Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion – Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
Date Reviewed: March 4, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I really like what I see with Nashi. You may have noticed that Kamigawa Neon Dynasty‘s ninjas are much more efficiently costed than those in Betrayers of Kamigawa – for most of them, their regular mana costs are at values where casting them on curve would be advantageous. Nashi is perhaps the best example of that, because running him out on turn three hints at the chance of something nasty happening next turn (and a chance that scales with the number of players, to boot). On top of that, ninjutsu lets you try and engineer an evasive attack and thus a situation where something nasty is all but guaranteed to happen. The fact that you have to pay life is a cute way to keep it in check, while still letting you shoot for greatness at any cost when you find an Eldrazi or some such.
Nashi’s power level depends a lot on what you’re likely to be casting with him – it’s never bad to get extra cards, but it’s not always devastating. The formats where he has the best options to break games open are also the formats where he’s kind of slow. There are some things that remain to be seen, but he definitely has potential.
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
An interesting ninja who tricks in at a higher mana cost than his hard casting cost, Tamiyo’s adopted son brings an interesting bit of card advantage by stealing a card off the top of someone’s deck. The ability to use life to play/cast the card is quite potent and a way to offset that you might already be low-ish on mana to begin with, and playing allows you to put in lands. So, pound-for-pound, this is quite potent, indeed! Steal spells, accelerate your own things, leave troubling things in exile…this does a fair bit on its own once he can land that first blow.
The catch is that Nashi’s a fairly fragile body on his own who needs help to get in there, and the strength of ninjutsu is getting the card out ahead of schedule. Nashi’s coming in on turn 4 on curve, however you’re getting him in. That’s not an inherent downside, and you can benefit massively if you land something threatening…but you almost certainly need to trick him in to get the hit off, because few people will let him hit them unimpeded without some form of resistance.
I think Nashi is more of a casual card than a force in Constructed formats. His ability to misappropriate things that don’t belong to you is impressive, and there are ways to make him work…but he’s operating at a higher price point than most Ninjas generally want to be working at, and that’s the main downside to getting his shenanigans going. He’s also a bit of a harder sell if you’re at lower life and trying to scramble for breathing room, because you must pay life to cast the cards he exiles…and he looks a bit worse if you’re just using him to slowly chew through everyone’s libraries.
Constructed: 3 (he has potential, but I don’t think he’ll pan out because he’s a step too slow)
Multiplayer: 4 (you only get one card, but you can have quite the selection)
Commander [EDH]: 4 (remember that ninjutsu doesn’t work from the command zone, but between Nashi’s good card types and a solid extant Ninja deck, he might do a good job in the 99)
The slightly higher than average ninjutsu cost may seem like a deterrent but you have to consider all of the value you are getting when this card is deals damage. Both you and your opponent will reveal a card and you get a choice as to which one you want to play and you do not have to pay mana in order to do it! Short on land? Steal one of your opponent’s. Your opponent short on land? Take the land that they need. Need to get your win card in your hand early? Just pay the life. There are a lot of Dark Confidant vibes with this card that I think will see play in standard at the very least. Maybe it’ll make modern or pioneer ninjas a viable deck!
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
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