Reinforced Ronin – Kamigawa: Neon Destiny
Date Reviewed: February 22, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 2.63
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There are a shockingly large number of Kamigawa Neon Dynasty cards that I want to try out somewhere, and this guy is pretty high on that list. One of the classic problems with aggressive one-cost creatures relates to what you do if and when the opponent survives long enough to start casting baloths and dragons, and Reinforced Ronin’s channel ability is a good answer. He’d be better if he dealt damage to something, but I can believe that might have been too good. I’m not sure getting a single random card is always what red would prefer to be doing at that stage in the game – something like Cathartic Reunion has more raw power when it comes time to refuel. Still, if your deck is constructed aggressively enough, with a sufficient number of cards that you’d be happy to draw at any given time, he will fit well in both the early and middle game.
Commander [EDH]: 2/5 (the card-drawing mode will help some red decks, yet it’s hard to overcome the format rules’ bias against aggressive decks and colors)
The latest addition to the “hasty red one-drop” archetype, Reinforced Ronin offers some interesting tricks between returning to hand at the end of each turn and being able to cycle away if you’re in a late game and have less use for a hasty one-mana 2/2. I will say that the bounce/cycle is not necessarily an upgrade over other takes on this; it resists sorcery-speed removal rather handily, but it can’t be used as a blocker if you need something to hold off an opponent, and you have to keep investing if you need the damage. I definitely think this will see play, but it’s not likely to usurp Monastery Swiftspear or Goblin Guide in deeper formats; its fate is more likely to be as the Standard version of that effect in hyper-aggressive decks, which isn’t the worst place to be.
Constructed: 3.5 (there’s a chance this makes it in Modern, but I think most of that deck’s one-drops serve a defined function already)
Commander [EDH]: 2.75 (I think it’s harmed by both games running longer and that its typelines are worse than, say, Goblin Guide)
I’m a massive fan of mono red aggro, this is a perfect card to bring back mono red in standard. One mana for a 2/2 is aggressive and you’re likely to deal 4 or 6 damage before your opponent gets an answer out in terms of a blocker. Then when you’re done with the card you can Channel it to draw a card, this is HUGE!! Red gets minimal card draw and this is just an advantage because Reinforced Ronin is a dead card in the middle and late game so you’re not losing value. Solid, solid card that I think should be a rare but I’ll take it at the uncommon level! Nothing too crazy to add for commander unfortunately but if you happen to be running a red aggro deck you might want to check this out!
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
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