Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty has some amazing cards for Commander, and whether you’re hyped for power, flavor, or just because the art looks badass, there’s something for everyone.
Today, I’ll be breaking down what’s hot from the set. I won’t be going over what’s not, and it’s likely I’ll skip over any super niche cards that don’t impact your collection enough. While there are solid cards for decks from Vehicles, to Shrines, to Ninjas, you’ll probably know whether you want those cards before reading.
You want the best? Here’s the best.
Card advantage, in white, in this economy? It’s more likely than you think. Ao, the Dawn Sky is honestly really sweet. Getting to dig for more permanents when it dies – or getting to buff the team – is an excellent tradeoff for losing a 5/4 with flying and vigilance. It’s going in my Sylvia & Khorvath deck, and many Dragon Tribal and go-wide white decks for sure.
It seems white is finally getting more recursion. Both Brilliant Restoration (a one mana more, one-sided Open the Vaults) and Invoke Justice seek to breathe new life into white-heavy decks everywhere. While five mana and sorcery speed seems steep for the latter, don’t forget it lets you get back any permanent, and gives you a bunch of counters for the team, too.
As if players hadn’t already had fun with The Book of Exalted Deeds and Faceless Haven, NEO provides another way to build your own Platinum Angel. This will excel in Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist and Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale builds, or basically anything that’s Voltron and likes to cheat equip costs. Granting flying takes this from medium to playable.
Potentially the best board wipe in years, Farewell says goodbye to all the nonsense on the board, and double-taps to ensure those cards don’t come back from the grave. While the clear power creep on Merciless Eviction feels needed – and earned – bear in mind that it’s symmetrical, and hard to break symmetry on without taking too many turns off.
Potentially my favorite card in the set, Light-Paws is a crafty little two-drop that grants a kitsune’s blessing on your Aura-based decks. Whether you’re jamming this in the 99 of something like Sigarda, Host of Herons, or you’re brewing up a new, low-to-the-ground Voltron build led by Light-Paws, you’re sure to enjoy the possibilities that come with tutoring up Auras. Helps out Siona quite a bit, too.
What if Scavenging Ooze were an Equipment?
Wrapping things up for white, The Restoration of Eiganjo is white ramp… sort of. At its worst, this is a way to grab a basic Plains from your library, put it into play tapped, and get a token-producing body over three turns. As far as floors go, that’s not a bad place to be. The ceiling? Well, you could have something spicier already in the graveyard to bring back.
Not content with reimagining Scavenging Ooze, NEO wants to Tinker with other classic card designs, too. Anchor to Reality feels fixed, honestly. Even still, it’s gonna do a lot of work in the right deck. Grabbing Parhelion II or Argentum Armor into play will always be a treat.
The latest in a line of hatebear effects outside of white, Living Breakthrough is a stupidly powerful effect that might do absolutely nothing. To break through to the creature, you’ll have to complete a Saga first, and it’s far from the worst Saga to play. Four mana for an unsummon and a card before you get your creature is more than reasonable.
While we’re in the market for messing with spells, here’s the latest Praetor. Jin-Gitaxias is back again, and this time he’s here to terrorize tables that can’t handle an early reanimated seven-drop. Getting to copy your own spells is awesome, but having your opponent’s first spell each turn countered? Jeez, call an ambulance. Entomb and Buried Alive have never looked more terrifying. Jin-Gitaxias will join Hullbreaker Horror as one of the new boogeymen of the format.
Kairi, the Swirling Sky evokes swelling oceanic imagery when you consider the translation of Kairi in Japanese, which makes a lot of sense given it reads like a Kraken or Leviathan. Kairi is a Dragon in spirit only, giving the kind of interaction that decks like Arixmethes love. It’s just a solid, solid card.
March of Swirling Mist is the best of the new March cycle for EDH… at least when it comes to versatility and playability. While Hinata busts this wide open, the more general use case is as a flexible fog or board wipe protection spell. It’s a pretty neat card, all things considered.
It wouldn’t be a cyber-Japan-inspired set without some hot mech action, and Mindlink Mech is a good one.
If you have fragile creatures with powerful attack or damage triggers – or even tapped ones, like Surgespanner – Mindlink Mech gives them a chance to get in and make those triggers happen without getting into the danger zone.
The Reality Chip is… an Equipment Jellyfish. Connotations about sentient tentacles in a Japanese-inspired plane aside, The Reality Chip is going to see some amount of play. Galea will enjoy using it to help with her Voltron top-deck plans, but really, there are many decks that love being able to play off of the top.
Artifact decks get a lot of love in this set, but what excites me more is the opportunity to explore some new designs for Azorius commanders. Tameshi is funky and fresh, asking us if we’d like to try graveyard strategies in UW. Replication Specialist is a nice value piece, but it’s wild to see this effect at uncommon after seeing Bramble Sovereign at mythic a few years ago.
Thousand-Faced Shadow joins an elite group of one-drops with very powerful effects. This will be a lynchpin in Ninja decks until the end of time, and even in non-Ninja decks – like Zara, Renegade Recruiter – it’ll be a sweet include. Damn, I really wanna build Zara now.
Blue has some other notables like Moonsnare Prototype (great at enabling Winter Orb), Mnemonic Sphere (Japanese eggs really are the best), and Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh, but they’re a little more niche than what we’ve covered so far.
It’s weird, but black and green seem to have the least new design space in this set. It might be because black is wrapped up in Ninjas for the most part, but there are few standout options when it comes to upgrading your Commander decks. Junji, the Midnight Sky is the latest in a long line of cards that can combo with Karmic Guide, and if you’re in the market for a Dragon-based combo card, it can certainly fill that role. If you can recur it without using its own ability, it will also just kill people.
Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion is a little more spicy. Casting opponents’ spells is one thing, but getting to pay life for the privilege, instead of mana? That’s a recipe for some serious tempo gain. This will slot into many decks quite happily.
While we’re on the topic of cards that happily fit into decks, Deadly Dispute is one that sees quite a bit of Commander play. I’d like to suggest that Reckoner’s Bargain actually fits better for a lot of brews, from Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim to Thalisse, Reverent Medium. Triggering your lifegain payoffs is often worth more than one Treasure, and incidental lifegain in casual EDH is always good.
Atsushi, the Blazing Sky is another Dragon from NEO that can combo pretty easily with the right cards. Ashnod’s Altar and Nim Deathmantle make this a loop that can generate infinite mana of any kind, while letting you eventually play all the nonland cards in your library. If that’s a little too scary for your sensibilities, it’s still a solid four-drop in many archetypes that I’m happy to play.
This wily little creature is up there with Light-Paws in my top cards of the set. If, like Goro-Goro, you enjoy haste, Dragon tokens, and scaring your neighbors, then this red two-drop might be for you. Those mana sinks are both useful and powerful, and attacking with a modified creature isn’t much of a hoop to jump through. I’m sad I can’t activate it post-combat with Neheb mana, but it’s still a solid two-drop.
Neheb, the Eternal does, however, get to make great use of Invoke Calamity. Why yes, I would like to cast Wheel of Fortune or Mana Geyser out of my bin again. Alongside Underworld Breach, Invoke Calamity gives red Spellslinger decks a great deal of redundancy when trying to pull off those multi-spell turns. It’s also a way to cast a board wipe at instant speed, which intrigues me.
Buy it, use it, break it, fix it, trash it, change it, mail, upgrade it
Charge it, point it, zoom it, press it, snap it, work it, quick erase it
Attach to target creature you control or maybe unattach it
Lizard Blades, Rabbit Battery, Double Strike, and Haste Equip it
ReconfigureIdk, Daft Punk, probably
While we might share a universal dislike of the way Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty handled the cyber DJ bard of the set, we can all agree that Lizard Blades and Rabbit Battery are just the right levels of cyberpunk to hit just right. They’re also two of the better reconfigure cards, and two that will see a lot of play in mono-red decks and Equipment builds. Cheap double strike is always juicy, and having a hasty creature to scoop up Equipment – or grant haste itself – is right up my street.
Goblin Welder and Goblin Engineer’s chunkier cousin, Scrap Welder is a little more conditional, but offers us haste for our troubles. There are plenty of builds that will enjoy using this card, though I’m not sure what you’re sacrificing to bring back Wurmcoil Engine or Thopter Assembly.
Kodama of the West Tree is the perfect card for a Boros Equipment deck, except… it’s green. Your traditional green stompy decks don’t have much use for this one, but if you’re playing with +1/+1 counters, Auras, or trying a GW or Sultai-style Equipment deck with creatures like Ukkima, Stalking Shadow or Nazahn, Master Blacksmith, you’ll definitely want to include this one in your decks. It triggers for each creature that deals combat damage, which is absurd in the best way.
Remember the Fallen is a card I run quite often in white decks, and I highly value the ability to get two cards back rather than having recursion be on a body, a la Eternal Witness. If you’re in Enchantress? This is sweet. It’s also instant speed, which feels unnecessary, but makes me love it more.
I don’t mean to repeat my previous point, but getting stuff back from the bin is great. And when you can do it repeatedly from the same source? Even better. Spring-Leaf Avenger will be at home in decks as diverse as Otrimi, the Ever-Playful (who will no doubt get a shout out again today) or even Yarok, the Desecrated, where it’ll bounce other creatures to be replayed.
Storyweave is the last call for those wanting to try Atraxa Sagas. If you haven’t already committed to picking up some of the better Sagas, you might want to make a list, because this card ties the deck together nicely. It’ll also naturally slot into Satsuki, the Living Lore.
Green naturally saw white’s Blacksmith’s Skill and decided it quite liked that effect. While you don’t get the +2/+2 if you have an artifact creature, you do gain two life, which can be worth it in some builds like Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn. The life is just gravy, though, and any green deck is going to jam this interaction because it’s just so premium.
Weaver of Harmony is one powerful Enchantress card. Most often, this’ll be copying card draw triggers, but if you’re in a dedicated Enchantress deck, there are a bunch of things it can copy. Soul Snare, Elspeth Conquers Death, even Wilderness Reclamation… I’m sure you’ll find a way to make this work for you.
Onto the multicolor cards, and we see some really fresh and inspired designs. Colossal Skyturtle might well be a slam dunk pick for those of you using Keruga as a companion, but even outside of that deck building restriction, it’s a fantastic modal card.
Encapsulating the theme of the set, we have an Izzet cost reducer for artifacts, and a Selesnya one for enchantments, both with relevant card types to trigger effects in dedicated artifact or Enchantress builds. There aren’t many reasons not to run these.
Hidetsugu Consumes All is a card that seems primed to impact the cEDH meta, and I’m excited to see how things might shake out with it in the format. Once you get it flipped, it’s a win condition in its own right, with the ability to make a player lose the game if they’ve taken 10 or more damage from the Vessel of the All-Consuming. Note that this is damage, not just combat damage – if you can string some rituals and buffs together with cards like Storm-Kiln Artist, Birgi, and Haze of Rage, you can convert that into a Chandra’s Ignition with little effort.
The main commanders I see being popular this set are Hinata, Isshin, and Satsuki. Hinata is deceptive, and I guarantee you’ll underestimate just how potent this card is until you’ve played against it; Scott has some thoughts on what kind of spells to try out with it. Isshin is a Mardu Wulfgar, and looks set to be a flexible build, whether you prefer Pillowfort or turning everything sideways – I’ve put together a primer you may be interested in here. Satsuki is the first true Sagas commander we’ve seen, and will no doubt draw many into the theme. Whether you choose to stick with Satsuki or progress to Atraxa, Satsuki will be instrumental in either build.
Not to be outdone by anything else the set has to offer, there are some headline Ninja cards to get excited about. Kaito Shizuki has a really interesting phasing ability to keep him around a turn cycle, slotting nicely into Yuriko builds. Satoru Umezawa could slot in there, too, but is probably even stronger as a commander, offering a way to drop a Blightsteel Colossus into play with minimal effort. Silver-Fur Master is a nod to Master Splinter if ever I’ve seen one, and will power up decks of either tribe – or even changelings.
ARTIFACTS & LANDS
Containment Construct is a wild Magic card. I certainly didn’t have it on my bingo sheet for cards I’d ever think of seeing print anytime soon, and I don’t think we’ve even seen the start of what this will be able to do going forward. Right now? Slap it in any number of Rube Goldberg-style decks, or just in Reanimator builds. Chainer says hi.
There’s something supremely satisfying about Mechtitan Core, and though it is a little on the nose, I don’t think it’s out of place in the set. Completing mini-games is something I love to do in EDH, and it’s partly why I built my latest deck, Liesa, Forgotten Archangel. Gotta get Brisela assembled!
If you’re not playing this with Kaldra, then you’re doing it wrong. 😉
Mirror Box looks like it’s right up Adrix and Nev’s street, and a lot of other streets, probably. Clone decks are always happy for another synergy piece, and it’s no surprise that Sakashima – old or new – loves this, too.
The channel lands from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty are some of the most powerful utility lands we’ve seen for Commander in quite some time. While the green one is far and away the most versatile and easy to find a use for, none of them are unplayable, and all can slot into your mana bases without much trouble, especially given they enter untapped.
They aren’t the only lands in the set, though. Roadside Reliquary is a big pickup for white decks everywhere, which already rely on plenty of artifacts and enchantments to get going. With cards like Sun Titan, Sevinne’s Reclamation, and Brought Back, Roadside Reliquary is a solid little card draw engine. Secluded Courtyard, on the other hand, is another redundant land alongside Cavern of Souls and Unclaimed Territory to help tribal decks with their diverse mana costs.
NEON DYNASTY COMMANDER
The Commander precons for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty have some stellar cards, and though I can’t go into all of them here (that’s what our precon articles are for), I want to cover a few of the standout cards.
Drumbellower is really exciting. It’s an effect you don’t see very often, and it’s on a white creature, to boot. The obvious synergies with Spirits are apparent – untapping things to use for Shacklegeist or Lorehold Apprentice – but don’t be fooled. This card has many applications, and you’ll be seeing it in decks like Samut, Voice of Dissent, and as a value piece in general.
Organic Extinction is another in a line of cheap board wipes that help offset tempo loss, and it’ll find a home in decks like Osgir and Breya.
Swift Reconfiguration is a bit of a wild card. It’s kind of one-mana instant-speed removal for decks that don’t go very wide, but it’s also a way to protect your creature from a board wipe or tap a summoning sick creature. It’s bound to combo, even beyond infinite mana with Devoted Druid.
Imposter Mech is a fun take on a Clone. In the same vein as Swift Reconfiguration, it allows you to avoid creature-based removal of your Cloned creature, at the downside of having to be crewed. For two mana, it’s a steal, though.
The final card from the precons I like a lot is Rampant Rejuvenator. This thing can slot into any number of decks, and it’s a reliable way to pull out multiple lands from the library at once. All you need is a way to put counters on it or buff it, and a free sac outlet, and you’re away.
Of the exclusive Set Booster cards, there are two that stand out to me. The first is Myojin of Cryptic Dreams, a card I expect to see in Simic- or Izzet-based Clone decks. What makes it so attractive is it plays right into an alternative wincon that has seen more play since the Strixhaven precon brought us Esix: Biovisionary.
To close things out, let’s take a look at Ruthless Technomancer. This card screams “combo piece,” and if you were still looking to accidentally break Dockside Extortionist – and I’m not sure how you haven’t already – this thing can offer a little more help. Technomancer is a very powerful Magic card, and if you’re in a graveyard-based deck, you’ll be able to accrue serious value off of it. When you couple it with the recently printed Prowling Geistcatcher, you’ll see why graveyard decks have never been more consistent.
Whew! Another Commander Set Review done with. I’ve covered the cream of the crop; the cards that’ll add the most to your deck building potential. What are you hyped to play with from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty? Let me know on Twitter.
Kristen is a lover of both Limited and Commander, and can most often be found championing the Boros Legion when called upon to sit down and shuffle up. As a member of the Commander Advisory Group, Kristen lives and breathes Commander. When she’s not playing Magic, she works as a freelance writer and editor in the UK.