Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Set Review - White

(The Wandering Emperor | Art by William Arnold )

Let's Get White to Business

Hello, everyone! It’s your friendly neighborhood Jesguy here, and welcome to the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty set review for white cards! Allow me to be your guide on your first tour back to this stunning and sprawling plane.

Today I'll be going over all of the fantastic white cards that this set has to offer, and believe me, there are a lot. Let's get started!


Ao, the Dawn Sky

At first glance, Ao doesn't seem all that flashy. It can nab some nonland cards off the top of your deck and put them into play, or it can give your whole team (and Vehicles) two +1/+1 counters. Luckily, these two effects are exactly the kind of thing that white decks love.

+1/+1 counters are deeply supported in white, and pumping your whole team when Ao dies sounds good to Hamza, Guardian of Arashin, Felisa, Fang of Silverquill, and Atraxa, Praetors' Voice. Heck, Drizzt Do'Urden decks will especially love Ao, since that commander has a subtheme of Counters and Sacrifice, both of which synergize with Ao.

I think Ao's first ability is the most interesting, though. Digging seven cards deep is a lot of card selection, even if you're only limited to cheating out nonland permanents with a total MV of 4 or less. Even with this restriction, I can visualize a deck with Ao at the helm that revolves around three different style of cards:

Along with these, Ashnod's Altar and Nim Deathmantle are up to no good here, allowing you to consistently abuse Ao's triggers, especially if you're putting in multiple creatures per trigger. Ao is also able to cheat in creatures like Ranger of Eos, Ranger-Captain of Eos, and Recruiter of the Guard, allowing you to tutor up even more cheap creatures to keep expanding your board and keep your hand full. Throw a Cathars' Crusade into the mix with all of this and you'll have a massive board presence in no time.

While I don't think Ao is white's new best commander, I do think it's interesting, which isn't something I've been able to say about a lot of white legends previously. It's great in aggressive decks, since it can easily repopulate the board with cheap nonland permanents, it has additional synergy in +1/+1 counter builds, and it has the potential to succeed at leading its own style of white deck to boot! Even if it isn't as powerful as other legends in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, I think Ao, the Dawn Sky is a great new addition to white's roster of legends and of abilities it has access to.

The Wandering Emperor

The Wanderer is back, and not only does she have double the abilities, but she's also double the rarity! (If you double an uncommon, it becomes a mythic, right? I think that's how math works.)

The Wandering Emperor is a sweet new 'walker for white decks, and she has synergy with three incredibly popular archetypes.

Thanks to her +1, The Wandering Emperor can put a +1/+1 counter on a creature (while also giving it first strike), which, if used on an opponent's turn the turn she's played, can really mess up combat. This also provides an extra way to accrue counters in Counter decks, like Hamza, Guardian of Arashin, while giving them a bit more interaction on opponents' turns.

Her -1 gives her play in Tokens decks, as she can create 2/2 Samurai with vigilance. This, once again, can muck up combat by providing a surprise blocker, or it can be used to trigger effects that care about creatures entering the battlefield, like Trostani, Selesnya's Voice or Cathars' Crusade.

On top of these utilities, she's also right at home in Planeswalker decks, like Djeru, With Eyes Open or Atraxa, Praetors' Voice. Not only can she impede attackers in the ways I mentioned above, she also has the ability to exile a tapped creature while netting you a bit of life.

None of these things are impressive on their own, but all of these little utilities together really make The Wandering Emperor stand out as a flexible 'walker that can fit into a multitude of different archetypes. She isn't a game-ender, like Elspeth, Sun's Champion, or super aggressive, like Ajani, Caller of the Pride, but she falls into a flexible middle ground that many decks can take advantage of, which is refreshing to see in a white card.

Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful

Another Partner legend is not what I was expecting out of this set, but as a fan of mono-colored Partners, I certainly won't complain, even if I am more of a cat guy.

Without getting into the nitty-gritty, Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful is good, full stop. All Partners are good as a baseline, and one that's a single mana, accrues counters, and gives you two different themes to build around is great. There are no mono-white Partners that care about legendary permanents, and only two that care about +1/+1 counters, leaving Yoshimaru as a solid option for any Partner deck looking to splash white.

Keleth, Sunmane Familiar, Reyhan, Last of the Abzan, and Slurrk, All-Ingesting are great potential Partner pairs, since they all care about +1/+1 counters. Conversely, just about any Partner can pair with Yoshimaru should you choose to do a more legends-matters approach, so go wild!

All I know is, you'd better keep Tevesh away from my boy. I don't care how enticing drawing three cards is. Don't be a monster.


Brilliant Restoration

A one-sided Open the Vaults ? We've been waiting for this ability in white for a while!

love Brilliant Restoration, but right off the bat, I have to wonder, if it has quad white in its mana cost, did it need to cost seven mana? The mana cost and color weight are both huge restrictions. That said, having an effect like this is incredibly powerful, and should you want to run it, you should have to commit to playing white. No splashing, like with Smothering Tithe. I want those days to be over. I'm 100% behind the hefty color requirements. The MV though? Not so much.

Needless to say, any white-based Enchantment/Aura or Artifact/Equipment that wants more recursion may want to take a look at Brilliant Restoration. There are plenty of equivalent cards for these four styles of decks: Replenish, Open the Vaults, Scrap Mastery, Eerie Ultimatum, etc., but if you're in the market for an effect like this that won't help opponents and won't break the bank, give Brilliant Restoration a chance if you have the mana base to cast it.

Cloudsteel Kirin

Platinum Angel this is not... but that might actually be a good thing!

Cloudsteel Kirin is solid. It's a well-statted flier that can also Reconfigure itself to make any creature into a build-your-own Platinum Angel! While that seems like extra hoops to jump through, Cloudsteel Kirin had built-in protection thanks to Reconfigure, since, much like a Bestow creature, Kirin will fall off of the Equipped creature if that creature dies, instead of dying with it! Yes, this will make you lose the "you can't lose the game" effect until you can re-Reconfigure it, but if your opponents want to prevent you from just moving Kirin onto other creatures, they're going to have to deal with it directly... and if they can't, well, it looks like they won't be able to win!

Cloudsteel Kirin is great for any Equipment or Flier deck, giving them another interesting creature to add to their ranks. Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist in particular will love this, since he can circumvent its Reconfigure cost on each of your combats, giving you an evasive threat that will definitely put your opponents in a bind.

Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

Do my eyes deceive me? Is this... an MDFC??

Anyone who has read any of my Archetune-Ups from last year knows that I hold the Zendikar Rising MDFCs in incredibly high regard, and I see the cycle of Channel lands as their spiritual successors. In Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire's case, its an untapped white source when you need it, or a removal spell/combat trick when you want it. I cannot state how that kind of flexibility in one's land base helps with smoothing out how a deck ticks.

I don't think that white decks lose much, if anything, by adding Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire as a substitute for a basic Plains or a different utility land. I know I'll be picking up plenty of these, as well as the rest of the cycle, in the coming months. If you love the ZNR MDFCs, you'll love these as well. A+


I love flexible cards. I also love powerful cards. When you put the two together, that should be a match made in heaven... but Farewell might do this a bit too well.

Both Merciless Eviction and Austere Command are staples in the format, with over 34,000 and 55,000 decks to their names, respectively. These are incredibly impressive numbers, and I can easily see Farewell surpassing both, as it doesn't have a restriction on how many modes you get to choose, as well as being a single color like Austere Command. This is both a good and a bad thing. On one side, it's great to see white getting powerful cards that can help reign the table in. On the other hand, Farewell will oftentimes imitate Cyclonic Rift's one-sidedness when used well, or else act as a soft reset of the game when used improperly.

User error aside, I think Farewell is a fantastic addition to white's repertoire, providing a powerful and flexible new board wipe to help keep the table in check. I know my Djeru, With Eyes Open deck is itching to find a slot for it already!

Invoke Justice

Invoke Justice is the white version of WotC's experiment to make mono-colored Ultimatums, and it's... fine.

I love seeing reanimation find its way back into white's slice of the color pie, especially when it can bring back any permanent... but five mana, and four of it being white, is a lot to ask. Djeru, With Eyes Open Superfriends decks, Niambi, Esteemed Speaker Reanimator decks, or mono-white/white-based +1/+1 counter decks will be the styles of deck most interested in Invoke Justice, but even then, I'm not sure it'll be enough. There are plenty of reanimate and +1/+1 counter spells in white, and I'm unsure if there are decks that will want both effects on the same card at such a steep cost.

I'm super pleased to see white getting a cut of reanimation, but I'm skeptical that this version of the "Invoke" cycle will have widespread adoption.

Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice

A 2/2 legend for two mana that also provides card advantage? What a foxy little card!

Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice is a solid little creature that incentivizes its pilot to build around Auras and commit to a Voltron build. While I'm often skeptical of these style of builds, I think we've gotten so many pieces for them over the past few sets that I'm confident Light-Paws can helm an interesting deck. With card advantage engines, like Kor Spiritdancer, Sram, Senior Edificer, and Light-Paws herself, alongside powerful recursion spells, like Mantle of the Ancients and the aforementioned Brilliant Restoration, I think mono-white has what it takes to have a powerful and interesting Auras deck on its hands.

Not only is Light-Paws fantastic as the lead singer of her own deck, but she's a fantastic inclusion to any preexisting Auras decks as well! Zur the Enchanter, Killian, Ink Duelist, Galea, Kindler of Hope, Bruna, Light of Alabaster, and Uril, the Miststalker all love the consistency and card advantage that Light-Paws provides, so she's well worth a slot inside their decks as well.

Overall, I think Light-Paws is a wonderful new addition to white's roster of commanders, being both a solid legend to lead a deck in her own right as well as being a powerful inclusion into any of the nearly 13,000 Aura decks on the site.

I'm so happy to be able to unabashedly praise a white legend, you have no idea.

Lion Sash

Scavenging Ooze, is that you? You look a bit different....

Lion Sash is awesome. It's a cheap creature that can eat pesky cards from graveyards, get bigger, and can Equip to other creatures. What's not to love?? Lion Sash's cousin, Scavenging Ooze, sees play in about 27,000 decks, which is incredibly impressive for a Grizzly Bears with upside. +1/+1 counter decks, Hatebears decks, and Lifegain decks are the most common homes for Scavenging Ooze, and Lion Sash should follow suit. While it won't find its way into Lifegain decks specifically, it trades that archetype for Artifact and Equipment decks. Not a bad swap if you ask me!

Lion Sash is cheap and packed with synergy and utility. I could easily see adoption rates similar to or even surpassing Scavenging Ooze, which is high praise for such a little artifact creature. I don't have anything bad to say about this little kitten.

March of Otherworldly Light

I love me some instant-speed exile effects, especially when they're scalable!

March of Otherworldly Light is a flexible removal spell, boasting the ability to hit creatures, enchantments, or artifacts. Even its additional cost of exiling white cards to help cast it is also only pure upside, letting you bump up the cost of the spell for free to hit more expensive pesky permanents.

The only issue I find with this March is that Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile already exist. Alongside them is Generous Gift as well, which is currently one of the best removal spells at white's disposal, and each are all within the top 5 played white cards on EDHREC. That's some tight competition.

March of Otherworldly Light is not bad by any means, but it may find itself hard-pressed to find room in white decks since each list only has so many slots available for removal. On top of that, you can only pitch white cards to help pay for the cost, which will limit its adoption in multicolored decks. Overall, I would certainly try March of Otherworldly Light out if you have a copy, and if it doesn't work out, take solace in knowing that there are plenty of replacements available!

Myojin of Blooming Dawn

It's nice to see that the Myojin are back, and it's also nice to see that they are as powerful (and uncastable) as the old ones!

Joking aside, all of the Myojin, especially Myojin of Blooming Dawn, are very strong. This one in particular lets players make an army of 1/1 colorless Spirits for each permanent you control, which is quite a hefty number. This is especially potent in Token decks or decks that have an abundance of Proliferate, where they can take advantage of the token production or the indestructible counter, respectively. Thalisse, Reverent Medium is especially excited for this one.

All this said, just like with all the other Myojin, Myojin of Blooming Dawn will only get the indestructible counter if you cast it from your hand, meaning that you can't get away with any Blink or Reanimation shenanigans, nor can you get the counter on it if you cast it from your command zone, which is a bit of a bummer. This safety valve is definitely for the best, though, as it would be incredibly easy to take advantage of this powerful ability otherwise. As such, expect to see Myojin of Blooming Dawn quite a bit in the 99 at more casual tables, and at the helm of decks almost never.

The Restoration of Eiganjo

This Saga isn't flashy or splashy, but it is a solid role-player in white decks.

The Restoration of Eiganjo is a souped-up version of The Birth of Meletis, trading the ability to gain life for the ability to reanimate small permanents. Also, instead of a 0/4 Wall, the end of this Saga rewards us with a 3/4 Fox Monk that can pump out Spirit tokens in a manner similar to Brimaz, King of Oreskos, a powerful card who sees play in about 5,500 decks.

While all of these effects are nice, they do feel a bit disjointed. Token decks won't be getting their payoff for about three turns, and slower white decks might actually prefer using The Birth of Meletis more, since it provides a more defensive body much earlier. Also, while Blink decks can wait until The Restoration of Eiganjo becomes a creature to flip it and then reset it, there are better ways to search out lands or reanimate small creatures in those style of decks too.

I honestly don't think The Restoration of Eiganjo is a bad card, but I do think it has a bit of an identity crisis that may hurt its popularity. All decks should have a little bit of smoothing, I just don't think there are any decks outside of Satsuki, the Living Lore that are hooting and hollering to add this card to their 99. But hey, don't be afraid to try it! This is a new style of card in white, and it may end up performing much better than it looks!

Uncommons and Commons

Go-Shintai of Shared Purpose

This Go-Shintai, like the others in its cycle, is best at home in Shrine/Enchantment decks as opposed to leading its own.

Go-Shintai of Shared Purpose is worse than all other mono-white commanders. There are better legendary enchantment creatures to lead decks, like Heliod, God of the Sun or Heliod, Sun-Crowned, or better token-makers, like Brimaz, King of Oreskos or God-Eternal Oketra.

Go-Shintai of Shared Purpose's floor is abysmal when put at the head of a deck, but if included in the 99 with plenty of other Shrines, it will shine! Make sure you add this to your Go-Shintai of Life's Origin deck (or your Rule 0 Sanctum of All decks) for cheap and easy token production!

Norika Yamazaki, the Poet

Nice to see another callback to Brothers Yamazaki, though this time, it's with the two cousins, Norika Yamazaki, the Poet and Heiko Yamazaki, the General!

Norika Yamazaki, the Poet is nothing to write home about, but she pushes the boundaries for white's style of card advantage, which is always great to see. While the power level here is quite tame, this is an interesting effect in white that we haven't seen before. There are plenty of neat white enchantments that would love to be brought back from the 'yard: Promise of Tomorrow, Angelic Renewal, Alseid of Life's Bounty, Promise of Bunrei, Choking Restraints, Solitary Confinement.... The list goes on and is quite impressive.

All that said, Norika is still a middling commander. She'll be great for budget builds and is better suited for the 99 of Enchantment or Aura decks than at the head of a deck herself, although in my head, both her and her cousin have 'Partner with each other', and I will not hear otherwise, so start brewing a Boros deck with the two of them if you want some Rule 0 fun!

Lightning Round!

  • Banishing Slash is a nice, flexible removal spell for white decks. Being a sorcery hurts it a lot, but being able to hit three different card types for only two mana is worth something, and it can even make a token sometimes! It isn't white's best option, but I am a sucker for cheap modal spells.
  • Born to Drive seems like a great pickup for Vehicle decks. Having a spell that can shift between being a solid pump effect for a single creature/Vehicle, or creating two tokens that together can Crew basically any Vehicle seems like a fantastic flexible spell for those lists.
  • Hotshot Mechanic is awesome. It isn't as flexible as Born to Drive, but this great little one-drop can Crew all but the most expensive of Vehicles. Having 4 power for Crew is a hefty number on such a small guy. For one mana, I don't think you can go wrong!
  • Imperial Recovery Unit is a neat little way to inject a bit of recursion into your average white deck. As a Vehicle, it's Wrath-proof, and a 3/4 body is nothing to sneeze at. It seems great in Vehicle decks and any kind of list with lots of little creatures.
  • Michiko's Reign of Truth is a spicy little Saga that does a great impression of All That Glitters two turns in a row before flipping over into a Nettlecyst. Seeing as the former is in over 20,000 decks, and the latter is in over 8,000, I'd say this Saga has plenty of homes in EDH, mainly in Artifact and Enchantment decks.
  • Selfless Samurai is another variation of Selfless Savior, albeit a bit bigger. While I think Selfless Savior is better overall, redundancy in EDH is awesome, and I don't think anyone will complain about having another version of this ability. Savior is in over 5,000 decks, and I expect this Samurai's numbers to reach at least half of that.
  • Spirited Companion is a) The Goodest Pup, and b) a great pickup for white. Blink and Enchantress Decks will be more than happy to add this pup to their repertoire. Elvish Visionary has always been a great card, and I can't see why an enchantment version of that effect wouldn't follow suit.
  • The Fall of Lord Konda is a relatively tame Saga, but exiling a large creature for three mana is a good rate, especially when this Saga also incidentally hoses Theft decks. What I like most about The Fall of Lord Konda, though, is the fact that Blink decks can flicker it after it becomes a creature, which will reset it. It's definitely slow, but if there's one thing Blink decks are good at, it's accruing tons of value over a long game.
  • Touch the Spirit Realm is another Cloudshift variant that can also double as a slightly more restrictive Oblivion Ring. This is a neat pickup for Blink decks, or any other style of deck that wants a flicker stapled to a removal spell!

Be Flexible, Like the Leaf

There we have it! All the white cards that Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty has to offer our esteemed format!

I have to say, I am thoroughly impressed. Two years ago I reviewed white for Theros Beyond Death, and while I tried to stay positive about it, a lot of the white cards were lackluster, as they played it too close to the chest; they were super tame and incredibly inflexible.

By contrast, one thing that kept impressing me with the white cards from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty was how incredibly flexible they were. Many of these cards have multiple modes, multiple different styles of decks they want to be in, or are just very powerful and coveted by multiple archetypes. The work to assist white and bring it up to speed with other colors is in full swing, and Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is hopefully the first in a long line of sets to continue this process. Kudos to everyone at WotC, these white cards are fantastic, thank you!

Next stop, New Capenna! Until then, stay flexible!

As always, you can reach me on Twitter (@thejesguy), where you can always hit me up for Magic- or Jeskai-related shenanigans 24/7. Do you have any comments, questions, or concerns? Please don’t hesitate to leave them below or get in touch! Stay safe, wear your mask, and keep fighting the good fight. I support you. No justice, no peace.

Angelo is a Connecticut resident who started playing Magic during Return to Ravnica, and has made it his mission to play Jeskai in every format possible. Along with Commander, he loves Limited, Cube, and Modern, and will always put his trust in counterspells over creatures. He is still hurt by Sphinx's Revelation's rotation out of Standard.