Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is almost in our hands, and a lot of sweet cards from the new set have already been spoiled! Today I’ll be providing a rundown of the most interesting new card we’ve seen so far from each colour. As usual, I’ll be focusing on their possible impact on Standard, Alchemy, and Historic, but I am also interested in cards that look strong in older formats and Brawl. The new set is throwing together the themes of sci-fi, steampunk, and Japanese culture, and unsurprisingly some of the card designs I’ll be talking about today are quite unique. Without further ado, let’s get a sneak peak at the action!


White: The Wandering Emperor

To start off strong, let’s take a look at this brand new four-mana planeswalker. The Wandering Emperor is something entirely new, something that many people have probably wondered about as a possible design; a planeswalker with flash. The Emperor is completely designed around flash, and combines it with the ability to be activated at instant speed the turn it is played, even on an opponent’s turn. On top of that, all three of her loyalty abilities work best when they are a surprise, and they are all effects that are found on classic white combat tricks. Essentially, the Wandering Emperor is a combat trick on a planeswalker, and that is a pretty fun surprise! 

Aside from her low starting loyalty, the Emperor is actually quite good for her mana cost even if you ignore her potential for surprises. Her +1 ability permanently boosts a creature and can definitely help an aggressive board state. Her -1 ability of making a 2/2 Samurai is also very powerful, and can help you build a board and perhaps rebuild after a board wipe. Her -2 is a little more defensive, but can be very powerful when she first comes down. 

I think The Wandering Emperor definitely has the potential to see some Standard play. Mono-White is an obvious home for her, but really any aggressive or midrange deck using white should be able to include her. I’m very excited to play some games with her and keep opponents on their toes.


Blue: Thousand-Faced Shadow

This new one-drop is potentially a starting point for a new archetype in Standard. While rogues were a big deal last year before rotation, it seems that this Standard season it might be time for the ninjas to shine. Funnily, if ninjas does become a deck it will probably be quite similar to the rogues decks we’ve seen before. Evasive creatures, attacking to gain an advantage, blue disruption (such as Essence Capture, which is also in this set) and black removal. Instead of being centered around mill, ninjas will be focused on Ninjutsu. The ability to sneak impactful creatures behind enemy lines could be very powerful in Standard.

Thousand-Faced Shadow can play two important roles for ninja decks. It can either be a cheap evasive one-drop that can enable future Ninjutsus, or it can come down later for four mana and create a very powerful attack. Neither mode is off-the-charts powerful, but ninjas would already want to play cheap creatures with flying and so the Ninjutsu ability is essentially a welcome bonus.


Black: Tribute to Horobi

The most exciting black card I have seen so far is this cheap saga, which has a lot of potential in the right deck. Sacrifice is an archetype in Standard that is still looking for new tools, and this is a card that might be able to give it a strong set-up play. Although it actually benefits the opponent for the first two turns it spends on the board, once it flips it has a strong effect. Getting two 1/1 rat tokens and 3/3 creature with flying and haste on turn four while also having all your mana available can create a huge swing and provide sacrifice decks with a lot of power. I believe that Tribute to Horobi also has a good chance of seeing play in Alchemy sacrifice decks, which usually spend a number of turns setting up anyway. 


Red: Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei

It has been a little while now since red aggro has been a thing in Standard. Although its nice to finally have a break, I have to admit it feels a little strange. However, if Goro-Goro has anything to say about it, red aggro might be coming back. The archetype still needs more help, but this is a step in the right direction; a two-drop that can speed up your offensive and create big problems if it makes it to the lategame. 

I don’t think Goro-Goro will be too prevalent in competitive formats, but it could certainly be a role player if red aggro returns!


Green: Kami of Transience

There are a few interesting new green cards, but I want to talk about the Kami of Transience because it could be the herald of a new archetype. We’ve seen “Selesnya Enchantress” decks before, where enchantments are used to create engines and provide lots of card advantage or board presence, but I haven’t seen Selesnya enchantment-based aggro before, and that seems like it might be an archetype that is coming.

At first glance, this card looks like it could be busted. It is a bear with trample to start, and gets bigger with every enchantment you cast.  Then, after your Kami has died, it can come back to your hand if any enchantments of yours are destroyed (which is quite common for auras). This means if you have a Kami of Transcience that was enchanted by an aura and it is removed, the Kami will be returned to your hand at the next end step. This card alone makes me want to play a green-based enchantment deck, but it is also joined in this set by the cards Generous Visitor and Jukai Naturalist, among others. While this archetype may not be tier one in Standard right away, I will definitely be trying it out. 


Land: Boseiju, Who Endures

I wasn’t going to include a land category on this list, and then I saw Boseiju. I believe this is probably the best land printed in the last few years. The number of decks that will just automatically include a copy of it is off the charts. Legacy, Modern, Historic, Standard, almost every format is going to be impacted by this new legendary land. The fact that it is essentially free for any deck that plays forests is insane when coupled with its ability to provide a cheap answer for a number of important permanents. In Standard alone it can hit Esika’s Chariot, Wedding Announcement, man-lands like Den of the Bugbear, a Ranger Class that has been leveled up, and Showdown of the Skalds. The value of having an answer like this in your maindeck for when you need it is huge, and I think this card could end up seeing more play across all formats than any other card in the set. 


That concludes my look at the top spoilers of Kamigawa so far. I certainly cannot wait to get my hands on the set and to start brewing decks. Are there any other cards that have caught your eye this spoiler season? Let me know if you think I’ve snubbed something from the list, or if you totally agree on every point! Also make sure to stay tuned for upcoming articles where I will look at Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty decks in Standard and Brawl.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.