Magic: The Gathering’s highly anticipated new set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, arrives online Feb. 10 and in tabletop form on Feb. 18. Wizards of the Coast revealed new details Thursday on how the set will differ from its predecessors. Fans can expect loads of new cards across the spectrum, many of which will behave in entirely new ways.
The plane of Kamigawa first appeared in the lore of Magic in 2004 with the Kamigawa block (Champions of Kamigawa, Betrayers of Kamigawa, and Saviors of Kamigawa). Originally inspired by ancient Japanese myth and legend, this new iteration takes place some 1,200 years later and coincides with Magic’s current timeline. Fans can expect a blend of ancient and modern tropes, with a lavish cyberpunk flair.
Dave Humpherys was the set’s lead game design architect, and the goals handed over to him blend together a mix of artifacts and enchantments.
“In the past, we’ve only kind of focused on one [or the other] before,” Humpherys said during a press preview event. “Tradition is most represented from an enchantment side of things, and modernity is represented from an artifacts side of things. We do have traditional equipment that we still want to show up and have in this world, but there’s a spectrum that goes along with color pie — from green to white, to black, to red, to blue — from the more traditional to the more techy.”
Humpherys said that the ways in which players are able to modify creatures on the battlefield will be extremely diverse. Rather than piling loads of modifications on a single creature and trying to punch through their opponent’s defenses, players will instead be rewarded for widening the battlefield — that is, having many modified creatures in play at one time.
The popular ninjutsu mechanic is returning, which allows players to swap unblocked attacking creatures for a card with the Ninjutsu keyword. With the original attacker back in their hand, the new creature then springs into action, tapped, and hopefully dealing a surprising amount of damage. Channel will also be returning, which allows players to discard certain cards for various effects, but only on artifacts and enchantments. The versatile mechanic should allow players to get creative with their decks.
The reconfigure mechanic will also show up on many cards as high-tech creatures.
“I was really enamored with this idea,” said Humpherys. “You can have a creature that somehow is taking on almost a cyborg aspect to whoever it’s equipping, conferring its powers to the creature that it’s equipped to.” Since there’s so many of them in the set, they can also act as creatures capable of reconfiguring with each other.
Most sagas — introduced in the Dominaria set — have a twist this time around. Once they complete, players will exile them and return them to the battlefield as creatures. For art treatments, the set will contain a new glowing ink treatment and land cards modeled after traditional Japanese wood block prints.