Magic: the Gathering has explored a vast variety of worlds across the game’s nearly-three decade history. From Egyptian-inspired planes to lands of dark Germanic horror, Magic‘s vast multiverse is almost as big a draw for many players as the game itself. And today, TCG publisher Wizards of the Coast announced that Magic‘s next expansion, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, will add a Japanese-infused Cyberpunk world to the universe for fans to explore.
A long time ago, Magic first introduced players to Kamigawa through a very different lens. Back in 2004, the world was an ancient one with minimal technology. At that time, the denizens of the plane were at war with the Kami, spirits who manifested as essences of ideas, places, and more.
For 1200 years since the end of the Kami War, spirits and the mortal denizens of Kamigawa have existed in harmony. But peace has brought progress to the world, and progress has stirred fear. Familiar places have transformed and nature has retreated. The separate dominions that the spirits and mortals have occupied on Kamigawa are now merging. And something even more sinister has come to threaten Kamigawa’s Neon Dynasty…
Where Kamigawa was once a world rooted in Shinto mythology, it is now one heavily influenced by the cyberpunk genre of media. The mortals of the world have developed electricity. Kamis have evolved their forms to adapt. Bodily augmentations are almost as common as the eponymous neon lights present in Kamigawa’s cities.
Mechanics, Old and New
Augmentation will be represented in the cards of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty through the use two new Magic mechanics: Reconfigure and Modified.
Reconfigure is a mechanic that builds upon Magic’s longstanding Equipment card type. Cards with Reconfigure enter the battlefield as creatures, which means they’re capable of entering combat and triggering their abilities without any help. However, in situations where cards like Reality Chip or Simian Sling can’t break through an opponent’s defences, they can become equipment attached to larger creatures, adding additional modularity to your side of the board.
Modified is a new mechanic that “batches” a group of objects from Magic‘s collection of card types and mechanics together. Any creature with an aura, equipment, or counter (such as a +1/+1 or keyword counter) on it is considered Modified, and being such will cause many cards in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty to trigger their abilities, granting you big bonuses for augmentation.
But while change may have come to Kamigawa in a big way, veteran fans of the plane will still find that some of their favorite elements of the world persist to this day. Ninjutsu returns as a mechanic on the world’s Ninja creatures, allowing you to snag big bonuses for sneaking past your opponents’ unwary defenses.
Channel makes its first reappearance since 2005’s Saviors of Kamigawa set, giving you the opportunity to discard a permanent card from your hand to garner a sorcery-like effect rather than summon a physical asset to the board. Samurai return with a new theme to replace the original Kamigawa block’s Bushido mechanic. Neon Dynasty’s sword-wielding warriors trigger powerful effects when they attack alone, echoing Magic‘s popular Exalted mechanic.
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty also pays homage to its parent sets and the 1200 year history between Saviors of Kamigawa and this new installment by bringing back Sagas, enchantments that gain a different effect on each of your turns. In a twist, these Sagas even stick around after they hit their final phase, transforming into permanents with new effects. The Shattered States Era, pictured below, will give your creatures a boon before returning to the battlefield to fight for you himself as the Nameless Conqueror.
And in a more subtle homage to the past, Kamigawa’s cycle of dragons return with spiritual successors:
But other characters dispense with subtlety entirely, revealing new and mighty forms:
Four new Planeswalker cards make their debut in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. One features an entirely new character, Kaito Shizuki. Two feature returning characters, the Wanderer and Tezzeret. The final one features another returning character, Tamiyo, but…well…
Not all new forms on Kamigawa mean new function, however. Over the last few years, Wizards of the Coast has given Magic players countless new ways to customize their decks and collections through the introduction of showcase frames– unique card treatments that put a unique spin on Magic‘s standard visual design.
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty takes this push to a new level. Every rare and mythic in the set will have a special showcase treatment, and almost all of those will go beyond the standard Extended Art treatment fans are used to seeing from Collector Booster packs.
Ukiyo-e Basic Lands capture the beauty of Kamigawa’s natural environment through the lens of traditional Japanese woodblock painting. These cards will always appear in Japanese, but are available are in booster packs of any language. One-third of draft and set boosters contain one Ukiyo-e Land, and all collector booster packs contain one.
37 rare cards and 6 mythic rare cards from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty will have a “neon-inspired” Soft Glow card treatment, complete with alternate art. Several of the Saga cards from the set will have a Soft Glow variant on the transformed back side of the card as well.
Soft Glow cards are available in all types of Boosters.
Ninja Showcase Frame
The 22 Ninja creatures in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, as well as the planeswalker Kaito Shizuki, will have a special Ninja variant frame, complete with alternate art. These are available in all types of boosters.
Samurai Showcase Frame
The alternate art Samurai treatment will be applied to Neon Dynasty’s 21 Samurai creatures, as well as the planeswalker Wandering Emperor. These will be available in all booster types as well.
All four planeswalker cards in Kamigaway: Neon Dynasty will have a unique Borderless variant, complete with unique art from notable Japanese creators.
The mythic cycle of dragons, as well as an unrevealed sixth dragon, will also have a Borderless treatment.
Finally, a cycle of five legendary lands will also have a Borderless variant.
Borderless Cards are available in all boosters.
Nearly a decade ago, a race of monstrous all-consuming beings known as Phyrexians usurped and took control of the metal world formerly known as Mirrordin, turning it into New Phyrexia. Since then, the Praetors of the world have been scheming a way to bring the beauty of Compleation to other planes. Their ambition has been bounded by their two-pronged inability to bring Phyrexian oil, the seed of their corruption, to other worlds, while also being unable to corrupt Planeswalkers, the only natural beings able to seamlessly jump between planes.
Last year, the green Praetor Vorinclex found a way to invade the Norse plane of Kaldheim, stealing a powerful stone before returning to New Phyrexia as part of a greater scheme.
This year, the Phyrexians have found a way to corrupt a Planeswalker.
Tamiyo will have a Phyrexian variant in addition to her borderless and standard treatments. Jin-Gitaxias, the leader of Phyrexia’s blue faction, will have Phyrexian variant as well.
Foil Etched Cards
Foil Etched cards return in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. They first made an appearance in 2020’s Commander Legends, and provide cards with a metallic gloss that stands in contrast to the rainbow shine of traditional foils.
Foil Etched cards are exclusive to collector boosters.
Extended Art Cards
In most Magic sets, rare and mythic rare cards that don’t feature a special showcase treatment get an Extended art version. However, because Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty’s rares and mythics all have showcase treatments, every rare and mythic that isn’t a planeswalker will have an Extended Art version. There will be a specific slot for these cards in collector boosters.
Finally, a special Neon Ink foil version of Hidetsugu will be featured in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. These special cards will have a unique neon ink screen-printed on top of traditional foil. The neon ink comes in four colors. Blue, Green, and Red neon ink Hidetsugu are exclusive to collector boosters and have varying degrees of rarity. Yellow neon ink Hidetsugu cards will be distributed as a promotion at certain local game stores.
A Bright Future
As a fan of Magic who started playing the game around the time the first Kamigawa set released, I was deeply uncertain we’d ever see the plane again. The original journey to Kamigawa was considered divisive among players, but I fell in love with the unique look and feel of the world right away. While I’ll certainly miss the possibility of seeing art where flowers spit out flowers, I’m thrilled by the first look Wizards has shared of Kamigawa’s new direction and am excited to see what’s across this horizon.
Previews for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty begin today, January 27th. Your very own Comics Beat will have an exclusive preview on February 2nd! Stay tuned for that, and look out for the set’s full physical release on February 18th.