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High-Speed Hoverbike Art by Julian Kok Joon Wen

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Sealed Guide


Well, the time is upon us to leave Innistrad behind us – BYEEE! Let us smoothly transition from vampires and werewolves to vehicles, samurai, and neon colors? The aim of this article is to best prepare you for the sealed events and prereleases to come. Let’s crew up a vehicle and (drive?) in!


Speed and Pace of the Format

Let’s start by talking about the speed of the format. While I do believe there will be some fast decks in NEO limited, compared to most, it seems like it may be a bit slower of a format. A lot of the mechanics require multiple turns or puzzle pieces to perform.

Ninjitsu requires you to return a creature to hand, vehicles require additional creatures, and sagas require additional turns. Look at all of that with your sealed deck monocle, and I think this format will be pretty slow.

There is a heuristic in sealed that you either want to be very fast, or very slow. I think option A will be a very rare pile, but very powerful if you get the cards to do so. I would personally step into Neon Dynasty sealed events expecting the games to go long, and the winner will likely be the player getting the most value out of their cards.

One thing I noticed is that there aren’t many card advantage spells in the set, which is typically extremely impactful in sealed. I suppose most of the “value” is going to come from the sagas.


Sagas

While the actual power level of the common and uncommon sagas are still up for debate in draft, I think they will all shine in sealed. On average, the amount of value you get out of the mana put into a saga is some of the best real estate we’ve seen in a long time.

The downside is that they are slow, and often not too impactful until all three chapters have been told. Given my perception of the speed that sealed will have, I think you will be happy to play pretty much any saga that is in your colors (except maybe the red ones).


Shrines

Shrines are not a new concept in MTG, and in fact the original shrines mechanic (Hondens) were printed in the original Kamigawa! The new take on shrines in Neon Dynasty is that they are creatures, and they are reasonably statted creatures for their respective mana value. Sealed can be a bit grindy and I actually believe that some of the shrines are going to be decent on their own, and obviously a lot better if you have multiple.

Specifically, I like the Red shrine, with White and Black coming in second. The red shrine can put a clock on your opponent when the game slows down (as it often does in sealed), but also has a somewhat relevant body. Red being a 2/2 first strike means it can get involved in some combat.

The black shrine will stop any large creatures in their tracks given the deathtouch, and decimate any X/1’s your opponents may have.

The white shrine will pump out a chump blocker every turn if you need to stabilize, or eventually build up to an alpha strike to end the game.

I would definitely encourage splashing if you have additional shrines and your mana base can afford it.


Vehicles

In general, the big drawback for vehicles is two-fold; first is that the vehicles are slow (compared to creatures that can attack and block on their own), and second that they are normally awful on defense. Given what we know about the speed of sealed, in addition to the slower nature of the format – I think I’m a bit more optimistic about the normally sub-par vehicles. Obviously, good vehicles like Prodigy's Prototype are still going to be great, but I feel like Dragonfly Suit and Futurist Sentinel are going to do some work here.


Mana Fixing

As previously mentioned, most sealed decks end up being two colors, splashing a third. Luckily we’ve got some decent mana fixing in NEO. In addition to the ten color pair gain lands, there is Uncharted Haven, which functions similarly to an Evolving Wilds.

Ecologist's Terrarium is something I’m largely unexcited to play in draft, but if your mana base is shaky, it’s a fine inclusion to smooth things out.

We also get a colorless mana rock in Network Terminal, which also gives a great late game effect for sealed. Green of course has some decent mana fixing you can lean on as well.


The Invoke Cycle

I just wanted to highlight a cycle of powerful rares that people might be putting into any deck. There’s a cycle of rares that all of the prefix “Invoke”, most are very powerful rares that have a brutal casting cost. In draft I’m happy to take these cards and make sure I draft a deck that can support the mana cost.

Given that a lot of sealed decks are going to end up in 3 colors, I think these could be a trap for most players building a deck. Yes, they are very powerful cards you’d be happy to play even by turn 7 or 8, but if you’re playing 3 colors, or don’t have sufficient fixing, I think you should be very cautious about putting them in your deck.


Wrap Up

In summation, I think sealed deck will be a slow grind, rewarding the greedier decks that get the most value out of their cards. I hope this article has quenched your thirst for knowledge, and look forward to see you in Kamigawa!

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Icky
Icky

Andy "Icky" Ferguson is a long time limited grinder, with his first draft in 1999 at the age of 11. 22 years later, you can still find him streaming drafts, achieving the top ranks, including rank #1 5 months of 2021. Seasoned member of the Draft Lab squad and appointed "zen master", Andy lives by the motto; "lose and learn, learn and win".

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