With all of the talk of the return of Ninjstsu, transforming sagas and an almost staggering number of cycles, it was easy to miss a hidden treasure in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. That treasure is Samurais.
Although not as flashy as Ninjas or as awe-inspiring as dragons, this sets army of Samurai bring a power not expected. I mean, let’s be honest. Wizards didn’t really reveal them with the same fanfare as some of the other big mechanics and cards. But I have found that each set has a hidden ‘unsung hero’ type that finds a home in the meta and that hero is a samurai.
NOTE: I ONLY INCLUDED THOSE SAMURAIS IN WHITE and RED
My favorite in standard is Imperial Subduer. All samurai are intended to attack alone, so, early on, this card wins the one-on-one subduing their opponent.
Not all Samurai are Warriors nor Warriors, Samurais. But who says they can’t work together? Well, not Wotc. A great many Neon Dynasty cards team up warriors and samurai with great support cards and synergy. Imperial Subduer, for one, triggers to warriors AND samurai. But, a great many more cards support this combination.
Boosting all warriors, Kargan Warleader works well with the Samurai/Warrior onslaught.
Obviously, Samurai would work well with equipments. Lizard Blades and Lion Sash seem to be powerfully useful in many decks, but especially Samurai. Some other great inclusions are Maul of the Skyclave (flying/first strike and +2/+2), Ancestral Katana (good in that warrior combo and +2/+1) and Bearded Axe (because it ramps to other equipments).
If you insist on going down the equipment aka Voltron path (since the Samurai attack optimally alone anyway), Cards like Forging the Tyrite Sword, Fighter Class and Akiri, Fearless Voyager can aid you; making it easier and/or cheaper to equip, unattach and protect your samurai.
You also have Nahiri who can aid you with some card flow and exiling that pesky enchantment or tapped artifact or creature. But, although not an optimal choice, if you can get her to her ultimate, she can pull out that much needed creature or equipment when you really need it. But, definitely, if you’re going to go the Voltron route, Bruenor Battlehammer is your man! Not only can he make equipment cost next to nothing, but he ramps your Voltron Samurai or warrior for the big hits!
There are also a good many cards that actually make 2/2 white Samurai creature tokens with vigilance. These tokens are great for a Voltron deck that maybe has a harder time keeping creatures out. The more the merrier, right? Or maybe it’s the more harder it is to keep my board clear. It could also aid in that nice Vigilance deck that I’m really eager to build.
And don’t forget those goblin samurais. That’s right, Kamigawa brings back a couple of these regimental, disciplined agents of chaos. Akki Ronin is ok, but Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei looks like tons of fun. Giving all of your creatures haste and the hopes of a beavy of 5/5 red Dragon Spirit creature tokens with flying makes this little guy a real danger. You will, of course, have to keep either the equipments, Auras or Counters flowing. I also think Goro-Goro would make a fun commander with a lot of chances at the whole Red/Agro synergy with its fast paced, run and gun nature along with the dragons as finishers? Yep, could be amazing.
Another Samurai I’m looking forward to, not only, playing in standard but trying out as my Commander is Isshin, Two Heavens as One. Doubling triggered abilities is a way to get things out of hand real fast; especially in Commander.
One legendary Samurai I’m already enjoying is Risona, Asari Commander. If you can Voltron onto this card, they either have to sacrifice creatures continually or allow indestructible. So far it’s work to keep that counter, but I’m determined to keep on it. It would also make a good commander that can possibly protect itself.
Selfless Samurai has a lot of great potential. Giving your attacking Samurai or Warrior lifelink, you’re padding your life against your opponent’s onslaught. This card also could work well in a white commander deck; being one in a long line of protection cards that can maintain your commander against death.
What have I missed? What combos have you seen work best? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Facebook (see the link)!