We're a little more than a week out from the release of New Capenna and it is already making its mark on several formats. Of course, its impact is most prevalent in Standard.
From new archetypes to key pieces for decks that were close to top-tier status, New Capenna has given players plenty of tools to shake up the meta.
Not everything has been great, though. A few cards surrounded by hype during preview season are still seeing little to no play in Standard. Whether that will change in the months to come remains to be seen.
Let's take a look at what's hot and what's not from the Streets of New Capenna!
Hot: Giada, Font of Hope
After the release of Kaldheim, angel tribal was close to being a viable competitive deck on the back of Righteous Valkyrie. Since then, it has picked up pieces one by one, like Liesa, Forgotten Archangel.
New Capenna gave us what looks like the final piece of the puzzle---Giada, Font of Hope.
This card is insane. Not only does it buff each angel that enters the battlefield, it also taps for white mana to let you cast angel spells. Giada is a "kill or lose" level threat at the centerpiece of a new Esper angel deck.
The blue? Well, it's a light splash for Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate, Raffine, and some countermagic out of the sideboard.
Keep an eye on this deck. It lines up really well with the current meta and could be a top-tier list if that remains the case. If you don't have a playset of Giada yet, you might want to buy in now before this card skyrockets.
Hot: Ob Nixilis, the Adversary
There was plenty of hype for Mob Nixilis. So far, it seems that hype was valid. The curve of Tenacious Underdog into Ob Nixilis is one that's nearly impossible for many decks to beat.
Meanwhile, Ob Nix slots perfectly into the existing Rakdos Sacrifice shell as a third option for draining your opponent alongside Oni-Cult Anvil and The Meathook Massacre.
That said, it does feel like people are jamming Ob Nix into decks where it isn't optimal. Although there are plenty of homes for this powerful planeswalker, don't derail your deck's strategy just for it.
For now, Ob Nix certainly doesn't seem ban-worthy. If anything, Esika's Chariot feels like a better target for a ban.
Speaking of the cat cart, Jund is seeing a big uptick in play in Standard. New Capenna gave the archetype several important pieces as well as a tri-land.
The combination of Ob Nixilis and Esika's Chariot for extra copies is absurd. Of course, in Jund you also have access to other tokens that are worth copying. Wrenn and Seven's treefolk, Invoke the Ancients' elementals, treasures, clues, 4/4 rhinos, and blood tokens are all accessible.
Riveteers Charm is also putting in work for this deck. Its flexibility is huge and can be a blowout or a source of major card advantage.
Simply, Jund has access to a huge pool of Standard's best cards, giving it plenty of angles to attack from and combat the metagame.
Hot: Raffine, Scheming Seer
Esper is another archetype seeing lots of play right now. While it was already popular before New Capenna, it now has a new identity.
Raffine, Scheming Seer has taken the deck to a new level. Connive is incredible for decks that are always looking for the best answer. Meanwhile, big threats like The Wandering Emperor, Lolth, and Legion Angel back the sphinx up.
Don't forget about every answer imaginable and a flexible sideboard that lets this deck take on just about any identity in games two and three. It can easily play the control role or go for a more aggressive approach with tokens.
Raffine works so well in this deck because it is doing everything you already want to do. Meanwhile, it is an evasive, difficult-to-remove threat that can swing for tons of damage.
Hot: Tenacious Underdog
This one isn't defining an archetype. Rather, Tenacious Underdog is slotting into just about every deck running black. It works great as an aggressive two-drop with the upside of being card advantage and a hasty threat in the late game.
Underdog is also a perfect body for sacrifice decks since you can replay it from the graveyard using its Blitz ability.
Expect this card to be a mainstay for as long as it's in Standard.
Not: Vivien on the Hunt
There was some hype about Vivien on the Hunt when she was spoiled. However, just like her presence in the New Capenna story, her impact on Standard has been underwhelming.
It appears that no one has really figured out how to take advantage of Vivien. Her six-mana cost is likely to blame. Standard is a quick format right now and Vivien simply doesn't offer enough on turn six to be worth it. That's wild to say given she has a Birthing Pod ability and can make a 4/4 on the spot.
Still, Standard is lacking the Modern combo where Vivien can come down and win on the spot if you have a three-drop in play.
I'm not counting Vivien out just yet, though. It feels like someone will break this card eventually. We just aren't there yet.
Not: Lord Xander, the Collector
There was originally some discussion of Lord Xander at the helm of a Standard reanimator / Grixis control deck. Those hopes quickly fizzled.
After hundreds of games in the past week, I've yet to see a Lord Xander played in Standard.
It looks like Commander will be the main (if not only) home for The Collector.
Not: Naya Aggro
More promising than Xander was the prospect of a Naya aggro / tokens build. The likes of Jinnie Fay, Jetmir, a new tri-land, and several enablers were promising.
So far, Naya has taken a back seat to Esper and Jund builds in the Standard meta. The combination of extremely powerful answers and better top-end plays make it hard for Naya to hang in the late game.
While it can get off to explosive starts and make a threateningly wide board, the shell isn't consistent enough to be a top tier deck.
Not: Void Rend
A lot of people were looking at Void Rend as a big piece of a Standard Esper control list. However, as discussed, Esper has taken on a different look with a tempo-focused approach.
This puts Void Rend in an awkward place. It is a little slow and clunky for a deck that craves efficiency. For now, Void Rend isn't seeing much play.
That could change as the meta evolves, but for now, it certainly isn't the catch-all answer we wanted.
What are your favorite cards from New Capenna so far? What's performing best in the Standard matches you've played? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!
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