All MTG Dominaria United mechanics, new and returning

A returning mechanic has a new look.

Image via WotC

Players will revisit the Magic: The Gathering plane of Dominaria this fall through Dominaria United, containing several returning mechanics with a twist and one new mechanic specific to the set. 

Scheduled to release digitally on Sept. 1 and globally on Sept. 9, Dominaria United (DMU) will include popular returning planeswalkers, mechanics, and pain lands. There is only one new mechanic within the MTG set while returning mechanics like Sagas have a new twist to them. Staple mechanics like Flash and Haste are included in the set, along with Deathtouch, Trample, and Flying. 

  • Flash: Flash is a commonly used keyword ability within MTG sets that returns in DMU. Players can cast a creature that has Flash on their opponent’s turn if they choose, like an Instant speed spell. 
  • Deathtouch: Similar to Flash, Deathtouch is a keyword ability that destroys any creature it deals damage to, no matter the toughness. 
  • Flying: Flying is a form of evasion. Creatures with Flying can only get blocked by creatures with Flying or Reach. 
  • Trample: Trample is a form of evasion in which damage can hit a player’s life total if the power of the attacking creature is greater than the toughness of the blocker. 
  • Haste: A creature with Haste doesn’t have summoning sickness. 

From the return of Kicker to skipping Saga chapters, here’s every MTG mechanic within the Dominaria United set. 

Kicker in Dominaria United

Paying homage to MTG Invasion, Kicker returns as a mechanic within DMU. The design team has added some powerful elements to the mechanic, from tapping into enemy colors to repeatable costs that offer additional effects. 

Benalish Sleeper is a two-drop Mono-White Phyrexian human soldier who taps into enemy colors through its Kicker cost. Paying one Black mana forces each player to sacrifice a creature upon Benalish Sleeper entering the battlefield. 

Temporal Firestorm showcases the flexibility of Kicker within DMU, allowing players to pay either White or Blue mana toward the Kicker cost on a Mono-Red card. Archangel of Wrath has the same feature, allowing players to pay either Black or Red mana on a Mono-White creature for the Kicker cost. And players can pay the Kicker on Archangel of Wrath twice to deal an extra two damage. 

Color flexibility and the option to pay a Kicker cost multiple times for an additional effect will likely have a major impact within the DMU Limited format. 

Sagas and Read Ahead

First introduced to Magic through Dominaria, Sagas return within DMU. Similar to Kamigawa: Neon Nights, Sagas have once again evolved, showcasing the option to start at your chapter of choice through Read Ahead. Sagas typically have three chapters, with chapter one taking place on the turn it was played and each chapter activating over the course of a player’s next two turns. 

The Phasing of Zhalfir

In DMU, players can choose a chapter to start with through Read Ahead. The catch, however, is that skipped chapters can’t get activated. The change improves the playability of Sagas within the Standard format, which is often too fast-paced, especially for a high-costed saga. 

The Phasing of Zhalfir showcases the flexibility DMU Sagas can offer. Players can pay the 2UU mana cost to either destroy all creatures through chapter three, phase out a target creature for one turn and then destroy, or phase a target out for two turns and then destroy all. 

Domain mechanic in Dominaria United

First introduced within the Invasion set, Domain is a keyword ability that cares about the basic land types. The variety of effects can vary from Domain, from increasing the power and toughness of a creature to determining that creature’s basic stats. 

Territorial Maro

In the case of Territorial Maro, the elemental’s base stats are equal to twice the number of basic land types that the player controls. And with Nishoba Brawler, Domain determines the cat warrior’s power but not toughness that is equal to the number of basic land types that the player controls. 

Enlist Dominaria United mechanic

Enlist is a new mechanic within DMU, used during the attack phase. Upon attacking, players can tap a non-attacking creature they control that doesn’t have summoning sickness to add that creature’s power to the attacking creature’s power. 

Guardian of New Benalia

Guardian of New Benalia is a two-drop 2/2 creature with Enlist that also has an additional ability of Scry two when the new mechanic is activated. Having a second bonus is common on many of the DMU creatures that have the new mechanic. Enlist will likely be a strong Limited format mechanic.

Stun Counter Dominaria United mechanic

Stun Counters are a new mechanic in MTG that prevent a permanent from untapping when it should. As seen on the Stall for Time DMU card, the Kicker applies each tapped creature with a Stun Counter. On controller of those tapped creatures’ next turn, they would normally untap. Instead, a Stun Counter is removed, keeping the permanent tapped for an additional turn.

Stall for Time

If a permanent has multiple Stun Counters on it, only one will get removed per turn and the permanent will not have the ability to untap until all Stun Counters are removed. Untap abilities won’t trigger when a Stun Counter is in play and aren’t affected by various MTG effects that cause permanents to lose all abilities.

All images via WotC, Magic: The Gathering.

Updated Aug. 19 at 6:30am CT: Added Stun Counters to the list of DMU mechanics.