After a few sets, Magic is getting back to dedicated color pairings (or in this case, threesomes) in the Streets of New Capenna. The Shard set features five crime families all vying for control. Each features rich lore and characters fitting of their colors.
New Capenna promises to be an entertaining draft set thanks to lots of solid uncommons, mana fixing, and an emphasis on defined archetypes. Players will be able to choose from five established two-color archetypes as well as five three-color archetypes. Notably, the two-color pairings work well with multiple three-color archetypes despite having their own themes.
Moreover, New Capenna features several new mechanics, such as casualty and alliance, alongside old favorites like hideaway and blitz.
Without further ado, let's dive into what this limited environment has to offer!
New Capenna Draft Strategy Overview
In a set with three-color archetypes, drafting strategy becomes more important than ever. Since everything is meant to work together, there will be no shortage of decisions to make. However, choosing when and how to make them can affect your entire deck.
Arguably the most important thing to keep in mind is staying as open as possible. When drafting, try to stick to an allied color pair in your early packs. This will allow you to dip into the third color of two different families if the opportunity presents itself.
For instance, if you start the draft in red/black, you could move into either Riveteers (Jund) or Maestros (Grixis) colors depending on what you see in your later picks. If things line up correctly, you could even splash a fourth color.
However, if you constrict yourself by drafting an enemy color pair or jamming three colors too early, you could end up with a weak, jumbled deck.
Keeping yourself open will be key to building the powerful, synergistic decks required of three-color draft formats like this one.
Streets of New Capenna Mechanics
New Capenna is bringing back several old mechanics and introducing a few new ones as well. Although not of all them will be impactful in Limited, it's a good idea to brush up on them.
One of the set's new mechanics (and one that looks incredibly powerful) is Casualty. This lets you sacrifice a creature as an additional cost to copy the spell you're casting. In Limited, this is a lot of extra value. If you have a way to get cheap creatures into play, it will be hard for any opponent to overcome.
Highlighted by the Cabaretti family, Alliance is another new mechanic for the set. Essentially "creaturefall," it triggers whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control.
Take note that this applies to all creatures, not just non-token creatures. Although the Alliance payoffs are usually small and incremental, they can snowball a game if you hit enough of them.
The mechanic of the Obscura family, Connive, also looks quite powerful. It is a bit strange for its colors as it demands an aggressive strategy, it will let you see a lot of cards.
When Connive triggers, you draw a card then discard a card. If you discard a non-land card, you put a +1/+1 counter on the creature with Connive.
We know that looting by itself is already quite strong, especially in Limited, since it helps you smooth your draws and find your bombs. Adding a counter on top is just gravy.
Blitz is here as a new mechanic to enable hyper-aggressive strategies. Creatures with Blitz come with an alternative casting cost that allow them to swing with haste before being sacrificed at the end of the turn. Think of it like Ragavan's Dash ability, but with a sac trigger instead of the creature bouncing back to your hand.
Given the sacrifice synergies in both Riveteers and Maestros, Blitz could shape up to be a very important mechanic for the set.
Operating similarly to Regenerate, shield counters are the primary mechanic of the Brokers family.
If a creature with a shield counter is dealt damage or would be destroyed, instead you prevent it and remove the counter. This includes everything from combat damage to targeted removal and board wipes. The only things dodging a shield counter are exile removal and blink/phasing effects.
This looks pretty strong, especially if you can avoid losing the shield counter to a chump blocker in combat. If so, it will be difficult for opponents to interact without spending multiple cards.
This one likely won't make a huge impact in Limited. However, it's pretty exciting that Hideaway is back. The requirements for New Capenna's Hideaway cards feel difficult to reach in a 40-card format.
When you put a Hideaway card into play, you get to look at a specified number of cards off the top of your library and choose one, tucking it under the Hideaway card face down. Then, once you meet the requirements, you can play the hidden card for free.
If you do ever get them to work, it's hard to beat the value they provide.
Streets of New Capenna Three-Color Family Archetypes
Brokers (GWU / Bant)
Unsurprisingly, the Brokers family focuses on board control with a combination of protection and counters. White looks very strong in this set, with an interesting tilt towards control. That could make for some interesting decks that also splash blue.
The Brokers' mythic rare, Falco Spara, Pactweaver, highlights the family's mechanics. It enters with a shield counter. Falco Spara also lets you peek at the top of your library at any time and lets you cast spells from the top by removing a counter from a creature you control.
The uncommon legendary signpost for Brokers colors is Lagrella, the Magpie. She lets you control the board by temporarily exiling creatures while also putting counters on creatures when they return to play.
Obscura (WUB / Esper)
The Obscura family, much like its Esper roots, plays with your draws and graveyard. Like the nearby Brokers, it also has some counter synergies.
Raffine, Scheming Seer is a good example. It features the new Connive mechanic, which lets you loot cards from the top of your deck and add counters for discarding.
Meanwhile, Queza, Augur of Agonies, the uncommon legendary signpost, drains your opponent and gains you life whenever you draw a card.
Expect games in Obscura colors to go long with plenty of ways to draw into your best cards in the latter portion.
Maestros (UBR / Grixis)
The Maestros are looking to be one of the most powerful families in terms of draft power level. Though, the same can't be said in terms of lore.
Lord Xander, the Collector leads the Maestros and puts their mechanics on full display. The three-color archetype here focuses on the new Casualty mechanic. This allows you to sacrifice a creature (typically of a certain power) to copy a spell. That sort of value is hard to top, especially if you're able to get some cheap creatures onto the battlefield and upgrade them for a better effect later in the game.
The Maestros also emphasize more traditional sacrifice mechanics as well as some of the format's best removal.
Cormela, Glamour Thief is the legendary signpost uncommon. She taps for extra Grixis mana to cast instant/sorcery spells. You'll also return a target instant/sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand when she dies. That's incredible value from a four-mana spell.
Riveteers (BRG / Jund)
Despite its Jund colors, the Riveteers family doesn't play out like the archetype you're used to. Rather, it focuses on the returning blitz mechanic as well as card draw. With a creature-heavy strategy, you should be able to overtake most opponents in the value game while also controlling the board.
Ziatora, the Incinerator lets you sacrifice a creature on your end step, dealing damage equal to its power to any target (including your opponent's face) and creating three treasure tokens.
Conveniently, that sets you up to cast Riveteer's Charm, arguably the strongest of the new charm cycle. You can force your opponent to sac a creature, exile a target graveyard, or gain card advantage by exiling the top three cards of your library and playing those until your next end step.
Mr. Orfeo, the Boulder is the Riveteers' legendary signpost uncommon. It lets you double the power of a target creature whenever you attack. This can make combat a nightmare for your opponent each turn. Mr. Orfeo is also a sturdy blocker with a 2/4 stat line.
Cabaretti (RGW / Naya)
This archetype is all about going wide. As you'd expect from Naya colors, you'll be putting lots of creatures onto the battlefield, pumping them up, and swinging face. Cabaretti also takes advantage of the Alliance mechanic for extra value.
Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer is the uncommon legendary signpost. It allows you to search your library for a creature with mana value X or less (matching Rocco's X cost) and put it directly onto the battlefield. This looks like a solid piece for just about any deck that can run it given the tutor ability.
Meanwhile, the Cabaretti leader, Jetmir, Nexus of Revels, shows off the archetype. The cat demon buffs your board with +1/+0 as well as vigilance, trample, and/or double strike depending on how many creatures you control.
At face value, Cabaretti looks powerful. In the New Capenna Limited environment, there should be plenty of opportunities to abuse its many synergies.
Streets of New Capenna Two-Color Draft Archetypes
If you're looking to play two colors, keep in mind that each of these archetypes is designed with cards that support two of the three color archetypes. This could leave you with a powerful and streamlined build. However, it can also be challenging to find enough synergies without overextending yourself.
Splashing for a third color shouldn't be difficult in this limited format. However, these archetypes can guide you towards making the right decisions early in the draft.
By choosing to stick with one of these archetypes, you'll have the option of splashing into two different families with your later picks.
Azorius is set up to support both the Brokers and Obscura with its blue/white cards. Metropolis Angel is the signpost uncommon. It allows you to draw a card whenever you attack with one or more creatures wearing a counter.
That should be fairly easy to do and can snowball the game in a hurry. An extra card each turn is huge in Limited. Keep in mind that Metropolis Angel itself can wear the counter on its evasive 3/1 flying body.
The blue/white archetype puts a big emphasis on creatures with counters, so be sure to load up on ways to add counters (especially to evasive creatures) for the biggest payoffs.
With an emphasis on the graveyard and "mana value matters," Dimir supports both Obscura and the Maestros. This is an interesting archetype as we've seen Delirium be both extremely busted and very underwhelming in the past.
Notably, UB doesn't care about having card types in the graveyard. Rather, it checks for cards with different mana values. This could be a lot more difficult to turn on. However, there are some strong payoffs for it.
Most turn decent creatures into very solid ones, like Syndicate Infiltrator. It starts out as a 3/3 flier for four mana. However, once you get five or more different mana values in your graveyard, it gets +2/+2, which can easily close out the game.
It will be interesting to see how this archetype plays out as filling your graveyard appropriately feels tough to pull off in Limited. However, it could be a dark horse mechanic that turns out to be quite strong.
Rakdos is doing nothing new here, focusing on sacrificing creatures for some effect. There's not much to say about this archetype that hasn't been said before.
It does feel like it will play especially well with Maestros. The verdict is still out on the Riveteers, but that looks promising as well.
Forge Boss looks fairly strong as a 3/4 body for four. When you sac a creature, it deals two damage to your opponent (once per turn). It's worth noting you'll need a different sac outlet to do this efficiently.
Body Dropper fills that role nicely. As a signpost common, it allows you to sac a creature for RB, giving it menace and a +1/+1 counter in the process.
This looks like one of the more powerful support archetypes as it mainly focuses on treasures. That makes it good for ramping, splashing, and generally enabling the other cards you want to play.
Add this to the synergies found in the Riveteers and the board-flooding potential of Cabaretti and you've got a strong match.
Security Rhox is a big payoff, letting you drop a 5/4 body for just two mana if you're using treasures to cast it. Meanwhile, Stimulus Package gives you two treasures tokens upon entering the field while also serving as an outlet for extra treasures later in the game.
Much like Rakdos, the green/white archetype isn't doing anything new here. It focuses on going wide and having citizen creatures in play (mainly tokens).
The signpost uncommon, Darling of the Masses, buffs other citizens with +1/+0 while creating a citizen token each time it attacks.
Civil Servant can tap another citizen you control to gain +1/+0 and Lifelink until end of turn. As an early 2/3 body, it also offers a nice way to take advantage of 1/1 citizen tokens that don't have a great role in combat.
What archetype are you most excited for in Streets of New Capenna Limited? Got a card you're hype to pull in your next draft? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!
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