Kamigawa Neon Dynasty spoiler season is underway, and players are finally getting a glimpse at the latest cards for Standard. Leaks have been around for a bit but that has not stopped fans of Magic from feverishly refreshing Reddit and Twitter to see what comes next. One of the most exciting cards that was recently revealed was The Wandering Emperor. The brand new planeswalker has an insanely unique text box that has players already brewing up lists that feature it.
The Wandering Emperor is incredibly flexible and has the ability to pose as a threat even on the opponents turn. The freedom to play this planeswalker at any point in the game after turn four makes The Wandering Emperor a rare card that could slot into several different archetypes.
The moment The Wandering Emperor was revealed, players immediately thought it would fit perfectly into a control shell. The text line “Flash” is something that players have never seen on a planeswalker before. The ability to affect the board at any phase is just incredibly powerful. Control players love to leave up mana on their opponents turn. Typically it meant they had a counter spell ready, however now players will need to be ready to see a planeswalker enter the turn during an end-step.
The easiest use-case for The Wandering Emperor is to flash it in during attacks. Not only does the attacker not have a chance to hit the planeswalker, but the control player can destroy one of the attacking creatures and gain life at the same time. This type of life swing can be backbreaking for an aggro player. Then of course once the control player untaps, they now can either create a blocker or simply tick up The Wandering Emperor and leave up more instant-speed options. If The Wandering Emperor comes into play with a creature already on the board, it doesn’t need to tick down to potentially kill a creature either. Granting a friendly creature first strike can often lead to blow outs during attacks.
Mono White Aggro
On the flip side, The Wandering Emperor feels like it would be an excellent addition to an already powerful Mono White deck. On turn four aggro players can leave up mana for The Wandering Emperor to flash it in at the end of the opponents turn and create a creature. Then once they untap, The Wandering Emperor can buff up an attacker and make it difficult for the opponent to block.
Surprisingly, each mode is relevant for Mono White decks. Removing an buffed up Usher of the Fallen or Luminarch Aspirant is one of the best ways to swing the mirror back into a favorable position. Aggro players may find themselves in intense staring matches, trying to figure out at what moment in the game The Wandering Emperor may come down and ruin someone’s game plan. Luckily The Wandering Emperor can be removed easily with Skyclave Apparition, so some versions of the deck aren’t completely helpless against the new planeswalker.
When it comes to pure value, there isn’t any other deck quite like Naya Midrange. The goal of the deck is to simply play the best cards in those colors. Naya Midrange wants to play Magda, Brazen Outlaw to ramp out a Goldspan Dragon as soon as possible. Sometimes the deck can struggle to get there, especially if it can’t find its Esika’s Chariot. That is where The Wandering Emperor comes to the rescue.
Shoring up that transitional turn to go from early-game to mid-game is vitally important. There are plenty of aggro decks that are looking to make a massive swing around turn four. If a midrange deck isn’t prepared, the game is pretty much over at that point. The Wandering Emperor ensures that the midrange deck has not only removal against the aggro decks, but it serves as a card that can push advantages in the late game as well. Sometimes giving a Goldspan Dragon a +1/+1 counter is all it takes to end the game.
Featured image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast
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