Top 10 Neon Dynasty Cards for PDH
10 Feb 2022 - 10 min read
Whaaaat’s up everyone, it’s Chev and Jules - We’re back. We’re locked. We’re loaded. We’re here for our Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty top PDH picks!
Chev’s Pick: Kami of Industry
With hardly any real card recursion at common, usually when things are dealt with they stay gone. So not only will your opponents be surprised by the first red “artifact recovery” effect in PDH, but also giving you immediate access to artifact “dies” triggers is incredibly powerful. Whether you’re chaining this helpful spirit with a Myr Retriever or Workshop Assistant to bring back something heinous ( Maelstrom Colossus ?), or a Tormod’s Crypt to activate against that sneaky Cryptic Serpent player, Kami of Industry is the toolbox card we had no idea we wanted, but will immediately find room for in a plethora of builds.
Jules’s Pick: Spirited Companion
Before I get too distracted by arguably the cutest Magic card ever printed, let’s talk about this goodest boy. There’s a few key reasons I want to highlight this card, other than the aesthetic. First off, we’re continuing to wrack up reasonable white cards that replace themselves. After Priest of Ancient Lore in AFR and Search Party Captain in MID (which we covered both of, Spirited Companion provides us with the cheapest version of this effect and most on rate. I feel like we’re starting to reach the critical mass necessary to really bolster white-based decks.
Second, this doggo is also an enchantment. A strategy that has been gaining a lot of steam over the last few years is a pauper enchantress deck a la Satyr Enchanter. Having a cheap creature, perfect for suiting up with auras early, that also draws two cards is sweeeeet. Thoughtcast and Treasure Cruise who?
Chev’s Pick: Reckoner’s Bargain
Village Rites , Deadly Dispute , and now this? Black card draw is hitting record highs in our fine format and shows no sign of slowing down. At the time of writing, Deadly Dispute (which we actually covered in our AFR Review is nearing $3 for a COMMON! And while Dispute creates a treasure and this doesn’t, it’s still an upgraded Costly Plunder . I’m looking to find room in my Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker list, as well as Syr Konrad, the Grim , and hell, probably even the Duskmantle Guildmage Persistent Petitioners competitive deck will give it a look. Keep an eye out for these at your local prereleases!
Jules’s Pick: Akki Ember-Keeper
This is a bit of a wild card pick, but I think there’s some serious potential with Akki Ember-Keeper. Any creature that provides passive resource generation in PDH is worth a look, and one that provides a stream of tokens in a color that loves to attack is most certainly worth two. Good mono-red or boros decks already have plenty of solid auras or equipment to trigger this hard-working Akki, so it probably doesn’t even need to be much of a build around… that being said, Akki Ember-Keeper will probably find the best home with Valduk, Keeper of the Flame , Koll, the Forgemaster , and the like.
Although, what really gets my juices flowing is Akki Ember-Keeper in a Grumgully the Generous list. We’re already modifying our creatures via Grumgully, and since he’s so generous, even our spirit tokens created by the ember-keeper get counters as well! An army that refuses to die and continuously grows in power is terrifying and I need to build this deck right now. Actually, I’ll just be right back, it’s Chev’s turn anyway…
Chev’s Pick: Tamiyo’s Compeation
In a format like PDH, commanders are usually leaps and bounds above the 99 in terms of value, and often vital to the deck’s strategy. Eric found this out the hard way when Julian cast a Vanishing on his Warden of The Eye , and I’ve definitely been on the wrong side of an Oubliette in recent memory. While Tamiyo’s Compleation doesn’t cause the enchanted creature to phase out, it does the next best thing: keeping a creature out of combat and removing all abilities. Throw in flash AND tap target on entry and this could take someone completely out of the game. 4 mana puts the cost above format allstars like Deep Freeze and Frogify , but when shutting out a particular creature/artifact is vital, there are few cards as powerful.
Jules’s Pick: Shrine Steward
What’s that? You like Tamiyo’s Compleation a whole bunch and you want it all the time? May I interest you in a Shrine Steward ? Five mana for a 3/2 is under rate, but the ETB here is really what sells this lil’ construct. Searching your library for any aura (sorry shrine fans, no common ones printed yet - but don’t give up hope) isn’t an unheard of effect (_ Heliod’s Pilgrim has entered the chat_), but the steward brings this effect to literally any deck. And that means that we can drastically increase the pool of targets. In blue there’s Tamiyo’s Compleation , Aqueous Form , and Frogify among others. Green has Ancestral Mask and any number of Fertile Ground effects. In red, Dragon Breath and Madcap Skills , with any number of Pacifism effects in white. Heck, get yourself a favorite of Chev’s, Blessing of Leeches ! I even think this card will see play in competitive decks despite it’s steep mana cost. Being able to grab staples like Oubliette , Deep Freeze , and Freed From the Real is insanity, and providing that extra consistency is key in higher powered matches. If you’re running a non-zero number of high quality auras in any pauper deck you have, toss in a Shrine Steward right this instant!
Chev’s Pick: Undercity Scrounger
Repeatable treasure generation is not a joke, Jim. I’m going to be honest, until I have one of these in my hands I’m going to assume the set symbol was printed in the wrong color because boy howdy did I not expect to see something like this at common. Morbid Opportunist this is not, but it doesn’t have to be. My brain is turning with some kind of Persistent Specimen loops to maximize creature death triggers, but even without those levels of optimizing there’s plenty of utility here. Plus, with these stats you can breathe easy as opponents drop Gangrenous Zombies , Fiery Cannonade , and the rest. I swear I saw Oakley salivating at the chance to put this in Gray Merchant of Asphodel when it was mentioned during the recording of our Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Prime Picks episode.
Jules’s Pick: Network Terminal
Oh look, another very reasonable 3-drop mana rock! Imagine my surprise. Wizards has really been on a roll with printing these Manalith s with upside in the past several sets, and while in EDH I wouldn’t ever give these a second thought, they’re PDH’s bread and butter. Network Terminal once again, is just a perfectly functional way to ramp and fix mana in any deck (even green ones, yeah you heard me).
Where it exceeds the mediocrity of a Mana Geode or the like, is in its ability that allows you to loot for just a single mana. Okay yes, you have to tap another artifact you control, but there’s always a reasonable amount of equipment lying around, or a Tormod’s Crypt you’re not quite ready to crack yet…and even if you have to tap another mana rock, this effect would still be worth it at 2 mana. And, for anyone who has that sweet, sweet synergy, you’re looting, so your graveyard is getting stocked up. I’m imagining the wonders this would do in any Ghost of Ramirez DePietro shell, a variation on Crackling Drake or Cryptic Serpent , or something spicy like a madness list perhaps piloted by Azra Oddsmaker .
Chev’s Pick: Virus Beetle
See this is the perfect example of why we now do “favorites’’ as opposed to “best.” Virus Beetle isn’t taking home any trophies Burglar Rat and Elderfang Disciple haven’t already, and with the same stat-line really the only thing that separates this little guy mechanically is having “Artifact” in its type-line.
…Which we don’t care about at all. Instead! We’re just here digging the vibe of a computer virus in a beetle with some solid 90s-era computer-jargon flavor text. Rock on little dude, and don’t be surprised to be joining a Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker deck sometime soon.
Jules’s Pick: Mirrorshell Crab
A crab is basically an aquatic beetle right? All jokes aside, this “inconspicuous” crustacean has got me hype in a bunch of different ways, including making the best (and biggest) damn crab cake you’ve ever had. First off, I say it all the time, if you’re playing good ol’ kitchen table PDH, there’s nothing like gumming up the board with a frickin’ 5/7. Nothing is getting past this and it’s even hard to put into the steamer with a hefty ward 3. Crabs are expensive, what can I say?
However, the real kicker… wait, that’s a different mechanic. Crap. Anyway, this card has channel, a mechanic that I love more every time I read it. Sure Mana Leak usually only costs 2 mana so we’re overpaying for a Mirrorshell Crab counter, but where Mirrorshell Crab exceeds is threefold. It has the capacity to target abilities, of which there are SEVERAL important ones in PDH. It comes with the beautiful modality, a word that makes me quiver, of a beater attached to it. And finally, just like a freshly caught softshell, this thing is so slippery, that using this crab’s ability can’t be countered by traditional counterspells because channel is an activated ability. No more counter wars, just give your opponent the pinch! Due to these factors, especially this final one, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mirrorshell Crab saw some play in select cPDH decks as well as most regular PDH decks.
That’s what we got! Think we missed something or were expecting us to make another Lightning Wolf reference? Let us know!
More Entries in Pauper Commander:
- 08 Jul 2022: Lotleth Troll
- 10 Jun 2022: Wilson, Agent of the Shadow Thieves
- 31 Mar 2022: Submitting your cPDH Deck
- 18 Mar 2022: Top Personal EDH Parallels for Pauper
- 03 Mar 2022: Neon Dynasty Pauper Commander Precons