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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 30 2022 11:06am
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NEW CAPENNA: THE COMMANDER DECKS

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 The release of Streets of New Capenna has been accompanied once again by five preconstructed Commander decks, one for each of the three-colored families that compose the setting: Brokers, Obscura, Maestros, Riveteers, and Cabaretti. The 100-card decks include a grand total of 93 new cards that are only legal in Commander, Vintage and Legacy. The affected creature types reinforce the established characteristics of the mother set, with classes like Advisor, Citizen, and Rogue being the most noteworthy, as well as races like Bird, Cat, Cephalid, Ogre, and Rhino.

 As previously, there are cards that formally belong to the New Capenna Commander subset, and are affected by the same legality restrictions, but aren't found in the preconstructed decks, but only in Set Boosters and Collector Boosters of Streets of New Capenna. Three of these are creatures, as detailed in their respective entries.

  

 Let's have a look at the new creatures and their tribes. As always, the tribes are presented alphabetically, and you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 350
  • New cards: 93
  • New creatures: 42
  • Reprinted cards: 257
  • Reprinted creatures: 86
  • New Legendary creatures: 18
  • New Snow creatures: 0
  • New artifact creatures: 1
  • New enchantment creatures: 0
  • Triple-subtype creatures: 2 (Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva, The Beamtown Bullies)
  • Creature types affected: 27
  • Tribes with more than two additions: Human (+10), Advisor (+8), Rogue (+7), Warrior (+5), Bird (+4), Cat (+4), Ogre (+4), Soldier (+4), Cephalid (+3), Citizen (+3), Druid (+3), Rhino (+3), Vampire (+3), Wizard (+3)

Advisor: +8

   

   

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 New Tribal Total: 75, online: 66

 Related Tribes: Angel, Bird, Cat, Cephalid, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The "consigliori" tribe still amounts to one of the most prominent job titles in the neo-noir sin city of New Capenna, this time even more than the "criminals" themselves, i.e. the Rogues. Two of the "vice-commanders" assigned to the five decks belong to this creature type, namely Kros, Defense Contractor for the Brokers and Phabine, Boss's Confidant for the Cabaretti. Kros is the platform for a political ability that at every upkeep grants a shield and trample to a creature we don't control, but also forces it to attack – ideally somebody else, but that's going to become a bit awkward when only one opponent is left at the table, or if the game was one-on-one to begin with. Still, Kros is tapping that creature on our turn, and the goading effect is potentially triggered by independent instances of putting counters on enemy creatures, which include negative modifiers like -1/-1 counters. Overall it's an interesting tool for four mana, but quite slow to bear fruits and not exactly game-breaking. Also, I can't tell what a "defense contractor" is supposed to be within a world where there's just one city.

 The six-drop Phabine (who looks like a psychotherapist, although it's not immediately obvious how this flavor links with her abilities) plays into the Cabaretti space of going wide via tokens, as they'll all get haste – a boost that might be a win condition in itself if we're able to go infinite with our token-making. Phabine herself contributes to the token-making by rehashing the old Conspiracy mechanic of parley, where each player reveals and draws a card, and we get an effect based on the type of cards revealed this way – in this case, a token for each revealed land, and a temporary +1/+1 for each revealed nonland. The card advantage is symmetrical, but it could still benefit Phabine's player the most if they're the aggressor, and even in a two-player game, we could get up to two hasty tokens or up to a double team boost per turn. She's an expensive Commander and not as good as Jetmir, Nexus of Revels within a go-wide strategy. After all, he's Phabine's boss not for nothing.

 Both of these high-profile legendaries are Cats, and so is the dual-colored Denry Klin, Editor in Chief, who, like Kros, belongs to the Brokers deck, and is able to copy all of his counters onto any nontoken creature we subsequently drop. Denry starts with a single counter of our choice between +1/+1, first strike and vigilance, then it's up to us to give him, and indirectly everybody else that follows, more and more useful counters to propagate. The Brokers list has indeed a strong "counters matter" theme that we can see further developed through other new Advisors like Aven Courier, Angelic Sleuth, Skyboon Evangelist and even the creature stealer Shield Broker.

 Also an Advisor is Vazi, Keen Negotiator, who comes with a Riveteers watermark yet is not part of any of New Capenna Commander's legendary cycles, being only found in Set Boosters and Collector Boosters for the main set (there are 8 cards that work this way). She's a five-drop 3/3 with haste that can tap to give an opponent as many Treasures as we created during the current turn. When they use mana from these "loaned" Treasures – and any other Treasure that opponent might have of their own – we get a "profit interest" in the form of a +1/+1 counter and a card. The bonus just happens once per spell cast or ability activated involving the sacrifice of a Treasure, and it feels easy enough for the opponents to play around the whole deal by just ignoring the unrequested shiny tokens. Chances are they won't naturally have their own native Treasure production either, whereas we need to have a pretty consistent one to enable our "negotiation" (which actually sounds more like usury), so Vazi's ability looks like the kind of cool design that doesn't end up doing much in practice.


Angel: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 212, online: 209

 Related Tribes: Advisor

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: We've come to this: an Angel detective.  Three mana used to be an exceptionally low cost for the tribe, but the last couple of years, and especially the release of Kaldheim, has put things in a different perspective. This one is even lacking a strong appeal, abilities-wise, since it requires the presence of at least one counter on a separate permanent, and then that permanent needs to leave the battlefield. That's a lot of hoops to jump through for just a Clue, when a common like Inspiring Overseer straight-up gives us a card with no extra efforts involved.


Assassin: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 67, online: 64

 Related Tribes: Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Anhelo is the Vampire father of Errant, Street Artist and himself a painter, albeit one more liable to use blood and entrails as his creative materials, fusing his role as a Maestros Assassin with his artistic inclinations. Just like his daughter's, Anhelo's card is configured as an enabler leading to spell duplications. In his case, we're given the chance to copy an instant or sorcery every turn, which is a pretty powerful proposition. It's performed via casualty 2, though, a non-negligible cost that requires some build-around, as we won't just happen to have two-powered expendables naturally lying around. He could be a strong commander for a dedicated Grixis build that aims to double down on big scary spells. Outside of that main role, he's a cheap body that can exploit deathtouch to trade with larger enemies, in a pinch.

 Mari, the Killing Quill is one of only two monocolored legendaries among the new cards from New Capenna Commander the other being Bennie Bracks, Zoologist; both aren't found in the precon decks, but only in Streets of New Capenna's Set Boosters and Collector Boosters). It's a tribal lord of sort, batching together Assassin, Mercenary and Rogue – the second of which is a semi-forgotten tribe that hasn't received a new member in a premier set since the original Ravnica: City of Guilds in 2005, and afterwards only saw the printing of Crown-Hunter Hireling in 2016's Conspiracy: Take the Crown. So even just a new reference to Mercenaries is kind of a big deal, with Mari granting all her proteges deathtouch as well as a luxurious saboteur ability (which deathtouch nicely enables) that translates into drawing a card and creating two Treasures. There's a little bit of a catch there, in that Mari needs to have witnessed the departure of a creature for the reward to kick in. So it's not likely to happen at every single connection, but those are all creature types that certainly pair well with removal.


Bard: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 9

 Related Tribes: Cat, Druid, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: The first two instances of Bard used non-retroactively for creatures that aren't from the Dungeons & Dragons universe. It turns out it could still be a useful subtype to identify singers even outside of a medieval fantasy setting. For one, Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva is the star performer at Jetmir's nightclub – yes, she's the one who puts the "cabaret" in Cabaretti! It's not immediately clear what the accompanying Citizen token is meant to represent (her personal assistant?), or why she has to tap two of our untapped creatures to fill someone else with frenzy (are those two her backup singers?). Unfortunately, if the flavor is slightly sketchy, the effect is also a bit underwhelming. Sure, Kitt encores her performance at every combat phase of every player's turn, but we'll eventually run out of side acts to tap, and we're just supercharging and goading an opposing creature anyway. It's a fun card with the potential to mess with everyone at the table in multiplayer, but that can easily also do nothing concrete – you know how artists are!

 And speaking of encore, that's also the name of another pre-existing mechanic that New Capenna Commander is revisiting as a one-of. Spellbinding Soprano uses it to offset her being a 2/2 that has to attack to trigger her main ability, so is probably going to die young. By encoring her for four mana, we can get an even higher discount to the instants and sorceries we plan to cast uring the turn – in fact, as high a discout as there are opponents at the table. So yeah, it's not a very good deal in one-on-one, where she's mostly just a very bad Goblin Electromancer (which is also reprinted in the Maestros deck, by the way). It's also unclear what any of this has to do with an opera singer, except for the very basic "encore" reference. There's the "spellbinding" pun, I guess?


Bird: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 310, online: 296

 Related Tribes: Advisor, Rogue, Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: None of these Birds has a family watermark, but Aven Courier and Skyboon Evangelis are part of the Brokers deck and directly support its "counters matter" theme. The Courier is a very nimble evasive two-drop that keeps spreading copies of counters placed on permanents we control. No permanent can have more than one counter of a single type, so we're bound to exhaust the permutations soon enough, but this guy can still do good work in a dedicated build. The Evangelist on its part owns the single instance of support in the set, for the extreme value of 6, meaning it'll distribute a maximum of six +1/+1 counters onto as many different creatures. The idea is that we'll want to give the counters to opposing creatures as well, since any creature with any kind of counter on it is turned into a flyer when attacking anybody but us. A wily political move if there's ever been one.

 The more violent-sounding Aerial Extortionist and Skyway Robber come from the Obscura list instead. The extortion in question takes the form of our Bird exiling a nonland permanent first when it enters the battlefield and  then every time it attacks. These exiled cards aren't lost to their owners, who can cast them again from exile, but we'll get a card as ransom. So here's some more of the long-promised card-drawing in monowhite, but there's even more going on here. The tempo loss we can impose on the opponent via Extortionist is back-breaking, but we can also choose to exile our own permanents this way, in order to be sure to reap the card reward, while perhaps also re-triggering their ETB effects in the process.

 Skyway Robber has a clever design as well. When we hardcast it, all we get is an unimpressive Phantom Monster. But if we escape it from the graveyard instead, it becomes an extremely powerful saboteur that's capable of free-rolling up to five spells that we handpicked. They can only be artifacts, instants or sorceries, and of course they needed to be already in the graveyard by the time we escaped the Robber (that's what was stolen, see?), but that merely means we'll have to pair it with a self-mill strategy – which is exactly where any escape creature properly shines.


Cat: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 246, online: 236

 Related Tribes: Advisor, Bard, Druid

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: All the new Cats in New Capenna Commander are multicolored legendaries, and we've already seen all of them. Kros and Kitt are strictly multiplayer cards that goad opposing creatures in slightly convoluted ways. Denry Klin is much more effective, if clearly build-around, as he gives copies of his own counters to any new nontoken creature we drop. Phabine is a strong go-wide enabler that would prefer to be on a multiplayer table (where she also has a group hug effect), but is still functional in one-on-one.

 They're also a defense contractor (whatever that means in the context of New Capenna), a nighclub singer, a journalist and a psychiatrist – all these anthropomorphic animal engaging in mundane, real-world activities really make New Capenna feel like Zootopia, don't they?


Cephalid: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 23

 Related Tribes: Advisor, Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: The Cephalids get fewer new additions than other humanoids of New Capenna, but at least the tribe has the honor of representing the face commander of the Obscura deck. Kamiz was Raffine's right hand and the spymaster of the city, but she ultimately made the mistake of siding with Ob Nixilis in his attempt at seizing control of New Capenna. She's an interesting commander for an Esper deck with aggro element, as she can make up to two of our attackers more deadly. She's also a safe source of connive triggers, which effortlessly synergizes with everything that cares about drawing a second time every turn or discarding cards, and that's certainly a more frequent occurrence in Kamiz's colors. In isolation outside of formats with a command zone, she might be a bit too dependent on our board position to properly function as a four-drop, though at the very least she'll be an unblockable creature that keeps digging into our library and potentially growing.

 We already assessed Shield Broker as an excellent five-mana conditional creature-stealer with a bonus shield, which makes it strictly better than Mind Flayer, though still not as efficient as classic Sower of Temptation. On the other hand, Cephalid Facetaker is kind of a weird design, as it clones another creature whenever it attacks, while retaining its unblockability, but also its low-powered body, so the main point of doing it seems to be to trigger another creature's saboteur ability (i.e. an effect that triggers upon connection). Those aren't frequent enough to rely on one of them being spontaneously around at any given time, so we'd probably want to load up our own deck with those, in which case the Facetaker becomes just a mild enabler. Another way to exploit its cloning is with triggers that happen at end of turn; but, again, if left to chance, it's just a random advantage with no consistent gameplay.


Citizen: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 30

 Related Tribes: Elf, Human, Ogre

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: New Citizens to enrich the tribe, but also to build the world of New Capenna in suggestive ways. Take Bess, for instance. She might look like some rich philantropist who runs a soup kitchen to feel better about herself, but she personally cooks fancy food for the underprivileged of the low city, making them enjoy the same meals of the wealthy and powerful. In game terms, the underprivileged are 1/1s, their arrival galvanizes Bess with counters, and the delicious food they eat makes them all as strong as she became. All in all, a handbook perfect mechanic for go-wide tokens builds. Bess doesn't actually help us going wide, as she's going tall herself, but her attack trigger is a simple and effective payoff for the strategy, if one that requires our selfless chef to survive unchecked on the battlefield for probably more turns than it's realistic to expect. But it's possible to envision a sudden burst of token production that Bess is able to exploit within a couple turns.

 And here's more Citizens engaged in humble yet colorful jobs. Boss's Chauffeur is a film-noir trope that we only now realize was missing from the main Capenna set. This white Elf is, like Bess, part of the Cabaretti deck supposedly led by Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva, so he actively wants to drop on a very crowded board. This way he'll enter the battlefield with a bigger collection of +1/+1 counters, then he'll keep growing with alliance, and finally he'll turn all those counters into tokens when he dies, a la Hangarback Walker. Turns out that limousine was more of a clown car!

 First Responder is an effective if slightly clumsy way to continuously retrigger ETB creatures – through the messy Stampeding Wildebeests way, not the cleaner Soulherder/Thassa, Deep-Dwelling way. It's also happening in the end phase, so we'll have to wait until we can cast our creatures again to reap the rewards, unless we're pairing the ability with flash. The Responder is growing bigger as a collateral, possibly resulting in a threatening vigilant body, but that shouldn't be something too hard to handle for our opponents. It's the ETB advantage we have to aim for, and since we're losing tempo in order to gain it, it's hard to see this card as anything but minor redundancy in a flicker build.


Devil: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 43, online: 42

 Related Tribes: Ogre, Rogue, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Here's two new legendary Devils in Jund/Riveteers colors. Candy shop owner Henzie Torre is strictly meant for Commander, as it's sort of a "blitz lord" that reduces that alternate cost based on the number of times we've cast Henzie from the command zone. As a three-drop, it's not too difficult for him to eventually have our blitz costs cut by a relevant amount. He also adds blitz to our more expensive creatures. The advantage here is very specific, but also not particularly demanding from a deckbuilding point of view, since we're just asked to run creatures in our Commander deck, preferably of the midrange variety. However, we also need a good reason to want to blitz rather than hardcasting. It generally helps with the flow of the deck, essentially allowing us to cycle away creatures that aren't relevant anymore in the late game. A graveyard recursion theme might be also recommended, though.

 The Beamtown Bullies is a perfectly functional four-drop 4/4 with haste and vigilance, and it's complemented by a weird political ability where we let an opponent unearth one of our dead creatures for free, provided they won't attack us with it (not sure how this qualifies as "bullying". Is it "bullying for hire"? Except free of charge?). Of course such ability entirely loses meaning in one-on-one, but it also feels hard to put to good use in multiplayer, at least more than once or twice per game.

 A strange fact about the Bullies is that they have both Ogre and Devil as subtypes because they're a group of Ogre and Devil creatures banded together, as opposed to one or more instances of a hybrid creature that's both the races at once. I don't think this has ever been done before. Riders certainly ignore the presence of their steed as a rule, which is why, for instance, Knight of Grace is not a Human Horse Knight. It would definitely sound ridiculous, but that's exactly the same concept as "it depicts Ogres and Devils fighting alongside each other, therefore it's an Ogre Devil" (in certain cases, they would have gone with a card of one creature type making a token of the other, like with Pugnacious Pugilist, to reference another collaboration of the same two tribes).


Druid: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 249, online: 245

 Related Tribes: Bard, Cat, Elf, Rhino

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva is a Druid other than a Bard, because most Cabaretti are Druids (as the modern descendants of an ancient druidic cult from Old Capenna). I stopped trying to make sense of why some of them, like Kitt, should still count as Druids despite their current role and everyday activities not involving anything a Druid would do or know. There aren't even Druid synergies to exploit throughout the Capenna sets, so it's all just a slightly clunky flavor.

 This said, a zoologist definitely makes more sense as a modern Druid, and Bennie Bracks is also a strong card (one of the eight new cards that aren't part of the five Commander decks, but instead only found in Set Boosters and Collector Boosters for Streets of New Capenna). He's yet another card-drawing engine for monowhite, this time triggering at end of a turn in which we created a token, which is quite easy to accomplish in any go-wide list. Bennie also has the lone instance of convoke in the set, so we could even be able to drop him for free, especially if we elected him as our commander – something we could definitely consider.

 Finally, Master of Ceremonies has a vote mechanic that results in a group hug, the kind of thing that's usually fun to play in casual multiplayer games. All the choices are made by our opponents, so our Rhino MC is definitely not a card we can rely on for delivering what we need, as the odds go towards the opponents picking what they need the most. We're just going to get the same thing, which is only crucial progress as long as we get two or three times that amount while sitting at a four-player table. In one-on-one, it's borderline detrimental.


Elemental: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 494, online: 486

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: All right, this is not really a good card, since you're paying four mana to gift a potentially deadly trampler with first strike to every player at the table (and that's eventually going to bite you in the butt). But damn if Life of the Party is not a great conceptual name for an Elemental in a modern, hedonistic setting like New Capenna! It also looks like a fun chaos/group hug card in multiplayer, which should be the whole point of a party. Players running decks with a low creature count will play the role of the wallflower.


Elf: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 480, online: 466

 Related Tribes: Citizen, Druid

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Both new Elves in New Capenna Commander are monowhite, an occurrence with very old roots (it originated all the way back in Ice Age with Elvish Healer), but still extremely rare: there were only 10 monowhite Elves before the release of Streets of New Capenna, and only 7 before the color-exotic Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, the most recent of those dating to Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block. Still more than what green's other allied color gets, since Delina, Wild Mage remains, to date, the only monored Elf in existence.

 To be fair, as effective as both Boss's Chaffeur and Bennie Bracks, Zoologist are, competitive Elf builds are probably going to reject their job applications. The Chauffeur can quickly grow big and then be sacrificed to go wide, but it's a needlessly complicated process that doesn't even end up generating tokens with a relevant creature type; and Bennie's card draw is steady but too slow for anything outside of Commander or, at most, casual Constructed.


Horror: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 235, online: 234

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Eh. This thing eventually grows into a big menacer, and incorporates some versatile graveyard hate, but it starts working in the late mid-game, and it's clunky to activate, making it easy to play around even for decks with graveyard strategies. It's more like a worse Froghemoth than anything comparable to Scavenging Ooze – which was reprinted in the Brokers deck, whereas Grime Gorger is part of the Riveteers deck. That's some graveyard-based favoritism!


Human: +10

   

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 New Tribal Total: 2850, online: 2644

 Related Tribes: Advisor, Bard, Citizen, Rogue, Soldier, Warlock, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: None of these new Humans does something specifically benefiting Human tribal decks, so they probably won't matter.


Ogre: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 109, online: 104

 Related Tribes: Citizen, Devil, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The big guys get new members in each of the Jund/Riveteers colors, albeit Rose Room Treasurer is actually hailing from the Cabaretti, as proven by his watermark and ability keyword. As his name implies, alliance is used here to generate Treasure tokens, which is always a good way to ramp, since it impacts our mana production right away. And if we manage to deploy more than two creatures in the same turn, we get the opportunity to cast a X-costed burn spell that can also go face. It's a powerful set of scaled abilities for a reasonable cost – although the Treasurer's body is a bit lacking in toughness. Clearly more attuned to larger-than-life formats like Commander, but functional in creature-based builds anywhere.

 On a completely different beat is Bellowing Mauler, which has the kind of "every player gets punished" effect that's meant to complement an aggressive strategy, so that our own loss of life matters less than our opponent's. The replacement clause also points to a sacrifice approach. Though in both cases, a vanilla 4/6 for five doesn't look like exceedingly appealing, and it's ultimately as unimpressive as First Responder's self-bounce routine and the weird philanthropic unearth The Beamtown Bullies do in spite of their name.


Phoenix: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 30, online: 28

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: There's a Phoenix in New Capenna, and it apparently responds to the call of the Maestros. And, whoa, it's a legendary lord for the tribe? Not to mention, the very first Phoenix that's not monored. The addition of black is clearly useful to give access to a secondary color in case we want to build a Phoenix-based Commander deck, but it's slightly annoying otherwise, since we'll have to splash black for Syrix in an otherwise monored build. But it'll be worth it, because Syrix makes it so that every time one of our Phoenix is revived, one that's alive and well is shooting a bolt to any target. The ability also works with any other instance of creature recursion or graveyard exile, though it's clearly designed to be triggered by the self-resurrection that almost all Phoenices are capable of. And that includes Syrix itself, which can be cast from the graveyard every time another Phoenix dies, making it an intriguing commander that never wishes to return to the command zone.


Rat: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 62, online: 55

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Rats keep coming! (And you can see there's a Riveteers rat master controlling them in the background. A perk of living in the city slums). This is some really cool design, with the four-powered trampling body having good chances at dealing at least one point of damage per attack, thus immediately reviving itself even if successfully blocked. This makes trading with Wave of Rats using a creature of toughness less than 4 entirely pointless, and in fact actively self-defeating. At the same time, it's very appealing for us to blitz them: for just one extra mana, we get to draw a card while still keeping our Rats. Of course any five-toughness blocker stops the rat-attack on its rat-tracks. But that's why this card was printed in a product that encourages multiplayer games, so that we can get better odds at finding at least one opponent at the table that can't easily escape our murine torment.


Rhino: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 46

 Related Tribes: Druid, Soldier, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Brokers took a more brutal route in New Capenna Commander, at least if we are to judge by the nickname of their deck leader, Perrie, the Pulverizer. Epithet and disposition aside, Perrie still grants a shield to any one creature, including himself, and then boosts another whenever he attacks, based on the different types of counters we own. The baseline for the ability is +1/+1 due to the shield counter Perrie starts our collection with, and we might as well enhance Perrie himself this way, since he needs to be declared as an attacker for the whole thing to switch on. The key feature of the boost is clearly trample, allowing the potentially big body we conjure to actually make trouble for the opponent. Perrie is not the best "Voltron" commander out there, but he can be okay in a "counters matter" build, albeit perhaps more in a subordinate role. The same goes for Bribe Taker, which also counts the number of different counters we control, entering the battlefield as a bigger or better equipped finisher. It's probably crucial for one of the counters to be a shield, to protect our collector from instant removal. It would be swell to also have an indestructible or divinity counter around.

 The trio of new Rhinos is completed by the group hug of Master of Ceremonies, which is quite irrelevant overall. But at least is nice that all these new members are in Bant colors, where the tribe has been historically located. In fact, there are only two black Rhinos, although both noteworthy: the widely played Siege Rhino and the legendary Mr. Orfeo, the Boulder from Street of New Capenna. The set also gave us two of the four red Rhinos with, again, Mr. Orfeo, as well as Security Rhox.


Rogue: +7

   

  

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 New Tribal Total: 375, online: 355

 Related Tribes: Bird, Cephalid, Devil, Human, Sphinx, Viashino

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Rogue is always going to be a major tribe in New Capenna, so it makes sense for two of the designated commanders to belong to the subtype, namely the Obscura booster Kamiz and the Riveteers blitz lord Henzie. Another new legendary Rogue is the Sphinx Tivit, Seller of Secrets. I suspect the main selling point of this guy, especially if used as commander, is just his being a 6/6 evasive finisher that's very hard to kill. His deal is voting, through the return of the Conspiracy: Take the Crown ability word Council's dilemma, both as an ETB trigger and a connection trigger. Long story short, it just means that each vote cast results in a different gain for us, in this case either a Clue token or a Treasure token. Tivit also lets us vote twice, so we have better control on which kind of token we'll get more of. It also makes Tivit better suited to function in one-on-one games. Even if Clues aren't as good as straight-up card-drawing, which is what big Sphinges tend to produce, and Treasures might have little relevance once we've been able to deploy a six-drop, so we can expect the opponents to give us the second type as default. But, again, he's a 6/6 flyer with ward 3. He's probably already creating more of a dilemma that way.

 We've already covered the strange unblockable quasi-clone Cephalid Facetaker as well as the escaper extraordinaire Skyway Robber. The latter might be the best Rogue of this group, if played in a deck that can properly benefit from its free-casting ability.

 Mezzio Mugger is also a solid source of card advantage via multiple impulsive drawing, as long as it manages to keep attacking and not being killed in the process. But even by doing it only once via three-mana blitz, it's going to guarantee access to up to five cards on a four-person table – one per library plus one drawn at the end of the blitz – and realistically at least the two from our library will result in sheer advantage. More simple but quite efficient is Dogged Detective, a two-powered two-drop with surveil capabilities that might come back from the graveyard unless all our opponents give up on any extra draws, which feels unlikely longterm. The Detective asks very little of us, he just does his job and eventually reports back. He's dogged all right.

 Something not to forget is that the Vampire Assassin Mari, the Killing Quill also functions as a Rogue lord, providing universal deathtouch and the ability to draw cards and generate Treasures upon connection, whenever one of the opposing creatures dies. She could be the off-tribe centerpiece of an unusual Rogue list.


Soldier: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 755, online: 694

 Related Tribes: Bird, Human, Rhino

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: New Soldiers include the Brokers' master enforcer Perrie, the Pulverizer, as well as the powerful card-drawing engine and tempo gainer Aerial Extortionist. Monogreen are, uncharacteristically, both Soldiers of the Human variety. Caldaia Guardian leave two 1/1s behind when she dies, which means we can "cycle" her away for three mana via blitz, in which case we'll get ourselves a four-powered attack and two Citizen tokens out of the deal. On top of that, she applies the same clause to all our other creatures with mana value 4 or greater, so we might want to have her stick around if possible.

 Park Heights Maverick is a beater with dethrone, meaning it's growing bigger when we attack one of the players with the most life. Furthermore, it proliferates upon connection, so it'll keep growing even when we choose not to trigger dethrone (it also gets a bonus proliferate as a death trigger, to boot). Daunt makes it easier to connect past chump-blockers. All in all, a pretty good offensive creature with high-profile tactical applications in Superfriends, "+1/+1 counters matter", and other builds that care for proliferate.


Sphinx: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 68

 Related Tribes: Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Tivit is not a bad six-drop Sphinx, but that spot in the tribe's curve is very, very crowded, and unfortunately dominated by the likes of Dream Trawler and Consecrated Sphinx, which offer more value and/or more resilience than Tivit. Sharuum the Hegemon could also be preferable in combo builds. Our Seller of Secrets might rank around the level of Sphinx of Magosi and Sphinx of Jwar Isle. The former is a better mana sink, but easier to kill. The latter shuts off all targeted removal, but has little strategic value and a smaller body.


Vampire: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 335, online: 330

 Related Tribes: Assassin, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Of the three new Vampires introduced in New Capenna Commander, Mari does nothing for the bloodsucking tribe (she already has three others to curate), while the Maestros headliner Anhelo is more of a spellslinging enabler, the kind that is usually found in pure Izzet colors.

 We're left with yet another vampiric artist (seriously, what's up with that?), the wizardry painter Parnesse, the Subtle Brush. She's the alternate commander of Anhelo deck, and similarly focused on copying spells. Although the payoff in her case is that we're given the opportunity to allow an opponent to also copy our copied spell. It's a strange, very risky political maneuver, the dangers of which are ideally mitigated by the universal ward Parnesse grants to all our permanents. But since it only requires 4 life to bypass, it doesn't feel like a strong disincentive to use the free copy against us. I'm sure there will be situations when verbal agreements can be made so that Parnesse might be used to weaponize a secondary opponent at the expenses of the table's leading player, but it doesn't sound like something that's going to happen every game. She's also almost entirely useless in one-on-one.


Viashino: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 51

 Related Tribes: Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Before the printing of this card as well as main Capenna set's Ziatora's Envoy, Viashinos never featured card advantage in their rule texts, short of convoluted fringe cases like Carrion Thrash and Mindclaw Shaman. Granted, Mezzio Mugger isn't going to guarantee a steady flow of extra cards, since it hinges on a vanilla 3/3 body continuously surviving attacks, but the potential is there, and the blitz option alone is akin to a red Divination built into the tribal base.


Wall: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 139, online: 118

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: This Wall is the only artifact creature in New Capenna Commander, but it's a surprisingly brilliant one. In one-on-one especially, our Weathered Sentinels will either be able to consistently swing as a truly impressive 5/8 indestructible vigilant trampler we spent only three mana on, or they'll discourage the opponent from attacking us – something that a relatively early 2/5 with reach might already be doing on its own. Not so weathered, after all! Of course the Sentinels are close to useless against non-aggro strategies, and not as good in multiplayer, but they still rank among the better members of this ancient, near-obsolete tribe. And they're absolutely great in Assault Formation decks.


Warlock: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 59, online: 58

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Cringeworthy name pun aside (I'd like to know the customer base for a psychic who exclusively foretells bad things), Misfortune Teller is a graveyard hater with variable upsides. We've seen this setup before, where the type of affected card determines the reward we get. The casting cost feels a bit high, even if it could easily result in two separate bodies on the battlefield. After the initial trigger, a 3/1 with deathtouch should guarantee a few hits, but it hits harder enough that the opponent might be inclined to trade for it asap. Paradoxically, a one-powered body would have a better tactical value.


Warrior: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 870, online: 847

 Related Tribes: Devil, Human, Ogre, Rhino

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Out of the Warriors we've already reviewed, Rose Room Treasurer has to be the most interesting one, with his baseline being ramping up the mana production of an aggro deck. Triggering the last ability might prove hard if the deck is not built with that purpose in mind, therefore featuring ways to create multiple tokens at once, like Burn Down the House or Kuldotha Rebirth.

 Jolene, the Plunder Queen is the other legendary Warrior in the set. She looks like a mix between Xorn, whose ability she entirely replicates, and Magda, Brazen Outlaw, but with self-growth instead of tutoring as the result of the quintuple Treasure sacrifice. She might work as a commander of a Treasure-based list, but feels a bit too expensive and generally less appealing than the more combo-oriented Magda in that role.


Wizard: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 881, online: 857

 Related Tribes: Human, Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Disregarding Parnesse and her weird political copy power, the other two new Wizards in New Capenna Commander seem both noteworthy. Oskar, Rubbish Reclaimer can easily be a 3/3 for two, since collecting three different mana values in the graveyard is almost trivial in a format with fetch lands. And then he does a better version of the Containment Construct trick of regaining access to any discarded card (although lands are excluded in this case). What makes it better is that Oskar can sit in the command zone of a discard-for-value deck, while Containment Construct can't – and even if it could, it would be a colorless commander, whereas Oskar is in the perfect colors for that strategy, what with looting being mostly in blue and madness being predominantly in black.

 Sinister Concierge is mechanically very intriguing and unique. She's a two-powered two-drop that we want to trade or sacrifice; when we do, she'll automatically take a suspend 3 route back to the battlefield, but she'll also let us do the same to another creature. This can either put an opposing threat in time-out (a veritable suspension!), or eventually retriggered some ETB from our team, though the first case seems more likely to be what we'll end up choosing most of the times. Truth be told, this looks more like the work of a bouncer than a concierge. Also, not sure how being a Wizard enters into this, but oh well.


SUMMARY

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 Check the Complete Creature Types Reference Table here.


THE FAMILY LEADERS
(click on any of them to go to their review)

  

 

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THE FAMILY SECONDS
(click on any of them to go to their review)

  

 

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THE FAMILY ASSOCIATES
(click on any of them to go to their review)

  

 

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KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS