Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty’s Sagas Are Incredible. Let’s Break Them In Constructed.

Sam Black is all about Sagas with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. See how he’s building around the powerful MTG enchantments in Alchemy and beyond.

Life of Toshiro Umezawa, illustrated by Sidharth Chaturvedi

My first time drafting Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, I assembled an Izzet deck that was great at filling its graveyard with artifacts and attacking with three copies of Runaway Trash-Bot.  That deck felt pretty great until I ran into a player with a lot of green Sagas who ended up having much larger creatures.  It didn’t take long to figure out that Sagas in this set are pushed

If you’re willing to wait a little while, you get an above-rate creature for the amount of mana you spent, but you also get extra value on top of that.  I love both waiting and value, so these were a slam dunk for me, and now all of my Draft decks play as many Sagas as I can get my hands on.  At some point, I started to wonder how many Sagas I could play in Constructed.

Michiko's Reign of Truth Portrait of Michiko

Michiko’s Reign of Truth has been compared to Cranial Plating and All That Glitters, and I’m not sure that it compares unfavorably.  When you play this, you get the same attack you would with All That Glitters, but you’re not exposed to a single removal spell answering both your attacking creature and your enchantment, and if you draw this when you don’t have creatures, it’s not a dead draw — it’s just a huge creature you get later. 

This card does crazy amounts of damage for a very low cost if you build your deck around it, and the fact that it counts both artifacts and enchantments means that that’s easy to do and there are lots of ways to approach it.  This card itself inspires another deck every time I think about it (at the moment I’m typing this, I’m distracted by a new consideration to pair this with blue for cards like Network Disruptor and Silver Raven to get evasive damage, and maybe working in some Ninjas to reset the Saga, though that’s probably unnecessary).

The most obvious way to use Michiko’s Reign of Truth, at least if you’re coming from a Limited background, is to pair it with green.  Jukai Naturalist and Weaver of Harmony are great two-mana enchantment creatures that work well with it and all the other cards you’d want to play with it.  Generous Visitor is another big draw to green, even if it isn’t an enchantment itself.

Commune with Spirits

I think Commune with Spirits is the most overlooked card in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, both in Limited and Constructed.  A lot of players see it as comparable to Adventurous Impulse, but seeing four cards is a lot better than seeing three, and while enchantment might feel like a more restrictive type than creature, I think it can actually get a wider range of effects more easily, which makes this kind of card a lot more valuable.  I’ve seen takes on Selesnya Auras in Standard or Alchemy that don’t use Commune with Spirits, and I think that’s a mistake.

I haven’t had a chance to put a lot of time into tuning Selesnya Enchantments.  My first draft is just to play four copies of all the stuff I think is absolutely essential, and two copies of all the other cards I want to try.  I’d like to get closer to a more streamlined deck, but between the cards with one or two copies, I’m just not totally sure which ones are best yet.

This deck was built for Alchemy, but can be converted to Standard by replacing the Forsaken Crossroads with other lands (any combination of other lands the deck’s already playing should be fine, really).

This deck is a pretty good mix of explosive and resilient, and I think there’s something here, but I also know others are working on it, which always makes me less interested in trying to solve it myself, so I wanted to see what other ways I could use some of these Sagas.

I wondered if black’s offerings could compete with what green offers.  It’s a tall order, since there’s a lot of synergy with these green cards, but let’s take a look:

Okiba Reckoner Raid Nezumi Road Captain

I think if Modern Horizons 2 hadn’t been printed, this card would likely be good enough for aggressive Tarmogoyf decks. You get a 2/2 with menace for one mana, but you also probably get to drain your opponent for two before they answer it, so in exchange for giving up one damage from a Lave Spike, you gain two life and get a 2/2 menace creature, and the card is an enchantment, which helps your diversity of types. 

That’s probably not good enough to compete with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon’s Rage Channeler, but it’s still among the most efficient black threats that have ever existed.  If you’re building an aggressive black deck that doesn’t care about types, I think this card is an easy addition.

Life of Toshiro Umezawa Memory of Toshiro

Life of Toshiro Umezawa is a little less clear-cut for me.  Twice the mana to cast it is a big jump.  I think this one’s a bit more matchup-dependent.  If your opponent has one-toughness creatures for this to pick off, it’s absolutely incredible, and if your life total is important, two mana to gain four life and get a 2/3 creature is a good rate. 

The problem is that this card is very weak against control decks where the value it offers doesn’t do much unless you have a creature you can connect with so that you can get damage in with the +2/+2 mode, yet even if that happens the card’s still unimpressive.  I think that will mostly relegate this card to sideboard play, where it’ll face stiff competition, but when this card hits, it’s great.  If you’re really trying to maximize your enchantments, I think you can get away with playing this maindeck, but you’ll want to sideboard it out against control decks.

The other black card I found intriguing isn’t from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. It’s an Alchemy card, so this deck won’t really port to Standard:

Sanguine Brushstroke

Brushstroke is one of the more powerful Alchemy cards, but it happens to provide two objects for Michiko’s Reign of Truth to count, and a third object that can theoretically attack.

Trying to combine these cards lead in a pretty weird direction. While Okiba Reckoner Raid and Life of Toshiro Umezawa play well together in Limited, in Constructed, Reckoner Raid is really an aggressive card, while Life of Toshiro Umezawa is a bit more controlling, so here’s where that led me:

This is an aggressive deck that’s capable of dealing a lot of damage with Michiko’s Reign of Truth, but it can pivot into a removal-heavy control deck against other aggressive decks.

I think this take isn’t quite right. Life of Toshiro Umezawa is, as noted, a little too narrow. Dockside Chef is a touch expensive and the support here is a bit weak. The Restoration of Eiganjo might not be the best three-mana spell.  One thing that I really like here is Roadside Reliquary.  This deck is a little light on artifacts, but Sanguine Brushstroke really helps, and with this deck’s low curve, being able to trade a land for more spells is awesome.

The Kami War O-Kagachi Made Manifest

My favorite Alchemy deck inspired by my experiences with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is this The Kami War deck:

Commune with Spirits is crucial here, as it both makes the mana work and allows you to find your most important cards.

Shigeki, Jukai Visionary Colossal Skyturtle

Shigeki, Jukai Visionary is a weird card. As a creature it’s extremely slow, but when you have time, ramping with it is very powerful.  Thanks to Binding the Old Gods and Key to the Archive, this deck eventually makes a lot of mana, which means that Shigeki’s channel mode is very strong in the late-game. 

This deck pairs two Shigekis with one Colossal Skyturtle. If you’ve found both of them, you can use Skyturtle to return Shigeki to your hand, and Shigeki to return Skyturtle and any number of other cards, allowing you to recast whatever you want endlessly. Since both cards are using channel abilities, traditional counterspells can’t break the loop.  This loop can be broken up by graveyard hate, but nothing else in this deck really cares about the graveyard (despite the text on O-Kagachi Made Manifest), so it’s hard for your opponent to justify graveyard hate to break up this small package in the face of the other things you’re doing.

Season of Renewal

When sideboarding, you can lean further into this looping plan with an additional Skyturtle and Season of Renewal. If you have any two of those three cards, you’ll be able to invest unlimited mana in recurring your spells.

The rest of this deck is just mana and value cards — answers that generate threats and threats that generate cards.  With fairly reliable access to every color, it’s hard to tune exactly which answers you want, but there’s a lot of potential if you get them just right. I’m pretty optimistic about Annul if people are building decks based on Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and Hidetsugu Consumes All is an awesome card to have access to.

Hidetsugu Consumes All Vessel of the All-Consuming

It’s hard for most Rakdos decks to use this card, since they typically play one-mana cards and/or use their graveyard, but this deck has no permanents with mana value of one, and can easily sideboard to mostly ignore its graveyard. Further, if the opponent is playing a token strategy or aggressive deck with a lot of one-drops, this is an amazing card.  I expect this card to really make its presence known in Historic, where more decks use a lot of one-drops and the graveyard, but I think it’ll have enough applications in Alchemy to justify some sideboard space.

I’ve been focusing on Limited for the last year, but having qualified for the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Set Championship, I’m trying to get into building decks when I see an opportunity and trying out new cards as much as possible so that I don’t miss anything, and Magic’s newest set has really inspired me in a way other sets haven’t recently.  It’s awesome to see a set with a lot of fun cards that have a lot of potential without just resting on raw, undeniable power level, as we saw in Throne of Eldraine-era Standard.