Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Set Review - Blue
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!
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 twos. Two monstrosities. Two s. Even two s is pretty wicked. And that's just the artifacts! Two s? s? Jin copies the first spell each turn, so you'll always win wars! How about doubling an ? Remember, if a player is given multiple extra turns, they're added one at a time! is now !
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, and could even be a spicy target for or reanimator decks!
Kairi, the Swirling Sky
If Kairi was just a gigantic blue curve-topping beatstick, it would have been enough, butand 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 effects (or better yet, !) 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!
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 afor free on one turn, then use 's ability without paying any mana on the next!
His next two abilities are fine, generally; a repeatable mini-is nothing to scoff at, and the -2 can animate anyone's artifact, which could make someone's 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 , you can pull of some very silly shenanigans. is pretty happy, too!
Watch mainly for Tezzeret's synergies with specific iconic artifacts. He makeseasier to use, and 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 in cEDH? Only time will tell.
Invoke the Winds
The blue entry in the four-pip sorcery cycle is a decently powerfulvariant, 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. or like playing around with saucy spells, and might like to steal a fun enemy blink target. Even could use this card to steal an opponent's huge monster that Braids herself helped cheat into play!
The Reality Chip
A legendaryis pretty great! Attach the Chip to a persistent body like and you're set up with tons of card advantage all game. As a commander, I expect this deck will be reminiscent of , who famously uses and to set the top card of the library and draw into the empty-library win conditions ( , for instance). In the 99, it seems very fun in an Affinity-style deck, like , and I bet and are pretty excited for the top-of-the-library effects, too!
always have a role in decks like and , 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, ’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.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 means this spell might also go overlooked, but the more of these effects we get, the more we ought to pay attention to them. players, I hope you're taking note of this tricky thing, and & , this seems right up your alley, too.
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,, put the Titan on the bottom of your library with and then sacrifice the Mech with 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 could certainly run all of these cards, and is certainly an advisable commander!
Uncommons and Commons
Octopuses, Jellyfish, and Turtles… and none of them are in the water! Kamigawa certainly has some unique fauna. Like its cantripping cephalopod predecessor,, this Octopus bestows ’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 asand , that are perfectly fine with paying that cost to find an Equipment or Vehicle. Blue-inclusive 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.
is extremely flexible. On the one hand, it's basically a , which manages to show up in a decently impressive 6,496 decks. It's pretty good to shrink down that 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. 's interest is piqued once again.
PS: for some reason I really want to cast this on.
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 likemight still capture more players' hearts, but I like for , 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. Maybe would use it? This card likely has one home, and that's perfectly okay.
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.
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.
Cards with Affinity-style effects are inherently powerful, and afor artifacts is dang solid. If 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.
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 earlywill leave it in the graveyard, waiting for an to come back later! It's not a mind-blowing card, but budget reanimator decks and artifacts decks should take note.
Here we have an updated, 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.
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 additionalthat can help a deck like draw through the deck when going off. For a common, this can actually be pretty scary in a combo-tastic artifact deck.
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 fordecks. 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!