MTG Keywords Explained: What is Domain?

Here’s how to dominate your opponents.

First appearing in Invasion and returning recently in Dominaria United, domain is a keyword ability that relies on the number of different basic land types a player controls.

What is Domain in Magic: The Gathering?

Scion of Draco
Slimefoot's Survey
Tribal Flames

Domain is a keyword ability that checks the number of basic land types you control on the battlefield, with the domain effect scaling depending on this result. There are five basic land types in MTG—Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest. 

How Does Domain Work in Magic: The Gathering?

Shadow Prophecy

Dominaria United | Common

Shadow Prophecy - Dominaria United - magic

With Shadow Prophecy as an example, you can look at the top X cards of your library where X is the number of basic land types among lands you control. In this instance, say you control an Island, a Plains, and a Swamp you will look at the top three cards of your library as you have three basic land types among the lands you control, then you put two of those cards into your hand.

Hallowed Fountain

Market Price: $11.74

Savai Triome

Market Price: $12.98


Market Price: $437.96

However, be careful as each domain ability comes with a different effect. Make sure to read each card carefully before casting the spell. Also, having lands with numerous subtypes such as Hallowed Fountain will count as a Plains and an Island which helps when casting spells with the domain keyword. Domain is such an interesting keyword, it is also a Modern strategy where it uses Scion of Draco and Territorial Kavu to great effect. 

How to Play With Domain in Magic: The Gathering

Domain requires you to check the basic land types you control on the battlefield often, here are some other tips to keep in mind when playing with the keyword:

  • To understand the number of basic land types among lands you control, look at the lands you have on the battlefield and check the subtypes of Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest featured on the battlefield. Topping out at five, counting these will help you understand how effective the domain abilities will be. 
  • Domain does not check how many lands of a basic land type you have on the battlefield. While you may have five Islands on the battlefield, domain will only check to see if there is one. Multiples of the same typing do not stack up. 
  • Wastes is not a basic land type, this does not count towards any domain abilities. 
  • As mentioned earlier, numerous nonbasic lands include basic land types such as Hallowed Fountain and Bayou plus others. Domain abilities don’t count the number of lands you control—they count the number of basic land types among the lands you control. If you have a Savai Triome and a Breeding Pool on the battlefield, your domain abilities will max out since the five basic land types are present between these two nonbasic lands. 
  • A domain ability that appears on an instant, sorcery, or activated ability will check the number of basic land types among lands you control just once, as part of that effect is applied. This will not change even if which lands you control changes later in the turn so for example, if you control two Swamps and two Islands at the same time Drag to the Bottom resolves, each creature gets -2/-2 (plus 1) until the end of the turn. If you play a Plains later in the turn, Drag to the Bottom effects will not change.