Today, I’m turning my sights to Alchemy, and how the release of Kamigawa might impact the format. Of all the Kamigawa cards previewed so far, the ones that I find most impressive – the most “in your face” powerful – are the legendary Dragons. That said, brewing around them has been tricky, since they stand on their own rather than fitting into obvious shells, or synergizing with the mechanics of the format.
And then I remembered Fearsome Whelp.
Dragons is one of the top strategies in Alchemy, and is a natural home for any of the legendary Dragons from Kamigawa. The two I’ll be focusing on today are Atsushi, the Blazing Sky and Junji, the Midnight Sky.
Atsushi comes at the most important spot on the mana curve – four mana – where you can curve smoothly into it via Fearsome Whelp or Orb of Dragonkind.
Trample is more impactful than we tend to think, especially in a format where your Dragons can be blocked by the likes of Eyetwitch or Bird tokens.
Upon dying, Atsushi gives you your choice of Treasures or card advantage. I particularly like that you can choose either of these two diametrically opposed options, based on what the situation calls for. If you’re behind and need to deploy your spells quickly, you can choose the Treasures. If the game is dragging on and you need to find a replacement threat, you can choose to access your top two cards.
And of course, generating Treasures has additional value in a deck with Goldspan Dragon.
Similar to Atsushi’s trample, Junji’s menace prevents your hard-hitting threat from being easily blocked by your opponent’s smaller flyers. However, the most desirable ability is forcing the opponent to lose two life and discard two cards upon dying. A hallmark of the Dragons strategy is accumulating incidental damage. This will culminate in the opponent being hard pressed to kill Junji at all in a late game situation.
In fact, I think this ability is so powerful that I can easily envision purposely casting redundant copies of Junji just to cash in the dies ability. It’s great to have a creature which kills the opponent when it goes unanswered, but also hurts them so greatly when they do kill it. It also eliminates the risk of drawing multiple copies of a legend and being unable to put them to good use.
Alternatively, when Junji dies you can put a non-Dragon creature from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. The deck I have in mind won’t include many non-Dragon creatures, but it’s important to note that you can take a creature from any graveyard. This can come up big if you’ve sent something like a Hullbreaker Horror to the opponent’s graveyard via removal or discard.
Overall, adding Atsushi and Junji to an already-strong archetype will make the Dragons deck much more resilient to spot removal spells like Infernal Grasp and board sweepers like Doomskar and Blood on the Snow.