Kaito returns to fight the Phyrexians.
Ninja decks received support in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty earlier in the year with several creatures that have become archetype staples across formats and a great Ninja-themed planeswalker in Kaito Shizuki.
The three-mana card from Neon Dynasty has made a mark in each format as a solid value play, but Ninja decks in particular have been able to maximize what that card is capable of. While the archetype isnt top-tier, the tactile gameplay and nonlinear strategy make it one of the more fun lists in Magic: The Gathering.
Kaito is making a return in Magics next set, Phyrexia: All Will Be One, and is similarly targeted toward supporting Ninja decks. Wizards of the Coast offered players a nice Christmas gift today with a spoiler for ONE that doesnt come out until February. Kaito, Dancing Shadow is one of the 10 planeswalker cards in the set.
Wizards is knocking it out of the park with the design of Kaito so far. Dancing Shadow is similar to his first card as a solid value planeswalker that gets better when run in a Ninja-tribal list. Its not likely to dominate Standard, but its definitely playable and will be a nice tool that UB decks have access to.
This four-mana planeswalker enters the battlefield with three loyalty. Thats not the best stats compared to the original Kaito Shizuki and other four-mana Black plays like Sheoldred, The Apocalypse. But it is able to draw up to two cards with its +0 combined with triggering the static ability. Thats a decent amount of value for the four-mana investment if thats all that you get.
A good home for Kaito will be in Ninja decks. The tempo archetype drowns the opponent in value by using Ninjutsu to trigger various abilities supported by counterspell backup. The +1 is an effective way to protect Kaito and help an attacker get past blockers. Its easy to see how this ability could take over the game. If youre able to consistently use the +1 twice each turn, it can shut down an opponents top-end combat threat.
The -2 ability is great and works well against almost every deck. A 2/2 with Deathtouch will delay aggressive gameplans and be another uncounterable body against control. When it trades or gets dealt with by removal, it will drain the opponent for two life. A four-point life swing is not an insignificant amount and it gets better if you can repeatedly use the -2 over the course of a long match.