A new Planeswalker enters the Magic: The Gathering multiverse in the upcoming return to Kamigawa in the cyberpunk-inspired set Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.
Kaito Shizuki is a ninja from Kamigawa who’s the central character for the new set’s narrative. Shizuki’s spark was ignited by Himoto, the Kami of the Spark.
His card supports Ninjas, one of the key tribes found in Neon Dynasty. Mechanically, Ninjas are similar to Rogues in that they focus on dealing direct damage to the opponent to gain a variety of effects. Ninjas typically draw cards instead of support mill effects like the Rogues from Zendikar Rising. There are no Ninjas currently legal in Standard. Neon Dynasty will introduce the tribe to the current format.
Here is Magic’s new Planeswalker Kaito Shizuki.
- Mana value: 1UB
- Type: Legendary Planeswalker Kaito
- Rarity: Mythic Rare
- Starting loyalty: Three
- Static ability: At the beginning of your end step, if Kaito Shizuki entered the battlefield this turn, he phases out.
- First ability: +1: Draw a card. Ten discard a card unless you attacked this turn.
- Second ability: -2: Create a 1/1 Blue Ninja Creature token with “This Creature can’t be blocked.”
- Third ability: -7: You get an emblem with “Whenever a Creature you control deals combat damage to a player, search your library for a Blue or Black Creature card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.”
The key to most successful Planeswalkers is the ability to protect itself and allow multiple activations before the opponent can destroy it. Kaito Shizuki’s static ability is an excellent protection mechanism that almost guarantees at least two activations.
Phasing out on the first turn it’s played lets its controller safely activate the -2 ability without worrying about a lethal attack. Then on the second turn after attacking with the unblockable token, the +1 turns into card draw. This is an excellent line to take that is right in line with the value-based game plan Ninjas employ.
Outside of Ninja tribal, Kaito Shuzuki should be a fine option as a three-mana value play in regular Blue and Black control or tempo decks. Three-mana Planeswalkers are generally played for their ability to create incremental advantage, not necessarily to win the game. The Ninja token is a threat that represents a clock and must be killed. The card draw is worthwhile and helps you hit a land drop on turn four or find a key interaction piece against aggro.
The ultimate ability is game-winning. Being able to get a free Creature anytime a Creature you control deals combat damage to a player is free value and quickly represents an unbeatable board state.
Kamigawa spoilers season begins on January 27 leading up to the set’s full release on Feb. 18.