Decks and Boosters
Dominaria United has a full range of products including Commander Decks, Set Boosters, Collector Boosters (15 card packs) and Draft Boosters (15 card packs) similar to other sets within the Magic: The Gathering universe. But the team at Wizards of the Coast have also introduced a new pack, known as Jumpstart Boosters.
I remember going to one of the earlier PAX AUS events and heading to the table-top area to see what goes on away from the screen. It was here that I first got into Magic: The Gathering, with the use of a beginner deck, a 40-card starter pack that was basically a pre-built deck of one colour, allowing newcomers to just learn the gameplay without the need to spend time building a deck.
The JumpStart Booster packs work in a similar way. Each pack contains 20 playable cards in one colour, so players can simply purchase a couple of these JumpStart pack and get into a game. Without the need to build a deck, players can get right into some of the new (and returning) mechanics of the Dominaria United set.
New and returning Mechanics
Kicker: a returning mechanic that allows players to increase the card’s spell cost (if they choose to do so) to provide a bonus effect. Some of the cards with Kicker actually have two Kicker costs, allowing players with excess mana to cast some powerful spells. We previously revealed the Phyrexian Espionage card – a Sorcery spell that would normally allow players to simply draw two cards if cast at its normal mana cost (one Island plus 2 mana). But by paying the Kicker cost (one Swamp plus one mana) in addition to the usual spell cost, Phyrexian Espionage requires opponents to discard one of their cards. This could be particularly handy during mid-game when you think that an opponent is holding a powerful card that they were about to unleash.
Domain: another returning ability word that modifies an effect depending on the number of different basic lands a player controls. With a basic two-colour deck, this will mean that the effect will likely have double the effect, but players can certainly increase the power of this mechanic by adding in different coloured lands.
Enlist: this is a new keyword ability that allows a player to tap another non-attacking creature to add its power to the attacking creature. This enables players to use the strength of a card in the combat phase without actually placing it in harm's way.
Read Ahead: an ability found on the Saga cards in this set. A Saga with read ahead enters the battlefield on any chapter you want, meaning it enters with that many lore counters on it. These cards are therefore valid for up to three turns, depending on when you begin the Saga.
Stun Counters: these spells keep permanents (creatures, mostly) out of the action for an extended period – almost like a ‘miss a turn’ mechanic. This is a great mechanic for keeping those pesky dragon creatures disables whilst you’re waiting for your own flying creature (or a defender with reach) to appear on the battlefield.
Some old favourite Planeswalkers return in the Dominaria United set, each with a varying mana cost and range of spells
Liliana of the Veil (Black)
Jaya, Fiery Negotiator (Red)
Ajani, Sleeper Agent (Green and White)
Karn, Living Legacy (Colourless)
Like the most recent Magic: The Gathering set – Double Masters, the Dominaria United set features a range of dual colour lands. Of course, there are the usual single colour lands, but it is the art on the dual colour lands that truly impressed me.
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