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Magic: The Gathering’s Dominaria United Previews – Day Eight Highlights

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  • Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer
  • Elder Silverback (Translated Name TBA)
  • Defiler Of Instinct
  • Aether Channeler
  • Shadow-Rite Priest
  • Urza Assembles The Titans

Here we are at the end of Magic: The Gathering’s Dominaria United’s spoiler season. Now that we’ve seen all but the draft chaff, it’s clear this set is aiming to revitalise an already excellent Standard format with a hint of power and complexity. Whether it’s managing land types with domain or juggling legendary creatures, Dominaria United is asking a lot, but it has the foundation set up by Midnight Hunt through to New Capenna to back it up.

On the final day of spoilers, we’ve got a new, format-shaking green creature, a famous name from Magic’s history getting her first card, and a terrifyingly powerful new Cleric. Here are the best cards revealed on day eight of Dominaria United’s previews.

Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer

Three generic, two green legendary creature – Elemental – */*:

Protection from planeswalkers and Wizards

Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of lands you control.

Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, create a 3/3 green Badger creature token.

This preview season started with a lot of confusion over what is found in a Commander product, what’s a box topper, and what is actually in Dominaria United booster packs. Fortunately, Wizards also didn’t drop the Set Booster made-for-Commander exclusives at us on the same time, and decided to leave them for the final day.

Greensleeves is deep, deep cut in MTG lore. She was a druid and planeswalker who committed her life to fighting misuse of magic, particularly against the rogue mage Towser. Limited to books and the odd flavour text, this is the first time Greensleeves has received her very own card, and it’s a corker.

A constantly-growing, Badger-producing, The Wandering Emperor-immune way to drop massive damage once you’ve ramped enough is going to be gnarly.

Elder Silverback (Translated Name TBA)

Two generic, three green creature – Ape Shaman – 5/7:

Whenever you cast a creature spell, choose one ––

  • Destroy target artifact or enchantment
  • Look at the top five cards of your library. You may put a land card from among them onto the battlefield tapped. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order
  • You gain four life

    I’ve been having a lot of fun with Mono-Green Ramp in Explorer recently, and this looks like a perfect new addition to it. Joining absurdly good, text-heavy green creatures like Elder Gargaroth and Questing Beast, Elder Silverback is the latest in a long line of creatures that have a big chance of completely upending Standard’s meta.

    In a lot of ways, this feels like green’s take on Innistrad: Midnight Hunt’s Hullbreaker Horror. Both love you to cast spells, give you a variety of options for your trigger, and help keep the board in check provided you’re casting enough spells.

    It can offer ramp, it takes problematic enchantments and artifacts out the way, or it can buff up your life in a pinch. That final ability even completely offsets life you pay with Defiler of Vigor, giving you the choice of paying one green less for everything while also getting two life out of it. This big boy is wild.

    Defiler Of Instinct

    Two generic, two red creature – Phyrexian Kavu – 4/4:

    First strike

    As an additional cost to cast red permanent spells, you may pay two life. Those spells cost one red less to cast if you paid life this way. This effect reduces only the amount of red mana you pay.

    Whenever you cast a red permanent spell, Defiler of Instinct deals one damage to any target.

    Normally four mana is a big ask for a Mono-Red Aggro deck only considered for the likes of Torbran or an Embercleave. Defiler of Instinct might be joining that exclusive club, though, as its ability could easily help you win the game in a single turn.

    With so many Goblins and other red creatures costing just, Defiler of Instinct effectively has you pay two life to deal two damage and get a creature into play for free. Load up your hand with Viashino Branchriders and Phoenix Chicks, and without spending any mana at all you’ll be dealing impressive, casting creatures, and then swinging in to attack them for even more.

    Aether Channeler

    Two generic, one blue creature – Human Wizard – 2/1:

    When Aether Channeler enters the battlefield, choose one ––

    • Create a 1/1 white Bird creature token with flying.
    • Return another target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand.
    • Draw a card.

      Aether Channeler just drops in out of nowhere to replace not just one, but two staples in different formats. In Cube, this is very nearly a strictly better Man ‘o War, with its only downside being its lower toughness. In formats like Modern, this could give Reflector Mage a run for its money, thanks to the multiple options and the ability to return any nonland permanent rather than just a creature.

      In Commander, blink-heavy decks are going to adore it to keep the board under control (especially when used alongside Baldur’s Gate’s Displacer Kitten to pull off multiple blinks a turn). Ironically, the only format where this doesn’t seem incredible is Standard. There are fewer ways to squeeze extra value out of it, and the lack of flash makes the choice of bouncing your own permanents back to your hand feel less appealing.

      Shadow-Rite Priest

      One generic, one black creature – Human Cleric – 2/2:

      Other Clerics you control get +1/+1.

      Pay three generic, two black, tap Shadow-Rite Priest, sacrifice another Cleric: Search your library for a black creature card, but it into the battlefield, then shuffle.

      Clerics are back in Standard in a big way, thanks to Shadow-Rite Priest’s ability to tutor up any creature and put it into play at instant speed. The fact that you can do this while your opponent is attacking, either to bring out a big enough blocker, or just turn that guaranteed Cleric death into something more useful, is stunning.

      There aren’t too many black creatures in Standard that cost more than five to play, but the ones we have easily show why this is going to be a staple post-rotation. Who wouldn’t want to turn a 2/2 Cleric into a Lord Xander, or cheat a whole ten mana off of Shadow of Mortality? Five mana and a creature sound like a lot, but the potential results of Shadow-Rite Priest are devastating.

      Urza Assembles The Titans

      Three generic, two white enchantment – Saga:

      Read ahead

      Chapter One: Scry four, then you may reveal the top card of your library. If a planeswalker card is revealed this way, you may put it into your hand.

      Chapter Two: You may put a planeswalker card with mana value six or less from your hand onto the battlefield.

      Chapter three: You may activate the loyalty abilities of planeswalkers you control twice this turn rather than only one.

      One of the final Sagas revealed for Dominaria United tells one of the most famous stories in Magic’s lore – Urza gathering eight other planeswalkers with the aim of destroying Phyrexia once and for all.

      This Saga is ideal for a Superfriends deck that wants to play lots of planeswalker, even if you’re just aiming to filter through your deck to find a Wandering Emperor. There are ways to be far more creative with it, though, thanks to the read ahead mechanic that lets you skip chapters.

      In Standard, there are a decent amount of planeswalkers who you could put into play on the second chapter, and then by the third chapter have enough loyalty counters to use their ultimate abilities. Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh; Tamiyo, Completed Sage; and Elspeth Resplendent are all in range the second you get to trigger their abilities twice.

      Even if you’re not going for the ultimate, other planeswalkers will benefit from having more triggers. Wrenn and Seven will let you fill your hand up with lands and then dump them all into play, while Sorin the Mirthless making two 2/3 fliers with lifelink isn’t one to discount.

      And this is just thinking about Standard – there are so many planeswalkers in the wider formats that could be busted wide open with Urza Assembles The Titans. Between this and New Capenna’s Luxior, Giada’s Gift; planeswalkers are getting a lot of love this year.

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