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Tori D'Avenant, Fury Rider Art by Anna Podedworna - Dominaria United

Dominaria United Limited Archetypes and Mechanics Guide

In this guide, we go over the mechanics and the 10 archetypes in Dominaria United Limited, including example decks for you to refer to,

Hey everyone! The whole spoiler is out for Dominaria United and I’ve already dived into it pretty deep so I’m here to get you caught up on what’s going on in limited land. Today we’re going to be going over the basic mechanics and the archetypes including example decks. For Sealed Deck specific advice, check out TaJoordan’s guide:

We have our usual batch of ten archetypes to go over. One of the best ways to start is to look at the signpost uncommon to get an idea of what Wizards intends you to do because it will probably be well supported. Another key step is to look for any sub archetypes that might not be as obvious.

I’ve made an archetype skeleton for every two-color combination to give you an idea of what they’re looking to do. The skeletons are typically built with only one rare and three uncommons so you can get an idea what a normal, not overpowered draft deck is going to look like. In this set, they have bumped it up to two sign post uncommons so I’ll be giving myself the leeway of a fourth uncommon so I can fit them both in.


Mechanics

If you are already familiar with all of the mechanics, feel free to skip ahead to the archetypes section. I promise I won’t be offended after I worked so hard on it…

Enlist

When a creature with enlist attacks, you have the option to tap another creature that is not attacking and doesn’t have summoning sickness. If you do, you add that creature’s power to the power of the attacking creature.

Very solid ability that is similar to the original intended effect of banding. Basically you get to do a pseudo attack with that extra creature without putting it at risk in combat. It also has the advantage of being able to “attack” with a creature that has defender or that is pacified.

If they kill the creature in response to them being Enlisted, it will use last known power to determine what it will add. So if they use a Doom Blade effect to kill your 2/2 in response, it will still add two power. If they use Tribute to Urborg instead, it will add zero power.

It’s also a great combo with any of the creatures that trigger when they become tapped.

Read Ahead

This is a very flavorful mechanic that allows you to choose where to start on the Saga. It’s basically like you skipped to the part of the book that you wanted to read so you don’t get any knowledge from what you skipped over.

Domain

The bonus changes from card to card, but the range of the effect is based off of the number of basic land types that you control. This doesn’t have to do with the types of mana it can produce so the Painlands such as Adarkar Wastes count as zero, but Idyllic Beachfront would count as two.

Kicker

Kicker has returned once again and per usual it is an additional cost you may pay when playing a spell to add an additional effect.

Stun Counters

These are the new kid on the block when it comes to evergreen counters. If you would untap a permanent with a stun counter, you instead remove a stun counter. This includes untapping effects and not just the untap step. For example, if you try to use Shore Up to untap a creature with counters, it will just remove a counter instead.


Archetypes

Azorius

The Azorius deck does Azorius things. In other words, it wants to pound you through the air while doing just enough to stop you on the ground to get across the finish line. When building this, it was hard to find quality common two drops to fill in the curve so I went with Samite Herbalist since it has some synergy with Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart. The reason I choose Aether Channeler as the rare is that it provides the versatility that this archetype really needs.

Azorius Archetype Skeleton
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $62.86
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
1 rare
4 uncommon
35 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
1
Shore Up
$0.25
2
Essence Scatter
$0.50
Sorceries (3)
1
Impede Momentum
$0.25
2
Tolarian Geyser
$0.50
Enchantments (3)
Lands (17)
8
Island
$2.00
8
Plains
$2.00
40 Cards
$11.89

Orzhov

Orzhov does its usual aristocrat stuff of sacrificing creatures for profit, but it also does a wonderful job of going wide. Both Aron, Benalia's Ruin and Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim really pay you off for leaning hard into this strategy. It’s just such a strong synergistic deck, that I didn’t even choose a rare for it because it didn’t need one.

Orzhov skeleton
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $61.06
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
4 uncommon
36 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
1
Heroic Charge
$0.25
Sorceries (2)
Enchantments (2)
Lands (17)
8
Plains
$2.00
8
Swamp
$2.00
1
Sunlit Marsh
$0.35
40 Cards
$10.1

Boros

You are going to be Shocked. Shocked I tell you. Are you ready for this, Boros wants to attack with small creatures and burn stuff out of the way. I know its life changing. It’s pretty simple play a bunch of creatures, kill theirs, and proceed to bring the noise.

I went with Archangel of Wrath for the rare because it is busted. I considered adding in another land to pay for the second kicker, but I didn’t want another tapped land in this deck.

Boros Skeleton
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $59.75
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
1 rare
4 uncommon
35 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (7)
1
Furious Bellow
$0.25
2
Heroic Charge
$0.50
Sorceries (2)
Enchantments (1)
Lands (17)
8
Mountain
$2.00
8
Plains
$2.00
1
Sacred Peaks
$0.35
40 Cards
$10.1

Selesnya

Selesnya is down to go wide with tokens before finish the opponent off with a mass pump spell. You can really blow up with an early Queen Allenal of Ruadach into a Captain's Call. The rare was an easy decision as King Darien XLVIII was designed specifically for this deck.

Selesnya Skeleton
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $60.17
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
1 rare
4 uncommon
35 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (6)
2
Bite Down
$0.50
1
Stall for Time
$0.25
1
Heroic Charge
$0.25
Sorceries (2)
Enchantments (2)
Lands (17)
8
Forest
$2.00
8
Plains
$2.00
1
Radiant Grove
$0.35
40 Cards
$10.54

Dimir

Dimir control slowly builds an advantage through removal and card advantage. It leverages cards like Essence Scatter and Extinguish the Light to control larger threats while Choking Miasma really shines as a way to clear away the schwag creatures running around. I went with Ertai Resurrected as the rare because it gives you options while playing the game at instant speed.

Dimir Skeleton
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $49.75
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
1 rare
4 uncommon
35 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (9)
1
Rona’s Vortex
$0.25
1
Impulse
$0.25
2
Essence Scatter
$0.50
Sorceries (3)
1
Tolarian Geyser
$0.25
1
Choking Miasma
$0.25
Lands (17)
8
Island
$2.00
8
Swamp
$2.00
40 Cards
$11.02

Izzet

Izzet a spells deck? Always has been. This is the most fun deck to play as it is almost like a combo deck. You just blow up with spells and start dropping Tolarian Terrors for one mana. While it seems like a pipe dream, I’ve already drafted almost this exact deck four times in the first day. I choose Haughty Djinn because if you’re going to go off, you might as well make it cheaper too.

Izzet Skeleton
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $47.8
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
1 rare
4 uncommon
35 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (10)
2
Shore Up
$0.50
1
Impulse
$0.25
2
Essence Scatter
$0.50
Sorceries (3)
1
Impede Momentum
$0.25
2
Tolarian Geyser
$0.50
Lands (16)
8
Island
$2.00
7
Mountain
$1.75
40 Cards
$13.06

Simic

Simic is going to play the domain game with off color lands to ensure that it can pay off color kickers and bombs in other colors. In this version you should be able to hit full domain pretty easily to make your Sunbathing Rootwalla a huge threat or to drop an early Yavimaya Sojourner. I went with Herd Migration as the rare because even though it’s one color, it’s the best domain payoff in the set.

Simic Domain
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $36.89
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
1 rare
4 uncommon
35 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
1
Gaea’s Might
$0.25
1
Shore Up
$0.25
2
Bite Down
$0.50
Sorceries (2)
1
Tolarian Geyser
$0.25
1
Herd Migration
$0.25
Lands (17)
7
Forest
$1.75
5
Island
$1.25
1
Tangled Islet
$0.35
1
Sunlit Marsh
$0.35
40 Cards
$10.5

Rakdos

Rakdos goes for the throat without a care in the world for what it does to itself to get there. It even has some steal sacrifice action going on in the background. While a card like Toxic Abomination is awful in most decks, you don’t care as much about the two life when you are just trying to end the game ASAP.

Lagomos, Hand of Hatred really makes this archetype tick by providing sacrifice fodder for Bone Splinters. I choose Braids, Arisen Nightmare for this deck because it was the most thematic with sacrificing everything for victory.

Rakdos skeleton
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $48.31
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
1 rare
4 uncommon
35 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Sorceries (3)
2
Bone Splinters
$0.50
Lands (17)
8
Mountain
$2.00
8
Swamp
$2.00
1
Geothermal Bog
$0.35
40 Cards
$11.84

Golgari

Golgari is into doing slow grindy graveyard things. I actually added some blue lands to make it Sultai because I felt that it added a lot more to the archetype by enabling Vineshaper Prodigy and providing an additional land type for Bortuk Bonerattle. I went with the on color rare Nemata, Primeval Warden because it continues to build value throughout a long game.

Golgari Skeleton
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $42.66
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
1 rare
4 uncommon
35 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (5)
1
Tear Asunder
$1.49
1
Bite Down
$0.25
Sorceries (2)
Enchantments (1)
Lands (17)
7
Forest
$1.75
7
Swamp
$1.75
1
Tangled Islet
$0.35
1
Haunted Mire
$0.35
40 Cards
$11.64

Gruul

Gruul is getting rowdy with some extra payoffs for domain so I added some of the white duals to make Sunbathing Rootwalla and Radha, Coalition Warlord better while also enabling the kicker on Strength of the Coalition. I went with Defiler of Vigor as the rare because it is disgusting, 10/10 would recommend.

Gruul Skeleton
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $45.7
Limited
best of 1
0 mythic
1 rare
4 uncommon
35 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
40 Cards
$19.04

Wrap Up

That brings us to the end of the ten basic archetypes, though there are a lot of variations in floating around with three color decks or splashing for kicker costs being fairly common. There is also the very popular defender archetype which is insane if no one is fighting you for it.

Thanks for Reading! I hope this gives you a great head start on Dominaria United!

I’m always open to feedback, let me know what you loved, what you hated, or just send dog pics. You can contact at:

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j2sjosh
j2sjosh

Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

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