Risona, Asari Commander – Exclusive Magic: The Gathering Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Preview Card
Those of you who have been glued to Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty leaks prior to previews may have spotted our exclusive preview card, but I can assure you this is the best quality you have ever seen for it. Better yet, you can actually read every bit of text and stats on the card. Take that, early pack openers with terrible potato cameras!
Let me introduce you properly to Risona, Asari Commander. She’s a legendary Human Samurai creature in the Boros/Lorehold colors that costs 1RW to cast. Bringing a solid three power and three toughness and Haste to the board, Risona is bringing a decent body for her cost, ready to rush in for an attack. Where Risona makes her mark is her rules text which says, “Whenever Risona, Asari Commander deals combat damage to a player, if it doesn’t have an indestructible counter on it, put an indestructible counter on it. Whenever combat damage is dealt to you, remove an indestructible counter from Risona.” That second clause is key to keeping Risona alive. Make sure you're board is prepared to defend so Risona can remain to slay safely.
I think in just about any format, Risona is going to slot in nicely to a Samurai deck. With Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Samurais are no longer all about Bushido, but rather whether Samurai or Warrior creatures attack alone; you know, the honorable way to do combat. Many Samurai in the set have vigilance, allowing them to attack without tapping, which makes them available for blocking the next turn. Risona, unfortunately, doesn’t, but her Haste and Indestructible counter gained upon drawing blood from an opponent’s life points is plenty of incentive to have her lead the charge into battle and continue being the lone Samurai in fights triggering all other Samurai effects without the worry of losing her in battle. In limited, make sure to fill your side of the board with creatures like Imperial Subduer which will tap down beefy blockers, uncommon Selfless Samurai that will add Lifelink to solo-attackers, or Peerless Samurai, which will reduce the cost of your next spell cast that turn, effectively ramping you. We’ll take any ramp effects we can get in White/Red, right?
As for making Risona your Commander, I’m not sold on it yet. Risona isn’t doing much for building around besides being a Samurai and making herself a great target for the aforementioned solo Samurai/Warrior attacks once she’s been granted indestructibility. To get the most out of her, you’d want some kind of trickery to move her Indestructible counters around, like The Ozolith, and a way to exile and return Risona every turn like Teleportation Circle to dump the counters on other creatures. She may just be a better fit as a tool for the 99 of a counters deck, but there are better minds to figure that one out than me. It does give me an idea for a janky Historic deck, though.
Risona, Asari Commander comes in three different card treatments. The standard art is by the extremely talented Ekaterina Burmak and can be found in the traditional Magic frame as well as the extended art frame that can only be pulled in collector’s booster packs. More of Ekaterina's art can be found on the borderless Chandra, Dressed to Kill from Crimson Vow and Wish from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Like other Samurai in the set, Risona can also be found in the alternate Samurai frame that comes with wonderful art from Kato Ayaka, who is no stranger to card games, having submitted art for the former Fire Emblem Cipher TCG. This Samurai frame version can be found in any booster product but has a special foil-etched treatment that can only be found in collector's boosters. We were lucky enough to be provided with high-resolution images for both of these beautiful pieces of art to give you the clearest look at this card.
Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for letting Game Informer participate in the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty preview season. Personally, I’m like a hawk during new set previews, needing to see every new card coming out, so this is very cool to be a part of. If you’d like to know more about the new set, check out our set mechanic preview to give you the lowdown on the new and returning mechanics for Neon Dynasty.
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty hits Magic: The Gathering Arena on February 10, with pre-releases happening at local game stores starting on February 11. The official physical tabletop release happens one week later on February 18.