Arena Review: Planechase 2 Night of the Ninja

Planechase 2 (2012) Reviews
Chaos Reigns | Night of the Ninja | Primordial Hunger | Savage Auras

I think my favorite part about Planechase 2 is that Wizards used it as a fantastic opportunity to revisit older mechanics and breathe new life into them in ways that just wouldn’t work for a regular release. Ninjutsu is a great mechanic but is very limited by the fact that it can only appears on ninja cards (much like how bushido is only on samurai – even though Chub Toad has it!). Given how poorly received Kamigawa was as a whole, it isn’t a plane I see us going back to any time son.

Night of the Ninja is a blue-black deck that makes the most of unblockable creatures and turning them into ninjas over and over again, while constantly triggering entering and leaving the battlefield abilities. Much like Chaos Reigns, Night of the Ninja contains six new cards (though one of them is in each deck). The actual packaging and set are more of the same as Chaos Reigns, though the deck boxes are a nice touch. Except for the part where a sleeved deck won’t fit in them.

Vela the Night-Clad

The Commander addition to blue-black, Vela offers an interesting dynamic as a commander. What I like most is how open ended she is. Worst case, she gives all your creatures some kind of evasion and then punishes your opponents for killing them by evenly whittling away at all your opponents’ life totals.

But when you get creative thanks to flickering and bouncing abilities, she becomes much more interesting. Her natural evasion makes me really like her as a potential commander too.

Baleful Strix

Holy crap this card is good! Tidehollow Strix still is an amazing card, and this just ups the ante. Making it a cantrip at only the cost of a single point of power makes this a very dangerous bird. Add in some terrifying shenanigan possibilities and you’ve got a cheap piece of removal that belongs in almost any black-blue deck.

Sakashima’s Student

Clone variants are rarely exciting now given how many of them there are, but Sakashima’s Student makes its mentor proud. The ability to bounce a creature in exchange for a Clone for only two mana is an amazing deal. Like Clone, it doesn’t target to it allows you to kill off those pesky hexproof legends.

But even if this didn’t have ninjutsu, it would still be a fine clone variant since it still costs 4 mana! I see this becoming a staple in blue’s arsenal for years to come at kitchen tables.

Silent-Blade Oni

When this card got revealed, some people were upset he wasn’t legendary. But that’s probably because they didn’t realize ninjutsu doesn’t work with Commanders. So if you want this guy to be a Commander, just run Wrexial instead.

But the ability to surprise your opponent with this and then pillage their hand for a spell makes me really like this guy. The fact that he lets you grab any nonland card makes him more than dangerous, it makes him deadly.

Sai of the Shinobi

As a piece of equipment, I don’t get why this is in Planechase 2. This is the kind of artifact that, with a different name, could easily exist in standard. It’s good, but it isn’t amazing.

Fractured Powerstone

The only reprint from Chaos Reigns, this card is great execution wise. The fact that it works in and out of Planechase helps it a lot (but really, you should only be playing this in Plancechase decks).

The reprints in this deck are very impressive as well. Dark Hatchling appears with new art (no idea why they keep reprinting this guy), but you also get Glen Elendra Liege, Ink-Eyes, Servant of  Oni, Higure, the Still Wind and Quietus Spike. Concentrate has also been reprinted but with new art as well!

Bloodhill Bastion

I don’t know how this place is in Equilor, which is in the edge of time, though that kind of allows the crazy shenanigans of double strike and haste to keep appearing. The flickering Chaos ability is another great one which makes me really like this plane because there is never a reason not to roll here.

Gavony

The second Innistrad plane, I don’t like Gavony nearly as much. It’s funny because I am a Naya player at heart thanks to Skyshroud Elves, but the idea of giving both vigilance and turning creatures indestructible makes me think this is a place I constantly want to leave because of how annoying it will be to stay here while nothing happens for a dozen turns.

Glen Elendra

Oh man, this card is awesome and just stupid enough to really work in multiplayer. Exchanging control of creatures is often fun, especially when those exchanges result in a third party getting screwed over. What I really like though is the risk you run of rolling. A Chaos will only get you back one creature, while walking away means you aren’t getting them back any time soon.

Kharasha Foothills

Why attack one person when you can attack everyone? This card drastically changes the multiplayer dynamic in a way I never expected to see (besides Hydra Omnivore). This card lets you attack everyone at once! How cool is that? Sure, you can’t attack their planeswalkers but I’ll forgo that in exchange for knowing my Baneslayer Angel or any creature with an entering the battlefield trigger will utterly decimate everyone.

Norn’s Dominion

It seems that turning Mirrodin into New Phyrexia is finally compleat. A plane that is just Oblivion Stone is interesting, especially thanks to the fate counter dynamic. The natural tension created with this card is great because people will want to roll to protect their stuff while running the risk of nuking the world.

Quicksilver Sea

Yeah, I have no idea how this works from a flavor standpoint since we just saw Mirrodin is now New Phyrexia. But while the flavor doesn’t make sense (since it should be a sea of oil now), Quicksilver Sea hits all my pros when it comes to a plane. It doesn’t punish anyone immediately, it allows the person who walked there to get a benefit and the Chaos forces the game to move quicker.

Takenuma

It’s a better version of Fecundity! The only risk is, everyone gets to play with these extra cards. It works like a bounce hoser and a weird card drawing engine. But it is yet another plane that goes amazing with the themes in Avacyn Restored. Am I seeing a trend?

The Zephyr Maze

This will either speed games up drastically or grind them to a halt. I’m leaning more towards grinding to a halt. If you happen to be running a bird deck or something jammed with fliers, this is amazing but for everyone else at the table, each turn will consist of rolling as many times as possible to get away.

Interplanar Tunnel

Rigging the planar deck is an interesting concept and I’m still trying to figure out how to make it work with the Eternities Map. But any card that evokes the idea of a boom tube is fine by me.

Morphic Tide

I hope you like Warp World. And I hope you like that it has been fixed to work with planeswalkers. Early game, this is just going to be annoying but a late game mix up will allow this to really shine as it drastically alters the battlefield for everyone. It’s a great choice for a phenomenon.

As a whole, I really like that this deck revists the ninjutsu mechanic from Kamigawa. The lone high point during the Kamigawa Block, ninjas are just fun to play with. They’re sneaky, they bounce and they keep the game moving since you need to be attacking. For newer players, this is a fantastic way to introduce them to the mechanic while older players get a handful of new toys to play with too.

Ninja of the Night (UB Ninjas)

Lands
Dimir Aqueduct
Island
Jwar Isle Refuge
Swamp
Tainted Isle
Terramorphic Expanse
Creatures
Augury Owl
Baleful Strix
Cadaver Imp
Dark Hatchling
Dimir Infiltrator
Glen Elendra Liege
Higure, the Still Wind
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Inkfathom Witch
Liliana’s Specter
Mistblade Shinobi
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Okiba-Gang Shinobi
Sakashima’s Student
Silent-Blade Oni
Skullsnatcher
Throat Slitter
Tormented Soul
Vela the Night-Clad
Walker of Secret Ways
Wall of Frost
Spells
Assassinate
Cancel
Concentrate
Farsight Mask
Fractured Powerstone
Quietus Spike
Sai of the Shinobi
Whispersilk Cloak

Planar Deck

Equilor – Bloodhill Bastion
Innistrad – Gavony
Lorwyn – Glen Elendra
Mongseng – Kharasha Foothills
New Phyrexia – Norn’s Dominion
Mirrodin – Quicksilver Sea
Kamigawa – Takenuma
Kyneth – The Zephyr Maze
PHENOMENON – Interplanar Tunnel
PHENOMENON – Morphic Tide