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Resolute Reinforcements Art by Billy Christian - Dominaria United

Three New Aggro Decks for Standard With Dominaria United

Looking to beat down in the new Standard? Bohe has three powerful and interesting decks to help you get your aggro on and beat down all the clunky brews of Dominaria United!

Finally! Dominaria United is (almost) here, and the entire team at MTG Arena Zone is devoted to sharing with the community some of our new decklists, results of all the theorycrafting, and ideas with the new cards that will reshape Magic as we know it for the years to come.

Many people think that Dominaria United is a low-powered set, but let me tell you, it’s not. As the Standard specialist of the team, I reviewed the entire set looking for the best way of dealing 20 damage to our opponents as fast and consistently as we can in this format, and I can say without a doubt that there are a lot of viable options for accomplishing this goal.

The first thing we have to take into consideration is that with Dominaria United, we are transitioning from an eight-set format to a five-set one thanks to Standard rotation. This cut down the number of cards we can work with and lowers the power level of the format overall. However, that doesn’t mean that cards in Dominaria United aren’t good enough for our aggro purposes.

With Dominaria United, we can build new aggro decks or reinforce existing ones. Today I’m going to share with you three new archetypes: Selesnya Tokens, Gruul Aggro, and Azorius Soldiers.


Selesnya Tokens

King Darien XLVII Art by Donato Giancola - Dominaria United
King Darien XLVII Art by Donato Giancola
Selesnya Tokens – Dominaria United Standard
by Bohe
Buy on TCGplayer $280.06
Standard
Aggro
best of 3
6 mythic
33 rare
10 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Instants (2)
2
Fateful Absence
$4.98
Sorceries (4)
4
Join the Dance
$1.00
Enchantments (8)
Lands (25)
4
Forest
$1.00
7
Plains
$1.75
4
Plaza of Heroes
$39.96
4
Thran Portal
$2.76
60 Cards
$360.26

A long time had passed since the last time a token strategy was viable on Standard. Now, with many new cards from Dominaria United, this archetype can shine once again.

The King and The Queen, both are amazing in this deck. King Darien XLVIII is a central part of our strategy. We play a full set of this creature even if he is legendary for three main reasons.

First, the King is clearly our best turn-three play. With eight 2 mana tokens producers in the form of Resolute Reinforcements and Join the Dance, following these two cards up with a turn three King Darien XLVIII puts us into a very solid board position. Six power divided amongst 3 bodies, with the option of making two of them indestructible and hexproof to help insulate us from sweepers is a strong way of starting any game.

This is the second reason behind the four copies of The King, sacrificing Darien is going to be common. Adding to this, many of our opponents are going to aim their removal at this walking anthem effect which makes us want to draw multiples to keep all our team buffed.

Lastly, King Darien XLVIII has very good ability for long games. For 3GW, we can put a +1/+1 counter on Darien and create a 1/1 white Soldier token that is going to be 2/2 thanks to Darien’s anthem imbued effect. This makes Darien capable of winning long games on its own without many problems. With all this in mind, playing 4 copies of The King is the right choice.

On the other hand, the Queen Allenal of Ruadach is our new Shanna, Sisay's Legacy. Allenal not only has Shanna’s ability that makes her incredibly big when we have a lot of creatures, but she also makes an extra 1/1 white Soldier when tokens are created to further add to the board.

Unlike The King, we only play two copies of The Queen for three reasons. First, Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, The Restoration of Eiganjo, and Wedding Announcement are our other three drops and all of them are better on their own than Queen Allenal of Ruadach. All of these aforementioned cards don’t need other permanents on the field to do their job, and most of the time we are going to prefer to play any of them on turn three instead of Allenal.

Second, Queen Allenal of Ruadach is an Elf Noble which makes her the only creature that doesn’t synergize well with Katilda, Dawnhart Prime‘s ability to make humans mana dorks.

Lastly, Queen Allenal of Ruadach costs GWW, making her the most complicated third drop to cast. We have a very solid mana base with Overgrown Farmland, Thran Portal, and Plaza of Heroes (we play 15 legendary permanents), but sadly, Brushland is going to be printed in the next set and is not available yet. Don’t get me wrong, The Queen is solid in this archetype, but with many turn-three options, only using a pair to cover our curve when needed is going to work amazingly well.

Playing a deck without any kind of interaction is something we want to avoid most of the time in any format. With two Fateful Absence and four The Wandering Emperor, we can fight against any pesky creature and our planeswalker also supports very our tokens core very well in making 2/2 Samurai tokens our putting +1/+1 counters on any of our creatures

Besides King Darien XLVIII, we play two other anthem effects in the form of Intrepid Adversary and Wedding Announcement. These let us make our team bigger and bigger in the long run, and at the same time, both cards let us keep being aggressive. Intrepid Adversary covers our two mana curve in case we need it and Wedding Announcement lets us go wide or draw cards in case we already have a good board position, something that keeps our hand filled with options during the mid-game.

Katilda, Dawnhart Prime also works as a virtual Gavony Township in case it’s needed. Making our team bigger is very easy to do with this new archetype.

This deck has some tricks with The Restoration of Eiganjo.

Potential Inclusions / Notable Exclusions

  • Even if we don’t play any sacrificial utility lands, playing Serra Paragon in our sideboard could be very good for letting us play almost any of our permanents from our graveyard.
  • Rite of Harmony is another card this deck could play for drawing cards.
  • Elspeth Resplendent and Ajani, Sleeper Agent could be good when we need to play cards that let us keep up in attrition matches.
  • Splashing Red to make the deck Naya could give this deck a new approach. Cabaretti Charm is the most appealing card to splash, giving us raw attack power, another removal option, and a token-generating spell in case we need it. I avoided splashing Red to making the deck more consistent in general terms.
  • Baird, Argivian Recruiter and Tori D'Avenant, Fury Rider could also be good. However, this would complicate our mana base and these cards seem to be better in a Boros Tokens shell instead of a Naya one.
  • Speaking of Naya, Jetmir, Nexus of Revels and Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second could work together in a Naya shell.
  • With all our tokens entering the battlefield, Gala Greeters could trigger its ability many times.
  • Argivian Phalanx seems right in this deck. However, it’s like a win-more type of card in this archetype.
  • Cemetery Protector is an amazing card that is waiting for its chance to shine. Without a doubt, I will test this card in many decks in the new Standard.
  • Torens, Fist of the Angels makes tokens and it’s very good on its own. The problem is how congested our three mana creature slots are.

Gruul Modified Aggro

Shivan Devastator Art by Brent Hollowell - Dominaria United
Shivan Devastator Art by Brent Hollowell
Gruul Modified Aggro
by Bohe
Buy on TCGplayer $93.81
Standard
Aggro
best of 3
2 mythic
32 rare
12 uncommon
14 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (8)
4
Play with Fire
$11.16
Enchantments (4)
Lands (24)
4
Forest
$1.00
6
Mountain
$1.50
4
Rockfall Vale
$11.96
4
Thran Portal
$2.76
60 Cards
$133.82

Probably the most aggressive and straightforward deck in this column. Gruul hasn’t shined as an archetype in a long time. Even if Gruul Werewolves is a good deck, not many Red-Green decks reach the potential of Gruul Adventures from Throne of Eldraine Standard.

This Gruul Modified Aggro is going to probably claim the title of best Gruul deck in Standard since Lovestruck Beast and Embercleave were a thing.

If you are an avid Standard player, you know how strong Boros Aggro is ever since Thundering Raiju and Kumano Faces Kakkazan were printed in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.

Looking closer, Gruul now has more tools to make it shine. New cards like Quirion Beastcaller and Shivan Devastator in combination with Halana and Alena, Partners will make any deck fear for its life total as soon as turn four.

Quirion Beastcaller‘s ability works similarly to modular, letting us transfer all its +1/+1 counters to our creatures. The amazing part of this is that we could distribute the counters between all our creatures, making multiple threats at the same time.

On the other hand, Shivan Devastator lets us cover our curve when needed. However, with many other good options for the early game, playing just a pair of them seems like enough. This lets us play another haste creature when we don’t have a better option or threaten our opponents with a big flier during the mid-late instances of the game.

Ascendant Packleader is a very good option for this deck. Besides Mono Green or Gruul Werewolves where this creature tends to be just ok, in this deck, this is not only good on turn one, but also a very good draw during the late game. Imagine a scenario with Halana and Alena, Partners. This wolf would be a 5/4 with haste for just one mana…

The other creature that Dominaria United brings to the Gruul table is Yavimaya Iconoclast. This is without a doubt one of the strongest uncommon cards of the new set. Many 3-power two mana creatures have 1 toughness, but with 2 toughness, Yavimaya Iconoclast can attack over many one drops. It’s kicker cost also makes this creature cover the three mana spot in the curve when needed, which in combination with Reckless Stormseeker would keep the pressure on.

Lightning Strike‘s printing is very good for this deck. Play With Fire is also in our deck so interacting with our opponents’ creatures can be easy. With both, it will be very easy to seal the game with burn.

Without a doubt, having our painland available in the form of Karplusan Forest is going to help this pair of colors over others. With a very solid mana base and an amazing curve of efficient creatures (many of them with haste), Gruul Modified is going to be one of the strongest aggro options in this new metagame.

Potential Inclusions / Notable Exclusions

  • Arlinn, the Pack's Hope is going to be a very good option for our sideboard. She helps us against midrange and control decks, letting us play our creatures as if they had flash and at the same time, she makes them enter the battlefield with extra +1/+1 counters.
  • Avabruck Caretaker seems expensive for an aggro deck. However, in a midrange variant of Gruul Modified, this card can win many games on its own.
  • If we play Bloodthirsty Adversary we can cast Play With Fire and Lightning Strike again without paying their mana cost, which could be very useful in a wide variety of scenarios. This creature also has haste and can enter with +1/+1 counters thanks to its own ability.
  • Contortionist Troupe works similarly to Shivan Devastator, letting us spend the amount of mana we want when we play it. Shivan Devastator is more aggressive while Contortionist Troupe works better in attrition matches.
  • A red deck without Fable of the Mirror-Breaker looks wrong. In this archetype, this red saga can be included just because of how good the card is by itself, but it doesn’t contribute to our strategy directly.
  • Invigorating Hot Spring reinforces our deck idea while making our creatures bigger at the same time. Testing variants with this enchantment is on my agenda.

Azorius Soldiers

Serra Redeemer Art by Joshua Raphael - Dominaria United
Serra Redeemer Art by Joshua Raphael
Azorius Soldiers – Dominaria United Standard
by Bohe
Buy on TCGplayer $103.21
Standard
Aggro
best of 3
0 mythic
38 rare
10 uncommon
12 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (8)
2
Fading Hope
$1.58
2
Make Disappear
$0.50
Lands (25)
3
Island
$0.75
7
Plains
$1.75
4
Adarkar Wastes
$9.96
4
Deserted Beach
$43.96
4
Thran Portal
$2.76
60 Cards
$126.42

This is the kind of aggro I probably enjoy the most. Pressure our opponents while having a cheap counter behind our troops, covering us from board sweepers or potential big blockers is always a good strategy when available.

This new counter is the card that makes this kind of deck possible. Having only two creatures on the battlefield makes this card just as good as Make Disappear, a counter that is played heavily in Standard and that we also play. Now, thanks to Resolute Reinforcements, it’s easy to have three or more creatures in play to make this a functional Mana Leak with Kicker, an ability that also puts another 1/1 Soldier on the battlefield. With the two aforementioned cards, having a dispensable 1/1 creature to sacrifice with Make Disappear is simple enough to make this counter a “pay four” countermagic.

With Fading Hope in the mix, interacting with our opponents’ creatures and spells while developing our board makes this deck look like any merfolk deck; historically the best aggressive-tempo creature-based decks.

Three new soldiers from Dominaria United are the core behind this soldiers’ strategy. Guardian of New Benalia is the new Seasoned Hallowblade with an upside. Besides being a 2/2 instead of a 3/1 (something that is better in certain situations), it can make its power grow while making our draws better, thanks to how it lets you scry 2 every time it enlists.

Valiant Veteran is part of a cycle of five lords: Valiant Veteran, Vodalian Hexcatcher, Shadow-Rite Priest, Rundvelt Hordemaster, and Leaf-Crowned Visionary. Each one of them has very interesting abilities. However, Valiant Veteran is one of the two that are 2/2, something that makes this soldier one of the best for Standard in comparison with the other lords from Dominaria United when we want to go aggressive. Also, he covers our need for anthem effects thanks to how we can exile it from our graveyard to put a +1/+1 on each of our creatures.

Denick, Pious Apprentice does a great job protecting Valiant Veteran from being removed from our graveyard before we can use its ability, and being a 2/3 with lifelink helps against other aggro strategies. If this wasn’t enough, Denick’s backside is very good in attrition matches, letting us draw cards thanks to the clues he makes when our creatures die.

Serra Redeemer seals the trio of new soldiers in a great way. This angel might be a little bit more expensive than the rest of our creatures, but with it on the field, all of our creatures will come into play with two +1/+1 counters, making any of them a threat to worry about. This includes another Serra Redeemer coming after the first one as a 4/6 flying creature.

Bruthal Cathar helps us remove blockers while Thalia, Guardian of Thraben makes any removal attempt stumble. As far as it goes, Thalia will also tax our blue spells, but having just 8 non-creature spells that cost just 1 or 2 mana, makes this something we don’t have to worry about most of the time.

We have our painland in the form of Adarkar Wastes. With that, Deserted Beach, and Thran Portal, playing any of our spells whenever we want is guaranteed.

Potential Inclusions / Notable Exclusions

  • Argivian Phalanx again looks like a good card. Trying a variant with this or even Search Party Captain seems possible.
  • Sungold Sentinel could be amazing against graveyard strategies or heavy removal decks. I don’t like the fact that it doesn’t get counters with Serra Redeemer, but playing it on our sideboard is a good idea.
  • Speaking of graveyard hate, I had to mention Cemetery Protector again. It would be very interesting to play a more tempo variant with this creature and Cathar Commando (both have flash). However, being 100% into soldiers makes me think twice about it. (Cemetery Protector‘s token is just a Human.)
  • As far as soldiers matter, I have to mention, Torens once again. The tokens generated by Torens, Fist of the Angels are soldiers. When The Brothers’ Wars brings us Brushland, going Bant would be interesting.
  • I thought about Gavony Dawnguard a lot, but I played with this creature before and the fact that it could just do nothing when it enters the field and how it doesn’t trigger Serra Redeemer made me cut it in the last version of the list.
  • Gavony Trapper is our only one mana soldier available. Sadly, it’s not Thraben Inspector.

End Step

Wow, Dominaria United brings a lot of very interesting and fun cards to theorycraft and play with. I just can’t wait for its MTG Arena release to start trying these decks and refine them to the point of making any of them Mythic climbing archetypes.

Any of the three decks seem like something I would enjoy playing with. I hope you find these lists appealing and enjoyable too. If you try any of them, let me know what you think on my social media (link below), and let’s make aggro dominate the Standard rotation together! (As it always should be.)

I hope you get all the rares and mythics you want in your draft and sealed events during the first days. Until then, don’t forget to smile and stretch when your day begins; it surely makes the difference!

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Bohe
Bohe

A full time MTG content creator. Started playing Magic in 99’ with the release of Urza’s Destiny, 3 times Grand Prix attendant (1 as a player ending #78 and 2 as a judge). Mexican, lover of coffee, Korean culture, languages and ex-LoL coach.
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