Looks like we’ve been good little spellcasters this year, because Wizards of the Coast has given us a little present in the form of a sneak peek at a card in the upcoming Magic: The Gathering (MTG) set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. In particular, the Satoru Umezawa card has received cool neon graffiti art from regular artist Anna Pavleeva, who may be familiar to players of Magic, Pathfinder, and Gwent. However, there are two additional variations that will excite video game fans. There’s a Magic: The Gathering Satoru Umezawa Ninja Frame variant by Raita Kazama, who has done character design and illustration for Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X, as well as another MTG card variant from artist Yoji Shinkawa, of Metal Gear Solid fame.
It's that special time of the season, so how about a little present?
Here's Satoru Umezawa from #MTGNeon, including the Buy-a-Box Promo version with art by Yoji Shinkawa (what a thrill!)
See you in the new year, with more Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty to reveal next month! pic.twitter.com/ZDeMrCTHp7
— Magic: The Gathering (@wizards_magic) December 24, 2021
Each of the three pieces brings its own flair to the cyber-ninja crimelord concept. Pavleeva’s art showcases the glow-in-the-dark aesthetics of the neon world’s seedy underbelly. The Raita Kazama MTG piece is a bit more abstract, using jagged edges and smooth curves to evoke a sense of danger (feeling any Xenoblade flavor from it?). Meanwhile, the Yoji Shinkawa MTG card art goes full Metal Gear, turning Satoru’s outfit into a mechanical exoskeleton reminiscent of Raiden’s outfit in Metal Gear Solid 4. The first two card treatments will be available in Magic: The Gathering booster packs, while the third will be available as a promo to anyone who buys a box from a local game store.
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is the polarizing return to a controversial setting in Magic: The Gathering‘s history. Our original visit to the plane introduced us to a world inspired by Japanese mythology, with noble samurai, deadly ninja, and mysterious spirits. Unfortunately, this marked a low point in the game’s design and was not received well by fans. This time around, the plane of Kamigawa is shown in the modern day, with half the cards being based on the historical designs and the other half fully futuristic, like something out of Blade Runner. Satoru Umezawa is the leader of the Hyozan Reckoners and claims the legendary Umezawa mantle. Both the Xenoblade and Metal Gear-flavored art represent the general feel of what Wizards of the Coast is doing with this MTG set, while the Pavleeva artwork captures the general design perfectly.
It’s fantastic how Wizards of the Coast has been bringing in some of video games’ most beloved artists in recent years. From the broody Sorin card from Castlevania‘s Ayami Kojima to the inimitable style of the Liliana card done by Final Fantasy‘s Yoshitaka Amano, not to mention Street Fighter and Fortnite crossovers, bringing in Xenoblade and Metal Gear artists for a Japanese cyberpunk Magic: The Gathering set is an inspired choice. I can’t wait to see what other cool artwork we’ll see in the lead-up to the set’s release on February 18.
Will you be investing in Magic: The Gathering: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty to get your hands on MTG card art from artists of Xenoblade and Metal Gear Solid? Assembling a new Commander deck with Satoru Umezawa? Let us know!