|Champions of Kamigawa|
|Symbol description||Torii Gate|
Brian Tinsman (lead) |
Randy Buehler Jr.
and Mark Rosewater
Brian Schneider (lead) |
and Henry Stern
|Art direction||Jeremy Cranford|
|Release date||October 1, 2004|
|Themes and mechanics||Spiritcraft, Flip cards, Legendary cards, Arcane|
|Keywords/ability words||Bushido, Soulshift, Splice|
(110 commons, 88 uncommons, 88 rares, 20 basic lands)
|Magic: The Gathering Chronology|
- For the novel, see Outlaw: Champions of Kamigawa
Champions of Kamigawa contained 306 black-bordered cards (88 rare, 88 uncommon, 110 common, and 20 basic lands). The card Brothers Yamazaki appeared with two different pictures, while the art of the basic lands of each type formed murals. The story takes place on the plane of Kamigawa, which is thematically based on feudal Japan and related legends and myths. The Legendary supertype replaced the creature type "Legend" with this set. Every rare creature in the set, plus several uncommons, are Legendary. The "Legend rule" was changed; whereas before another legend with the same name could not be played, two legendary permanents with the same name now caused each other to be put into the graveyard. The set also made minor rules adjustments for targeting, and introduced the evergreen keyword "Defender", which was retroactively applied to all previously printed cards with the type Wall and formally detached the creature type from its rules baggage. The expansion symbol of the set is a torii gate (a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred). Champions of Kamigawa restored colored mana symbols in the text box, which had been missing since Eighth Edition.
Champions of Kamigawa was sold in 75-card tournament decks, 15-card boosters, four preconstructed theme decks and a fat pack. The booster packs featured artwork from Myojin of Cleansing Fire, Myojin of Seeing Winds, Myojin of Night's Reach, Myojin of Infinite Rage, and Myojin of Life's Web. The prerelease card was a foil alternate art Ryusei, the Falling Star. The set was accompanied by a novel by Scott McGough. A 1/1 Spirit Token for Forbidden Orchard et al. was offered as a Magic Player Reward.
Flavor and storyline
The plane of Kamigawa is threatened as the spirits that are the essence of everything on it suddenly and inexplicably begin to wage war with its mortal inhabitants. Michiko, daughter of the warlord Konda, abandons the shrinking safety of her father's fortress to consult holy monks and the orochi, trying to decipher the cause of the Kamis' rage. Yet when Michiko meets Toshi Umezawa, a thief and black magic user, she realizes that to avert the complete destruction of Kamigawa, she may have to make some unthinkable alliances.
To represent the war, the cards of the set are mostly divided into two groups: The physical beings with their regular magic, and the Kami spirits with their "arcane" magic.
Champions of Kamigawa, as well as the rest of Kamigawa block, was met with mostly negative reactions from players. The fact that all rare creatures were legendary was seen as cumbersome and annoying, particularly in mirror matches. Further, Flip cards were perceived as confusing and hard to keep track of. The set also was a significant downgrade in terms of raw power and card playability, and thus was often overshadowed by its predecessor Mirrodin block and successor Ravnica block.
Champions of Kamigawa introduced the keywords Bushido, Soulshift, and Splice, the first sorcery and instant subtype Arcane, and the visually striking flip cards. Of these mechanics, the Arcane subtype, Splice, and Soulshift represented spirit-world magic. The flip cards contributed to another major mechanic throughout the block: legendary creatures (and permanents). The set also featured the first legendary enchantments, the Honden Shrines.
- Arcane spells - some instant or sorcery spells have the Arcane subtype, which represent spells or abilities used by the kami. It does nothing by itself, but other cards may interact with it.
- Splice onto Arcane - spells having this keyword can be "attached" to another Arcane spell for additional mana investment. The "spliced" spell remains in the player's hand able to be reused another time.
- Spirits - due to the nature of Kamigawa, this block contains a large proportion of creatures with the subtype Spirit. These spirits represent the kami themselves, and numerous cards in the block interact with them in special ways to provide synergy.
- Soulshift - a keyword that appears on Spirit creatures and allows them to return another Spirit creature from the graveyard to its owner's hand when they perish.
- "Spiritcraft" - many Spirits have abilities that trigger when another Spirit or an Arcane spell is played.
- Bushido, or "way of the warrior", increases a creature's power and toughness by the Bushido number when it combats another creature. (This is usually compared to flanking, which weakens (-1/-1) the blockers of the creature.)
- Flip cards - flip cards have a special Card frame with the top and the bottom halves of the cards holding text boxes, the bottom being upside-down, and the art of the card in the middle. If certain conditions specific to the card were met, the card could be "flipped" (the card was turned 180 degrees), changing into a different card permanently.
The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Assassin, Barbarian, Cleric, Demon, Dragon, Fox, Goblin, Hound, Ogre, Rat, Rogue, Shaman, Snake, Soldier, Spirit, Warrior, Wizard.
Champions of Kamigawa has ten cycles.
|Honden||Honden of Cleansing Fire||Honden of Seeing Winds||Honden of Night's Reach||Honden of Infinite Rage||Honden of Life's Web|
|Each of these uncommon legendary Shrine enchantments grants their owner something depending on the number of Shrines they control. Each of these cards was reprinted in Eternal Masters|
|Myojin||Myojin of Cleansing Fire||Myojin of Seeing Winds||Myojin of Night's Reach||Myojin of Infinite Rage||Myojin of Life's Web|
|Each of these legendary Spirits enters the battlefield with a divinity counter if they were cast and is indestructible as long as it has this counter. The counter can be removed for a powerful effect.|
|Deceivers||Harsh Deceiver||Callous Deceiver||Cruel Deceiver||Brutal Deceiver||Feral Deceiver|
|Each of these common Spirit creatures has the abilities ": Look at the top card of your library", and ": If that card is a land, this creature gains an ability and/or a bonus".|
|Legendary Lands||Eiganjo Castle||Minamo, School at Water's Edge||Shizo, Death's Storehouse||Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep||Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers|
|Each of these rare legendary lands produces colored mana or can be tapped to give an ability or bonus to a legendary creature.|
|Spirit Dragons||Yosei, the Morning Star||Keiga, the Tide Star||Kokusho, the Evening Star||Ryusei, the Falling Star||Jugan, the Rising Star|
|Each of these rare legendary Dragon Spirit creatures costs six mana, has flying and an ability when the creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield.|
|Zubera||Silent-Chant Zubera||Floating-Dream Zubera||Ashen-Skin Zubera||Ember-Fist Zubera||Dripping-Tongue Zubera|
|Each of these common 1/2 Zubera Spirit creatures costs M and has a triggered ability when it goes to the graveyard that grows with each Zubera put into a graveyard from the battlefield this turn.|
|Rare Flip Creatures||Kitsune Mystic||Jushi Apprentice||Nezumi Shortfang||Akki Lavarunner||Budoka Gardener|
|Each of these rare creatures enters the battlefield as a humble youth and flips to become a legendary master.|
|Uncommon Flip Creatures||Bushi Tenderfoot||Student of Elements||Nezumi Graverobber||Initiate of Blood||Orochi Eggwatcher|
|Each of these uncommon creatures enters the battlefield as a humble youth and flips to become a legendary master.|
|Flash Enchant Creatures||Indomitable Will||Mystic Restraints||Ragged Veins||Uncontrollable Anger||Serpent Skin|
|Each of these aura enchantments has flash and enchant creature.|
|Slow lands||Cloudcrest Lake||Waterveil Cavern||Lantern-Lit Graveyard||Pinecrest Ridge||Tranquil Garden|
|Each of these dual lands produces either or one of two allied colors of mana. If tapped for colored mana, they do not untap during their controller's next untap step. They are functional reprints of the allied dual lands in Tempest.|
Champions of Kamigawa has one matched pair.
|Rend Spirit ()||Rend Flesh ()||Common black instants for that destroy the opposite party in the war (Spirits vs. Non-Spirits).|
The following cards have been reprinted from previous sets and included in Champions of Kamigawa.
- Befoul — was last seen in 7th Edition.
- Lure — was last seen in 8th Edition.
- Stone Rain — was last seen in 8th Edition.
Champions of Kamigawa has 16 functional reprints:
- Jukai Messenger is a functional reprint of Zodiac Rabbit from Portal Three Kingdoms, Willow Dryad from Portal and Shanodin Dryads from Seventh Edition.
- Indomitable Will is a functional reprint of Mageta's Boon from Prophecy.
- Lantern Kami is a functional reprint of Suntail Hawk from Eighth Edition.
- Moss Kami is a functional reprint of Giant Warthog from Judgment.
- Order of the Sacred Bell is a functional reprint of Golden Bear from Portal Second Age.
- Orochi Sustainer is a functional reprint of Wirewood Elf from Onslaught.
- Quiet Purity is a functional reprint of Demystify from Eighth Edition, save for subtype.
- Rag Dealer is a functional reprint of Carrion Beetles from Urza's Saga.
- River Kaijin is a functional reprint of Horned Turtle from Eighth Edition.
- Sokenzan Bruiser is a functional reprint of Rock Badger from Mercadian Masques.
- Wandering Ones is a functional reprint of Fugitive Wizard from Eighth Edition and Merfolk of the Pearl Trident from Seventh Edition.
- The cycle of ally-colored lands with ': Add .' and ': Add M or N. This land doesn't untap during your next untap step.' from Battle Royale, with exeption of Rootwater Depths, which wasn't reprinted from Tempest:
- Heartbeat of Spring is a colorshifted functional reprint of Mana Flare from Alpha.
- Squelch is a colorshifted functional reprint of Bind from Invasion.
- Ghostly Prison is a colorshifted functional reprint of Propaganda from Tempest
In the tournament scene, Champions of Kamigawa contributed with a large number of finishers, like Kokusho, the Evening Star, Keiga, the Tide Star, Yosei, the Morning Star and Meloku the Clouded Mirror. It also provided excellent green mana fixing, like Sakura-Tribe Elder and Kodama's Reach, and an arsenal of cards that fueled multiple colored control decks, such as Gifts Ungiven. A notable sideboard card was also found in Cranial Extraction.
- Sensei's Divining Top — A card that saw widespread tournament play due to the ability to set up advantageous draws repeatedly and function as an emergency card-draw. The card was later banned in Extended and Modern, not due to power concerns but because the card tended to slow the game down immensely and was thus detrimental to tournament play. It is also a key piece in the lock with Counterbalance (printed later in Coldsnap) due to its ability to change the card Counterbalance would reveal at instant-speed. Divining Top could also place itself on top of the library, making any spell with a converted mana cost of 1 impossible to resolve.
- Time Stop — Rules had to be added to the Comprehensive Rules for ending the turn thanks to this card.
- Glimpse of Nature — A powerful card-drawing engine in conjunction with cheap or zero-cost creatures. Eventually banned in Modern.
- Azusa, Lost but Seeking — While not highly prized during Kamigawa block itself, her popularity soared alongside that of the Commander format, where she fueled powerful mana-ramping strategies.
- Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker — A cornerstone for many combo decks abusing enters-the-battlefield triggers.
- Lava Spike — One of the staples of burn decks in every format in which it is legal.
- Takeno, Samurai General has the distinction of being a keyword lord of a keyword that has an associated number, referring to this as the "points" of that keyword. No other card in the history of the game refers to a keyword in this way.
- Hideous Laughter is, and at sixteen characters will likely always be, the longest card name that is entirely encapsulated within another card name (Tasha's Hideous Laughter).
The preconstructed theme decks are:
|Way of the Warrior||W|
- Wizards of the Coast (August 02, 2004). "Ask Wizards - August, 2004". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Brian David-Marshall (September 13, 2004). "The Top 10 Reasons to Play in the Champions Prerelease!". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley (May 24, 2012). "Looking at Takenuma". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (August 30, 2004). "Now With Added Flavor". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (September 14, 2004). "A Kamigawa Glossary, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe (December 10, 2004). "Three of Kamigawa’s Champions". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe (September 10, 2004). "Legendary Rules Changes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (October 04, 2004). "Change For the Better". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth (October 31, 2006). "Ask Wizards". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Rei Nakazawa (August 30, 2004). "We Are the Champions, My Friend". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar (October 04, 2004). "Land of Ten-Thousand Legends". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe (September 17, 2004). "Kamigawa Tune-up". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 6, 2004). "Arcane and Able". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe (June 17, 2005). "The Cost of Arcane". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 13, 2004). "Splice of Life". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 20, 2004). "Flipping Out". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (September 28, 2004). "Building Heroes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (October 14, 2004). ""Rend" Renderings". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.