Dominaria United five cards to watch

Five cards to watch from Dominaria United

Mason ClarkModern, Pioneer, Strategy

Preview season for the fall set is in full swing, and the player base is rejoicing as new, exciting Dominaria United cards are revealed. Today we’re going over some of the ones to keep your eye on with the set coming out in just a few short weeks. 

Founding the Third Path

This saga is a card with interesting ramifications. For starters, while it does require setup, you do get instant pay off on this card. You invest two mana and get to cast a spell of that value right away. Sometimes with set up cards like this, you spend the mana upfront and don’t get any pay off right away — so avoiding that pitfall is extremely attractive.

What are we going to do with this card? It first asks that your deck has more proactive cards, since having a bunch of counterspells doesn’t play well here. So, you’re typically going to run interaction like Lightning Strike and even cheaper cantrips, like Consider or Opt.

Then, on the back end, you’re going to get to use the spell again. But that’s assuming you don’t simply read ahead, which is the new twist on sagas in Dominaria United. Since you can now pick the chapter you want to start on, you can immediately do things like cast lethal burn spells in your graveyard from earlier in the game.

While not having a clear home at the moment, this could revitalize the Pioneer blue red prowess deck — especially when combined with See the Truth. It’s a card players are always keeping an eye on and trying to break.

See the Truth works very well with the first and third chapters. While Pioneer does have things like Treasure Cruise right now, that doesn’t mean we always will or that these cheaper draw spells don’t have a potential home in the format.

However, we must wait and see if this card is the truth — though it offers a very exciting combination of value that many players will be trying when the set drops.

Vodalian Hexcatcher

Merfolk are back on the menu baby! No matter where you play the fish friends, you’re going to want to consider this card. Merfolk, in the last five years, have gotten a lot of two drops with flash, making playing around this card incredibly challenging.

Imagine your opponent has a Wrenn and Six and wants to minus on your one drop. They might want to think twice, now. 

If they Evoke a Fury and are targeting creatures, they better be sure a sudden lord doesn’t screw up the math. Maybe it just kills two creatures instead of three this time. 

Small details like that really matter in formats like Modern. That doesn’t even consider the lord’s sacrifice ability, which can be back-breaking against so many strategies by turning your bad merfolk into impactful resources.

This is also a great addition to the Pioneer version of this deck. You have cards like Deeproot Elite, which is essentially a lord if played early enough, but it does fall off as the game goes on. Now we can actually play a critical amount of actual lords, making cards like collected company a much stronger inclusion in the deck.

And within the context of Pioneer, this card’s sacrifice ability is really crucial. The format doesn’t have much in the form of this effect, and adding a mana to the more expensive cards in Pioneer can transform them into “kill your worst merfolk” instead of the powerful spells opponents are actually trying to set up. 

Imagine trying to flash the Wandering Emperor in the face of this card. Emperor is a card that often destroys these creature decks, but now it’s effectively useless.

This card is the real deal, and while it won’t make merfolk tier one in every format, it is a huge get for all the merfolk lovers out there. 

Llanowar Loamspeaker

This card looks a little unappealing at first glance, but it has a very targeted home in the Pioneer format: Jeskai Ascendancy. It’s a deck that players have been trying to break for years now. Last week, we even highlighted the deck in a combo article for the format.

So, why does this card matter for that deck? Well, you once needed to find exactly Sylvan Awakening in order to actually combo and kill your opponent. That’s because Jeskai Ascendancy only untaps creatures, which is what your lands become after casting Awakening. Without the loop of untapping creatures, pumping them up and casting more noncreature spells, your deck isn’t doing much.

Now, while I dont think Loamspeaker card is a strict replacement, it does allow you to have four more copies of a card that turns lands into creatures. Having eight copies of an effect is often a breakpoint for niche archetypes like these. So, with that in mind, I would keep an eye on this card going into the first few months of Pioneer, post Dominaria United.

Liliana of the Veil

If you knew only a single thing about this set, it’s that Liliana of the Veil is getting a reprint in it. This reveal sent shockwaves through the community. And since then, players have been wondering: will she be as good as she once was — especially in Pioneer?

Magic has changed a lot since her initial release back in 2011. Cards generate way more value and creatures have improved a fair bit. So, it’s fair to possibly doubt whether the former queen of Jund still holds the throne. 

I, however, am happy to endorse her in her rightful home of midrange decks. While I am not sure she will always be a huge role player in Pioneer, I think she will be great at first. 

There is a lot of skepticism around her because decks like Arclight Phoenix and Greasefang are happy to pitch cards into the graveyard. That makes two opposing decks that can potentially benefit from the plus from Lilliana. And while those can be real concerns, I think players are forgetting a few key things.

First and foremost, those decks need to have pay off cards in hand, or critical mass decks like Phoenix will fall apart. And while they do have Treasure Cruise to make use of a stacked graveyard, that is already a problem you have to deal with. Running the deck out of things to do earlier will help with that.

Second, and most importantly, you can sideboard Lili out for cards that are better in those specific matchups. So while there will be spots where the card isn’t at its best, that is true with almost every card. 

Just think about Thoughtseize. It’s really bad against most aggressive decks, which are quite prominent in the Pioneer. Yet we don’t see people saying “oh, Thoughtseize is bad. Sometimes they pressure you and empty their hand.”

I think Liliana will show up in a whole range of decks and change the landscape of Pioneer for a long while.

Threats Undetected

This riff on Gifts Ungiven, a card from years ago, is incredibly exciting (and a card I am sure our commander writers will hit up in the coming weeks). This card asked two specific questions: What is the best value you can get off this spell and what is the best combo win you can get?

When it comes to combos, the whole of Modern is such a wide place that we couldn’t go over all the implications in just this one article. But for value, we know a couple places it could show up.

The four color glimpse deck has been hanging around Modern for a while now, and one thing it lacks is a way to get cards outside Risen Reef and glimpse turning lands into spells. Now, that deck could present the pile of:

This would mean your opponent is forced into a bad situation anyway you slice it.

While the opponent always picks the best option for them, this card increasing your copies of threats in a critical mass deck is incredibly appealing. Often, these decks just want cards — not specific ones.

This is the most ambitious pick on the list today, but its potential is so high when you get to the point that every option is good for you. Don’t let this one slip past your consideration.

These are my picks, but what card are you most excited for from Dominaria United? Tweet @masoneclark_ and @cardkingdom and let us know!