5 Early Tips for Dominaria United Limited

Bryan Hohns


Greetings planeswalkers! I’m Bryan “Veveil” Hohns, a long-time Limited grinder, and I’m honored to be your special guest writer today for Hareruya. You can normally find me over on Draftsim, writing strategy articles and providing the limited ratings for Draftsim’s MTGA overlay app, Arena Tutor.

By the end of this article, you should feel well prepared for this weekend’s Dominaria United prerelease!

#1: Understand the Mechanics

Your first step with any new set should be to get familiar with its mechanics. DMU has two new mechanics, two returning ones, and a new type of counter.


Benalish SleeperPhyrexian WarhorseVineshaper Prodigy

Kicker is a classic Limited mechanic that I’m pleased is returning for DMU. A card with kicker gives the option to pay its kicker cost for bonuses, like 《Vineshaper Prodigy》 replacing itself. Treat kicker cards like a modal card when evaluating them: 《Vineshaper Prodigy》 can be a 2/2 for 1G or a 2/2 with 《Anticipate》 for 2UG.

Interestingly, all kicker costs in DMU are a different color than the spell’s original mana cost. If you want to use a spell’s kicker, you’ll need to be in that 2c pair or have other ways to generate the required color. This overlaps with the next mechanic, domain, and it encourages you to splash more and to prioritize mana fixing.

Kicker has a completely uniform color distribution in DMU, with each color having 9 kicker cards (4 commons, 4 uncommons, 1 rare). Unlike kicker’s last outing Zendikar Rising, there’s no supported “kicker archetype”.


Domain is a returning mechanic that hasn’t appeared in Standard since Conflux. Cards with domain care about the number of basic land types you control and usually reward you with scaling perks (i.e. “X damage”, “costs X less”). Domain incentivizes you to play a greedy deck with as many colors as you can manage.

Yavimaya Sojourner

Given that mono-color strategies have little support in DMU, you should evaluate cards with domain as having a value of 2-5 for 2c – 5c. For instance, 《Yavimaya Sojourner》 costs 5G in a 2c deck but could cost as little as 2G in 5c.

Sunbathing RootwallaBortuk BonerattleTerritorial Maroジョダーの写本

There’s great variance in how much domain bonuses matter from card to card. 《Sunbathing Rootwalla》 and 《Bortuk Bonerattle》 would be fine in 2c, while 《Territorial Maro》 and 《Jodah’s Codex》 wouldn’t.

Domain appears in every color in DMU, but it’s mainly seen in green. The primary pair for maximizing domain is UG, though a UG Domain strategy also means splashing other colors. How much you want to lean into domain is a question you’ll ask each time you play DMU Limited.


Argivian CavalierYavimaya SteelcrusherHexbane Tortoise

Enlist is a new aggressive mechanic that is sure to trip up even Magic veterans once or twice. As a creature with enlist attacks, it gives you the option to tap another nonattacking untapped creature without summoning sickness. If you do so, you’ll add the power of whatever creature you tapped to the attacking creature’s power.

Enlist doesn’t necessarily do all that much. If you wanted to add a creature’s power to your attack and that creature didn’t have summoning sickness, why not attack with it in the first place?

There are some situational answers to this question:

Yavimaya SteelcrusherBarkweave CrusherCharismatic Vanguard

・Board state specifics. (a 5/2 《Yavimaya Steelcrusher》 can attack into a 2/5 《Barkweave Crusher》, but a 2/2 《Yavimaya Steelcrusher》 and a 3/2 《Charismatic Vanguard》 can’t)

Coalition WarbruteCoalition SkyknightLinebreaker Baloth

・Enlist creatures with evasion.

Balduvian BerserkerMolten MonstrosityBaird, Argivian RecruiterKeldon Flamesage

・Pump incentives. (《Balduvian Berserker》; 《Molten Monstrosity》; 《Baird, Argivian Recruiter》; and 《Keldon Flamesage》) or direct incentives (《Guardian of New Benalia》)

Enlist is usually situational, so it should be treated like a small upside on otherwise playable creatures. Enlist appears in 3 colors, with 2 commons and 1 uncommon in white, red, and green.

Read Ahead

Founding the Third PathYotia Declares WarThe Weatherseed Treaty

Read ahead is a new take on the Saga mechanic introduced in the original Dominaria. Each Saga in DMU has read ahead, which lets you choose which chapter you’d like to start the Saga on. This makes the cards modal because you’ll always have the choice between maximum value, the highest immediate impact, or something in-between.

There are 10 Sagas in the set, 2 for each color and none at common.

Stun Counters

Stall for TimeImpede MomentumFrostfist Strider

Stun counters are a new type of counter to represent freezing. If a creature with a stun counter would become untapped, instead it stays tapped and its controller removes a stun counter from it.

Only 3 cards in DMU confer stun counters, all of which are blue. Stun counters are useful for racing, buying time, and setting up 《Artillery Blast》 and 《Runic Shot》.

#2: Study the Cycles

Studying cycles is one of the best ways to get a feel for a new Limited set. They often make up a significant chunk of a set’s available cards and can prepare you for common patterns in drafting, deckbuilding, and gameplay.

Common Cycles

“Costs Less” Commons

Argivian PhalanxTolarian TerrorWrithing Necromass
Molten MonstrosityYavimaya Sojourner

There are five commons that cost less if you pursue supported themes: Wx go wide, Ux instants/sorceries matter, Bx self mill, and Gx domain. 《Molten Monstrosity》 lacks a larger theme but is nice with enlist.

Dual Land Cycle

Contaminated AquiferGeothermal BogHaunted MireIdyllic Beachfront
Molten TributaryRadiant GroveSacred PeaksSunlit Marsh
Tangled IsletWooded Ridgeline

DMU has 10 common ETB tapped dual lands with basic land types, which are great for domain. Off-color lands are useful for this purpose.

Kicker Commons

Bog BadgerPhyrexian Espionage

Each 2c pair has two common with kicker. Cards like 《Bog Badger》 and 《Phyrexian Espionage》 are solid even if you can’t kick them.

Uncommon Cycles

Kicker Uncommons

Sprouting GoblinPhyrexian Missionary

Each 2c pair has two uncommon with kicker. A few of these like 《Sprouting Goblin》 and 《Phyrexian Missionary》 are top notch.

Uncommon Legendaries

Aron, Benalia's RuinRona, Sheoldred's FaithfulZar Ojanen, Scion of Efrava

Each 2c pair has two uncommon legendaries. These combined with the 2c kicker cards showcase supported 2c archetypes.

Rare Cycles

Wedge Kickers

Archangel of WrathVodalian MindsingerStronghold Arena
Temporal FirestormUrborg Lhurgoyf

There are 5 rares with kicker, each of which corresponds to a 3c wedge. Being 3c is just a bonus. Note that both 《Archangel of Wrath》 and 《Temporal Firestorm》 are bomb rares!

2c Legendaries

Ivy, Gleeful SpellthiefKing Darien XLVIIIErtai Resurrected

Each 2c pair has one rare legendary. All of these are efficient, but 《Rivaz of the Claw》, 《Meria, Scholar of Antiquity》, and 《Astor, Bearer of Blades》 get little support from the set at large.


Defiler of FaithDefiler of DreamsDefiler of Flesh
Defiler of InstinctDefiler of Vigor

Each color has a “Defiler” rare that offers limited Phyrexian cost reduction and rewards you for playing cards of its color. They’re all strong, but Defiler of Vigor is the best of the cycle.

Tribal Lords

Valiant VeteranVodalian HexcatcherShadow-Rite Priest
Rundvelt HordemasterLeaf-Crowned Visionary

Each color has a tribal lord for a different creature type. Goblin/Merfolk tribal appear to be largely lacking in this set.

Shard Mythics

Zur, Eternal SchemerShanna, Purifying BladeSoul of Windgrace
Sol'Kanar the TaintedRith, Liberated Primeval

Each shard has one mythic rare creature. All of these but 《Zur, Eternal Schemer》 are bombs worth splashing.

#3: Learn the 2c Archetypes

UW Spells/Go Wide

Protect the NegotiatorsRaff, Weatherlight StalwartCaptain's Call

UW seems to be a tempo deck, and desires a balanced mix of fliers, tokens, and instants/sorceries. 《Captain’s Call》 is great here for its synergy with 《Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart》.

UB Spells/Control

Volshe TideturnerVohar, Vodalian DesecratorTolarian Terror

UB is a controlling archetype with some rewards for filling its graveyard with instants and sorceries. 《Tolarian Terror》, removal spells, and some card advantage are a recipe for a good UB deck.

BR Aggro/Sacrifice

Bone SplintersLagomos, Hand of HatredGarna, Bloodfist of Keld

RB is aggressive with a bit of a sacrifice theme. 《Bone Splinters》 plays well with cards like 《In Thrall to the Pit》 and 《Lagomos, Hand of Hatred》. 《Warhost’s Frenzy》 and 《Garna, Bloodfist of Keld》 can let BR get away with some very reckless attacks later in the game.

RG Midrange/Domain

Sprouting GoblinRadha, Coalition WarlordYavimaya Sojourner

RG is a midrange deck that leans aggressive and may splash for some domain bonuses. 《Sprouting Goblin》 is a great value card, but the rest of its 2c offerings are best when bashing faces.

GW Go Wide/Domain

Argivian CavalierQueen Allenal of RuadachCaptain's Call

GW is largely a token strategy, but it can lean more into domain like all Gx pairs. 《Queen Allenal of Ruadach》 makes already on theme cards like 《Captain’s Call》 and 《Argivian Cavalier》 even better. Use 《Heroic Charge》 and 《Strength of the Coalition》 to deliver the finishing blow!

RW Aggro/Go Wide

Keldon Strike TeamBaird, Argivian RecruiterTori D'Avenant, Fury Rider

RW is another go wide strategy, though it has more haste and less tokens than GW. As you would likely expect from Boros, this looks to be a “durdle killer” strategy that should run over the 5c drafter in your pod. 《Hammerhand》 seems appealing here because it’s a hyper aggressive card that plays well with both 《Baird, Argivian Recruiter》 and 《Tori D’Avenant, Fury Rider》.

BW Sacrifice/Go Wide

Phyrexian MissionaryAron, Benalia's RuinPhyrexian Warhorse

BW offers a second take on sacrifice, with synergies like 1/1 tokens with 《Bone Splinters》 and some very good uncommons. It’ll likely play more midrangey than RB thanks to value cards like 《Phyrexian Missionary》.

UR Spells/Prowess

Ghitu AmplifierBalmor, Battlemage CaptainElectrostatic Infantry

UR is the most aggressive of the three “spells matter” decks, and it has a pretty typical prowess play pattern (despite the lack of prowess cards in DMU). Prioritize premium instants/sorceries and creatures like 《Balmor, Battlemage Captain》, 《Electrostatic Infantry》 and 《Ghitu Amplifier》.

BG Graveyard/Domain

Eerie SoultenderUurg, Spawn of TurgWrithing Necromass

BG has a unique graveyard theme with strong payoffs but somewhat lacking support. 《Eerie Soultender》 and 《Shadow Prophecy》 are the only ways to self mill in BG, so splashing blue for 《Urborg Lhurgoyf》 and 《Monstrous War-Leech》 sounds good.

UG Ramp/Domain

Vineshaper ProdigyTatyova, Steward of TidesNael, Avizoa Aeronaut

UG is the best suited pair as the basis of a 5c domain deck. 《Nael, Avizoa Aeronaut》 and 《Tatyova, Steward of Tides》 are powerful payoffs for a greedy deck with a bunch of dual lands and several splashes. Value creatures like 《Vineshaper Prodigy》 are a must play!

#4: Know the Subthemes


Yotia Declares WarJhoira, Ageless InnovatorMeria, Scholar of Antiquity

Artifacts decks are more of a trap than anything else. There are few payoffs (《Yotia Declares War》; 《Jhoira, Ageless Innovator》; 《Meria, Scholar of Antiquity》) and few good artifacts. Meria is good enough that I’d be willing to play a few mediocre artifacts for her, but I’d avoid the rest.


Floriferous VinewallShield-Wall SentinelWingmantle Chaplain

Defenders is a small theme with three uncommon payoffs, a common tutor, and some filler. I like 《Floriferous Vinewall》 in general and expect to sometimes play 4-5c Defenders as a subtheme in controlling domain decks.

#5: Final Pointers

Balancing Domain

As mentioned earlier, domain has a balance between speed/consistency and power. Splashing extra colors offers power but has potential opportunity costs:

・Slightly lower odds to have your base colors on time.

・Additional ETB taplands.

・Some draws that will be missing colors early.

There’s no universally correct answer to this, so decide how many colors to play based on:

・Quality of cards available to splash.

・Amount/quality of cards with domain.

・Amount/quality of mana fixing you have.

・How aggressive your deck is.

Lastly, here are some cards that support domain well:

Idyllic Beachfront Scout the WildernessFloriferous VinewallSprouting Goblin
Pixie IllusionistImpulseInscribed Tablet

《Meteorite》 and 《Salvaged Manaworker》 are weak colorless playables that can fix mana if you need.

My Top Commons


Citizen's ArrestCaptain's CallArgivian Cavalier

《Citizen’s Arrest》: Almost 《Oblivion Ring》 at common.
《Captain’s Call》: Best common for going wide.
《Argivian Cavalier》: Efficient creature, two bodies.


Talas LookoutSoaring DrakeEssence Scatter

《Talas Lookout》: Strong rate.
《Soaring Drake》: Power creeped 《Wind Drake》, blocks bears.
《Essence Scatter》: Efficient, easy to double spell with.


Phyrexian RagerExtinguish the LightSplatter Goblin

《Phyrexian Rager》: Easy 2-for-1.
《Extinguish the Light》: Solid unconditional removal.
《Splatter Goblin》: Good 2-drop that blocks well.


Lightning StrikeCoalition WarbruteFlowstone Kavu

《Lightning Strike》: Great removal, goes face.
《Coalition Warbrute》: Enlist + Trample + 4 toughness.
《Flowstone Kavu》: Difficult to block efficiently.


Magnigoth SentryBite DownFloriferous Vinewall

《Magnigoth Sentry》: Great stats + free reach.
《Bite Down》: 《Rabid Bite》 at instant speed.
《Floriferous Vinewall》: Value creature for domain, sacrifice and defender themes.

Prerelease Flow Chart

・Open your pool, then sort your cards into bombs, 2c cards, and mana fixing, then the rest by color.

・Identify your strongest cards and deepest base colors.

・Try to splash everything good while maintaining a healthy curve/2c base.

・Lean into one of the major themes if you can (domain, go wide, instants/sorceries) as they have a lot of support.

・Expect to play 17-18 lands and 3-4 colors on average.


It’s a privilege to write for Hareruya, and I wish that all of you have tremendous success with your prereleases this weekend!

Bryan Hohns (Twitter / Twitch)

Recommended Items

  • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加

Bryan Hohns Bryan "Veveil" Hohns has been playing Magic since 2013, and plays several formats while preferring Limited whenever possible. He can be found streaming yet another Draft League, or writing one of his famous Limited Ultimate Guides at Draftsim. Read more articles by Bryan Hohns

Series Archive