Magic’s newest expansion has us returning to Kamigawa. A new set means new cards to examine, and in this article we’ll talk about the monocolored cards and what they mean for the game in different formats and how they’ll play.
Last week we covered the mechanics of the new set, talking about the new and returning mechanics for Kamigawa; this week we’re looking at the set’s monocolor cards. As usual, we won’t be looking at everything, and we’ll be doing this mostly with an eye for Commander play.
BPhilipYork: This card has incredible potential to dump a win-con into play, or a combo, Thassa’s Oracle and Hermit Druid for example, or be used with reanimate cards, like Dance of the Dead or Animate Dead (which coincidentally could bring back Ao, the Dawn Sky – then you could sac again) there’s a lot of space to explore there, especially with tutors to the top cards like Vampiric Tutor. +1/+1 counters also could potentially go a long way if you can leverage them with cards like Hardened Scales, but that’s going to be very complex to put together.
FromTheShire: Probably worth inclusion in a Vehicle deck, maaaaaybe in a reanimator shell. For the most part in Commander all of your creatures are going to die at once limiting the value of the counters when it dies, and your deck isn’t going to be that loaded with 4 drops or under to make it worth trying to loop this somehow. As part of the Orzhov deck in Standard this is pretty scary though.
TheChirurgeon: If this could have gotten you lands it would have been pretty neat, but it seems they’re still afraid of giving White non-tax ramp effects. Even still, the effects are pretty strong.
BPhilipYork: This is Replenish again which is fun. I miss Replenish, as a deck. On the other hand WWWW+3 is rough. That’s a lot of mana, and a lot of colored mana. Though there’s also the reality of returning all artifacts mean potentially you could be tapping all those, or sacrificing them, and then bringing them right back. There are also now enchantment lands to consider and artifact lands. So in the right deck this card can win you games, but as a general value card it’s just too expensive.
FromTheShire: Now we’re talking. It’s pricey but there are very few ways to get this effect, and it’s the kind of splashy big mana sorcery that still wins you the game in Commander. Going to see a ton of play in Equipment and Aura based Voltron decks as well as general enchantress lists.
TheChirurgeon: A one-sided Open the Vaults for only one mana more seems decent in that it’ll buy you a second copy of the effect and you’ll avoid those rare, odd times where you’re accidentally helping an opponent but it also seems like most of the time you’re building around it and other players aren’t so having it be an even effect is fine.
BPhilipYork: That’s a pretty powerful effect, I could certainly see playing it in some kind of deck where you want to avoid losing, especially for a specific reason. At 8 mana it’s actually more expensive than Platinum Angel, though it has a nice side effect of sticking around if you just kill the creature, which potentially makes it a bit more obnoxious to remove. However, I fear cards like this lead to decks that can’t win but won’t let anyone else win either.
FromTheShire: Being able to staple a Platinum Angel on to your creatures over and over is pretty annoying for your opponents at casual tables, but this still suffers from the fact that most of the time your opponents will be able to either wrath or destroy the artifact when it’s least convenient for you.
TheChirurgeon: Having this as a repeatable equipment effect on a piece of equipment sure is something I didn’t expect to see. This is going to absolutely destroy any draft pod it shows up in, though.
BPhilipYork: This is a very strong control effect, especially the ability to exile all creatures. White is getting increasingly better Wrath of God effects, which is nice to see.
FromTheShire: Absolutely fantastic. I’m frequently okay with paying this much for a garden variety wrath, much less an extremely flexible modal one that also exiles which is extremely valuable in and of itself. My Sigarda, Host of Herons deck hates that this exists already and I’m still here for it..
TheChirurgeon: Famously this card is titled “Adiós” on Spanish-language cards, already making that version the hot one to get for your decks. As an effect it’s pretty great and adding the graveyards rider to this for the first time is a great addition. We’ve come a long, long way from Final Judgment doing just the creatures part of this for the same cost.
BPhilipYork: I’m really happy to see the return of shrines. Kind of a bit weird to make them creatures, it opens up lots of capabilities, but this new shrine cycle is noticeably weaker than prior cycles. I think Shrines make for a fun-ish fair kind of deck, so it’s nice to see enough to build around for a commander deck.
FromTheShire: I wanted to highlight the new Shrine cycle, as like many stunt Commander players, I will absolutely be building a Shrine deck as we’re reaching that kind of critical mass I like to see. I don’t love that these are creatures since it makes you much more vulnerable to removal, but it has some upsides as well. Only triggering once per turn cycle is a bit of a bummer but paying one mana for 5-6 Spirits is going to be pretty sweet.
TheChirurgeon: Shrines! These are mostly cool in the context of what they bring to shrine decks. This one’s pretty mana-intensive for its scaling effect, whereas the older shrines all give you more passive bonuses. But creating a bunch of free creatures isn’t terrible.
BPhilipYork: There’s definitely a lot going on here, artifact creature, crews at 4, still a 2/1 for one W, all that is pretty good. In a dedicated vehicle deck this is definitely something worth including.
FromTheShire: Savannah Lions isn’t what it once was but it’s still not bad, and I think we’re going to see this a lot with how much it enables Vehicle decks. Let’s not forget that Esika’s Chariot exists, for one.
TheChirurgeon: I really like this as a 2/1 for W goober. Great for enabling bigger vehicles.
BPhillipYork: It costs a lot, so whatever you return better win you the game or do something really momentous. The big winner I could see is Sage of Hours. The targeting is kind of wonky too, it targets a player but not the creatures.
FromTheShire: Not bad per se but I think the applications will be narrow, mainly reanimator decks which include white or Vehicle decks.
TheChirurgeon: It’s a neat effect but requiring 4 white mana makes it very narrow in scope and use. I can’t picture actually drafting this, especially because it can only fetch from your graveyard.
BPhilipYork: This feels just built to b a 5c commander, yet another white creature with 5 colors in the identity. Guardian angeling in is neat, but it’s indestructible and doesn’t include hexproof, which for 4 mana I think it ought to.
FromTheShire: The protection isn’t bad but other than that it doesn’t really do much to help out the rest of your board, and if you want a 5 color Legendary Dragon there are multiple better options. I think this slots into the 99 to protect your The Ur-Dragon at best.
BPhilipYork: I feel like there’s one specific aura or something that’ll make this bonkers, but I’m just failing to see how to really blow it out in commander. Obviously in some kind of weird voltron deck, but I don’t know quite what you’d do there either. Forcing you to attach it to Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice is a really big drawback.
FromTheShire: Really like this, especially since it can get things of equal cost, not just lesser. Coming down on turn 2 and essentially letting you double your mana and repeatedly tutor at the same time is extremely powerful.
TheChirurgeon: This seems bonkers given some of the things you can tutor up but need the aura to actually hit the battlefield will make this one tough to pull off in more competitive games.
BPhilipYork: This is an amazingly strong graveyard hate card that also can massively buff your commander to swing. I really, really like it for grindy games.
FromTheShire: A pretty reasonably costed piece of graveyard hate for Equipment decks that doesn’t take a card slot away from your main game plan, I dig it.
BPhilipYork: Seems potentially strong, flexible exile is quite strong, and you’re maybe looking at a cmc of 3-4 most of the time, which is high, but for something this flexible, and the ability to pay via exiling, I think an argument can definitely be made.
FromTheShire: Very flexible removal that exiles and has a cost reducer built in – pretty damn good.
TheChirurgeon: Instant speed removal for three different card types with cost reduction seems pretty great to me, especially in a format where you’re likely to be sitting on big spells. It’s also perfectly draftable removal.
BPhilipYork: There’s definitely something to be done with this attacks alone thing, and I’m kind of psyched to figure it out. The big winner I could see casting would be things like Dance of the Dead, though obviously, that’s not in the right colors if Norika is your commander.
FromTheShire: This is one of the better payoff cards for the flavorful lone Samurai deck. I’m not sold on the archetype personally but this is definitely a powerful effect.
BPhilipYork: It’s a good doggo, and I guess you can let it drive cars, which is fun. I like art. Also, it is an enchantment creature, that cantrip, so there are definitely things you could do there. Possibly use it as a sacrifice / reanimate target that’s also cantripping.
FromTheShire: I wanted to highlight the bestest boi because c’mon, look at him, but this effect is actually deceptively powerful as well, especially on a common. We’ve seen Elvish Visionary and Dusk Legion Zealot be essential pieces of decks in non-Commander formats as the card draw keeps you churning through your deck towards your payoffs. Those are both more relevant creature types but I still think we’re going to see this a lot in white weenie decks at the absolute minimum.
TheChirurgeon: White gets its own Elvish Visionary, and it’s in the form of the goodest boy ever. That actually rules, and putting more white card draw on creatures would go a long way toward helping white actually compete.
BPhilipYork: I think plainscycling is always worth considering, especially with plenty of ways to reanimate, and it’s an enchantment creature, so for something like Replenish that matters.
FromTheShire: Very reminiscent of a white Krosan Tusker – I care less about the creature than the ability to get lands in white.
FromTheShire: It says a lot about where white is that I can see the argument being made for running this to get a basic and return a fetch to play. Probably still not worth it in Commander.
BPhilipYork: I guess you can drop this on someone else’s endstep then +1 it or -1 it and create a samurai which can then block for it, and then turn around and give the samurai +1/+1 and first strike and attack then stick around with vigilance to block, which is, neat. Neat to see more Planeswalkers that have faster interaction.
FromTheShire: Essentially a combat trick for Standard, we have much more impactful and cost effective ways of removing creatures and making tokens in Commander.
TheChirurgeon: Having the Emperor double as a 4-mana removal spell for an attacker is a pretty nice touch and she can reliably 2-for-1 most of the time. That’s not quite as useful in Commander, where I think her abilities just don’t matter.
BPhilipYork: Tutors are good, sacrificing is okay, you can sac a treasure, grabbing a vehicle is fun, I like the kicker effect, that’s a neat way of rewarding you if you sacced something to big (like Solemn Simulacrum)
FromTheShire: Only our second direct search for Vehicle card after Deadeye Quartermaster, this is a slam dunk in the new vehicle focused precon, and very useful in Equipment decks as well, especially ones without white or black’s tutors. I wouldn’t be opposed to putting this in most non-green decks to let you find your Sword of the Animist and start ramping.
TheChirurgeon: An updated version of Tinker that’s designed to be not quite as heinous. The Scry 2 rider helps, but the restriction to equipment or vehicles makes the use on this very narrow.
BPhilipYork: It’s ninjutsu and ramp all in one, which is useful, and 2 cost ninjutsu is definitely by default playable for Yuriko, Tiger’s Claw. I think Ninjas are pretty fun so.
FromTheShire: This is fine on rate, but once you start stacking tribal buffs this can let you cheat out some very powerful things. A nice tool to have.
BPhilipYork: This is an interesting effect to tack onto shrines, most of the other blue shrines are the strongest, but this one costs mana and only mills, but nonetheless milling is strong, especially with a reanimator commander.
FromTheShire: On the surface this is one of the weaker shrines, and you’re never going to use this to mill your opponents out, but being able to mess with people’s top deck manipulation comes up occasionally. The real use for this for me is self milling to stock your graveyard with a ton of shrines and other enchantments, and then using your Replenish to put it all into play.
TheChirurgeon: I really wish there was an easier way to duplicate this effect to generate some stupid mill combos.
BPhilipYork: I think this is potentially a really strong saga, especially since the third part can effectively lock people out of the game. At 4 it’s a bit slow, but if you can get out the Living Breakthrough it can protect you win-con, and that’s often something worth considering.
FromTheShire: In Commander this is probably a little slow, but in other formats as a curve topper that gets you value back for two turns and then flips into a flying threat and lets you lock your opponent out of casting spells this could get nasty.
BPhilipYork: Yeah this is strong. Grabbing a commander is strong. Or anything really. UUUU + 1 is rough, but permanently grabbing any creature or artifact is often really hard for decks to deal with.
FromTheShire: Much too expensive/ mana intensive for most decks, although it might see play in dedicated Threaten decks. Being able to get artifacts is nice but likely not worth the extra cost.
TheChirurgeon: The Blue card in the 1CCCCC cycle. Interesting effect since it’s permanent. Requires a lot of investment for a Sorcery-speed effect.
BPhilipYork: Right away I can see how you could use Blink cards to really duplicate a lot of stuff. It’s a difficult chain, you basically want Leyline of Anticipation or Vedalken Orrery, but with duplicating and arranging the triggers correctly this could be a big deal. Also it’s just a solid stax effect, many players won’t want to eat the counter effect, and it can just sit around.
FromTheShire: Whooooooo boy, this is strong AF. Doubling things is one of the most fun and notoriously powerful things you can do in Magic, and being able to do it to your artifacts and sorceries on your turn and your Fact or Fiction or counterspell on your opponents’ turns is an absolute ton of free value. On the other hand, all of your opponents are going to haaaaaate having to cast a ‘bait’ spell to play their things each turn, and makes it that much harder to remove, especially when your inevitable counter is doubled up. I already have my Arcane Laboratory in hand to build this deck because I’m a terrible person.
TheChirurgeon: It was really funny when this card was first revealed in Phyrexian and we got a bunch of admirable – but incorrect – translations that gave him truly insane abilities. One translation I saw made your spells cost 0, while another triggered the counter effect for everyone. This real version isn’t quite so “day 1 ban” good, but he’s worth keeping an eye on. Players can collaborate to remove him, which can lead to some fun interactions and double-crosses.
BPhilipYork: Strong. Ward 3. Ooph. Returning 2 instant or sorcery cards is huge, especially as they don’t have to be among the cards you milled. You could potentially be returning a Reanimate and something else, like an extra turn, and that will let you keep taking turns. Returning nonland permanents up to 6 mana value is potentially quite strong as well, and also it’s a spirit, which is a useful creature subtype.
FromTheShire: Not bad. A nice flying body that protects itself, and when it dies it lets you recur a couple of instants or sorceries. The bounce isn’t terrible but with the mana value restriction most of the time you’re not going to be setting people back enough for it to be worth choosing.
BPhilipYork: Yeah phasing is really aggravating, in commander you can’t do anything about it really, you can’t get your commander out of phasing, it just hangs out there, and you can use this to prevent a win or an aura spell or anything really. Or, and I think this is what makes it playable, use it to effectively counter someone killing your creature(s). Or dump a couple of cards into it, phase, and cast wrath of god.
FromTheShire: A very cool way to fade an attack or get problematic creatures out of the way so you can swing in for lethal. One of the reasons Cyclonic Rift is so universal in blue is the massive power gap between it and other options, and seeing some middle of the road stuff like this is nice.
TheChirurgeon: They keep sprinkling phasing into sets here and there and I like the new context for it. Phasing things out works well for blue – it disrupts tempo a little bit without being as aggressive (or costly) as bouncing things, but at the same time, won’t cause etb/ltb effects to trigger, giving it some utility.
BPhilipYork: There’s a ton of things you can do with this, though the nonlegendary limiter is punishing, but “deals damage” triggers or “~ attacks” or any number of other things. So I think there’s a lot to do with this, but nothing hugely standout, because most of the obvious targets are legendary.
FromTheShire: This is very interesting with a number of deals damage effect creatures, infect creatures, the new Equipment creatures…. I think we’re going to see this absolutely everywhere in Standard, the number of interactions it can create are bananas. Efreet Flamepainter and Calamity Bearer in Standard, Thunderkin Awakener in Pioneer, Cephalid Constable, Night Market Lookout, or Knight of the Ebon Legion in Modern…. there’s a ton of play here.
BPhilipYork: For commander, this kind of go-wide isn’t so great, though this can crew anything by crewing it, so if you have something like Parhelion II this is an easy way to crew this out.
FromTheShire: Being able to animate a second Vehicle when this gets crewed is great value, sign me up.
BPhilipYork: I think this slots into Yuriko really nicely, I like that it’s ninja or rogue, it is limited to combat damage, but Ninjutsu 1U is basically the cost range you want to stay at.
FromTheShire: Turning combat damage into ramp is real good, especially in a deck as low to the ground as Ninjas.
BPhilipYork: This is potentially nuts in a number of ways, but it costs 5 mana, so it’s kind of durdley.
FromTheShire: This can get you a ton of value over time and artifacts are extremely powerful, even if it’s the worst case and you’re just making extra mana rocks.
TheChirurgeon: This guy being able to cast Copy Artifact as an ETB trigger is pretty neat, and he’s big enough it’ll be easier to keep him on the table.
BPhilipYork: I know this can be broken. It’s also potentially just a value piece in Bant land matters decks. I also think you can probably build a deck around this specifically, but lacking green it’s going to be a bit clunky.
FromTheShire: Another cool one, being able to reanimate artifacts and enchantments is very nice, and is a nice continuation of the Moonfolk land bouncing mechanic that also draws you a card while you’re doing it.
BPhilipYork: So the emblem is brutal, but 4 mana + 2 turns then activate is a lot to ask. Activating the abilities of artifacts cheaper is nice, but what artifacts rely on activation costs that make a big impact? This feels like it ends up being a battlecruiser card.
FromTheShire: Very powerful, though like most walkers this is at best a roleplayer in specific decks. Slots right into the new Vehicle deck.
TheChirurgeon: That activated ability cost reduction is going to be absolutely money somewhere. Shame he can’t be your Commander.
BPhilipYork: These are two inherently really strong abilities, and game-winning ones. Playing off the top lets you just cast spells nonstop, it does cost 5 in total, but being able to pay 2 then 3 makes it much more viable in my opinion. Slot this right into lands matter bant.
FromTheShire: This card does a lot for you. Comes down early, blocks great against aggro, gives you perfect information on your next draw, and then once you can start equipping it gives you crazy amounts of card advantage. The fact that it lets you use both lands and spells off of the top is fantastic. Love everything about it.
BPhilipYork: On the one hand this is a 4 cost ninjutsu which seems kind of expense, except it’s a 1/1/ flying Ninja for U, so the actual play pattern is to drop it turn 1 as a flying attacker that you ninjutsu back into your hand for a better ninja, then ninjutsu it back out. Stronk.
FromTheShire: Lets you double up on your sweet damage triggers, and since you’re swapping creatures in and out with Ninjutsu you’ll have no problem getting the effect multiple times.
BPhilipYork: I think this is a really neat flavorful menace counter use that makes sense thematically and plays well with the ninja style. Nice to get a ninja with menace, and of course if you want to you can double ninja it back into and out of your hand to exile again.
FromTheShire: I really like the tension in this card, the menace is useful for getting through unblocked but removing the counter to Thoughtseize can be clutch…. The good news is since you’re swapping it in and out you’ll get to choose again before long.
FromTheShire: Probably never playing this in Commander but this is a dope looking card, and the flavor of this cursed equipment repeatedly turning whoever touches it into a huge Demon is extremely sweet.
TheChirurgeon: The flavor on this is great and I love that it’s a reasonably decent 3/1 body for the cost even if you aren’t using it to create your own Juzam Djinns.
BPhilipYork: This is a strong shrine, very solid though it feels slightly pricy. One nice thing about this end step shrine thing is you don’t skip a turn, but you also have to be able to pay for it, so 5 to destroy a creature is steep, but it’s for a shrine deck.
FromTheShire: Nothing flashy, but a solid rattlesnake card to keep random attacks away that can repeatedly kill enablers and eventually larger problematic creatures.
TheChirurgeon: I get why this isn’t stronger/cheaper, since having the ability to destroy bigger creatures every turn with a single shrine would absolutely dominate limited formats. Still a fun bit of extra utility in Shrine decks, though.
BPhilipYork: Modal draw or sacrifice is nice. Also, a 2/2 flyer for 3 is pretty solid, generally speaking. Just a solid forced sacrifice card. Potentially an opponent could react to your casting it by killing something to change what you get, which is worth noting.
FromTheShire: A Fleshbag Marauder that you can chose to have draw you a card instead is a neat little bit of flexibility.
BPhilipYork: Cool fun commander. Kind of slow, but fun and inherent balance card draw is nice. Definitely mana intensive though.
FromTheShire: Does a bunch of stuff you like in a Rakdos deck and I dig it. Having Scry on board to set up your top deck is a very nice touch, and I can’t wait to dome someone with a Draco just because I can.
BPhilipYork: I think this effect is brutally strong, but it’s unfortunate you can’t switch up the targets. For 5 mana you can draw 3 cards potentially, or force 3 sacrifices, though generally, you can expect 1-2 sacrifices and 1-2 draws depending on who you target.
FromTheShire: In other formats this can be nasty but absolutely not worth it in Commander. Probably wouldn’t even be worth it if it was each opponent honestly.
TheChirurgeon: This is pretty good value normally, but I’m not sure how it’ll play out in Commander, where you may have targets but even a 3-for-1 isn’t great value. Seems like it’s better if they don’t have the targets so you can turn this into a dead creature and drawing two cards.
BPhilipYork: This is really similar to the last black dragon, you can also use something to strip out Junji’s dragon type and return himself from the graveyard, so you can generate infinite death and enter battlefield triggers that way. But generally, just re-usable discard is strong.
FromTheShire: Great reanimation target to loop, stripping 2 cards per opponent and also draining them is excellent, and being able to steal the best thing from anyone’s graveyard opens up a myriad of possibilities. Another one that will be terrifying in Standard.
TheChirurgeon: This is my favorite of the dragons, The reanimate/replace effect on death is great.
BPhilipYork: This kind of removal is strong because it overrides indestructible and hexproof, but -2 toughness is often not quite enough, many strong commanders now have 3 toughness.
FromTheShire: Not very impressive for Commander unless you are combining it with other ways to kill creatures but it’s nice that the creatures don’t have to die from the -2/-2 in order to be exiled. I’m curious to see if this sees play on other formats, the extra point of damage from Anger of the Gods can be very relevant, but maaaaybe being in black gets you somewhere?
BPhilipYork: The black card of this cycle seems relatively weak to me.
FromTheShire: Being able to cheat the cost is nice, but we have a bunch of these drain and gain type removal spells already and I can’t think of any on them that see play off the top of my head. This will either be too expensive or be too much card disadvantage most of the time.
BPhilipYork: Potentially a strong beater, but only if you have a source of creatures to crew and sacrifice to it, the easiest source I could think of would be the decayed zombies from Innistrad.
FromTheShire: A decent cost, low crew cost, and can eat tokens or other sac fodder to grow and get some evasion, but still probably relegated to Standard.
BPhilipYork: What if a ninja was Bolas’s Citadel and Pako, Arcane Retriever at once? Well? What if? Potentially this will get you access to strong spells, and you can put a turn spell on top of your library to cast it this way, and that seems like the strongest use for this, but ninjutsu for 4 is pretty high.
FromTheShire: Fantastic payoff for a Ninja deck. Stealing people’s cards is great, and casting them with your increased life total is excellent. Being in black you have plenty of ways to keep your life total nice and high and keep the value train flowing as well.
BPhilipYork: As a sorcery this just seems too slow, and getting the double value is too hard.
FromTheShire: You’re frequently going to accidentally have both an artifact and enchantment around just from playing the game, and while it’s sorcery speed both exiling a high value target and getting back something of yours is pretty decent.
BPhilipYork: Keimi seems fun for enchantress decks, but also you can make an unblockable frog, so that’s good, I guess the intent here is some sort of voltron thing onto Tatsunari, and that seems kind of weak.
FromTheShire: Sultai Enchantments isn’t something you see very much, and this is a very fun reason to go that route. Keimi rewards you for playing a bunch of cheap enchantments to maximize your drain triggers, and wouldn’t you know it, most of the best cheap enchantments are Auras that fit really nicely on your evasive commander.
BPhilipYork: I like the idea of giving and then taking creatures, though it’s quite risky, at 2 mana this is probably doable, though the payoff is far in the future.
FromTheShire: Maaaaaybe this can fit into a go wide tokens shell, but the main problem is the creature isn’t big once it flips, it’s slow to get there, and there are plenty of other ways to draw cards off of your sac fodder that are more consistent.
BPhilipYork: Grabbing cards off the top can be strong, or grabbing treasures, and there is some ways you could use Reckless Fireweaver and Disciple of the Vault to do a lot of damage with this, but its a slow kind of value proposition.
FromTheShire: Neither of the death triggers are BAD effects, but there’s a whole lot of Dragons and Spirits out there that are more impressive.
BPhilipYork: Well it’s 10 damage with convoke essentially, and it’s any target, for with 40 life that’s not really enough to burn someone out.
FromTheShire: Damage spells are bad in Commander unless they’re massive infinite mana fueled Comet Storm types, but in Standard this is going to be hilarious when people Mindlink Mech into an Efreet Flamepainter and free roll this from their graveyard.
TheChirurgeon: I love this conceptually and it makes me wish we had a couple of red X spells with Convoke.
BPhilipYork: This seems like a fun way to make dragons but the cost is so high. Giving haste is actually pretty strong also, and he’s a goblin samurai, but I’m struggling to find a way to do anything meaningful with this.
FromTheShire: A bit of a weird one. I would have wanted this to be something you could jam into a Modern Goblins deck but it’s costing you an additional mana over Goblin Bushwhacker and not giving the damage boost, and the token creation might be nice late game except for the modified creature rider. This may have a home in the Samurai deck but other than that a place for this isn’t jumping out at me.
BPhilipYork: This is a great shrine, for shrine deck, and actually finishes out the game.
FromTheShire: Another one of the better shrines, a Lava Axe every turn doesn’t seem that impressive on the face of it, but even in Commander taking a steady 5 damage every turn adds up.
TheChirurgeon: The best of the new shrines.
BPhilipYork: Recasting certain spells is huge, so Jeska’s Will and then Jeska’s will again with this and you could wheel on top of it is pretty huge. Red can often generate a ton of red mana, so I think there’s definitely uses for this, and in addition it lets you avoid timing restrictions, so if for some reason you need to Seething Song during combat (like to pay for another combat phase) that’s a useful trick.
FromTheShire: This can get there with Thousand-Year Storm and Narset’s Reversal, but a lot of things can get there with Storm if you can actually get it into play and protect it. Otherwise this is good value but not exactly amazing, especially with the cost restriction.
TheChirurgeon: They’ve been slowly getting better at giving Red effects that let it cast from top of deck/graveyard and costing them so they aren’t just printing “the bad red rare” each set. This is one of the better ones they’ve done and having RRRR in the cost isn’t as big a deal for red as it is some of the other colors.
BPhilipYork: This is a really nice source of double strike, you can search for it as a creature, an artifact, or an equipment, which makes it much easier to grab for voltron decks.
FromTheShire: Cheap, repeatable double strike? Sign me up.
BPhilipYork: Yeah super strong. If you can infinite mana exile your whole deck and cast Thassa’s Oracle and win the game. Also just lets you effectively draw cards. Also, an instant that you can cast before you turn and then play the cards from exile. So extremely solid in the right circumstances.
FromTheShire: This may be the card in the cycle where it hurts the most that the cards you exile need to be colored. If this let you pitch your extra lands to find more burn, say, I think this really does some things. As is, it’s hard to see it supplanting Light up the Stage.
BPhilipYork: It’s too many steps to draw 3 cards, unless you want to discard for some reason.
FromTheShire: A decent little buff or attacker that can be sacrificed to draw some cards. I still don’t think I’m including it in decks but it’s probably fine at a lot of tables.
BPhilipYork: Really great recursion spell, to use Gamble or Entomb to put things in your graveyard and then get them back.
FromTheShire: A fixed Goblin Welder, with the problem being that what makes it fun is the cheeky things you can do with it. Still, this is a good value card for artifact based decks like Daretti, Scrap Savant and its ilk.
BPhilipYork: Potentially this could deal a lot of damage if you have a consistent way to make creatures and modify them, but that’s a lot of steps to go through.
FromTheShire: This is another fun one, especially in a Isshin, Two Heavens as One deck where you’re doubling up the trigger or a goblins deck where you’re putting counters on your tokens as you go wide.
BPhilipYork: I guess if you want to kill someone with shrines, but this is one I would probably avoid.
FromTheShire: Our final shrine and arguably the least useful in Commander, though one of the better ones in Standard. At least it tramples so you can dump the counter on to itself and create a decent beater.
BPhilipYork: Compared to the other Invoke cards this feels kind of lame.
FromTheShire: Eh? It’s fine. The rate and abilities are good, I mainly question how useful the tokens are in the kind of deck built to be able to cast it outside of 60 card mono green stompy lists.
TheChirurgeon: Green gets the worst card of the cycle. Getting 8 power for 5 mana isn’t terrible, but Green can already pull of better trade-offs if you’re going monogreen or generating enough green mana to reliably cast this.
BPhilipYork: The x put x +1/+1 counters is potentially a big deal, making a mana dork is fine but then +1/+1 counters is kind of meh. It’s just too many different directions.
FromTheShire: Once this flips it won’t be long until you have a nice 7/7 flying trampler which is very nice, especially in GW counters builds, or Rishkar, Peema Renegade lists. Nothing fancy but in green a lot of time that will get the job done just fine.
BPhilipYork: I find this card kind of confusing, but for standard it seems dangerous.
FromTheShire: A very nice recursive threat that gets large quickly, and thankfully also has built in trample. We already see enchantress builds do well in addition to Ajani’s Pridemate lists in 60 card, and adding the ability to push through damage makes this seem like an absolute beating.
TheChirurgeon: This is cheap enough to build around in Standard, but there the concern is “what other enchantment creatures are there in green and are there enough that I’d run 8-10 of them to make this work?
BPhilipYork: This is a funny effect, and a fun one, for some kind of goofy modified or +1/+1 counters deck, ramping up quickly is dangerous so I could see this being something.
FromTheShire: The Kodama of the final tree has finally been revealed, and it’s a banger. Granting trample to all of your modified creatures is already super useful, but supercharging each of them into a Rampant Growth as well has the potential to spiral out of control quickly. Depending on your list this can be ensuring that your potent card draw is being used on a heavily thinned deck to draw you nothing but gas to fuel your victory.
BPhilipYork: Grabbing 3 lands of any sort is pretty nice, making a big spirit token is pretty meh, but it costs 5 to get into play and then you need it to die, which is a lot of steps for a land tutor.
FromTheShire: Deathtouch is a bit unexpected here but we’re happy to have it, and while it doesn’t ramp us we’re sure to have the lands in hand to never miss a land drop and recast our commander regularly. The tokens are kind of whatever for Commander unless we have some way of giving them evasion.
BPhilipYork: Well not good in commander, anyway.
FromTheShire: Obviously terrible in Commander outside of a few stunt decks, this seems fine for other formats.
BPhilipYork: This seems totally playable, for different scenarios, reveal mill and then return is good, a bit of ramp, and all that. So a decent utility creature, but the cost of 2 and 2 more is really high for pure ramp with a plan to return cards later.
FromTheShire: A nice tool for Golgari graveyard decks and the like to ramp as well as fuel the yard, but not a great choice as the Commander for me.
BPhilipYork: This ninja just costs too much, though it’s kind of funny and out of character, and obviously returning a permanent is potentially a big deal.
FromTheShire: Green isn’t a super common Ninjutsu color so you may not be able to whip this in and out of play as much as in some other decks, but fortunately this is big enough to rumble in combat, and getting a free Regrowth when it deals damage is excellent value.
BPhilipYork: Spirit themed green is okay I guess but I don’t see anywhere to go with this.
FromTheShire: Another card that could be useful in a graveyard based deck, the biggest drawback here is that it’s an attack trigger on a 1/1, which doesn’t give you a lot of options for actually repeatedly using it.
The Dragon-Kami Reborn / Dragon-Kami’s Egg
BPhilipYork: A fun thematic way to cheat something out, but really slow. Turn 2 or 3, then milling and exiling, and if they blow up the saga you lose your buried cards you want to cheat out, which presumably you really want, it’s just too many eggs in one saga. HAHA.
FromTheShire: Depending on what you can flip for your hatching counter cards, this can either be insane or a total bust. At its best in a Mayael the Anima style deck.
BPhilipYork: Wow. Wowowowowow. Cool card, really cool. Amazing for shrine deck, but also for some powerful enchantment effects.
FromTheShire: A lord that also doubles up triggers and has big combo potential? Hell yes.
TheChirurgeon: OK see this is exactly the kind of creature I was talking about when we looked at Kami of Transience. The problem is that the Kami isn’t an enchantment creature, but even going to 3/3 or 4/4 for 1G if probably enough to get cooking.
Next Time: The Set’s Multicolor and Colorless Cards
That wraps up our look at the monocolor cards of Neon Dynasty. We’ll be back later this week, looking at the multicolor, colorless, and double-faced cards before moving on to the set’s Commander decks. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.