Flashback: Summarized Lore of Kamigawa
With Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty right around the corner, let's travel back in time and remember what happaned in Kamigawa thousands of years ago!
Kamigawa: Neon Dynastyis coming, and we have a big time ahead. First, because never in Magic have we had contact with a science fiction theme in a regular set; and second, because we will finally return to a certain plane inspired by Japanese culture. It's been 17 years since we've known about Kamigawa, the setting for the
Champions, Betrayers, Saviorsand now
Neon Dynastysets. It's been so long, that many who play Magic today didn't even know the game at the time or weren't even born. Likewise, it's understandable that a good part of the Magic fanbase is completely unaware of the lore behind this plane other than the fact that it has samurai and ninjas, as the plane hasn't been revisited since 2005. On the other hand, it has been so long that certainly much of what we will see on Neon Dynasty is entirely different from what we knew from Kamigawa back in 2004 and 2005.
The Old World of Kamigawa
Utsushiyois the material realm where mortals live; and
Kakuriyois the spiritual realm where spirits (called kami) live. Think of them as two different worlds that coexist, overlapping or parallel to each other. The plane is governed by the subtle interplay between these two worlds. Under natural circumstances, mortals and kami, while aware of each other's existence, never physically interacted, as there was a barrier that divided their two worlds. This barrier was guarded by the most powerful of the kami,
O-Kagachi. Best known for his first creature version released in
Commander 2017, O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami was known in Kamigawa as the Great Old Serpent, the Soul of the World, and the First Kami. You will understand in a little while why he will become the
Vengeful Kami. Under o-Kagachi, several other kami existed as spirits of all things in the world of Kamigawa and fulfilling the role of gods to mortals. They can take a variety of forms, even among the same "species". The greatest of all were the five
myojins— representations of the five colors of mana — rivaled only by O-Kagachi himself. There were also the
ryu— dragon spirit guardians of the lands of mortals — the
oni— bloodthirsty demons worshiped by ogres — the
kodamas— tree spirits — and a host of other species of kami for all sorts of things, people, places, ideas and so on.
Utsushiyo- the world of mortals - was inhabited by a handful of different species of creatures distributed among the five main regions that formed the known world. Each of these regions parallels Magic's five basic land types and was guarded by a dragon spirit loyal to the locals.
TowabaraA huge plain in the center of Kamigawa, whose name means "eternal field". Towabara surrounded the
Araba, a land riddled with craters caused by blasts from kami attacks. Eiganjo Castle is in the center of the Araba, the stronghold of the daimyo — a kind of warlord — guarded by legions of samurai. Towabara is inhabited by Kamigawa's white-aligned creatures, especially humans, and guarded by the spirit dragon Yosei, the Morning Star.
Lake KamitakiThis immense lake north of Eiganjo into which the eponymous falls flow was home to the blue-aligned creatures of Kamigawa. Minamo — a school that teaches powerful spirit magic — was built here along a series of islands magically suspended in midair. Minamo and the entire Kamitaki region are guarded by the ryu Keiga, the Tide Star. Above the School was the soratami capital of
Otawara, where Oboro, Palace in the Clouds was located. The mysterious moonfolk were made up of magic practitioners who lived in the clouds above the School, from where they guided the director Hisoka, Minamo Sensei to pursue their own secret agenda.
TakenumaTakenuma is a large area of fetid swamps of rotting bamboo, with poisoned water and polluted air – the most important black-aligned region. Here human bandits, nezumi wererats, and obakemono ogres live. There are also a multitude of demonic spirits that dwell in the darkest regions, leaving the place corrupted and without the effect of sunlight. Kokusho, the Evening Star was the watcher of these vile swamps.
SokenzanThe Sokenzan mountain range is the largest in the plane and the most important red-aligned region of Kamigawa. Akki goblins live here, among human yamabushi shamans, bandits, and renegade samurai called ronin. Deep in the Sokenzan mountain range are the
Tendo Peaks, the steepest mountains in Kamigawa. Sokenzan is guarded by Ryusei, the Falling Star.
JukaiJukai is an ancient forest composed mainly of huge cedar trees that is home to many varied types of kami. Here live human priests called kannushi and an order of bodoka monks who train attuning with nature and the spirit world. The kitsune, a race of humanoid foxes, despite being white-aligned also live on Jukai; so with the orochi (snake men) tribes. The Jukai Forest is guarded by Jugan, the Rising Star.
Kami War— a clash between mortals and their gods. It was set at least 1200 years ago, in the current chronology of the Magic multiverse, and lasted about 20 years. This story begins elsewhere, on a plane called
Ulgrotha(setting from the
Homelandsset). The event that became known as the
Great Destructionoccurred on Ulgrotha when the planeswalker Ravi played the Apocalypse Chime, a powerful artifact with destructive powers. The details of why he did so are matters for another time, what matters for now is that indirectly, this Great Destruction had repercussions on two other planes besides Ulgrotha. The chime's ringing generated a planar anomaly that spread to Kamigawa, weakening the barrier between Kakuriyo and Utsuriyo. The event also caused a "glitch" on the boundary between the planes of Dominaria and Kamigawa, causing some powerful kami — such as the Myojins — to be able to transit between them.
Michiko. The birth of the child caused a sympathetic spiritual wave that made the ritual possible. Then, in a surge of energy, Konda trapped the spirit in a stone disk—That Which Was Taken—and stored it within his inner chambers as a talisman of power. From that day forward, the damyio stopped aging. He spent most of his time locked away in his inner chambers, basking in the aura of his divine prize and envisioning a long era of glory and prosperity to come. However, O-Kagachi's resulting fury at such disrespect led him to declare a war against all utsuriyo. O-Kagachi summoned all the spirits to counterattack the mortal world, thus starting the
Kami War. Spirits began attacking the physical world in an effort to reclaim That Which Was Taken, though most mortals knew nothing of Konda's crime nor understood why their gods turned against them. Fearful and confused, humanity reacted, but the kami's numbers were infinite. As the war raged on, it became clear that this was a losing battle for mortals. Meanwhile, Konda's attention totally belonged to the product of his crime, and he neglected his daughter, leaving her in the care of his servants. However, he strictly protected her, because of her importance to his trophy. By the time of the Kami War's climax, Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker was a beautiful young woman with a desperate desire to do something for her own war-tortured people. Her friend Choryu, a talented mage, convinces her that the answer could lie in the Minamo School's libraries, and the two then plan an escape. Despite her father's protective measures, Michiko manages to escape Eiganjo thanks to Choryu's magic, and the two then leave for Minamo. However, her connection to the causes of the conflict was not unknown to the other factions and their kami patrons. It was soon revealed that her escape was part of a plan to lure her into the hands of the mages and their patron spirit. The plan fails, however, leading Michiko's path to the Jukai Forest, where she crosses paths with Toshiro Umezawa. After saving her from the wrath of Myojin of Life's Web, Toshiro allows himself to be hired by the princess to help her. Despite Toshiro's advice, Michiko decides to consult Hisoka, Minamo Sensei about the night of her birth. This effort nearly ended in disaster when Michiko and her group were present in Minamo during an attack by Heartless Hidetsugu. Once again, Toshiro Umezawa saved her and her family. That same year, the kami discover the whereabouts of That Which Was Taken and attack Eiganjo Castle. However, the samurai troops and the castle itself appear indestructible due to the artifact's protection. In retaliation, O-Kagachi himself manifests in the physical world for the first time over Towabara and attacks Eiganjo.
Neon Dynasty and Expectations
Kamigawa: Neon Dynastyhasn't started yet, and we're getting a taste of where the world meets through the weekly tales of the set's legends. Here's what we know about the current status of the plan so far: - More than 1,200 years have passed after the events of the Kami War. Kamigawans discovered electricity, experienced an industrial revolution, and entered the computer age. The Kami have also adapted to electricity, some of them taking on industrial-style bodies. - The two kingdoms of Kamigawa are slowly merging until one day they exist as one. A series of artifacts called
fusion gatesallow kami to travel from Reikai (the spirit world) to Utsushiyo. Some wonder what lies beyond these gates, or how the inhabitants of both realms will be affected once the merger is complete.
Kamigawa: Neon Dynastystarts on January 24th. The official preview season starts on January 27.