Saviors of Kamigawa has been a much-anticipated set, a major reason for this being that the first two sets of the block, Champions and Betrayers respectively, did not have the punch that characterized Mirrodin Block. So, they presumed, Wizards would put something in next set, Saviors, which would put the rest of the block in place. Our place here is to tell you whether they succeeded or not.
These past few weeks we have been showing you the cards of Kamigawa and our assessment of their strength. In this article, we will be doing the same, with Green, color of the Forests and things with their might.
Arashi, the Sky Asunder
Legendary Creature - Spirit, 5/5, Rare
XG, T: Arashi deals X damage to target creature with flying.
Channel - XGG, discard Arashi: Arashi deals X damage to each creature with flying.
As a vanilla 5/5 for 5, this would be dull if solid. With the ability, it's slightly more impressive; particularly in a metagame where many, if not most Blue creatures have Flying. Might see a bit bit of sideboard play in Constructed formats.
Ayumi, the Last Visitor
Legendary Creature - Spirit, 7/3, Rare
With a power of 7 and a casting cost of only 5, this would see a decent amount of play. In a Kamigawa environment, with so many Legendary Lands around, it'll see even more. Won't make much of a dent in Standard, but some have speculated it might keep people from inserting random Legendary Lands in place of Basics there.
Legendary Creature - Kirin Spirit, 4/4, Rare
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may gain life equal to that spell's converted mana cost.
One of the first lessons of Magic Strategy is that having more life than your opponent does not win you the game. At a pricy 7, Bounteous Kirin is too small to justify the cost in the majority of cases. In Spiritcraft decks where Arcane and Spirit decks are played frequently, expect some Sideboard action, but don't hold your breath.
Creature - Spirit, 3/3, Uncommon
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.
Expensive and ineffective. Nine times out of ten you're better off playing Fangren Firstborn, which isn't exactly the next Morphling.
Creatures with flying can't block creatures without flying.
Unless your metagame plays a lot of flying creatures and you have no other way to get around, this isn't worth the deck space.
Descendant of Masumaro
Creature - Human Monk, 1/1, Uncommon
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a +1/+1 counter on Descendant of Masumaro for each card in your hand, then remove a +1/+1 counter from Descendant of Masumaro for each card in target opponent's hand.
In the right deck, especially facing the right deck, this card could prove quite a powerhouse. In a deck based around Wisdom this could easily generate a Counter or more a turn, though it could prove unreliable in some cases, as its strength relies partially on how your opponent plays as well.
Dosan's Oldest Chant
You gain 6 life.
Draw a card.
People didn't play Rejuvenate way back in the day. This isn't going to see a lot of play either.
Elder Pine of Jukai
Creature - Spirit, 2/1, Common
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, reveal the top three cards of your library. Put all land cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
As a 2/1 for 3, this would be okay, but not a first pick in any draft. With Soulshift 2, it would see some play. And with the Soulshift and the ability it might see some play in Constructed Spirit decks.
Put a 1/1 green Snake creature token into play for each card in your hand.
Epic (For the rest of the game, you can't play spells. At the beginning of each of your upkeeps, copy this spell except for its epic ability.)
When I first saw this card, I looked at the ability and said "Not bad". The problem with it, of course, is the cost. At 8, you're only going to be playing in this in the late game, where it won't matter as much, or a deck with a lot of mana accelerators (should help that Birds of Paradise is coming back in Ravnica). In the right deck, this could prove a powerful finisher.
Creature - Spirit, 3/3, Common
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, regenerate Fiddlehead Kami.
Though the art is nice, it's too costly and too limited to see significant play. For a five mana 3/3, I'd rather play Briarknit Kami, which would at least do something most of the time.
Creature - Spirit, 2/1, Uncommon
2G, T: Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
Channel - 3G, Discard Ghost-Lit Nourisher: Target creature gets +4/+4 until end of turn.
Not bad for its cost; a 2/1 for 3 with a relatively cheap pumping ability that can be used as an uncounterable Monstrous Growth. Not going to see much play in Constructed, though, where you have better options.
Creature - Spirit, 2/1, Uncommon
When Haru-Onna comes into play, draw a card.
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may return Haru-Onna to its owner's hand.
In the right deck, this could really make an impact; card draw is always appreciated. The only thing is that it costs a good deal; more than you're going to want to pay most of the time for a 2/1, even with the card drawing ability. If the deck has enough mana sources and enough Spirits or Arcane spells (Spiritcraft, perhaps?), I could see this being played.
Inner Calm, Outer Strength
Instant - Arcane, Common
Target creature gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your hand.
Like the other Wisdom cards, this one is very situational. Sometimes, it'll end up netting you +6/+6 for 3, which could push the damage over the limit and win the game. Then again, sometimes, it could do +1/+1. Most of the time, this'll be inferior to Giant Growth or most other pump spells, though a deck made around Wisdom could exploit it.
Kami of the Tended Garden
Creature - Spirit, 4/4, Uncommon
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Kami of the Tended Garden unless you pay G.
Soulshift 3 (When this is put into a graveyard from play, you may return target Spirit card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to your hand.)
There are far better creatures with Soulshift than this, and there are far better 4/4s for 4 than this. As it is, a mediocre card.
Creature - Snake Warrior, 2/3, Uncommon
Legendary Snakes you control can't be the targets of spells or abilities.
Whenever Kashi-Tribe Elite deals combat damage to a creature, tap that creature and it doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
Not bad for 3- the first ability is virtually useless in Block and Standard, but the second might help once in a blue moon. Might show up in some decks where people are playing Sosuke and his friends, but don't buy a playset.
Masumaro, First to Live
Legendary Creature – Spirit, */*, Rare
Masumaro, First to Live's power and toughness are each equal to twice the number of cards in your hand.
As situational as any of the Wisdom cards, and has the weaknesses and advantages of all of them. Could be a 8/8 for 6, or could be a 0/0 for 6. Unless something is made around him, he's probably not going to be the powerhouse of tomorrow.
Creature – Snake Warrior Archer, 2/2, Common
Whenever Matsu-Tribe Birdstalker deals combat damage to a creature, tap that creature and it doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
G: Matsu-Tribe Birdstalker may block as though it had flying until end of turn.
Like Kashi-Tribe Elite, the ability could have some use, though for its cost the Power and Toughness are a bit low. Not going to see much play unless the metagame ends up with a lot of fliers in play, and even then it's too costly to see serious play.
Return Molting Skin to its owner's hand: Regenerate target creature.
A reusable Regeneration for one Mana more. When was the last time you played Regeneration in a serious deck? When was the last time you olayed Broken Fall in a serious deck?
Creature – Spirit, 6/4, Common
Soulshift 5 (When this is put into a graveyard from play, you may return target Spirit card with converted mana cost 5 or less from your graveyard to your hand.)
Not bad, but certainly not memorable; too slow for Constructed. For that much mana, go with Ayumi or another card.
Creature – Human Monk, 4/3, Common
As long as you have more cards in hand than each opponent, Okina Nightwatch gets +3/+3.
In some situations, this will be a 7/6 for 5; not a bad card at all. In other situations, however, this is a 4/3 for 5, which isn't great. The problem with this and other Wisdom cards is that they're unreliable; they depend on what your opponent is playing as well as what you are. Might see some sideboard play. But hey, at least you’ll be able to get a shiny one with a Gold DCI logo if you compete in some tournaments.
Creature – Human Druid, 1/1, Common
Soulshift 7 (When this is put into a graveyard from play, you may return target Spirit card with converted mana cost 7 or less from your graveyard to your hand.)
Probably on the of the best chump blockers in the block. Not only can it swing for one to do damage, but virtually any creature in a Spiritcraft deck can be reanimated with this Druid (except himself, of course). Expect to see some play in Standard (perhaps more after the rotation.)
Reki, the History of Kamigawa
Legendary Creature – Human Shaman, 1/2, Rare
Whenever you play a legendary spell, draw a card.
With what is probably the strangest flavor text in the set, Reki, the History of Kamigawa isn't that useful by itself. Most decks don't play enough Legendary creatures to make it worthwhile.
Instant - Arcane, Common
Destroy target artifact or enchantment if its converted mana cost is less than or equal to the number of cards in your hand.
Draw a card.
With Naturalize, Oxidize, and Viridian Shaman in the format, this isn't fast or reliable enough to see play.
Creature – Snake Shaman Scout, 1/1, Common
T: You many put a land card from your hand into play.
Playing an extra land per turn, by itself, is a fairly useful thing. For one mana, it’s even more powerful. The problem with this card is that it’s vulnerable; any burn spell could knock it out without any effort. Nevertheless, you might see it pop up once in a while.
Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant
Legendary Creature, 2/3, Rare
Reveal your hand: If you have seven or more land cards in your hand, flip Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant.
Whenever a land you control is tapped for mana, add one mana of that type to your mana pool for each other land you control with the same name.
When I first saw this card, I imagined combos with Drain Soul and Fireball and the like. Then I noticed the hand requirement was seven lands, not just seven cards. The hand condition is too hard to get and too debilitating to use. If you have seven lands in your hand, you're not going to be doing much anyway. Won't see competitive play.
Seed the Land
Whenever a land comes into play, its controller puts a 1/1 green Snake creature token into play.
Despite it being the article's namesake, a 1/1 Snake token per turn has limited value- not to mention the fact that your opponent benefits equally. There are better picks.
Seek the Horizon
Search your library for up to three basic land cards, reveal them, and put them into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Kodama’s Reach is better in most situations; unless you’re in need of Wisdom filler, this is nothing to write home about.
Sekki, Season’ Guide
Legendary Creature - Spirit, 0/0, Rare
Sekki, Seasons' Guide comes into play with eight +1/+1 counters on it.
If damage would be dealt to Sekki, prevent that damage, remove that many +1/+1 counters from Sekki, and put that many 1/1 colorless Spirit creature tokens into play.
Sacrifice eight Spirits: Return Sekki from your graveyard to play.
An 8/8 for 8 that is, theoretically, infinitely returnable (though I might prefer to have 8 1/1s). Plus, with some kind of permanant Toughness booster (a la Blanchwood Armor, though hopefully something better) it's an infinite producer of 1/1 tokens. The problem is, of course, that it costs 8, which isn't practical without some mana acceleration. In the right deck, though, it could prove powerful.
Shinen of Life’s Roar
Creature – Spirit, 1/2, Uncommon
All creatures able to block Shinen of Life's Roar do so.
Channel - 2GG, Discard Shinen of Life's Roar: All creatures able to block target creature this turn do so.
An uncounterable Lure for 1 more or a slightly larger Taunting Elf for 1 more. Neither of those are great.
Creature – Beast, 5/4, Uncommon
At the beginning of your upkeep, return a green creature you control to its owner’s hand.
A functional reprint of Stampeding Wildebeests. A 5/4 for 4 is never bad, and the disability can be used to your advantage if you have Eternal Witness or other comes-into-play cards in your deck.
And that's it. We've gone through all of Saviors of Kamigawa these last few days, and it's not entirely the set people were hoping for. Nevertheless, we invite you to make your own conclusions about the set; and keep in mind, in only a few months, Mirrodin Block will rotate out, and it'll be a whole new format. It'll be when Ravnica appears that we know the full worth of Saviors.
Until next time.