It’s been great fun to follow along with the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty previews, and there are plenty of sweet and quite powerful cards in there. There are also some truly ridiculous cards as well, which I’ve really enjoyed getting across. I can’t say I’m sold on the sci-fi, cyberpunk aesthetic, but I don’t mind a bit of silliness with some of the cards – today we’re going to look at the most ridiculous cards yet previewed.
10. Greater Tanuki
Well, I learnt something interesting today – a tanuki is a real, actual factual animal native to Japan, and not something like a unicorn or a bunyip. The tanuki – or Japanese raccoon dog – features heavily in Japanese folklore, to the point that I thought they were like fauns – mythical and imaginary. Shows what I know! I can say with some confidence, however, that the Greater Tanuki is an invention, and that real tanuki don’t grow much larger than half a meter. The creature type is accurate, though – tanuki are, indeed, canids!
9. Otawara, Soaring City
— Emma Partlow (@emmmzyne) January 31, 2022
It’s not even that out of the question for us to get an actual Star Destroyer on a Magic card these days, perhaps with a Universes Beyond crossover with Star Wars – but until then, we can get a head start on our Galactic Empire themed decks with Castle Locthwain and Otawara. Throw Lightning Talons in there for good measure, and we’re well on our way to ruling the galaxy as father and son.
8. Born to Drive
Lynyrd Skynyrd might have been born to run, but that’s no good to me if I’m looking to get aggro with a beefy Vehicle in Magic. The weirdest thing about this card from a flavor perspective is that you can attach it to a Vehicle, implying the vehicle itself was born to drive? I suppose that’s true in a very broad sense, but then again you can just enchant something like a Gilded Lotus or an Orb of Dragonkind, which is where the flavor of this card really starts to break down.
7. Tatsunari, Toad Rider
“They call him Tatsunai, Toad Rider.”
“Why do they call him that?”
“…you know, I’ve got no idea.”
I have so many questions. Why did Tatsunari pick a toad, of all things, to ride? How did he train it? How long did it take for him to get his nickname? Also – most importantly, as far as I’m concerned, why is he riding a frog, when he’s supposed to be a toad rider? The rules text clearly states that his mount, Keimi, is a “legendary 3/3 black and green Frog creature.” Surely of all people, someone known as “Toad Rider” isn’t going to mix up a frog and a toad?
6. Circuit Mender
There’s a very clever little gag in this card that I missed the first few times I looked at it – and it’s not just the pun on “circuit breaker.” Circuit Mender is a helpful little thing, gaining life and drawing cards, and the flavor text tells us goes about fixing things up. However, the creature type tells us that Circuit Mender is an Insect. What other word do we use to describe many Insects? That’s right – the thing going about and fixing electronic devices is, of all things, a bug. Well played.
5. The Reality Chip
I mean, we could put all the new reconfigure cards in here. Who ever thought we’d be playing with cards that had a type line of “Equipment Monkey” or “Equipment Boar” – but at least those cards resemble the animals they’re typed with. The Reality Chip is, somehow, supposed to be a Jellyfish. Has anyone in the creative department seen a jellyfish, or have they just had the concept of a jellyfish vaguely described to them by a small, excited child? From Hydroid Krasis to Clinging Anemones to Man-o’-War, which definitely isn’t a jellyfish. I suppose they didn’t want to add “hydrozoa” as a creature type.
4. Kappa Tech-Wrecker
Alright, we see what you did there. A Turtle Ninja, yes yes, very clever. It’s difficult to determine the turtle’s age – if only we could hear it speak, and then we could determine if it’s a teenager by seeing if it says things like “bussin’” or “high key.” In any case, we know it’s not a mutant, as it has ninjutsu instead of mutate – and besides, there isn’t any pizza in the art, nor is the Kappa Tech-Wrecker wearing an eye mask.
3. High-Speed Hoverbike
“I flash in my High-Speed Hoverbike, tap down your Babygodzilla, crew it with Aladdin and eat Will the Wise” is not a sentence I ever expected someone to say while announcing game actions while playing Magic: the Gathering, but here we are. Not all the cyberpunk-style flavor of this new set hits the mark for me, personally, and while I didn’t mind things like caravans and ships being crewed as vehicles, something that would be more at home on Coruscant doesn’t get there for me (yelled the old man at a cloud).
2. Mechtitan Core
If we’re going to get silly, let’s get silly. Mechtitan Core is one of the most ridiculous cards I’ve ever seen, but it does kinda work – unfortunately, “Voltron” is already taken in MTG parlance, as this is a much better fit than the three lands needed in Tron decks. Ramming five artifacts together to make a huge monster with every keyword ever printed is pretty sweet, and it’s a nice bonus that you get them all back (except the core) if they somehow deal with it. I can’t wait to turn four Ornithopters and a 2/4 vehicle into a 10/10!
1. Enormous Energy Blade
I don’t know what you were expecting – it’s a blade, made of energy, that really is quite sizeable. What else could they have possibly named this card? I remember seeing Mark Rosewater talk about how card names were an ever-diminishing resource that they had to be careful using, as sooner or later they’d run out of good names for cards. Maybe we’re scraping the bottom of that barrel a little sooner than expected – or maybe this is the beginning of a brand new era in naming cards. Next up: “Removal Spell” and “Undercosted Green Beater.”