The Betrayers of Kamigawa Limited Review – Everything Else

What does Nick have to say about the best card in the set and why does he compare it to Skullclamp? What Champions cards have made a big jump in playability since the introduction of Betrayers? What clever pictures has Yawgatog worked up this week? The answers to all these questions and more are just a click away!

Well this is it guys, the last installment of my Betrayers set review for Limited.

I’ve enjoyed doing these reviews, but I’m glad that I’ll be able to return to doing a diverse group of article topics starting next week.

This week all I have left to cover is Artifacts, Lands, and Gold, so I’ll have some time to talk about some of the implications Betrayers has had on some Champions cards and the format as a whole.

Baku Altar

The nice thing with this token generator is that it makes the right kind of creatures.

The right kind of creatures in this format are definitely Spirits. Because of this, it may actually see a bit of play in decks with Devouring Greed or Rage, despite the fact that it is rather clunky.

It won’t go high and if it’s actually *good* in your deck, you’ll probably be the only one that wants it and be able to pick it up late.

Blinding Powder

Interesting ability here for a piece of equipment, as it looks more like a White Sorcery.

I haven’t really had a chance to play with this yet, so I don’t have a definite idea of how good it is, but as of now I’d say that it was mediocre at best. I’ve had a few people play it against me, and while it’s been a minor nuisance, it was usually easy to overcome. Remember too that you can essentially use it on each of your attackers in the late game since it sets up a shield for the rest of the turn, so don’t forget to equip and unattach to anyone who’s going to be attacking when you have spare mana laying around.

The main function this will serve is stopping big creatures and making it hard for your opponent to attack effectively, but I’m afraid it might just come at too high a cost to be worthwhile. I could be wrong however and it might end up being pretty good, but I guess we’ll see in a month or so.

Genju of the Realm

If you know me, you know that I love this card.

This is about the power level a five-colored card should be. It’s essentially a Green card since most Green mages can actually cast it with Petalmane Baku, Orochi Leafcaller, and Kodama’s Reach.

The fact of the matter is that this is an 8/12 Trample, possibly Haste and has the Genju ability effectively making it a bomb in my eyes if you can cast it reliably.

Gods’ Eye, Gate to the Reikai

So if I play two of these, they both die and I get two 1/1s?

What a deal.

This card isn’t playable in any way, shape, or form.

Mirror Gallery

Before you even go there, I promise I actually have something useful to say for this one.

While it is a rarity that this will make your deck, I did put it to use with two White Hondens the other day on MODO and it felt like Clearwater Goblet all over again. This is also good with two Red ones, but don’t get too excited as it won’t come up very often.

Game over, man.


Once this is in play for a few turns, it will become very annoying.

The thing about this toy is that for the guys to remain locked down, only the equipment has to stay in play instead of the equipped creature. This is excellent since artifacts aren’t exactly easy to kill in this format, and pre-sideboard you can pretty much assume that it isn’t going to die.

The general use of course would be to make it very hard for them to block your men since even if they block and kill one of your guys, you essentially “kill” theirs too since it gets locked down. This is also obviously game over on Frostwielder, no questions asked. [Two Words: Ronin Cliffrider – Knut, who watched Paul Rietzl wreck Nassif that way]

The equip cost is cheap and it makes them lose a life when you’re attacking with it. What more can ya ask for?

Orb of Dreams

I don’t recall Stasis being printed in Champions.

I really can’t fathom why this was printed in the set, as it doesn’t really do anything in Limited or Constructed right now. I guess Wizards felt it was time to print a colorless Kismet “just because they can.”

Ornate Kanzashi

So I hear you’re playing a control mirror match where the board constantly gets stalemated until the late turns. I guess this is the card for you then!

Sadly, this situation won’t come up often enough for this card to really have any impact since this block is pretty fast. If you do find yourself in this type of matchup though, by all means, board this in. The nice thing is that the actual activation of the card is cheap and if you get it going it’s likely to turn the game in your favor, or at least slowly deck your opponent. Other than that, the only thing you can really do with it is play your opponent’s lands or cast their spells if you have a Leafcaller. Usually you have better things to do with the mana in Green though like casting huge men and attacking.

[If you haven’t seen it yet, follow this link to see how the Kanazashi helped put Nassif and company in the Top 4 of Pro Tour: Atlanta. – Knut]

Ronin Warclub

I really like the equip mechanic on this card and was actually wondering if they were going to do something like this.

This is a great piece of equipment since it attaches for free, and also attaches to any incoming ninja before combat damage. You have to be careful with it sometimes because you don’t want to play a creature if you need it staying on somebody else, but overall it’s pretty easy to manage. If you have to start manually equipping it, I feel sorry for you because the cost is very cumbersome in all but the very late turns of the game.

So it’s a great piece of equipment and all, but the real question is where it rates in comparison with other powerful cards in the format. My problem with the Club is that this format is pretty tempo oriented and you usually need to play a man or a removal spell on turn three if you want to keep up. This makes it less than optimal in your opening hand, but it’s still good enough to overcome this by helping you power through in the midgame. I’d usually take Whisper or Torrent over this, or some of the other bomb uncommons like the Genjus or Flip guys, but this is still a pretty high pick and you should take it accordingly if it fits well in your deck and manacurve.


The return of Bonesplitter? Nah.

This is perfectly playable but not great.

I’m happy to play it as a 22nd or 23rd card, but I’m not going to pick it high unless I have tons of evasion to make it more worthwhile. This is usually better in White and Blue though you could make a case for Black with Fear Rat. The Club is way better than this, and so are most decent pieces of equipment you’ll find in this block, even Hankyu.


This is a bomb if you’re playing either Blue or Black.

If you open this, you should almost certainly take it, as you should easily be able to pick up a couple of ninjas (even if they are lowly Skullsnatcher). Once you have it, you should also start taking ninjas a lot higher. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen someone take Shimmering Glasskite over a Mistblade Shinobi after opening this and that isn’t even close once you have the Shuriken in your deck.

There’s also “the trick” with this card, which Ken Krouner outlined very well in his U/W archetype article. If you don’t know about this trick I suggest you check out Ken’s summation of how to pull it off, which I’ll paste below as he did a good job explaining it.

“For those of you that don’t know the trick, it requires a creature of toughness greater than 2. Shuriken has to start off Equipped to a creature without summoning sickness. You then activate the Equip ability targeting another creature without summoning sickness. In response to the Equip, shoot one of your opponent’s creatures. When that resolves he gains control of it. Then the Equip resolves Equipping your creature with the Shuriken, then you shoot your own creature (preferably of toughness greater than 2) and you keep the Shuriken. Not the most flavorful use of this card, but it does work.”

The dreams of Nicky Blue Eyes...

Slumbering Tora

I realize that this card is terrible, but for some reason I feel inclined to use it.

If only it were a tiny bit better – say, a one mana activation cost, or if it had trample or something then it might actually be useful. I had a dream that I pitched a Red Myojin to this and then cast Goryo’s Vengeance on the Myojin of Infinite Rage for a cool 17 damage.

When I do eventually find the deck to play this guy in though, I’ll be sure to post the decklist.

Back to the actual card though, it’s too costly to use for any practical purposes since it doesn’t have trample and requires you to discard a big Spirit or Arcane every turn. If you can somehow satisfy that and give this evasion, then he’s your man.

Tendo Ice Bridge

This may end up in a few of your decks when you’re trying to pull off a double splash or some other craziness. I’ve ran it a few times in 5cG and found it to be okay, as usually that one colored mana will be enough to tide over a Yamabushi’s Flame or other splashed removal until you draw into your Kodama’s Reaches.

Please don’t let me catch you playing this in a straight two-color deck though, it’s quite horrible there just like the depletion lands from Champions are.

That Which Was Taken

So yeah, you have White Myojin out and for some reason you feel like there’s a need to wrath the board every turn? Well you’ll need this little trinket to help you along the way with that.

This card is way too expensive for what it does, and unless you’re in a dedicated Heartbeat of Spring/Kodama’s Reach Green acceleration deck, you shouldn’t even think about playing it.

Umezawa’s Jitte

So by now everyone realizes how insane this card is, and there’s really no doubt that it’s the best card in the format by a mile.

The real question is, is this the best Limited card ever?

I truly believe that it is. While some people will make a case for Masticore or other broken cards, I think that Jitte has a few advantages over all of them. Masticore had an upkeep cost which locked out your hand, while Jitte has no disadvantage. Masticore can also be killed by creature removal. There isn’t much that can stop the activation of the Jitte except artifact kill or perhaps Blood Rites, which will merely stall it (sacrifice a blocker before damage so the Jitte never triggers).

There is absolutely no reason that you should ever pass this card.

Wrapping It Up

So that’s the conclusion of my Betrayers set review for Limited.

I know it’s been a long haul, but hopefully you guys have gotten a lot of good information out of it as I enjoyed going to the effort of reviewing every card rather than just the underrated ones.

I also wanted to talk about a few specific cards that have gotten better with the introduction of Betrayers into the format. I may have mentioned these in previous articles, but wanted to again go over here it.

Hundred-Talon Kami

This mundane clunker was riding the bench a lot in triple Champions simply because it’s not very cost efficient.

With the introduction of Moonlit Strider, White mages everywhere suddenly have a very good reason to run this guy and it rhymes with Soulshift 4. Okay maybe that doesn’t rhyme.

Betrayers also doesn’t add much in the flying department, so I think that this guy will become somewhat of a staple in White Spirit based decks. Not that you should go picking him super high or anything, but he’s more playable now thanks to the Strider.


I talked a bunch about this guy in the Red article, but I really feel strongly about it.

Yes, he is slow, and fragile. But the format has taken a big shift in terms of slowing down since Betrayers offers a lot of control oriented cards. That alone makes a pinger more worthwhile, and the fact that Red has gotten a lot better helps too. If you get multiples of this you should also be on the lookout for Nine-Ringed Bo and multiple copies of it, if possible as they combo quite well together. Same goes for Initiate of Blood but it’s slower while you can curve out with Bo, Frostwielder. The pinger deck is very hard to beat without something like Hideous Laughter or a boatload of removal and lots of decks just pack to a couple of active pingers.

Wear Away

I’d be on the lookout for one of these for my sideboard if I was the Green mage, and possibly even maindeck if you see enough targets floating around in the draft. The value of this card has gone up a ton since there are a number of good Artifacts and Enchantments in the new set combined with the ones from CHK.

Yamabushi’s Storm

Before Betrayers, I wouldn’t always maindeck this.

Those days are gone and this is almost definitely making the cut unless it kills a bunch of my own guys. You have to start picking this higher now as it is a valuable commodity and won’t go very late.

Lava Spike

Can you say Ki Counters?

This is also good because Red is better, but cheap counters are a very good thing especially when you also get a nice effect out of the card.

I don’t wanna give away everything this week though, so you’ll have to check back next week when I do an extensive review of the available archetypes in the format and what you should be looking for when you’re drafting each one. Betrayers has also made a couple of new decktypes possible, which I’ll also go over, and I’ve got sample decklists to post as well.

One last thing is that anyone who’s interested in reading about Shorthanded Online Poker, I am now a regular columnist at www.pokerpages.com so check it out if you like.

Nick Eisel

Soooooo on MODO

[email protected]