Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty East Magic The Gathering’s first sci-fi set, and it was a huge hit. The Japanese Cyberpunk aesthetic is amazing, the cards are significantly more powerful than other recent sets, and it brought a lot of new mechanics that we’ll probably be playing with for a very long time.
For such a good set, you might be surprised to learn that its development process was a bit shaky. We had already heard that it had to be stopped halfway to make room for Innistrad: Crimson Vow, but there was also a lot more to do. Here are five things you might not know about Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.
5 It features the first creatures without a creature type in nearly 30 years
It’s a common misconception among players that every creature Homework have a creature type, such as rogue, ninja, or elf. With Neon Dynasty, this has been shown not to be strictly true, thanks to the cycle of Go-Shintai enchantment creatures.
The Go-Shintai is the cycle of shrines in this set, a classic theme in Kamigawa sets. They were turned into enchantment creatures for the first time to spice things up, but that came with a new problem: a lack of space on the type line. Shrines, by definition, are legendary enchantments, and now they’re creatures too, taking up even more space on the line. As a result, the six Go-Shintai receive the “Legendary Enchantment Creature – Sanctuary” type line.
When it was announced, many players were excited about what they imagined to be Shrine becoming a creature type. Since shrines are all about playing as many of them as possible, becoming a creature type would allow token copies or even changelings to be great inclusions in a shrine deck… but sadly, that wasn’t meant to be. being.
According to the rules of the game, Sanctuary is always only an enchantment subtype, and subtypes can only belong to one type of permanent. They can appear side by side on cards with more than one type, like how Gingerbrute is an artifact creature with the artifact type Food and the creature type Golem, but that didn’t make Food a type of creature.
With confirmation that Shrine definitely isn’t a creature type, the Go-Shintai became the first creature card in print since 1994 to not have a creature type. Unnamed race is the only other creature that doesn’t, which was printed long ago in The Dark. Of course, morph creatures don’t have a type either, but they aren’t printed cards that you can find in booster packs, so that’s not the case. really to count.
4 We saw the first modification attempt last year
One of the new mechanics in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is changed. Any creature you control that has Equipment attached to it, a counter on it, or an Aura enchantment you control enchanting it is modified. There are plenty of rewards throughout Neon Dynasty for this, like how Upriser Renagade gets +2/+0 for each other modified creature you control.
It was a great way to portray the augmentation that plagues a Kamigawan cyberpunk society, but it wasn’t designed with Kamigawa in mind. In fact, he was originally supposed to appear as a mechanic almost exactly a year earlier in the Viking-themed set Kaldheim. At the time, the mechanic was known as “Enhanced”, but was eventually dropped from the design. Likely to reduce the number of new keywords in a set that already included Boast and Foretell.
Enhanced may have had to wait a year to become Modified in Neon Dynasty, but traces of it can still be found in Kaldheim. Three cards: Halvar, god of battle; Warchanter Skald and Koll, The Forgemaster all mention “creatures you control that are enchanted or equipped”, remnants of what was an Enhanced.
3 Double-sided cards were not in the initial design
The last two years have been dominated by double-sided cards. Double-sided modal cards were a big theme in Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim, and Strixhaven, while in both Innistrad sets we saw transformation return with Disturb and Daybound/Nightbound. With such a strong trend, the inclusion of transformative cards in Neon Dynasty didn’t seem out of place, but they weren’t originally designed to be double-sided at all.
The original Kamigawa sets are set 1200 years before Neon Dynasty, so the sagas were chosen as a great way to reference the myths and legends of the older sets in a way players would appreciate. But, instead of having simple sagas, the wizards wanted to try something new and have the sagas turn into enchanted creatures reminiscent of the legend they represent.
Two methods of doing this were tested: the first was to create a creature token after the saga was completed, and the other was to have the saga become an enchantment creature without transforming. The map setting was even going to be slightly adjusted from the old sagas to make it fit.
However, Set Design, which takes the Vision Design team’s concepts and turns them into concrete, playable cards, had another idea. Kamigawa had “flipped cards” that rotated 180 degrees to become a different card. A few years later, these were followed by double-faced transformation cards in Innistrad, which functionally do the same thing. So why not just do the sagas double-sided and put the creature on the opposite side? The last chapter of each saga could read “exile this saga, then return it to the battlefield transformed under your control”, and that would be a much cleaner way of representing what the Vision Design team wanted to do.
2 Ninjutsu was not originally in the main set
It’s hard to imagine Kamigawa without Ninjas. It’s one of his most iconic tribes, and ninjutsu has always been a hugely popular mechanic. However, the original Neon Dynasty design relegated ninjas, and in particular their ninjutsu ability, to additional Commander products, away from the set itself.
The reason for this was that Wizards of the Coast was concerned about actively working against the changed theme of the set. Whenever a creature is returned to your hand, the Equipment is detached, the counters disappear, and any Aura enchantments in it go to the graveyard. It would have been an uncomfortable situation to have to ninjutsu take out a heavily modified creature and lose all your hard work.
Luckily, there was space for the ninjas in the set. Each mechanic is roughly divided into colored lines, with the cards that care about modification mostly found in red and green. On the other hand, ninjas are a blue and black tribe, about as far from red and green as you can get on the color chart. Once it was realized that there would be little overlap between decks that want to put mods on everyone and decks that use a lot of ninjas, the two were kept overall without issue.
1 It was almost no Kamigawa
Although Kamigawa has consistently been one of the game’s most popular candidates for a community comeback, Wizards of the Coast was very hesitant to return. So much so that Neon Dynasty was almost entirely set elsewhere.
Kamigawa’s original three sets were an absolute disaster. They sold well, players hated the mechanics, and the design teams felt they had missed the mark in creating a Japanese-focused set that resonated. Sets remained among the biggest failures in Magic history, the only thing that made up for them slightly was how the legends theme fit into the growing Commander format.
And yet, players still loved Kamigawa as a setting. Japanese pop culture became much more popular in the years that followed, to the point where “when are we going back to Kamigawa?” was one of the most frequently asked questions of chief designer Mark Rosewater.
And so, in the beginning, the plan was for Neon Dynasty to take place in an entirely new Japanese-inspired world (much like Eldraine was another attempt at the traditional fantasy world of Llorwyn). Instead of focusing too much on Japanese myths and legends that maybe didn’t translate as well to maps, it was going to focus on Japanese pop culture tropes, like anime, mechs, ninjas, and characters. samurai. Of course, Rosewater knew that a lot of people would want it to be Kamigawa, so she went into the vision design phase open to the idea of maybe becoming Kamigawa later on.
That moment came when the set needed conflict at the heart of its themes, and it was decided that tradition versus modernity would be a perfect fit. There was an in for Kamigawa: while the “modernity” side of the conflict would be all the pop culture references and mechs they had worked on, the “tradition” side might be callbacks to the old Kamigawa. And so, relatively late in the process, it was finally decided that Neon Dynasty would become Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.
NEXT: Magic: The Gathering – 10 Strongest Commander Format Cards in Kamigawa Neon Dynasty
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