Magic: The Gathering is celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, and the venerable card game is leading in to the milestone with Dominaria United, the initial set in a fresh story arc. It’ll start to see the game go back to Dominaria, its original setting and something of the very most storied planes in Magic history, in which a cast of familiar races and characters will face a complete new assault in one of the fantastic threats to the multiverse – the Phyrexians.
IGN includes a completely new card to reveal for Dominaria United, also it quite definitely ties in to the 30-odd years of worldbuilding which makes Dominaria so special for Magic fans. Introducing, Serra Paragon:
A paragon of card design? We’ll learn soon.
This card references some key Dominarian history. Serra was a robust Planeswalker who found Dominaria a large number of years prior to the events of Dominaria United, explains Roy Graham, Game Designer: Story. At that time, the energy of Planeswalkers was almost unlimited so she could develop a host of angels (ones much like Serra Paragon!). While Serra then shifted from Dominaria, a church was made in her honour and she became revered.
She fits in with the brand new story as her angels still populate the plane and shes intrinsically associated with the Phyrexians: her very own home plane was invaded by them years back and was eventually collapsed to avoid a complete Phyrexian takeover. So while Serra is currently dead, theres an absolute Phyrexian vendetta within!
While Serra is currently dead, theres an absolute Phyrexian vendetta within!
The immediately obvious utility with Serra Paragon, says Ethan Fleischer, Sr. Game Designer: Play & Design, in reaction to my question about which decks and strategies Serra Paragon might best be suitable for, is always to pair her with fetch lands: lands that sacrifice themselves to find your library for another land to place into play. These fetch lands are an easy task to enter the graveyard and will make sure you have a reliable blast of lands after the Paragon hits play. In addition, it enables you to immediately cash them set for that little life total bump!
Other applications will be in decks with creatures which have powerful enter the battlefield effects such as for example Elite Spellbinder: having the ability to recur those effects may become this type of headache for opponents who basically suffer from them twice.
Lastly, I could see Serra Paragon being fun with smaller artifacts that sacrifice themselves for a few type of effect. Doubling down on those while gaining life will be a large amount of fun!
Opening a Karn of Whoop-Ass
Ive already alluded to the broad brush strokes of Dominaria United’s story, but given how important it really is, I also asked Ethan Fleischer and Roy Graham to greatly help set the scene. Dominaria is in a period of renewal over the planewith the demon Belzenlok dispatched no major planar crises, the inhabitants of the planet have an instant to breathe easy, says Graham. Needless to say, thats just with time for the Phyrexians to reach.
The Phyrexians will be central to the events that unfold. They’re artificial and biomechanical beings hellbent on overtaking the multiverse one plane at the same time, continues Graham. Among the key Praetors or leaders of New Phyrexia is Sheoldred who’s slowly spreading her influence over the plane of Dominaria Sheoldreds plan of attack involves plenty of infiltration and subtlety before she shows her full strength, and well visit a large amount of sleeper agents and betrayals throughout Dominaria United.
Fantastic art, powerful looking card.
Against Sheoldred and her steadily increasing Phyrexian army stand a cast of familiar faces. Most prominent is Karn, a metallic Planeswalker who has fought the Phyrexians often across a long time and planes. Jodah, an immortal archmage from Dominarias past, will join Karn in his efforts to defeat the Phyrexians, together with the Planeswalkers Jaya and Teferi.
They are big names for Magic players, and Wizards has recently hinted at some pretty significant twists for several them. Not to mention, the story quite definitely ties in to the game design, too. Several mechanics express whats happening in the story currently, says Fleischer. Individuals of Dominaria must reserve their differences and unite when confronted with a standard foe. Kicker cards where in fact the kicker cost is really a different color from the cards casting cost represent two (or even more!) nations combining their powers. Domain encourages one to play with all five colors in your deck, uniting most of Dominaria!
The energy of multiple colours on the left, and an extremely versatile Kicker influence on the proper.
The brand new Enlist mechanic also represent the creatures of Dominaria teaming up,” he continues. “Whenever a creature with Enlist attacks, it is possible to tap another creature you control without summoning sickness to include its capacity to the attacking creatures. This can allow players to develop massive attackers while keeping their other creature relatively safe!
Other mechanics tie in to the planes rich lore and several epoch-shifting events. Legends represent characters with roots previously; there’s one legendary creature in each booster pack, explains Fleischer. Sagas tell the stories of events from previous sets, particularly stories which are apt to be highly relevant to future stories. Each Saga in Dominaria United gets the new Read Ahead mechanic, that allows players to skip at night early chapters of a Saga.
A solid Enlist influence on the left and a Saga with Read Ahead on the proper.
Its clear how tight the integration between storytelling and gameplay will undoubtedly be with Dominaria United, which speaks to the team getting the advantage of Magic’s almost 30 years of existence. I ask Ethan Fleischer how all that experience informed the way the team approached this set. Dominaria was the setting of over 25 Magic sets, most of them from very early in the games history, he says. After that, our worldbuilding philosophy has evolved; each plane now requires a distinctive identity. Dominarias sprawling history and geography defied a unifying identity before 2018 Dominaria set, where we established that Dominarias identity was its history.
Having established that identity so strongly, we were now free, in Dominaria United, to target more on concepts that resonated more with whats going on in today’s storyline. That are the characters who be best suited to fight in another Phyrexian Invasion? What exactly are mechanics that emphasize alliances being formed, and call back again to the initial Invasion set? How do we prime the audience to best benefit from the storyline on the next year of Magic?
Early indications are that freedom is paying down, but well know for certain when Dominaria United launches on MTGA on September 2 and for tabletop on September 9. You can observe the full selection of products coming with the set – along with all of the cards as theyre revealed – at Magic’s Dominaria United homepage.
Cam Shea spent some time working at IGN since prior to the before times, and contains played more Breath of the Wild than simply about any game. He also loves CCGs so when he’s not doing offers he’s mixing records.