Flame Discharge Art by Joshua Raphael

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Limited Set Review: Red

Akki Ember-Keeper

Rating: 2.0/5

It’s mostly a curve filler and the one toughness leaves it pretty vulnerable if it is going to be good. The best use for this is to get an extra dork every time your equipped creatures die so you can slap that equipment right back on for round two.

Akki Ronin

Rating: 2.0/5

Having three toughness means that Akki Ronin can usually get at least one early rummage in to help you get out of a mana bind. As long as you are running the exalted theme he can keep the hits coming all game long. Still mostly a situational card that will be cut from most decks.

Akki War Paint

Rating: 1.0/5

I’m sure there will be times when a couple of these get dropped on a cheap evasive creature and the game ends before it even begins.  Most of the time the creature will just get removed or bounced leaving you down a card. If this had an extra toughness on it or if ”Snakeskin was in the set then maybe you could assemble Voltron and go to town on your opponent. As it is, just leave it in the board.

Ambitious Assault

Rating: 2.0/5

It seems pretty ambitious to think you can go wide and modify your creatures at the same time. To be fair, it only takes a single modification to draw a card off of this so I don’t mind playing a copy as a trick that can sometimes just end the game.

Atsushi, the Blazing Sky

Rating: 4.0/5

Not quite as busted as the rest of the mythic dragon cycle, but still a huge beating. I also think the flavor would be better if it had haste instead of trample. If they manage to kill this early the three treasure tokens could let you do something crazy, but in most cases you will just be taking the ”Reckless .

Bronzeplate Boar

Rating: 2.5/5

I hate the initial stat line because a 3/2 for three feels like it is always just waiting to trade down for a two drop. The reconfigure cost is really expensive, but it does make whatever you put it on hit like a truck.

Crackling Emergence

Rating: 1.0/5

This may seem decent to the untrained eye, but you are basically putting yourself down a land whenever you attack with this. That means it really costs three mana with an additional mana required to attack with it every other turn. That is either setting you back too far too early or by the time the mana doesn’t matter, neither does this random 3/3.

Dragonspark Reactor

Rating: 1.5/5

It’s going to take six mana and a bunch of other artifacts being played to do anything with this. Even when it does go off, it’s still just a removal spell that deals a few damage to the opponent too. Unless I’m really heavy on artifacts and against a slow deck, I’m leaving this in the board.

Experimental Synthesizer

Rating: 2.0/5

I want to love this card for all the value you could get out of it, but it just lines up so awkwardly. Assuming you hit something that costs three, you really can’t play it before turn four unless you need to hit a land drop. It’s also going to be hard to find a good turn to pop it before turn six when a single 2/2 doesn’t have much value left.  

Explosive Entry

Rating: 2.5/5

The first artifact removal is easily main deckable in Neon Dynasty and this one even hooks you up with a bonus counter to modify your creature. I will always try to round up a few extra for my sideboard because they can absolutely destroy some decks.

Explosive Singularity

Rating: 2/5

Groan… Why does this card exist? It has one place and that is as a finisher in an aggressive deck. It might say any target, but you have already failed your mission if you point this anywhere besides the face. Seriously though, the set hasn’t come out yet and I’m already over all the bad beat stories that start with “I was at ten”.

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

Rating: 4.5/5

”Kiki-Jiki, is back! Well at least his moderately less broken reflection is and that ain’t bad. This ballad starts off with giving you a creature that would arguably be worth the cost of admission before giving you some card selection in stage two. Then the fun really begins as a repetitive value engine abusing anything with a comes into play ability reminds us of all of the joys of everyone’s favorite goblin shaman.

Flame Discharge

Rating: 3.5/5

Instant speed makes up for the having to pay one more mana than the toughness of what you want to kill. Having a modified creature can make a pretty big difference if you’re trying to double spell, but in general you’ll tap out and kill whatever creature you want with this.

Gift of Wrath

Rating: 2.0/5

I like this a lot more than I like ”Akki because it has the extra toughness, menace, and gives you a creature when it dies. I’m still not looking to play more than one of these though.e.

Go-Shintai of Ancient Wars

Rating: 2.5/5

The 2/2 first striking body for three is pretty medium, but together with having the option to ping your opponent every turn it forms a solid, but unspectacular card. Bump it up half a grade if you have another playable shrine as the damage can add up pretty quickly.

Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei

Rating: 4.0/5

All it takes is one little modification and this starts taking over the game. The best part is that he doesn’t have to be the one attacking to use his ability so you don’t have to risk your bomb to kick off the Dragon train.

Heiko Yamazaki, the General

Rating 3.0/5

There are enough artifacts in Neon Dynasty that the general will be a value machine. It gets even more disgusting with a card like ”Circuit producing insane profits left and right. Don’t forget that this can grab back all those equipment creatures if they do manage to deal with them.

Invoke Calamity

Rating 0.5/5

It would be a calamity if you ever played this card. Don’t be that person.

Ironhoof Boar

Rating: 2.5/5

This falls under the umbrella of a card being decent early and late combining to make a slightly better overall card. The trick improves if you pair this with any ninjitsu color as your opponent will be incentivized to block.

Kami of Industry

Rating: 1.5/5

Nothing spectacular here besides a big old butt to get in the way. If the ability didn’t require a sacrifice at end of turn, this would be an entire grade higher.

Kami’s Flare

Rating: 3.5/5

Kami Hame Haha your creature is dead. The two mana, three damage red spell with a bonus is always in the discussion for best common and this one is no different. According to my buddy Sierkovitz, this kills 73.1% of the creatures in the set. That’s some seriously hefty lifting for a two mana common.

Kindled Fury

Rating: 1.0/5

This is one of the worst tricks we’ve seen in quite some time. Unfortunately I know I’m going to get blown out by it at some point because I’m never going to play around it.

Kumano Faces Kakkazan

Rating: 3.0/5

Stage one might be the equivalent of walking over to your opponent and gently poking them with a stick, but something is still better than nothing. As ”Tenacious has shown us getting a bonus +1+1 counter on your two drop can be pretty big game and it follows that up with turning into a 2/2 haste creature. That’s a lot of stuff going on for only one mana.

Lizard Blades

Rating: 4.0/5

Outside of having the wonderful text of equipment lizard, this is just a dynamic card. It’s the rare equipment creature where you’re not overpaying for the convenience and versatility it provides. Of course, double strike also stacks quite well with other equipment.

March of Reckless Joy

Rating: 2.5/5

A more malleable ”Reckless that costs one more mana in exchange for the flexibility. Where this really shines is late in the game when you can end step use it as a pseudo ”Dig. Ignore the option to discard a card unless you absolutely need a certain card right now.

Ogre-Head Helm

Rating: 4.0/5

Neon Dynasty red is seriously stacked with some amazing equipment creatures. This one puts “bear with upside” to shame by being able to both pump up your other creatures for a reasonable cost and then cash it in for three cards.

Peerless Samurai

Rating: 2.0/5

Peerless is false advertising here because while this is a perfectly acceptable body, it’s trigger is fairly underwhelming. Sure it will be nice to drop a five drop on turn four, but it’s value will show noticeable depreciation as the game goes on.  

Rabbit Battery

Rating: 3.0/5

It keeps going and going and going… It’s nice to see that WotC’s design team is as old as I am. Ignoring the meme, this is just a wonderful little glue card. It will probably be able to crack in for a couple of early damage before getting relegated to equipment duty. Giving every creature you play haste and +1+1 for only one mana is a very strong ability that’ll keep you going…and I’ll stop there.

Reinforced Ronin

Rating 2.5/5

I’ve seen some hate on this card and I don’t think it’s justified at all. One mana to shock the face as a once a turn repeatable effect that you can eventually just cycle away into another card seems just fine to me. It’s one of the few early drops that still maintains its value in the late game by having the option to replace itself.

Scrap Welder

Rating: 3.0/5

I’m not sure exactly what type of shenanigans I’m going to get in with this, but I can assure you that there will be hijinks a plenty. Worst case scenario you end up with a ”Centaur and that’s not a bad floor for something with such a high ceiling.

Scrapyard Steelbreaker

Rating: 2.5/5

While a 3/4 for four isn’t great, this will play much bigger due to the cheap threat of activation. It’s going to be difficult for them to block, but eventually they are going to have to because two extra power for each artifact can add up quick. The biggest drawback is actually being an artifact which makes it vulnerable to a wider variety of removal.

Seismic Wave

Rating: 3.0/5

The only real problem with this card is that a lot of the one toughness creatures you want to pick off with it are artifact creatures. If it hit all creatures, it would be making serious waves in the format. As it is, it’s still an early pick that is going to make the cut every time.

The Shattered States Era

Rating: 1.0/5

This is not an era that I ever want to be involved in. The ”Threaten” effect coming on the turn you spent five mana really minimizes the ways you can abuse it and adding one power to all your creatures isn’t nearly as good when your opponent has a turn to prepare for it. No need to worry though because you’ll get a 3/3 haste on turn seven at the earliest…oh wait you should definitely worry if you get stuck playing this.

Simian Sling

Rating: 3.0/5

Not quite ”Tormentor’s, but close enough that I’ll be happy to sling a few of these in my deck. This is another great equipment creature in red that happens to be yet another powerful one drop in Kamigawa. I’ve heard a lot of people say this format looks slow, but all of these cheap aggressive creatures say otherwise.

Sokenzan Smelter

Rating: 2.5/5

A bear with the upside of upgrading your old, sad artifacts into a shiny new 3/1 haste creature. The opportunity cost is so low for having this in your deck this that I would play it even if I only had a couple of artifacts.

Tempered in Solitude

Rating: 2.5/5

This card is great in one solitary archetype and very medium in every other deck. I think this presents the opportunity to pick it up later in the draft, maybe even wheeling it, if you are drafting Boros “exalted”.  

Thundering Raiju

Rating 4.0/5

Pick this bad boy if you’re into something that hits hard and fast. Thundering Raiju can come out hot as a hasty 4/4 for four or spread the love around to deal additional damage to your opponent. Just an all around good card, easy first pick.

Towashi Songshaper

Rating: 2.0/5

Little kid me would think you were insane if you told him that there would be an artifact creature DJ, but here we are. Mostly just a curve filler, nothing special.

Twinshot Sniper

Rating: 3.5/5

Four mana for a 2/3 that kills almost half the creatures in the set when it drops. Yes please! On top of that, it can go face or channel into a two-mana shock. That’s a ton of versatile options on one piece of cardboard.

Unstoppable Ogre

Rating 1.0/5

Ewwwww…. A 4/1 with a mediocre one time ability. It’s guess it’s great if your opponent is mana screwed and not playing anything. I would need to have a very low curve, hyper aggressive deck to even consider playing this.

Upriser Renegade

Rating 2.5/5

This renegade is a grower, not a shower. It has a lot of upside in the modification archetype as equipping to another creature is sort of like equipping it to this at the same time. Even putting any kind of counter on another creature bumps this up to a 3/3 for two mana and it only gets better from there.

Voltage Surge

Rating: 3.5/5

A Shock that kills half the creatures in the format with the option to sacrifice an artifact to bump that up to an astonishing 91.7% (yet again credit to Sierkovitz for doing my math homework for me). Such an obviously good card that we’ll be debating between this and ”Kami’s for the first few weeks of the format.  

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Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

Articles: 261

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