Biting-Palm Ninja – Kamigawa: Neon Destiny
Date Reviewed: April 6, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Three mana for a 3/3 with menace isn’t so bad, but Biting-Palm Ninja has a couple of tricks up its sleeves: notably, it can trick itself in to get a hit in on turn 3, and it can give up its menace to rip a card from an opponent’s hand permanently. Menace also means it has a decent time getting in if it’s cast properly, and exiling a card is a rather nice way to wreck your opponent’s game plan. It’s not flashy, but it plays well with the modified batching mechanic, and ninjas have always had a decently easy time returning to the shadows for more carnage on subsequent turns. This is a pretty solid card in all, and while discard tends to be strongest when the game is earliest, exiling discard never goes out of style completely.
Limited: 4 (it’s good even if you never remove its menace counter)
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
I’m going to take a shot in the dark here and say someone on the design team is a Scorpion main in Mortal Kombat…
Biting-Palm Ninja by itself is a solid creature being a 3/3 for three and having menace. The cherry on top though is you can remove that menace counter to Thoughtseize an opponent when you deal combat damage to them. There are ways to get this counter back which can make for some annoyingly fun combos but I don’t think they would work in constructed. Overall this is a solid ninja that the tribe really needs to be viable long term in higher tier constructed formats like Modern and Pioneer.
Commander [EDH]: 3
Keyword counters are a great innovation – although you might run out of things to use as counters. I only do sometimes. Jokes aside, that doesn’t change that they’re a good concept, nor that we’re starting to see some very interesting mechanics for them. Biting-Palm Ninja is a particularly strong example of that, being very efficient when you cast it for its regular cost (as we’ve noted before, Betrayers of Kamigawa‘s ninjas mostly weren’t). The hand destruction effect is almost a minor extra, since there will be times when you don’t want to give up its evasive ability, but you can turn it into a synergy play with other cards in your deck. At FNMs in 2006, we used to use Skull Collector with ninjas, but there’s probably something even stronger in Ikoria . . .
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
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