Thousand-Faced Shadow – Kamigawa: Neon Destiny
Date Reviewed: March 29, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.08
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Thousand-Faced Shadow reads as a very exciting card. Just as Satoru Umezawa’s ninjutsu-granting ability is unbounded, so is that copy ability, at least in the sense of what it can target. This is kind of a tripwire, though, because the conditions for making that copy are so specific. The Shadow thus works best in situations where you are worried about your copy-making ability being disrupted, as his activated ability requires a very particular type of countermeasure. On the other hand, he has some versatility as an early flier (and ninja-enabler), and he also scales well to Commander and other slow formats where you are likely to have lots of stuff on the table.
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
The irony of Thousand-Faced Shadow is that he works well as both an enabler for your other Ninjas (thanks to evasion) and as payoff on his own, copying another of your attackers as he enters. Remember that ninjutsu triggers after blockers are declared, so you’re getting an unblocked copy of whatever comes in! Given that Ninjas love combat damage triggers, that can make for a lot of fun. I think he’ll do work if Rogues/Ninjas are a force in the format, but Flying Man has not been particularly playable on its own for a long time, so this definitely is one of those tantalizing toys with a lot of potential upside if circumstances allow for it.
Constructed: 3 (good one-drop for Ninjas with some late upside, but he’s dismal if your board isn’t suited to take advantage)
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Perfect creature for ninja decks, Thousand-Faced Shadow’s clone like ability can make it so the damage you are swinging with is lethal damage. Your opponent thinks they are safe but nope! You just won the game out of nowhere and the crowd goes wild!
In all seriousness this is going to shine in limited and in the commander ninja decks. If your opponent is really well versed in the meta and sees that you have four mana floating they should be nervous because you could be making a copy of a kill card, or a card with a cool effect that’ll put you over the edge. Absolute worst case scenario you have a 1/1 flyer for one that can be equipped or pumped with auras to have you be a thorn in your opponent’s side.
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
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