Today I’m going to dive into the world of demonic crime lords and lavish parties in Streets of New Capenna, talking about Limited.
Streets of New Capenna is out and I’ve spent a lot of time over the weekend booster drafting.
As far as Limited goes, I like SNC quite a bit.
It’s fun, flavorful, and a bit tricky.
All in all, this may end up being an all time great for me.
There’s a bit too many incredibly difficult to beat enchantment based rares for my liking.
But outside Rabble Rousing, Fight Rigging and Broker’s Ascendancy most of the set is manageable.
The set is advertised to us as a three color family set.
So naturally I went into my first two or three drafts really focused on splashing around in three colors.
I noticed that, unlike other Multicolor sets, specifically, Khans of Tarkir, the format really wants you to lean into two colors and maybe splash a third.
The common gold two drops are all very good, and really want you to focus down this path as cards like Body Dropper and Jetmir’s Fixer have activated abilities that really want you to have their own mana requirements on every land you have in play.
I’ve had more success focusing on a good curve and some tricks and removal than I have splashing around.
Falling behind in this format is very real, and it’s very easy to lose too much tempo and then lose to a timely Rooftop Nuisance.
That brings me to something I hate saying.
I don’t think five color is a very viable strategy in New Capenna.
There’s a few reasons for that.
The biggest one is lack of payoff.
There’s really no strong incentive to be in five colors. Unless you happen to open a completely busted rare and have a way to shoehorn it into an already four color deck.
Which in general only happens when you’re in a family and pick up a bomb in a fourth color to splash.
Say, you’re in Riveteer’s and you open Hostile Takeover, one of the best rares in the set, of course you’ll take it and try and get it to work with treasures and fixing you can pick up.
Then you also open Rabble Rousing, my pick for actual best regular rare in the set, well then you may want to see if you can get the mana to work for both of these bombs.
It’s yet to happen to me yet in just over a dozen drafts, but I can see it working out like this.
However, in general you shouldn’t be looking to go more colors, you should really be focusing on two colors and then branching out for splashes if necessary.
I tend to stay as close to two colors as possible in pack 1, and then see how the draft progresses from there.
If I get fixing and powerful cards for blue when I’m in black and red, maybe I’ll end up in Maestros, but I can always pivot into Riveteers as well.
One thing you may notice pretty early, is that there’s almost no cheap interaction, and even less of it is instant speed.
For the most part instant speed removal or bounce costs at least three mana unless reduced cost kicks in from cards like Out of the Way.
This opens the door for combat tricks to be a lot better than they normally are.
The best of the bunch at common in my experience, is Quick-draw Dagger.
It goes in any color combination, and it helps win most combats because the creature sizing is generally pretty small in this format.
After it wins you that first combat it always leaves behind a very mana efficient equipment to move around.
I’m not take these early at all, in fact, I vividly remember taking a screenshot I didn’t save where the pack only had a Dagger and Basic land left.
You don’t want a lot of these, I don’t think I’d almost ever play three, but I’d be fine with two and really happy with one.
Murder is prolly the worst its been, that said, it’s still a premium common because of the very limited amount of instant speed removal.
None of the red common removal is instant speed, so Murder is basically as cheap as it gets. One trap you can fall into with cards like Murder is the double pip in its cost.
This is difficult for a lot of three color decks because of the way the fixing works in this set.
There’s a mix of common Dual Lands as well as the lands that search for basics.
Since a lot of your fixing comes in the form of finding basic lands, it can be quite hard to have the color requirements for something like murder.
So if I take Murder early, and black is open. I want to lean more into that color.
One thing I can’t get over is just how many solid three and four mana playables there are.
There’s just so many good options in these slots, especially when you factor in Blitz.
Blitz is so good because it lets you use your mana, while the card replaces itself, either digging you to more action or just getting you some value.
My favourite choice in limited
In fact, my favorite and maybe highest pick common right now in the set (outside of Inspiring Overseer of course) is Mayhem Patrol.
Mayhem Patrol is disgustingly good on turn two, as it’s essentially a 2/2 Menace with upside, but also in the later game when it’s going to be bad it Cycles and even fuels Casualty.
Grisly Sigil is a card I grossly underestimated initially as I read it once and didn’t see it cast for a few drafts until I realized it’s essentially a better Fatal Push that gains 4 when you have a ton of Blitz in your deck.
Speaking of Casualty, I’ve seen a lot of people high on enchantment based removal.
Specifically Witness Protection and Hold for Ransom.
Both of these cards have underperformed for me because I generally get out valued from a Casualty card like Dig Up the Body.
Witness Protection I could see being a bit better because Casualty 2 is more heavily featured than 1, so I’ll try Witness Protection some more.
I have noticed that 1/1s aren’t really all that useful outside of Casualty situations and breaking shields, so it makes sense it would be a lot more solid than a card like that usually is.
People always ask me, when they first get into a Limited set, “What’s the best color”.
In a set like this, the best color is hard to say, but I’ve mostly had success with blue based decks.
The combination of blue’s ability to interact well with Rooftop Nuisance and Run out of Town combined with Connive really allows me to make a lot of decisions, and I like that.
I do, however, feel that BR decks are the best and ones I want to draft the most.
I think good Body Dropper decks are really hard to beat.
Girder Goons is a top common, right up there with Murder in power level.
Its Lava Axe make a 2/2 draw a card for four mana.
Jewel Thief and Inspiring Overseer were the talk of the town before the set’s release but Girder Goons is right on that list.
UW decks are also quite good, but lack a common two gold two drop.
Their gold common is a great three drop, but as I said, the three and four drops are flooded so you really want the good two drops for UW.
White and Blue in Limited of New Capenna
White happens to have a few decent options at common and uncommon, while Blue’s are less desirable.
While we’re talking about Blue, I want to say, the conditional countermagic in this set is way better than it’s ever been I think.
Disdainful Stroke and Make Disappear have both been much better than I anticipated.
There’s so much flash and instant’s that it’s very easy to leave them up unpunished.
They play around your counter?
You cast Run out of Town, Psionic Snoop or Exotic Pets instead.
Or, you activate your three color mana fixing creature.
Also, sometimes your opponent’s Telegraph their expensive spells so you can play to hold up your mana then.
By that I mean the cycle of mana fixing creatures you exile.
You can just see that they’re about to play a five or six drop and then punish them when they do.
This is such a huge blow out in tempo as they spent two mana earlier to exile it, then paid five or more mana to only get it countered for two mana later.
This Cycle of mana fixing creatures is quite controversial.
People think it’s good fixing, but in reality you almost always take off an important turn to use them.
The ones I do like are Spara’s Adjudicators and Rakish Revelers as they are both solid creatures at their cost.
Five mana for a 1/1 and a 5/3 in a color combination that relies heavily on Alliance, and Spara’s Adjudicators is just a good card without the ability to mana fix.
A sizable body for the format with a strong enters the battlefield ability.
Shatter Seraph i’m convincing myself more and more is close to unplayable as it’s just way too expensive.
I would max out on playing one of those in draft, would consider two in sealed.
Masked Bandits I actually haven’t played with as Riveteers is the Family im in probably the least and people seemed to take Masked Bandit’s higher than I’m willing to but it’s not been super impressive against me either.
Ominous Parcel fits into this category for fixing.
I try to avoid playing more than a single copy of.
It’s quite expensive for fixing, and I will basically just not play the card if I have three or four enters the battlefield tapped lands.
Exception being I need a one mana card to fulfill requirements for cards like Snooping Newsie.
Ultimately my early advice for this set is simple, hold onto one or two colors as long as possible and make a determination.
If you open one of the really busted rares or mythics I would basically force the color combination in some capacity.
When people are drafting well, they will tend to focus more on two colors so even if your neighbors get into similar color combinations as you, you can focus on a different dominant color.
Generally though, as usual, stay flexible and open and let the draft come to you.
Until next week, enjoy Streets of New Capenna Limited, it’s a sweet one.