Kaito Shizuki – Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
Date Reviewed: February 18, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 2.83
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I can’t read Kaito’s phasing-out trigger without hearing MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This”. I think I might have a problem. Kaito, however, does not, because at just three loyalty, he’d be at risk from getting attacked or red-spelled down to zero immediately, and unless that red spell is an instant, the ability all but guarantees you’ll get at least two uses of his loyalty abilities. I don’t think there’s a single other planeswalker you can say that about.
And those abilities are actually pretty good all around. Your main go-to will likely be his +1, and given what other kinds of support cards you can get in his colors, you often won’t care about waiting until you’ve attacked. Just because “self-discard matters” was only an explicit theme in Modern Horizons 2, doesn’t mean that it isn’t also supported indirectly by other sets. I wouldn’t underestimate his -1, as sneaking him in during a control mirror match and getting that hard-to-block creature might give you just a little more inevitability than your opponent. And as for his ultimate, while the color restriction can be a noticeable downside and may not mesh well with a ninja gameplan, it’s perfect for finding cool legendary ninjas in a theme deck.
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
Remember, if you can see a ninja, the ninja can see you. If you can’t see a ninja, you may be seconds away from death.
I suppose “ninja planeswalker” made sense in a return to Kamigawa, and Kaito Shizuki certainly aims to tick that box as cleanly as possible. In particular, his passive phasing means he’s going to be harder to remove on the turn cycle he drops, dipping out of the shadows after either drawing/looting you a card or making a friend that synergizes will with the Ninja gameplan of getting past defenses. Outside of instant-speed removal, Kaito is probably going to get at least two abilities off…which is always good for a high-impact card type like planeswalker, and especially good for one at three mana. Three-mana planeswalkers tend to be poor at protecting themselves, but Kaito both dips out of danger and can make a friend, and those go a long way towards securing his loyalty.
His ultimate is certainly flashy, but it’s a danger in a long game to your opponents, and Kaito can effectively have five loyalty by the time he exposes himself to enemies, which gives decent prospects to him getting there. I think he’s an interesting card that’s going to see a lot of play; he protects himself and enables a deck that’s already lower on the mana curve to keep the tempo up, and both of those are valuable qualities to have.
Constructed: 4 (maybe optimistic, but three-mana planeswalkers are often threatening, and Kaito is good at enabling)
Limited: 5 (he can win you a game if unanswered, which is the metric I use for any limited planeswalker getting a 5)
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
Three mana planeswalkers are always fun and this card is no exception, however it is not a ground breaking card like Jace the Mind Sculptor, Liliana of the Veil, or Oko. Plus one is really nice giving you the draw ability, it might be worth it to just use this to draw cards and nothing else because in a Ninja deck, or even a U/B aggro deck, you’re likely going to attack so getting value is great! The minus ability is a little too expensive to get off in my opinion. The phasing effect is fine? Pointless much but if the ultimate’s loyalty ability was six then I could see the phasing ability being useful as it helps to get you there faster but -7 is too much. The minus two for a 1/1 unblockable is okay, I’d feel better if it was a 2/2 unblockable or the minus ability was a -1 for a 1/1. Overall I’m not impressed with the card and I’m sure it’ll see some play but it is not the ninja planeswalker we’ve been waiting for…
Commander [EDH]: 2/5
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Click here to read over 4,000 more MTG Cards of the Day! Daily Since 2001.