Last updated on August 5, 2023
Tenacious Underdog | Illustration by Zara Alfonso
Do you want to take a stroll through the shady alleys and bustling streets of the mysterious Streets of New Capenna? Get your decks shuffled and your mana ready, because we’re about to dive into this wild and wacky world!
Let’s explore the absolute cream of the crop, the best cards that the Streets of New Capenna set offers. From sneaky rogues to powerful planeswalkers, I’ll highlight the cards that make your opponents gasp in awe and frustration. Buckle up, and let’s uncover the hidden gems of this set together!
This isn’t a new face but a welcomed addition to Standard and Alchemy budget brews. There are multiple cheap card draw effects, including Consider, which makes cards like Faerie Vandal exceed expectations.
Inspiring Overseer was by far the best Limited common from Streets of New Capenna. While it hasn’t seen tons of play since, few copies of it are used in the Selesnya () angels deck that’s very popular in formats like Pioneer or Alchemy.
The combo relied on casting multiple copies of this red spell and its brother Unexpected Windfall, and it would generate an insane number of Treasures that can be exploited with Goldspan Dragon to cast multiple spells on a single turn and chain Time Warp effects in the form of Alrund's Epiphany.
Riveteers Charm is the Charm from the Streets of New Capenna Charm cycle. It’s the one that has seen the most constructed play in both Standard and Pioneer due to its versatility. It can act as a card advantage card, a removal spell, or a graveyard hate utility.
Make Disappear is by no means Mana Leak, but it’s the closest thing we have to it. With enough density of creatures and tokens, it’s even better. Whatever the case, it’s been a key component of Standard, Pioneer, Alchemy, Historic, and Explorer decks that run Islands.
Primarily used in Pioneer in Greasefang, Okiba Boss decks to loot away big vehicles like Parhelion II, this card has seen play in similar strategies ever since it was format legal. Other reanimator strategies love it for the loot effect.
It’s no Lightning Bolt by any means, but Strangle is another example of a card that’s good because it does a similar job to its predecessor. It has seen its fair share of play as one or two copies of it in decks like Rakdos () midrange in Pioneer or Historic.
Nowadays, it’s difficult to have cards that perform well in Constructed decks that aren’t from the rare or mythic card rarity, but some effects like Slip Out the Back are perfect additions for some strategies. In this card’s case, it was a much-needed protection spell for the spirit deck in Pioneer.
Unlucky Witness effect may not seem like something that can be abused a lot. When you pair it with sacrifice outlets like Witch's Oven, you can suddenly start generating card advantage at will to out-grind opponents.
Illuminator Virtuoso gives some strategies like Boros () heroic the perfect win condition. This card packs quite the punch when it hits, and it also serves as a card selection engine. You’re less likely to flood or get mana-screwed if you play your cards right.
Corpse Appraiser is undoubtedly the best uncommon from the set because it both hates on opponents’ graveyards and also provides raw card advantage for you. Standard Grixis () midrange decks are well known to run it, and it’s also very popular in the Alchemy counterpart.
If you’re looking for a similar or this exact effect, I guarantee that this card never disappoints you.
This little devil may not seem like it, but Devilish Valet can occasionally surprise your opponents if you can add multiple creatures on the same turn. I’ve even seen it as a 99999/3 creature attacking. No joke.
Triomes are multicolored lands that can tap for one of three different mana colors. They’re named after the three colors they produce and the “Triome” name introduced in the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths expansion. For Streets of New Capenna, the same kind of lands were introduced to complete the remaining color combinations.
Extraction Specialist has been a very welcome addition for white decks like mono-white Humans in Pioneer or Esper () aggro strategies in both Standard and Alchemy. It shines in decks containing loot effects like connive.
This has to be one of the most dominant graveyard hate cards ever printed. Unlicensed Hearse can shut down entire strategies like Greasefang, Okiba Boss decks or any Dreadhorde Arcanist strategy in the early game.
This could become a deadly vehicle in the long run with just a couple of turns passed.
I have to say that Fight Rigging has to be the card with the greatest potential from the set, but for one reason or another, it has failed to be consistent enough to be in more than a tier 3 deck. Still, casting a turn 3 Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor is a dream very few people have accomplished.
“Can’t be countered” is a strong statement for a card. At only three mana, Void Rend has to be one of the better spells printed for Esper control decks. There are just a handful of ways to prevent this card from dealing with your opponent’s best threats.
Back in the day when I was preparing for the SNC Arena Championship, Unleash the Inferno was one of the cards I often referred to as a clean answer for an opposing Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. It deals with both the enchantment and the creature token that it leaves behind.
Before Ertai Resurrected, this was the “counterspell creature” of choice for Esper decks. You can run both in the same deck if you want more of a similar effect, but Ertai is way better. On top of that, those decks only want to run one or two copies of this kind of card.
I love Elspeth Resplendent despite its narrow appearances in decks. It’s a solid stall breaker if you run it in an aggro deck and want to get the upper hand in the battle against other similar decks.
If Inspiring Overseer was the best Limited common, Sanctuary Warden is the single most powerful card in the entire set for Limited. However, its mighty wings have yet to fly very high in Constructed formats, except in some Boros reanimator shells alongside Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Invoke Justice.
If there’s a reason why the Angels deck is even playable, it’s because of Giada, Font of Hope. It doesn’t only have a strong static ability that grows the rest of your tribal deck, but it also can serve as a mana dork that doesn’t get to untap whenever it attacks.
Ob Nixilis, the Adversary is easily one of my favorite planeswalkers ever printed because it has one unique ability: it can copy itself at the expense of sacrificing a creature. Control decks hate it: dealing with just one planeswalker is already a pain, but two of them are somewhat impossible as few board wipes can hit them outside of the ones like Burn Down the House.
Nevertheless, I always dreamed of copying it with Esika's Chariot, but I only got a little time to play with it along with the chariot in Standard.
For a while, Tenacious Underdog has been one of the best 2-drops for black decks to run in Constructed formats because it has a reasonably substantial body that threatens opponents for massive damage very early in the game and its blitz ability can be used from the graveyard.
It’s also a constant threat that will always give you one more card to your hand as long as it hits the graveyard.
I have rarely seen Titan of Industry being cast for its actual mana cost, but that’s only because people try to cheat it into play from either their library with cards like Transmogrify or from the graveyard with the likes of Unburial Rites.
No matter how you manage to get it onto the battlefield, the raw card advantage and board presence that it represents is somewhat unmatched among other big creatures.
Raffine, Scheming Seer is undoubtedly a powerhouse in Standard and Alchemy, but did you know it’s one of the best Duel commanders ever printed?
Esper colors tend to be noticed for their control elements, but if you pair this commander with cheap and aggressive creatures like Esper Sentinel or Tenacious Underdog and back them up with signature removal spells from black and countermagic cards from blue, you get one of the most threatening decks in the format.
If there’s a card that has impacted multiple formats, including eternal ones like Modern, it has to be Ledger Shredder. It has overperformed in every format that it touched without being broken, and in Commander games, this thing can quickly turn into a massive threat because it has the potential to trigger multiple times in a single turnaround.
Without a doubt, if there’s a card you want to get your hands on from the set, it has to be this bird.
Ledger Shredder | Illustration by Mila Pesic
The connive mechanic has to be the strongest from the set, reflected on the last two cards from the list. That said, some cards exceeded my expectations, like Corpse Appraiser or Giada, Font of Hope that had opened the door for new strategies to shine.
In any case, what do you think? Did you like the list, or was there any card from the set you expected to be here? Please let me know in the comments, or find us over on Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and see you next time!
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