like Sol’Kanar, but lamented his original card’s power level, now’s your chance to do so!
And of course, fan-favorite legends who already have powerful cards also make a return with new incarnations. Jhoira, Raff Capashen, Squee, and even Zur are back for battle.
And finally, for true lore-heads, Liliana Vess’ haunting nemesis, The Raven Man, revealed as the legendary necromancer Lim-Dul, gets a card as well, at long last.
Planeswalkers…including Liliana of the Veil
Yes, you heard right. Liliana of the Veil, one of Magic‘s most historically impactful planeswalker cards in high level tournament play, is back with a reprint and gorgeous new art.
Not to be outdone, long-lived legend Jaya Ballard is getting a new card as well:
Two other Planeswalkers will be featured in Dominaria United, with their cards yet to be revealed. Expectations are high that at least one of these will be Ajani Goldmane.
Dominaria United’s Mechanics
Enlist…the new Banding?!
Dominaria United’s one brand new mechanic is, fittingly, a throwback to an old one. Enlist allows creatures to essentially attack as a group, harkening back to the days in which you could do so in a much more complicated way using creatures that had the Banding mechanic. Just at first blush, Enlist seems like a way cleaner execution of this concept.
The Domain ability word makes a comeback in Dominaria United, emphasizing the idea of unity through diversity. Cards with Domain scale in power as you assemble basic lands with more types, encouraging you to play them in five color decks to maximize their potential.
Kicker is another old mechanic returning in Dominaria United. Featuring “enemy colored” costs, these spells allow you to pay additional mana to get bonus effects with you cast them.
Sagas, which debuted in our last return to Dominaria, return in Dominaria United. These enchantments grant you a new boon each turn they remain in play, and tell stories from Dominaria’s long past.
As a treat, here’s a bunch of additional cards that don’t have special mechanics, but are pretty darn neat.
In a nod to Dominaria’s long history as the nexus of Magic‘s storyline, Dominaria United will feature a gorgeous set of Stained Glass basic lands, rendering the world with timeless artistic aplomb.
But the land itself is not the only thing worthy of a historic treatment. A variety of legendary creatures from Dominaria United will have stained glass variants as well.
Every legendary creature in Dominaria United will have a stained glass variant. They will be present in non-foil and traditional foil in all booster products. Additionally, in collector boosters only, stained glass legends will have a possible “textured foil” treatment. That textured foiling will differ from the version of the foiling that was used in the recent Double Masters 2022 expansion, adding some additional flare to the borders of the cards rather than the entirety of the art.
Borderless Art Cards
Planeswalkers in Dominaria United will have special borderless art treatment. In a nod to the stained glass art treatment, the borderless planeswalkers feature art that takes place in front of stained glass windows.
Some of the oldest dual lands in Magic, the painlands, will return in Dominaria United as well with borderless art treatments. In a bit of an odd break from tradition, only these six out of the ten possible painlands will be in Dominaria United.
Extended Art Cards
Present in collector boosters only, rares and mythics that don’t have another special treatment will have Extended Art versions.
In addition to draft packs, set boosters, and collector boosters, Magic players will have the opportunity to purchase several additional products related to Dominaria United that feature cards not present in the main set.
As has become standard with new Magic expansions, Dominaria United will feature the release of several new Commander decks. And these decks are a doozy, led by two ancient legends who have been feuding on Dominaria for hundreds and hundreds of years. Their story was originally told way back in the 90s, and both of them were depicted on cards for the first time in just the last several years. Presenting Geyadrone Dihada and Jared Carthalion:
Jumpstart: Dominaria United
In 2020, Wizards of the Coast released Jumpstart, an expansion that allowed players to skip the trials of deckbuilding and simply smash two booster packs together to play a game of Magic. The set was a major hit– so much so that now Wizards has brought the concept back as a tie-in to Dominaria United.
The basic concept of this Jumpstart iteration remains the same– each player grabs two booster packs to form a deck. However, Jumpstart: Dominaria United does contain some bonus goodies that weren’t present in the original release.
Each Jumpstart: Dominaria United Booster pack contains 20 cards. Among them are:
- 2 Foil lands
- 1 Rare from the core Dominaria United expansion. There are 10 possible deck themes in each pack of this Jumpstart product, but there is a wide list of possible rares associated with each theme
- 1 of 5 New Rares unique to Jumpstart: Dominaria United, not present in the core expansion (but possible to obtain with extended art in collector boosters and on rare occasion in set boosters’ “wildcard” slot)
- 1 Non-foil Basic Land featuring Dominaria United’s stained-glass treatment
Dominaria United launches on:
- MTG Arena– September 1st
- Tabletop– September 9th, with prereleases happening in stores on the weekend of September 2nd