On the penultimate day of Magic: The Gathering’s Dominaria United season preview, it’s worth sitting back and appreciating what this group has to offer. After two radically new collections set in bold and modern settings, it’s good to return to the world of traditional fantasy magic. Filled with returning faces and deep cuts to ancient witchcraft lore, it’s a homecoming for any Vorthos. It’s also a shockingly strong group, with this new standard format getting the borderline juicy broken cards we’ve been lacking in the past year.
Day 7 of the Dominaria United season preview gave us a new Legendary Captain to play with, the Izzet wizard (red/blue) that will make your arrogant decks more aggressive, and a Blue wizard that will easily be a new mixed engine to watch. Here are the best cards revealed on the penultimate day of Dominaria United previews.
Three magic one blue:
Whenever you cast a spell that targets only one artifact or creature that you control, create a token that represents a copy of that artifact or creature, except it’s not legendary.
Sometimes when you read a card, its potential hits you in waves. It starts off as “Wow, that’s like Orvar the All-Form from Kaldheim.” He then proceeds to “Wait, Orvar was easily the best legendary creature in that group, and that only costs four mana.”
Then it occurs to you that there is another Dominaria United card that you will love: Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief. Suddenly, you’re spending quite a few cheap mana value spells to make a lot of copies of Ivy, with each additional Ivy copying these spells each time, before you drop a big battle on them all and smash them. It’s not exactly an endless combination, but with Vesuvan Duplimancy, you’ll be setting yourself up for a big turn pretty quickly.
In a collection filled with scattered bombs and new basic gadgets, Vesuvan Duplimancy is probably the fiercest one of them all.
White mythical creature, one blue, one black, one red, green mythical creature – human wizard – 5/5:
The mythical beings you control get +X/+X, where X is the number of mythical beings you control.
Whenever you cast a legendary spell from your hand, banish cards from the top of your library until you banish a non-ground legendary card with lower mana value. You can send this card without paying the Mana cost. Put the rest at the bottom of your library in random order.
One of Dominaria’s most famous names is back to offer us a slightly discounted version of Kaldheim’s Prismatic Bridge, but with a big bonus if you manage to run a lot of mythical creatures.
The second ability is sequencing in all but the name, which gives you a way to trick cheaper, legendary extra-terrestrial characters into playing just one team. This would have been a nice effect in WUBRG, but adding an increase in size as the number of Legends you play might make this a much more effective Legendary Theme Leader even than this group’s previous leader, Dihada, Bender of Wills.
Palmor, captain of the battleship
Blue and red mythical creature – witch sparrow – 1/3:
Whenever you cast an instant spell or magic spell, the creatures you control get +1/+0 and stomp until the end of the turn.
Balmor is a hallmark of Dominaria’s blue/red spell archetype, as he’d be a horrific force to contend with in a lot of Standard and Pioneer decks.
Once this card was revealed, a lot of people were comparing it to Adeliz, Cinder Wind from our recent trip to Dominaria. However, Balmor is likely to be more effective in a variety of decks: in spell-casters it’s a winning condition, it costs less than Adeliz, and it’s not just about improving wizard’s creatures.
With the number of cheap moments and magic that this standard incoming format has, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Balmor would be an incredibly powerful way to lock down the game on its own. It’s not as if your opponent can stop you from appearing, since you can continue to cast instant spells on any takedown they cast at you.
Elas I– Kaur Haji Sadie
White mythical creature, black one – Phyrexian Kor Cleric – 2/2:
Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you gain one life.
When another creature you control dies, each opponent loses one life.
Although Zendikar Rising spins off the standard, this Kor Priest is a nice reminder of the fun we had there before. Re-hint from the famous Soul Sisters model to Standard, Elas I– Core will love both the white-producing soldier archetype in this collection, as well as the aristocrats and sacrifice subthemes of black.
While it’s great to see Phyrexian Kor, Elas’ power doesn’t feel much greater than the non-legendary cards we’ve seen in the past, such as Kor Celebrant and Bastion of Remembrance. Could the standard have broken so much had Elas not been legendary?
It pairs very well with The Meathook Massacre (once you’ve already cleared the board), though, which could unlock some daunting synergies even without Elas’ doubling ability.
One year, one green moment:
Kicker: One year, one black
Exile is an artifact or magic. If this spell is cast off, the Exile targets the non-wild lands permanently instead.
Weak return to nature. Guaranteed a place in the next tournament with the release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, only to become almost completely redundant with Tear Asunder.
Banishing an artifact or magic for two mana is really incredible, but being able to permanently banish any non-earth instead makes this one of the best black/green removal tools in the current format. If you need something really gone, this is the way to do it.
Of course, Tear Asunder doesn’t have a cemetery hatred of returning to nature, which still gives it some benefit. Not much, and we’ll likely see a lot more of it now, but at least it’s not exactly old.