Magic: The Gathering returns to the plane where it all started with Dominaria United

The silver golem Karn and his planeswalker allies from Dominaria United key visual
Here's to hoping Karn doesn't screw up the plane of Dominaria (Image: Wizards of the Coast)

Almost 30 years after Magic: The Gathering first appeared and started to make waves, players are once again back to the plane of Dominaria, where it all first began.

Players who have played the game long enough will once again relive the threats from the (new) Phyrexians as Dominaria fends itself against the Praetor Sheoldred and other Phyrexian forces, with the release on 9 September of the latest Standard set Dominaria United.

The release also coincides with the launch of Magic: The Gathering's 30th anniversary.

New mechanics

Containing 281 cards, the set features three new mechanics: Enlist, Read Ahead and stun counters.

When a player attacks with a creature with the new keyword Enlist, the player can choose to tap another untapped (and not attacking) creature.

When that happens, the attacking creature with Enlist will gain +X/+0 until the end of the turn, where X is the other tapped but not attacking creature’s power.

Card featuring Guardian of New Benalia from Dominariu United on a flat surface.
Remember it's +X/+0, not +X/+X (Photo: Yahoo Gaming SEA)

Most importantly, the tapped non-attacking creature cannot have summoning sickness.

This new mechanic is a good way to have creatures that are enchanted by Aura cards like Sigarda’s Imprisonment to have some other use during the combat phase

Pesky enchantment
Pesky enchantment but thankfully it costs 3 to cast

The next mechanic Read Ahead only applies to Saga enchantment. Read Ahead allows a player to choose the chapter of the Saga as it enters the battlefield.

Read Ahead
This card is much better after the first chapter is triggered

For a typical Saga enchantment card, the Saga enters the battlefield with a lore counter, triggering the first chapter. The second chapter only triggers at the player’s next pre-combat main phase when the player puts another lore counter on the Saga.

This process will repeat until the final chapter is triggered. Read Ahead however, means that a Saga can now enter the battlefield with any number of lore counters of it.

The amount of lore counters will correspond with the chapter (i.e. enters with two lore counters and triggers the second chapter) but any previously missed chapters of the Saga will not be triggered again.

For example, if a player casts The Cruelty of Gix and chooses to put two lore counters, the player will get to tutor for any card in their library while forgoing the first chapter to look at the opponent's hand.

During the player’s next pre-combat main phase, the player can then add another lore counter, trigger the final chapter, and subsequently reanimate a creature to the battlefield.

Stun counter
Stun counter makes an appearance

Last, stun counters will make their debut in Dominaria United. Stun counters will mostly affect creatures since they affect a permanent’s ability to untap.

A permanent with a stun counter will not untap when it has the chance to (for example, during the untap phase or any other effect causing the permanent to untap).

Instead, the stun counter is removed. This means that the permanent will not get to untap until the next opportunity (usually in the player’s next untap phase) to do so arises.

This effect is particularly dreadful on creatures, since tapped creatures cannot attack nor block.

Besides the three brand new mechanics, Domain and Kicker are also set to make a return.

First introduced in Invasion a long time ago, cards with Domain will stand to gain bigger benefits if a player controls more basic land types.

Why look at the top 1 or 2 cards when you can play all 5 colours, and look at the top 5 cards instead

In the case of Voda Sea Scavenger, if the player controls all 5 basic land types, the player will get to look at the top 5 cards of their library.

The next returning mechanic Kicker is an optional additional cost which a player can choose to pay as the player casts a spell.

When the additional cost is paid, the spell will always come with an additional or alternative benefit.

A player can search for a basic land when this spell is kicked
A player can search for a basic land when this spell is kicked

Limited edition tokens

For players residing in the countries Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, each one stands a chance to acquire a limited edition Token card whenever they spend S$140 on Dominaria United products.

A very pretty translucent token
A very pretty translucent token

There are a total of three unique Tokens which resemble stained art glass, and they come together to form a battlefield mural.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Magic: The Gathering, Wizards Play Network (WPN) stores will also give out special retro-foil promo cards from the history of Magic: The Gathering for the next few Standard set releases.

So much nostalgia!
So much nostalgia!

Starting from Dominaria United, any player who wishes to collect, say for example, the pretty Serra Angel above, can only do so by attending pre-release events.

Next, Dominaria United will also come in Jumpstart boosters. Meant for easy deck-building, each Jumpstart booster comes with 20 cards.

A player can form a deck simply by combining two Jumpstart boosters, and immediately play with another player for a quick game of Magic: The Gathering.

The return of Legends, sorta

Last, to add some spice to this new Standard set, Wizards of the Coast has apparently found many boxes of Legends lying around.

Yes, that 1994 set with The Tabernacle of Pendrell Vale, Chain of Mephistopheles, and more.

Very expensive cards (Image: Wizards of the Coast)
Very expensive cards (Image: Wizards of the Coast)

Wizards has opened those boxes and randomly inserted the Legends cards into Collector Boosters. If you are lucky enough with a Collector Booster, you might just open a Eureka and, well, channel your inner Archimedes.

They really don't have art like this anymore in newer cards (image: Wizards of the Coast)
They really don't have art like this anymore in newer cards (image: Wizards of the Coast)

Dominaria United will be available in Draft Boosters, Set Boosters, Collector Boosters, Jumpstart Boosters, Commander decks and Bundles.

Jay Chan plays a lot of Dota 2 and MTG. He's terrible in Dota 2 and a scrub in MTG, and maybe spends too much money on both games.

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