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Last updated on June 2, 2022

Rabble Rousing - Illustration by Nestor Ossandon Leal

Rabble Rousing | Illustration by Nestor Ossandon Leal

Greetings planeswalkers. The Streets of New Capenna are nearly open for business! The set will be online in two weeks and there’s a prerelease coming up this weekend, which I trust you’ll be attending. In just a few short days you’ll be choosing a prestigious family to join and corner the Halo market with.

But what should one make of this intriguing 3-color set? If you’re not sure where to start I of course recommend reading our SNC Limited review by Andrew Quinn for a general overview of set mechanics and a review of each card in the set from a Limited viewpoint. Today I’m going to focus more on the set’s overall architecture rather than the reviewing cards individually.

And before we start I just want to make one thing clear: Halo is totally not a drug. WotC said so, and why anyone would believe that a world inspired by crime movies would have drugs in it is totally beyond my understanding. I did a full line of Halo before writing this, so you can trust me.

Who Runs These Streets: Themes and Archetypes

Meeting of the Five - Illustration by Dominik Mayer

Meeting of the Five | Illustration by Dominik Mayer

If you’re a bit behind on New Capenna spoilers, the gist of the set’s gameplay seems to be that it’s a 3-ccolor set based around five different shard-colored crime families. These families are the Brokers (), Obscura (), Maestro (), Riveteers (), and Cabaretti ().

Each family has an overall theme to their gameplay:

  • Brokers care about putting counters on things, usually either +1/+1 counters or new “shield” counters that offer one-time protection from damage/destruction.
  • Obscura is all about the new connive mechanic, which means frequent draw and discard that can be taken advantage of with cards that play from your graveyard.
  • Maestro wants to sacrifice creatures for value to its casualty mechanic, which lets it double up on spells if you have the right fodder.
  • Riveteers is an aggressive faction focused on the new blitz mechanic, and sacrificing creatures in general.
  • Cabaretti is a “go-wide” guild that makes a lot of 1/1 Citizen tokens and uses them to constantly activate various alliance payoffs.

Thematic Guild Overlap

Sanguine Spy - Illustration by David Palumbo

Sanguine Spy | Illustration by David Palumbo

The 3-color pairs overlap in a number of ways, which can lead to occasional forays into 4- and 5-color as well as some extra maneuverability while drafting your seat. The main overlaps I can see from doing drafts in our very own draft simulator and scouring the spoiler are:

Ally-Color Starting Points

Metropolis Angel - Illustration by Lie Setiawan

Metropolis Angel | Illustration by Lie Setiawan

You won’t necessarily start 3-color since it isn’t worth committing to a guild early in the Draft without a very strong payoff card.

New Capenna has some support for 2-color ally pairs (Azorius , Dimir , Rakdos , Gruul , Selesnya ) in the set to give you a bit of wiggle room in Draft. This is notable because these color pairs intersect with two guilds like Azorius with Brokers () or Obscura (), so you can start 2-color and then figure out which family is more open.

The 2-color themes are as follows:

  • Azorius cares about counters just like the Brokers but without needing any green.
  • Dimir has a number of cards that reward you for having “five or more mana values among cards in your graveyard.” This is an open-ended goal that can be accomplished by trading off creatures, using removal spells, draw and discard (connive), and/or self-mill.
  • Rakdos wants to sacrifice creatures for value, a goal that plays well with both the blitz and casualty mechanics.
  • Gruul makes lots of Treasure tokens which have a number of payoffs in the set and also make splashing easy. A couple Riveteers sacrifice payoffs also work with Treasure.
  • Selesnya is focused on Citizen tribal, which is good news for jumping into Cabaretti since most of the token creatures in this set are Citizens.

Enemy-Color Starting Points

Cormela, Glamour Thief - Illustration by Bram Sels

Cormela, Glamour Thief | Illustration by Bram Sels

Enemy color pairs can also be drafted, but there aren’t any enemy color cards in the set and they only overlap with one guild. Still, you may find yourself starting a Draft with enemy colors regardless because of the card quality.

Like a p1p1 Vivien on the Hunt, a p1p2 Jewel Thief, and p1p3 Faerie Vandal. In this case you usually either abandon one of your colors or slide into the 3rd family color. The synergy between enemy color pairs is fairly minimal, just guild synergies on a lesser scale, so I recommend trying to find a base ally color pair if possible.

Advanced Mechanics

Shield Counters

Shield counters are a brand-new mechanic with some resemblance to regeneration, an ability that hasn’t been seen on a Standard-legal card since Magic Origins. A shield counter is removed from a creature whenever it would take damage or be destroyed and prevents either of those things from happening. The main advanced thing about shield counters is knowing the easiest ways to get around them, since having to spend two Murders on a Falco Spara, Pactweaver is a game losing proposition.

The best ways to get around shield counters in New Capenna are Deal Gone Bad, Whack, and Call in a Professional. -X/-X effects penetrate destroy-based protection (no amount of shield counters will save a 0-toughness creature because it dies as a state based action), and “damage can’t be prevented” gets around damage based protection. Aura-based removal like Witness Protection and Hold for Ransom also work just fine against shield counters.

Ping effects can also do the trick if you need other solutions to shields. Arc Spitter makes shield counters a joke on blockers while Light ‘Em Up is a good general answer to smaller shield creatures like Disciplined Duelist. First strike and double strike creatures can also open up shielded creatures for a stack block.

Connive

The basics of connive are that you draw/discard when you connive, and discarding a nonland permanent puts a +1/+1 counter on your conniving creature. Expanding on this means focusing on a couple aspects of this mechanic: what it does to your deckbuilding, graveyard synergies, and odd cards that work well with being discarded in general.

Connive’s ask to pitch nonlands means some 17-land decks with lots of connive cards might choose to be 16-land decks. It isn’t a huge change but I could see making the dip down to 16 whenever I have enough cheap connive cards like Raffine’s Informant. Access to lots of connive creatures also makes playing situationally good cards like Kill Shot, Witness Protection, and Buy Your Silence more appealing. And Wretched Throng is a card that works particularly well with connive, potentially filling your hand with medium cards that can be exchanged for new ones and counters.

Some cards that you should be looking to play in heavy connive decks are Expendable Lackey, Raffine’s Guidance, and Maestros Initiate because they’re all nonlands with free value when pitched, giving you easy card advantage and sizing from just playing normal connive creatures. Small advantages win games.

Casualty

Casualty lets you double up on certain spells by sacrificing a creature as you cast it. This requirement ranges in difficulty based on the number after casualty.

The easiest of these cards to use are the ones that say “casualty 1” since they work great with simple fodder like Expendable Lackey and Corrupt Court Official. If you want to take advantage of more demanding cards like Light ‘Em Up or Join the Maestros, you’ll need to find stronger fodder. Maestros Initiate, Raffine’s Silencer, and Crooked Custodian are realistic playables for a deck trying to use casualty 2 or 3 cards.

You can also lean more into blitz as a way to support higher casualty cards. Casualty and blitz is an awesome combo that you’ll definitely see a good amount of as you draft the set. The best blitz cards to pair with casualty are cheap ones since more expensive blitz costs might force you to wait too long to double spell with them.

One thing worth noting about casualty is that a lot of the higher rarity cards with this mechanic are just not good. Cut Your Losses is unplayable and Cut of the Profits is so-so at best. I’m also not a fan of Illicit Shipment or Join the Maestros either since Shipment is beyond clunky and Maestros tokens are overcosted for .

The best casualty cards besides Ob Nixilis, the Adversary are Grisly Sigil, A Little Chat, Dig Up the Body, and Rooftop Nuisance, all of which are casualty 1. Focus on good 1/Cs for these and lean on blitz cards to support Light ‘Em Up.

Blitz

Blitz and casualty were already covered, so instead I’m going to focus on evaluating the playability of various blitz cards. Without a plan to sac the creature blitz is basically a cycling burn spell in creature form. You get one attack from that creature which your opponent won’t want to trade for, then it dies later and refunds your card. This “draw a card” rider happens no matter how your blitz creature dies which is a big part of why blitz and casualty is such a strong line.

One great thing about blitz is the flexibility it gives your cards. Take Caldaia Strongarm for example. This is both a competent 4-drop and a solid 5-drop since you can play it as either a cantripping aura of sorts that can also be sacrificed/attack for , or as a 4/5 creature. Other blitz cards like Plasma Jockey are notable for their strength in making sudden and powerful attacks out of nowhere.

The disadvantage of blitz is that you’re not usually developing your board much when you do it, As so you won’t usually blitz until after you’ve played out your first few plays of the game, or if you need to more or less cycle a creature that has no other use. This will be a common late-game line if you draw a Mayhem Patrol that has no chance of attacking into a very stalled board.

Alliance

Of the five guild mechanics alliance is definitely the simplest. Alliance is basically just landfall for creatures, rewarding you with a variety of effects for keeping the dudes flowing. It works fine with both creatures and creature tokens and likes it when you can keep the gas flowing with card advantage. There’s a notable cycle of alliance cards (Venom Connoisseur, Sizzling Soloist, and Rumor Gatherer) that reward you for triggering their ability twice, a feat easily accomplished by creatures like Rakish Revelers and Exhibition Magician.

There isn’t too much that’s advanced to say about alliance itself. All I can really add is that cards like Warm Welcome and Mage’s Attendant are better than you might expect them to be thanks to this mechanic. The best alliance cards are Gala Greeters and Rumor Gatherer, but none of them are unplayable.

Common Cycles

One of the better ways to get a feel for a new set is by studying its cycles. Cycles take up a significant chunk of many set’s retail and can teach you a lot about core Limited gameplay patterns. They’re also great for showing off each of the 3-color families’ approaches to gameplay, as well as other Draft patterns to pay attention to.

Family Fetch Lands

This is pretty decent fixing that can also be played outside the 3-color shards as long as you’re in  two or three colors since the rate is no worse than the classic Evolving Wilds. The free +1 life is a bonus, and nice with Vampire Scrivener if you have it.

Initiates

These are playable curve-filler creatures for most decks. They play just fine outside their named families thanks to hybrid activated ability costs since you can activate them in any supported 3-color pair. Maestros Initiate is my favorite of the cycle for being free value with connive, a quality shared by only a few cards in the set.

Family Mana Fixers

This is a cycle of passably stated fatties that can also be exiled early for a bit of help with mana fixing. Spara’s Adjudicators looks to be the most efficient of the cycle and reminds me of Berg Strider, which was excellent in Kaldheim. I also appreciate Rakish Revelers for being two bodies in one card, a valuable trait with many alliance cards.

I wouldn’t recommend splashing these in decks playing only two or three of their colors since they’re just not that efficient as creatures.

Ally-Color Commons

These are the first clue that you should start your draft with an ally color pair if you can. They all play off larger 3-color themes that can work for both shards they’re playable in.

Ally-Color Lands

The second lead in to ally color placement comes in the form of this land cycle. It’s an open question whether these or the 3-color fetch lands are better. I’m currently weighting these slightly higher since they provide two colors at once and free late game upside.

Uncommon Cycles

Family Legends

These are strong payoffs for solidifying yourself into one of the family pairs, and they all work with their 3-color theme in one way or another. Lagrella, the Magpie seems like the best of the five to splash thanks to its inherent power level.

Family Charms

Charms are a 3-color staple that usually have one mode for each of their guilds’ colors. All of the Charms in this set are pretty good, with Brokers and Riveteers tied for the best one while Obscura has the worst, at least for Limited.

Uncommon Henchmen

These are all above-rate creatures that reward you for finding your 3-color combo. Corpse Appraiser is likely the best one, but you’ll never cut these from any deck that can cast them. You might even splash them too.

Ally-Color Signposts

These are strong signposts that reinforce guild themes and reward you for starting 2-color. Metropolis Angel is easily the best of these since it’s a 3-power flier that can freely draws cards. I also like Forge Boss because it has a decent body, and blitz is a simple path to free damage.

Ally-Color Noncreature Spells

These aren’t quite as strong as the signposts but help round out their guild deck and reward you for starting two colors. Fatal Grudge is easily the weakest of the cycle, but I’d still likely play it in a Maestros or Riveteers deck with good fodder. Stimulus Package has the highest ceiling with cards like Glittermonger, Jinnie Fay, Jetmir’s Second, and Bootleggers’ Stash, but it’s mediocre at best without support.

Rare Cycles

Family Hideouts

While not necessarily windmill slam p1p1s, these are strong lands in both Limited and Constructed. Expect them to make waves in Standard, Pioneer, and Historic while seeing a little Modern play and making a healthy addition to your draft decks.

Hybrid-Costed Legends

The color scheme on these legends is interesting and showcases how each family has a base color: Brokers are white, Obscura are blue, Maestros are black, Riveteers are red, and Cabaretti are green. Their hybrid casting costs mean that you can play them in any family that has at least two of their colors. All of these cards except Rigo, Streetwise Mentor are easy p1p1 level, and Rigo can definitely be good too if you have the right support cards (mostly Citizen tokens, Brokers Initiate, and Sky Crier).

Family Ascendancies

These complete a cycle introduced in Khans of Tarkir and are powerful static enchantments that encourage you to go deep on the families’ play patterns. Obscura Ascendancy is definitely the weakest of the cycle for most decks since it requires a very specific deck with lots of 1-mana value cards and card advantage in general to do much. Brokers Ascendancy is by far the strongest one and seems like an absolute nightmare to play against in Limited.

Rare Henchmen

I imagine these will be some of the most common splashes in the set, but each is a good reward for being in their corresponding 3-color family. Ziatora’s Envoy looks to be the best in the set thanks to its filthy efficiency and power, but Soul of Emancipation is the biggest on raw “oomph.” I would be delighted to p1p1 any of these five cards.

Rare Removal Spells

More 3-color rewards, this time in the form of specialized removal spells. Void Rend and Endless Detour are super clean Murder variants if you can cast them, while Hostile Takeover is a potential mega-bomb that I look forward to casting off of Treasure tokens.

Ally-Color Rares

The last 2-color cycle provides more rewards for the aforementioned themes. Black Market Tycoon, Aven Heartstabber, and Park Heights Pegasus are top notch cards in decks built around their goals. The other two are more generalist, with Scheming Fence being mostly filler and Corpse Explosion being a strong sweeper effect with some setup required.

Mythic Cycle

You have the crime bosses themselves who lead the five families and make for a very strong mythic cycle. Ziatora, the Incinerator and Falco Spara, Pactweaver are two of the best rares in the entire set while Jetmir, Nexus of Revels and Raffine, Scheming Seer aren’t very far behind. Lord Xander, the Collector is probably the weakest since it costs seven and has a lower output than Ziatora (which is completely busted with blitz), but it’s still definitely a bomb rare and worth splashing.

Common Removal

While I don’t want to retread too much into set review territory, going over a set’s common removal spells gives you a better picture as to what answers your opponent may have to your threats.

White

Hold for Ransom

Hold for Ransom is white’s best general-purpose common removal spell. The drawback on this card is that your opponent can pay seven (and have you draw a card) to get rid of your Pacifism, which makes it close enough to the original that I’m interested in it. But two drawbacks is that it plays poorly against casualty cards and that it can’t permanently answer late game bombs like Ziatora, the Incinerator.

It’s also vulnerable to Broken Wings, Extract the Truth, and Citizen’s Crowbar. I like it in general but think it’s best in proactive white decks that still want answers to blockers and bombs.

Kill Shot

Kill Shot is the opposite end of the spectrum, best in controlling decks that don’t care much about killing blockers. Having extra instants to mask your intention to use this card is also very helpful since it can be a liability when played around. I wouldn’t want a ton of this effect but one or two copies should play fine in Sealed, especially early on in the format.

Buy Your Silence

Buy Your Silence is a really expensive sorcery that puts your opponent up a Treasure token. These are all knocks against it, but it does exile and sometimes you just need to take one on the chin to answer bomb rares.

It’s also unique in that it can answer noncreature bombs like Brokers Ascendancy and Fight Rigging. I want this effect more in Sealed than Draft and view it fairly similarly to something like Grisly Ritual, which was occasionally good.

Blue

Witness Protection

Witness Protection is an extremely efficient answer to large creatures, but it does have a lot of the same drawbacks as Hold for Ransom. Your opponent can also chump block with a creature wearing this, which is a knock against it in proactive decks.

Still, I’m going to voice a disagreement with Andrew here by saying that I don’t think this card is anywhere near as bad as he does. He gave it a 1/10 while I plan on putting it a copy or two in a lot of my blue decks.

Run Out of Town

Run out of Town has both a lower ceiling and floor than Witness Protection. It’s a temporary answer at best and too inefficient to ever wow you, but it also doesn’t give your opponent any room for Broken Wings blowouts. A copy or two should be fine in most blue decks, but I won’t be prioritizing this one.

Black

Murder

Murder is really impressive at common these days and is the second-best common in the entire set in my view, Inspiring Overseer being #1. You should draft this as though it were a strong uncommon because it is in most sets. The only drawbacks it has are being , a potential nuisance in a 3-color set, and shield counters, so keep both in mind.

Deal Gone Bad

Deal Gone Bad is somewhat inefficient, but not to the point where I’m cutting it. The incidental mill trigger is free upside. You’ll usually target yourself to enable Rogues’ Gallery or Snooping Newsie. You can occasionally go after your opponent’s deck if you have multiples, the game has gone very long, or your opponent has been milling themselves. I expect to cut this card when my deck is very good or has lots of good 4s, and to otherwise play it most of the time.

Incriminate

Incriminate is a late-game removal spell that kills your opponent’s second-best creature. It’s not great in a vacuum at all since “removal that can never kill what you want it to” is a rough sell, especially since you can’t use it to kill a solo creature like a normal edict.

The main use I can think of for this is to pair it with other removal spells because Incriminate plus Murder may as well be two Murders if you play your cards right. I don’t recommend picking this highly but could see it being either playable or very bad depending on how this set actually plays out.

Red

Strangle

Strangle is red’s only truly good common removal spell. Three damage for one mana is an incredible rate that every red deck wants. I have this as the fourth best common behind Inspiring Overseer, Murder, and Jewel Thief, so pick it highly.

Ready to Rumble

Ready to Rumble is overcosted but kills almost everything in the set and picks up random artifacts. The best case scenario are strong rares like Mysterious Limousine and Getaway Car. The first copy seems better than subsequent ones, but I’m more likely to main deck it than a similar clunker like Buy Your Silence.

Light 'Em Up

Light ‘Em Up is a bad rate without casualty since sorcery deal two is well below the Shock rate we’ve come to expect in Limited. Being casualty 2 instead of 1 is another knock against the card because the easiest sacrifice set ups are all 1-power creatures.

But this is still playable removal, particularly if you have a few blitz cards or Involuntary Employment to set it up. I expect to board this in or out a lot based on what kind of creatures my opponent has.

Green

Prizefight

Prizefight is green’s only common option for reliable creature removal, but calling this Pounce variant “reliable” may be false advertising. I do like the added free Treasure and would play one or two copies of this in any green deck with a couple large creatures for safe fighting.

Broken Wings

Broken Wings isn’t really a straight-up Murder by any means, but I’ve always appreciated it as a Plummet and Naturalize hybrid. Starting a copy of this has historically been fine in Sealed and will likely be more than fine in New Capenna since there are a good variety of fliers, artifacts, and enchantments to hit. This hits a couple crazy bomb rares that are otherwise very difficult to answer as well, so I definitely want to draft this for my sideboard when I can.

Format Pace Guess

I’m guessing New Capenna is gonna be a slow format. This is a general trend with 3-color sets but this should be a bit slower than slow thanks to a lack of good 1- and 2-cost aggro creatures and aggressive mechanics.

I’d expect to occasionally get run over by Riveteers or Cabaretti decks, but otherwise I’m looking to settle in for grindy games. But board presence still matters so don’t skimp on your curve too much.

Sealed

Evelyn, the Covetous - Illustration by Marta Nael

Evelyn, the Covetous | Illustration by Marta Nael

So now that we have a better understanding of the set, how can we expect opening six packs of Streets of New Capenna to play out? From the draft simulations I’ve done so far a recurring pattern is that I’m usually focused on a 2-color pair and then play all my 3-color cards from a guild plus one or two power uncommons and removal spells as splashes.

If I’m in one of the Gruul families (Riveteers or Cabaretti), I’m much more likely to double or triple splash for a full 4- or 5-color deck, eyeing certain cards like Hostile Takeover, Sanctuary Warden, and All-Seeing Arbiter as broken enough to justify this. Whether or not you should do this depends entirely on the quality and quantity of your mana fixing, but keep in mind commons like Big Score are more than capable of pulling this off.

On very rare occasions I sketched out Sealed pools where the best deck was outside the 2- or 3-color binary. This happens when all your rares and power cards are in two enemy colors and you have little to no support for their 3-color guild. You also might have powerful cards that you can splash in this 2-color pair which form an unsupported 3-color wedge (, , , , ).

The one time I’ve had this happen so far was as a Orzhov () deck splashing Evelyn, the Covetous and Professional Face-Breaker. My fixing for Mardu () was passable and I had no good Obscura cards whatsoever. But don’t expect to do this much.

Draft

You’re walking a tightrope between taking the best cards and not getting trapped into a family that you’ll be cut off of. The easiest way to do this is to start with an ally 2-color pair that seems open and then pick one of the two families in that pair. You also have to balance drafting mana fixing, curve filler, removal, and weighing whether or not to splash very powerful cards you might see that would ask you to be 4- or 5-color.

To better demonstrate all these ideas I’m going to walk you through a fake Draft brought to you by our very own Draft simulator.

Pack 1

SNC p1p1

My fake draft begins with an easy p1p1 in the form of Depopulate. This is an awesome Wrath of God variant that’s sure to impress in any controlling white deck. I’d still play it in Cabaretti decks but it’ll probably play better in the average Obscura deck.

If Depopulate wasn’t in the pack I like Darling of the Masses followed by Riveteers Requisitioner and then Mayhem Patrol, but I wouldn’t be thrilled to p1p1 any of these other cards.

SNC p1p2

The best card in the pack is probably Riveteers Requisitioner, but Boros () is an undesirable color pair thanks to being enemy colored, and it isn’t that much better than the other cards. The other options are Hold for Ransom, Kill Shot, and Gathering Throng in white and Warm Welcome, Case the Joint, or Run Out of Town outside of white. I went with Hold but could see Throng or Shot being better depending on how Hold plays out.

SNC p1p3

The pick now is between Queza, Augur of Agonies, Knockout Blow, and Strangle. Strangle and Queza are the best cards in the pack while Knockout is the best card that doesn’t require me to leave mono white. I’m more than happy to just slam Queza here and see if Obscura is open.

SNC p1p4

The best card in this pack is Forge Boss, which doesn’t play well with any of my picks. If I just want to stay in color I could see picking Corrupt Official, Witness Protection, or Disdainful Stroke. I think City Official is the best of the three and just generally good (especially with casualty 1 cards), so I’m happy to pick it up here.

SNC p1p5

This is a bit of a curve ball because the best cards are once again not in Queza’s family. Riveteers Charm is extremely good and Strangle is definitely the next best thing. But having either of these would mean abandoning my very strong p1p1 rare.

If I’m sticking to Obscura I’m taking Case the Joint, which is medium card draw at best but I like it better in a deck with a Wrath of God effect. I chose to take Riveteers Charm because Case just seems way too replaceable to pick so early.

SNC p1p6

No good Obscura cards again, but Psionic Snoop and Make Disappear are playable. Shadow of Mortality isn’t good at all, and a card I have below most commons. I think Voice of the Vermin and Freelance Muscle are both solid playables, but Big Score is more compelling as a way to potentially play Depopulate in a Riveteers deck. It’s my pick here because I’m not particularly happy with any of the other cards.

SNC p1p7

This makes me look like a genius for taking that earlier Riveteers Charm. I’m slamming the second copy as a signal that the guild is open. Also noting Forge Boss as the next best card in what is otherwise a very weak pack. Forcing Obscura would’ve had me picking some weak filler here, so I’m glad I didn’t let Queza convince me to.

SNC p1p8

I swear I’m not rigging these packs, but hey a p1p8 Riveteers Ascendancy goes pretty well with the Charms. It’s worth noting though that while it’s my pick here the card currently does nothing for my deck. I’ll need to pick up sac and blitz cards aplenty before it’s good, but the colors seem open enough that I expect that to happen. Warm Welcome and Big Score were my other options with Score being particularly interesting if I still really want to cast Depopulate.

SNC p1p9

Very easy Dig Up the Body here over filler creatures. The first copy of similar Soul Salvage effects is usually good, plus I can use it with blitz cards and Corrupt Court Official for serious value.

SNC p1p10

These are strong signs that I’m in the right color. Body Dropper is my pick as I think a base Riveteers deck will lean more into Rakdos than Gruul, but Jetmir’s Fixer is also promising. I don’t think Fatal Grudge does enough to be worth picking over one of the better 2-drops in the format.

SNC p1p11

Capenna Express is my pick here in case I end up base Gruul Treasures later. I don’t like Graveyard Shift unless I have many connive creatures and a couple fatties to reanimate.

SNC p1p12

Glittering Stockpile is a pretty weak mana rock that I might occasionally play in very greedy decks. Instead I’m picking Wrecking Crew for some solid top end, but I may or may not play it later.

SNC p1p13

Most Wanted is one of the worst cards in the set, so I’m taking Antagonize but not looking to play it.

Pack 2

SNC p2p1

Rabble Rousing is a very strong rare so my pick is between it (as a splash), a 3rd Charm, or Murder. Given my colors I like Charm over Murder, so it’s basically Rousing vs Charm. My current deck is too creature light for Rousing to seem insane so I’m happy to just have three Charms already.

SNC p2p2

Wiretapping could be considered as a splash off of Treasure tokens since two cards per turn is always good, even if the “nine in hand” text is 99.9% irrelevant. If you aren’t doing that Civic Gardener and Prizefight are superior to the Rakdos options here. I took Prizefight but am not 100% sure if that was correct since my current creature base doesn’t fight well at all.

SNC p2p3

Reservoir Kraken and Metropolis Angel are easily the best cards in the pack, but neither is a viable splash. I see this as a pick between Girder Goons and Glittermonger, with the correct one being based on whether or not I lean Rakdos or Gruul. I want to lean more Rakdos so I’m taking the Goons and also noting that I need to draft mana fixing when I see it for my Charms.

SNC p2p4

Goldhound is really neat as the only Treasure creature in the entire set. This lets it accelerate your mana while triggering sac-matters effects like Body Double. I can take either it or more Goons. I took the Dog but could see that being wrong if the card ends up a dud because it definitely isn’t worth a card on its own. This could end up wrong as Riveteers Ascendancy really depends on a critical mass of blitz cards to be good.

SNC p2p5

Mayhem Patrol is a great common in my deck, but Riveteers Overlook is too important with zero lands so far. Happy to pick one up.

SNC p2p6

Another Body Dropper is a nice reward for leaning towards the Rakdos side of Riveteers. Big Score would’ve been the pick for Treasure but I’ve made my focus clear.

SNC p2p7

Light ‘Em Up vs Girder Goons is how I see this pack, but Stimulus Package would be better than both had I taken the Big Scores earlier. I don’t have great cards for casualty 2 so I’m taking more Goons in hopes of making my Riveteers Ascendancy good.

SNC p2p8

Speak of the devil! Ascendancies aren’t necessarily dead in multiples so this pick is very much between it or Riveteers Initiate, which is solid curve filler. I’m going with Ascendancy #2 to see if I can pull it off and will be taking every blitz card I see now.

SNC p2p9

Nothing wrong with Maestros Initiate here, but of course I’m taking Plasma Jockey for my blitz needs.

SNC p2p10

I’m taking Incriminate as a strictly better card. I’d take the Cutthroat Contender instead in BO1 Arena in case I want to be hyper aggressive but I’m loath to play the card in general.

SNC p2p11

Ominous Parcel is bad fixing and bad removal in one package, and Cabaretti Initiate is a cute but weak creature that I have almost no ways to pump. I’m taking the Parcel and hoping not to play it.

Pack 3

SNC p3p1

Not a good pack for me. Giada, Font of Hope or Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer would be my p1p1s here. I have minimal support for Vampire Scrivener at best so I’m just taking Light ‘Em Up and hoping the rest of the packs are better.

SNC p3p2

Raffine’s Silencer is great but Corpse Explosion should be even better and also happens to play well with blitz. I can use Girder Goons to set up a really powerful board sweeper that my opponent won’t see coming.

SNC p3p3

I expect to play Illicit Shipment only when I have mega bombsthat are 100% guaranteed to win me the game if cast them. This deck doesn’t fit that description at all, so this pick is between Demon’s Due or Jewel Thief. Thief is definitely the better card and I have too many 3-color cards (five total) to play . Happy to take the best green common!

SNC p3p4

Four Riveteers Charms. Sadly (or not so sadly) I have to take a broken rare in the form of Fight Rigging instead. This is a completely messed up card that I expect to be a major groan test throughout the format.

SNC p3p5

Lord Xander, the Collector could certainly be splashed if I wanted it since it costs seven anyways and only requires a single blue mana from me. If I’m not picking Xander then I’m taking Bouncer’s Beatdown as a strong removal spell.

So far I have Big Score, Prizefight, Jewel Thief, Goldhound for Treasure fixing, and Ominous Parcel if I’m willing to run a basic Island. Sure, why not take Xander then?

SNC p3p6

Windmill slamming Riveteers Requisitioner here because it’s a good rate, a blitz card, and a Treasure maker. That’s everything I’ve been saying I want, plus the rest of the pack is so-so anyways.

SNC p3p7

Sadly this pack is terrible for me, so I’m just taking Corpse Appraiser on the off chance I splash it on top of Xander.

SNC p3p8

Lord Xander, the Collector is a strong late game card but still not at the level needed for me to play Illicit Shipment. I’m also in the wrong colors for the second Corpse Appraiser, so I’m just taking Glittermonger here.

SNC p3p9

Weak pack. Extract the Truth is a strictly better playable while Attended Socialite is mostly likely to make my 40. I could also play another Dig Up the Body for blitz value, but it’s pretty clunky. I just picked the Socialite.

SNC p3p10

This is a curve vs color question. I have a good number of 3-drops so I just picked Civic Gardener because I think it’s a better card than Crooked Custodian.

SNC p3p11

Combat tricks aren’t appealing in this kind of deck to me, and For the Family isn’t especially good in my deck. But the other options are similarly useless.

SNC p3p12

Fourth Charm tabled, too bad this isn’t a real Draft.

SNC p3p13

Glamorous Outlaw may or may not make the deck, but it’s another way to cast Lord Xander, the Collector without playing a basic Island.

The Deck

SNC Draft example deck

This is what I settled on, sadly cutting both my Riveteers Ascendancys since I had only four blitz cards and too many good noncreature spells. I also didn’t have a nice mix of creature costs, which is a problem since Ascendancy only returns “lesser” costs. A truly greedy drafter might also find a way to get Corpse Appraiser in there for maximum value, but I was satisfied with just Xander.

One thing to keep in mind is that Riveteers Charm works well in decks with fewer hard-to-cast or situational cards, at least if you plan on using the “impulsive draw 3” mode. Ominous Parcel was my 23rd card to help smooth out my rough mana as I would’ve liked more dual lands and really want access to my four Charms.

Wrap Up

Fatal Grudge - Illustration by Cristi Balanescu

Fatal Grudge | Illustration by Cristi Balanescu

Well, that’s about as far as I can go with a set that I still haven’t played yet. I hope you enjoyed this read and feel better prepared for a long career with whatever family you choose this weekend.

What are your early thoughts on New Capenna’s format? Are you excited for the prerelease event? Have you had any interesting Draft simulations so far? Let me know in the comments down below or over on Draftsim’s official Discord.

Until then, may your Halo (again, totally not a drug) reserves always stay stocked!

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