Dominaria 2018 Key Art
6, Jul, 22

Dominaria United Will Let You Coax Friends Into Magic Once More

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With cards costing upwards of $800,000, it’s not always easy convincing your friends to play Magic: the Gathering. Preconstructed decks and starter kits help to mitigate the cost. However, learning a deck’s interactions is still no easy feat. Thankfully, to help ease new players into the game, Wizards of the Coast is bringing back a fan favorite format in Dominaria United: Jumpstart.

Played by combining two themed boosters, Jumpstart is an excellent intro to Magic: the Gathering. Jumpstart allows new and veteran players to quickly jump into a game without the need for deck building. This vastly increases how easy it is to dive into the world of Magic. This, and other introductory formats like it, are vital for the game’s growth in its return to paper.

What Is Jumpstart?

Jumpstart Booster Packs

If you’ve not heard of it before, Jumpstart was first introduced to Magic: the Gathering’s catalog of formats with the supplemental set fittingly called Jumpstart. Launching in July of 2020, Jumpstart was a stimulating new format that was unfortunately released at the wrong time. The set was even delayed several times due to the covid-19 pandemic. 

Once it finally launched, Jumpstart was praised for being a delightful new format that provided an easy way to play the game. After all, you only needed four packs of Jumpstart, two for each player, to play a game. While somewhat less accessible than Pack Wars, the themed boosters provided a much more exciting limited environment. 

Unlike traditional Magic: the Gathering Draft Boosters, Jumpstart Boosters contain 20 cards. The 20 cards inside a Jumpstart Booster all fit a variation of a dedicated theme, such as “Cats,” “Garruk,” or “Unicorns.” In the original release of Jumpstart, 46 different themes and 121 different variations were among the packs. Jumpstart also featured several brand new cards such as Blessed Sanctuary. The new cards introduced in the set are only playable in Eternal formats.

Read More: New Unannounced MTG Hidden Chase Card Discovered!

Good Times All Around

Dominaria United Jumpstart Boosters

With many possible decks to build, Jumpstart provides much replayability for new and returning players. This allows new players to experience the thrills of Magic: the Gathering in a non-competitive environment without spending too much. Compared to the complexities found in a Booster Draft and the diluted nature of MTG’s starter decks, Jumpstart is a real taste of the game. 

This is precisely what new players, and Wizards of the Coast, need. Leading into Dominaria United, we’ve seen Wizards of the Coast push paper formats. However, they can’t stop there. In-person tournaments are a welcome return, but they only cater to the competitive niche. Without accessible avenues into the game, Magic: the Gathering will stagnate and falter. 

Thankfully, this is precisely where Dominaria United’s Jumpstart Boosters come in. Not only does this compelling format provide exciting ways to play, but it’ll also help jumpstart a player’s collection. By including a pair of rares and cards from the Standard set, Jumpstart is more enticing than ever before.

Dominaria United’s Jumpstart is also due to feature a “mechanically unique rare designed for the Jumpstart pack.” Wizards have been unclear on exactly what this means. However, we assume these cards will only be Eternal playable, similar to the original Jumpstart’s new cards. After all, we can’t imagine players would be happy if Standard-legal cards were exclusive to Jumpstart Boosters. If they are Eternal playable cards that are viable in tribal decks, this may lure players into playing Commander.

As much as I love it, this is a vast improvement over MTG Arena, perhaps even its killing blow. Without a compelling campaign, revamped economy, and people’s favorite formats, MTG Arena has slowly fallen out of favor. Despite this, there has been one thing the game is good at, enticing new players into the world of Magic. In the face of Jumpstart, however, I’m not sure I’ll be able to recommend it anymore. 

As with Jumpstart’s previous appearance, likely, the out-of-the-pack format will also come to Arena. While this will allow digital players to join in on the fun, it’s no replacement for playing in person with friends. With this in mind, it will not be tough to recommend starting the grind fest of playing Arena, especially when a box of Dominaria United Jumpstart Boosters is only $99.99.

Read More: This Small Change Could Make MTG Arena a Whole Lot More Fun

Setting a New Precedent

There’s some good news for jumpstart fans who’ve been awaiting the format’s return since 2020. Jumpstart isn’t just returning for Dominaria United; it’s now part of every Standard set release. This is a hugely exciting prospect for those who love the Jumpstart format and for those looking to bring friends into the world of Magic without throwing them in at the deep end. 

Not only is Jumpstart a fantastic way for new players to enjoy the game, but it’s also something for veteran players to be excited about. This is thanks to the new and reprinted cards available within boosters. While Jumpstart doesn’t always feature the most exciting reprints, anything that brings down card prices is welcome. Let’s not forget that Jumpstart also gave us Cauldrons Familiar in Pauper.

As much as we enjoyed the format’s debut, we’d be remiss, not to mention some of the problems with Jumpstart. Namely the variety of printing issues that first affected the set. Alongside the usual quality issues, printing included ‘fused’ basic lands layered over one another. While not official dual lands, these cards were surprisingly sought-after on the secondary market. Regardless of how good the misprints looked, we hope they’re not a persistent issue.

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