Everything We Learned In Magic: The Gathering’s Dominaria United Sneak Preview

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  • Showcase Art Styles
  • Legendary Creatures Aplenty
  • Legends Retold
  • Lost Legends
  • Dominaria United: Jumpstart
  • Dominaria United’s Commander Decks

Wizards of the Coast has lifted the lid on Magic: The Gathering’s next major set, Dominaria United. Kicking off the game’s 30th anniversary celebrations, it’s bringing back Magic’s original setting of Dominaria, and a cast of characters we’ve not seen in far, far too long.

While the sneak preview didn’t reveal any new mechanics, we saw lots of interesting art styles, reimagined characters, and some of the most gorgeous lands we’ve ever had. Here’s everything we saw in the Dominaria United sneak preview event.

Showcase Art Styles

Ever since 2019’s Throne of Eldraine, each Magic set has featured at least one ‘showcase’ art style. Some have been better than others, but Dominaria United is bringing back one we’ve not seen outside of a Secret Lair promotion: Stained-Glass Treatment.

Basic lands in the set will feature this art style in full-frame treatments by Magali Villeneuve. They’re highly reminiscent of the Theros: Beyond Death constellation lands with the large land icon dominating the centre of the card, but these are integrated into vistas from across Dominaria. These are available in foil and non-foil printings, and will be found in all kinds of booster packs, including Draft, Set, Collector’s and the new Jumpstart packs.

The lands aren’t the only cards to be getting the stained-glass treatment, though. One other card was shown off with it, and it’s one of the returning Planeswalkers for the set: Jaya, Fiery Negotiator. The effect here is a lot more subtle, with Jaya herself being in a normal level of detail and only the background being in the stained-glass style. However, Wizards has already confirmed we’ll be seeing more of this style throughout the full preview season next month.

Legendary Creatures Aplenty

As Dominaria is where Magic began, and where it stayed for most of its first few years, it’s become home to a lot of characters who play major parts in its lore such as Karn, Liliana Vess, Jaya, Braids, Ajani, and Teferi. 2018’s Dominaria had a legendary-matters theme with a huge number of legendary creatures, and Dominaria United is continuing that tradition.

Every single Dominaria United booster pack has at least one legendary card, with 40 of those being legendary creatures.

This does seem to imply that there will be other kinds of legendary spells as well; aside from planeswalkers, our last trip to Dominaria also featured legendary instants, sorceries, enchantments, and artifacts. We also just saw legendary lands in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, so maybe we’ll be seeing some more come in Dominaria United as well.

Legends Retold

Box toppers are promo cards that are bundled in with booster boxes, and are often some of the rarest and most valuable cards in the set. For Dominaria United, rather than just be an alternate version of one of the set’s cards, Wizards is ‘reimagining’ legendary creatures from 1994’s Legends set and upgrading them for the modern day.

Many of Magic’s oldest legendary creatures are rather naff by today’s standard. For example, Ramirez DePietro cost six mana for a 4/3 with first strike and no other abilities. On the other hand, Legends Retold’s Ramirez DePietro is a 4/3 that costs just four mana, makes Treasure tokens, and lets you steal cards off of the top of your opponents’ libraries by dealing damage with Pirates.

The other two Legends Retold cards confirmed so far are the vanilla tribal commander Jasmine Boreal of the Seven, and the damage boosting Rakdos (red/black) Tor Wauki the Younger. There are said to be another 17 on offer in booster boxes as box toppers, or in Collector’s boosters in both non-foil and etched-foil editions.

These are not part of the main Dominaria United set, and won’t be Standard-legal, but it gives Wizards a chance to revisit some characters who have been previously tied up in the Reserved List – a policy that prevents Wizards from reprinting certain cards from early in Magic’s history.

Lost Legends

Legends Retold isn’t the only way Wizards is looking back on 1994’s Legends. Allegedly, it uncovered a lost stockpile of Legends booster packs in a warehouse in Washington, and has carefully cracked every pack to include cards from them in three precent of all Dominaria United Collector’s boosters.

While some cards from Legends aren’t being included, such as those barred from the game for being racist or problematic, there is still an incredibly small chance that you might pull a $4,000 cards like The Tabernacle of Pendrell Vale.

Whether the story about there being a lost trove of Legends booster packs is true or just a way to side-step the Reserved List by claiming they’re not reprints, this is possibly the only way many newer players will ever get their hands on cards from Legends.

Dominaria United: Jumpstart

Dominaria United is doing away with Theme boosters, and replacing them with a brand-new type of pack called a Jumpstart booster. Based on 2020’s popular Jumpstart set (and the upcoming Jumpstart 2022), each Dominaria United: Jumpstart pack will be themed around one of ten themes.

By taking two 20-card packs, adding a few lands, and shuffling them together, you’ve got a ready-made deck you can play straight away. Each set’s Jumpstart boosters will be designed with earlier sets in mind, allowing you to mix Dominaria United, Brothers’ War, Jumpstart 2022, and other future packs together for a constantly expanding limited format.

While we don’t know what each of these themes do mechanically, Wizards has named all ten themes you’ll find in Dominaria United’s Jumpstart packs:

ColourTheme #1Theme #2
WhiteCoalition CorpsCoalition Legions
BlueMystic MischiefArcane Mischief
BlackTotally RuthlessTotally Merciless
RedReady to ChargeReady to Attack
GreenBeast TerritoryMonster Territory

Dominaria United’s Commander Decks

As with all Standard sets these days, Dominaria United is coming with a collection of Commander preconstructed decks. It seems almost quaint to have just two decks after the four of Baldur’s Gate and the five of Streets of New Capenna, but what we’ve got on offer here sounds incredible.

Though we don’t know the specific cards for either deck yet, we do know each is being fronted by a huge name in Magic’s lore. The Mardu (black/white/red) Legends’ Legacy is being led by Geyadrone Dihada (last seen in Modern Horizons 2), and the title suggests some kind of Legends-matters theme that opens the chance for this to be stuffed full of potential commanders to take out and build for.

The second deck is a rarity for preconstructed decks: it’s all five colours. Simply named ‘Painbow’, this deck will be led by a new Jared Carthalion card (who was last seen in Commander Legends). Five-colour decks are often difficult for newcomers to play with, and the last time we saw one was in 2017’s Draconic Domination deck led by a creature that has become a big name in Commander in the years since: The Ur-Dragon.

Unusually, Dominaria United is breaking from the tradition of revealing the Commander decks after the main set’s previews have already finished. Instead, both decks will be the first major reveals, with Jared and Dihada being revealed on August 18 at the Wizards Presents showcase, and the rest of the decks coming the day after on August 19.

Dominaria United’s story will be released through the official Magic website between August 10 and August 18. That same day is the Wizards Presents showcase, which will serve as the set’s debut stream and the start of its formal spoiler season until August 26.

Dominaria United launches on MTG Arena and Magic Online on September 1, with the tabletop release following on September 9.

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