Standard Set Review: Dominaria United

Magic: the Gathering

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Standard Set Review: Dominaria United

08/30/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

Dominaria United brings much new stuff and taking down old sets from the format, with this the entire Metagame is affected. Today, we'll analyze its effects on Standard!

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Dominate United and Standard

The best time to start in Magic

Dominaria Unitedlink outside website is coming, and with it the new Standard, also known as the best time of year to start playing Magic! With fewer sets to master and a whole new Metagame to explore, it's easier to bring new players into the hobby, so I welcome you if you're new here, and I hope this article helps to understand the game a bit deeper. Please don't hesitate to comment on the article with your questions and suggestions, it helps us bring more relevant content to readers. Now without further ado, let's get to the set analysis.

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The Set

This set arrived demonstrating some possible archetypes, and old ones known to more experienced players, such as the ever-present Mono-Green and Mono-Red, but also archetypes that we haven't seen in a while, such as Izzet Spells. These early mono-color experiments are common, as we lose the Pathways' manabase, but naturally, we gain more decks of two or more colors as new sets add new lands to the format. Even so, we can expect to see decks in allied colors, especially on slower decks like Control and Midrange, as we will still have access to the Streets of New Capenna's Triomes. When analyzing cards by color, I'll comment on which decks, or archetypes, they will be able to see play in, whether it's decks that have survived rotation or new format.

White

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Here we have the new Elite Spellbinder, and as our PV is saying goodbye to the format with the departure of Strixhaven, this card fits greatly in Mono-White Aggro, and can probably also add to Midrange and Control decks. Although it doesn't have Spellbinder's evasion, this card can be promising in terms of control, as it allows us to name any card to increase their cost or activation, making it a bit more versatile when it comes to delaying opponents' game.
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Boros Aggro is a deck that will survive rotation, and here might be an interesting piece for its sideboard. By having evasion and the option to deal direct damage with the Kicker, this card can either be a finisher by itself, or even open the path on opposing defenses, allowing our troops to pass through more easily. I also see it playing in control decks, like a future Mardu Control, or even some Jeskai, for example.
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Behold the Lurrus of the Dream-Den with wings! This card will help give Aggro decks more breath, as Lurrus was in her day, so Boros Aggro, Mono-White, and perhaps a future Selesnya could benefit greatly from it. I still see some Control or Midrange deck emerging with enchantments and Sagas, using Borrowed Time, Era of Enlightenment among others, as we will have in the format Hallowed Haunting, a strong card that gains the reinforcement of Serra Paragon now in Dominaria United.
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With so many Aggros growing up in the format this early season, Temporary Lockdown might be an excellent card to have in the Control's main deck. This is also an option to use with Serra Paragon if it's destroyed. This enchantment is an amazing sweeper, and quite reasonably replaces Kaldheim's Doomskar, keeping Azorius Control working on this season.

Blue

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I just loved the design of this card, allowing Control decks to gain resources and card advantage, while for opponents to draw cards with it won't be much of an advantage. It could be a very interesting option for the Azorius Control that I mentioned earlier, or it will still be a valuable card for an archetype that seems to have some breathing room this season, Azorius Flash.

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We already have interesting cards for this archetype like Spectral Adversary, The Wandering Emperor, Hullbreaker Horror and Memory Deluge, and we also got an interesting addition to this set with Leyline Binding.
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I see a Mono Blue Tempo coming to life with this new Curious Obsession, a critical card for the archetype, and also a good addition to the Izzet Spellslinger that is also being born, being a good protection for Balmor, Battlemage Captain which I will comment on later, also giving card advantage, and being an interesting piece in an aura deck with Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief.
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As I mentioned, Izzet Spellslinger might be a reality in Standard 2023, and this card is a very interesting piece for the deck, since it will lower the cost of spells and can still act as a finisher, as it has flying and can get huge while the game unfolds.

Black

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Although at the time of its first printing it didn't get much space, due to the oppressive Metagame for it, I believe that in this Standard 2023 this will be an interesting card for Midrange decks, be it a Mono Black version, or even a Rakdos version, or even a Grixis Control. We currently have reanimation support cards like Body Launderer, Junji, the Midnight Sky, Olivia, Crimson Bride and Tenacious Underdog, and we can still remove threats from opponents that are in graveyards with Graveyard Trespasser while draining life and attacking, so I believe Liliana might be a huge format staple from now onwards.
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Here I believe that we have a strong card for Aggro decks, or even Midrange, the possibility of playing more cards per turn, combined with the temporary buff with evasion will give a good advantage for aggressive strategies.
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A mass removal that can deal with indestructible creatures is something that Control decks tend to run, in which case I see this card acting on a Grixis Vampires, which will survive the rotation. The new cycle of type lands will make activating this card easier, and giving all creatures -3/-3 won't be a challenge in this deck.
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Another promising card for Aggro decks, especially for Mono Black, Evolved Sleeper is another Ascendant Spirit-style card that now drops from Standard, but with a crucial advantage for Aggro decks, it allows you to draw cards, which can be essential if the game goes on.
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I see Sheoldred fitting in well in Control strategies, having a large body and Deathtouch, which will mostly hold most opposing attacks. Also, the ability to passively deal damage or gain life as the game progresses is good for decks that need to make the game stretch into later turns.
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Cut Down is being seen by many as the set's Fatal Push, although its effect is worse than its predecessor, in many cases it will do just as well, especially to get rid of early threats from Aggro decks, fitting well into the season's Control and Midrange decks.

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This card might give a much-needed Card Advantage for aggressive strategies, and with cards like Sorin the Mirthless and Workshop Warchief in the format, I believe Stronghold Arena will see plenty of play in Black-Based decks.

Red

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Like the black Defiler, the red one will see a lot of play in the Aggro decks, and I see a Mono Red using it to end the game by making some creatures, but mainly attacking, as the First Strike makes it an incredibly powerful threat.
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This saga can be an interesting sweeper to put in Control decks like Grixis. The 2-like effect of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, the ability to put a dragon with flying into play, and the fact that you can choose which phase of the saga it starts with turns it into a decent replacement for The Meathook Massacre on this season's Main Deck.
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Another card that will shape up the Izzet Spellslinger archetype, this planeswalker creates monk tokens with Prowess, gives card advantage and has a game-winning ultimate. It can also see play in Mono Red Aggro, due to her -1 and -2 abilities, allowing a kind of draw and removing threats respectively, two essential abilities for this deck.
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I see Keldon Flamesage acting in a Mono Red Spellslinger version, with its ability similar to Dreadhorde Arcanist, combined with Enlist this card will be able to generate resources quickly, which is vital for this version. With cards like Arcane Bombardment, Alchemist's Gambit, Invoke Calamity, Manaform Hellkite and even the simple but efficient Lightning Strike in the format, this might be an interesting strategy.
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Speaking of Mono Red, here's an essential piece for this season's Aggro, as it returns from the graveyard for two mana and have evasion, this bird makes an excellent one-drop.
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Versatile cards always please me, especially when we talk about dragons, and here we see a beautiful example of that. Shivan Devastator can be an excellent two-drop for Aggro decks, or a very efficient six-drop for Midrange, even on the sideboard of some decks this card will be able to see play.
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A respectable mass removal that might fit Grixis Control well too, managing to pay the Kicker with blue and save a Vampire like Evelyn, the Covetous in the process is a huge plus. The activation cost with white makes this card even better, with the possibility of Jeskai decks being born in the future.

Green

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Probably the best Defiler of the cycle, being a 6/6 Trample for 5 mana is already a strong card, but the fact that it can grow along with your other creatures with each green permanent played, and the possibility of playing these spells with a discount makes it insane. Possibly, it will only see play in Mono Green Aggro, but as more green drops appear in the next sets, it tends to get better.

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A good partner for the green Defiler, this sort of Pelt Collector has a great advantage of passing its counters forward if it dies, this is very interesting to keep aggressive decks applying pressure on the board.
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I see this card more as a sideboard card, but a good piece due to its versatility allows it to get into several situations, whether to gain life against a more aggressive deck than yours, or to remove artifacts or enchantments that get in the way, or even ramping to cast better threats.

Multicolored

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Another key piece for the Izzet Spellslinger, its possible double evasion, with flying and trample, makes it extremely aggressive. An excellent two-drop when we have Delver of Secrets in the format.
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The option to turn cards like Borrowed Time into creatures with deathtouch, lifelink and hexproof and having Hallowed Haunting in the format opens an interesting path for an Esper Enchantments in the future.

Artifacts

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Golden Argosy allows Blink strategy to stay alive in the format, but I believe it will appear in a new, more aggressive guise, in Gruul for example. With Alliance, or even flickering a Titan of Industry when attacking, makes this card very interesting.
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Another option for sweeper, and with Defilers entering the format this piece can become a good side against Aggro decks like Mono Red, Mono Green but especially against Mono Black.
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Rakdos Anvil was a good deck last season, and I believe it gets a great extra piece with Weatherlight Compleated. Oni-Cult Anvil can sacrifice its own artifact creatures, and the Bloodtithe Harvester can sacrifice itself, causing Weatherlight to transform into a creature with some ease, and still allow for extra draws later on.

Lands

With the departure of the Pathways from Zendikar and Kaldheim, along with Strixhaven's duals, this new cycle becomes an almost mandatory option, which can make the format more aggressive.
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Conclusion

These are my first impressions of Dominaria United and its impact on Standard. The set will be officially released on September 9, 2022 and then we can get a better look at some of the cards I mentioned here in action. I remind you who are reading this article that the comment section is open, so leave your question or suggestion and see you in the next article!
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Muriloving

Magic player and content creator. A simple man, but who loves grandiose and fetched moves.

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