DMU Prerelease and Limited

Dominaria United (henceforth DMU) is the first set of the new standard rotation and that honestly means nothing for cube players. The only thing new sets means is new cards for us to parse through and add to our cubes. To aid others in what cards to look at, myself and other cube writers create list of cards we like and there's a lot of that. This is a follow up to those write up as well as a way to post my thoughts on the limited format. If you haven't had a chance yet I have written 3 other post regarding DMU, which you can find under the DMU label found at the bottom.

Exploration by Mark Poole

Thoughts on the Set

Thanks to the power of the internet and technology, I have been able to really sink my teeth into this format playing both sealed and draft in person at my LGS and on MTGA. I gotta say, I really like this format. Initially, I had a negative outlook on the set when it was first announced. I made the assumption that the set was going to be a spiced up core set with the play environment feeling too safe and board stalls would be a common occurrence.

 I was right. 

This list went 7-0

3-3 :(

This would have been a bad thing normally, but I believe that WotC really knocked it out of the park with this set's design. The cards for the most part felt powerful to play at all rarities. I can't think of a card that was unplayable (probably because I didn't play them). 

On the creature side of the format, things felt well tuned. The commons and uncommons were threats with a majority outpacing the rares. The rares felt strong and would expedite your win, but there were others that needed a ton of build around. The mythics felt weird. I didn't play with or against too many of them.The ones I did encounter felt like they needed to be built around other than Sheoldred. 

 Aside from Sheoldred, Archangel of Wrath and Samite Healer were pretty egregious from my play experience. Archangel felt like the lovechild of Seraph of Dawn and Noxious Gearhulk. Once the card hit the board, it normally took down a creature and became a stabilizing control finisher. Samite Healer was a quiet threat with enlist creatures. Playing with the card, you are able to smooth out your draws with the scry triggers and over time the value of the filter will manifest. The card is difficult to deal with because spending removal on this card felt bad and it was never endangering itself.

Fortunately, the bombs in this set are not overbearing to deal with. Thanks to the quantity and quality of removal this format had available in the different colors, bombs rarely stayed if you played more conservatively. I felt that there was enough removal in the format, which might also be a negative about the format. Oftentimes, I felt like I was trying to beat removal and not their creatures. Every game where I or my opponents invalidated a removal spell, it was a huge shift in how the game would go. Cards like Negate and the indestructible combat tricks were clutch in the format. Recursion cards like Urborg Repossession and Phyrexian Missionary, both of which return a creature from graveyard to hand, felt more gamebreaking than normal.

The mechanics of the set made deck building the real highlight. Thanks to the amount of colorfixing available, I commonly ended up playing almost any color I wanted. I was initially skeptical about domain in limited, but WotC really pulled through and made it work, thanks to the inclusion of common dual lands. Being able to easily play 3-5 color decks was common place since you could splash the other colors for the various kicker cost, while facilitating full domain. Some of the decks that I had for sealed felt like really sweet cube decks. The games felt like how I would imagine French Vanilla cube to feel like.

My Experience

When it comes to actually playing the format, I do prefer to play in person since the interaction between players are better, though the convenience of MTGA should not be underestimated. MTGA had the sealed events for DMU available to their players by Thursday. So, I loaded it up to get an early feel of the format.

During deckbuilding, I was immediately overwhelmed with the amount of choices I had. My default deckbuilding preference is midrange or aggro cause blue cards scare me by being different. Thus, I ended up running some boros deck. It was an alright deck and I managed to get 5-3 with it, but it felt off. What I did see though was the 5c decks popping off and doing crazy domain things (Just imagine Jodah grabbing you Sheoldred when you casted Bortuk Bonerattle). Thus I started experimenting and got a better understanding of how the decks should be looking like. 

This was a solid prep for going into my prerelease at my LGS. I typically opt to play Magic on Sunday in general and this time is not different. Sunday magic just hits different for me. It's mellow, everyone's mind is trying to relax to get back into the groove of their week the next day. There's just a different vibe about slinging MTG cards on Sunday.

On to my actual prerelease, there was a noticeable difference in excitement from being able to crack the packs yourself. While opening the packs, I saw that I had a really solid WB pool of cards and was originally planning to run it. Then I kept opening some solid red rares like The Elder Dragon Wars and Soul of Windgrace. After much deliberation and going through 3 different deck builds, I settled on playing Jund splashing white to add a bit of recursion and push for that extra domain benefits. 

The 3-0 prerelease list

I ended up 3-0ing with this deck and it had some of the sweetest interactions. I had a large number of cards that could invalidate single creatures. It really helped that I didn't get paired up with anyone playing tokens. The all star cards in my deck were Radha's Firebrand and menace creatures since they synergize to create essentially unblockable situations backed up by removal. I originally down played Radha's Firebrand for cube, but being able to activate her domain ability a decent amount of times changed my mind. Another cool interaction I had was Radha, Coalition Warlord and Relic of Legends. Radha's ability needs her tapped to activate and generally this would be done by attacking, however with the relic, I'm now able to tap her at will essentially turning her into a combat trick. This caught a few of my opponents off and snuck me in a couple wins. Lastly, Urborg Repossession was normally a card that broke the camel's back. As mentioned earlier everytime I am able to play it with kicker, the value of gaining 2 cards back and 2 life regressed any progress made by my opponents. 

A week later, I got to try my hand at drafting the set and my biggest takeaway from it was that if you want color fixing grab it. In my pod (we did have 11 people), none of the dual lands made it back to me, which forced me to support domain on topdecking basics. The actual play felt a lot tighter than sealed, which is typical of draft, but the general feeling remained that playing more than 2 colors was easier.

2-1 Draft deck 

I'm feeling more positive about this limited format over the previous one (Streets of New Capenna). There doesn't seem to be an easy mode deck so far. The ease of access of colors allows players to access more cards and tools to deal with threats.

The Wrap Up

Overall, I feel that this is a solid set to build a traditional cube on. The cards feel good to play even though this was not a masters set and there is a ton of interaction between removal and combat tricks. The introduction of Skip Ahead for sagas made for deeper gameplay and this was the first time that it felt good playing with kicker. The kicker cost were appropriately costed for what they did, staple that on to a solid creature and this was a winning recipe. Domain felt just as good to play now since even a low domain count was still playable. The combination of domain and kicker really pushed the limits of deckbuilding and allowed for more creativity with deck buildingin limited. For all this and more, I think this set would make a great foundation for a lower level cube. There is a fair amount of overlap between this and Double Master 2022 and new cubes might be interested in making these two sets their foundation.

In regards to cards that stood out to me there was a decent amount. Aether Channeler performed exactly as everyone expected it too. Surprisingly, that card was rarely bouncing creatures, I kept seeing the other 2 modes way more than the bounce that replaced Man-o-War. Danitha was another card that really impressed me. Even without the equipment trigger ever happening, she was a serious threat to the board state. In addition, there were a couple cards that might need to be reevaluated, Radha's Firebrand and Sphinx of the Clear Skies. With my new perspective on domain, I'm relooking at the impact of these cards in cube. Domain is much more achieveable than I had initially thought thanks to the rare Trilands. Radha's Firebrand might be one of the higher damage options for red at two mana, however the decks that do prefer to have it tend not to be able to support domain. I still don't think it replaces Earthshaker Khenra, but aggressive midrange decks might want to consider this. Sphinx of the Clear Skies is a much bigger threat than I considered. Having a 5/5 with flying and ward 2 is difficult already to deal with. With the on hit trigger, you are alway guaranteed 1-2 card, which is a fine baseline for this control finisher, anymore and you're golden. For anyone like me who dismissed the domain cards outright, I would take a chance to reexamine them. I should also be noted that the real encouragement for domain was the kicker found on cards in this format.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please leave a comment or complaint below, I like the interaction. If you want to support me and want to purchase some cards , please consider using my link for TCGplayer. If you want to stay connected, I left all of my socials on the sidebar including my email list and Facebook Page


  1. So far I have been enjoying DMU it seems like a nice set overall.


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