Saviors of Kamigawa
|Saviors of Kamigawa|
Brian Tinsman (lead)  |
Randy Buehler (lead) |
|Art direction||Jeremy Cranford|
|Release date||June 3, 2005|
|Flip cards, Wisdom (handsize matters)|
or ability words
|Channel, Epic, Sweep|
|Set size||165 (55 Common 55 Uncommon 55 Rare)|
|Magic: The Gathering chronology|
Set details[edit | edit source]
Saviors of Kamigawa contains 165 black-bordered cards (55 rare, 55 uncommon, and 55 commons). Its expansion symbol is a "toro".  A toro is a lamp of stone, bronze, iron, wood, or another heavy material. These illuminate the grounds of Japanese temples, shrines, gardens, and other places that include tradition in their decor. It's also a symbol of hope.  Saviors of Kamigawa expands on the Kamigawa block themes, featuring cards with spiritcraft, Soulshift, Spirits, Arcane instants and sorceries, cards with Splice onto Arcane, and a high number of legendary creatures. It introduced flip cards that change their permanent type when flipped. With Evermind, it featured the first spell in Magic without a casting cost (its effect can only be achieved through the use of the Splice mechanic).
Marketing[edit | edit source]
Saviors of Kamigawa was sold in 15-card boosters, four preconstructed theme decks and a fat pack.  The booster packs featured artwork from Infernal Kirin, Maga, Traitor to Mortals and Adamaro, First to Desire. The prerelease card was a foil alternate art Kiyomaro, First to Stand. The release card was Ghost-Lit Raider. The set was accompanied by a novel by Scott McGough.
Storyline[edit | edit source]
The ronin Toshi has sought to avoid the great conflict between the spirit and human realms. But despite his best efforts, he's not only involved in it, he's at the center of it. Together with Princess Michiko, daughter of Daimyo Konda, he must find a way to stave off the impending victory of the kami, while preserving his own life into the bargain.  
Tournament impact[edit | edit source]
Following the steps of the rest of the block, Saviors of Kamigawa contributed to the tournament scene with strong finishers and "fatties" like Kagemaro, First to Suffer, Maga, Traitor to Mortals and Arashi, the Sky Asunder, as well as strong sideboard cards, like Pithing Needle, Manriki-Gusari and Kataki, War's Wage. It also featured a good amount of quality weenies like Hand of Honor, Hand of Cruelty that helped aggro decks battle the mostly control environment of Kamigawa Block Constructed.
Mechanics[edit | edit source]
Saviors of Kamigawa introduced the ability words Sweep and Channel, the keyword Epic. It also introduced the wisdom mechanic, cards that get better depending on your and sometimes your opponents' hand size. Several cards altered your or your opponent's maximum hand size.
- Sweeps — some powerful spells can uproot the land itself. When you play a spell with the sweep ability, you can return to your hand any number of your lands of the right type. The more lands you return, the more devastating the spell is (e.g. Sink into Takenuma).
- Channel — near the final days of the war, the veil between worlds became increasingly volatile. Kami with the channel ability could focus their life essence into a one-shot blast of energy instead of solidifying into a creature (e.g. Ghost-Lit Redeemer). Since this is an ability instead of a spell, regular countering spells can’t stop it. 
- Epic — Spells with the epic ability are so extraordinary that once you play one, you can’t play any more spells for the rest of the game. However, each time your upkeep starts, you get another free copy of the epic spell (e.g. Enduring Ideal). 
- Wisdom — the set is filled with creatures and spells that get better the more cards you have in your hand (e.g. Akki Underling, Kitsune Bonesetter).
Creature types[edit | edit source]
The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Advisor, Archer, Beast, Cleric, Demon, Druid, Fox, Goblin, Insect, Mercenary, Monk, Moonfolk, Ogre, Rat, Rogue, Scout, Shaman, Shapeshifter, Snake, Soldier, Spirit, Warrior, Zubera.
Cycles[edit | edit source]
- Ascendants: Each of these rare legendary Monk creatures flip to legendary enchantments — Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, Kuon, Ogre Ascendant, Homura, Human Ascendant and Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant. 
- Bouncers: Each of these uncommon creatures requires another creature of its color to be returned to your hand during each of your upkeeps, keeping your hand full and fitting with the wisdom mechanic — Eiganjo Free-Riders, Oni of Wild Places, Skull Collector, Stampeding Serow, and Trusted Advisor.
- Epic: Each of these rare sorceries restrict you from playing any more spells for the rest of the game, but the epic spell is copied during each of your upkeeps until the game ends — Enduring Ideal, Eternal Dominion, Neverending Torment, Undying Flames, and Endless Swarm.
- Ghost-Lit: Each of these uncommon Spirit creatures has an activated ability and can be be discarded from your hand using the channel ability for twice the effect — Ghost-Lit Redeemer, Ghost-Lit Warder, Ghost-Lit Stalker, Ghost-Lit Raider and Ghost-Lit Nourisher. 
- Kirin: Each of these rare legendary Spirit creatures has flying and a spiritcraft ability related to the casting cost of the spell cast — Celestial Kirin, Cloudhoof Kirin, Infernal Kirin, Skyfire Kirin, and Bounteous Kirin.
- Maros: Each of these legendary Spirit creatures, fashioned after the card Maro from Mirage, have power and toughness dependent on the number of cards in a player's hand — Kiyomaro, First to Stand, Soramaro, First to Dream, Kagemaro, First to Suffer, Adamaro, First to Desire, and Masumaro, First to Live. 
- Maro spells: Each of these spells is related to the corresponding legendary Maro Spirit — Descendant of Kiyomaro, Descendant of Soramaro, Kagemaro's Clutch, Gaze of Adamaro, and Descendant of Masumaro.
- Onna: Each of these uncommon Spirit creatures have comes-into-play abilities can be returned to your hand whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell — Haru-Onna, Kemuri-Onna, Kiri-Onna, Nikko-Onna, and Yuki-Onna.
- Shinen: Each of these common Spirit creatures has a static ability and can be be discarded from your hand using channel to give this ability to another creature — Shinen of Stars' Light, Shinen of Flight's Wings, Shinen of Fear's Chill, Shinen of Fury's Fire, and Shinen of Life's Roar.
Vertical cycle[edit | edit source]
- Recursive: Each of these three black spells has an ability that returns it from the graveyard assuming you have more cards in hand than each opponent — Death of a Thousand Stings (common), Exile Into Darkness (uncommon) and Akuta, Born of Ash (rare).
Mirrored pairs[edit | edit source]
Saviors of Kamigawa has four mirrored pairs.
- Arashi, the Sky Asunder (green) and Jiwari, the Earth Aflame (red) are both rare legendary Spirit creatures for MM with an activated ability to deal damage to a (non-) flying creature and can both be discarded using channel to deal damage to all (non-) flying creatures.
- Burning-Eye Zubera (red) and Rushing-Tide Zubera (blue) are both 3/3 uncommon Zubera Spirit creatures for MM with an ability that triggers if they go to the graveyard from play after being dealt four damage or more that turn.
- Hand of Cruelty (black) and Hand of Honor (white) are both 2/2 Human Samurai for MM, both with protection from the opposing color and Bushido 1.
- Ivory Crane Netsuke and Ebony Owl Netsuke are both uncommon artifacts for with an upkeep ability which triggers when certain players have seven or more cards in hand.
Functional reprints[edit | edit source]
Saviors of Kamigawa has five functional reprints:
- Blood Clock is a functional reprint of Umbilicus from Urza's Saga.
- Molting Skin is a functional reprint of Broken Fall from Tempest.
- Presence of the Wise is a functional reprint of Gerrard's Wisdom from 7th Edition.
- Stampeding Serow is a functional reprint of Stampeding Wildebeests from Visions, save for creature type.
- Captive Flame is a functional reprint of Ghitu War Cry from Urza's Legacy.
Notable cards[edit | edit source]
- Pithing Needle became a popular counter against combo decks and other strategies relying on a specific card, and was reprinted several times.
- Erayo, Soratami Ascendant was so effective in Commander format control decks that he was banned from use as a Commander.
- Ebony Owl Netsuke, along with Howling Mine, became the namesake of a popular deck in "Owling Mine," which sought to kill an opponent by filling their hand with cards.
Theme decks[edit | edit source]
The preconstructed theme decks are:
|Theme deck name||Colors included|
References[edit | edit source]
- Brian Tinsman. (May 30, 2005.) “Suppressing Fire: How We Designed Saviors with an Axe”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe. (May 06, 2005.) “Future, Present, Past”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. (August 02, 2004.) “Ask Wizards - August, 2004”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brian David-Marshall. (May 16, 2005.) “Saviors of Kamigawa Prerelease Primer”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (March 02, 2005.) “Saviors Logo Concepts”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) “Ask Wizards”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (April 20, 2005.) “Saviors of Kamigawa Product Shots”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Rei Nakazawa. (May 09, 2005.) “Saving Grace - Taking a Last Look at Kamigawa?”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar. (June 13, 2005.) “Tales From Beyond the Veil”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (May 23, 2005.) “Choosing a Channel”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (May 09, 2005.) “Epic Struggles”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (June 02, 2005.) “Ascendants in Ascendance”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (June 20, 2005.) “Ghost-Lit Kami”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (May 16, 2005.) “The Sun'll Come Out To Maro”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
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