Betrayers of Kamigawa
|Betrayers of Kamigawa|
|Symbol description||A throwing star|
Mike Elliott (lead)|
|Art direction||Jeremy Cranford|
|Release date||February 4, 2005|
|Ninja, Ki counters|
or ability words
|Set size||165 (55 Common 55 Uncommon 55 Rare)|
|Magic: The Gathering chronology|
Set details[edit | edit source]
Betrayers of Kamigawa contains 165 black-bordered cards (55 rare, 55 uncommon, and 55 commons). Its expansion symbol is a "shuriken" or "shaken" to evoke the set's ninja theme.  A shuriken is a traditional Japanese concealed weapon that was generally used for throwing, and sometimes stabbing or slashing. Shuriken is the name given to any small-bladed object, while shaken is traditionally used to indicate the "throwing star". The set introduced the Ninjutsu and Offering keywords.
Marketing[edit | edit source]
Betrayers of Kamigawa was sold in 15-card boosters, four preconstructed theme decks and a fat pack.  The booster packs featured artwork from Opal-Eye, Konda's Yojimbo, Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni and Isao, Enlightened Bushi. The prerelease card was a foil alternate art Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni. The release card was Budoka Pupil. The set was accompanied by a novel by Scott McGough.
Storyline[edit | edit source]
Now in the employ of Princess Michiko and beholden to the Myojin of Night's Reach, Toshi Umezawa tries to honor his commitments while pursuing his own ends. But as the Kami War threatens to engulf Kamigawa, an unimaginably powerful spirit beast threatens the world. And at the heart of the battle moves the figure of the Daimyo, whose impassive features conceal a sinister crime that gnaws at the world's heart.  
Token[edit | edit source]
Mechanics[edit | edit source]
- Ninjutsu allows a player to put a Ninja creature card from their hand into play tapped and attacking by paying a cost and returning an attacking, unblocked creature they control to its owner's hand.   
- Offering allows the player to partially pay for a spell by sacrificing a creature of a certain creature type, and lets the spell be played as an instant. This ability is used on five Spirit creatures, the patron spirits of five non-human species in Kamigawa.
Cycles[edit | edit source]
- Patrons: Patrons are rare legendary spirit creatures that have creature offerings. For example, Patron of the Orochi has snake offering, which allows the controller to sacrifice a snake in order to play the card as an instant and pay the difference in mana cost of the card and the sacrificed snake. Patron of the Kitsune has fox offering and so forth. Each patron has an ability. The patrons are: Patron of the Orochi, Patron of the Kitsune, Patron of the Akki, Patron of the Moon, and Patron of the Nezumi. 
- Alternate cost splice cards: a cycle of common instants that can be spliced onto arcane by paying a non-mana splice cost: Hundred-Talon Strike, Veil of Secrecy, Horobi's Whisper, Torrent of Stone and Roar of Jukai.
- Baku: a cycle of common spirits that gain Ki counters whenever their controller plays a spirit or arcane spell. These counters can then be removed for an ability: Waxmane Baku, Quillmane Baku, Skullmane Baku, Blademane Baku and Petalmane Baku. The artifact Baku Altar has a similar mechanic and complements the cycle.
- Flip cards: cycle of uncommon MM 2/2 human creatures that acquire ki counters whenever a spirit or arcane spell is played and may be flipped at end of turn once they have at least 2 ki counters on them. Their flipped forms are all legendary spirits with activated abilities that require removing their ki counters: Faithful Squire, Callow Jushi, Hired Muscle, Cunning Bandit and Budoka Pupil. 
- Genju: A cycle of auras that can temporarily turn the land they enchant into a creature for .  If the enchanted land goes to the graveyard, the enchantment is returned from the graveyard to the owner's hand: Genju of the Cedars, Genju of the Falls, Genju of the Fens, Genju of the Fields and Genju of the Spires. The five-colored Genju of the Realm also exists as a compliment to the cycle.
- One-mana spirits: a cycle of common 1/1 spirits costing one coloured mana that could sacrificed for an ability: Kami of False Hope, Teardrop Kami, Bile Urchin, Frostling and Child of Thorns.
- Lobotomy spells: An uncommon cycle of spells that removed a target card from the game, then also removed all other copies of the card in its controller's graveyard, hand and library from the game. They were all reprints from Urza's Destiny: Scour, Quash, Eradicate, Sowing Salt and Splinter. 
- Shoals: Arcane instants which costs and 2 of the appropriate mana. A cycle of Pitch Spells meaning that the player may exile from their hand a card of the appropriate color with a converted mana cost of X rather than pay the card's cost. Also, each art has fish in it: Blazing Shoal, Disrupting Shoal, Nourishing Shoal, Shining Shoal, and Sickening Shoal. 
Vertical cycle[edit | edit source]
- Glasskites: Blue flying creatures that has "Whenever this creature becomes the target of a spell or ability for the first time in a turn, counter that spell or ability". The rare, while technically not having this line of text, has an ability that grants it to all creatures under your control: Shimmering Glasskite, Jetting Glasskite, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner.
Notable cards[edit | edit source]
Umezawa's Jitte is arguably the most powerful card that has ever been included in a preconstructed deck (Rats' Nest theme deck). Other cards that saw some degree of constructed play include Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni, Tendo Ice Bridge , Shining Shoal, Blazing Shoal (banned in Modern since September 2011, just one month after Modern became a sanctioned format), Threads of Disloyalty, Goryo's Vengeance (the namesake of a Modern combo deck that uses the card to cheat Griselbrand into play), Ninja of the Deep Hours, and Flames of the Blood Hand.
Theme decks[edit | edit source]
The preconstructed theme decks are:
Reprinted cards[edit | edit source]
The following cards have been reprinted from previous sets.
- The "Lobotomy cycle" (Scour, Quash, Eradicate, Sowing Salt and Splinter) — were last seen in Urza's Destiny. Per Mark Rosewater, "They were chosen for repeats as their ability to remove threats from the game seemed like a good answer to a number of issues in Standard at the time (Eternal Witness, Goblin Charbelcher, Cloudpost, etc.)."
- Phantom Wings — was last seen in Weatherlight.
Functional reprints[edit | edit source]
Betrayers of Kamigawa has 2 functional reprints:
- Gnarled Mass is a functional reprint of Trained Armodon from 8th Edition, save for creature type.
- Goblin Cohort is a functional reprint of Mogg Conscripts from Tempest, save for creature type.
References[edit | edit source]
- Wizards of the Coast. (August 02, 2004.) "Ask Wizards - August, 2004", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brian David-Marshall. (January 07, 2002.) "Betraying the Secrets of the Prerelease", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) "Ask Wizards", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (December 09, 2004.) "Betrayers of Kamigawa Graphical Goodies", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Rei Nakazawa. (January 10, 2005.) "The Sting of Betrayal", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar. (January 14, 2002.) "A Flavorful View of Betrayers", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (July 30, 2002.) "Unseen tokens", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (January 10, 2005.) "When Ninjas Attack", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (January 32, 2005.) "Ninjas & Pirates & Myrs… Oh My!", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe. (February 04, 2005.) "You Should Have Blocked", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (January 17, 2005.) "Faces in the Patron", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (January 17, 2005.) "Flip Service", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Paul Sottosanti. (January 14, 2005.) "When Trees Attack", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (March 28, 2005.) "Betrayers' Lobotomies", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe. (January 21, 2005.) "Beware the Shining", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (March 31, 2005.) "Tendo Ice Bridge", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
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