Sometimes the past inspires the future. This is true in spades for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.

After our last visit in 2004, we return to a Kamigawa with a shiny, new aesthetic built on the plane's past. Kamigawa holds a home in my Magic past, as Saviors of Kamigawa was my first experience drafting, where I went 2–1 with a hyper-aggressive deck featuring three copies of Wicked Akuba, losing only to the double Earthshaker deck I met in the finals.

(If an almost 20-year-old draft story isn't interesting, don't worry I'm getting to the preview card next.)

Doing well with an aggressive deck early (and often) is probably why I still tend to favor two-drops and attacking early any time I draft. Pulling what we know from the past and trying new situations in the future helps us understand changes in the world.

It's also, sometimes, how new Magic cards come to be. Anyone familiar with our original visit to Kamigawa will recognize where one cycle of new legendary lands comes from. This is Takenuma, Abandoned Mire:

Takenuma, Abandoned MireExtended-art Takenuma, Abandoned MireAlt-art Takenuma, Abandoned Mire

Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire | Art by: Sam Burley

Champions of Kamigawa brought us a cycle of rare legendary lands, each entering the battlefield untapped and including an activated ability.

  • Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
  • Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
  • Eiganjo Castle
  • Shizo, Death's Storehouse
  • Minamo, School at Water's Edge

While these can't be your commander, years later, each has found a place in Commander decks since being legendary isn't a drawback in a Singleton format, entering untapped lets these take the place of a basic land (within reason), and each activated ability has its own niche of value to provide for legendary creatures:

Takenuma, Abandoned Mire—and the others in the cycle coming with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty—works differently. Instead of a static ability on the battlefield, it's an activated ability from your hand. Channel is a powerful ability, as it puts a spell-like effect on a permanent, lets you play it anytime like an instant, and won't be countered by your typical fare of Counterspell. (It's still an ability, so it's fair game for Overcharged Amalgam, Repudiate // Replicate, and friends.)

Returning a creature or planeswalker to your hand isn't a frequent effect to see at instant speed, and getting a discount on channeling it for having multiple legendary creatures in play fits right at home as an homage to the original cycle caring about legendary creatures themselves. If you're a fan of commanders such as Kethis, the Hidden Hand or Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, you'll quickly find a home for Takenuma, Abandoned Mire.

Keep an eye out for the rest of the cycle to see what other legendary lands you might want to visit in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty!