After the ultra-powerful Mirrodin block dominated Standard in the early to mid 2000s, Wizards of the Coast released a new and very distinct block: Champions of Kamigawa. This new block didn't nearly have the same power as the block preceding it, and many players were less than impressed. Still, the Champions of Kamigawa block did introduce beloved cards such as Sensei's Divining Top, Goryo's Vengeance, and Kokusho, the Evening Star.
This was back in 2004-2005, well before many of today's younger players had ever picked up a Magic: the Gathering deck. Some players are eager to see another visit to this Japanese-inspired planes, while others are content to let it remain in the past. What are five compelling reasons to bring Kamigawa back in the modern game? Or why should Wizards hold back?
10 Should Return: it's nostalgic
Many older players of MtG remember some of their favorite blocks of yesteryear, from Urza's Saga to Mirrodin to Invasion. Meanwhile, even if it's often considered underpowered, the Champions of Kamigawa block has become more nostalgic to many players, and they have been clamoring for a return here for many years now. It's been 15 years since the first set, many players argue, and surely Wizards is savvy enough by now to do this plane justice. Many lessons have been learned, after all, so catering to those nostalgic fans should be easy.
9 Should Not return: starting with a deficiency
In his podcasts, Mark Rosewater explained why Wizards does not typically attempt to "fix" old, poorly-rated sets by giving them newer, better ones. The prime reason? Doing so means starting with a deficiency, as opposed to starting at 0 like most new sets will. This represents extra and unnecessary extra ground for WotC to cover, and that is going to cost time and energy. That, and if the set does not sell well, it may represent a serious net loss. This may be why we haven't yet seen Return to Homelands or Return to The Dark. If a set failed the first time around, its odds of coming back are poor. Rather, popular planes like Zendikar and Ravnica get that treatment, since they're a much safer bet.
8 Should return: character arcs
Kamigawa is dense in legendary permanents, since there are so many prominent figures in the lore! Something similar was done in the Theros block, and Khans of Tarkir has legendary khans and dragon lords. One reason to visit Kamigawa is to meet fan favorites such as Azusa, and see what we can do with them in a modern set.
Or, perhaps a new planeswalker native to Kamigawa could rise to prominence, giving Tamiyo some company. Very few beings are born with the spark, but really, is Tamiyo going to be the only major Kamigawa planeswalker out there? Let's see a planeswlaking Kiki-Jiki, or something like that!
7 Should not return: parasitic mechanics
What is a parasitic mechanic, anyway? This describes a mechanic that only functions when it's surrounded by enough cards of the correct type, and these cards perform poorly outside of that environment. Champions of Kamigawa has so many parasitic mechanics, it functions like its own standalone games. Splice onto arcane, for example, does nothing unless there are enough arcane instants and sorceries to take advantage of. And let's not forget the over-reliance on legendary cards and the Offering mechanic.
6 Should return: new cards for legends
Not only would a return to Kamigawa mean meeting some of our favorite characters there, it would also mean seeing new cards for them! Unfortunately, the Champions of Kamigawa block was underpowered, but fortunately, a new set would show off these popular legends in cards that meet today's power levels.
Imagine Azusa, Kentaro, Eight-and-a-Half-Tails, and other such legends having truly Commander-worthy cards! Azusa's existing card is quite powerful, but maybe too much so. We'd like a more balanced version of her, please.
5 Should not return: isolated plot
In the 1990s and early 2000s, many blocks and sets in Magic: the Gathering had overarching plots concerning Urza, Tolarian Academy, and the famed Weatherlight ship. Later, the Bolas arc spanned Kaladesh to War of the Spark, and it was a tale of the ages. Don't forget the multi-set struggle against the Eldrazi, which spanned both Zendikar and Tarkir (the latter because Ugin needed to be revived). But what about Kamigawa? Like Lorwyn, this plane is very self-contained, and has precious little overlap with the overall lore. Jace visited there once, yes, but that was of very little consequence overall. Players want a set whose setting ties into the Gatewatch or a cool villain!
4 Should return: relevant tribes
The Champions of Kamigawa block was a loosely tribal one, and while some tribes, such as Samurai, feel irrelevant to the game as a whole, others are quite popular. Kamigawa is home to goblins, for example, and it has plenty of snakes, rats, and spirits as well.
Entire Modern or Commander decks have been built around those tribes, and a new Kamigawa block would provide just that. For those who want power at any cost, Kamigawa also offers demons, and plenty of ogres who support and worship them.
3 Should not return: plot is resolved
This is not just a card game. Since the Brothers' War, MtG has been about the lore, too, and players have followed the adventures of Urza and other figures for many years. A new set should launch a cool new plot or continue an existing one, but Kamigawa is a dead end where that's concerned. Its own plot ended neatly when the block did, and there's not much left to do except watch the Kamigawa people rebuild their plane after the devastating war. It would be nice to meet our favorite characters again, but not if they're just idling around.
2 Should return: only one set required
Ever since the mid-1990s, MtG has organized its expansion sets into blocks, and only recently did that practice end. For many years, players could visit a plane for three sets at a time, and for a time, blocks were trimmed to just two sets, starting with the Battle for Zendikar block and ending with the Ixalan block. Now, we can visit a plane for just one set, such as with Throne of Eldraine. Even if making a return to Kamigawa is risky (for reasons discussed above), it's just one set not a whole block of three. Even in a worst-case scenario, the damage is limited. And if the set is a success, that proves that Kamigawa is back in business!
1 Should not return: it's still a whole set
This is a direct response to the above argument. Yes, it's possible for Wizards to make just one set for a return to Kamigawa. But still, that's an entire set, and that's saying a lot. Including core sets, WotC is only making four regular sets for an entire year, and if one set proves unpopular or weak, that means a six-month gap between better sets. Players may be quite upset if the fall set is Return to Kamigawa... only to experience a flop, and have to wait until February next year for a better set! Wizards' PR department would have its hands full for sure.