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MTG: Dominaria United Draft Tips and Tricks

I've been playing Magic: The Gathering for some time, and today I want to share my tricks.

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About the Dominaria United Expansion and the 30th Anniversary Celebration of MTG!

Dominaria United is the 93rd expansion for Magic and is set, as the name suggests, on the plane of Dominaria. This plane is the birthplace of Magic: The Gathering and hosted most of the game's early sets. Many stories and legendary characters intertwine their fate here, creating the main lore of MTG—just think of characters like Urza or the crew of the Weatherlight, the creation of Karn, the Mending or the Phyrexian menace.

Dominaria United is the beginning of a new story arc that will focus on the Phyrexian threat and allow us to relive this incredible story through the cards.
Additionally, this expansion set will be the start of Magic: The Gathering's 30th anniversary celebration.

For the occasion, inside the Collector Booster, it will be possible to find an original card from the Legends Set (1994). The probability will be around 3%, and it will undoubtedly be an incredible journey through time for longtime fans.

Notable Mechanics in Dominaria United

  • Enlist
  • Read Ahead Sagas
  • Domain
  • Kicker

Enlist

Enlist is a mechanic that takes inspiration from the old "Banding" mechanic.
Banding allowed creatures to unite in a regiment and fight as a single entity. The problem with the mechanic was the complexity of assigning combat damage or handling other game situations.

Enlist takes what was good in the initial design and simplifies it in execution. We will be able to tap a creature to allow the creature with Enlist to increase its offensive strength. Unfortunately, it will not allow us to enhance its defence, so it will be necessary to carefully choose the best combinations. On the bright side, it allows for aggressive play and can break stalemates on the battlefield.

Read Ahead Sagas

Have you ever played a Saga card just for one effect and had to wait a few turns to get it? Read Ahead is the mechanic that allows you to choose the initial chapter.
This way, you can skip the first few chapters and choose your favourite effect.

The mechanic is very flexible and allows you to play a Saga card for three chapters, two chapters or just one. This allows you to choose the best combination based on the situation, and you won't be stuck waiting for turns. The best use for Saga cards is to activate sequentially to all chapters, but in certain situations, an immediate response to the opponent is required.

This mechanic will be exclusive to Dominaria United and does not replace the way Saga cards work.

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Domain

Domain is a mechanic from Dominaria's past and focuses on accessing different basic lands. The more basic land types in play under our control, the better the effects available.

The types of effects will be variable, such as giving a creature + X / + X or inflicting X damage to a target. This mechanic offers scalar effects up to a maximum of five. As you might guess, the more the better.

The Domain mechanic is fun and has a good level of flexibility in terms of gameplay. In support, a set of common Taplands with basic land types have also been introduced. Depending on our access to the different basic land types, this mechanic may prefer a slightly slower-than-normal play style.

Kicker

Kicker is the second mechanic from Dominaria's past and is one of the best mechanics possible. The Kicker cost is extremely versatile and allows us to use excess mana to make spells more powerful.

In this case, the activation costs of Kicker are generally "off-colour", ie. different from the base colour of the spell. This is a nod to the "Invasion" expansion set, where Dominaria was first invaded by the Phyrexian menace. In terms of lore, it represents the entire population of Dominaria uniting against the invasion.

Specifically, this is not only a nostalgia effect but also a gameplay effect, where we will be encouraged to play more colours than usual—even if only for a splash of colour.

Like Domain, Kicker also has a way to express itself better in a slower metagame. In general, this expansion has a somewhat slower pace or "Tempo" factor than in other Limited environments.

Should You Draft One-Colour, Two-Colour or Tricolour Decks?

Reading the main mechanics of the expansion, it is evident that we are facing a slowdown in the speed of play and that the increase in colours in the decks will be a positive factor. In this Limited environment, playing single-colour decks is not recommended as you lose access to many synergies. Also, due to the access to common rarity tap lands, there are no solid reasons for choosing a single-colour deck over bicoloured ones.

Understanding Splash

The general archetypes are based on colour pairs, but it won't be strange to see a third or fourth colour added as splash. The term "splash" in MTG means the insertion of a few cards with a high mana value of a colour other than the main ones in the deck; for example, it could be a 4G cost card in a UB deck or a 5B cost card in a WR deck. Usually, the coloured cost is limited to one mana of a specific colour.

This is usually done when there are cross synergies within a set or to make up for shortcomings in the Limited pool of cards. In this case, it's the synergies between the mechanics that push us to the splash of additional colours. If you are considering adding colour as a splash, make sure you have at least 3 or 4 sources for the required colour. They can be lands, mana rocks or mana dork.

ColorArchetype/Main Theme

WU

Aggro with token creation and buff spells support

UB

Control deck based on card advantage

BR

Aggro deck with sacrifice support

RG

Midrange with ramp and Domain support

GW

Aggro with token creation and Domain support

WB

Control-ish deck with token generation and removals

BG

Midrange deck with graveyard synergies

GU

Tempo deck with Kicker and Domain support

UR

Tempo deck with spell-slinging support

RW

"Slith" Aggro deck with spells/direct damage support

Colours in Dominaria United vs. New Capenna

An important factor that differentiates Dominaria United Limited from that of New Capenna is the fact that we will not have synergies linked to three specific colours (one central and two support), but we will be free to choose depending on the pool of cards. In some extreme cases, if the card pool allows, you could choose a pair of colours and add up to three splash colours.

The splash might just be limited to the Kicker cost of some cards. In this way, we will be able to regularly cast our spells if necessary in the early game and get additional bonuses in the late game.

To do this, we will need to have access to tap lands with basic land types and some other colour-fixing cards. Some Green-based decks will be able to do this, such as the Green-Blue pair.

© 2022 Christian Allasia

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