Wizards of the Coast SEA held a pre release event for MtG Dominaria United– the next expansion for Magic: The Gathering releasing this week.
Held at the fancy Mori Kohi in the middle of KL, the event was a great way for us to get acquainted with the battle of Karn and his allies against the ongoing Phyrexian threat, whose sleeper agents are heading to a takeover of the Dominarian plane.
Just like the Streets of New Capenna event earlier this year, the Dominaria United Pre Release event was great for those of us excited about the upcoming expansion. We had a brief presentation showcasing both the story of the set, as well as how that story would be reflected in the gameplay.
As apt of a set commemorating Magic: The Gathering’s 30th anniversary, Dominaria United sees the return of the Domain Keyword Ability- this rewards you for using different types of lands in your deck, meaning multicolor decks would have the edge as they stock every available basic land. Better yet, the multi-color basic lands like Tangled Islet also count, boosting any abilities tied to the Domain keyword.
On top of that, this expansion also uses the new Enlist keyword- here, creatures can be tapped alongside ones with the Enlist keyword, bolstering its strength. It’s a fitting ability for an expansion set around a big battle, and helps your big hitters get extra good at taking out possible defenders, though you’ll want to decide between going for that option or a swarm approach.
After the introduction our table was introduced to each other through the best way known to Man- with a Dominaria-themed game of Werewolf. From ordinary members of the Dominaria Alliance to Phyrexian Sleeper Agents to a singular Karn, we all had fun conspiring to kill each other, while also vehemently arguing for our innocence. The most lethal blow of all, however, would be one of the other guests describing the game as “just like Among Us”.
Once introductions were done, we were at the main event- we got to open our Pre Release packs, and with the help of the tournament staff start constructing decks with each other. Unlike last time where we used the jump start packs, the pre release draft boosters meant we really got to see what’s new in the set itself. Sadly, whatever deity overlooks your card pulls didn’t get me a Phyrexian-heavy pull, but I managed to cobble together a pretty decent Red/Green/Black deck of my own volition and continue my campaign of terror against other media.
Admittedly this was my first time playing by Pre-Release rules- I mostly stick to Commander, so the idea of having more than one of any card seemed like a luxury for me. It also meant planning cards around a smaller deck size would be a pain. I might have been a bit too safe with land- a lot of my deck’s milling power ended up burning a lot of land in the process, yet somehow I still eeked out enough to get my big boss Creatures going.
That’s not to say my opponent, Izzat from Aksiz, wasn’t packing either. With his own Blue/Green deck, he had all manner of annoying Blue Instants, locking out one of my biggest creatures with multiple stun counters, making it effectively useless for a total of 6 turns before blowing it up.
That wasn’t all we got though- participating in the pre-release event also scored us one of the sweet new Tokens, complete with stained-glass style texture and visuals for our collections.
Even if we’re not playing “optimally”, these events are a great example of the kind of sticking power MtG and other card games has- while online apps are plenty fun in their own right, the social experience of being at a table of 8, all playing their own games is something that just can’t be recreated. Tabletop games just need that human element in it, especially if you revel in the face of anguish in someone’s face as they realize that you’ve nuked the board of all creatures and still have enough mana to get off a combo.
MtG: Dominaria launches September 9th, and don’t forget to pick up your own sets from your local games store to betray Dominaria for your own cool bio mechanical overlords.
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