Hello everyone! With the full spoiler for Dominaria United live, we can finally get into breaking down the cards with constructed applications!
Since I did individual card reviews already, rather than repeat myself, I’ll link the article, but still give the verdict and decklist if that’s what you’re more interested in. For this, I’m going to cover every Mythic, every Rare, and then choice uncommons and commons that have potential. Let’s get into it!
As always, here’s the scale I’ll be using to label the new cards that potentially have constructed applications.
- 0/5 – Unplayable in every sense.
- 1/5 – Extremely niche play or very unlikely to see play.
- 2/5 – Niche to no play, maybe playable in certain conditions.
- 3/5 – Reasonable playable. Not format breaking, but has the power level to see play in some strategy (or strategies).
- 4/5 – Very strong card, but not the best the format has to offer. Has the power level to see a lot of play.
- 5/5 – The very top of the format. This card will create a huge impact going forward on the format.
Jaya, Fiery Negotiator
First looking at Jaya, the analog to Chandra, Torch of Defiance is very clear. While Jaya only has one plus ability, having four total abilities is definitely quite scary to see on a planeswalker. However, on closer inspection, this has a lot of text, but doesn’t even do that much.
The +1 makes a 1/1 Prowess, which is alright, but a little disappointing for a 4 mana planeswalker. The -1 is Rob the Archives which is substantially worse than Light Up the Stage, the -2 requires a lot of creatures to be effective, and the ultimate is fine, but not necessarily game winning. This seems like a fine board card, but it seems like it’s mostly flash and not a lot of substance. It still does a lot of things so it’ll have it’s place, but none of them are particularly powerful.
This can be summed up in four words: the epitome of fine. Shivan Devastator is going to be a card you are rarely unhappy to see, but most of the time, it’s just going to be a decent card. Topdecking it when you have a million mana is going to feel super satisfying, but drawing it early is going to feel pretty meh. I do like this card as I’m a fiend for one of Fireball effects, but I can’t imagine it’s going to be that incredible. That said, if Gruul Ramp is a thing, you know I’m jamming four of these as one of the top end finishers!
While the kicker ability is cute if you are in those colors and/or have a lot of mana, 99% of the time this is going to be a Burn Down the House with slightly less utility. Does that make this bad? Obviously not, but I’m assuming Burn is going to get the nod for most decks until it rotates out and then this can happily replace it.
Defiler of Instinct
I cover this card in more detail in its dedicated article:
I cover this card in more detail in its dedicated article:
The Elder Dragon War
This card is sick. This reminds me a lot of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker where all three chapters are good. Whether you get a better Pyroclasm, as much card filtering as you want, and then a 4/4 Dragon. This is a four mana 4/4 Dragon I’ll always be happy to play as you can simply Read Ahead to get the token if the other two abilities don’t do anything for you. Solid card all around.
On the surface, this reads to me as a worse Indomitable Creativity. You’re trying to do a very similar thing, but this one is more restrictive and costs more. However, I can see having a deck that revolves around creating creature and artifact tokens that may be able to do some nifty things in Standard.
There aren’t many payoffs I can think of that would make this worth doing as even cheating in something like a Titan of Industry doesn’t make much sense compared to making a deck that’s just looking to fairly cast it, but you know that it’s nifty enough to try. Realistically I don’t think this card is going to be good, but if I happen to open up some Chaotic Transformation, I’d be too tempted not to try.
As a note for this deck, if you want to make it that you always get a Titan of Industry and a big artifact, play Thundersteel Colossus instead of Walking Skyscraper. You can make a Rhino off of Titan to also immediately crack in for 7 which is fun!
This card is pretty cool, but not particularly good. A 3 mana 2/3 that doesn’t have an ETB is a super tough sell in modern day Standard, but could be offset by a powerful ability. However, just potentially casting a cheap spell for free on attack is not even close to enticing enough for me. Maybe I’m sleeping on the potential of this card, but I would be pretty shocked if this saw play.
This card is just good, plain and simple. A two mana 3/1 that can pretty much always stop something from blocking in combat is a very reasonable creature. Toss in the pump ability to make combat even trickier and you have a very solid two drop. This isn’t amazing, but I’m sure it’ll see a solid amount of play.
Squee, Dubious Monarch
The next iteration of Goblin Rabblemaster, Squee is the smallest stat line of the bunch, but being able to recur itself is quite powerful. Like the other Rabblemaster variants, this will see a decent amount of play, but nothing compared to the original Goblin Rabblemaster itself.
So we have a weird Gruul Borderland Ranger that can sacrifice lands in the late game for cards. I don’t think this is where Magic is anymore as even 10 years ago this card was pretty suspect, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Hurloon Battle Hymn
A 3 mana instant deal 4 is a pretty reasonable rate, but for a single more White mana you can gain 4 as well for a DIY Warleader's Helix. If there’s a controlling Boros(x) deck, this is definitely going in it, but the odds of that deck existing seem pretty low.
Fires of Victory
When I went over the spoiler, I glossed over this card multiple times, but this seems like a bit of a sleeper. If you’re a slower deck, this could be very comparable to Dragon's Fire most of the time as you’ll likely have a decent amount of cards in hand. Later in the game, you can start using this as a build your own (albeit worse since you don’t Impulse) Prophetic Bolt which is not bad value. This may be too cute for a Standard with Liliana of the Veil in it, but I do see some applications.
As much of a Prowess stan as I am, this card just seems alright. The most obvious comparison is Sprite Dragon, but Sprite Dragon saw very little play in Standard while being leagues better than this card. Trample and some extra toughness is nice, but Flying and Haste are extremely good keywords that are hard to beat. I want to have hope and say that this can help enable a Prowess style beat down tempo deck sort of deal in Standard, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
A one drop with Haste, evasion, and recursion? Say no more, this is a great card and will see play in any aggressive Red strategy moving forward in Standard. I also wouldn’t be too shocked to see this in older Arena formats, but that might be asking a bit much. While good, I envision this is still a bit worse than Kumano Faces Kakkazan.
Man oh man do I love this card. Watching Tom Ross beat people down with Boss Sligh back in the day completely changed the way I looked at deck construction, but I’m unsure if Sligh decks have any legs in modern times. Realistically I think the card quality of other decks is simply too good nowadays to get in there with little idiots, but you know I’m going to try and make it work regardless.
Smash to Dust
Lightning Strike hasn’t been in Standard for a minute, but make no mistake on the power level of this card. While it’s far from Lightning Bolt, it does set up rules of engagement in Standard due to the ubiquity it’ll have in Red decks. You have to be real careful about which 3+ drops you play as playing one that dies to Lightning Strike without accruing value is pretty painful. I’m not saying all cards like this are unplayable, but they do become much worse in the presence of this card.
It may be weird to say that when two mana deal three is super common, but being able to use this as reach makes all the difference and lets every Red deck happily play four copies if they want to.
Red, per usual, is looking like a strong color as there are great cards at every rarity for it!
Thank you for reading!