Sunday 30 January 2022

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Preliminary Reviews Part I


0 - unplayable in 40 card singleton

1 - effectively unplayable

2 - has low tier constructed decks it might go in

3 - has mid tier constructed decks it does go in

4 - pretty powerful stuff with several potential homes, able to perform well in lower powered cubes

5 - powerful stuff that is either just too narrow or has too many superior alternatives

6 - fringe cube worthy

7 - cube worthy

8 - cube staple

9 - unpowered cube bomb

10 - powered cube bomb 

Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos 4/10

Powerful and even somewhat abusable but mostly just a bad slow Erratic Explosion. This lacks board presence and immediate value largely ruling it out for any sort of play. 

Atsushi, the Blazing Sky 6/10

This is a lot closer to the mark than Hidetsugu but it is still not there for me. It has little immediate impact and with so much bounce and exile removal it has plenty of chance to just be a bit of a blowout play. Waste a turn making a four mana investment to have it cleanly and easily out of the way and fall really far behind. I would significantly prefer a Rekindling Phoenix to this and I found that to be a bit polar and clunky to be a good cube inclusion. 

Kaito Shizuki 7.5/10

I really like this walker but it is fair and safe rather than powerful. Mostly it is a card drawing tool but it does so in a cool way that gives you options and a little bit extra in the way of pressure and presence. Kaito can just be a looter which is a fine use for a walker. As such he effectively assures two loots and has five loyalty which is pretty tasty for a three mana walker. With other attackers going on Kaito is a calm clean +1 card and loyalty per turn from the get go which is impressive too. The -2 allows you to turn the loot into a draw when you have no attacks going on, or it can just be putting bodies into play, all be it slowly. Kaito seems like a fixed iteration of Dovin, Grand Arbiter. While the dork making bit isn't better the card draw loyalty gain mode is so much better that it more than compensates. Kaito has a fairly weak ultimate but making unblockable tokens and drawing cards is plenty able to dominate a game by itself. The coolest thing about Kaito is that turn of protection thanks to the EtB phase out at EoT ensuring no sorcery speed removal or attacks can do for him until he has had twice the activations other walkers get. This allows you to lead with Kaito and then use effects to control the board after rather than having to do it the other way round as is the case for most other walkers. I look forward to playing with Kaito. He feels like a beefed up option rich Looter il-Kor - a card that has consistently performed highly in cube. 

Satoru Umezawa 3

Value and trickery potential but all a bit slow and needing of setup. A cool card but more the sort of thing you play for fun than to expect to win with. 

The Kami War // O-Kagachi Made Manifest  7

The power here is pretty insane with removal and value into threat and value. After just one attack you have dealt with 2 cards of your opponents gained a massive flying threat, done a pile of damage and added a card to your hand. That is a four for one with massive tempo and disruption. This is basically like some super boosted Elspeth Conquers Death which is a high performer in my cube. The Kami War is hard to play and pretty slow. The first attack is four turns away from the cast and you need to be in all colours. With Omnath decks being popular and also high performers in my cube at present I can see this being sufficiently supported to make the cut. As soon as five colour decks go out of style this will go with them, I cannot imagine it is able to hold an archetype together in the way than Omnath can. This is just powerful payoff for having all the colours rather than a reason to be all of them in the first place. 

Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei 5

Powerful and versatile but likely a little aimless and narrow to quite cut it in cube these days. It is a bit low tempo by itself and a bit reliant on the activations to bring the power, both of which are some kind of conditional. 

Thousand-Faced Shadow 3

Very cool card that both helps support ninjutsu and provides payoff for other ninjutsu support. Sadly too cute for drafting cubes, a lot needs to line up for it to be strong on top of not really suiting the typical metas.

Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa 7

This is probably just good enough as a side-grade from Restoration Angel. Kyodai will lead to some brutal blowouts in combat which look to be the ceiling of the card. If you get to counter a spot removal spell with Kyodai that will also tend to be a pretty savage blowout play. It will put a savage tax on their removal options and likely cause some real problems for them. What appeals is the general flexibility of Kyodai. Flash fliers are lovely planeswalker control cards as well as fairly effective and safe threats. Kyodai will let you play a safer game as an aggressive player allowing you to not over extend while still giving yourself options and the means to not simply concede tempo. Kyodai can also be used somewhat aggressively by turning an otherwise low value attacker into a pretty high one. Sometimes you might even have all the colours and get to wind the game up a couple of turns quicker! This isn't what I would call powerful but it is very safe, convenient, suitable, and useful. 

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