Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Set Review - Blue

(Kairi, the Swirling Sky | Art by Tyler Jacobson)

Electric Blue-galoo

Hi there! I’m Jeremy Rowe, AKA J Ro, the Unsummoned Skull, a former Judge, Tournament Organizer, and Pro Tour competitor. I’m also a current teacher, college professor, streamer, community leader, and content creator. Kamigawa was the site of my entry into Magic. My first set was Champions of Kamigawa, and while some elements of the newest set feel like coming home, there are also plenty of new and exciting things here too! Let's review the new blue additions from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty!

Blue Mythics

Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant

As the big baddie of the set, the blue Praetor doesn’t disappoint. Like Vorinclex on Kaldheim, Jin has wandered away from New Phyrexia, but he's certainly retained plenty of power. Jin is a powerful force, both in the command zone and in the 99. A 5/5 for seven mana without evasion or combat abilities isn’t great on-curve, but it shines by completely tipping the scales. The first ability copies the first artifact, instant, or sorcery we cast each turn. That's two Torrential Gearhulks. Two Blightsteel Colossus monstrosities. Two Phyrexian Metamorphs. Even two Thran Dynamos is pretty wicked. And that's just the artifacts! Two Treasure Cruises? Solve the Equations? Jin copies the first spell each turn, so you'll always win Counterspell wars! How about doubling an Alrund's Epiphany? Remember, if a player is given multiple extra turns, they're added one at a time! Time Warp is now Time Stretch!

But wait, there’s more! The second ability acts as an inverse of the first, countering the first artifact, instant, or sorcery from our opponents! Jin protects himself from pinpoint removal and board wipes!? Incredible. Opponents might even have to work together just to make sure a spell resolves. While effects like this are typically aggravating and restrictive, the multiplayer functionality could enable unique counterplay.

It'll be more likely to see Jin in the 99 than in the command zone, but he'll help out tons of artifact decks and spellslinger players, and probably assist control-style decks like Sen Triplets, and could even be a spicy target for Polymorph or reanimator decks!

Kairi, the Swirling Sky

If Kairi was just a gigantic blue curve-topping beatstick, it would have been enough, but Clone and other copy effects exist, and Kairi is in the perfect color for those kinds of shenanigans. I'd wager you can make a pretty spicy brew with Kairi in the command zone and a bunch of Cackling Counterpart effects (or better yet, Rite of Replication!) to repeatedly proc her death trigger and dig for fun spells.

Kairi will likely be eclipsed by other big Dragons, but she's tricky. I'd like to see her most in off-the-wall reanimator decks like Niambi, Esteemed Speaker!

Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh

Planeswalkers occupy an interesting spot in Commander. Generally speaking, they need to either be powerful enough that they do what you want within a turn or two, or they need to fly under the radar to avoid drawing ire. While Tezzeret is limited in the number of decks he can go into, he seems like a house.

Continuing with the War of the Spark theme, he has a static ability that, once per turn, reduces an artifact’s activated ability cost by two mana. Unlike most modern designs, there's no limit how low the cost can go, so he can actually eliminate some activation costs completely. This happens each turn, so you could crack a Wayfarer's Bauble for free on one turn, then use Breya, Etherium Shaper's ability without paying any mana on the next!

His next two abilities are fine, generally; a repeatable mini-Thirst for Knowledge is nothing to scoff at, and the -2 can animate anyone's artifact, which could make someone's Lightning Greaves fall off and make it easier to destroy. It's that ultimate ability that really draws the eye, though. An emblem to draw cards whenever our artifacts become tapped? That's a lot of card advantage. Notably, it doesn't allow you to tap artifacts whenever you want, but with a Clock of Omens, you can pull of some very silly shenanigans. Unwinding Clock is pretty happy, too!

Watch mainly for Tezzeret's synergies with specific iconic artifacts. He makes The Chain Veil easier to use, and Strionic Resonator becomes a free activation, too. These have the potential to make for some very scary plays in a Superfriends deck. Perhaps it might even breathe some new life into Teferi, Temporal Archmage in cEDH? Only time will tell.

Blue Rares

Invoke the Winds

The blue entry in the four-pip sorcery cycle is a decently powerful Control Magic variant, one that can also hit artifacts. Note that just because it untaps the permanent doesn't mean it'll have haste, though. This mana cost is restrictive enough that we'll likely only see this spell in mono-blue, but the permanent control could be a very powerful effect for the right commander. God-Eternal Kefnet or Baral, Chief of Compliance like playing around with saucy spells, and Thassa, Deep-Dwelling might like to steal a fun enemy blink target. Even Braids, Conjurer Adept could use this card to steal an opponent's huge monster that Braids herself helped cheat into play!

The Reality Chip

A legendary Future Sight is pretty great! Attach the Chip to a persistent body like Darksteel Myr and you're set up with tons of card advantage all game. As a commander, I expect this deck will be reminiscent of Azami, Lady of Scrolls, who famously uses Future Sight and Mind Over Matter to set the top card of the library and draw into the empty-library win conditions (Laboratory Maniac, for instance). In the 99, it seems very fun in an Affinity-style deck, like Sai, Master Thopterist, and I bet Vega, the Watcher and Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign are pretty excited for the top-of-the-library effects, too!

Thousand-Faced Shadow

Flying Men always have a role in decks like Siani, Eye of the Storm and Edric, Spymaster of Trest, and this one comes with upside. If it enters the battlefield from your hand and attacking, such as from its own Ninjutsu ability or, say, Ilharg, the Raze-Boar’s ability, it can copy a creature, which enters tapped and attacking. That token doesn't go away at end of turn, either!

This is, of course, a terrific Ninja for Ninjutsu decks. Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow is excited for a new evasive one-drop that also happens to be a Ninja.

March of Swirling Mist

The blue entry into the modernized Shoal cycle is another in a recent series of cards that have renaissanced the Phasing ability. This can be used as protection or even as displacement to get rid of pesky potential blockers. I think the low popularity of Spectral Adversary means this spell might also go overlooked, but the more of these effects we get, the more we ought to pay attention to them. Zaxara, the Exemplary players, I hope you're taking note of this tricky thing, and Vadrik, Astral Archmage & Mizzix of the Izmagnus, this seems right up your alley, too.

Mindlink Mech

Vehicles are an excellent way to be aggressive without putting your own creatures at risk, and with such a low Crew cost, this Mech is likely bashing into the red zone every turn. It's also worth noting that it gains the abilities and the name of a creature that Crewed it, which opens up a variety of applications. For example, you could Crew it with, say, Sun Titan, put the Titan on the bottom of your library with Tel-Jilad Stylus and then sacrifice the Mech with Remembrance out, searching for the Titan, putting it onto the battlefield, and returning the Mech, starting the loop over! A bit awkward, sure, but a blue-white deck with Persistent Petitioners could certainly run all of these cards, and Grand Arbiter Augustin IV is certainly an advisable commander!

Uncommons and Commons

Acquisition Octopus

Octopuses, Jellyfish, and Turtles… and none of them are in the water! Kamigawa certainly has some unique fauna. Like its cantripping cephalopod predecessor, Sea-Dasher Octopus, this Octopus bestows Ophidian’s damage-into-cards ability on the Equipped creature. Modern design limits that damage trigger to combat damage only, which will severely decrease its usage.

Anchor to Reality

Any tutor effect is worth considering, as it allows the player to break parity rules and sidestep the usual restrictions of a singleton format. This spell requires the sacrifice of an artifact or creature, but there are plenty of decks, such as Inga Rune-Eyes and Silas Renn, Seeker Adept, that are perfectly fine with paying that cost to find an Equipment or Vehicle. Blue-inclusive Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist decks, or the bevy of new Vehicle decks introduced by the latest precons, are likely to get the best bang for their buck with this spell.

Awakened Awareness

Awakened Awareness is extremely flexible. On the one hand, it's basically a Frogify, which manages to show up in a decently impressive 6,496 decks. It's pretty good to shrink down that Ghalta, Primal Hunger across the table, after all. But then, it can also be a mana sink to add a bunch of counters to something! Late-game power up ain't too shabby. Zaxara, the Exemplary's interest is piqued once again.

PS: for some reason I really want to cast this on The Ozolith.

Covert Technician

The ability to drop artifacts into play for free is certainly powerful, but to get the most from this Technician, it needs a big buff. There are Ninja decks that like the Ninjutsu, but Ninja decks don't often have tons of artifacts this would help cheat into play, and after this set, Ninja decks have a lot of competition in the 99 now, too. This strikes me as a cool card that nonetheless suffers from having an identity crisis.

Discover the Impossible

In addition to the entrancing, nuanced, beautiful art, this is another excellent blue instant. Stuff like Silundi Vision might still capture more players' hearts, but I like Discover the Impossible for Vega, the Watcher, which is always looking for more ways to cast cards from exile.

Go-Shintai of Lost Wisdom

As a Shrine, this is going to see play... in the 99 of Shrine decks. It doesn't even have defender for decks like Arcades, the Strategist. Maybe Phenax, God of Deception would use it? This card likely has one home, and that's perfectly okay.

Mobilizer Mech

This aggressively-costed mech will be fun for Vehicle decks exclusively, but will do decent work by animating heftier battle-suits. It is worth noting that animating a Vehicle this way does not count as a Crew effect, which matters for cards like Mindlink Mech.

Prosperous Thief

Now this is a Ninja that Ninjutsu decks will want to make room for. Rogue tribal decks may try it out too, though the fact that it's not a Rogue itself could hold that back. This card generates a steady stream of Treasure tokens, and that's a very good prospect for Ninja decks that love to hold up mana for tricky spells and wacky, out-of-nowhere abilities.

Reality Heist

Cards with Affinity-style effects are inherently powerful, and a Dig Through Time for artifacts is dang solid. If Thoughtcast can show up in over 7,000 decks, then this should absolutely see a bunch of play. Nonartifact card slots are at a premium in artifact decks, but this is a very good one that deserves your consideration.

Mirrorshell Crab

Creatures that can put themselves into the grave, such as Cycling creatures, can set up reanimator strategies nicely. In this case, using it as an early Mana Leak will leave it in the graveyard, waiting for an Open the Vaults to come back later! It's not a mind-blowing card, but budget reanimator decks and artifacts decks should take note.

Mnemonic Sphere

Here we have an updated Courier's Capsule, a card which only shows up in 765 decks. The cheap discard-draw effect is nice, and there are decks that will care about that sort of thing, but those decks also usually care about explicit Cycling synergies. I don't know if this card has a home just yet, but I think it's close.

Skyswimmer Koi

The unbounded ability to draw a card and discard a card whenever an artifact enters the battlefield under your control not only works with tokens (like Treasures or Thopters) but also acts as an additional Riddlesmith that can help a deck like Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain draw through the deck when going off. For a common, this can actually be pretty scary in a combo-tastic artifact deck.

Tamiyo’s Compleation

It pains me to write about the pseudo-demise of one of my favorite characters, but the card depicting that tragic moment is actually decent. First, it’s an Aura with flash, which enables a lot of play, especially for Estrid, the Masked decks. It taps, strips abilities, prevents untapping, and un-attaches Equipment, rendering the affected artifact, creature, or planeswalker basically useless. The cost is steep, but the ability to say “no” is worth it, particularly for Enchantress decks.

The Set Review is Compleat

This signs in this set point in so many cool directions. When I’m deciding which cards to pre-order, I often look to the commons and uncommons first, and I was delighted to see that this set has spice hidden at every rarity! Whether you buy singles or go for the luck of pack opening, you’re sure to find terrific value here.

Blue is much more than counters and lock pieces, and this set gives the color copious new tools for interaction, so feel free to interact below and let me know what you think of all these blue cards!

Teacher, judge, DM, & Twitch Affiliate. Lover of all things Unsummon. Streams EDH, Oathbreaker, D & D, & Pokemon. Even made it to a Pro Tour!

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