Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty EDH Set Review: White
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty White EDH Set Review
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Now that Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is fully revealed, it's time to take a closer look at the cards in what is historically Magic: the Gathering's most maligned color -- white.
There has been an effort in recent years to address the perceived floundering of white's power level in comparison to the other colors. With Kamigawa, have we taken a leap in the right direction? Or did we overshoot the landing, asking opponents if they've paid the two per draw as we sail by?
The Mythic Rares
Ao, the Dawn Sky
As a legendary creature and thus a potential commander, Ao is one that might have some gears turning in your heads. With the still-somewhat-recent rules change to allow death triggers to resolve for commanders who bite the dust, Ao could be an interesting build-around -- likely for that first mode more than the second. There's certainly some potential in putting Ao in charge of a list focused on repeating its quasi-Dig Through Time ability to suss out a variety of eggs and egg accessories, just don't forget your Second Sunrises. And of course, it's also a spirit and a dragon, two creature types that always attract attention. Is Ao as exciting as the other mythic dragon spirits that complete the cycle? Well, not exactly -- but that's white for you. At least Ao gives me the opportunity to champion one of my favorite lesser-played cards in Martyr's Cause.
The Wandering Emperor
In the roughly three years since we first learned of the existence of the enigmatic Wanderer, rumors swirled. Who was this behatted, silver-coiffed Sam Beckett? Serra reincarnated? A time-shifted Narset? Elspeth crawled up from Therosian hell? Or perhaps something more noodly? We need to wonder no longer, as it's been revealed that the Wanderer is in fact the emperor of Kamigawa, along with receiving a brand-new card, this time without the hat on. As for Commander, The Wandering Emperor provides for some interesting angles. For the first time, we've got a planeswalker with flash, which goes a long way in reducing the risk of playing a 'walker with three opponents. In terms of abilities, it's clear the card was created with other formats in mind -- which is fine, we don't have to have everything catered to us. Those seeking to sleeve up some samurai will squeeze her in, and with the potential to introduce two creature keywords to the battlefield, Odric decks might be interested as well.
Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful
That pesky "partner" clause keeps popping up, exponentially complicating the possible combinations of commander decks. That said, the shiba of perfect gentleman-sitting fits snugly into any "legends matter" archetype, whether it's Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, Esika, God of the Tree, Kethis, the Hidden Hand or something you build yourself. And I should note here that even though it isn't explicitly stated on the card, Yoshimaru does partner with The Wanderer, should that scenario ever come up (it won't).
This one, along with Invoke Justice, which we'll discuss momentarily, reward playing mono-white, a deck-building restriction usually reserved for Heliod fans and other masochists. All those white pips in the cost will punish greedy manabases, and that's not a bad thing. It's been quite some time since we've seen cards that reward a single color strategy, and I for one always encourage it. As for Brilliant Restoration itself, the effect is nothing new. We've seen Open the Vaults and Triumphant Reckoning, but this time, we get fantastic Wylie Beckert art.
Finally, the answer to the question of "what if Platinum Angel was a robot horse?" Immediately one of the more interesting targets for equipment fetchers like Stoneforge Mystic or Steelshaper's Gift, Cloudsteel Kirin is destined to be an extremely annoying thing to deal with, like the mechanical one-cent pony ride at the grocery store, if it also locked the doors on you and kept you stuck in the store forever. Let me know if you ever manage to equip it onto an Abyssal Persecutor.
Another card that seems like a song we've heard before, with slightly different notes. Whether it's Austere Command, Merciless Eviction or any other six-mana sweepers, it's nice to have some modality. At the end of the day, it's a card that provides for you a basic service, and that's to make everything go away. It should be noted, however, that Farewell is a one-English-word Magic card, so it can slot into your one-word-tribal Cromat EDH deck.
Mono-white reanimator is one of my favorite archetypes because I like the idea of doing something worse than everyone else. I'm (mostly) joking, as white's actually pretty good at the whole "bring one thing back to life at sorcery speed" schtick. It's at least better than, say, green, which is a phrase I bet you didn't expect to read in a 2022 set review. Invoke Justice is another in a long line of just those kinds of white sorceries, joining Resurrection, Late to Dinner, Breath of Life, Miraculous Recovery or False Defeat. But one thing Invoke Justice has over its competition, however, is the ability to bring back any permanent you want, something that usually comes with hoops, such as the case with Sun Titan or Sevinne's Reclamation. I guess playing a deck that can handle the white-heavy casting cost is the biggest hoop there is.
Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa
I know that this is technically not just white, but five-color with that activated ability, and it's very likely you'll be reading about this again in a few days. It's still worth talking about, however, if only to marvel at both versions of the artwork. For the card itself, Vorthos-minded players will find the most enjoyment, as functionally there isn't too much to get excited over. If you're looking for something speedy that can protect your stuff, Archangel Avacyn and Timely Ward are much less color-restrictive, but neither of those boast art that sold for more than $20,000.
Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice
Light-Paws was leaked several days before it was officially spoiled, but the reaction was the same as if it were revealed on time -- specifically, the cost of buying a Flickering Ward spiked considerably. Light-Paws will almost certainly emerge as the most popular mono-white commander from Kamigawa: Neon Destiny, as an easily-accessible, repeatable tutor is never something to scoff at, even if it is just for auras. I'm not going to totally ruin the fun of digging through boxes of bulk to discover auras that might now be playable thanks to Light-Paws, but perhaps Triclopean Sight might be worth flipping through Lorwyn commons for? Not to mention, a Light-Paws deck has the potential to show up at the table sporting a Benevolent Blessing that costs a nickel alongside a Serra's Sanctum that costs a bit more than that.
This one's my pick for what will be the most impactful mono-white card from the set across multiple formats. One part Scavenging Ooze, one part A+ equipment, and most importantly, one part fashion accessory, Lion Sash will find a home in a multitude of decks running the gamut of power levels. Decks like Arahbo, Roar of the World want it for its feline affinity, Ghave, Guru of Spores will want it for those +1/+1 counters, and equipment decks like [insert random Boros commander] will definitely want it.
March of Otherworldly Light
White's version of a new cycle of instants that harken back to the "shoal" cycle of original Kamigawa, March of Otherworldly Light is a removal spell that allows you to two-for-one yourself. I'm being flippant, of course -- March of Otherworldly Light is actually quite good in certain situations, like for example situations where your main problem is going to be Urza's Saga. You know, those situations.
The Restoration of Eiganjo // Architect of Restoration
One complaint often levied against mono-white is its inability to keep up in resources. To help allieviate that issue, we've got a new saga depicting a Kamigawa-set HGTV show. Perhaps you'll enjoy a basic Plains for your troubles? And if it turns out that you didn't need that Plains after all, maybe you can pitch it and turn it into an Exorcist or something. And after all that, you're rewarded with a fox monk that informs you that your house is haunted and you should probably just move.
Myojin of Blooming Dawn
Myojin are back, and while they're still very expensive to cast, they bring along a more modern wording in indestructible counters instead of divinity counters that grant indestructibility. In white's case, Myojin of Bloomin' Onion makes a ton of ghosts. If you're in the market for the intersection of ghosts and eight-drops, it's your lucky day.
Go-Shinai of Shared Purpose
You can't talk about one shrine without talking about all of them, which I will leave to the unfortunate souls who have to review Go-Shintai of Life's Origin. But it's important to note that according to the word on high, these legendary enchantment creatures have no creature type -- the "shrine" part of their type line refers to the enchantment type, not the creature type. So no Patriarch's Bidding for you, sorry.
A two-mana 2/1 that can drive an entire Gothic-class cruiser by itself, this little robo fox is an auto-include in any vehicle-centric deck that can run it. Sure, it doesn't have the dwarf synergy for Depala, Pilot Exemplar, but it's still definitely worth it.
Norika Yamazaki, the Poet
It turns out that Norika and Heiko Yamazaki, the General are cousins, not sisters. You're forgiven in assuming they were siblings, however.
For a common, this pup checks off more than a few boxes for Enchantress builds -- it's cheap, it cantrips, it triggers what needs to be triggered, and it's adorable, all very important stipulations for inclusion in such a deck.
That'll do it for white's moment in the neon spotlight. Of our selection of mono-white options, what are you most excited for? A leonine cummerbund, perhaps? Don't forget to find me on Twitter to let me know how much you agreed with me on my assessments (complaints, conversely, can be directed elsewhere).
Be sure to check back tomorrow for more colors, more reviews, and more snarky jokes. See you next time.