Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty EDH Set Review - Red

Ben Doolittle • February 9, 2022

Atsushi, the Blazing Sky | Art by Victor Adame Minguez

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Red EDH Set Review

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Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is finally here, and it looks stunning! There were a lot of concerns going into spoiler season for this set, thanks to Kamigawa's troubled introductory sets, but spirits are high now that the set is fully spoiled. Let's dive into the red portion of the set to see exactly what we have to look forward to.


Mythic Rares


Atsushi, the Blazing Sky

Right from the start, Atsushi, the Blazing Sky is aggressively costed as a 4/4 with flying and trample for just four mana, which makes it well-suited for aggressive decks that want to attack often, but its other effects suggest a very different kind of strategy. Whenever Atsushi dies, you get to choose between two effects: one generates three Treasure, and the other exiles two cards from the top of your library that you can cast until the end of your next turn. Flameshadow Conjuring, Molten Echoes, and Mirror March make copies of your commander so you can sacrifice the original, get the extra value, and be ready to replay it as soon as the token dies, generating even more advantage as it does.

With this approach, you can generate a lot of mana through Treasure, and dig through your library with Atsushi’s exile effect, potentially winning with Crackle with Power and other big X spells. The extra Treasure also mean you can generate infinite mana (and then cast your whole deck) with Atsushi, the Blazing Sky, Ashnod’s Altar, and Nim Deathmantle.

This also makes Atsushi a slam dunk in reanimator and aristocrats strategies. Feldon of the Third Path, Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire, and Extus, Oriq Overlord could all find places to slot this new legendary Dragon. In addition, Treasure decks led by Magda, Brazen Outlaw or Captain Lannery Storm will take advantage both of the Treasure Atsushi creates and of the extra card selection Atsushi provides. Meanwhile, Prosper, Tome-Bound is excited to have a sacrifice target that exiles cards.

Explosive Singularity

Ten damage is nothing to sneeze at, whether you use it to destroy an opposing Ur-Dragon, or take out a quarter of a player’s life points. You can even tap your creatures to help cast this spell, potentially only paying two mana. In spellslinging decks that create tokens, Explosive Singularity is a slam-dunk win condition. Kykar, Wind’s Fury will cast this easily, and Zaffai, Thunder Conductor takes unique advantage of easy-to-cast spells with a mana value of ten. Both can also play Thousand-Year Storm and Bonus Round to easily deal 120 damage in a single turn.


Rares


Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei

Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei won’t draw you cards like Atsushi, the Blazing Sky, but he does offer card advantage in the form of 5/5 Dragon tokens. All you have to do is be attacking with a Modified creature. A creature is considered Modified if it is Equipped, enchanted, or has any kind of counter placed on it. This is easy to accomplish, with Equipment like Wings of Hubris and Prowler’s Helm making Goro-Goro hard to block. Then you can pour your mana into making an army of tokens to dominate the skies.

Alternately, you could focus on Goro-Goro’s first ability, which grants all of your creatures haste for the turn. There are, oddly enough, no other mono-red commanders that give your other creatures haste, which makes Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei a unique aggro commander. For just one more mana, any creature you play can have haste. This lets your big haymakers, like Inferno Titan and Drakuseth, Maw of Flames, immediately more powerful and much more likely to have the impact you need them to. Goro-Goro is also easy to cast itself, so you don’t have to lower your defenses, or let up your offense, to cast your commander for maximum impact.

As part of your deck, Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei is a neat consideration for Voltron decks. A cheap source of haste is invaluable for decks that rely on creatures attacking, and the potential to create token creatures helps insulate you against spot removal and sacrifice effects alike. This will work best in decks that can avoid or reduce Equip costs, like Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist and Zirda, the Dawnwaker.

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker is one of the most infamous mono-red commanders, and how we have a second card approximating its exact effect. In order to get that powerful duplication effect, you’ll have to wait a little while, however. First, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker lets you ramp with a 2/2 Goblin token that makes Treasure when it attacks. Then you can discard up to two cards and draw that many before it flips into Reflection of Kiki-JikiReflection of Kiki-Jiki. Just like Kiki-Jiki, the Reflection can create a temporary token copy of another nonlegendary creature. Unlike Kiki-Jiki, the Reflection costs one mana to activate, which makes it harder to go infinite with creatures like Pestermite. And because it flips, it cannot go infinite with Felidar Guardian. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is a much fairer token-maker than the Kiki-Jiki of old, and it won’t find its way into the same combo decks as the real deal, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a home in Commander. It has natural synergy in reanimator decks thanks to the discard effect on the front face, and if you can only copy one creature a turn, then Archon of Cruelty and Grave Titan are pretty good targets.

Invoke Calamity

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty gives us a cycle of heavily costed single-color spells. These are obviously designed to reward building mono-color decks, and Invoke Calamity will be a strong addition to mono-red spellslinger and Storm decks. Right now, mono-red has four powerful enablers for Storm: Past in Flames, Mizzix’s Mastery, Underworld Breach, and Bonus Round all enable huge turns with rituals, cantrips, and big finisher spells. Invoke Calamity slots in among them as another spell that lets you recast instants and sorceries from the graveyard, increasing consistency. It can also fit into Izzet Storm decks that rely on Desperate Ritual, but the additional blue tutors mean that Niv-Mizzet, Parun can rely on the more powerful Past in Flames and Underworld Breach.

Lizard Blades

Reconfigure is an interesting effect reminiscent of Living Weapon without the effort of tracking Germ tokens. Double strike is a powerful ability, and Lizard Blades has a cheap “Equip” cost. Also, Reconfigure lets you attach Equipment to other Equipment, and who doesn’t want to throw a bunch of armor and weapons into a pile and chuck it at your opponents?

Scrap Welder

Goblin Welder has a new friend, although Scrap Welder will fit better into decks running Scrap Trawler instead, thanks to the limitation on the mana value of artifacts it can return. It also works well with Feldon of the Third Path, since the tokens Feldon creates are also artifacts and will share the mana value of the creature they are copying. Scrap Welder can turn those tokens into slightly smaller artifacts, which stay in play.

Thundering Raiju

Some Modified creatures will fit best into Equipment- or enchantment-focused decks, but Thundering Raiju will be best in +1/+1 counter decks with lots of tokens. Thundering Raiju seems very similar to Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar, but tailormade for decks that want to go wide. Cathars’ Crusade, Felidar Retreat, and even Renata, Called to the Hunt ensure all your tokens enter play with +1/+1 counters, which Thundering Raiju turns into direct damage to your opponents.

March of Reckless Joy

This is Neon Dynasty’s take on Commune with Lava, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Being able to pitch cards you can’t cast or don’t need in order to dig for answers or threats is a powerful ability, but those pitched cards have to be red. This means you can’t discard lands, because lands are colorless. You could discard a handfull of spells and then exile only lands. While discarding cards will let you see more cards more easily with March than Commune with Lava, you will also only be able to cast two of them, where Commune lets you play all of the exiled cards. March of Reckless Joy is very flexible, as you don’t have to select the cards you’ll play before playing them (as you do with Dig Through Time), but losing the other cards you exile increases the risk of losing important cards in exile that Dig Through Time doesn’t share. The more cards you exile, the more likely you are to find the cards you need, but you’re also going to lose access to a higher number of other spells, potentially putting you into positions where you are forced to lose access to cards you know you’ll need later to survive now. And with Commune with Lava only seeing play in 8,000 decks, I wouldn’t expect March of Reckless Joy to be very popular either.


Uncommons


Go-Shintai of Ancient Wars

Shrines are creatures now, which comes with some interesting implications. For one, you can have a Go-Shintai of Ancient Wars as your commander, although I don’t see why you’d want to do that. It also increases the ways you can tutor for Shrines. Just keep in mind that Shrine isn’t suddenly a creature type. Changelings won’t contribute to your Shrine count.

This Shrine specifically adds another powerful win condition to dedicated Shrine decks. This and Honden of Infinite Rage can each deal up to fifteen damage a turn, putting a lot of pressure on your opponents to end the game. Slot this into the new Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin and you can deal even more damage, quickly turning the corner from control/pillow-fort to burn.

Heiko Yamazaki, the General

Heiko Yamazaki, the General is a new take on mono-red artifacts in Commander. Rather than the explosive plays of Daretti, Scrap Savant and Feldon of the Third Path, Heiko is more suited to building gradual advantage. Wedding Invitation both draws you a card and ensures that your attacking Samurai or Warrior goes unblocked. Panic Spellbomb and Alchemist's Vial can approximate that effect, while Brainstone is a better option for digging through your deck. And looping Mindslaver won't make you any friends, but it is an effective way to win the game. I don't know if Heiko Yamazaki, the General is flashy enough to carve her niche as a mono-red commander, but there is potential.

Tempered in Solitude

Exalted is a running theme in Neon Dynasty, and Tempered in Solitude rewards you with impulse draw. This is great for voltron decks, like Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale. Other commanders, like Kaalia of the Vast and Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, can trigger this while also putting additional attacking creatures into play. Especially for cheap, aggressive commanders, Tempered in Solitude will start drawing you cards early.

Twinshot Sniper

Twinshot Sniper may not seem like much, but I think it will have some niche applications. Two damage is often more relevant than you might expect for removing creatures. Hushbringer, Thalia, Heretic Cathar, Collector Ouphe, Priest of Titania, and many more powerful creatures all have two toughness or less. Throw this in a Jeskai blink deck, and you’ll have an answer to Hushbringer or a consistent source of damage for your opponents. All these new cards with Channel could breathe new life into Ghost of Ramirez DePietro decks as well.

Dragonspark Reactor

In the right deck, Dragonspark Reactor can accumulate counters quickly and become a real threat. Especially in conjunction with Dockside Extortionist, Smothering Tithe, Tireless Tracker, and Academy Manufactor, it isn’t difficult to get Dragonspark Reactor to deal significant damage. The real trick is dealing that much damage to multiple opponents at once. Osgir, the Reconstructor can make multiple copies of this artifact, and decks featuring Emry, Lurker of the Loch and Heiko Yamazaki, the General can potentially recycle it multiple times. There may be more efficient artifact-based win conditions (Reckless Fireweaver, Marionette Master), but none are as stylish as blasting your opponents away with a massive dragon’s head.


Commons


Peerless Samurai

Peerless Samurai may not seem like much, but there are a surprising number of legendary Warriors in red. Akiri, Fearless Voyager and Radha, Heart of Keld are two Warriors that will commonly attack alone. Greven, Predator Captain could also make use of the mana discount provided by Peerless Samurai to surprise your opponents with Hatred or Chandra's Ignition.

Kami of Industry


Sun Titan this is not, but it does a pretty good impression. Especially with Goblin Engineer and Goblin Welder, Kami of Industry can get your engine rolling again. The Kami can also return Brainstone or Ichor Wellspring for some additional value.


And that does it for the red cards in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty! There's a lot to be excited about. I'm looking forward to playing with the new Dragon Spirits, and Thundering Raiju is exactly what I needed for my Naya tokens deck. Let me know which cards you're most excited for, and thanks for reading!



Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.