4 New Decks in Kamigawa Neon Dynasty Standard
Naya RunesJeskai Hinata ControlDmir NinjasRadkos Anvil Sacrifice
Kamigawa Neon Dynasty is here and it has made quite the splash in Standard! After a few sets that didn’t make great waves in the Standard metagame, it’s been incredibly exciting to have so many powerful—and fun—new options to brew with. Today I’m going to show off two of the more powerful decks that have been established with Neon Dynasty as well as two of my own creations that I have had some success with. There are so many different cards and decks I want to talk about, but only limited words, so let’s get into it!
This might look like a meme, but the deck has actually put up some serious results in the Standard Metagame Challenges running on Arena over the last week. The deck is built to utilise the powerful interaction between Runeforge Champion, which makes all your Runes cost 1, and Jukai Naturalist, which reduces the cost of your enchantments by 1, thus making your Runes free. Given that all of the Kaldheim Runes draw a card when they enter the battlefield, this enables you to burn through your deck while adding to your battlefield, all for zero mana.
Generous Visitor has been showing its strength in all sorts of Green-White-based enchantment decks since Kamigawa Neon Dynasty dropped, and this might be its best home yet. Curving Visitor into the Jukai Naturalist + Runeforge Champion combo lets you throw a +1/+1 counter around wherever you’d like every time you play a Rune for free.
The deck rounds out with four copies of The Restoration of Eiganjo, which has been showing up in all sorts of White decks in new Standard, but is perhaps at its strongest here, as its second chapter allows you to resurrect a Jukai Naturalist or Generous Visitor that may have bitten the dust early in the game. The flip side of Restoration spits out Spirit tokens, which synergises with Hallowed Haunting, run just as a one-off in the deck above, but I have seen as many as four in the archetype. And is if the deck doesn’t have enough gas and +1/+1 counters, the archetype also boasts four copies of Showdown of the Skalds. The deck finishes out with singleton copies of the powerful The Wandering Emperor; Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice; and a couple of removal spells.
If you are looking for a great list to take to your Good Games Standard events, I would make a few tweaks to the above list and recommend the following:
If you are on a budget, I would see cutting The Wandering Emperor and Hallowed Haunting for more copies of Michiko’s Reign of Truth. Thankfully the deck is mostly built out of commons and uncommons, so is already great for those building on a budget!
Jeskai Hinata Control
Combo and control players, here’s one for you. This deck is probably the strongest deck to have risen from week 1 of Kamigawa Neon Dynasty and should definitely be on your radar whether you are playing the deck or not. The deck is built around the crazy combination of Hinata, Dawn-Crowned and Magma Opus: if you choose to split the four damage from Magma Opus between four targets, Hinata can reduce Magma Opus’ cost down to just UR. Given that Hinata is a bit of a removal magnet, often the correct play with the deck is to wait until you have six mana and then drop Hinata and then immediately fire off an Opus for two mana.
The rest of the deck plays very similarly to the Blue-Red control decks that we have seen dominant in Standard for the last few months, with Fading Hope and Abrade to deal with creatures; some combination of Jwari Disruption, Negate, and Disdainful Stroke as counter magic, and a mix of Smoldering Egg and Goldspan Dragon to go with Hinata and Opus as finishers. It’s worth noting that the counterspells and Valorous Stances work particularly well as protection spells with Hinata, as they can all be cast for one mana to protect her, and Goldspan Dragon, since they are effectively free.
There is a lot of flexibility in the list, so if you like tinkering with your decks, this is a great one to pick up and tune for your local meta. I’ve seen lists with four or zero Goldspan Dragon, four or zero Unexpected Windfall, four or zero Prismari Command, and so on. Here is what I would play, based on some tinkering with all of the lists I’ve seen:
If you are on a budget, you can cut down on Goldspan Dragons for more Smoldering Eggs, or just more control elements if you would prefer a less creature-heavy build.
This was my first build with the new set and it is sweeeet! If you were a fan of the old Mono Blue Tempo or UB Rogues decks, this one plays in a similar sort of space. The game plan is to drop one of the deck’s 11 one-drop fliers and use them to power out cheap and evasive Moon-Circuit Hackers, Biting-Palm Ninjas, and Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scions. Once you have established a strong board in the first three turns, simply use your Biting Palm Ninjas to shred your opponent’s hand and your plentiful removal to get their creatures out of the way.
Silver-Fur Master—aka Splinter— is the MVP of the deck as a two-mana lord that also makes all of your Ninjutsu costs one cheaper. This can enable some really nutty turn-four or -five plays where you Ninjutsu Thousand-Faced Shadow for 1UU, create a second copy of Silver-Fur Master, then Ninjutsu a Biting-Palm Ninja for just B, giving you an attacking 3/3 flier, two 3/3 lords, and a 5/5 Biting-Palm Ninja.
Blade of the Oni is one more evasive threat to help get your ninjas out, a great body to clone with Thousand-Faced Ninja, and a decent late-game strategy to help get your ninjas in one last time to finish off the opponent. I was initially skeptical of Kaito Shizuki in a deck like this, but he has seriously impressed. He provides unblockable attackers if you just need to finish off a game, and a steady stream of card advantage if your initial assault didn’t quite get the job done.
There is also a build of this deck floating around that cuts Lantern Bearers for Merfolk Windrobbers and shaves some of the top end for Soaring Thought-Thiefs. This classic Rogues package plays well with Silver-Fur Master, who also pumps Rogues, and gives the deck even more of that tempo feel. Here is the list I’m playing at the moment:
If you are on a budget, try running Satoru Umezawa instead of Kaito Shizuki, or try the Rogues package in those slots. The Agadeem’s Awakenings can be quite strong, but you can replace them with Swamps without too much pain.
Rakdos Anvil Sacrifice
This is my current Standard deck, and it is both incredibly fun and very powerful. If you’ve enjoyed any of the strong sacrifice decks we’ve had in Standard over the last few years—particularly the old Cat-Oven decks—this one is for you. It has a lot of the same tricky self-interactive lines, lots of cheap spells, and plenty of card advantage.
The deck is built around Oni-Cult Anvil, which can turn the artifact tokens from Shambling Ghast or Voldaren Epicure or any of the other artifacts in the deck into 1/1 artifact creatures. If you have nothing else to do, the Anvil then sacrifices that 1/1 token to drain the opponent for one and replace that token every turn. But the deck has plenty more to do—it can sacrifice those tokens or other expendable fodder to Eaten Alive, Voltage Surge, Deadly Dispute, or Mukotai Soulripper, all of which create a new Anvil token in the process.
Experimental Synthesiser and Morbid Opportunist are the secret best cards in the deck, letting you rip through your deck for more synergy pieces to slowly grind your opponent out. Most of my wins come from Anvil activations and attacking with 1/1s—which is incredibly satisfying—but Mukotai Soulripper and the singleton copies of Immersturm Predator or Anje, Maid of Dishonour, can act as slightly larger win conditions.
I’ve had an absolute blast with this deck, cannot recommend it highly enough if you like this sort of play style. Here is what I’m playing at the moment:
If you’re on a budget, you can easily do away with the Agadeem’s Awakening, which rarely gets cast, and the Lolth in the sideboard can be any other larger finisher. It might be tempting to do away with The Meathook Massacre, but the card is too important to the deck in my opinion.
If you pick up any of these decks for your Good Games Standard events, please send me a photo and let me know how you went, I’d love to hear from you! And if you’ve got any other sweet Kamigawa Neon Dynasty brews, likewise get in touch, I’m very much loving seeing what people are coming up with in the format. You can contact me on Twitter @Calm_Mirror, and I also run a drafting channel on Youtube called Draft Punks, where we have a very fun and active community, so would love to have you along.
Til next week!