New year, new Magic: the Gathering expansion set! Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is the first set to kick off 2022, and it even comes with a modern twist – 1200 years have passed in Kamigawa, leading to a steampunk blend of tradition and cutting-edge technology!
No matter how many years have passed, spoilers will never go out of fashion. And we have to thank Wizards of the Coast for yet another exclusive card – Historian’s Wisdom, illustrated by Jarel Threat!
On the surface, Historian’s Wisdom is a vanilla Enchantment Aura that gives a Creature +2/+1 buff in stats. The small upside here is the chance to draw a card, provided the enchanted Permanent is a Creature, and has the greatest power among all others on the table. Thankfully, this trigger also checks the +2 Power given by Historian’s Wisdom, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get to draw.
Historian’s Wisdom’s ability to enchant non-Creature Artifacts is also really intriguing, and our guess is that it’ll tie in nicely with the Vehicle subtype. Vehicles are Artifacts that can become Artifact Creatures if they are “crewed” by other Creatures, and the +2/+1 buff takes effect when that happens. Smuggler’s Copter (shown below) was one of the most popular Vehicles when the card type was introduced in Kaladesh.
We hear that Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Commander decks also appear to confirm the return of Vehicles, and Historian’s Wisdom can be a natural fit since it can provide a permanent buff, and doesn’t fall off even when a Vehicle is not crewed.
The upcoming Commander – Chishiro, the Shattered Blade – also reveals a new mechanic called Modification, essentially an umbrella category for any Aura, Equipment, or counter on a Creature.
Historian’s Wisdom would count as a Modification, or you can slot it into other Aura-themed Commander decks like Aura of Courage. The conditional card draw is a bummer, and 3 Mana isn’t exactly speedy, so will it be any good? Let’s take a look at other green Auras out there –
We wanted to see if there are other Green Auras that do a similar or better job, so we did a quick check from recent Standard sets, and found a few worth comparing with:
From the previous Crimson Vow set, we already find 2 very similar Auras in green that also cost 2G. Sheltering Boughs kindly includes automatic card draw but pumps a Creature +1/+3 instead, so it’s more of a defensive play. It can only enchant Creatures so uncrewed Vehicles will be out of the question.
Then there’s Nature’s Embrace, which lets you choose between ramping your Mana base by attaching it to a Land for additional Mana, or a more vanilla option to give a Creature +2/+2. It’s great for blue-green decks that are looking for big spell payoffs, but at 3 Mana it’s not necessarily better than Cultivate.
Lastly there’s Arachnoform from the snow-themed Kaldheim set, effectively giving the Changeling effect to the enchanted Creature. Changeling is particularly important for decks that focus on specific Creature types – definitely useful for the Commander format where tribal decks are popular.
Auras need to provide some outstanding value if they are to stand out, because once an enchanted Creature dies, the Aura goes as well and that’s a big hit for the controlling player.
Historian’s Wisdom will have its uses if Vehicle-focused decks and the Modification mechanic plough their way into the meta, otherwise it is going to fade into the background like many of the Green Auras that came before it.
Magic: The Gathering – Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty will be released 18 February 2022.