MtG: A Kamigawa “Crap Rare” in the Spotlight: Toshiro Umezawa

Dear readers!

It IS Kamigawa week after all as it seems, as it just occurred to me that I on the one hand promised to do more “crap rare in the spotlight” Magic deck articles and that on the other hand I pretty much declared this week “Kamigawa block week”, since we are celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the japanese-mythology-themed block this year. So here I want to present you one of the ominous “crap rares” from the Kamigawa block that has always tickled the inner deckbuilder in me.

Have a look at Toshiro Umezawa in all his glory:

Toshiro Umezawa, not to be confused with a distant relative from ye olde Legends set, Tetsuo Umezawa, is, by my standards, to be considered a “crap rare” as he goes for about 80 US cents on average nowadays.

At the same time, the legendary Samurai has, in my eyes, tremendous potential to be unleashed and profited upon in the right deck for Toshiro.

So let me re-iterate what you can see for yourself in the above card preview: Toshiro Umezawa is a lackluster Creature, a 2/2 for 1BB with Bushido 1, but what makes him really shine is his in my opinion quite awesome abiltiy. So, whenever a Creature your opponent controls is put into a graveyard from play, you get to cast and instant from your graveyard. That makes Toshiro nothing short of a little, walking, talking Yawgmoth’s Will for instants and that is what makes this particular card from the Kamigawa block so interesting and a great candidate for showcasing in a Kamigawa-themed “crap rare in the spotlight” article.

So, before we dive into a decklist, let us look at what a Toshiro Umezawa Deck would need to max out on the Samurai’s very much abusable ability:

First of all, we need to trigger Umezawa’s ability. Therefore we need ways to send opponent creatures to the graveyard from play.

Secondly, we need instants in our graveyard that are worth casting from there and at the same time cheap enough to cast.

To make maximum use of Toshiro Umezawa’s ability, I propose that a combination of red and black would be most suitable.

So after rummaging through my almost encyclopedic M:tG card knowledge (there are some holes in that knowledge though as a matter of course!) and with the help of the real Magic cards encyclopedia over at I am able to present you with one possible Toshiro Umezawa deck, legal in Modern Format but not really intended to be competitive.

Modern Umezawa Deck (Modern Format):


4 x Toshiro Umezawa 1BB

4 x Horobi, Death’s Wail 2BB


4 x Lightning Bolt R

2 x Shock R

4 x Incinerate 1R

4 x Magma Jet 1R

4 x Searing Blood RR

4 x Terminate RB

4 x Geth’s Verdict BB


4 x Lightning Greaves 2


4 x Terramorphic Expanse

10 x Swamp

8 x Mountain

About the Deck:

Well the deck is pretty straightfoward: Get out Toshiro Umezawa and destroy creatures via Lightning Bolt, Shock, Incinerate, Magma Jet, Searing Blood, Terminate and Geht’s Verdict (no less than 28 cheap – 2 mana or less – instants that can kill creatures) and then re-cast these instants from your graveyard, dealing direct damage to your opponent via Lightning Bolt, Shock, Incinerate and Magma Jet. Horobi, Death’s Wail, however risky this one may be, can help a lot with destroying opponent Creatures and finish off the opponent as Horobi is a 4/4 Flyer for 2UU that has the ability that each creature is destroyed when targeted be a Spell or Ability. That means on the one hand that a humble Shock will kill off any creature, no matter how big. On the other hand, that makes Horobi itself and Toshiro Umezawa vulnerable, so use Horobi with care. Also, make sure to attach the Shrouding Lightning Greaves to Toshiro PRIOR to playing Horobi…

Well that about concludes this – for my standards – really brief “crap rare in the spotlight” article.

I hope you had a nice, quick read and will be back shortly with more…

As always I wish you all





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