All board games up to 70% off!
   Sign In
Create Account

I'm Sorry, Did You Say "Ninja Planeswalker?"


It's funny to think that Kamigawa was a pretty underwhelming block when it was first released.

Overgrown Tomb

Sandwiched between the power and chaos of the original Mirrodin block (which saw multiple bannings in Standard and sent shockwaves through almost every format) and the extremely beloved first Ravnica block (which gave us our first look at the guilds that now feel like cornerstone of Magic lore), the original Kamigawa block was initially quite a letdown.

Power level-wise it was intentionally toned way down from the absurdity of Mirrodin, while thematically many of its mechanics like Soulshift and Splice onto Arcane were very insular and didn't play well with the non-Kamigawa cards.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Keiga, the Tide Star
Isamaru, Hound of Konda

However, despite being poorly received at the time, it has nonetheless garnered a cult following over the years for many sweet and iconic cards as well it's unique motif. As we've gone back to many planes multiple times now, the question of "when are we going back to Kamigawa?" is one that has often been asked.

Well ask no more!

And oh, if you thought the original Kamigawa was unique and iconic, boy are you in store for something new.

Set in a futuristic looking, cyberpunk-style world, Kamigawa Neon Dynasty is like nothing we've ever seen before in Magic. Set over 1,000 years after the original Kamigawa block (which was technically in the distant past), we're seeing what looks like modern technology for the first time ever in a normal set.

Today we're going to go over the three cards that were previewed yesterday by Wizards of the Coast and start to wrap our heads around this new take on a classic world!

I won't bury the lede... yes there's a Ninja planeswalker! And not only that, he looks pretty damn good!

Kaito Shizuki is a three-mana, Dimir planeswalker with a lot going on, but perhaps most interesting is his triggered ability.

At the beginning of your end step, if Kaito Shizuki entered the battlefield under your control, he phases out.

The turn you play Kaito, he will phase out at the end of turn. Like a ninja hit and run, your opponent will not be able to attack Kaito on that crucial first turn, or deal with him with sorcery speed options. This is extremely potent, as being able to protect your planeswalker the turn you cast him is always a major factor I how good any particular planeswalker can be.

So, we've got a three-mana planeswalker that protects itself well, already a phenomenal start, but it gets even better!

[+1]: Draw a card. Then discard a card unless you attacked this turn.

+1 loyalty to draw and discard would be a decent plus ability, but that's the floor here. The ceiling is +1 loyalty to just draw a card straight up, which is usually a cost/ability only reserved for planeswalkers that cost five mana or more. Yes, you need to have attacked, but not have actually dealt damage, which is excellent. This means that Kaito will be excellent in decks already looking to attack with cheap creatures, but they are not a requirement!

[-2]: Create a 1/1 blue Ninja creature token with "This creature can't be blocked."

Kaito can make his own threats to get himself rolling, which is awesome. -2 loyalty for a 1/1 isn't amazing, but it plays so well with the +1 ability as well as providing guaranteed value that it's quite a deal. Furthermore, you can safely go for the -2 ability even when your opponent has attackers because of how Kaito protects himself on that first turn. Then you can untap, push your creature through, protect Kaito, and get that card draw snowball rolling.

[-7]: You get an emblem with "Whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, search your library for a blue or black creature card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle."

The ultimate is the definition of win more, requiring an unopposed planeswalker for many turns as well as a successful attack with a creature, but it's not a bad way to close out a game I suppose. Make no mistake, you're not playing this card for the ultimate.

Kaito is an extremely exciting card across multiple formats. It has enough rate and raw power to play well by itself, but plays even better in a deck full of cheap threats.

This is a really good one!

It wouldn't be Kamigawa without big spirit dragons with death triggers!

The original cycle of Spirit Dragons was one of the most popular elements to Champions of Kamigawa, with many of them seeing tons of play in various formats. They were fun, exciting, and also utilized the changed legend rule in a cool way by allowing for the double-dragon death triggers for extra copies.

Atsushi, the Blazing Sky is our first look at the Spirit Dragons in Neon Dynasty and is a much leaner entry than the six-mana dragons from back in the day.

A 4/4 flying dragon for four mana is par for the course these days in Red and it's a bit of a count against Atsushi that they don't affect the board in anyway the turn they are cast. However, the death trigger is mighty powerful, providing you potentially two cards and a three for one worth of value from your dragon. This is big game against any deck looking to exchange resources, allowing you to play a solid threat that is just as happy if it's dead or alive.

A lot of the value of Atsushi will be determined by the type of removal that is commonly being played.

Divide by Zero
Infernal Grasp
Skyclave Apparition

If the central theme of the removal in the format is either exile-based or bounce, Atsushi loses a lot of value. Cleanly answering Atsushi takes a lot of the luster away from the card, as you wouldn't pay four mana for a 4/4 flier in Constructed without some sort of upside. However, if there's a lot more Infernal Grasps and other more direct removal spells as well as creature combat, Atsushi is going to be an extremely powerful threat in many kinds of decks that is going to provide a lot of lose-lose scenarios to your opponent.

This one feels better than it looks.

Wait Jim, didn't you say that the original Kamigawa happened like a thousand years ago or something? Then how's our boy Hidetsugu still around?

Look, I'm not a lore guy - He's a demon now, so maybe he ate a demon and got eternal life or something? That's for someone else to explain. What I'm here to explain is that you are going to lose to Hidetsugu in Limited a lot and you're not going to be happy about it.

Like we said about Atsushi, the Blazing Sky, in Constructed there's a bar for four-mana 4/4s to be able to do something effective the turn they come into play. Hidetsugu doesn't have the upside that Atsushi has; if Hidetsugu gets taken out you've got no recourse and a 4/4 ground pounder is clearly worse than a 4/4 flier.

That being said, the abilities here are good.

One Black mana to sacrifice a creature to scry 2 is solid, and while it could just be used in response to removal or played fairly, it could also be a vessel for sacrifice synergies as well. Not quite Viscera Seer as far as synergies go, but there is value there.

The second ability is what puts this card through the roof in Limited and in any slower game. Three mana to maybe draw a card and maybe deal some damage is just too many maybes for Constructed. You can't know if you'll have the mana or desire to play whatever random card you get, nor can you know if you'll be able to actually kill something unless you've already sacrificed resources to scry and set it up, and the cost to value ratio just isn't good enough.

However, in Limited you couldn't ask for more and it's still a pretty sweet card overall.

Get That Hype Train Rolling

I won't lie; when I found out that there was a preview stream yesterday, I felt a bit overwhelmed.

There have been a lot of Magic products released this year and they haven't left a lot of room to breathe between them. However, this felt like just the right amount of preview- a nice small taste, no mechanics, no big reveals... just a little bit to plant the seeds of interest.

No matter how you shake it this is going to be a big set. The motif is a somewhat risky one, as well as returning to a plane that wasn't successful the first time around. However, with risk comes great potential; I'm very excited to see where this one goes!

Limited time 30% buy trade in bonus buylist