After first appearing in 2019’s War of the Spark, The Wanderer has been revealed as the new emperor of Kamigawa and is a central character in the narrative of Kamigawa: Naon Dynasty.
This mysterious White-aligned Planeswalker has been the source of rampant speculation since her introduction in War of the Spark as simply The Wanderer. Some Magic: The Gathering players speculated that the character was Emrakul in disguise.
Neon Dynasty reveals that The Wanderer is the emperor of Kamigawa and childhood friend of Kaito Shizuki, whose spark was ignited after a run-in with Tezzeret. The expansion of her character comes with a new Mythic Rare Planeswalker to represent her: The Wandering Emperor
The Wandering Emperor
- Mana value: 2WW
- Type: Legendary Planeswalker
- Rarity: Mythic Rare
- Starting loyalty: Three
- Keyword: Flash
- Static ability: As long as The Wandering Emperor entered the battlefield this turn, you may activate her loyalty abilities any time you could cast an instant.
- First ability: +1: Put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target Creature. It gains first strike until end of turn.
- Second ability: -1: Create a 2/2 White Samurai Creature token with vigilance.
- Third ability: Exile target tapped Creature. You gain two life.
The Wandering Emperor is a versatile Planeswalker that challenges players to figure out when it’s best to use it.
A basic use for the card is as a combat trick. The Wandering Emperor can come down before damage and help a Creature win combat. This requires holding up four mana; Mono-White Aggro decks don’t want to do this.
This leads to evaluating The Wandering Emperor as another option for White-based control decks looking for cards that generate value over time. Holding up four mana is not unusual for most control decks and each ability does just about everything but draw cards.
The Wandering Emperor’s -2 ability to exile removal and gain two life is excellent. It can be used before damage to destroy an opponent’s threat. Two life is also meaningful in the aggro matchup.
Each other ability has a situational use. The -1 can create a blocker that helps stall the game. The +1 helps get this strategy past the finish line. Giving an evasive threat +1/+1 every turn should end the game relatively quickly if left unanswered.
When building around The Wandering Emperor, think about how it fits into the four-drop slot. It could end up being a two-of or sideboard piece for Creature-based matchups.
The Wanderer returns in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty when the set drops on Magic Arena and Magic Online on Feb. 10. A full tabletop release is scheduled for Feb. 18.