Welcome to Part 3 of our Kamigawa Neon Dynasty Draft Guide. This time we are examining the Archetypes of each of the Enemy Color Pairs in MTG’s latest set.
Whether you're a pro level paper drafter or a Magic Arena grinder we’ve got all the info you need right here. We’ll take you through what each color pair is attempting to do, highlight which uncommons make the deck tick and explain which commons play a vital supporting role.
The enemy color pair archetypes are covered in detail in this guide so you can command the table during your next draft. Without further ado let's get into it.
Orhov’s theme is ‘artifacts and enchantments matter’. There are many cards in this color pair which care about you having an artifact or enchantment in play. Additionally a handful of cards reward you for having both of these card types in play at the same time. Take a look at Naomi, Pillar of Order, the signpost uncommon for the color pair. Naomi creates a 2/2 white knight when it enters the battlefield and a further one each time it attacks, but only if you control both an artifact and an enchantment.
Other payoffs include Assassin’s Ink which is a premium removal spell and one that any player would be happy to have in their pile. Draft Orzhov however and this card becomes even more efficient, offering a one mana discount if you control an artifact and a further discount if you also control an enchantment. In a similar vein Nezumi Bladeblesser picks up either deathtouch, menace or both depending on the cards you control. Whilst a 3/2 for three mana is overcosted, a 3/2 menace with deathtouch is excellent value.
In terms of enablers for this archetype there’s no shortage of artifacts and enchantments across black and white. As such it shouldn't be too difficult to have one of each on the battlefield. Among the best are Intercessor’s Arrest which is white’s common removal spell and Leech Gauntlet a powerful uncommon equipment creature.
Whilst there are many powerful artifacts and enchantments across this color pair, the archetype isn't well supported with payoffs. As such Orzhov will often play out as a ‘good stuff’ deck rather than as a synergistic masterpiece.
Golgari’s signpost uncommon is Gloomshrieker. This 2/1 creature with menace rebuys a permanent card from the graveyard when it enters the battlefield. Whilst the body on this guy might not be impressive, the possibility of a two for one sure is.
In a highly synergistic set such as Kamigawa Neon Dynasty, Golgari’s signpost is a little confusing. It points us in the direction of graveyard recursion but unfortunately this theme is not well supported. Looking for other graveyard payoffs we see Unforgiving One and Okiba Salvage at uncommon. Whilst both cards have potential in their own right, they are asking different things of the drafter. The first is looking for modified creatures whilst the second is concerned with artifacts and enchantments.
This lack of identity is troubling and things get worse when we look to stock the graveyard. The keyword ‘mill’ is unsupported in Golgari (except at rare) and there are no ways to rummage or loot. It seems our best bet for filling the yard is using the channel cards available in green or the sacrifice ones in black. Once again however these themes do not overlap. Green does not support sacrifice and black has no channel cards at lower rarity.
Golgari drafters would do well to shy away from these graveyard themes. By drafting a ‘goodstuff’ deck we can combine black’s premium removal with green’s efficient creatures as well as harnessing the powerful sagas available to both. Due to the strong commons available in both these colors, this approach will often yield a powerful deck filled with pockets of synergy rather than a strong overarching theme.
Blue-red typically gets lumped with the ‘spells matter’ theme so it's refreshing to see that ‘artifacts matter’ this time round. The signpost uncommon Enthusiastic Mechanaut, is a flying 2/2 for two mana which is a good standalone rate. However things get better as this goblin artificer also provides a one mana discount from any artifact spells you cast.
This signpost is clearly recommending that we load up on artifacts. Handily there's no shortage of them to choose from. Patchwork Automaton for instance, offers another great payoff for the deck. It gains a +1/+1 counter whenever you cast an artifact and with ward 2 it will be tricky for your opponent to deal with.Replication Specialist also benefits from a high density of artifacts as it can clone them as they enter the battlefield. This is a well costed ability at two mana and the 3/4 flier isn't embarrassing either.
Dragonspark Reactor is another build-around that promises to dome our opponent for a bunch of damage although it may be too slow to perform well in an aggressive match up. Reality Heist offers a powerful way to dig through your deck and find a key artifact to close out the game. Too expensive for other archetypes, this payout should find its way round the table to you if it’s opened.
With no shortage of payoffs in this color pair it's imperative that your deck is brimming with artifacts. Luckily, or perhaps by design, there is a wealth of choice at both common and uncommon. From defensive artifact creatures like Moonfolk Puzzlemaker to aggressive ones such as Simian Sling you’ll have little trouble finding pieces to fit your game plan.
Red-white usually has an aggressive bent in limited magic and this set doesn't disappoint. The theme for this color pair is a tribal one which ties warriors and samurai together with an ‘attacks alone’ subtheme. The signpost uncommon is Asari Captain. This 5/3 body has haste and gives a +1/+0 bonus to any warrior or samurai that attacks alone. Since this bonus is multiplied by the number of warriors and samurai on your side of the battlefield, it can quickly get out of hand.
There are no shortage of payoffs for this tribal theme with many warriors and samurai across the two colors. Among the more powerful are Heiko Yamazaki, the General and Norika Yamazaki, the poet. Both of these legendary creatures offer recursive card advantage with the ability to cast artifacts or enchantments from the graveyard.
Tempered in Solitude is another way to gain card advantage from the attacks alone trigger. A more risky proposition, this enchantment can become a dead card when you don’t have good attacks but will snowball in certain board states. Ancestral Katana offers a little more balance. The equipment can be attached at a reduced rate to a samurai or warrior who attacks alone. However it can always be equipped in the regular fashion if you choose to deviate from that plan.
Blue-green combines the new Channel mechanic with a traditional ramp theme. The signpost uncommon, Colossal Skyturtle has a whopping mana value of seven but also boasts two different channel abilities. This is an expensive card, with a flying 6/5 on the front end, yet thanks to channel there’s no downside to sticking it in your deck.
On the hunt for other ramp payoffs we find Walking Skyscraper. Sure this card has modified synergy but it slots very nicely into Simic ramp too! Once this guy hits the battlefield you’ll be facing a very sorry looking opponent if they don’t have an answer in hand. Another great card to ramp into is Spinning Wheel Kick. This powerful removal spell can decimate your opponent’s board. Make sure you don't cast it into open mana however, as a well timed removal spell could blow you out.
Greater Tanuki is a key common in this archetype as it’s both a payoff and an enabler. Ramping into a six mana 6/5 is always going to put a smile on your face but being able to ramp and fix with the same card is almost making the game too easy! Another enabler Orochi Merge-Keeper can tap for one or even two mana if you can modify it. Given how many ways there are to gain +1/+1 counters in green that shouldn't be too difficult to achieve.
Boseiju Reaches Skyward is another card that both enables the ramp strategy and provides a payoff. Taking you from four lands to six, it spits out a massive body that continues to grow with your land count. Whilst the sagas can be a little slow and this is no exception, a defensively built ramp deck should be able to wait a couple of turns for this strong payoff.