Konda, Lord of Ejango – Champions of Kamigawa
Date Reviewed: January 13, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 2.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This guy really takes me back. I remember him being one of the first cards revealed from Champions of Kamigawa, and everyone’s jaw dropping when they saw the combination of abilities. I remember a friend of mine playing him alongside Takeno, Samurai General to win at both flavor and make him even more unstoppable in combat . . . when the game went that long. This was before either of us had ever played in a tournament, but we soon figured out that wasn’t really a winning strategy.
Still, his qualities are far from nothing in Kamigawa limited. It’s perhaps fitting for a daimyo who dominated the plane in his day to be almost unstoppable (and basically unkillable by 2004-era red decks) when the plane is closed off from other worlds. Unless the opponent has the likes of Cage of Hands or Heart of Light, they’re in serious trouble. (Or Umezawa’s Jitte, I guess, but everybody loses to that card.)
I’d also keep a copy or two around if you like Samurai theme decks; they were originally designed as more of an aggro strategy, but if you go big with them, he’s a thematic and potentially powerful top end. What my Takeno story from above actually highlights is how strong Samurai can get if they have actual good enhancements. You might recall that Jade Avenger, from Modern Horizons 2, illustrates this principle too (with all the +1/+1 counters running around in that set and in other sets, he very quickly becomes a cuter version of Tarmogoyf).
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
I don’t know if anybody still needs to avoid having the Kamigawa block novels’ stories given away, but I do want to point out that we might well see some kind of reference to Konda in Neon Dynasty. Both he and his daughter Michiko were major characters in those stories, and she has a connection to Kyodai, a character who is strongly rumored to return in Neon Dynasty.
The official Bad Guy of the story of the original Kamigawa block, Konda himself is, in many ways, emblematic of the block’s power level issues overall. He’s a phenomenal blocker, with an effective 8/8 body and indestructible, and he’s also quite good at pressuring boards with consistent damage…but he costs seven mana and is himself just a 3/3. Toughness-dropping removal doesn’t particularly care about him becoming an Absolute Unit when he contacts a creature (in particular, Last Gasp would show up a year later in Ravnica as a cheap answer to take out a resolved Konda). If you really, really want to make Konda work, there are definitely worse choices for the job, but he’s definitely a no-go in Constructed.
Limited: 4.75 (Kamigawa Limited actually gives Konda room to shine; you can usually live to see 7 mana, and removal options to actually get rid of him are sparing)
Commander [EDH]: 2.25 (if you want a Samurai commander, there are better options, but if power level isn’t your foremost concern, he’ll more than do the job if you need him to)
The lord of Eganjo castle, Konda himself gets represented on a card! Remember the days when key figures in Magic stories did not get cards of themselves? I’m glad that has since changed, even in 2004. With a new return to Kamigawa, could we potentially see a descendant of Konda? I hope so but I hope they do not cost a crazy ridiculous seven mana value to cast! For a 3/3 there is not a ton of value here, sure he can block almost anything and even if it is higher he won’t die with the indestructible but there are better Bushido cards out there and in commander he could work but you have to ask yourself what is the goal of the deck? To just have fun and play Samurais? For Bushido? There are other options so steer clear of this SEVEN mana value creature! I did not play during Kamigawa limited, but I’m sure there was a use for this card if you survived to turn seven…it at least kept you alive against your opponent’s big creatures!
Commander [EDH]: 1.5/5
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