Hey gang, it’s time for another round of spoilers from Magic: the Gathering‘s latest expansion, Dominaria. Here’s what you’ve missed since we left off.
My personal favorite format is Commander. It’s a uniquely social Magic format that provides players with the opportunity to play cards you might not get to play anywhere else. And while every Commander deck is unique, the one thing that all Commander decks need is, well, a Commander. A legendary creature to lead your army into battle.
And if there’s one thing that Dominaria has delivered on, it’s Legendary Creatures.
Jodah, Archmage Eternal is one of the oldest beings on Dominaria and one of the earliest creations of Magic‘s lore. He has lived for so long that he’s mastered every color of mana. And his Legendary Creature card proves that. If you’re looking for a cheap way to cheat out a card like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth or maximize a card like Crystaline Crawler, Jodah is your man.
Players who love using big mana to cast big creatures and enjoy the concept of flooding elves onto the battlefield will love Marwyn, the Nurturer. Note that while Marwyn’s power increases when you play elves, you can cheat her second ability by boosting her power with Equipment or spells like Strength of the Tajuru as well.
Grand Warlord Radha marks the return of a cool character introduced the last time we were on Dominaria during the Time Spiral block of expansions. Once a latent planeswalker and a powerful warrior, Radha’s Planeswalker Spark was lost. But her GAINS WERE NOT.
Last year’s annual Commander product introduced a variety of “tribal” decks, based around the synergies of certain creature types, to the format. One of those decks, centered around Vampires, was greatly bolstered by the Ixalan block of expansions that followed the release of Commander 2017. Now Dominaria looks to help add some extra “oomph” to the wizard Commander deck. Naru Meha is a competent commander on her own, forming half of a two card combo with Ghostly Flicker, but she also serves as a powerful ally for Inalla, Archmage Ritualist.
Do you like Wizards?
Do you like casting spells?
Do you like casting MORE of your spells?
— Gaby Spartz (@GabySpartz) April 5, 2018
Muldrotha, the Gravetide is a new treat for more competitive Commander players who want to use the graveyard as a second hand. Dredge forms the backbone of powerful competitive decks in several formats, but what’s better than being able to get cards back from your graveyard? Being able to play the cards you “lost” in order to get those dredge cards back!
Helm of the Host isn’t a commander, but it’ll make some commanders a lot better. It duplicates whatever it’s equipped to, but the tokens aren’t subject to the “legend rule” that normally only allows one copy of a Legendary Creature with the same name to stay under your control at a time. The tokens even stick around past a single turn, meaning you can easily amass an army of Atraxas to power up your Planeswalkers or just assemble a combo kill with Aurelia.
Baird, Steward of Argive is like a cheaper Archangel of Tithes you get to have constant access to. For those of you who want to build a “pillowfort” deck that disincentives opponents from attacking you, Baird might be your guy.
Urgoros, the Empty One is the biggest of specters, a class of Magic creatures that force your opponents to discard cards when they are dealt combat damage by these spooky beings. If you want to build Specter tribal…well…I’m not gonna stop you.
A Place for Spikes
For players less interested in playing with 100-card stacks, there’s always competitive Magic. And boy oh boy does Dominaria have some spicy new cards to add a kick to every major format.
First off: Verix Bladewing and his brother Karox. Lore fans might recall Rorix Bladewing (a card I got killed by a lot in the fifth grade). And while Rorix’s power relative to the field of Magic‘s creatures may have decreased over the years, his descendents Verix and Karox seem more than capable of claiming his mantle as powerhouses in Standard.
You know what’s better than paying for great spells? Getting them for free. That’s exactly what Unwind is– a free Negate in the vein of historically powerful spells like Rewind, Cloud of Faeries, and Palinchron that all refund the mana that you paid to cast them. All the aforementioned cards made a splash when they were standard legal, so I’d keep an eye out for Unwind to do the same.
Damping Sphere is an early favorite to be one of the most impactful cards to be released in Dominaria. While it doesn’t look like it does much on the surface– the card itself says it does nothing at all– making sure that no player can do anything is actually quite powerful. “Prison decks” that aim to grind a game of Magic to a halt while the Prison deck pilot accumulates incremental advantage have been historically powerful throughout Magic‘s history and Damping Sphere adds a powerful new tool to this archetype’s kit.
Moreover, as an uncommon card, the price of Damping Sphere is likely never to reach the prices rarer prison components like Ensnaring Bridge and Blood Moon have.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a nostalgia-based Magic set without a lotus. Echoing the most notable magic card of all time, Black Lotus, Gilded Lotus is being reprinted in Dominaria. While this gold flower doesn’t provide as much immediate advantage as its predecessor, it is a powerful and permanent source of mana that has proven useful in a variety of formats.
And of course, you couldn’t play any of these cards without the right mana base. Dominaria will reprint five of the ten color-pair “check lands,” which refer to the cards’ condition that you control a land of one of two types, else the check land comes into play tapped. These check lands represent “enemy color pairs” that are philosophically opposed to each other. These lands haven’t been reprinted in more than five years, so they’re a welcome sight to see.
Other cool tools that have a possibility of making a splash in competitive formats include:
Nostalgia and Lore Corner
Those of you keeping up with the ongoing Dominaria stories will likely recognize Josu Vess. In life, he was Liliana’s younger brother, but when he took ill his sister went down a dark road to try and save him. Josu became a zombie and Liliana’s Planeswalker spark awakened. Long thought dead, as it turns out the demon Belzenlok turned Josu into a lich to command an army. And an army is what he’ll give you if you play his card.
While Teferi’s role in Dominaria’s current story has yet to become clear, it does seem like he’ll be joining the Gatewatch. His Oath card was spoiled by the official Magic twitter:
— Magic: The Gathering (@wizards_magic) April 4, 2018
Italy’s Wired site spoiled Rite of Belzenlok, an interesting new saga with gorgeous art by Seb McKennon. Unlike other sagas that depicted events from Dominaria’s far off past, this saga seems to depict something a bit more recent. And very, very sinister.
Rite of Belzenlok 2BB
I / II : Create two 0/1 black Cleric creature token.
III : Create a 6/6 black Demon creature token with flying, trample, and “At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice another creature, if you don’t, this creature deals 6 damage to you.”.
Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth, the last Legendary Sorcery to be revealed in Dominaria, showcases a major turning point in Dominaria’s history. It shows the moment where the Primeval Dragon Darigaaz is reincarnated after he and three of his fellow Primevals sacrifice themselves to free the last of their kin. Their resurrection marked the beginning of a devastating episode for the denizens of Dominaria.
Celebrate Flashback Friday with six new common cards from Dominaria that are either reprints of or evoke memories of cards from Magic‘s past. Below is Drudge Sentinel, a reference to Drudge Skeletons with updated templating.
Speaking of flashbacks, many of my greatest memories in Magic involve Cabal Coffers producing a ton of mana so I could cast absurdly large spells at a low-low price. Cabal Stronghold evokes the legacy of the great Coffers and makes me very excited to relive the past.
And then we come to the Umezawa clan. A long, long time ago, Magic had a block of expansions set on a Japanese-influenced plane called Kamigawa. Many players disdained the set, but some people have fond memories of the world itself, which was filled with a ton of Legendary Creatures in a way that we haven’t seen since until now in Dominaria. And the most prominent hero of Kamigawa’s story was Toshiro Umezawa, a huckster and a competent samurai who played a key role in ending a war between mortals and spirits on that plane. After the Great Kami War, however, Toshiro was “planted” on Dominaria by a deity known as the Kami of Night’s Reach.
One of Toshiro’s Dominarian descendants, Tetsuo Umezawa, would go on to defeat Nicol Bolas long before he became the terrifying adversary Magic fans know today. And now, it seems, the Umezawa clan lives on in Tetsuko Umezawa.
But of course, as I alluded to above, Bolas did return. And we’ve got the Saga to prove it:
— Cary (@stillcary) April 5, 2018
But before all other Dominarian conflicts, there was the Brothers’ War, also known as the Antiquities War.