Hi dear readers,
I’m here for another Champions of Kamigawa set review, which will focus strictly on Limited. I’m doing Limited this time for two reasons: First, the Constructed-worthy cards in Kamigawa are pretty obvious. I understand that you might be a little tired of hearing that Isamaru, Hound of Konda is a good card. I mean, you should have learned to read at some point, and that’s all it takes to realize that”Puppy” is good. Second, CHK is a really interesting set in Limited and we will be playing with it for the next twelve months. So while it’s only an average set for Constructed and you might not see it that much in Standard, you will see a lot of it in drafts, at PTQs, and on Magic Online. Unfortunately, it shouldn’t impact the Extended format much, and the Mirrodin block decks should continue to dominate Standard for some time.
So what I’ll try to do is rank the commons for Limited – a bunch of writers have been trying to do that since week one, but I really think they are wrong for a large portion of their choices, except in Red where everyone thus far has understood the obvious three best picks (Glacial Ray, Yamabushi’s Flame and Ronin Houndmaster).
The main reason for these repeated mistakes in my mind, comes from a misunderstanding of this format, which is defined by the impressive number of good, cheap creatures, and particularly the seven common bears. I don’t think most sets had that many creatures with two power for two mana. In addition, a lot of three-mana creatures can beatdown pretty hard: Kitsune Blademaster and Ronin Houndmaster are the best examples, but there are also three playable common creatures with three power for three mana in Black… That leads us to a really aggressive format, which changes the relative value of a good number if cards: for example, I’m pretty sure that the Zubera are a lot better than people actually think.
White was by far the best color in Mirrodin block, and it shouldn’t change with CHK. It’s probably better when paired with Red or Black for additional removal and cheap creatures, but the CHK White can nearly stand alone. It has the best weenies, a touch of removal, evasion creatures, and really good tricks in the common slots. Basically, White gives you everything you need to build a solid draft deck.
(1) Kitsune Blademaster
It’s a 2/2 for three, without any triggered or activated abilities, but nevertheless it’s certainly a member of the top five commons in the set. Bushido and First Strike are two interesting capacities by themselves, but really shine together. Kitsune Blademaster is really hard to block, and won’t slow you down in any way when played on turn 3. At the same time, it’s a perfect wall when you need one. On the ground, only three commons can get past him: Moss Kami, Feral Deceiver and Vine Kami. For the second one you need a land on top, while the third one is just unplayable. If you play White and you have a better card in your booster… well, you’re very lucky!
(2) Cage of Hands
The usual variant of Pacifism… as always, you’ll be really happy to have it in your deck. You may take it before Kitsune Blademaster in the third booster if you really feel that you’re low on removal, or in Rochester draft if there are too many Dragons across the table. I hope I won’t have to do that too often, because for the same price, the Blademaster will usually have a larger impact on the game.
(3) Indomitable Will
It’s unfair – the best tricks should be Green, not White. Cheap and efficient, Indomitable Will could win games on turn 4, when you’ll be able to kill your opponent’s blocker and permanently boost your first bear while playing another one. This is a perfect scenario that we’ll see often. Try to be on the good side of it.
4) Mothrider Samurai
I’m really not a big fan of 2/2 flyers for four, but with this one we have a great bonus – he’s useful on defense too, to stop the bears or exchange with Tellers of Tales. You could take it before Indomitable Will if you desperately need evasion creatures.
5) Kami of Ancient Law
A bear in a bear format with an useful ability that doesn’t cost any mana. Draft it higher if you don’t have enough two-drops.
A must-have. There are few good one-drops in this set, and even if this one won’t deal any damage by itself, it’s still a great way to open a game. It can shut down at least five of the best rares in this format (guess which ones). However, it’s a 0/1, so you can’t seriously add it to your creature count – drafting a second one is not as good a pick as the first, while the third one is probably strictly a sideboard card.
(7 ) Kitsune Riftwalker
He has protection against half of the creatures and half of the spells in the block, and is still 2/1 for three. If the double White in the casting cost is not too hard to support in your deck, you can rely on these guys to complete your defense or offense.
(8) Kabuto Moth
Nothing really spectacular, but usually a bigger problem for your opponent than it initially seems. Remember that you’ll probably have a lot of creatures in your three-mana slot, so don’t pick him too high.
(9) Blessed Breath
A nice and cheap trick, it’s also one of the few White arcane spells you’ll want to play, so consider it more seriously if you play Glacial Ray, Kodama’s Might or something like that. Don’t forget that it also breaks the White and Blue enchantment-removal spell.
(10) Lantern Kami
Well, I’m not really sure here, but I feel this guy is a playable one-drop that will deal a few damage during the first few turns, and if everything goes right, could be traded later against a 2/1 or a Blue flyer. I don’t like 1/1s for one in general, but one or two of these guys seem perfectly acceptable for me in this particular format.
(11) Call to Glory
The value of this card is improved if you already have a lot of samurai and Kabuto Moths, in which case I’ll place it in the sixth place on my list. It’s also really good with Hold the Line, making for an instant remake of Plague Wind. That said, if all you’ll do with this card is untapping your creatures, you’d rather leave it in your sideboard and play something less situational.
(12) Hundred Talon Kami
Not a bad card, but a little too expensive for this format. We touch the limit of main deck playables with this card – you’ll play it 90% of the time, but you’ll be very happy to leave it in your sideboard.
(13) Kami of the Painted Road
Five mana again, and not even a flyer… His power is pretty useless because your hand should be empty when you play this top-of-the-mana-curve card. In Blue/White with more arcane spells, its value increases and you can take it over Hundred Talon Kami.
(14) Terashi’s Cry
If you need something to break a stalemate, you could do worse. You can also do a lot better. One of these won’t hurt too much in White/Green where you’re short on evasion creatures. In other color combinations, put it lower on the list.
(15) Harsh Deceiver
A 1/4 is not too bad in this format, but for four mana in an aggressive color, you should find better cards to play. It’s playable in an old school Blue/White with flyers and that kind of wall. A mediocre 23rd card in the other cases.
(16) Devoted Retainer
Bushido put this 1/1 for one in the”playables” list, but please don’t abuse that idea. A mediocre 24th card.
(17) Kitsune Healer
This is so slow… I won’t consider it in anything but Blue/White, as it’s unplayable. A bad 24th card
18) Quiet Purity
A possible sideboard card that you’ll never side in.
(20) Silent Chant Zubera
Okay, I said earlier that Zuberas are more playable than people think – this one is the exception.
(21) Pious Kitsune
Unless you have two Eight-and-a-half-tails, pass this card to your neighbor.
AH AH AH AH