Dominaria United Previews Offer Clues For Limited

Andy “Icky” Ferguson makes his SCG debut with a look into the Dominaria United previews for Limited. What clues do the MTG mechanics and commons have for us?

Vineshaper Prodigy
Vineshaper Prodigy, illustrated by Inka Schulz

Preview season for Dominaria United is upon us, and nostalgia is in the air. Before we delve into the new set mechanics, stand-out cards, and early takes, I wanted to take a brief moment to appreciate some of the finer details of the new set.

Not only does Dominaria United offer some of the most beautiful basic lands this side of the plane, it has a rich history of amazing stories and characters who we have seen grow alongside ourselves. Dominaria is the only plane to span the timeline of Magic: The Gathering in its entirety, starting with Alpha and running all the way to the present day, which makes it a pretty special place.

What does this mean to you, the Limited player? “Andy, I am but a humble drafter. How does this improve my win rate?” Well, it doesn’t, but it’s important to take some time to enjoy the true beauty of the game, the amazing history it has created, and the memories it has instilled in you, and prepare your body for a hit of nostalgia right in your Thrulls. Sol’kanar the Swamp King from Legends? Sure, why not. Sheoldred? Yep. Squee? But of course. Teferi, Karn, and the gang are sure to be here, but the peripheral characters are the ones I’m most excited to see again!

Sol'kanar the Swamp King Sol'Kanar the Tainted

The Early View

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk Limited.

After Streets of New Capenna and Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate, it feels a bit like we’re coming out of the dark ages. I know I’ve got a handful of leeches and a lit candle ready to move towards the Renaissance (hopefully). If you’re anything like me, a new Limited set on the horizon always gives me some butterflies in my stomach. It’s the same feeling I remember opening packs of 4th Edition with friends, or sitting down for a Mirrodin Prerelease. If that feeling goes away, that’s probably my cue to take a break from Magic. But I don’t anticipate that happening anytime soon, so join me, get out your net, and let’s go catch some butterflies!

Dominaria United Mechanics


Territorial Maro Herd Migration Voda Sea Scavenger

I heard you like Dominaria, so we put some domain in your Dominaria so you can…well, you get the gist. The first mechanic to discuss is domain, which has a lot of different ways it can work. Essentially the domain value will be equal to the number of different basic land types you control: Plains, Island, Swamp, etc. So far we have only seen this mechanic shown on creatures, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it pops up on artifacts, lands, planeswalkers, or enchantments.

This indicates to me that there will be some form of three-plus-color value deck to build, likely with a base of green, as is tradition. These kinds of “Soup” decks are amazingly fun to draft, build, and play – though they are almost always the most difficult to navigate in each respective area. We also have yet to see mana-fixing outside of green, aside from the rare painlands. I think it’s fair to assume Wizards of the Coast (WotC) will provide us with, at the very least, a Pilgrim’s Eye or Evolving Wilds. [Copy Editor’s Note: As predicted, Inscribed Tablet received its official preview after the author’s deadline.]


Yavimaya Steelcrusher

Our second new mechanic, enlist, turns your smaller-sized creatures into high-power threats. Enlist reads: “As this creature attacks, you may tap a nonattacking creature you control without summoning sickness. When you do, add its power to this creature’s until end of turn.” At the time of writing this, there are only two colors featuring the highly aggressive enlist mechanic, and to nobody’s surprise, it’s the aggro tag team of white and red. I would not be surprised if a black card pops up here or there with this mechanic, but I wouldn’t really expect it to be showing up on any blue or green cards.

This mechanic rewards the aggressor, and will most definitely punish some of the slower, multicolor decks by forcing bad trades to preserve their life totals. I’ll be on the lookout to see if they print an enlist creature with first strike, because that seems extremely annoying.


Tolarian Geyser Rona's Vortex Vineshaper Prodigy

Kicker should be a familiar mechanic by now, first introduced in the Invasion block – one of the most fun blocks to draft, but I digress. In general, kicker cards are underpowered to average for their base cost, and above average to very good when kicked. The ability to play either version is often hard to put an exact value on, but a wise man once told me, “Options are good.” One thing to note about the kicker cards thus far is that the kicker costs seem to indicate that all ten two-color pairings will be supported.

Stun Counters

Impede Momentum Stall for Time

Stun counters are not a new mechanic per se, but a new name for a previously unnamed mechanic. There have been plenty of cards with this mechanic, and normally they fit in the blue color pie. A few of my Limited favorites include Chillbringer, Juvenile Mist Dragon, and Frost Breath. Stun is very reminiscent of the “paralyze” mechanic from Pokémon, and I personally plan on adding “paralyze” to my own vernacular.

Notable Commons

Though the set has yet to be fully previewed, I wanted to take a moment to talk about a few individual cards I already have my eyes on. I’ll stick to commons for the time being, as we’ll see them most… commonly.

Take Up the Shield

Take Up the Shield

I think this trick will be underrated for at least the first couple of weeks. Don’t let others passing this card late fool you into thinking this is just your average trick – this card slices and dices! Tricks that leave behind a counter have the potential to warp the entire game, especially on the play. Not only that, but if anyone remembers Blessed Defiance from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, lifelink can lead to gigantic, game-ending combat steps.

In addition, Take Up the Shield can simply act as a protection spell via the indestructible clause. Lastly, this pairs incredibly well with the new mechanic, enlist, leading to huge life swings as well as protecting your recruiting threat.

Voda Sea Scavenger

Voda Sea Scavenger

While I’m not overly impressed by Voda Sea Scavenger, it certainly looks to be a solid playable. The floor on this card is three mana for a 3/2 with scry 1. The ceiling, however, especially late-game, makes this card very powerful, allowing you to filter lands out and dig for your win condition. Blue appears to be a slower, more controlling color in Dominaria United, and this Merfolk will be happy to trade with your opponents’ threats while scavenging some value via pseudo-scry.

Toxic Abomination

Toxic Abomination

Toxic Abomination will be highly contextual to the set, but I want to keep my eyes on it. One thing that I loved to do in Streets of New Capenna was simply play a bunch of Crooked Custodians with removal, bounce, and tapping effects. This card may turn out to be truly toxic, but it could end up being a really awesome tempo player for aggressive black decks!

Yavimaya Steelcrusher

Yavimaya Steelcrusher

I’ll go a different route and not name Lightning Strike as the standout common thus far. I’m very curious about the enlist mechanic. The floor on this creature is solid enough, and though we haven’t seen many artifacts, it’s still a 2/2 that can enlist some help from a friend. If the enlist mechanic is strong, and my gut tells me it will be, this Ape will be a solid inclusion in almost every aggressive red deck.

Vineshaper Prodigy

Vineshaper Prodigy

As an avid Joraga Visionary enthusiast, this card seems like a true prodigy. Though it is technically two colors, its base is green, allowing you to easily throw an Island in the deck to enable this green-thumbed virtuoso. This isn’t quite Organ Hoarder levels of broken, but it will certainly be one of green’s best commons this set.

It’s still too early to tell what’s fully in store for Limited in Dominaria United, but I like where it’s headed! I’m always excited by sets that seem to support all ten guilds, as well as options to be aggressive, controlling, or midrange. Next week we will have even more previews to analyze, so stay tuned!