Last week, Magic the Gathering trading card game developer Wizards of the Coast introduced players to the game’s latest expansion, Kamigawa Neon Dynasty. Set on futuristic cyberpunk world also heavily influenced by traditional Japanese culture, Neon Dynasty aims to strike a delicate balance between elements of Kamigawa’s past and future. On the one hand, you have the return of featured creature types that recall Kamigawa’s history such as Ninja, Samurai, Spirits, and Kamigawa’s anthropomorphic rats, the Nezumi. On the other hand, you have new mechanics that augment and transform your army into something unrecognizable.
One of the new mechanics in highlighted in the Neon Dynasty expansion is Reconfigure. A variation on Equipment cards, cards with Reconfigure essentially pull double duty as both creatures that can fight on their own and as Equipment cards that can enhance your other creatures instead. The Beat’s exclusive preview card from Neon Dynasty does exactly that, in a way that’s sure to excite your inner saboteur.
Acquisition Octopus is the latest in a long line of creature cards with the curiosity effect. Its ability to draw a card whenever it hits an opponent may seem subtle, but experienced Magic players know that, typically speaking, whichever player sees the most cards over the course of a game is heavily favored to win.
What I love about this card is its ability to stay relevant over the course of a long game. The problem with most creatures that share Acquisition Octopus’ first ability is that they have little-to-no ability to break through an opponent’s defenses in order to actually get the opportunity to draw a card. Creatures with curiosity tend to be small, and Acquisition Octopus is no exception. However, Acquisition Octopus isn’t relying on you augmenting it or hoping that your opponent lets their guard down so it can beat face. Instead, it’s content to sit and wait for you to play another creature with built-in evasion and hop on that creature’s back via a Reconfigure activation.
Moreover, when you play a card like Curiosity on a creature, you open yourself up to the possibility that your opponent could kill your creature and the Curiosity with just a single card, netting you resource disadvantage. Not the case with Acquisition Octopus, as it will quickly hop off a creature it’s attached to if said host is slain.
One of the coolest things about being a longtime Magic player like myself is having had the chance to see the game evolve over the course of several decades. I first started playing Magic in 2003, and remember when the first Kamigawa expansions came out in 2004. I would never have imagined back then that the world Wizards of the Coast had introduced would head in this direction, and I wouldn’t have imagined I would still even be playing Magic in 2022. But it’s mechanics like Reconfigure, that put an unexpected new twist on something familiar, that keep me coming back to the game year after year.
Kamigawa Neon Dynasty releases in stores on Friday February 18th, 2022. To find more previews of cards in the set, visit Wizards of the Coast’s website.