Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Set Review – Colorless and Lands
Buckle Up and Enjoy the Ride
There's never been a better time for fans of motorized transportation! *slaps roof* This Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty set can fit so many Vehicles in it! What better way to mourn the loss of your favorite planeswalker than to just drive it off in your favorite ride? Tag along, and let me show you what we've got in store in terms of colorless cards and lands.
Colorless - Mythics and Rares
Eater of Virtue
This blade's a possible inclusion for the two most relevant Odrics (and ), though beware of the differences between the keywords these cards all track. The sword names 13 keywords, and Lunarch Marshal counts 13 as well, but he has Skulk over protection, while Vampire Odric only has 12 (missing protection).
and also might like this. Exiling your creature instead of letting it go to the graveyard is a pretty big cost, though. I guess adds another way of profiting from the keyword soup if your commander isn't out. At one mana to cast and one to Equip, it's not too much of an investment!
Whether you're a fan of "It's morphing time!", an "Exodia, Obliterate!" type, a die-hard Voltron enthusiast, or all of the above, you know what this is about. This is not about power level or optimization. This is not about whether this card is good or not. This is about casting and friggin' transforming it.
Now, I could say that seven mana for a 10/10 with flying, vigilance, trample, lifelink, and haste isn't bad. I could say that getting back the parts you exiled when it leaves the battlefield is good and makes it a lesser commitment. But in the end, people are gonna play this card whether it's good or not, and the real victor will be the one with the best Mechtitan token alter.
A lot to unpack in this box! There are three effects here. First, a direct nod tofrom Betrayers of Kamigawa. According to EDHREC, is included in only 12% of Clone decks, maybe because a good portion of them have this effect in the command zone ( ), or because they just don't care about legendaries. Maybe because it's $32.99. At any rate, a lot of cards, like , , , and others, already circumvent the legend rule, but I can see the appeal in decks like , where things can get out of control (copying the Mechtitan token, for instance!).
The second line pumps our legendary creatures by +1/+1, which is underwhelming. Are there many go-wide 'legendary matters' decks?, , , and come to mind. I suppose it goes well with ? I don't think this line of text is the reason this card will see play.
The last sentence is interesting for decks that include, , , or (note that it affects nontoken creatures). It's an effect similar to , and we know where that leads. Things are gonna get hairy real fast. There's a Rat Colony deck in my pod. I am not happy.
My guess is that this card is gonna find a home in a reasonable number of decks and it will open up some lines of play that are gonna be explosive. If you want to make a bajillion copies of 35 people who play a deck., you now have one more tool to do so. This card will also please the
Let's run the numbers here: this is eight total mana to ultimately draw three cards and get a Treasure token and a 1/1 over the course of several turns. It's akin to, which sees play in 2,924 decks. The difference is that you get a 4/4 that can be crewed by the token you made at the end of this whole shebang.
I'm not really impressed. There are just better options to draw cards, and a non-evasive 4/4 isn't impactful enough in our format. Usually, the Vehicle decks (which is the most likely home for this card) are in Boros and, yes, they used to be starved for card draw, but with red's impulse draw, this isn't really the case anymore. There's also a Commander deck coming out that's all about Vehicles, but it's Azorius, and we know blue has absolutely no problem accruing card advantage. The card does have charge counters, which theoretically might appeal to those kooky counters kinds of decks ( , for instance). The design and the flavor on this card is cool, but ultimately it won't see much play in our format.
This is decent. A removal spell in the form of a Vehicle is relevant in the decks that want it. If you have no other Vehicles when this comes down, it still does 2 damage to a creature or planeswalker because it counts itself. It has Crew 4, which is a lot, but you already gained value when you cast the card, plus there are creatures in this set that make piloting Vehicles easier, like Vehicle decks on EDHREC, plus some new commanders in this set care about Vehicles ( , ). I would bet this card gets included in a fair amount of them. Also: Mechs are cool.. Plus, when you do Crew it, it's a 5/5 with menace. Not bad. There are 2,650
Colorless - Uncommons & Commons
- is good if you have evasion and a buttload of mana. At least one person will die to this. You can reduce the cost of the activated ability with , though you can't go below one mana. I made a little chart listing the mana cost and the effect it will have:
- , at face value, is strictly better than . One more toughness, and it triggers on leaving the battlefield instead of dying. Familiar sees play in 64.44% of decks, so that's a straight upgrade there. Any deck that wants to sacrifice and bring back artifacts might want this. It also might see play in lists.
- is a better . No limit on the number of cards you can exile, and it can be played in decks of any color. Also, it's a "may" ability, so if you want the card to go to the graveyard, it can. Madness decks ( , ), discard decks ( ), and Cycling decks ( ) will all rejoice. This is really, really good.
- Vehicle decks. Crew 1 is always nice. I mean, sees play in 30% of those decks. The tap ability is useful if you have a way to blink it, I guess. can maybe find a home in aggressive
- will probably only go in decks because, if you don't specifically care about the bottom of your library, there are far better ways to mill yourself, and more efficient graveyard hate pieces. It's a new take on . That's cute.
- can protect itself somewhat, but it does not have evasion. It can be a big beater in an artifact creature deck like , I guess.
- is no or . Five mana is expensive for a tutor, and why would you want a 3/2 artifact creature in your Shrine deck? It does put the card in your hand, though, not on top of your deck. Not quite efficient, but might see some play as a budget option.
- there are lots of ways to untap artifacts. The initial casting cost of four mana is pretty high, though.
will modify a creature when it enters the battlefield (reminder: Equipment, Auras you control, and counters are modifications), so, really, its ability costs three mana. Really though, you want to play this in decks that can reliably reduce the cost to zero ( , maybe). At that point, it becomes an . Just tapping to draw a card is good. Maybe you're a artifact creature deck with something like and you have to untap your Guide-Bot and draw four cards per turn rotation. Magical Christmasland? Maybe, but
- doesn't feel like the payoff you want for your 'modifications' deck. Usually in these types of decks you want to stack a lot of Equipment or Auras onto one creature, so that doesn't reduce the cost of Skyscraper that much. Additionally, the +1/+1 counters decks that go wide don't particularly care about an 8/8 trampler. Sure, it has hexproof while untapped, but it doesn't have haste. Even if you drop this super early somehow, it'll be long before you can kill the table with an 8/8, or you're already winning because you have eight modified creatures on the board. Maybe, maybe it goes in Modular matters? I'm trying real hard here, guys. I just don't see this card getting any play.
The Channel Lands
New staples alert! Look closely at these lands, because you're gonna see them a lot.
The reason they're so good is because instead of being modal double-faced cards (like It's an activated ability that you can play any time the Channel card is in your hand and you have priority. This means that it's not a spell, so the effect can only be countered with cards like . Also, they can still be activated through and effects. But that's not all: the ability cost can be reduced by the number of legendary creatures you control. In our format, it's reasonable to assume that you'll have your commander out a lot of the time, so we can evaluate these as almost always costing one mana less. The cherry on top, though, is that they enter untapped, which makes the cost of running them in your deck kind of free. Now, they don't have a basic land type, like "Forest" or "Plains", so they can't be fetched by a , for example, but you're never unhappy to draw them, unlike regular lands where you don't want them as much in the late game.), they have a Channel ability.
Now let's look at the cards individually.
White mages rejoice, it's the best card of the cycle! We're used to it a this point, but white arguably has the worst effect of all five. Even if the cost is reduced to two mana, it is simply not effective enough in our format. Four damage is nothing. and are played in 178 and 279 decks respectively, which is not much. This will see some play, however, being basically free to have in your deck, but if you compare it to , which we discuss below, it's not really close. White bad, green good. Are we really surprised? Next card.
: Removal that's hard to counter is good. Bouncing a single nonland permanent usually costs about two mana ( , , ). In this case, though, the way it's worded means you can actually bounce artifact lands, enchantment lands, and creature lands, which may come in handy sometimes. You can also bounce your own things to cast them again, or to protect them.
: We've seen this effect before ( , ), and it's nice that you can return planeswalkers too. Any deck that wants to mill themselves will want this. I know it's going in my , and it's going in pretty much any deck that plays with their graveyards, from and to and .
: This is a slightly worse rate than we're used to ( , ), but you can use this at instant speed and the tokens do have haste, so I guess it balances out. It's useful to summon blockers in a pinch. It's also four more damage to the table in . The Spirit creature type is particularly interesting; it goes well in Lorehold's and . I think also might use this, either to sacrifice the Spirits for red mana, or to them.
: The flexibility on this one is amazing. Mass land destruction can be frowned upon in certain circles, but a teeny bit of targeted land destruction should be included in every deck, just to keep a in check, or to stop a trigger-happy . No salt there, your opponent can fetch another land to replace it! On that note, when destroying an artifact or an enchantment, ramping an opponent with an untapped land is a real cost, though it goes down as the game progresses to the later stages. Furthermore, the land that they fetch doesn't have to be a basic land, but any land with a basic type on it, like a or a . But is all that worth it for removal on a land that enters untapped anyways? Yeah. Yeah, it really is.
There are a lot of cards that say "[This creature] crews Vehicles as though its power were X greater" in this set, so I don't know how happy you will be paying three mana to Crew a Vehicle. What I can say is that it'll get you out of trouble if your creatures got removed or tapped down. I think three mana for an ability like that is an acceptable rate, right? Let's check some Vehicles with a high Crew cost:(nice), (this turn one, turn two, Crew it turn three? The dream), (not bad) and my favorite, (so colossal). Yeah, this is a must-include in Vehicle decks and won't be used anywhere else.
This is no Horizon land, but it can be compared to , which sees play in a surprising 10,799 decks. While a lot of decks are playing mana rocks, and thus have a decent chance of having an artifact on the battlefield, the same can not be said about enchantments. In any random deck, I don't think this can draw two cards reliably enough. Your deck has to care at least a little bit about enchantments for this to get the double-draw. When you meet that condition, though, this is great. , and especially love this new utility land.
This is getting added to every multicolored tribal deck. Period. It'sbut with the added benefit of using the mana for activated abilities of "a creature or creature card", so this does include Ninjutsu and Channel abilities of creature cards in your hand. Neat! It's no , but hey, it's still basically a land that taps for any color in the right deck. Since it's at uncommon, it's not unreasonable to hope it stays relatively cheap.
Unremarkable tapped land. It fixes your mana. I don't even know if it's better than, since, yeah, your tempo loss is reduced, but you're stuck with the color you've chosen. Meh.
Lifegain Taplands and Full Art Basics
Just a quick mention that the Khans of Tarkir life-gain tapped duals are getting a reprint with new art.
Oh, and last but not least, you've seen them, you've heard about them, and they are almost upon us! The Ukiyo-e full art basics are quite simply gorgeous and will be in Draft, Set, and Collector Boosters, so hopefully there will be a lot in circulation.
Driving into the Sunset
Overall, what can we say about the cards discussed here? Well, I think the Channel lands are pretty busted and are gonna have a lasting impact on the format. Of the five,is probably the best one for its flexibility. will lead to interesting board states for sure. lets you have your cake and eat it too, which, surprising no one, is very nice.
How did you find the colorless cards and lands in this set? Is there some monumental error in my calculations? Am I sleeping on? Let me know in the comments!