Kairi, the Swirling Sky – Kamigawa: Neon Destiny
Date Reviewed: March 23, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 4.07
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Let us hunt the heavens in dance . . .
Much like Ao does for white, Kairi has characteristically (or stereotypically?) blue abilities. That suggests that she’s intended or hoped to be a finisher in control decks, and one which has multiple layers of protection from comebacks (ward or a death trigger would be deterrents on their own, much less together). Her cost and the nature of her abilities means it’s notably harder to use her outside of decks that can get to six mana, whether that’s by control or by midrange. I’m not sure whether there’s exactly a suitable deck in Standard right now, but I am quite sure that such decks in other formats have a new top contender for that role.
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
Costing the same amount as the original Spirit Dragons, Kairi, the Swirling Sky has had a bit less hype around her; her keywords are good in terms of keeping her alive, and she does have good effects, but the issue is that she costs 6 mana, already a bit of a tall ask. Still, she’ll put in plenty of work; ward gives her a bit of resilience to kill spells, her bounce serves as a nice deterrent, and being able to recur spells never goes out of style completely. And, of course, she is a 6/6 with flying, actually the strongest stat line base out of all 10 Spirit Dragons.
The downside to Kairi is that she’s pricey, but I do think she’s a bit underrated. In a slower format, her solid body and good effects will put in work, and I think that she’ll serve a solid role in decks that want to approach things more judiciously. And, of course, never underrate the efficacy of a swooping dragon of exceptional length in terms of ending games.
Constructed: 3.5 (probably going to rise and fall based off of control’s prospects, as she’s an excellent finisher for the archetype)
Limited: 5 (all five dragons are bombs, and Kairi’s removal resistance and large body makes her quite unpleasant in the format)
Commander [EDH]: 4.25 (the recursion is actually a major draw here, as lots of decks like to chain together casts of the same spells)
I like Kairi but not as much as I love Ao. It is a bit expensive but the ward 3 is a nice to have to protect the 6/6. I kind of want it to die though more often than I want it alive to get the ability. A pretty good cyclonic rift for the first one to get rid of a good portion if not all of your opponents’ board is the gem here. Instead of paying a crazy overload cost you’re paying six-nine mana which is pretty nice! The second ability I could take or leave, late game or if one of your combo pieces gets sent to the graveyard you can retrieve it and be able to get your strategy going. I like this card but I don’t love it, likely my least favorite of the dragons.
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
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