Satoru Umezawa – Kamigawa: Neon Destiny
Date Reviewed: March 28, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
You can obviously use Satoru as a very on-theme card advantage creature in a ninja deck. That seems like it’s kind of too easy, considering that he single-handedly creates a whole new way to cheat creatures into play. It’s not like blue and black had any shortage of those already, but there’s something fun about a new and unique way to do it. It’s also worth noting that if they bounce your cheated-in creature, he can get them back into play relatively easily – this has always been an issue in, say, reanimator decks, especially when they use creatures they can’t cast. Other than that, his stats are fairly vanilla, albeit with a toughness that’s getting into the high range, so you might have to devote a non-trivial amount of deck space to keeping him alive. Commander thus seems like a natural fit for him.
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
Satoru Umezawa attracted a lot of attention from the word “go”, thanks to him giving all of your creatures in your hand ninjutsu. It’s not the cheapest ninjutsu cost; on-curve, you’ll be able to trigger this on turn 4 if you get an unblocked attacker through, and you can even pop an Anticipate if you successfully display your ninjary to an opponent. There are no limitations to what creatures can be brought out by this ability, so you could easily (in amenable formats) turn a harmless-looking attacker into them just dying on the spot.
Of course, all of this hinges on Satoru sticking around. A 2/4 without protection isn’t the frailest creature of all time, but he is pretty susceptible to a lot of kill spells, and he has particular set-up demands to really work. I think he’s certainly fun, but there’s a bit of tension in that the cards he’d want to play with are in the formats where he’s far too slow to make them work.
Constructed: 2.5 (has potential, but there are too many hoops to get through)
Limited: 3.5 (pretty good in the Ninja deck for his repeatable Anticipate, less so for his ninjutsu)
Commander [EDH]: 4 (he won’t usurp Yuriko, but if you want a ninjutsu commander that’s more fun, he’ll do the job nicely)
I’m on the fence regarding this card. I’m looking at it purely from a commander point of view and not constructed. I don’t think this is playable in constructed, it is too slow and has a high ninjustu cost for creatures in your hand. Can you use it with some crazy combos? I’m sure you can but the likelihood of you getting outpaced by a better and faster deck is not worth the risk.
In limited it is a solid pick up, it can make your non-ninjustu creatures more valuable and you get the added ability of getting a card from the top of your library. Great pick up and build around me card for draft. Commander is where I think this will see most play. Giving any creature in Magic’s history a 4 mana ninjustu ability is pretty wild, there are a lot of enter the battlefield triggers that could happen or you can plop down a Lord of Pit or Grave Titan and swing for big damage and have a big creature out for four mana. A lot of potential upside for the format!
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
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