Though Kamigawa block may not be considered well-designed overall, since it featured overly-linear mechanics and was underpowered save for a few extremely strong cards, there are still a couple of keywords that remain fan favorites: Namely, bushido and ninjutsu. The problem with these mechanics is that they’re firmly tied to Japanese culture and by extension to the flavor of the feudal-Japan-inspired plane of Kamigawa. Mark Rosewater has stated, in reference to ninjutsu, when asked by Tumblr user doopboopdoop “If ninjitsu was well liked why is it a 6 on the storm scale even if it had a name change?”:
It has very limited design space and confused a number of players. Popularity is only one factor on whether a mechanic returns or not.
So we’ll only seemingly be seeing ninjutsu return in nonrandom products like Planechase or Commander decks, just as it did with cards like Sakashima’s Student in Planechase 2012. Bushido, however, is a much more simple and versatile mechanic; it is a likeable combat keyword that is simple enough to be put in a core set. The problem with it is, as previously stated, the fact that it is overly tied to Kamigawa’s setting. Indeed, Rosewater seems to think it would require a renaming. When Tumblr user trailofpapers asked him, “Is bushido such an exotic word that most Magic players aren’t familiar with it? Gamers watch anime, samurai movies, and play Japanese video games. I’d guess most people have a sense of what bushido is. And it’s certainly no stranger than exalted, indestructible, or changeling,” he responded:
I’m not sure a random guy, especially one not even carrying a sword, makes sense with bushido.
However, another aspect of the samurai flavor bushido is tied to is that it was originally restricted almost entirely to white, black, and red. Even though it seemingly fits very well in green, the only green Samurai in Kamigawa was Isao, Enlightened Bushi. But that might well all change with a renaming. When Tumblr user saiwanderer asked Mark, “As we’re discussing a renamed bushido mechanic, what colours would that go into? Wbr never seemed right to me,” he said:
It was in white and black because of the samurai and the ninja. The mechanic would most likely be white, green and red.
What do you think about the future of bushido or a renamed version? Are you expecting to see it in its original form during a return-to-Kamigawa block? Let me know in the comments.