Best Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Limited archetypes

Draft and craft to win.

Image via WotC

A total of 10 Magic: The Gathering Limited archetypes are contained within the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty set, providing players with a good starting point to draft and craft Limited decks

Unlike recent MTG Limited sets like MID and VOW, the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty (NEO) set doesn’t feature cookie-cutter-specific archetypes. All 10 Limited archetypes are flexible and can support multiple synergies. The color Black stands out due to having good removal and cards that support multiple themes. Red is more of a synergy color with Black, specifically in Artifact builds. Green stands out as the best color so far, while crossing over into multiple NEO archetypes. And all three colors have good removal spells

From ninjas to Artifacts and Enchantments, here are the top four archetypes worth playing in the NEO Limited format. These archetypes will be updated following the digital and global release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.  

UB ninjas Artifacts 

The most popular NEO Draft build for the first couple of weeks on MTG Arena will likely be UB ninjas, making many of the cards that support the archetype highly contested. Putting aside the nostalgic hype, UB is a decent archetype but not overly powerful. Silver-Fur Master is the signpost that pulls you into the archetype. The rat ninja buffs other ninjas and rogues you control while discounting all Ninjutsu abilities by one. 

For a Ninjutsu deck to work properly, the enablers must have some form of evasiveness and have a low mana cost. Network Disruptor is the ideal one-drop, having Flying and able to tap a permanent upon entering the battlefield. Inkrise Infiltrator is another cheap creature with Flying that has a built-in combat trick for added value. High-Speed Hoverbike is a sleeper Artifact vehicle with Flying, Flash, and taps a target creature upon entering the battlefield that has a crew cost of one. And Nezumi Bladeblesser is a three-drop that can have either Menace or Deathtouch. 

Creatures with Ninjutsu should have solid abilities and a mana cost that won’t tap out all your mana. Prosperous Thief has a Ninjutsu of 1U, is a 3/2, and has an ability that creates a Treasure token whenever a ninja or rogue deals combat damage to an opponent. Moon-Circuit Hacker has a Ninjutsu cost of U and draws a card upon dealing combat damage. 

Dokuchi Silencer has a Ninjutsu cost of 1B with an ability that lets you destroy an opponent’s creature or planeswalker upon discarding a card and dealing combat damage to your opponent. And Covert Technician has a Ninjutsu cost of 1U with an ability that lets you put an Artifact onto the battlefield from your hand that has a mana value equal to or less than the combat damage that was dealt.

GW Enchantment ramp

The MTG color Green is packed with Enchantments, supported by the color White. Jukai Naturalist is the NEO signpost card for the Green and White archetype, reducing the cost of Enchantment spells by one while also providing a small amount of Lifelink as 2/2 two-drop. Unlike the BR Artifact-focused build, GW Enchantment contains various forms of ramp and a couple of solid curve topper finishers. 

Spirited Companion is a cheap Enchantment creature that provides card draw, enabling the one-drop Generous Visitor, a spirit that lets you place a +1/+1 counter on a creature whenever you cast an Enchantment (not once per turn). Commune with Spirits is a cheap Sorcery speed spell that helps you find an Enchantment or land in the top four cards of your library. 

Eiganjo Exemplar is a decent two-drop that can scale in power when it attacks alone and is an Enchantment creature. Fang of Shigeki is another cheap Enchantment creature that has Deathtouch while Careful Cultivation is an aura that can provide Reach, +1/+3, and ramp. 

Providing late-game power, Greater Tanuki is a 6/5 with Trample that can also search up a basic land during the early game via Channel. There’s also Sky-Blessed Samurai, a 4/4 creature with Flying that has its cost reduced by one for every Enchantment you control. And Sunblade Samurai can search out a basic land via Channel while gaining you life during the early game or hit the battlefield later as 4/4 with Vigilance. 

GB ninja reanimation and Enchantments matters

There are multiple cards with reanimation abilities that give you an advantage over your opponent within the Green and Black NEO archetype. And as an added bonus, there are several good Ninjutsu creatures and enablers. Gloomshrieker is the signpost for GB. The cat beast returns a permanent from your graveyard to hand upon entering the battlefield while also having Menace, enabling Ninjutsu shenanigans. And players can step up their reanimation game by bouncing Gloomshriker back to hand via Ninjutsu.

A downside to Gloomshrieker, however, is that the cat beast can’t get reanimated itself since it gets exiled upon perishing. Unforgiving One is a three-drop creature with Menace that enables Ninjutsu and can return a creature with “X” mana value from the graveyard, where “X” is the number of Modified creatures you control. Season of Renewal is an Instant that can return a creature and/or an Enchantment to your hand from your graveyard.

Okiba Salvage is a Sorcery speed spell that returns a creature or vehicle from your graveyard to the battlefield, placing two +1/+1 counters on it if you control an Artifact and an Enchantment. But even better than Okiba Salvage is Geothermal Kami. The four-drop spirit provides decent life gain and returns an Enchantment to hand, potentially triggering multiple enters-the-battlefield triggers over again.

Good Ninjustsu NEO cards to include in the GB archetype are Kappa Tech-Wrecker, Coiling Stalker, Nezumi Prowler, Dokuchi Silencer, and Mukotai Ambusher. Coiling Stalker synergizes with Modification by putting +1/+1 counters on a target creature that doesn’t have a counter upon dealing combat damage to an opponent. And Nezumi Prowler can hit for three damage via Ninjutsu or get cast for 1B to give a creature you control Deathtouch and Lifelink until the end of the turn. 

The standout star Ninjutsu creature following the digital launch of NEO on MTG Arena has been Kappa Tech-Wrecker. With Enchantments pulling ahead as one of the strongest archetypes, exiling an opponent’s Artifact or Enchantment is really strong. If you can grab multiple copies of Kappa Tech-Wrecker or have ways to bounce the ninja turtle back to hand, you will easily gain an advantage over your opponent.

Roaring Earth is a solid two-drop worth grabbing in NEO Draft that synergizes with Modified and is an Enchantment. Fang of Shigeki is a Ninjutsu enabler that’s a one-drop in Green with Deathtouch. Similar to the UB ninja archetype, both Nezumi Bladeblesser and Inkrise Infiltrator are good Ninjutsu enablers. 

BR sacrifice and Midrange Lifegain Artifacts

The MTG colors Black and Red both contain solid removal within the NEO Limited format. Sacrifice is the archetype theme, supported by the signpost two-drop Oni-Cult Anvil. Black also contains a decent amount of Lifegain that can broaden the scope of BR in addition to Artifact synergy throughout both colors. 

Oni-Cult Anvil has amazing synergy with Sokenzan Smelter, a goblin artificer that’s a sacrifice engine via creating a 3/1 Artifact token with Haste upon paying one mana and sacrificing an Artifact at the beginning of combat. Virus Beetle is a cheap Artifact creature with added value upon entering the battlefield. And Dockside Chef is a solid sacrifice enabler, along with Undercity Scrounger.

Experimental Synthesizer has value upon entering the battlefield and when it leaves, especially when it gets targeted as sacrifice fodder and has become one of the best MTG color Red NEO cards to pick up. The second most powerful Red card has been Dragonspark Reactor in certain Artifact-specific builds, able to quickly rack up counters and hit an opponent’s life total with a sizeable amount of damage.  

Twinshot Sniper is a solid card to add as well, but it’s more of a middle-of-the-pack pick. And Scrapyard Steelbreaker gets a solid boost in stats via sacrificing an Artifact, potentially improving your late-game board state. 

Lifelink in the color Black supports the BR build since the build wants to grind an opponent down. The Okiba Reckoner Raid and Life of Toshiro Umezawa sagas both provide solid Lifegain and have a low mana cost. The two NEO sagas are very strong during the early game and can still provide value during the mid and late-game stages

Reckoner’s Bargain supports the sacrifice theme while gaining you life and card draw. And Return to Action is a cute Instant speed spell that provides Lifelink for a turn and instantly returns that creature to the battlefield tapped upon perishing or getting sacrificed. 

All images via WotC.

Update Feb. 14 at 2am CT: Each of the four archetypes was fleshed out following the digital launch of NEO on MTG Arena.