Hi! I’m Plad or PladCladNinja and welcome to the White segment of the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty set review! After over 1000 years since our original visit to the plane, the artificers of Kamigawa have ushered in a new era of technological advancements such as cybernetically enhanced weapons, warriors, and…animals that turn into weapons and armor?
Ao, the Dawn Sky
Ayo, there’s an awesome new Dragon cycle! This new aerial threat kills people in four turns and has tons of value left to give, even when destroyed. Even though this ability doesn’t trigger when Ao is put into exile or returned to your hand it is still powerful. The first option is very useful because leaves behind attackers after a wrath or blockers after a removal spell. It can also get other permanents like a planeswalker that you can hold up mana to protect. The second option is potent when you have a large board but will often fall short outside of dedicated creature decks. Vigilance is an amazing keyword on this card because you can attack with it and still present the threat of blocking and getting the death trigger. Five drops are in an interesting place in Gladiator. Many Midrange decks will reserve the five drop slot for the best of the best cards, and while Ao is very powerful it will not meet the bar in every color combination. Control decks are much more accustomed to playing five and six drops, and Ao will slot into decks like Azorius Control.
Being a wrath that exiles and hits creatures, artifacts, enchantments, and graveyards is certainly attractive. But at six mana this card might as well say “Farewell” to its chances of being played in white Control decks. Currently, many Control players prioritize cheap wraths that only deal with creatures because aggressive creature decks are at the top of the metagame. Even if in the future the metagame is more diverse and enchantment-themed and artifact-themed decks are more mainstream, Farewell will still not be a great option because of the more mana efficient Cleansing Nova.
Ahhh I see Savannah Lions has a new side job! This is the latest iteration in a long line of 2/1s for one mana. While a new card with this stat line and mana cost would have once been an auto-include in White Aggro decks, players should give more thought to this card. This card is an artifact creature which in decks like Artifact Aggro is an upside because it synergizes with cards that grant buffs to artifact creatures. However in White Aggro decks this is a downside because it is more vulnerable to removal. Some Mono-White players may choose to run this card and make their deck as hyper-aggressive as possible, whereas other players might run a card with more utility depending on how aggressive they want to be.
Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa
This card bears a striking resemblance to Restoration Angel, being a three-power flyer for four with flash and protecting another permanent upon ETB. Giving a permanent indestructible for as long as you control Kyodai has many benefits, such as being a more effective combat trick and protecting more card types. This can also be a downside because that benefit relies on Kyodai sticking around. In addition, the lack of a fourth point of toughness means this works worse as a surprise blocker and gets hit by more red removal. Furthermore, making the creature indestructible is less powerful when paired with creatures that have an ETB effect and does not untap the creature like exiling it and returning it to the battlefield does. This card is powerful, but will not be played instead of Restoration Angel, only in addition to. Possible homes include W/X Midrange decks like Azorius Skies.
Scavenging Ooze in white? Sign me up! While Lion Sash starts as a vulnerable 1/1, this robotic kitty will grow quite fast. Turning into a piece of Equipment is made more useful with creatures that have flying or lifelink. Additionally, when Lion Sash is in equipment form it is very resilient against removal because after the equipped creature dies it will turn back into a creature. Once you untap you might have some more fuel in your graveyard to feed this very hungry Cat.
March of Otherworldly Light
This card is an exile removal spell that can target creatures, artifacts, and enchantments which is good but it will often be an inefficient way of removing problematic threats. When paid with mana in full you will always be using an additional mana over the card you are removing, meaning if you are on the draw and your opponent plays an on curve card you will either have to two-for-one yourself or wait another turn before removing it. If the additional cost is paid then you will be down on cards and will be spending too many resources to deal with one card. To compare this card to other popular removal options in White, Swords to Plowshares always exiles a creature for only one mana, and Fateful Absence destroys a creature or planeswalker for two. While both of these cards have downsides they are not as costly as paying more for the removal spell than your opponent did for their permanent or exiling spells from your hand. This card will not see much play because it is trading mana/card advantage for versatility.
This card mimics the effect of popular Mono-White staples such as Selfless Savior or Dauntless Bodyguard but at the price of one extra mana. These types of creatures are popular options because in the early game they are additional bodies that can attack, carry Equipment, and get buffed by anthem or lord effects but later on they can protect more impactful threats. Being costed at two mana comes with another downside, no longer being a target with cards like Ranger of Eos or Abiding Grace. While this card can grant Samurai and Warriors lifelink, in decks like Mono-White you will often not be satisfied if you are only attacking with one creature. Overall, some Mono-White players that strive for resilience and getting the most value out of their threats may choose to experiment with this card, but it may not find a home in every list.
This card is one of many great new toys for Enchantress shells. Enchantment-themed decks play cheap enchantments to cantrip off cards like Sythis, Harvest’s Hand, or create threats with cards like Sigil of the Empty Throne. This card being a cheap enchantment that comes with a body and card is great, and it’s another cheap creature with an ETB for blink decks.
The Wandering Emperor
This card has everything a player could ask for in a planeswalker. Removal? Check. Makes threats? Check. Grows creatures? Check. It’s even the first planeswalker to have flash which means you can use the +1 ability as a combat trick, makes the removal ability more complete and guarantees two activations. Being able to make decisions at instant speed is always better, because you have more information about what your opponent is doing, and you can hold up mana to make other plays. Common play patterns of The Wandering Emperor, like playing it on your opponent’s end step or combat step, are powerful in reactive decks. Control decks like Azorius Control can make use of this card and all of the abilities lend themselves well on the defensive as well as the offensive because you can make a surprise blocker or surprise your opponent by making a blocker bigger or just exile the biggest attacking creature. This card will see play in W/X Aggro, Midrange and Control decks alike.
Touch of the Spirit Realm
This is another Banishing Light look-alike but with a pretty sweet upside. This card can be discarded to rebuy an ETB effect, protect a creature from removal or a wrath, and can even remove a blocker for a turn. However, this card cannot deal with planeswalkers or enchantments, which is a significant downside. In more creature-focused decks like W/X Aggro, Midrange and especially Blink decks I would choose this over Banishing Light because of the added versatility and because planeswalkers are easier to deal with in proactive strategies. In enchantment-themed decks or Enchantress decks, I would opt for Banishing Light before this card because there are fewer creatures to protect and planeswalkers are harder to remove.
Wow, this set had a lot of cool cards! While NEO has brought new toys for popular decks like Mono-White Aggro or Azorius control, it may also give new legs and paws to archetypes like Artifact Aggro and Enchantress.
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73 is the 21st prime number. Its mirror, 37, is the 12th, and its mirror, 21, is the product of multiplying 7 and 3.