Streets of New Capenna: Limited First Look
I just love this set. All five mechanics are going to lead to interesting decisions. The mechanics re-weight classic magic decisions which will make them feel fresh and difficult:
- Connive: Usually you want to discard a land when looting but the counter will change the calculus a lot. Usually one wants to save their looting effects to draw dead cards and lands but stats are more relevant the earlier they are in play. This mechanic feels like what explore should have been. With explore sometimes you really wanted the land, sometimes the stats and the lack of control was frustrating.
- Shield Counters: These will complicate combat a lot. In a lot of spots it will make chump attacking half as bad. How much damage is a shield counter worth on different boards?
- Alliance: I guess this one doesn't lead to difficult gameplay decisions but I think it'll be fun and lead to interesting deck building decisions.
- Blitz: I think they did a really good job balancing the blitz cards so it'll often be a close decision to blitz or play.
- Casualty: Hopefully you were really smart drafting and deck building and your creatures are all begging to be sacrificed, but even so giving up attacking and blocking is going to be a choice and you're not always going to be able to casualty for crazy value.
I love how the intersection between the mechanics all lead to natural subthemes:
- connive + shield: counters matter theme, see Celestial Regulator .
- shield + alliance: Citizens
- alliance + blitz: Blitz helps you get creature velocity which enables alliance. Gruul treasures subtheme will help enable this.
- blitz + casualty: sacrifice matters, see Body Dropper .
- casualty + connive: graveyard matters, realized in a weird "5 distinct mana costs" subtheme. See Snooping Newsie .
None of the mechanics are parasitic. You don't have to be an alliance deck to have creatures that will trigger your alliance effects. White has plenty of creatures which are good to sacrifice to casualty (though green doesn't really). Counters matter is only a thing at higher rarity, most of the value of shield tokens is in the tokens themselves not second order interactions. Because of this and the incredible quantity of fixing I think four color decks will be very common as you reach into the adjacent factions for premium gold cards.
How Gold is this Set?
This set is less gold than the most recent multicolor sets, Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance, in which each faction had 3 gold commons and a hybrid common. But more gold than the most recent tricolor set, Khans of Tarkir, in which each faction had only 1 tricolor common with morph.
The gold cards are very symmetric among the factions: every allied color pair has 1 common, 2 uncommons and 1 rare (except for Rakdos which has a bonus mythic). The allied commons and uncommons are very tight mechanically: all the Azorius ones care about counters, all the Dimir ones care about 5 cmcs in graveyards etc. This tight theming makes me wonder if simply allied decks could be a thing. I think in practice most sealed pools and drafts will have some adjacent gold card you can't justify not playing but I do see mostly allied color decks splashing a handful of broken gold cards being a common strategy.
Note that if you think you'll always end up in some shard an allied color gold card in this set is as restrictive as a monocolored card in a normal set. An allied color gold card fits into two shards which is 40% of decks. In a normal set you can be any of the 10 2 color combinations of which 40% contain any given color. A 3 color gold card is as restrictive as a gold card in a recent Ravnica set which is half as restrictive as gold cards normally are when all 10 color combinations are viable.
For the shards: one of those uncommons is their charm and the other two are creatures, one of which is legendary. At rare they each have 5 cards: an ascendancy, a removal spell, a mythic legendary creature, a nonlegendary creature, and a double hybrid legendary creature. It's my opinion that all the creatures above common are strong draws to their shard. The removal spells and charms are good but not significantly better than murder (some I'd argue are worse). Maestros Ascendancy , Riveteers Ascendancy and Brokers Ascendancy are all very good, the other two are only okay. Some decks will have to leave Obscura Ascendancy in the board but if you can support it it's very good.
The fixing is extremely good. There are two cycles of common lands. There's the cycle of tricolored commons which exile from your hand to fix. There's Ominous Parcel . There's 10 commons which make treasures and there's 1 common and 2 uncommons which are treasures.
This is my tentative ordering of common power level. I prefer ranking to ratings because power level isn't constant set to set. The bottom half of commons only get played rarely and exactly what the line between top and bottom for a given color and set varies a lot. I haven't yet played with the cards so these are just my first impressions and of course some cards power levels vary greatly on synergies. Let me know where you think I'm wrong.
Now this is an Elvish Visionary. A 2/1 flier is a real card, unlike a 1/1. Well worth the extra mana.
Plays well with all the mechanics. Helps you get to 5 mana costs in graveyard. Wants to be sacrificed to casualty. Somehow only the second best elvish visionary in the set.
I don't think 5 mana for sorcery speed removal with downside is that exciting. But it's good against shield tokens and once you're at 5 giving them a treasure shouldn't be too punishing.
How good this card is depends a lot on your positioning. If you're very aggressive it doesn't have much downside compared to pacifism. If you're controlling it's sort of bad especially since your other white removal spell helps them activate this ability. Plays badly against casualty.
It's hard to do better than trade with it on defense so it's a natural two for one. I like how it and Voice of the Vermin are better on offense because shield counters are a little easier to trade for a whole card on defense.
Reminds me of Prowling Felidar. I think it's okay.
I missed Sentinel's Eyes in tbd (the first set I make a ranking for). I think this card is worse though because of the lack of vigilance and efficiency and the lack of rewards for having random enchantments. But it is fun to loot away to connive. And it upgrades your 1/X's for casualty.
As a rule I'm not the biggest fan of combat tricks but this one can really swing a game. Should be enough to win combats, flying means it'll randomly end the game and lifelink will randomly keep you in the game.
Haven't seen this card in white before. I normally have this card lower but I think the density of counters matters in Azorius is a little higher than it is typically in green.
This is a weird card. It's a good one to hold counters but I can't imagine activating the ability very often. It's very symmetric and expensive. Maybe it's more designed for EDH.
Not much better than "Target creature becomes indestructible until end of turn". You can cache up the counter before a creature would be destroyed but almost always you'll want to cast it in response to removal or during combat. Could really get someone with Rhox Pummeler .
These effects never pan out in limited in my experience.
I'm all for threat of activation but I like to get in for 1-2 damage when they don't block and I don't activate. It has the threat on defense but then what are you doing with your mana? This card mostly seems worse than a 5 mana 5/5 but if you need to block it's not the worst to board in.
Basically a sleep + divination split card. This card is sick. It's possible I'm overrating it since the most direct comparison is crippling chill which is an extremely average card. Two is so much more than one though on both drawing and tapping.
I may be overrating this card but it plays super well with connive, casualty and spare counters. Happens to be a citizen. Getting 1-3 Fish in play is a lot of pressure.
Has the normal drawbacks of auras but a ton of upside. If they're tapped out it always gets a little bit of value. It can end the game out of nowhere if you put it on a large creature. Demands an answer even if you put it on a 1/1. I think this card is actually quite good.
This card really wants you to discard a spell to get it to 3/4. It highlights my concern with all the connive cards: you'll almost always want to discard a land, but then you've cast a rather below rate creature. I guess one needs to factor in the value of looting though so I think it adds up to a fine common. I could see being very wrong and this being actually the best blue common.
I think a shield counter is close to a whole card of value. On some boards more. Plays well with casualty.
It would be a fine playable without the casualty clause. It makes it good in the mirror where you can get both halves of their casualty spells. Makes it not fall off too fast in the late game.
There aren't many noncreatures in the set to hate on so I'd say this is slightly worse in the set than putting target creature on top. But in practice you mostly target their best creatures, which of course they will top, so maybe it's slightly better.
The design on all of these is sick. The body is so blue but the activated ability is so black and white. All of them did a good job on color theme.
Not a big fan of Inspiration and I don't think the upside here will be relevant too often. There's some mill in the set, but it's hard to build your own scry, especially if you're trying to cast this at end step. On the other hand the common blue counter spells are a little better than usual so I'm a little more happy to play them and maybe an instant draw spell is easier to include in that context.
Weird Card. Not the best at ambushing. I can imagine some blue control deck that plays a lot of counter spells that wants something like this to hold the ground while not putting shields down. This one needs to discard a spell more than most.
I like how this 6 drop actually ends the game in a board stall.
I normally don't like cards like this because the 1/1 is still a card. Especially in the casualty format. It is a little more efficient than they normally price it so maybe it's fine. But I always read these cards, think "maybe it's fine" and then never actually play it (Ravenform was one of my biggest misses in my Khm limited ranking), so I put it close to the bottom.
This is one of the better versions of this effect we've seen recently but I'm still mostly not interested. The upside of a 2 mana 3/3 just isn't that high. Especially since by the time it starts attacking it'll likely be outclassed
This is a weird card. Why does it make the creature an angel artifact? It's not actually that bad if you're desperate for a combat trick. But I rarely am.
Pretty self explanatory. Good with Incriminate.
I really liked Virus Beetle last set. Part of that was ninjitsu and artifacts matter but this set has casualty, sacrifice and alliance so it may be even better.
Extra good in a world of shield counters.
At first I thought this was maybe worse than target player sacrifices a creature because you miss out on the all important case where they just have one creature. But it's pretty sick if you cast it before your targeted removal. Together with murder you get to destroy their best two creatures. Get's around shield tokens. On the other hand you can only have so much removal and I've rated this below two better removal spells so maybe in practice this card mostly gets cut.
It's not hard to tell what you're supposed to do with this card. It's a little expensive though and there aren't many casualty 3 cards. Feels like you're not getting the best deal if you're sacrificing this to Join the Maestros or Rooftop Nuisance. You are getting good card value though. I think it's pretty good just on the play, trade, late game use, play pattern.
8 Power for 5 mana is a lot. Only 6 net but hopefully the 2/2 has it coming.
Another blitz card I think you'll generally be blitzing.
Instant and Casualty 1 make this one of the better casualty cards for a dedicated casualty deck.
I like how it trades with everything. Not an exciting card though.
Another connive card that really wants you to discard a spell.
I want a little more from my two drops. Also is it just me or is this set full of commons which feel really common but also are functionally different than any common we've seen before? This and Midnight Assassin made me think about that.
Combo with Vampire Scrivener . A 1 mana creature which casualties for 2. You do need a reason to play this card because it's not so good on rate. Trading 2 damage for 1 isn't that exciting unless you're extremely aggressive which isn't generally where you want to be.
I'm always low on combat tricks. It is fun with the Court Official and casualty though. Some decks will be happy to play it.
Good to board in against Ascendancies and creature bombs. I wouldn't start it though.
It's possible strangle is just better but there are a lot of X/2s and I think generally their second best X/2 is going to be better than your worst creature. The copies can team up to take down an X/4.
Just a good card.
Reminds me of Ahn-Crop Crasher. It's almost better. You'll get a lot of surprise damage sometimes, but it's also good to just cast. Especially in multiples.
This is a really good rate. I like playing the various 1/3s which ping on instant/sorcery and it's a lot less costly to fill your deck with creatures than noncreatures. A 3/2 is also a much better body.
It's a 2 mana 2/2 menace (at least) on offense so it's clearly a fine card. I don't know how often you'll want to be blitzing it. When +1/+0 is the difference between a bad attack and a good attack you're getting something pretty valuable. But 2 mana for 2 damage draw a card isn't the best limited card. Feels like you need to care about blitz, sacrifice, or alliance before you are excited to blitz it. But that'll be every red deck so maybe it's just good.
Good with alliance and casualty. Interestingly this is the only common in Cabaretti colors which makes two creatures. I don't think the rate is too good but it'll slot neatly into some decks.
I like this card less than the shard commons and you can only have so many 5 drops so maybe it'll rarely make the cut.
Not really sure where to rate this one. None of the black or red removal randomly exiles things which is a plus. It's very efficient. I'm generally down on Auras but this one may be just good.
5 isn't so much that it won't occasionally miss things. Also a sorcery. Not a particularly good removal spell.
This one drop has a lot of text. I don't think any of it is that good but it all adds up to a fine playable.
Not making card advantage is a big knock.
Not the biggest fan. I find deathtouch trades best on defense which is when it's mostly costly to have mana up. Still it's at least a 2 mana 2/2, so not too bad.
There's a lot of random equipment in this set. This certainly isn't one of the good ones.
What happened to Nessian Courser? It's fixing, it curves into a 5 drop. Trample isn't super relevant but vigilance definitely is. No more simply trading 3 for 2 against their 2/2.
Fine on defense as a 5 mana 4/5 but I think generally you'll want to put the tokens on a flier or something and cash in the 2/3 body for another card.
I actually love this card. I just want to draft 5 colors and cast my 8 drops on turn 6. It also enables double splashes. The stats are good enough to help prevent you from being run over as you durdle. Wants to pair with Jetmir's Fixer or Stimulus Package .
Decent value. I wish it was a creature with an ETB so I could put Warm Welcomes in my hand with Warm Welcomes. Probably better that it's an instant though.
Not quite as good as its red counterpart but still very good.
There's a ton of random treasures in this set. 10 cards at common make treasures and 4 of them are green cards which I'm happy to play.
I like the combat tricks which leave stats behind a lot more.
At least a 2/2 vigilance for 2. Helps you double spell.
Wants some counters.
We've been spoiled with Rabid Bites.
I never like cards like this. You need to trigger it twice before it doesn't just trade with their 2 drop anyway. I'd rather by 2 drop make some kind of value.
What happened to Might of the Masses ?
This is not a main deck disenchant format.
This card is great. 3 mana for a 2/3 flier is already above rate. Taking a creature out of combat for 2 blocks and an attack is a big tempo play. Also the odd one out in terms of mana cost. They couldn't make it a 2 mana 1/2 or something?
This card isn't a fixer. It's the opposite of a fixer since it wants to eat your treasure.
2 mana 2/3 already slightly above rate.
This card isn't that great. There aren't that many rewards to self mill in this format and 5 different cmcs isn't always going to be easy. I'd still play it when it's on color but unlike the other four I don't think it's a draw to the color combo.
I underrated this cycle at first before realizing almost all of the power level of the cards is on the creature side, not the fixing side. That said the fixing will enable some good mana. Just playing 6-6-6 and two on color exile guys will already give you fine mana. I didn't rate these because I think they're all pretty close in power level.
I don't think these cards are must plays even on color. At the end of the day they're just 5-7 drops at common power level. You can't play that many expensive cards. I think you'll generally play them in sealed but hope not to play them in draft. I might be overrating the power level of the set here though.
It's awkward with the density of tap lands. Being a good top deck is a huge upside.
This card might just be sick. It won't be hard to put a counter on it. It might be one of the better late game commons for a green ramp deck. I like the design because despite being a high powered colorless common not every deck will want it. I do think it's a treat for late game ramp decks though. And one they should be able to draft late.
This is sort of a unique card. It reminds me of various green auras but its moveability is a big upside. I think it's good but you can only play so many effects that just modify your own creatures.
I think we've reached the colorless cards that are at a power level that you should essentially never play them. If you're desperate for fixing or casualty fodder this isn't the worst but I wouldn't be happy if this was my 23rd card.
- Threaten (Involuntary Employment ) is an uncommon in this set. I think that's a sign you should always play it. There are a lot of sacrifice outlets and the sacrifice outlets are good.
- Tavern Swindler is also an uncommon but I really couldn't tell you why it's in the set at all, let alone rarity bumped.
- There are five wraths (depending on how you count): Depopulate , Structural Assault , Incandescent Aria , Corpse Explosion and Night Clubber .
- Is it just me or are charms sort of boring? They all have their removal mode, their card draw which is maybe not better than divination mode and their spice mode which is at a power level you'll rarely choose it. Obviously in limited you're always playing all of them. But they just feel so boring.
- Why is Clean up Crew a 6/6? How did these Citizen Janitors get so powerful?
- Giada, Font of Hope has a lot of random friends in this set. There are four common angels. Inspiring Overseer has got to be one of the smallest (and best) angels ever.
- In team sealed you'll want to play all your good cards, like always. I think the most common team sealed builds will be 1 player gets 1 shard and 2 players get 2. How you split it up will depend on your specific pool but Caberetti + Riveteers, Brokers + Obscura and Maestros alone will be a common choice.
- W: Boon of Safety , Kill Shot , Revelation of Power
- U: Case the Joint , Disdainful Stroke , Majestic Metamorphosis , Make Disappear , Psionic Snoop , Run Out of Town
- B: Deal Gone Bad , Demon's Due , Dig Up the Body , Fake Your Own Death , Murder
- R: Antagonize , Big Score , Daring Escape
- G: Broken Wings , For the Family , Most Wanted , Prizefight , Warm Welcome
- W: Knockout Blow , Refuse to Yield , Swooping Protector
- U: A Little Chat , An Offer You Can't Refuse , Faerie Vandal , Out of the Way , Slip Out the Back
- R: Call In a Professional , Torch Breath
- G: Bouncer's Beatdown , Luxurious Libation
- UW: Exotic Pets
- BU: Tainted Indulgence
- BUW: Obscura Charm
- BRU: Maestros Charm
- BGR: Riveteers Charm
- GRW: Cabaretti Charm
- GUW: Brokers Charm
- U: Errant, Street Artist
- BUW: Obscura Interceptor , Void Rend
- BRU: Evelyn, the Covetous
- BGR: Unleash the Inferno
- GUW: Endless Detour