Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty previews are in full swing! From callbacks to Kiki-Jiki to Power Ranger robots, this set seems to have it all. Here are the five cards I’ll be keeping an eye on for Magic’s competitive formats.
Let’s start by talking about a potential eternal staple.
Boseiju allows you to have a fairly useful answer card in your mana base. Unless the card type forest is something your deck is incredibly interested in, having one of these is an incredibly tempting offer. In most decks, you won’t give up much, especially since Boseiju enters play untapped.
- Search it up with a Primeval Titan, then return it to hand with a bounce land.
- Get it back from your graveyard with Wrenn and Six over and over again.
- Ditto with Life from the Loam.
It’s not all upside for you, but when your opponent is spending real time and mana on cards they might want in play – like Ensnaring Bridge, Dark Depths, or Rest in Peace – this is a trade off you’ll be happy with.
If you’re a green player in any eternal format, this card is the easiest pickup of all time.
Speaking of nonrotating formats, let’s look in at Pioneer.
Ensoul Artifact decks have been players in Pioneer at various points in the format’s history. The deck has had a few problems, though, the first being the lack of good targets for your signature enchantment. Outside of Ornithopter and Darksteel Citadel, the options are a bit lacking. The deck also isn’t great at pivoting when you don’t draw Ensoul or a few Shrapnel Blasts.
Fortunately, Lizard Blades can circumvent all these problems. It can attack for 10 with an Ensoul, and it can turn some of your less threatening cards into much more reasonable bodies. Plus, it’s another artifact you can sacrifice to Shrapnel Blast.
While some of the more recent Ensoul builds have been blue and white, Lizard Blades seems like a compelling enough reason to try blue-red or Jeskai.
Scavenging Ooze is a classic Modern card. Until the release of Endurance, you would almost always see green midrange decks play an Ooze. Even now, it still sees some fringe play in decks like Yawgmoth.
Lion Sash is essentially an upgraded version of Ooze. While you’re more vulnerable to cards that answer artifacts, you do get a +1/+1 counter by exiling any card in a graveyard (not just creatures). You can even reconfigure this card onto a creature with evasion and win out of nowhere.
A lot of players will point out that this card will have to compete with Rest in Peace for a spot in white decks, and that Rest in Peace is a “better” piece of graveyard hate. Personally, I think that comparison is extremely limiting, and that it ignores this card’s unique strengths. Rest in Peace is a silver bullet for graveyard decks; this card threatens to take over the game while still answering small graveyard problems. Sometimes, you want a card that can disrupt the graveyard while still allowing you to put pressure on the opponent. Depending on the match-up, this might end up being the better card for the job.
Reality Heist is easily one of the most jaw-dropping cards we’ve seen previewed this week. It has affinity for artifacts, even if it isn’t keyworded. Every time affinity raises its head, you have to take a close look at the card, because it has proven to be one of the strongest keywords. And when the card in question is the spiritual successor to Dig Through Time, the alarm bells really start going off.
So, what are we doing with Reality Heist? The most obvious deck it slots into is the Modern Affinity. Affinity has seen a huge boost in power recently, thanks to Thought Monitor and Urza’s Saga, and this is another big addition. At first glance, you might not want more cards that just draw more cards, but the biggest risk of digging is tying up your mana and without getting on the board. Affinity has so many zero-mana plays that you’ll consistently have a follow-up to your card-draw spell, even if you end up spending all your mana for the turn. While the final builds might have some combination of all these draw-twos, having so many that allow you to continuously flood the board is very appealing in Modern.
Another card that works really well with Reality Heist is Urza. Urza allows your artifacts to tap for blue mana, so you can cast this card even with few artifacts in play. While traditionally, the artifact-heavy builds of Urza have been underwhelming, this card allows you to quickly find the answer spell you’re looking for, or to turbo out the Thopter Foundry combo.
There are a lot of other cool things to do with this card, like flashing it back with Torrential Gearhulk. Take some time and really dig into this card – it has enough depth and the potential for big payoffs!
I just finished watching Naruto, so I’m ready to get some Ninja action going. When I saw this card, you better believe I was ready to talk about it.
Moon-Circuit Hacker has a lot going for it. It’s great at helping your game plans come together, allowing you to play a tempo game and have the answers you need to keep the pressure going. It also has lots of great applications with creatures with strong ETB’s. While all ninjutsu work well with ETB’s, Hacker’s one-mana activation cost allows you to replay your attacking creature on the same turn and get some additional value.
Esika’s Chariot jumps out to me as a card that will work amazingly with Hacker. Chariot dominates a battlefield and rarely dies in combat. Picking it up with ninjutsu and replaying it will put you so ahead on cards that most players won’t be able to catch back up.
Skyclave Apparition is another great example. While it may seem like an odd choice, given that you’re giving your opponent a Spirit when it leaves the battlefield, the ability to answer their next big spell makes the exchange worth it.
Of course, Moon-Circuit Hacker is a strong card on its own, even without these ETB tricks. But if you can squeeze every little bit of value out of this card, you’re going to end up with some really powerful decks.
Which card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty are you most excited to play with? Tweet at @masoneclark and let me know!
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.