Magic: The Gathering's Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Presentation Recap

Wizards of the Coast, the tabletop gaming giant behind Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, has begun the rollout of new previews to usher in the spoiler season for their next Magic set: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty! This set is a mashup of many different genres that are majorly influenced by Japanese history and pop culture alike, and man, does it ever show! Let's take a look at some of the things which were showcased in Wizards' presentation, aired over Twitch and Youtube earlier today.

The art for Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire, a card from Magic: The Gathering's next upcoming expansion set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Illustrated by ゾウノセ/ZOUNOSE.
The art for Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire, a card from Magic: The Gathering's next upcoming expansion set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Illustrated by ゾウノセ/ZOUNOSE.

New Mechanics

First off, we want to highlight the new mechanics seen in the set. Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is set in a cyberpunk interpretation of the plane of Kamigawa, which itself is (or rather, was, and we will get to why we say that in a moment) based on feudal Japanese history. When last we saw this plane of existence, it was approximately 1,300 years in the past with respect to the "Argivian Reckoning" timekeeping system that Magic: The Gathering uses for its own purposes (although by stricter methods some might argue that it was 6,000 years prior instead – timelines don't matter much in a temporal crisis, however, so this can be excused). For a frame of reference, the Mending of Dominaria (occurring at the end of the Time Spiral block) was 60 years in the past relative to the Magic timeline's present day.

Timeline wonkiness aside, this means that Kamigawa has seen a plethora of innovations as time carried on. However, between the innovations of the present and the traditions of the past, Kamigawa is wrestling for its very soul. This in itself is expressed through both an artifact subtheme (to represent the cyberpunk present) and an enchantment subtheme (to represent Kamigawa's feudal past).

Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei, a new legendary creature card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei, a new legendary creature card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.

The traditions of Kamigawa's past are represented by a high amount of enchantment cards, including Auras, Sagas, and enchantment creatures. These are all mechanics that will be present in the set. As for the artifacts…

The Reality Chip, a new legendary artifact creature from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Reality Chip, a new legendary artifact creature from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.

Reconfigure, a new mechanic in the set, allows artifact creatures to seamlessly shift from their forms as creatures to utility as a special form of Equipment. Normally in the past, cards like Bludgeon Brawl were printed with potential interactions that would disallow creatures from being Equipment. Reconfigure gives Wizards of the Coast some fun space to design with while turning that idea entirely on its head.

Other returning mechanics include Channel and Ninjutsu. And while not all Ninjas will have Ninjutsu, this brings us to the discussion of tribal presence and associated synergies:

Ao, the Dawn Sky, a new legendary creature card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
Ao, the Dawn Sky, a new legendary creature card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.

While tribal synergies are not expected to be as much of a cornerstone of this set as they were in the original Kamigawa block, certain creature types will have a greater showing than others. Champions of Kamigawa, the first set in the Kamigawa block, had five legendary Dragon Spirit creatures. This set will bring us back to those days by printing a new cycle of legendary Dragon Spirits, such as Ao, the Dawn Sky, seen above. Spirits will have a presence in Kamigawa despite the end of the Kami War those 1,300 years ago. Beyond that, we are apt to see various Samurai and Ninja creatures, although it is a sure bet that many cards that will reference Samurai will also reference Warriors, and many cards referencing Ninjas will reference Rogues as well.

New Showcase Frames

What would a new Magic: The Gathering expansion set be these days without a smattering of new showcase frame treatments? As a reasonable segue into this concept, let's begin by looking at some cards with the new Samurai and Ninja showcase frames:

The Samurai showcase version of Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei, a new legendary creature card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Samurai showcase version of Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei, a new legendary creature card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Ninja showcase version of Silver-Fur Master, a new creature card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Ninja showcase version of Silver-Fur Master, a new creature card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.

Additionally, we will see borderless frames, akin to the ones we have seen in sets past, as well as the softglow frame treatment, which is relevant to various cards representing the modernization of Kamigawa in Neon Dynasty, such as this one:

The softglow showcase version of Surgehacker Mech, a new artifact card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The softglow showcase version of Surgehacker Mech, a new artifact card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.

Additionally, one particular card, Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, will have as many as five different softglow treatments, all of which are quite rare to open in booster packs of the new set, even Collector Boosters.

And of course, Planeswalkers will be featured prominently in the storyline of the set and as such, planeswalker cards will be present as well. With them, four new borderless planeswalker cards will be included as showcase cards in Neon Dynasty as well:

The Borderless showcase version of Kaito Shizuki, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Borderless showcase version of Kaito Shizuki, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Borderless showcase version of The Wandering Emperor, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Borderless showcase version of The Wandering Emperor, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
Magic: The Gathering's Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Presentation Recap
The Borderless showcase version of Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.

But while there are four Planeswalkers prominently featured in the story behind Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, one of them… Well, let's just say we audibly gasped when we saw this card revealed for the first time:

The Phyrexian showcase version of Tamiyo, Compleated Sage, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Phyrexian showcase version of Tamiyo, Compleated Sage, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.

This was a mind-blowing reveal when we saw it. Thankfully, for those who cannot read Phyrexian, there are versions in your local languages as well, both in a standard frame and a borderless one:

Tamiyo, Compleated Sage, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
Tamiyo, Compleated Sage, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Borderless showcase version of Tamiyo, Compleated Sage, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.
The Borderless showcase version of Tamiyo, Compleated Sage, a new legendary planeswalker card from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the next upcoming expansion set for Magic: The Gathering.

Suffice it to say, whatever has transpired to succeed in turning Tamiyo into a Phyrexian-corrupted being, it can't spell out anything good for anything in the Multiverse. With this revelation, it is clear that nothing and nobody is safe from the Glistening Oil and the corruption that is Phyrexia.

While we are still free of Phyrexian corruption, what do you think about these previews? Do you believe they'll impact your favorite Magic: The Gathering format? Let us know your opinions on Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty in the comments below!

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About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.
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