Dominaria United: 5 First Impressions (Part 1 of 2)
Dominaria United Introduced Some Powerhouses
Did anyone else feel we had a reasonable amount of time between Dominaria United and the last set? Because I’ve been excited about this one. Funnily, the set only introduced a few cards that specifically appealed, but I’m still pleased by the shakeup.
And it has been quite the shakeup. A few cards are making serious waves, and at least one might see a ban. I’ve played with the cards a little and have five first impressions.
#1: Standard Is Back and Mostly Playable
We’ll get into the cards likely to unravel this, but for the moment, I like Dominaria United standard. I like the rhythm of the games, the power level, and the nice interactions. There’s a significant focus on graveyard shenanigans, one of my favorite play styles. However, we must acknowledge the enormous elephant in the room here.
#2: Play Black or Lose
It matters little which color combo you choose, as long as one of them is black. Rakdos and Grixis have been dominating the ladder. I spent a lot of time trying to make an Izzet list work with Haughty Djinn and Electrostatic Infantry and kept losing. Djinn is a powerful card that needs a home, but there’s no contest. Black had excellent removal and threats and could grind games out until you lose before Dominaria United. It’s grown overpowered. The Meathook Massacre was already a busted card, but now it often turns the entire tide of a game on the back of repeated removal. Liliana of the Veil, as expected, is affecting everything. Her ability to get around toughness and ward cost is brutal. And, though not as flashy, Cut Down subtly seems one of the most significant examples of broad-scale power creep we’ve had in a long time. It can kill things Lightning Bolt or Fatal Push can’t touch. But you know I’m dancing around the true culprit….
#3: Play Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, or Lose
I slept on this card in my initial testing. Somehow, I didn’t notice how busted it was. The triggers are not once a turn. Players trying to draw extra cards will quickly burn themselves to death. And on the flip side, it can quickly recover a player. And that’s just one facet of the mythic rare. Its stats are aggressive, its cost too low, and deathtouch feels unfair. I will not compare this to Oko, but it’s on par with Uro or Questing Beast. A few other archetypes are attempting to come back, but Sheoldred stifles them. If you want to try, though, Dominaria United did throw a bone to a beloved/hated option…
(Come back on Monday for my continuing thoughts on Dominaria United!)
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