Raiyuu, Storm’s Edge – Kamigawa: Neon Destiny
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.50
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Relentless Assault hasn’t historically done much in constructed, and so I suspect variants on it could be even more pushed than Raiyuu is and still be safe. Having said that, you don’t always get a variant that’s a creature and thus never entirely dead. He’s clearly intended to be used with Neon Dynasty‘s cards that trigger when a Samurai or Warrior attacks alone; the most obvious use would be to get two different such effects in one turn. I suspect there will end up being things to do with him in bigger formats, and Warriors are a common tribe anyway. He also works suspiciously well with Sublime Archangel, a card a lot of people seem to have forgotten about!
Multiplayer: 4/5 (this kind of effect can help aggressive decks in multiplayer formats if used correctly)
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
The “exalted” theme the Samurai have going on this time is interesting enough, though putting all your attacking prospects on one card can be dicey. That said, Raiyuu is actually quite threatening in terms of potential damage output; if you have an eligible attacker when he comes out, that can represent a massive swing then and there. A four-mana 3/3 with first strike isn’t so bad that way, and he’ll get work done if you let him, but I feel like the idea works better in theory than it does in practice, and Raiyuu’s relative fragility can be a tough sell. Still, that he works with Warriors is also neat, and it might give him more legs as future sets get a chance to do their thing.
Constructed: 2.5 (I think the Samurai gameplan isn’t quite enough to make it in Standard, but I could be a bit pessimistic there)
Limited: 3.75 (if nothing else,a 3/3 with first strike is excellent)
Commander [EDH]: 3 (I could see some shenanigans with Najeela, since he works with Warriors, but that might be a stretch, and single attackers rarely make it far unless they’re pushed to the breaking point)
Extra combat is always a fun time and with the available pool of warriors and samurai in Magic’s history, a deck built around Raiyuu could absolutely work. At four mana you have a cheap first strike 3/3 creature that happens to be a Samurai so you can get full value from Raiyuu’s ability on himself. The key would be to fill your deck with cards that have vigilance to get multiple attacks through to your opponent. I like the card because it is not inherently broken and right off the bat it’s not the easiest to do, and you don’t get an extra turn just an extra combat. It is a niche card that is for the niche player.
As with most legendary creatures, the place where this is going to shine is in commander. A deck filled with warriors, samurai, and creatures with vigilance are going to be predominately what fills your deck. Equipment and auras have a special place here as well so your initial attacking creature will get pumped and then be able to swing again for more damage.
Commander [EDH]: 3.5/5
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