Welcome to my second installment of the Streets of New Capenna Buyers’ Guide! In today’s article, I’ll be covering the main-set mythic rares and notable new cards printed in the Streets of New Capenna Commander set. Since there are a lot of cards to get to, I’m going to dive right in!
There are few mythic rares printed in Standard-legal sets these days that are just absolute bulk garbage. Most end up settling in the $1.50-$2 range, and not the $1 floor for most new mythics. All-Seeing Arbiter is nothing special, and will be in that $1.50 range.
Casual players generally hate getting milled, even if it wasn’t their own choice to self-mill. This is an Angel (so will have some interest), but will also be another $1.50-$2 card in the end.
This card just gets nuts if it lasts more than a turn. This is the type of snowball effect that is worth paying six mana to get. It’s currently going in the $3 range, and that seems about right for a go-wide Commander card that is a little too expensive for competitive decks.
Don’t worry, we’re going to get to the good stuff shortly. Body Launderer is a pretty unexciting mythic. This is a card that easily could have been rare, if not for balancing limited environments.
Bootleggers’ Stash has been one of the two biggest chase cards of Streets of New Capenna so far. It goes nuts in any deck that cares about Treasure tokens, and it may be the best iteration ever of an Upwelling/store your mana over several turns effects. Is it worth the $25 price tag it currently demands? I’m really torn, because I personally think it’s being overvalued right now. I also know that Wizards of the Coast (WotC) is making a huge push towards Treasure matters, and this is easily splashed in any deck. I don’t think it’ll drop below $15, and will probably recover over time. If you’re going to pick it up now because you want to play with it, I don’t think you’ll regret it. I wouldn’t recommend investing in multiple copies hoping it’ll go up in price either.
Elspeth is a pretty generic five-mana planeswalker. None of the first two (immediately usable) effects on Elspeth will impact the game enough for five mana. Fans of Elspeth will want and play with her. She’s surely a fine card in a creature-heavy Commander deck centered around white. I don’t see Elspeth Resplendent breaking into Standard, much less other constructed formats though.
Four or more cards is a lot to ask. I know that several people have pointed out that Brainstorm plus a draw step equals four cards, but how often is someone casting Brainstorm on their own turn? This has more applications in Commander when someone might be getting really carried away with Rhystic Study. Even then, I’m struggling to see if drawing X cards for X mana is worth it versus the restriction of having to have an opponent draw four cards to begin with. I don’t think so, and I believe people will stick with other instant-speed blue draw spells with fewer drawbacks.
The early Standard environment right now is getting dominated by both Ob Nixilis and decks playing heavy control elements with Meathook Massacre. Right now, there isn’t really a place for Bant colors. This is a shame, because Falco Spara is a really playable card. It’s got a large body, it comes into play with self-protection, and the pseudo-Future Sight ability is nothing to laugh at. If you think Ob Nixilis is going to end up being banned, it’d be worth it to pick up a playset of Falco Spara now (while it is super cheap).
Holding steady in the $6-$8 range, Halo Fountain is a hugely versatile go-wide card for multiple formats. Commander players love this sort of effect – everything on Halo Fountain is not only upside, but the activation costs (untapping creatures you control) is also upside in most cases! While the times you shoot the moon and untap fifteen creatures to win the game are going to be few and far between, this is an extremely well-costed creature generation and card-drawing engine.
Currently slightly better than Falco Spara because of having a larger body to begin with — allowing it to dodge Meathook Masscare for a few turns longer. It’s not difficult to have Jetmir drop on the third turn with two other creatures in play (thank you mana dorks), immediately turning on the +1/+0 and vigilance. Jetmir counts himself (which so many creatures don’t seem to do these days), so that’d be a 6/4 vigilance creature on the third turn. As a reminder, Llanowar Elves were reintroduced to Standard the last time we had a Dominaria set. Jetmir, and other creature-based strategies, will get a major boost if you believe a one-drop mana accelerant is due back into Standard this fall.
Lord Xander gets proportionally worse with the fewer people playing a game of Magic. Seven mana is a lot to pay for a creature that might not do very much once it’s on the board. The mill ability is not the greatest, it has no evasion, and I’d hate to pay seven mana to make my opponent discard one card if they have three in hand. In a Commander pod, Lord Xander has a little more room to operate, because there’s a better chance that someone will discard multiple cards, plus you get to play kingmaker on their permanents once Lord Xander dies.
This is probably the coolest equipment printed in quite some time. Planeswalker-heavy decks are a real thing, and Luxior turns any planeswalker into a realistic threat. Let’s be honest – while some are going to play this because they have a lot of creatures that care about counters, most are going to be equipping this to silly things like Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner (7/7 for 3 mana) or Teferi, Time Raveler, or Narset, Parter of Veils, or Jace Beleren, or Wrenn and Six. My point is that Luxior is a unique enough effect and cheap enough to cast/equip that it’s going to be heavily sought after by both casual and potentially competitive players.
Remember how I said that there are few-to-no completely bulk mythic rares these days? Meeting of the Five is one such completely bulk mythic rare. Trash. Avoid.
Ob Nixilis, the Adversary is undoubtedly the best competitive card in Streets of New Capenna right now. Everyone’s favorite demonic planeswalker is completely dominating the first week of Arena ladders. It’s so dominant that people are already questioning if Ob Nixilis will get banned in Standard. While I think it’s too soon to tell, holy cow it’s been a while since one card so thoroughly dominated early queues. I think it’s safe to pick up Ob Nixilis for at least the next month. I also think that unless Ob Nixilis proves playable in Pioneer or Modern, you might want to trade off any ones you aren’t actively playing with sooner rather than later.
I’m going to say the same thing about Raffine that I said about Falco Spara — there’s a time and a place where Raffine is playable in Standard, but it’s not while Ob Nixilis and Meathook Massacre are dominating the format so thoroughly.
Another not-so-exciting mythic rare. There are lots of big dumb angels in Magic at this point, and white has finally gotten a good share of card drawing cards. Likely to settling in that $1.50-$2 range.
Titan of Industry is already seeing some play in constructed as the top-end of curves or as part of a toolbox build in ramp decks. Perfectly serviceable “do a lot of stuff” large creature for Commander. Should maintain a $4-$6 price tag, due to both of these factors.
All three of the Phyrexian Preator cards in recent sets have been very good cards. Urabrask is the most generically playable of the three, since you don’t need to really build-around Urabrask to get value. In any deck, you’re getting a 4/4 haste creature that comes with a built-in one-sided Howling Mine and a super-hoser against control decks. If anything, Urabrask is probably being undervalued right now, because it’s not a slot-in for any one specific deck like Vorinclex was for decks that care about counters. Urabrask is my pick for the most undervalued mythic rare in Streets of New Cappena, both by power level, and by the track record of every other Praetor card ever printed in Magic. Pick these up now at the $4-$5 range, because Urabrask isn’t going any lower.
Unlike Elspeth, Vivien on the Hunt is worth a high mana cost. In the worst case scenario you’re getting a 4/4 creature for six mana before Vivien gets taken off the board. More likely though, you’re trading a mediocre creature for one that is game breaking on the current board, or drawing two to three relevant cards as a +1 ability. Either way, Vivien can completely swing the momentum of a game the turn she hits the board. While six mana is a lot, you are playing a ramp color in green. This is another card I think is being undervalued right now at the $4-$5 mark.
It’s hilarious to not only get a huge dragon body, but a Fling a turn with an upside on that body. Ziatora is going to be a hugely popular Commander card (both in the deck, and as a commander), only restricted by being three-colors. I also wouldn’t write off Ziatora as being Standard playable in a ramp deck, given that you’re likely going to get at least one end-of-turn sacrifice in before Ziatora bites the dust.
The commander cards that are exclusive to Set booster packs have a higher upside than the ones in the full decks, because there’s less chance of a mass-opening after the set release. There was a lot of early hype around Anhelo, but I don’t think he’ll be super-playable. Casualty 2 isn’t a high threshold, but the fact that Anhelo himself can’t sacrifice to this effect is a real and significant drawback to this card’s long-term popularity and playability.
Like Anhelo, Bennie Bracks can only be found in Set booster packs (or as extended art cards in Collector Boosters). Bennie is honest-to-god good card draw in white. If you can pump out creatures across multiple people’s turns, you’re going to be drawing up to four cards between each of your turns with Bennie since he counts every end step. As a commander, his built-in convoke ability helps Bennie avoid major commander tax from dying. In short, this is a huge card for any commander deck that cares about token creatures and the supply will be really short post-release.
Let’s not even care that Body Count has spectacle. Let’s just see that this is an instant (usually this effect is a sorcery), and lets you draw a heck of a lot of cards either in response to a Wrath of God effect, or if you’re going off on your own engine. I’m imagining Body Count in conjunction with Ashnod’s Altar / Phyrexian Altar as the mid-range part of some huge combolicious payoff. I’d keep an eye to see if Body Count is good enough to make it’s way into more competitive places like CEDH or even (heaven forbid) Legacy.
You know I’m a huge fan of Containment Construct. This isn’t that type of card. A lot of people are excited because early game discards with Currency Converter equal early game creatures or mana acceleration. I think this one deserves a look, because the cost to both cast and activate (one and zero, respectively) are above-curve.
This is a seriously powerful card. At two mana, it’ll come down early enough to be relevant to the rest of the game. Since this triggers at the beginning of combat, you can play it after you have a relevant token creature, or play a relevant token creature right after you’ve played Determined Iteration. This is a card that I’d also buy into, since the effect is super-powerful in the right deck and it costs (mana value) very little.
The ultimate Followed Footsteps. It doesn’t matter what they kill, because you’ll be able to make more of something else. This is going to be a commander staple for years to come, and will command a $3-$5 price tag short term.
Grand Crescendo is like a better Unbreakable Formation. It costs one less to cast if you only care about making your creatures indestructible. The upside of making umpteen 1/1 Citizen tokens is generally going to be better than putting +1/+1 counters on your creatures at sorcery speed. Unbreakable Formation was a solid $3 card before getting reprinted to oblivion. I’d expect Grand Crescendo to be slightly higher due to A) having a lower distribution and B) being better than Unbreakable Formation.
This is the only card in the set that has a real legitimate chance to see play in Legacy or Vintage. It’s probably not good enough for Vintage, but it is a fantastic sideboard card to bring in against creature-heavy decks in Legacy. Blue doesn’t often get uncounterable kill spells, and this is a way to just shut down Murktide Regent, Delver of Secrets, or Dragon’s Rage Channeler early and without fear of reprisal.
Lethal Scheme isn’t the most efficient kill spell, but it does hit planewalkers (big plus for Commander). What pushes this into “very good” territory is the dream scenario of “tap four creatures, kill your planeswalker and loot four cards”. While I don’t think you’ll always be looting for a full four, even doing it for two or three cards is a huge boon to both card selection and your creature size. Should be a staple of black-based decks that run a large number of creatures in Commander.
This has my vote for the card most likely to unintentionally kill its own controller in Commander from this set. Life Insurance is worth playing because with such a high starting life total, you can afford to take 20+ hits from this enchantment and generate a huge surplus of mana. Just…make sure you have a way to get rid of it, ok? Also, wait until it drops to the $1.50-$2 range. I don’t think it’ll be going up in price.
What a great group hug card! Unfortunately, I think most people are going to choose friends to give you a bunch of 1/1 Citizen creature tokens. I think that with all the good white card drawing in New Capenna proper and New Capenna Commander, this is going to end up being close to bulk price in a month or so.
The Ozolith 2.0. The Ozolith is pushing $20-$25 now, and is only going to go higher. This is white’s version of The Ozolith, except with the ability to move the counters on demand. Resourceful Defense is even more powerful objectively, since it affects any type of permanent and not just creatures. While I know that most planewalkers die from going to zero loyalty, there are occasions where they just outright get killed (see also Lethal Scheme). In those cases, you’re setting up to immediately make a second planeswalker ultimate.
Or hey, just pay the white and four generic mana, and ultimate away one planeswalker from another one’s loyalty stash. While I don’t think this’ll climb as high as The Ozolith (it’s not an artifact), I think that it’ll end up being a $10+ card by the time Dominaria United releases.
The chase card of the Commander set. Currently selling for $25 solidly, and selling out. Smuggler’s Share is pretty ridiculous as a pseudo-tax card. Since it counts each player each end step, chances are Smuggler’s Share is going to trigger a lot of times each game. While I don’t think it’s as good as Smothering Tithe at creating Treasures, it has the huge upside of card draw. This is the real deal, and I think this is going to be a solid Commander staple in white for years to come.
The most overrated card in the Commander subset from New Capenna right now. A lot of the three-color spells you’re going to want to copy are Legendary creatures, which makes the immediate use of Threefold Signal really restrictive. Yes, occasionally you’ll get multiple Void Rend, but that’s a lot of mana to pay for something that has a really limited restriction on what it can copy.
See you all next week, and as always, chime in on your thoughts about this article on Twitter!