It felt like I blinked and then there were over 300,000 games of 17Lands data available on Streets of New Capenna (SNC) draft. Last week, I talked about the early frontrunner for the deck to beat (Brokers) but I wanted to come back with a few Best-of-One trophies from the site to show you what you can still do when everyone else is going after Bant and what lessons we’ve learned thus far. As always, these are real decks that really won seven games.
Brokers (Bant) Remains the Deck To Beat
Here’s a list with only one non-land rare, not a single Inspiring Overseer, and it still goes 7-1. Sure, Fight Rigging is a legitimate, report it to the TSA level bomb, but I think this list speaks to the versatility of the deck. Spara’s Adjudicators is the best of our fixing creatures, as it can stabilize you or eliminate a blocker. I’m not wild about Patch Up, but when you have two Lagrella, the Magpie you’re happy to run Patches as defacto third and fourth copies of the legend. There are diminishing returns as more people catch on to the deck and it’s contested at your table, but if it’s open, I’m never not drafting it.
Given the Choice, Go Azorius
As much as I love a Civil Servant, I’d rather have the two drops we see in Azorius. Here, we have a 15 land nightmare for opponents that boasts a whopping nine Turn 2 plays and some powerful tempo cards to follow them up in Celestial Regulator and Rooftop Nuisance. Barring a sweeper, I can’t imagine losing on the play. Majestic Metamorphosis continues to be a card I see stealing games and I’m happy to have access to it. The exception to this rule is if you see Ceremonial Groundbreaker, which makes even the lowliest Citizens into undertakers.
When Everyone is Bant, Go Rakdos
In a set with a few cars, I’m down to race Bant decks for pink slips with Rakdos. Girder Goons is your top end here, helping you finish a game with the blitz mode (and the only mode you should select). This list helps counteract shields with both Deal Gone Bad and Whack but there’s also a good deal of early interaction in Strangle, Torch Breath, and Fatal Grudge. While I prefer Cutthroat Contender in decks it lets me cheat out Shadow of Mortality earlier, it’s definitely getting you damage here while being an easy dump to a Grudge later.
You Can Give Up Power For Consistency
Here’s a player that takes Whack Pack 1 Pick 3 but doesn’t put the blinders on as good blue cards flow their way. Instead of taking a late Maestro’s Theater to fix for both blue and black, they opt for a solid playable in Make Disappear. Still, they get a late Shattered Seraph and Whack in Pack 3 that could tempt them into splashing for a couple of premium removal spells. The final deck is a streamlined Azorius deck that capitalizes on having a clear game plan.
Your Dimir Decks Care About Casualty and Connive Equally
If you’re playing the five or more mana values game with your Dimir cards, you need to ensure you control how cards land in your graveyard. In SNC, we have two different mechanics that give us that autonomy. Some cards, like Expendable Lackey, you’re equally happy to pitch to Connive or sacrifice to casualty. Others, like Corrupt Court Official, you’re playing with the goal of getting an extra copy of Dig Up the Body or Rooftop Nuisance. In terms of specific mana values, ones and sixes seem particularly important.
Jund Seems Bad
But I don’t think Jund is inherently bad like honeydew is. I think people are just drafting it incorrectly. Curving out and playing aggressive-leaning cards is key, as two-drops like Mayhem Patrol, Body Dropper, and Jetmir’s Fixer can be awkward to block early. Dusk Mangler appeared in multiple trophy lists and looks like your ideal finisher, especially in a race to the bottom as these games can be. Jewel Thief and Exhibition Magician can help ramp you to it as early as Turn 5, where it’s a huge bummer as you should be nabbing a card from them on top of the life. Don’t hesitate to main deck Whack and Torch Breath considering how slanted the meta is to Bant decks.
Control is Possible
For all the talk of how fast the format feels, there are plenty of strong ways to counteract a blazing start from your opponents. Maestros decks have all the tools to play the long game in SNC, with myriad ways to generate value over time. Between Corpse Explosion and Hostile Takeover, you have the sweepers if opponents are overcommitting to the battlefield. Drawing two is very expensive here (Case the Joint, Demon’s Due) which is why I’m very high on Tainted Indulgence in these Grixis builds as a way to either replenish your hand or turn on your Snooping Newsies at instant speed. Don’t forget that lifelink is criminally underrated in limited.
Don’t Forget the Rules of Splashing
The temptation for many drafters is to join a family and pick up four or five cards in a third color. I think that’s a huge mistake. Here, you see a splash for Mr. Orfeo, the Boulder and Masked Bandits because they’re natural fits. You have six Treasure generators before that critical Turn 4 you’d be casting the Rhino with the gnarly neck. Meanwhile, Fake Your Own Death, a card I’m absolutely in love with, sits in the sideboard because it’s not needed as a splashed trick. If you’re splashing, make sure the cards are expensive and worth it.
Enemy Color Pairs Can Work
After seeing a tweet from @femmtg talking about having success with Boros, I was curious how these enemy color pairs were holding up. Not a ton of 6-0 Boros decks, but kudos to the folks (or single mystery person) drafted three Orzhov trophies with a combined record of 21-2. The basic premise is that you play common creatures with strong abilities on entering the battlefield (Inspiring Seer, Corrupt Court Official, Raffine’s Informant) or leaving it (Girder Goons, Night Clubber) netting yourself serious advantage with Fake Your Own Death and Dig Up the Body. Your early game is better than a kid on Christmas morning but unlike Brokers strategies, you’re not reliant on tempo to win. It’s a sweet deck I want to try more of.
Overall, we’ve only seen a shade over 1,500 of these frenemy decks. Simic is showing the best win rate of them at 58.5%, but I’d look for Orzhov (54%) to catch up soon. My apologies to Izzet mages, who are sitting at a miserable 46.3% in the 82 games they’ve played. Still, that’s a better record than the Lakers managed.
So Can Every Color
I’m happy to be greedy if the cards justify it and I have a board wipe. Here, we have both in powerful Mythics (Falco Spara, Pactweaver and Urabrask, Heretic Praetor) and Hostile Takeover, one of the best cards to counter Brokers. Brokers Initiate and Suspicious Bookcase buy you a lot of time with a critical four toughness, allowing you to develop your board without getting runover. If your opponents are willing to waste removal on them, you’re happy to dominate the mid-to-late game if you can get there. I’m just shocked we don’t see Evelyn, the Covetous in the main deck.
What’s Your Next Trophy?
I’m eager to see what the format still has to hold, as decks like Orzhov weren’t even on my radar a week ago. There are still so many drafts left to be done before the Arena Open comes this weekend, so tweet at me if you win with a spicy deck! Please, no Brokers.