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The Swamp King Returns! New Sol’Kanar in MTG Dominaria United

One of my favorite cards in Magic is Sol’Kanar the Swamp King. Not only is Sol’Kanar a total badass, he’s also painted by Richard Kane Ferguson, one of my favorite artists. Just take a look at this ancient piece of Magic lore:

Sol'kanar the Swamp King

11 year old me could only imagine the vast power Sol’Kanar had, as I wasn’t able to get my hands on one for quite some time. It was one of the coolest cards in the game, and surprisingly powerful given the rest of the legends in, well, Legends. Well, as power levels have changed, so has Sol’Kanar, and we are lucky enough to get a new version in Dominaria United. Check out Sol’Kanar the Tainted.

 

 

Sol'Kanar the Tainted

The first thing that stands out is that the cost and stats are the same – that definitely feels right. A 5/5 for five isn’t quite as impressive as it was in 1994, but it’s not bad either, so we’ve got a reasonably-sized monster on our hands. Where it gets really spicy is when you take a look at the abilities.

Sol’Kanar has strong Demonic Pact vibes, as you get four abilities, one of which is a big drawback (though not nearly as big as “you lose the game”), and you get to pick them in any order, but not more than once each. Ultimately, your opponent will gain control of Sol’Kanar unless you win the game or find some way to stop it. Still, let’s look at the upsides first.

It’s important to note that these trigger end of your turn, which means that you more than likely get one right away – that’s big in Constructed.

  • Draw a card. 
    • Always a strong ability – plus one card is clean, simple, and powerful.
  • Drain the opponent for two.
    • This is likely the third ability chosen unless you need the life or the opponent is near death. It’s good, but not amazing.
  • Deal three to a creature or planeswalker. 
    • Great – being able to snipe a good card on their side is fantastic. This will often be the first one chosen, with draw a card being the choice if there are no good targets.
  • Give Sol’Kanar to the opponent.
    • Clearly last, unless you have some cunning plan.

While Sol’Kanar has a real drawback, as giving your opponent this beast is tough to overcome, I don’t think you need to make a gimmicky combo deck for it to work. You get three attacks before the last ability triggers, and that combined with the three beneficial abilities puts a ton of pressure on the opponent. You are up multiple cards by then, which gives you time to find a way to close the game or bounce Sol’Kanar, and I suspect it won’t be hard to win if you have an unimpeded Swamp King on the board (sorry, “Tainted” – he will always be the Swamp King to me).

Plus, is your opponent really able to afford to just let this live? If they do, hoping to gain control of it, you can blow them out with bounce, flicker or importantly, a second copy. Sol’Kanar being legendary is huge here, as you just get to put four in your deck, and after a few turns, play a second copy and sacrifice the first. Essentially comboing with himself is massive, and will go a long way towards making Sol’Kanar a player in Standard.

I’m really excited by the prospect of getting to play Sol’Kanar, and I look forward to doing so!

 

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