One of the most iconic planes in the Magic: The Gathering multiverse is Dominaria, a plane that hosts many of the game's oldest stories and characters (including the first one). Players revisited the plane with the release of the Time Spiral block in 2006 and later in a dedicated Dominaria set in 2018, each time adding depth to its lore and printing re-vamped versions of original characters.
On the brink of Magic's thirtieth anniversary, Mark Rosewater and his team have once again set their sights on Magic's first plane with Dominaria United, a 281-card set that introduces a brand-new mechanic in addition to bringing back a few fan favorites. However, the set's main appeal to many players might not be the plane itself, but the return of Phyrexians and the infamous Phyrexian mana. The chosen style for Dominaria is their beautiful Benalia stained glass style, established many sets ago. Dominaria United was released on 09 September 2022.
In addition to Phyrexian mana, Dominaria United includes the classic mechanic, Kicker. In this set, the design team prioritized multicolor kicker cards, in which the kicker's mana color differs from the original spell. One example of this is Stronghold Arena, a reimagined Phyrexian Arena, that has a White or Green kicker cost. Unfortunate for Commander players who now need multicolored Commanders to play these monocolored cards.
Dominaria (2018) introduced Sagas, storytelling enchantments that, at the end of the controller's Draw Step, gain one Lore counter and trigger the respective effect according to the number of counters. In Dominaria United, Sagas can also have “Read Ahead”, in which the player can choose the chapter to start with and trigger its respective effect immediately. The Phasing of Zhalfir is a blue Saga that has a board wipe imbued in its third chapter, so the flexibility of Read Ahead makes the card considerably more dangerous.
In a plane so filled with old lore, players expect the resurge of old characters like Karn, Living Legacy. Even if this iteration of the iron golem is not the flashiest one, it still can find its place in artifact ramp decks. Ajani, Sleeper Agent is a walking spoiler of the main plot twist of this set and, just like the revived Tamiyo, he has the Compleated mechanic, which operates similarly to Phyrexian mana, but is a whole lot fairer. The grand surprise of Dominaria United is the reprinting of Liliana of the Veil. Even if her Modern days are distant (for now), the necromancer can still wreak havoc in Standard and especially Pioneer in midrange decks (like Jund… for instance).
Dominaria United has the recipe for success. Nowadays, Commander is the most played Magic format by a landslide, enthralling a more casual crowd in addition to the competitive one. Since all Dominaria sets include an unusually large number of Legendary creatures, the demand increases significantly given the fact that each one of them is a possible new Commander for both CEDH or kitchen table play.
Lore has not been a priority for Wizards of the Coast while designing new Magic products, but Dominaria United's spoiler season included five short stories revealing the new plot regarding the plane and the fight of evergreen Dominaria characters like Teferi, Raff, Jhoira, and Jaya against the forces of Sheoldred and her Phyrexian army. This includes further explanation of Ajani's shocking betrayal, so if you're one of the many that sees Magic as something much more than a game, be sure to give them a read. This set truly has something for everyone, as every great Dominaria set has had in the past, so be sure to check out the full list of cards for a deeper breakdown.