Ao, the Dawn Sky Art by Chris Rahn

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Limited Set Review: White

It’s every magic players favorite time, spoiler season. It’s like Christmas, but we get it multiple times a year! I get so hyped up for new sets and this one gets me especially excited as it brings back fond memories of drafting the original Kamigawa sets. So lets dive right into this crazy world filled with ninjas and dragons.

Ancestral Katana

Rating: 1.5/5

This family heirloom should probably be left up on the mantle place. It’s expensive, clunky and pales in comparison to the creature equipment in the set. Even in the attacks alone deck, this only moves up to a 2.0.

Ao, the Dawn Sky

Rating: 4.5/5

Are you in the market for a large, undercosted flyer that your opponent never wants to kill? Then this whole cycle of busted mythic Dragons is exactly what you are looking for. Even without the death triggers this would be a strictly better Serra Angel. Your opponent is never going to want to attack into this or kill it unless they want you to permanently super-size your entire board.

Banishing Slash

Rating: 3.0/5

Don’t banish this to your sideboard. There are going to be enough artifacts and enchantments floating around for Banishing Slash to both always have a target and have a good chance of making you a creature. Being able to kill a creature and make a 2/2 of your own is a lot of value for only two mana.

Befriending the Moths

Rating: 2.0/5

The deck that wants to give a creature +1+1 and flying isn’t usually the same deck that is in the market for a 2/4 that comes out on turn 6 at the earliest. While most of the sagas are well designed, this one is a huge miss for me.

Blade-Blizzard Kitsune

Rating: 3/5

This is one of the few ninjas that I think will be played more for its normal cost than with ninjitsu. A 2/2 double striker for three in an equipment set can put in some real work especially in combination with the attacks alone theme. I just can’t get over the art on this because it looks like they drew a giant armored body followed by sticking a little misaligned fox head on top.

Born to Drive

Rating: 3.0/5

Born to Drive lives up to its name by channeling out two pilots who can really get those vehicles moving in a hurry. While that’s the usual mode this will be used in, the aura portion also has great potential on an evasive creature to end games in a hurry. Versatile and efficient for only three mana.

Brilliant Restoration

Rating: 2.0/5

This isn’t the constructed plant that it appears to be on first glance. There are actually a ton of artifacts and enchantments that this could potentially bring back and could end up being a four or five for one. To be fair, it does nothing early and is just a dead draw for most of the game. Completely worthless in some decks, but has game winning potential in the right deck.

Cloudsteel Kirin

Rating: 4/5

A 3/2 Flyer for three mana is a very solid aggressive card. The key here is that if you are behind it can also reconfigure onto a creature to give it everyone’s favorite text of you can’t lose the game. Just demands removal or gives you all the time in the world to find a way to win.

Dragonfly Suit

Rating: 2.5/5

The cheap crew cost should keep this one easily flying at your opponent turn after turn. Just use whichever creature you just played or a dork that’s outlived it’s usefulness to pilot this mech to victory.

Eiganjo Exemplar

Rating: 2.0/5

This can attack as a 3/2 on its own so it’s not embarrassing for a two drop. A key part of the “exalted” deck since your dork still does something later in the game so bump it up half a grade there.

Era of Enlightenment

Rating: 2.0/5

This is a saga where I would much rather just have the creature with nothing attached. A 2/2 first strike can put in work in the early turns, but by the time it shows up on turn 4 it’s going to be outclassed. At least the scry two is still useful later in the game, but then your creature is just a future speed bump.

The Fall of Lord Konda

Rating: 2.0/5

Being able to hit something of mana value four or greater instead of basing it off of toughness keeps this from being relegated to the sideboard. It’s important to note that it can’t hit vehicles unless they activate them first. The second ability will rarely do anything and the creature is just a speedbump that at least replaces itself. Too slow to be considered good, but bad removal is still removal.


Rating: 4/5

This is a lot of sweeper in just one card. Extremely powerful and with the versatility that sweepers usually lack. It lets you build up a vehicle army and walk your opponent into just the creature portion without looking suspicious. Opponent played a bunch of sagas and artifact creatures, well you can sweep those away while leaving your creatures intact. At five mana this would have been an all time banger

Go-Shintai of Shared Purpose

Rating: 2/5

Good News: Shrines are back baby! Bad News: Now they are creatures which actually makes them worse by being vulnerable to more removal. This can be a solid engine for a go wide strategy that kicks into high gear if you have another shrine, but nothing to write home about.

Golden-Tail Disciple

Rating: 2.5/5

A worse Kindly Ancestor, but still a decent defensive creature. Lifelink plays well with equipment and being an enchantment helps trigger a bunch of payoffs.

Hotshot Mechanic

Rating: 3/5

While Savannah Lions isn’t what it used to be, this is still a great aggressive creature to start the game off with. This one can even pilot as if it had four power letting it crew Surgehacker Mech for only one mana.

Imperial Oath

Rating: 2.0/5

This is a decent top end for an aggressive deck with a built in go wide strategy. The scry three is almost worth a card on its own and should get you to the trick or removal you need to win the game the next turn. Just make sure to take the oath not to play too many of these.

Imperial Recovery Unit

Rating: 2.0/5

The lack of evasion really holds this back. Even with a decent body, it’s not hard to trade off for this if it’s going to be a long term value engine. It also requires something cheap to recover, otherwise it’s just a 3/4 that requires a pilot.

Imperial Subduer

Rating: 2.5/5

Mitigates the problem of trading your two toughness three drop for a two drop by tapping it down when it attacks. Later in the game it puts in work by tapping their best blocker when you are running the “exalted” strategy.

Intercessor’s Arrest

Rating: 3.0/5

A better Arrest that can hit any permanent and even prevents crewing. Despite the hate against pacifism effects, I will intercede and say that this will be just fine.

Invoke Justice

Rating: 3.5/5

This cycle is going to be really hard to cast in your average draft and should usually be considered to be at least seven drops. That said, this is a hugely powerful card with two game changing effects. In a set full of sagas and artifacts bringing back any permanent is significantly better than just return any creature and that’s not even getting into pumping up the jams on your side. I would take this pick one and try to draft accordingly to make the mana work.

Kitsune Ace

Rating: 2.0/5

Another critter that falls under the bear with upside category. If you’re running vehicles the free first strike is a decent payoff from piloting, but if not it’s just a vanilla fox.

Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa

Rating: 4.0/5

Phantom monster on steroids. The dream is to have your opponent attack in when you can protect another creature and eat something with this. This being a rare means that they are less likely to play around that scenario. If nothing else, it’s a save another creature play a decent flyer for only four mana. You can ignore the five mana activation because that’s just not likely to happen.

Light the Way

Rating: 1.5/5

Even with power creep you can’t expect too much from your one mana tricks. I’d board this in against a deck with a lot of removal and that’s about it.

Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice

Rating: 2.0/5

A bear with upside is never terrible. That said, this requires some pretty specific things to happen to get extra value out of it. If you happen to already be playing multiple auras of different costs, then this is a worthy addition to your deck. Most of the time it’s just a curve filler, but your opponent doesn’t know that and might use real removal on it.

Lion Sash

Rating: 4.0/5

Scavenging Ooze as an equipment creature seems pretty great to me. Every time they trade for the equipped creature, it just makes the next one bigger. It’s not going to be difficult to get enough counters on this to put your opponent in a chump or die scenario. It would be higher, but people are going to be playing main board artifact removal.

Lucky Offering

Rating: 1.5/5

I hope you’re lucky enough to not have to run this card mainboard. While artifact removal is fine in this set, the restriction of only being 3 or less makes me want to leave it in the sideboard. Bonus points for the cat art though.

March of Otherworldly Light

Rating: 3.5/5

Decent instant speed removal where you are always paying one more mana than your opponent. The exile effect along with coverage for artifacts and enchantments makes up for that extra mana. You’ll never really want to pitch a real card to make it cheaper, but it’s nice to have the option in an emergency.

Michiko’s Reign of Truth

Rating: 3.5/5

With the right deck this can put in some real work. Being able to add four or five power to an attacker two turns in a row is either going to put a serious hurting on their life total or take out a couple of creatures. Flipping into a decently statted creature all for only two mana seems like a deal I’m looking to make. Keep in mind you won’t be playing this on turn two, but it’s a great way to enable double spelling.

Mothrider Patrol

Rating: 2/5

A slightly different take on the tapper by being a cheap evasive threat with an expensive tap cost. Bump this up half a grade if you have any ninjas that this enables.

Norika Yamazaki, the Poet

Rating: 2/5

A solid addition to the “exalted” deck. A great line is to channel away an enchantment like Born to Drive and bring it right back with this. That said, I am not a fan of three mana, two toughness creatures so this is going to require other samurai or warriors to get in there to produce value.

Regent’s Authority

Rating: 2/5

The value of tricks goes up in any set that contains ninjitsu because it incentivizes your opponents to block. This is still pretty unspectacular, but makes decent filler if it’s what your deck is looking for.

Repel the Vile

Rating: 2/5

This has enough versatility that I’m willing to mainboard one of these, but will happily grab a couple more for the sideboard. Every deck you play against should have at least one target between enchantment creatures, sagas, or just big critters.

The Restoration of Eiganjo

Rating: 4.0/5

Replaces itself right off the bat, provides you the option to either ramp or play a two mana creature for free, then turns into a very annoying creature. I love all these abilities and will happily slam this pick one.

Selfless Samurai

Rating: 3.0/5

Great on rate creature that really pushes the attacks alone archetype forward. Being able to add lifelink to your attacker makes it really difficult to race when the rest of your side is still back on defense. Add in the backup option to protect any of your creatures and that’s a lot of card for only two mana.

Seven-Tail Mentor

Rating: 2.0/5

Similar to Gavony Silversmith except that you have to wait for it to die to get the second counter. It would be a much better card if it was a leaves play ability instead of a death trigger because of the plethora of ways to abuse it.

Sky-Blessed Samurai

Rating: 1.5/5

You need at least two enchantments to make this reasonable to cast. In the Selesnya enchantments deck, this could be a solid, but unspectacular curve topper. In most decks, it’s just going to be too expensive to bother playing.

Spirited Companion

Rating: 2.5/5

Elvish visionary in doggo form. It’s just common knowledge that doggos make everything better. Bouncing this back with ninjitsu is going to feel so good. It’s also a card people never want to trade for because they feel like they lost the exchange.

Sunblade Samurai

Rating: 3/5

I love any decently statted creature that has the option to get a land instead. You’re happy to draw it at almost any point in the game.

Touch the Spirit Realm

Rating: 3.5/5

This is going to be played as a banishing light almost every single time. The option to protect your own creature isn’t nothing and can be quite good with comes into play abilities. The channel also plays well with Norika Yamazaki, the Poet by letting you protect your creature and then still play it as a removal spell.

Wanderer’s Intervention

Rating: 2/5

Just another version of Divine Arrow. Same as always, it’s mediocre filler that makes the cut about half the time. If you are killing an attacker, it’s very important for you to do it before blockers so you don’t get wrecked by ninjitsu.

The Wandering Emperor

Rating: 5.0/5

A busted bomb planeswalker that is going to make waves in constructed as well. It’s highly unlikely anyone will be playing around a mythic rare and this will just destroy them in combat. Hard removal plus some life gain with a planeswalker they can’t attack until their next turn is some serious value. That’s not even getting into if they get destroyed by the first strike while you’re gaining loyalty. It even pumps out samurais to protect itself. Good when you’re ahead, behind, or at parity for only four mana. Yep, it’s busto.

When We Were Young

Rating: 2.5/5

Decent trick that is much, much better if you meet the bonus requirements. Gaining eight or more life can swing a game out of nowhere while a double pump usually requires a bad block to really take advantage of. Per usual this will be better in the first couple weeks when people don’t know the tricks.

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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.

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