Our Favourite Cards from Magic the Gathering Dominaria United
The biggest story arc in Magic: The Gathering – and a celebration of the TCG’s 30-year history – kicked off on September 9th of this year with Dominaria United, its 93rd expansion. Magic’s “home plane” of Dominaria has been invaded by the monstrous Phyrexians, who have been plotting the move in the background of previous expansions, and the plane must come together to repel the attackers. We’ve tried out the new cards across hundreds of games, and here is our list of favorites!
If you’re looking to get started with Magic: The Gathering, check out our reviews of the Dominaria United Commander decks and the Streets of New Capenna Commander decks. We’ve also previously shared our favorite cards from the Streets of New Capenna expansion.
- Zur, Eternal Schemer
- Braids, Arisen Nightmare
- Vesuvan Duplimancy
- Defiler of Vigor
- Sheoldred, the Apocalypse
- Shivan Devastator
- Temporary Lockdown
- Ajani, Sleeper Agent
- Weatherlight Compleated
- Liliana of the Veil
Zur, Eternal Schemer
As soon as I saw this card I knew it would be a force, as enchantment-based decks can be very strong. Zur is a blue, black and white coloured Legendary Creature – Human Wizard, with a power and toughness of 1/4. Its converted mana cost is one of each color, making it a relatively cheap creature with plenty of value.
Zur already comes equipped with Flying, while giving your enchantment creatures Deathtouch, Lifelink and Hexproof. Add in card draw when casting enchantments, plus some pillow fort action with cards like Ghostly Prison, Propaganda and Sphere of Safety to get the most value.
Working with this color combination makes it very easy to have an assortment of spells for controlling the pace of the game and keeping yourself safe. Make sure to run plenty of enchantments that aren’t creatures to keep the synergy flowing, while also giving yourself great options for removal, card draw and basically anything you need.
Once you’ve got some good enchantments on the board, you can use Zur’s activated ability to turn them into creatures with Deathtouch, Lifelink and Hexproof, then swing through your opponents for the win. (Ryan Shay)
Braids, Arisen Nightmare
One of my favorite interactions in Magic: The Gathering is making other players decide on triggering abilities. I love giving someone a tough decision, and when they take the easier option, I get value from it. Braids, Arisen Nightmare will do this sort of thing.
A mono-black Legendary Creature – Nightmare and costing three mana to cost, two black and one colorless, Braids having power and toughness of 3/3 is an alright start, but it gets way better. Braids will give you the option to sacrifice anything on your board to force your opponents to potentially do the same. If the opponent chooses not to sacrifice anything, you draw a card and they lose 2 life. If you can create permanents you don’t mind sacrificing, or something that gives you value for sacrificing, then your opponents will be picking apart their own board constantly. If they decide not to go that route they will bleed themselves out while giving you plenty of card draw and fuel for future turns.
Playing a black deck also gives plenty of options for grave recursion and retrieving all those sacrificed permanents you may have gotten rid of. On top of all this, Braids’ ability says “you may”, meaning you can really pick and choose which of your end steps you want this to happen. (RS)
Another powerful card from the set, Vesuvan Duplimancy is the first card on this list that isn’t a creature. It comes with a converted mana cost of four, three of that being colorless and one blue. This mono-blue enchantment would do crazy things in a deck that runs a mechanic anything similar to Volo, Guide to Monsters. Copying permanents on your board to start getting double value is always great, yet when you can start copying legendary permanents, and potentially multiple times, things can get out of hand quickly.
I would aim to be playing this alongside green, with cards like Nyxbloom Ancient, then using cheap cantrips like low-cost protection enchantments to target your own creatures, which will then make more copies. Eventually, this will give you insane amounts of mana, which you can then use to draw your whole deck or cast big devastating spells, finishing off your opponents in an overwhelming manner. (RS)
Defiler of Vigor
This next card is not messing around. It has that signature mono-green feel all over it, only coming in at a total mana cost of five – two of that being green and the rest colorless – but with a power and toughness still 6/6 and equipped with Trample. Defiler of Vigor is a powerhouse, a Creature – Phyrexian Wurm like an extremely fun card to play.
Green loves to get big scary creatures out, and not only does the Defiler help do this by reducing the mana cost of green permanents by paying life, it also helps make any smaller creatures you have get buffed and become big and scary themselves, as it also puts a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control after casting a green permanent spell. That is actually crazy.
Be sure to run big green permanent spells in this deck, along with maybe some mana dorks to get going that you can then make bigger later on. A little life gain option wouldn’t hurt either, as you may start noticing the life add up to reduce your other spells. (RS)
Sheoldred, the Apocalypse
The second mono-black card to make the list, this Legendary Creature – Phyrexian Praetor is scary even just to look at. Sheoldred comes with a converted mana cost of four, two of which is black and the rest colorless. Its power and toughness are 4/5 and it’s equipped with Deathtouch, making it no small creature to mess with.
Not only does it have pretty decent base stats, but its triggered abilities are so basic but awesome that this card can’t be ignored. Usually, card drawing for black means paying your own life. However, Sheoldred switches that up and makes it so that when you draw a card, you gain life, helping negate some of the life you may end up paying in the first place and just generally helping to replenish your life overall. Meanwhile, the second triggered ability this card has will punish opponents and make them pay life whenever they draw. Look to pair this with wheel effects and anything that makes your opponents draw for a great deck mechanic. (RS)
Shivan Devastator is quite a simple, cheap card. However that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own cool perks. It is a Creature – Dragon Hydra with Flying and Haste that costs one red and X colorless mana, and is boosted by the amount you spend when casting the card. It is very beginner-friendly, as you can use it on almost every turn, which comes in handy when you are just starting out. It enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it.
It is also surprisingly good for the end-game. If you do manage to get it near the end, it can pressure your opponent immediately, forcing them to counter with an Instant spell or lose the game. It is quite the versatile card, and that is what makes it dangerous. (Luna Meschiari)
Temporary Lockdown is an interesting card that provides value in both the attack and the defense part of the game. It can be used as a board wipe, but it can even protect your permanents if used properly. How it works is that it exiles all nonland permanents with a mana value of two or less when used. The permanents stay exiled until Temporary Lockdown is in play.
This card is incredibly useful against mono-white aggro and Rakdos midrange decks. Alongside those, it is quite effective against mono-black zombies and mono-blue delver decks. Temporary Lockdown should be great against any kind of fast aggressive start by a creature-focused deck. (LM)
Ajani, Sleeper Agent
Ajani went from being all righteous and caring about justice to becoming a sleeper agent for the Pyrexians. Ajani, Sleeper Agent is a Legendary Planeswalker that costs one white, one green, one white or green and one colorless for a total converted mana cost of four. The interesting thing here is that Ajani is Compleated, meaning you can choose to pay two life instead of one white or green mana. When you pay life, Ajani will enter the battlefield with two fewer loyalty counters.
Ajani, Sleeper Agent has three loyalty abilities. Its +1 loyalty ability reveals the top card of your library; if a creature or Planeswalker is revealed, it is added to your hand. Otherwise, you can choose to put the revealed card on the bottom of your deck. For -3 loyalty, you can distribute three +1/+1 counters among up to three target creatures, and they gain Vigilance until end of turn.
The final trick up Ajani’s sleeve is his ultimate ability of -6 loyalty, which gives you an emblem which applies two poison counters to your enemy for every creature or planeswalker you play. This could be a game ending strategy as once you get 10 poison counters, you’re defeated. In other words, because Ajani’s ability provides two poison counters, it only needs to be done 5 times and you’re walking out a winner. But then again, it is also easier said than done. (LM)
Weatherlight Compleated is a Legendary Artifact – Vehicle. Basically, it is a sinister airship which is quite cool in itself. How it works is that when a creature you control dies, the airship gets a counter. Once the airship has gotten four or more counters, it becomes a Phyrexian creature in addition to its other types.
There is more though: whenever you place a counter on Weatherlight Compleated, you scry 1, meaning you can look at the top card of your library and then choose to put it at the bottom or the top. When you get to seven or more counters on the card, you can draw a card every time you place a counter on it. (LM)
Liliana of the Veil
Liliana of the Veil has been reprinted, and it is amazing yet again. It is quite effective as it’s a cheap mana cost card, costing only two black and one colorless mana for a total of three. She is a Legendary Planeswalker with three loyalty abilities: her +1 loyalty ability sees both players discard a card. For -2 loyalty, a target opponent sacrifices a creature. Her ultimate ability costs -6 loyalty, and allows you to separate all of your opponent’s permanents into two piles, forcing them to choose which pile of permanents they want to keep.
Liliana will thrive in certain settings and formats, but will struggle a bit in others. That is what makes her super cool though, as she’s not an overpowered character that demolishes everything in her path with little to no issue. Not overpowered, but can win you tons of games if you learn how to play her, and it is also incredibly fun! (LM)
Urborg Repossession provides an immense amount of value packed into a single sorcery. It costs only one black mana, with a Kicker cost of one green and one colorless. When the spell is played as normal, Urborg Repossession allows you to return a creature card from your graveyard to your hand, and restores two life. Quite a few black spells cost life, so having a cheap spell that can give you some instead is a nice change.
If you pay the kicker cost, you can also return an additional permanent card from your graveyard to your hand. This could be any creature, Planeswalker, artifact, or enchantment, so even if the most powerful cards in your deck aren’t specifically creatures, Urborg Repossession can help you get some extra mileage out of them. (Matthew Rawle)
A Creature – Ape Shaman that costs three green mana and two colorless, Silverback Elder has a strong 5/7 statline and multiple effects that can have a major impact. Whenever you cast a creature spell with Silverback Elder on the battlefield, you can choose to destroy an artifact or enchantment, gain four life, or look at the top five cards in your library and put a land card from among them onto the battlefield tapped. Further, you can choose the same option more than once each turn – you are limited only by the number of creatures in your hand and how much mana you have available.
Silverback Elder isn’t going to win games by itself, but it is all around a solid card that provides a lot of utility, which is exactly the sort of thing you want in the mid-to-late game. (MR)
Sometimes, your opponent will play a Planeswalker or creature that you might not have the resources to deal with, or you just don’t want to see. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to just take that card and put it somewhere else? Enter Rona’s Vortex, an Instant that costs one blue mana, and has a Kicker cost of two colorless mana and one black mana. When cast in its regular form, Rona’s Vortex returns a creature or Planeswalker you don’t control to its owner’s hand. However, if you pay the Kicker cost – and this is where it gets fun – the offending creature or Planeswalker is placed on the bottom of their library.
Typically, cards like Rona’s Vortex allow the target’s controller to put it on the top or bottom of their library, so sending it directly to the bottom is a definite advantage. If your opponent plays a Titan of Industry, Hullbreaker Horror, or some other big creature that will make your life difficult, Rona’s Vortex can at least buy you a little bit of time so that you can find a proper answer for it. (MR)
The Cruelty of Gix
The Cruelty of Gix has a very appropriate name. It is an Enchantment – Saga with Read Ahead, which allows you to start from any chapter, with a converted mana cost of five – two black and three colorless. The first chapter allows you to look at your opponent’s hand and choose a creature or planeswalker for them to discard. The second allows you to search your library for a card to add to your hand, though whether you choose to or not, you’ll be paying three life. The third and final chapter allows you to choose a creature in a graveyard and put it onto the battlefield under your control.
If your opponent has a particularly powerful card in their hand, you can force them to discard it. If there’s a card that you need for a specific situation, you can directly pull it from your library. You can then use the creature you caused your opponent to discard, or any other creature in their graveyard, against them, or you can bring back a powerful creature from your own graveyard.
While The Cruelty of Gix does take multiple turns to get full value out of, and paying five mana to look at your opponent’s hand and discard a creature or Planeswalker is massively overcosted by itself, it ultimately provides a ton of value for a single card. (MR)
Danitha, Benalia’s Hope
While Danitha, Benalia’s Hope is a bit understatted for her cost – she is a Legendary Creature – Human Knight with a converted cost of five mana, one white and four colorless and a 4/4 statline – her keywords and effect immediately make her a major threat. She has First Strike, Lifelink, and Vigilance, a combination that ensures she is very difficult to kill through combat, is constantly healing, and always gives you something to block with, but her additional effect makes her even stronger.
When Danitha enters the battlefield, you may put an Aura or Equipment card from your hand or graveyard onto the battlefield attached to Danitha, immediately making her more powerful. There are so many options: Hero’s Heirloom would give her +2/+1, Trample, and Haste; Security Bypass would prevent her from being blocked as long as she attacks alone; Eater of Virtue would become seriously empowered if she dies while it is equipped.
She may not have the biggest statline, but if your opponent can’t find an answer, Danitha is powerful enough to single-handedly win you the game. (MR)
What are your favorite cards from Dominaria United? Are there any creatures or spells from the set that synergize well with your existing decks?