Even though it's a multicolored set focused on color trios, it does contain some monocolored picks that will likely see play across multiple formats. This is my top three from each color.
Boon of Safety: a cheap common portraying the Brokers mechanic called shield (previously known as totem armor back in Rise of Eldrazi) that will likely see play in Pauper Heroic strategies. One can play it preemptively to synergize with other cards from the Brokers guild.
Extraction Specialist: a 3/2 lifelinker with an interesting ability to bring back small creatures from the graveyard, which can find a spot in Blink decks, especially combined with Charming Prince since it blanks the Specialist's drawback. It's super cheap now, so I will be getting a full playset at a very discounted price.
Giada, Font of Hope: Even after more than 25 years of history, this is only the seventh Angel at two mana ever printed, and the first one that adds mana to cast other Angel spells. This card will already find fans merely because of its flavor and creature type, so getting at least two or three copies is worth the investment. Even if the card drops in price in a couple of months, it will regain value over time, since it has such a unique effect that boosts the tribal strategy everywhere. Pricewise it trended at about four euros at time of writing but should definitely go cheaper during the release week, so if you are not playing Giada straight away, just wait until it stabilizes at around two or three euros.
An Offer You Can't Refuse: A one-mana Negate with the drawback of giving away two Treasure tokens (which are a theme in the set, by the way) seems legit, if scary. At one euro and trending downward, I will take my four copies.
Witness Protection: A cheap common that grants some sort of creature removal in blue is always appreciated. It could see play in some sideboards even in Legacy as it nicely answers most monsters, even something like Griselbrand or Marit Lage. It has applications in Pauper too.
Ledger Shredder: My last pick for blue is a Bird Advisor from the Obscura syndicate showcasing the connive ability. Overall it has nice stats, an evasive 1/3 for two mana that over the course of the game can grow itself when playing multiple spells while ditching cards into the graveyard. Count me in! You can find copies starting at €0.20, although the price trend is already pointing upward.
Tenacious Underdog: This pugilist from the Riveteers family starts as a 3/2 for two, pretty average. Its main upside is it can be played from the graveyard using its blitz ability, becoming a recursive threat/sacrifice fodder that draws a card in the process. I am confident it will find a slot in Standard's sacrifice shell and even in Pioneer, so it might be interesting to get the gorgeous alternate art version, with copies starting at €1.50 at time of writing.
Whack: This black instant belongs to a cycle of uncommon cards that get a discount on the cost if they target a specific color. In this case, giving −4/−4 to a creature for four mana isn't that appealing, but it only costs one if it targets a white creature. Whack deals with almost every white creature in Standard, so it has some potential in black sideboards.
Shadow of Mortality: Is this Death's Shadow 2.0? I doubt it, even if it dodges the most common removal played in Modern like Unholy Heat, Fatal Push, and Prismatic Ending. But you need at least go down to 7 life to get the full discount. Meanwhile, it is an automatic inclusion in the Calibrated Blast combo deck, due to its immense mana cost, and I suspect it will end up seeing some play sooner or later. Another cheap bargain to put into the shopping cart at about one euro.
Torch Breath: I can see this card in several places—up to Legacy sideboards, as it can't be countered and deals with Delver of Secrets / Insectile Aberration for a miser red mana. In Modern, it gets interesting as well both for and against Blue-Red Murktide and as a weapon against Teferi, Time Raveler.
Strangle: another cheap removal spell, this time focused on Standard. 3 damage at sorcery speed to kill creatures and planeswalkers is a fine deal. Voltage Surge can go up to 4 damage by sacrificing an artifact, but this one is best suited for red midrange and controlling shells.
Bonus #4! Professional Face-Breaker: I'm already a big fan of this Human Warrior able to generate Treasure as early as the turn it's cast if you deployed a previous threat. Later on, you can transform those artifacts into real cards, so I'm betting on Face-Breaker to see play in a Treasure-oriented deck in Standard. Single copies currently start at two euros but the price trend is clearly going up.
Gala Greeters: This Cabaretti Elf Druid starts as a 1/1 for two mana but offers three different triggers each turn when another creature enters the battlefield, making it a strong candidate for the Elves' tribal shell across formats but also elsewhere. Wizards made sure that one of the twelve versions (yes, twelve, it's hard to believe, but it is the set's Box Topper) will satisfy everyone's tastes. Find the one you like the most here on Cardmarket!
Workshop Warchief: an old Thragtusk cousin from New Capenna that only gives 3 life instead of 5 but leaves behind a 4/4 body when it dies. The blitz cost is a great upside, especially in aggressive strategies like Monogreen, hence this Riveteer Rhino Warrior is my safest pick in green.
Bootleggers' Stash: I'm closing up this list with the card I feel most ambivalent to invest in, mainly because of its starting price of fourteen euros, which is trending up as I write these lines. The Stash costs six mana, but it has a ton of applications in Commander and some combo potential by generating a ton of Treasure tokens, not only with other cards from the same set but better yet with Time Sieve from Alara Reborn, granting you infinite turns to win the game at will, for example with Disciple of the Vault or even Revel in Riches. Personally, I will wait a couple of weeks after the release to see how the price responds to the card's real playability across formats and then decide whether to go for it or not.
Let's move on to Streets of New Capenna's main appeal, three-colored cards! I picked one for each crime family. They may not be the best cards in terms of playability but rather the ones that attracted me the most during preview season.
Honorable Mention: Tainted Indulgence is an instant-speed Chart a Course that replaces the blue sorcery in the Greasefang, Okiba Boss combo in Pioneer and can also find a place in Esper Reanimator in Modern.
Ognis, the Dragon's Lash: Starting with the Riveteers gang, this is one more Treasure token producer, although they enter tapped. It synergizes well with the previously mentioned Professional Face-Breaker, and due to its hybrid mana cost it can squeeze into any monored deck, which usually has a ton of haste creatures—Rabbit Battery, Thundering Raiju, Reckless Stormseeker, or Bloodthirsty Adversary to name a few in Standard. What to do with the Treasure tokens? We can combine them with Magda, Brazen Outlaw's ability to bring Goldspan Dragon for free, or transform the Treasures into Cats or Dogs via Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second from the Cabaretti guild, which will grant even more tokens. The possibilities are endless. Ogni's price shouldn't pose a problem as it currently stands at the bulk rare barrier, but I am rooting for this Viashino to have a major impact in the weeks to come.
Lord Xander, the Collector: Grixis rebrands as Maestros, and I am sorry to say I am not impressed by most of the creatures or spells from this family, despite it being one of my favorite color combinations. I went for Lord Xander, the Collector due to all the saltiness around this card in Commander. A seven-mana 6/6 really needs to be cheated into play, but then its three abilities will definitely shine. A Reanimator shell could put it into play as early as turn two with Goryo's Vengeance in Modern, while Pioneer has Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord to work with. Combined with the Commander appeal, its current low price trend of three euros makes me want to buy at least one copy of this card.
Falco Spara, Pactweaver: At number three we have the mythic legendary boss from the Brokers clan, which is the first Bird Demon in Magic's history so far. Falco's main upside is the ability to play cards from the top of your library, an effect that has been on the rise during recent sets (The Reality Chip or Augur of Autumn comes to mind) so the idea is to build around it, a shell with a ton of creatures with shield counters from the set, or let's say Luminarch Aspirant. Indeed, it also works with any type of counter, like Luminous Broodmoth or persist ones from Kitchen Finks. Pricewise it's going down to the single-euro range.
Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer: Second place goes to Rocco alongside Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second, which I already mentioned. The uncommon Elf Druid could be upgraded to rare since its raw power definitely deserves that. I envision Rocco as a tutor for creature-based combos, bringing the missing piece, starting with X equals zero to fetch Dryad Arbor or Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar in Modern up to Devoted Druid or Craterhoof Behemoth if you generate a lot of mana. Being an uncommon means you can get a full playset for less than a euro, maybe even aim for the alternate art deco variant.
Void Rend: The number one of this section is without any doubt one of the best cards among the set, the Obscura spot removal Void Rend. Three mana to get rid of anything aside from lands at instant speed immediately reminds me of Abrupt Decay on steroids, a powerful effect that comes with extra protection against countermagic. Void Rend seems designed for new control strategies, as a flexible tool to clear the board from anything problematic, starting with creatures up to any planeswalker, which is the bread and butter of most Standard decks these days, with the upside of dodging the recent ability of ward (because of the "can't be countered" clause). Potentially, it could even find a spot in Modern Esper Control, if that shell comes back from its ashes or maybe in Reanimator. Pioneer will definitely ask for the services of this Obscura spell as well. Regarding its acquisition, this is the type of card that will see immediate play across formats, hence my resolution is to purchase it as soon as I can while the trend is stabilized since it will start regaining value weeks after the release.
This cycle should prove a very safe choice that will likely end up seeing play in different formats, from Standard to Commander, all due to their flexibility, although the individual modes aren't that powerful. The fact you have access to all three in just one card is what makes them worth it. Being uncommons means their price is not an issue, therefore I recommend buying a playset of each of them, as sooner or later you will need them. In any case, let's quickly rank them—from worst to best:
Cabaretti Charm: Starting with the weakest of the cycle, this is only good in a creature-heavy strategy, because the removal option needs at least two or three creatures to start functioning. Then we have the second mode, which pumps our team plus giving them trample, and finally, the third mode is an overcosted Raise the Alarm. Although the least exciting one, I will still get my copies.
Riveteers Charm: The first mode is basically Soul Shatter, which has been a Standard-playable card that gets around ward and shield counters while also hitting planeswalkers. The second mode is exactly Act on Impulse but at instant speed, which means it can be cast at the end of an opponent's turn and then gives access to three fresh cards ready to be played on the next turn. The final mode is graveyard hate, which isn't exciting, but it comes in handy to have that type of effect in your main deck for certain matchups.
Maestros Charm: Up next, the Grixis combination offers another three interesting modes. The first is some sort of Strategic Planning but looking at five cards, combining card selection plus filling up the graveyard, which is relevant in a format like Pioneer where it coexists with Dig Through Time or Treasure Cruise and could even be combined with Arclight Phoenix. The second mode is similar to Sovereign's Bite to each opponent, which improves in Commander games, and it's a great effect as Grixis shells don't usually have access to life gain. The last one is strict removal for creatures and planeswalkers, however, dealing "only" 5 damage probably leaves Maestros Charm outside of Modern territory.
Brokers Charm: Second place goes to Brokers Charm, which starts with the removal mode that needs a creature in play to be effective but also grants +1/+0. Then it has an enchantment removal mode, which can become relevant against Urza's Saga decks in Modern. The third mode straight-up draws to cards á la Archmage's Charm, generating some card advantage. Personally, I will try a copy in my Four-Color Blink to see if it has Modern potential.
Obscura Charm: The Obscura family wins another ranking, this time with another three-mana instant that may well revive Esper Control in Modern. Its first mode allows you to bring multicolored permanents with mana value 3 or less back to the battlefield, and that means instant-speed Teferi, Time Raveler or Wrenn and Six, as well as a host of other options. Then we have the "counter sorcery or instant" mode, which isn't exciting for three mana but comes in handy most of the time. Finally the removal mode basically offers Eliminate, which is a decent card that saw some play in Pioneer and Modern aside from Standard.
Let's address the elephant in the room, the new tricycle cycle. I wonder why they couldn't be named Triomes after their Ikoria counterparts. In any case, they are one of the main attractions from Streets of New Capenna in terms of playability because, no matter which format you play, it's very likely you are going to need at least one copy of these lands.
Regarding price development, the best thing to do is to look at their predecessors. Though they weren't in such high demand initially. By the time Ikoria was released, we were at the beginning of the pandemic, and most players were not aware of how powerful this land cycle would turn out to be.
The three tricycles adding blue are the most valuable: Raffine's Tower (Esper), Spara's Headquarters (Bant), and Xander's Lounge (Grixis) currently start at eight euros. Next, we have Ziatora's Proving Ground, the Jund one, at around seven euros, followed by Jetmir's Garden, the cheapest one in the cycle at about six euros per copy. However, these prices might go up and down during the next week as private sellers will be buying some and sell the ones they got at the prerelease.
My rule of thumb with this type of chased card everyone wants is always the same: Get your copies as soon as you can, start playing them, and forget the money you paid since you are going to get it right back in terms of play value. Ultimately these lands will draw equal in price to the Ikoria ones. The good thing is, in Modern, one copy of each will be enough, while in Pioneer you might need more, and they are going to be all-stars in Standard during their whole tenure in the format.
We finish the Streets of New Capenna countdown by looking at the top three mythics that have generated the most buzz during the preview season. Are they going to skyrocket in the next few weeks? Let's find out!
Vivien on the Hunt caused quite a stir because her sacrifice ability can turn a three-mana creature into a win. Read all about it here! The combo still needs to prove its viability, and so Vivien remains one of the mythics from the set that currently is pretty affordable with singles within the five euro range.
Luxior, Giada's Gift is the first Equipment ever that allows you to attach it to planeswalkers. In case you haven't heard already, an eqipped Devoted Druid makes infinite mana, as the Elf doesn't die to −1/−1 counters anymore. Although the Druid combo shell has been absent from serious Modern for a long time, this card could revive it because Luxior can be tutored via Stoneforge Mystic as well as Urza's Saga. In fact, I definitely see this card being played in Modern. Moreover, the way it can transform planeswalkers into creatures adds further applications. Karn, the Great Creator can get it from the sideboard, it can turn Teferi, Time Raveler into a creature to attack protected with his passive ability, and a lot more shenanigans. That's why the card should 100% be on your New Capenna wish list. The price trend seems relatively stable at the twelve euro barrier, so I will grab at least a singleton before it goes up.
Ob Nixilis, the Adversary is a no-brainer, I know, clearly the face of the set. This demonic planeswalker will warp the Standard metagame, moving Rakdos Sacrifice up in the tier list, and it may also become a staple of Pioneer. Modern is a whole different story, but people are going to force this card in several strategies, from Grixis Shadow to the recent Oni-Cult Anvil decks. All in all this is the card everyone should wish for when cracking a pack. Now let's answer the crucial question, is it worth buying right now? Well, it depend. If you are immediately going to play Ob Nixilis from release week on, my answer is yes, get your Adversaries as soon as you finish reading and start enjoying them. However, if you have doubts, give it a couple of weeks in case it'll go down when copies start flowing through the market. But I cannot see this card going below twenty euros as long as it sees some play, if only because of the face-card effect.
This concludes the Streets of New Capenna edition of Cards to Buy. As usual, I hope you enjoyed the read/ride. Please let us know your thoughts and the cards you are looking to purchase in the comment section below!
See you next month,