Heiko Yamazaki, the General
– Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
Date Reviewed: April 1, 2022
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Both Heiko and her sister have abilities with very high ceilings – as long as they stay on the table, and you have them or another relevant creature to attack with, you can loop any eligible card with a self-sacrifice ability or effects that look for them dying and returning, or even just make something unkillable. Heiko’s cost is a little late-game for the formats with the most game-breaking of those effects, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her do something in Standard. That’s a pretty big format right now, and there’s a set about Urza and Mishra coming relatively soon. Of course, we can’t really talk about a legendary creature without talking about Commander, and in Commander you’re probably looking at equipment. That’s a good use for Heiko, though it remains to be seen whether she’s best in a mono-red deck (perhaps led by either her or Rograkh) or as a maindeck card with a multicolored leader.
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
Speaking of Samurai/Warriors acting alone, Heiko Yamazaki is both a reference to yesterday’s card and support for that particular archetype. She only cares that someone does so at some point, which makes for fun if you can pair her with ways to take multiple combat steps, and while she’s not great herself, a 3/2 with trample isn’t bad when paired with the threat of recursion.
I see what they’re going for, a sort of Voltron strategy of trying to load up Samurai with equipment and other boons to hit hard, and she helps that out a bit. I don’t think the strategy is necessarily optimal, but it can be fun, and even without that as its centerpiece, threatening to fish back artifacts each turn isn’t so bad.
Constructed: 3 (depends on what shape the decks take, but I can see her doing work)
Limited: 4 (recursion can be powerful, and she’s definitely a source of it)
Commander [EDH]: 2.5 (not many decks want to go all-in on Exalted attacking, and I’m not convinced she’ll pair well with the extant ones or carve out new ones in that mold)
Four mana for a 3/3 trample is okay but the focus of this card is stacking it with equipment and auras so that it can attack alone. The goal is to cast artifacts from your graveyard by attacking alone. I think it is too expensive for constructed and in limited you’ll have to get lucky to get enough artifacts, equipment, and auras which is a challenge.
Despite being a legendary creature, I don’t see this card being used as a commander anytime soon. it’s just not strong enough compared to what else is out there. Could this be thrown into a deck with a Voltron strategy? Sure but in the coveted real estate that is a commander deck it’ll be challenging to find a home for this card.
Commander [EDH]: 2
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