Streets of New Capenna has some goodies for every format, and Mason is here to run down his top5 picks for cards to watch!
The Streets of New Capenna Prereleases are coming up in just a few short days, and then we will get to start battling with these cards. Before that I want to take some time and talk about five of the cards that I think will be seeing play across multiple formats, and have me excited to get in the streets and start battling!
At first glance, this pick might have you scratching your head. A three-mana1/3 that requires more creatures in order to actually get anywhere? That can’t be the card Mason meant. Oh, but it is!
There are a few things with this card that really jump out to me, but let’s start at the most obvious. In Pioneer Rally the Ancestors is a legal card that has not quite had enough support. I think this card could help push it over the line. Multiple of these coming back is an easy way to one shot someone. One small thing about this card compared to old Rally builds is that you are best off doing this on your turn compared to the end of your opponent’s turn. It’s not strictly worse or better, but something to keep in mind. The old builds were not pushing the playability needle, so a reexamination might be for the best anyway.
Another place where this looks appealing is in Oni-Cult Anvil in Standard. The deck is very good at getting multiple pieces down on the battlefield in a single turn. While an artifact creature plus a single anvil is only getting us up to four power, if we are able to play another cheap card or have another Anvil we are looking at as much as 8 damage. While a tad more fringe than the Pioneer Rally strategy, it’s one that is very appealing and something worth looking at.
About two years ago, everyone was lamenting that white doesn’t get good cards and is the weakest color. Every set we see this year has WotC pushing back and making very strong white cards. While Elspeth isn’t nearly as strong as The Wandering Emperor, she is still a very strong card.
Her minus-three grabbing a creature and putting a shield counter on it is extremely appealing. Decks built around this will often have the 24 creatures it takes for this to be in the 95%-plus hit ratio. You can build your deck to have this reliably present two bodies on the board while also being a great way to find some of the stronger hate creatures white has post board.
Her plus is also a great way to handle a variety of situations. Board has been stalled for a while? Give a creature flying and start attacking. Need to start recovering life so you don’t get burned out? She has you covered. Elspeth comes down and provides a lot of small value in a lot of different spots.
Her ultimate isn’t terrible either. I would imagine that if your opponent isn’t answering the plus they are in big trouble already, but it does allow for spots where they need to answer your big things (ideally with a Wrath), and you have the army-in-a-can card. Against other creature decks it’s a great way to swing the battlefield heavily in your favor. Five 3/3’s might not sound like a lot, but with them all flying, your opponent is going to have a hard time clearing up all those bodies – especially if they couldn’t already stop the Elspeth.
While five mana is a lot for some mono white decks I think her strength as a one- or two-of will shine through as people see just how strong and versatile she is.
I am always a fan of a good Standard beatdown deck. While often a player in the format, they rarely stay the top dog for a whole rotation cycle. Part of that comes down to figuring out the right answers for the creatures, and partly because your deck runs out of steam, and unless you got a strong enough early start the opponent can stabilize with one of their more expensive cards like Meathook Massacre or Lolth, Spider Queen.
Underdog looks to help with this by being an efficient body early then turning into a reasonable mana sink in the late game. Blitz typically turns into a Fireball and cycle a card since you are giving up a game piece for a new one. This card on the other hand turns it into repeatable card draw. Which, for four mana, is a little steep, but this is a card you’re fine to have in your deck. It not being legendary makes it very easy to put these in your deck so when you hit a land pocket in the late game you can start moving through your deck.
Mono Black Aggro is often an overlooked archetype but when the pieces come together they very much come together. This card is a strong beacon to me to look at exploring that deck.
It’s hard to understand just how impactful these are. Obviously for older formats they are huge, and that is especially true with Modern where the triomes and fetch lands are at their strongest. These easily enable your decks to have a third splash color at very low cost. We have seen Blue-White do this with cards like Fire//Ice off Raugrin Triome for the last year.
In Standard these allow for easy three-color decks and open the door to pile decks – decks primarily filled with just good cards and have the mana to support it. Decks like Four-Color-non-Blue that are base Green-Red will love to have Ziatora’s Proving Ground and Jetmir’s Garden. Things like this have a great chance to prosper in the upcoming Standard.
We have seen how strong Divide By Zero can be this last year. While Divide was a single blue making splashing it easy, it also came with nice card filtration in looting, or grabbing a lesson. It was a Standard all-star that had to be answered. I could talk for a while about how strong this mode of the card is, but I think we have lived enough in a Divide By Zero world to know that. Endless Detour does a similar role but has much harder mana restraints but in exchange for getting another mode.
“Return target card to the top of your library.” This opens up spots where we can now possibly create loops in Standard with cards that return spells from the graveyard to our hand, or simply with Lier like Divide By Zero. Sometimes you’re simply trying to buy time to get to a card like Lier that they already used their last removal spell on. Now we can simply fire this off, get it back, and get back to taking over the game.
These are five of the cards I am most excited for. What about you? Tweet @masoneclark and let me know what card you can’t wait to cast!
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.