Magic the Gathering turns 25 this year and Wizards of the Coast is celebrating by returning to where the game began, Dominaria. This plane was the original setting for Magic’s early years and has a rich history that developed alongside the card game. Returning to Dominaria means the return of many classic characters and themes from the earliest sets and an excellent jumping on point for new players. This set also marks a noted change for some of the game’s rules and visual design, let’s take a look at all the exciting new things in Dominaria!
Historic and Legendary
Dominaria has a lush history and the mechanics of the set are heavily themed around this idea. Many cards refer to “historic” spells, which encompass Artifacts, Legendary creatures and planeswalkers, and Sagas (more on those in a minute). Several cards get bonuses for being played alongside historic cards, which are numerous enough themselves (Uncommon legendary creatures?!) that those abilities will activate regularly.
A new enchantment type, sagas depict key story moments from Dominaria’s History. They all have special abilities that activate upon arrival and that occur over time as they stick around and the “story” unfolds.
They’re incredibly flavorful and the artwork for them is often rendered as artwork that exists in the world of Dominaria (tapestry, stained glass, etchings, etc.) which drives home that remembered history feel. I love these.
Not a dramatic overhaul but it feels worth mentioning. There’s a number of subtle changes to cards in this set that further fuels the “soft reset” feel of Dominaria’s return:
- Legendary cards now have a unique border to easily identify them, it looks lovely and will help with the “legendary matters” theme of the set from a mechanical standpoint.
- There’s a bar separating rules text from flavor text. This was a feature of cards ages ago, and seeing it return here feels right and helps with card legibility.
- Several rules terms have been simplified, making the cards easier to read. “Add to mana pool” now reads as “Add [mana symbol]”, “He or she controls” is now “They control”. It’s these and a handful of small changes that make the game smoother and easier to pick up. Especially as someone who regularly teaches new players, I appreciate it.
You may notice there isn’t a whole lot of crazy new mechanics or big sweeping revelations with this set (not yet at time of this writing anyway). You’d be right, Dominaria feels like a strong return to form. No big flashy gimmicks, just a strong reconsideration for what makes Magic the Gathering… Magic. Wizards of the Coast even brought Richard Garfield (the original designer of the game) back on for this set.
Be sure to sign up for pre-release weekend at Dragon’s Lair Austin, it’s always a great time.
Hope to see you there!
Written by Stephen