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.


Brawl

Wizards teased a new Standard-influenced version of the popular Commander format last week and followed it up with an official announcement. The new Brawl format will indeed play much like Commander with a few key differences.

  • Brawl, like Commander, will be a singleton format (you can play only one copy of a given card besides basic lands), but decks will be 59 cards + a commander rather than 99 cards + a commander. This makes deck sizes in line with those in other Magic formats.
  • In Brawl, you’re not limited to making your commander a legendary creature– Planeswalker cards can be chosen as commanders as well.
  • Only standard-legal cards are legal in Brawl, making it a rotating format unlike Commander, where all cards across Magic‘s history are legal (besides anything on the format’s ban list)
  • Speaking of the ban list, the ban list for Brawl will be maintained by Wizards of the Coast and will match the Standard ban list. Commander’s ban list is still maintained by a committee separate from Wizards of the Coast. This will likely make Brawl an easier format to implement in Magic the Gathering: Arena.
  • In Brawl, your life total will begin at 30 instead of Commander’s 40.

Liliana faces her past

One of my favorite lead Planeswalker characters in Magic‘s story is Liliana Vess. Caught between her begrudging friendship with a number of other Planeswalkers collectively known as the Gatewatch and her selfish desires to escape a number of dark deals she agreed to in order to gather incredible power, Liliana’s motivations are complex and her actions interesting to watch. In the second chapter of the “Dominaria” story, we see Liliana grapple with one of the greatest mistakes of her past as she returns to her hometown.

FNM Promos get Funky

Friday Night Magic promos have gone through a lot of changes recently. FNM events are intentionally geared towards newer players looking to find their way into the Magic scene, but in order to discourage things from getting too competitive, Wizards of the Coast has had to make sure the participation promos they print for these weekly events walk a fine line between being so undesirable that no one wants them and being so desirable that the possibility of earning a prize makes the event more competitive than it is meant to be.

As of Dominaria, Wizards is trying a different tact than it has in previous sets where promos were cards from any Standard-legal set with new art or simply foil token cards. This time around, they’re cards from Dominaria with the same art, but different frames. The look is actually quite sleek and reminiscent of the timeshifted cards from the Planar Chaos expansion.

Opt, FNM Promo
Opt, standard edition from Dominaria

Fight like a Wizard

Today, Wizards of the Coast officially previewed Wizard’s Lightning and Wizard’s Retort. These two cards showcase a subtheme of the Dominaria expansion that focuses on the Wizard creature type. Wizards have historically been popular with Magic players and have also been historically powerful. And in Dominaria, you’ll be able to channel your powerful Wizards to make your non-creature spells more powerful as well.

Initially, Instants and Sorceries in Magic were incredibly powerful– more powerful than the creatures on the battlefield. Thus, over the years, Magic‘s design team has shifted the power dynamic between creatures and spells so that the game is more focused on battling with what’s on the board rather than what is in your hand. However, in Dominaria, players will have a chance to reclaim some of the old power of instants with Wizard’s Lightning and Wizard’s Retort, two spells that reference classic powerful instants from Magic‘s history. If you control a Wizard as you cast these two cards, their mana costs will be reduced to equal out to the costs of the cards that they reference.

Left: Wizard’s Lightning (DOM), Right: Lightning Bolt (A25)
Left: Wizard’s Retort (DOM), Right: Counterspell (A25)

Gerrard’s Legacy

Longtime fans of Magic‘s story will likely remember Gerrard Capashen. One of the main protagonists of “The Weatherlight Saga,” which was Magic‘s longest continuous storyline, Gerrard made himself known to players as one of the capable members of the Weatherlight, a skyship crew that played a major role in helping destroy one of the greatest threats Dominaria had ever known.

In Dominaria, two new cards reference our great hero.

Planeswalker Deck exclusives, revealed

Syfywire revealed the subset of Dominaria cards exclusive to the set’s Planeswalker Decks. For the uninitiated, Planeswalker Decks are specially designed for new players to give them an easy and balanced preconstructed way to learn how to play Magic. The decks teach players about the fundamental card types of the game, including Planeswalkers, and always include a special group of cards that aren’t printed in the expansion they’re released alongside– these decks are your only chance to find cards like Teferi, Timebender.

Richard Garfield & Mark Rosewater talk about Magic‘s greatest Saga yet

In a cool and rare treat, Mark Rosewater, current head of Magic design, sat down with Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: the Gathering. Garfield, Rosewater, and host Ashly Burch discussed the origins of Magic and the permutations the game went through before the release of the first Magic set, Alpha. That takes us to the Saga card type, which seeks to revisit and channel Magic‘s grand story directly into game mechanics.

According to Rosewater, the Saga subtype’s turn-by-turn mechanic was originally designed for Planeswalkers before they settled on the Loyalty-based functionality that we all know today.

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