Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty – cEDH Set Review

Jake FitzSimons • February 14, 2022

Boseiju, Who Endures by えすてぃお/ESUTHIO

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty cEDH Set Review

More Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Commander Reviews

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Multicolor | Artifacts & Lands


G’day cEDH fans, Jake FitzSimons here with a review of the best cards from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Most new Standard sets contain one or two cards that influence the cEDH meta – Crimson Vow gave us Hullbreaker Horror, and Midnight Hunt, Malevolent Hermit – but it’s been a while since we saw tools that will see play in almost every deck capable of running them.

But more on the channel lands later. For now…


White

Seedborn Muse lite? Sort of, but the difference between untapping everything and only untapping creatures is a significant one, particularly given what Seedborn is typically used for: generating value via an outlet commander.

Thrasios is the most classic outlet commander, and while more value-oriented lists run Seedborn Muse to activate Thrasios every turn, the mana is often produced from noncreature permanents. I can’t see Thrasios decks playing this unless more dorks are added or the pilot finds themself in a grindy meta.

However, the difference between three mana and five mana is also significant, and there are better uses for a repeatable untap than just Thrasios. Selvala, Explorer Returned and Captain Sisay can quadruple their potential activations, which strikes me as powerful.

 

Light-Paws is a card with plenty of raw power but in need of a proper home. For two mana, you’re not only tutoring, you’re getting both card advantage and mana advantage. The only problem is how rare Auras are in cEDH. Outside of Sythis, Harvest’s Hand – a relative newcomer to the format – it’s hard to think of where this might see play, but it’s one to watch.

It’s Scavenging Ooze, but in white! If you care about artifact synergies or need to buff something, it’s even better. Admittedly, Scooze sees little play in cEDH, and white already has Rest in Peace, but the ability to snipe specific pieces is powerful. 

March of Otherworldly Light requires more mana than other removal in white, like Swords to Plowshares or Disenchant, but what it lacks in efficiency it makes up for in versatility. Nothing to get excited about, but a solid catchall tool. I suspect Heliod, Teshar, and Oswald players will be making room for March already. 

Reconfiguration is really something. It’s early days, but this may end up being the second most impactful card of the set. Why? Because Swift Reconfiguration requires just one other card to create infinite mana. Enter Devoted Druid

Becoming an artifact and losing its creature typing, Devoted Druid is able to tap and untap itself infinitely. Usually, two -1/-1 counters would send Druid to the bin, but since it’s no longer a creature, there’s nothing stopping you from activating it indefinitely. Admittedly, this combo already exists in the form of Vizier of Remedies, albeit a little differently. The end result of infinite green mana is the same, but the devil is in the details.

The body horror of turning a living being into a Vehicle aside, what makes this combination so terrifying is its sheer speed. The go-to infinite mana combo in cEDH is Dramatic Reversal + Isochron Scepter, which requires two cards and four mana. However, it has a notable prerequisite: the ability to produce at least three mana with nonland permanents. Most of the time, this is easy to achieve given fast mana’s prevalence in cEDH, but problems can arise post-boardwipe or in the wake of a Cyclonic Rift, particularly if you’re relying on creatures.

A reconfigured Druid bypasses this entirely. No boardstate is needed, no prerequisites must be met. One colorless mana, one green, one white, and voilà: you have infinite green mana. Add one blue mana, and you can bring out Thrasios

It’s also more flexible than Dramatic Scepter. For one thing, the cost can be frontloaded. Devoted Druid is already borderline playable, and it can be cast as a slow dork long before you find the reconfiguration. Compare this to the clunkier Scepter combo, which must be played together. Likewise, while artifact and instant/sorcery tutors exist, they are far less common than creature tutors. Druid can even be found with Neoform, already a staple for its ability to tutor Thoracle and Drannith and any number of powerful two-drops. 

However, Dramatic Scepter is far from being usurped. To reconfigure a Druid, you’ll need to have a Selesnya+ identity, which is harder to come across than simply having blue. I predict that decks given the option of picking between the two will prefer the Druid car.

I’ve seen some discussion of Reconfiguration working as removal, but it’s niche. You’re not shutting off any abilities, you’re just making it harder for a creature to attack/block. The only time I can see this being relevant is against Godo, Bandit Warlord, in which case it’s a death sentence.


Blue

Jin-Gitaxias 2.0 joins a rapidly growing list of seven-mana bombs fighting for a slot in Tasigur, the Golden Fang lists. Why specifically seven? Because Neoform, Birthing Pod, and Eldritch Evolution let you turn the humble Tasigur into a seven-mana monster. With the recent printings of Koma, Toxrill, and the lobster, the seven-mana slot is awful crowded, so I’m unsure if Jin-Gitaxias will actually see play, but the payoff is certainly there. 

Move over Giant Coward, Jellyfish Equipment is my new favorite creature typing. Essentially Future Sight with extra steps, this USB Jellyfish is notable for being Elsha of the Infinite-adjacent. Both commanders are capable of the same combo with a cost-reducer and Sensei’s Divining Top, which is cool, albeit already outclassed. Yes, the Chip lets you split its cost, but it also mandates you have a creature to Equip it to. Where Elsha has three colors to work with, the chip has just one. I’ve seen some cool brews already, but I’m not convinced it has staying power. 

Springleaf Drum, but worse most of the time. Springleaf is a great card, but costing colorless and producing any color is a lot better than costing blue and producing colorless. If Moonsnare Prototype sees play anywhere, I predict it will be in decks with Roger, decks that specifically care about tapping creatures – thinkKalamax – or decks that want to break parity on Orb effects. The channel ability is a nice addition, but unlikely to come up often. 

I’ve made no secret of how much I adore Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow. My inability to keep secrets would probably make me a terrible Ninja. But to say I’m champing at the bit to get my hands on these new Ninjas would be an understated. For now, I’ll just go over what I consider the auto-includes. 

Thousand-Faced Shadow is playable for being a one-drop Ninja with evasion alone. Changeling Outcast, Mothdust Changeling, and even Universal Automaton are Yuriko staples, and TFS is a welcome addition. The Ninjutsu is just gravy on top and can even create infinite mana if you’ve already copied an opponent’s Dockside Extortionist. You just need another Ninja in hand and enough Treasure to cover the cost of both.

Prosperous Thief is similar to Grim Hireling, but produces less mana. Thankfully, it also costs less and has Ninja typing. What’s not to like? My eyes popped when I saw this goldfish thief.

Moon-Circuit Hacker is Ninja of the Deep Hours’ little brother. Not as beefy and a looter rather than a drawer after the first turn it’s played, the minor downsides are made up for with the difference between (1)(U) and (U) Ninjutsu costs. In a format this quick, every drop of mana matters.


Black

A two-drop Ninja that can turn enablers into removal? This is an amazing card, and a clear upgrade on the original Kamigawa’s Throat Slitter as I see it. 

Nashi is one of those unfortunate legendaries severely hampered by its color identity. With one more color, I could see her carving out a niche as a fringe deck, but being mono-black is a terrible blow. With her Ninjutsu costing four mana, she’s also too expensive and unreliable to make it into Yuriko lists, particularly given how many other Ninjas Nashi is now competing with. Despite some cool interactions with topdeck tutors (especially Scheming Symmetry), I’m just not seeing it. 

We did it! We found a way to go infinite with Dockside!

Ruthless Technomancer joins a long list of cards capable of going infinite with Dockside, but as far as I can tell, doesn’t add anything new. Existing loops, like those with Sabertooth or Emiel, are leaner and cleaner, and I’m unsure if Ruthless Technomancer is much of an improvement on Corpse Dance in Dockside + Viscera Seer loops.

But that’s not to say it’s without merit. Dargo lists will no doubt find uses for the Technomancer, as sacrificing artifacts and Dargo himself are the name of the game. Better yet is the Fae-Cursed King, Korvold. If Technomancer has a home anywhere, it’s in a deck that draws from sacrificing permanents. It may take a hot minute for brewers to figure the best lines with the Technomancer, so watch this space.

Bonus points if anyone can tell me what’s happening in the art. I still can’t make sense of what’s going on with Technomancer’s face.

The greatest cEDH card that nobody will ever play. Not part of a combo and entirely outclassed by existing removal, You Are Already Dead is notable because of Demonic Consultation. In order to execute the classic Thassa’s Oracle combo, one will name a card not in their deck so as to exile their entire library. I’ve heard players name everything from Pot of Greed to Charizard to the ace of spades, but technically you do have to name a legal Magic card. And if you’re going to, why not omae wa mou shindeiru?


Red

Invoke Calamity is almost there, but requiring four red pips is a serious restriction for anything with more than two colors. My first thought was Krark + Sakashima, but that deck has received so many recent tools that it I don’t think it has the space. Either way, casting things for free and casting things from the bin is a surefire way to break something, so the potential is there. 

With every new Rabbit added to Magic, my dream of making a big chungus casual deck comes closer to reality.

But I digress. I don’t think Rabbit Battery has a home in cEDH right now, but this is a card to keep an eye on. It may take the place of Torch Courier in a list that wants to keep its haste-enabler on the field.


Green

If March of Burgeoning Life is going to see EDH play anywhere, you’d have to assume it would be cEDH, where there’s a lot of overlap between decks. However, Mask of the Mimic already exists, is more efficient, and has seen precious little play outside of Najeela, so it’s hard to see what could make March any different. The idea of winning with Thassa’s Oracle at instant speed over the top of someone else is tantalizing, but it’s unlikely. Most of the time, March will rot in your hand and you’ll wish it was a more conventional creature tutor.


Multi-Colored

Hinata is my pick for the best commander of the set. A little like Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, except rather than hoping your opponents will concede out of sheer frustration and boredom, Hinata has legitimate wincons. Reducing the cost of all targeted spells is far more universal than it looks at first glance. Intuition targets. Jeska’s Will targets. So do Heat Shimmer, Twinflame, Brain Freeze, Sevinne’s Reclamation, and Snap. In short, Hinata makes good cards better.

More than that, the Kirin Spirit makes bad cards into brilliant cards. Heliod’s Intervention, Reality Spasm, Sublime Epiphany, and Paradoxical Outcome go from unplayable to amazing.

It’s notable that Hinata also makes all of your opponents’ counters cost more. This is not strictly an upside, however, as it puts the onus of interaction on you. Making it harder for your opponents to interact with your spells is great, but making it harder for them to interact with each other? That can be dangerous. It’s the same thing that makes Lavinia, Azorius Renegade a kingmaker. 

Get in the damn mech, Shinji. Did I say that right? I’m not really an anime guy. 

Shorikai may well be the best cEDH Azorius commander we’ve ever seen. However, the bar is abysmally low. Azorius lacks solid wincons, and none of its current commanders tick more than one of the three boxes I use for assessing cEDH viability.

Shorikai is the exception, managing to provide both card advantage and an outlet for infinite mana. That alone lends it a lot of viability. Both Polymorph into Hullbreaker Horror and Isochron Scepter + Dramatic Reversal fit nicely with this deck’s gameplan, which leads me to believe the Genesis Engine will be coming to a cEDH table near you. 

Master Splinter is finally a Magic card. You know you always wanted him to be.

While lord effects are rarely playable in cEDH, they deserve extra consideration in a deck that focuses on connecting. Add the Ninjutsu discount to boot, and you’ve got yourself what I consider a staple. I should mention that not all Ninja fans agree with me, though, as Silver-Fur Master can create an awkward nonbo with Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive.


Colorless

Containment Construct is incredible… I think. The number of cEDH staples that involve forced discard – wheels, LED, Chain of Smog, Gamble – is massive, and being able to use whatever you discard seems powerful, but I’m not yet sure if they need this Construct to pop off, or if it classifies as “win more”. I’ll leave it to better minds than my own to break it, but the potential here is undeniable. One place I’m sure it will see play is in Rielle, the Everwise a commander that already rewards discarding. 


Lands

Untapped, uncounterable, and unbelievable. These lands are instant staples. While many utility lands hamper the reliability of your manabase, as they produce colorless mana or enter tapped, these five are the full package. I won’t call them “strictly better” than basics, because there are always scenarios that prove otherwise, but you need a good reason to choose a basic over its channel land equivalent. cEDH lists that run Tainted Pact are now spoiled for choice, and dual-color decks need make fewer concessions than ever to create a singleton manabase. 


Efficiently costed at two mana (technically three, but this is Commander, you’re probably going to have a legendary), this is a solid removal piece. Only targeting attacking or blocking creatures isn’t as much of a downside as it looks, given a lot of the best things to remove – Winota, Yuriko, Tymna – are going to be swinging as often as they can. Creatures that don’t swing may still block, making Eiganjo quite versatile. Four damage is enough to remove the majority of creatures in cEDH, but it notably misses Kenrith, Tasigur, and Gitrog.

 

The second best of the cycle. Usually at three mana, Otawara is expensive for a cEDH bounce spell, but most bounce spells can’t be played as lands. Removing an opponent’s combo piece, bouncing your own Dockside, responding to a Gilded Drake, Otawara, Soaring City can do it all. Frankly, there’s not much to say. The most common form of removal in cEDH is bounce, and having bounce in your manabase is great.

I can’t see the mill mattering for most decks, but recurring a lost combo creature isn’t too shabby. A countered Dockside, a Thoracle that someone wheeled away; Takenuma will come in handy. It’ll shine especially bright in Gitrog lists, where discarding a land draws you a card, milling a land draws you a card, and many of the discard outlets are stapled to creatures. As with all five of these lands, it’s rare that you’d rather have a basic. 

The weakest of the five, as 1/1 tokens aren’t particularly useful and few decks want lands that only produce red. But then there’s Winota. All Winota cares about is triggering herself. Hasted 1/1s are perfect for this! The only other deck I can see being interested in Sokenzan is Kykar, Wind’s Fury as the tokens are Spirits. 

The best till last. This is a format-wide staple, and I challenge anyone to give me a reason not to run it. The only justification I can think of is a deck that really wants to enable Arbor Elf, Utopia Sprawl, or Orcish Lumberjack, and even then, I’m sure room can be made. Even if you’re in a meta utterly infested with Blood Moon and Back to Basics, I’d argue you have an even greater incentive to run Boseiju because it removes those stax pieces. Unlike the other four, two mana for a Naturalize is a perfectly fine rate, and reducing it to one makes it as lean and mean as it is green. 

With the popularity of Ad Nauseam and turbo strategies in general, Rule of Law has become a premier stax piece, stopping most popular wincons. While Boseiju doesn’t quite spell the end for ROL, it certainly changes the equation. Uncounterable with conventional interaction and not counting as a spell, this enormous tree is the perfect response. An Ad Naus or PitA player can draw half their deck in the hope of finding Boseiju, use its Channel ability to remove whatever one-spell-per-turn stax piece is in their way, and pop off from there. At least in theory. Either way, the prevalence of this card will keep stax in check.

I predict that Boseiju is going to have a subtle but sizable impact on the meta. Not all green lists make room for Nature’s Claim or Force of Vigor, but they will make room for Boseiju, Who Endures. All hail the rise of midrange.


A Kamigawan Kaleidoscope

Courtesy of the lands alone, every color has a new cEDH playable tool. This is quite exciting all round, and adds to the complexity and nuance available in each manabase. Beyond the lands, I think white is the real winner. Widely regarded as the weakest color in competitive and casual alike, it’s rare for a spoiler season to contain good white cards, so I’m thrilled Kamigawa 2: Electric Boogaloo has so much gas. Almost literally in the case of Swift Reconfiguration.

If I can gush for just a quick moment, I’ve been playing Yuriko since she was printed in Commander 18. I’ve never got bored of her. I don’t imagine I ever will. I don’t think any deck has ever received as many staples from a single set as the Tiger’s Shadow has from Kamigawa. I am beside myself with excitement.

Join me next week for a return to Comprehending Competitive, where we’ll tick off the last color on the list: green. 



Jake FitzSimons is a writer from Sydney and a Magic fiend. He's either the johnniest spike or the spikiest johnny, nobody is sure which. When he isn’t brewing or playing cEDH, he can be found writing, playing piano, and doting on his little cat.