Reconfiguring the Rules — A Deep Dive Into Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty's Reconfigure Mechanic



With Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty spoiler season coming to a close, we have been spoiled with flashy aesthetic, new commander staples, and a plethora of mechanics old and new.


Today I’d like to shine a light on one such mechanic: reconfigure. This is a fantastic meld of both style and substance. The way it works is also raising a couple of eyebrows.


Let's dive into this interesting mechanic and see how it will have an impact on the game.


What is Reconfigure?

Before we look at the rules and interactions of the new reconfigure mechanic, what does it even do?

Reconfigure {Cost} ({Cost}: Attach to target creature you control; or unattach from a creature. Reconfigure only as a sorcery. While attached, this isn’t a creature.)

Looking at reconfigure, you might notice a striking similarity to another mechanic that has been with us since Mirrodin: equip.

Equip {Cost} ({Cost}: Attach this permanent to target creature you control. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.)

The similarities are definitely there, however, just looking at the text of these effects we have some differences. For one, the line "or unattach from a creature" jumps out. This is subtle but it matters.


We all likely know a Voltron player who has given their commander shroud with Lightning Greaves, only to be unable to attach additional equipment after the fact. Reconfigure allows you to unattach, making such a blunder less painful to fix.


Then we have the second difference, "While attached, this isn’t a creature." It just takes one look at a creature with reconfigure to understand why that clause is there.


Cards with reconfigure aren’t just equipment, they’re creatures. Bronzeplate Boar and all other reconfigure creatures have fairly monstrous type lines, such as "Artifact Creature - Equipment Boar."


So how does this dual type, artifact creature thing work? When a reconfigure card enters the battlefield, it is a creature. Bronzeplate Boar happens to be a 3/2 for three mana and can attack like any other creature. However, it can be reconfigured onto another creature for five mana. This makes it lose the creature supertype and effectively makes it just an artifact as long as it remains attached.



This dual role as an equipment and a creature mitigates one of the main weaknesses with equipment. That is, equipments are useless without another creature in play. Reconfigure gets around this by being a threat on its own.


This also allows for some creative board states where you may need to decide to attack with one big creature, or go wide by keeping all your reconfigure creatures unattached. Those tricky decisions to attach/unattach will definitely be present in the Neon Dynasty's Limited environment.


Reconfigure is appearing from common to rare across multiple colors. With so many artifact creatures in the set, this also makes traditionally narrow removal much more desirable. Cards such as Disenchant and Abrade become much more powerful in this context.


Show Us More Reconfigure

With spoiler season firing on all cylinders, we've seen a good number of reconfigure cards among all rarities. Across the board, we see, at worst, some playable but albeit unremarkable cards such as Leech Gauntlet, a two-mana 2/2 with lifelink. At face value, it's pretty par for the course. However, putting reconfigure on it can help stabilize your late game, especially on a beefy creature. Still, it isn't particularly exciting. Perfectly playable in Limited but nothing to write home about.


At higher rarity, however, we see some real power and unique designs. Lion Sash might be my favorite of the bunch. As an avid Commander player, Lion Sash is a great addition to any white deck as a piece of graveyard hate a-la Scavenging Ooze, or as a buff. Let's face it, graveyards fill up fast in Commander. At only two mana it fits right in next to all the other two-mana hate bears.



On the other hand, we have one card with reconfigure that might take the title of longest typeline: The Reality Chip. A two-mana "Legendary Artifact Creature - Equipment Jellyfish." What a mouthful!


Its textbox, like most reconfigure cards, is equally lengthy. This little thing lets you look at the top card of your deck at any time, and as long as it's attached to something you can play lands and cast spells off the top.


This has a lot of utility.


In Commander, this little thing can do a lot of work, including being an alternative win condition in decks like Elsha of the Infinite. Attach The Reality Chip to a creature, cast a Sensei's Divining Top and an Etherium Sculptor and you're on your way to an infinite storm count. Or how about a Simic lands deck? This little creature offers a way to play lands off the top as another Oracle of Mul Daya effect. All of this and we haven't addressed its Legendary status. This thing can be your Commander. Granted, I'm not sure how good this compares to other mono-blue options, but hey at least we have a Jellyfish commander we can play with!




Reconfigure Nuances

Now that we know what these cards are, we can begin to look at some of the nuances and edge cases they present us. Firstly, as these are equipment, they will follow all the rules associated with that subtype. They use the same phrase ‘attach’ to describe their relationship with creatures. This means eternal format favorites such as Sigarda’s Aid, Brass Squire, and Magnetic Theft will all work as expected with reconfigure.



Things get a bit funny when you look at cards that modify equip costs specifically. As these reconfigure cards do not have the "equip" keyword, they will not be affected by cost reducers such as Auriok Steelshaper or Bruenor Battlehammer as there is no equip cost to modify.


However, Puresteel Paladin’s ability will work because it grants a new (zero mana) equip cost to the creature. This is a funny little nuance to be aware of, especially in formats like Commander. Keep in mind, however, if you equip thanks to Puresteel Paladin you will still need to pay the reconfigure cost in order to unattach.


Reconfigure shares a striking similarity to Ikoria's mutate mechanic in some ways. It allowed you to cast creatures as if they were auras and attach them onto a creature already in play. While I don't think it serves much of a functional purpose, it is certainly possible to mutate onto The Reality Chip, then reconfigure onto another creature.


Therefore, the entire mutated pile would no longer be a creature. It would certainly be one way to create a massive textbox, and maybe crash MTGO for having too much text on one card. Unfortunately, most mutate cards read "when this creature attacks/mutates/does something" which means turning a mutate pile into an equipment won't really help you out that much.



While mutate doesn't seem to synergize perfectly with reconfigure, there are some odd cards that do.


The rune cycle from Kaldheim offers some interesting interactions with Neon Dynasty's new mechanic. These auras all have "as long as enchanted permanent is a creature it gets something," and "as long as enchanted permanent is an equipment it has 'equipped creature gets something.'"


This cycle gives us some curious lines of play. It allows us to divide auras between the host creature and the reconfigure. For example, say we reconfigure Leech Gauntlet onto a 2/2 Samurai token. We then cast Rune of Sustenance and we can attach the aura either to the Leech or the Samurai. If we attach a rune to a card with reconfigure, it means we get to keep the rune even if we reconfigure onto a different creature later on since it is technically attached to the equipment. While I don't think it is game-breaking, I do think it is cute enough to keep in the back of your mind.



The last example of nuances and weird interactions with reconfigure is the Licids. These unusual and horrific-looking creatures from Tempest block are so notorious they were featured in Mark Rosewater's 2012 "Make No Mistake" article, in which he talks about some of his greatest design blunders.


Licids are a creature type that can lose their status as creature and become an enchantment aura attached to some creature. A cost can then be paid to turn back into an independent creature if they wanted. Licids are weird, but the comparison to reconfigure is definitely there.


Cast it and its a creature, pay a cost it's no longer a creature, pay another cost to turn it back into a creature. It was a lofty design and in the early framework of Magic the cards were messy and textbox heavy. Dating back to Tempest, the idea of turning creatures into buffs has been around. It just took around 20 years and some rules changes to get it right.



Wrap-Up

Reconfigure is a wild mechanic. Clearly, it is an idea the game's designers have been trying to make sense of for quite some time.


Go out there give it a try once Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty launches later this month and have some fun with it. Just make sure you have a judge nearby to figure out what happens when you try to attach your mutated "Legendary Artifact Enchantment Creature - Equipment Rune Licid Jellyfish Dinosaur" onto a poor Samurai token.


 

What do you think of the new reconfigure mechanic? Got any ideas for how to make it work in your favorite constructed formats? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!


 

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