Ao, the Dawn Sky – Kamigawa: Neon Destiny
Date Reviewed: March 22, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 4.33
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Kamigawa sets always seem to make statements about what dragons can do. It may not always look like it now, but Champions of Kamigawa‘s dragons were to big creatures at the time what M11’s Titans were to their time. And it looks very much like Neon Dynasty is repeating history once again. I’m not implying that Ao is going to be as dominating as some famous creatures of the past, because he works best with specific subsets of cards; I am definitely implying that when he finds himself in a deck with those cards, he is capable of crazy sequences and of putting your opponent in a no-win scenario. Killing him can easily put four creatures on the table instead; heck, if you’re playing with Memnite, it can easily put seven creatures on the table.
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
Ao, the Dawn Sky is a very white dragon, between vigilance and his death triggers. A team-wide buff is a good deterrent against killing him, but the ability to potentially inundate the board with permanents is a very weird, albeit intriguing, angle of attack; you see deep, but you don’t get a ton of total value. Still, being able to replace himself on death somewhat is solid, and it’s remarkable that Ao can also fish out Atsushi; seven cards is also a fair amount in terms of digging.
Ao’s probably somewhere around the middle of the cycle in terms of strength; he’s not nearly as explosive as Atsushi or as irrepressible as Junji, but he offers a lot of decks some nice advantage in terms of being able to turn his death into advantage or just swoop early and often. I think he’s powerful, even if that first death ability reads weirdly at times, and he’ll likely be a common white card in the format ahead.
Constructed: 3.75 (not as good as Atsushi or Junji, but still good in his own right)
Commander [EDH]: 4
The savior for white weenie decks has arrived ladies and gentlemen and it is in the form of Ao the spirit dragon! An already better Serra Angel for the same cost (I still love you Serra Angel) a 5/4 vigilance flyer for five is fantastic but, as is the case with these dragons, you get some pretty awesome bonus effects when they die. When I say the white weenie savior has arrived, I meant it in the form of the first dies ability. If your deck is filled with lower cost creatures you’ll be able to put a good amount into your hand right from the get go or at the very least put some dead cards away into the graveyard so you could potentially draw something better. The second ability is when you have your awesome army of white weenie creatures out and about and you’ll be able to give them not one, but TWO +1/+1 counters (including your vehicles) to be able to swing for big damage. Great card, 100% worth building around in limited and in commander.
Commander [EDH]: 5/5
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