Magic’s newest expansion has us traveling to New Capenna. A new set means new cards to examine, and in this article we’ll talk about the monocolored cards and what they mean for the game in different formats and how they’ll play.
Last time we covered the mechanics of the new set, talking about the new and returning mechanics for New Capenna; this week we’re looking at the set’s monocolor cards. As usual, we won’t be looking at everything, and we’ll be doing this mostly with an eye for Commander play.
FromTheShire: I don’t like giving my opponents cards and in Commander this is more likely than not going to give each of them one, but when you need a wrath you need one and this comes down for 4 mana which is great.
BPhillipYork: Well you can tutor a card to the top then dump it into play immediately, and your opponents can’t stop you, the first thought I have is to use this in a reanimation deck to unstoppably reanimate something big (99% of the time this would be Razaketh).
FromTheShire: Lore fans rejoice, Elspeth has returned! She’s not great for Commander but she’s fine, and the +1 especially gives you some nice flexibility with picking which counter you want, while also not being so threatening that she definitely absolutely needs to be killed.
BPhillipYork: There’s a lot of recursion tricks you can do with this, especially in something like an Azorious etb focused deck, especially if you have some way to sacrifice creatures. The obvious target of this is gonna be dockside extortionist.
FromTheShire: A solidly costed body, and most of the creatures it can hit are the kind of thing you don’t care if it can attack or block since that’s not what you’re using a Zulaport Cutthroat anyway. Being able to repeat the effect by flickering or recurring the specialist is a nice bonus.
BPhillipYork: It’s crazy how pushed a creature can be now, compare this to the formerly “broken” Savannah Lions but uh a manadork for angels is definitely interesting, and this really helps out tribal angel decks since they didn’t have a lot of low cost angels, or ramp. Having this in the command zone lets your deck actually get going. That said, mono-white is still a choice in edh that I am not super into making.
FromTheShire: Love this. Angel tribal decks are fun but they are generally slooooooow with a starting CMV around 5, and this gives you a relevant typed early game play, ramps you towards your more expensive Angels, and then makes each successive Angel more and more threatening.
BPhillipYork: This is a fun card, especially in conjunction with the Alliance mechanic for Naya, there are also ways to combo this off and just win the game. Unusually for cards that “win the game” like this, with Halo Fountain you win immediately, not during your next upkeep.
FromTheShire: I dig it. Comes down fairly early, starts making you tokens, then drawing you some much needed cards in white, and then finally can win you the game if nobody interacts to stop you, at which point it’s very much their fault if they can’t stop it.
BPhillipYork: Fun for creatures with a good ETB, Crew 2 is low, also you can crew it with a creature then exile that creature which is interesting. Big winner here would be Sad Robot (Solemn Simulacrum), but anything with a nice ETB would do. Kind of lives in that “win more” category though at 5 mana.
FromTheShire: Definitely a value play and not a half bad one. Obvious play in the Vehicle decks but I think this will see some play in flicker type decks as well.
BPhillipYork: I think this card is actually a bit dangerous, especially if you have some tricks up your sleeve like impact tremors and maybe goblin bombardment this could get pretty berserk in some kind of mardu triggers/tokens deck. The hideaway is very specific, so you’re only going to be seeing this in a certain kind of deck.
FromTheShire: Most of the time you’re not going to care about the hideaway card, you just want the pretty impressive token creation in go-wide Doubling Season type decks. I have several decks this slots into immediately, and creating a weird token can actually be a big benefit if you’re using Lord effects on your main token type – the Citizens stay perfect for Skullclamp while the rest of your team gets threatening.
BPhillipYork: This is totally playable card draw for white. Full stop. There are ways to get triggered creatures entering the battlefield, or abilities to generate them. It’s going to be a little tough to get it going, but if that is what your deck does (and that’s what Naya decks do) it’s very useful.
FromTheShire: Even for decks that aren’t built around making tokens you are frequently going to be able to draw cards with this, and even if you can’t getting repeated scry is excellent in white. Card is great.
BPhillipYork: Yar this is in theory a decent card draw for white, but it’s really really expensive. This falls solidly into win-more territory, though at least you get the effect instantly as an ETB, so in theory, you could be reanimating this angel, or dropping it with Kaalia of the vast (though you’d only get 1 draw there, not 2, since the angel won’t “attack” it’ll enter attacking).
FromTheShire: Fantastic. Supremely difficult to deal with since it enters with two shield counters, it’s a solid flying threat to close out games that in the kind of decks that are going to use it likely draws you a card and makes a token every turn. In something like an Atraxa deck this is a home run.
BPhillipYork: This doesn’t really seem like a commander card tbh, the rummage draw is okay but at 6 mana and no easy way to dump it, there are better reanimation targets. Maybe for Avatar tribal deck.
FromTheShire: Another nice curve topper that draws you relentlessly towards whatever you need to close out the game, while also protecting your life total by shrinking your opponents biggest creature each turn.
BPhillipYork: This is a very very playable counterspell. Full stop this shows up in cEDH rapidly when it becomes legal.
FromTheShire: One mana counter that hits the vast majority of the things that are going to make you lose the game on the spot? Absolutely outstanding. There’s a reason Swan Song crept from 50 cents to almost 15 dollars – if the game is about to end if you don’t counter whatever is happening, it doesn’t really matter what you’re trading off for keeping the game going. That’s a problem for future you.
BPhillipYork: Fun for mill decks I guess, can possibly be a kill card with something like Syr Konrad in play, but generally at 6 mana this just isn’t doing even remotely enough work.
FromTheShire: Is your deck already running Traumatize? If so, this slots right in. If not, you can forget this exists forever. The fact this can double itself is nice at least.
BPhillipYork: Yes um this is strong. Like for sure, it’s a bit of a headscratcher, but sure, copy a spell you didn’t cast, so generally, one that you copied. But like, wow. For something like Riku of Two Reflections, or anything where you are routinely copying spells. Also, this is another way to go infinite with Dramatic Reversal which is uh, great, what we needed (yes you’ll need to copy it yourself first once).
FromTheShire: Interesting to see a mono blue creature with haste, not sure I particularly care for that but what can you do. You need to already be copying a decent number of spells to make this worthwhile but extremely powerful if you are.
BPhillipYork: This is potentially a windfall for a kind of control deck and I like that they are making holding back mana to interact more viable. Though not literally a windfall. But I do like the the essentially x to draw x if your opponent has drawn 4, which is not that unusual in a commander game by any means.
FromTheShire: Stroke of Genius is already perfectly playable, and tacking on the cost reduction is nice, though the type of deck to trigger it for you is also frequently going to be the same kind of deck that blows you out by countering this for 2 after you sink 10 mana into it, so watch yourself. On pure rate, triple blue and not being target player are both downgrades.
BPhillipYork: Potentially this could let you rummage and get quite beefy, 2 spells per turn is really standard in commander most of the time, and sometimes you’ll get multiple instances of 2 spells per turn. A flying 1/3 isn’t terrible, and it should passively get really big, but this is a card that gets worse as the level of play gets lower, so it’s a bit of a wash, since that’s generally where combat damage gets more important.
FromTheShire: Even at kitchen table games this is going to trigger often and provide a nice source of looting. Can’t wait to slot it into my Bird deck at the bare minimum.
BPhillipYork: It’s a neat concept but I don’t think it’s cheap enough to justify the cost even if the triggering is neat.
FromTheShire: A cheap Kraken that is slightly more annoying to remove isn’t bad, but that downside though…. There’s a reason we don’t see the creatures with similar downsides played basically ever. Basically making a 1/1 each turn isn’t a great use of 4 mana.
FromTheShire: Clones are great and this one is even greater since it can enter with a shield counter.
BPhillipYork: So this hideaway effect is really hard to trigger, you need to start your turn with 7 in hand, also it’s a bit confusing since you can’t get priority during the draw step so it waits till your upkeep, then it goes on the stack, then you get to cast something hidden away, which can be a permanent or sorcery and so it kind of doubly overrides timing restrictions, but … I could see playing it with Eleven, the Mage to try to get her triggers going.
FromTheShire: 5 mana to draw an extra card each of your turns usually isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. I think this generally misses the cut in most lists.
BPhillipYork: I think this cards “downside” can be a hilarious upside. Imagine this with Syr Konrad, the Grim in play. If it was life loss it would be a win condition.
FromTheShire: In any kind of self mill deck, this can either fill your yard super quickly, or more likely ward off attacks until it can be removed. Most likely you want ways to damage yourself in order to take full advantage of the effect.
BPhillipYork: Solid workhorse of a card for a graveyard-focused mill, reanimation, and such decks. The connive ability means you can pump up it’s power to reanimate what you want.
FromTheShire: Nice source of card selection that in the kind of deck to run it also likes using the discard to fuel its yard, grows into a threat, and then gets back the best creature you put in your yard when it dies.
BPhillipYork: Three mana is almost exactly the right price where I wonder if it’s playable, think yeah, probably, but focused. At 2 it’d be too cheap, at 4 it would be a no-brainer bad card.
FromTheShire: Another nice self mill piece, and this one is actually not that hard to trigger if you’re trying. Aggressively costed as well.
BPhillipYork: So you’d need to spend I think at least 4 mana and a creature for this to really pay off, at 3 mana (2+x=1) you’re drawing 2 for 3 mana and a sacrifice, which is quite a bit worse than a lot of blacks “pay 2 life, draw 2 cards” spells. To really pay off you want to be drawing at least 2-3 and then the sacrifice. Obviously, if you want to sacrifice creature this math changes, but even so uh, probably too pricy.
FromTheShire: Yeah I think a lot of the time you just have better draw options on black already.
BPhillipYork: That’s a lot of abilities on a card that costs 3. Vampire and Rogue triggers abound, being able to sacrifice is useful for a non-keyword surveil, and draw on 5 or more mana values is very reasonable. So I think this is definitely playable in decks that care about vampires or rogues.
FromTheShire: Lots of great utility here, especially in the relevant tribal decks.
BPhillipYork: This is super cheap for like, commander. Like super-strong tbh for decks that want to do a certain kind of thing. First of all it’s mana value won’t change, so you could throw this into Yuriko to replace Draco as it’s a 15 to the dome. If you have sacrifice abilities based on mana value or power/toughness this is also potentially a big deal. That being said, it’s going to show up in mostly niche decks only, as it has no evasion abilities or anything else just a bit fat 7/7. Also Avatar tribal.
FromTheShire: An interesting, fixed version of Death’s Shadow, but just doesn’t get there in Commander, and most likely in other formats outside of maybe Historic.
BPhillipYork: 3 for a 6/4 that might net you card draw is almost playable. Certainly, at more casual tables people are going to just give you the card draw. Though weirdly this card is going to be useless to close out games. I’m pretty torn here, but I think for 3 mana there are generally going to be better things you can do.
FromTheShire: As discussed earlier, these kind of cards are generally bad, but this at least draws you a card as a consolation, which is probably the best version of this you’re going to get.
BPhillipYork: Neither tenacious (so like, either regeneration or maybe undying) nor a dog, much disappoint. That being said, casting from graveyard is often very powerful to have available to set up combos. There are graveyard cost reducers and such, and this is potentially a win condition. Something like Bontu’s Monument, Helm of Awakening in a K’rrik, son of Yawgmoth deck.
FromTheShire: Being able to cast this from your graveyard is an excellent source of card advantage and we’re going to see a lot of this card.
BPhillipYork: This is not a “good” card but it is a fun card for Izzet spell-slinging, or Jeskai spell-slinging (aka Kykar, Wind’s Fury). So what I’m saying is I love it in it’s awesome terribleness and want to build a deck around it. And I will.
FromTheShire: If it’s not answered this can get hilariously out of control and it’s excellent.
BPhillipYork: I mean it’s kind of funny if you could kill someone with it. I think you should be able to trample players. That would make this even more hilarious.
FromTheShire: Thank god this has trample so when you go through the effort of making a bunch of tokens to trigger this you can actually get through and kill people. Pretty decent.
BPhillipYork: Ugh maybe enough with the treasure already. I actually need to make sure I understand the vehicle mechanics with something like this around. I punish your treasure collection by having a ton of my own treasures so that’s… that.
FromTheShire: This can potentially give you a huge burst of mana, and is likely to get you a few Treasures from someone as a bare minimum. I can see some potential hilarity in the mirror for sure.
BPhillipYork: Yeah this guy is amazing. Like full-on amazing, amazing, amazing. It’s a cheaper Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, and it can target Legendaries. It does make you discard. But even so I see this as being a huge value piece or combo piece in certain decks.
FromTheShire: Really, really good. It’s good this was attenuated somewhat with the discard requirement but you can certainly build your way around that restriction.
BPhillipYork: Yes this card is a big fucking deal. This is one of the most important cards of the set. For decks like Najeela this is a combo piece, but also just an insane, insane value generator in so many ways. Crazy.
FromTheShire: Really solid, generates Treasures which can either be used to fuel what’s in your hand or sacrificed to get access to more cards.
BPhillipYork: Strong, I guess red lost rummage and got this other mechanic, which is called impulse. Which is different, in some ways worse, but there are powerful triggers off casting from exile like Prosper, Tomb-Bound. For stuff like that this is huge. If you can leverage it with a creature that was blitzed as the casualty trigger then you’re getting to exile 4 cards and draw 1, that’s pretty good.
FromTheShire: Nice way to dig through your deck for what you need, and being able to double it up with tokens or other sac fodder is solid.
BPhillipYork: Ok cool this is a way to blow up all those treasures. I like the way that it’s written too, elegantly so that blowing up your treasures in response doesn’t matter.
FromTheShire: Vandalblast on steroids, this is going to see a ton of play. It’s a bummer that it hits your artifacts too but being able to wipe them and most to all creatures as well is excellent.
BPhillipYork: More of this red impulse: exile / cast mechanic, which is good, potentially powerful, especially if you are like sacrificing to Village Rites to get even more draw.
FromTheShire: Good early drop that gets you cards when it dies, and since it’s on a body it’s able to be recurred fairly easily to do it all again.
BPhillipYork: I think this is a really powerful card, potentially can lock a lot of decks out of doing certain things, and replaces a card draw with an exile. If you can prevent things from being played from exile this can be a lock. It plays not cast so they will still get lands. Also, it gives you an exile but doesn’t replace your draw, so pretty solid. 5 for a 4/4 with haste is respectable. I guess in the story Ubrabrask is the weakest or something, it’s all clicks and whistles to me.
FromTheShire: A fun tool to fight against your opponent constantly having a full grip of cards while also letting you see an extra card per turn. Story wise Urabrask isn’t necessarily the weakest Praetor, he’s the only one not under the sway of Elesh Norn, though because of traveling to New Capenna using the Planar Bridge he WAS severely injured as organic matter does not take kindly to the trip and is currently still regenerating.
BPhillipYork: Yup, gonna make a multi-color only shard or something deck. Fo’ sho’.
FromTheShire: Very good payoff in multicolor decks, especially in Jodah, Archmage Eternal type builds that are looking to cheat out huge threats.
BPhillipYork: Well this is certainly something. I’m positive there’s a way to make this loop and create infinite treasures. Okay well off the bat unwinding clock, there’s also Magda and a couple of lands with creature types (mutavault, there’s another one.
FromTheShire: On the one hand being able to essentially store extra mana can be very useful, but on the other this is is a steep investment to get started. Depending on what things you have that care about Treasures specifically this can certainly pop off.
BPhillipYork: Generally there’s better ways to do what this card wants to do, you often want to “fight” with fight cards for various reasons, but the fact it “bites” at instant speed and hits Planeswalkers is nice. I am definitely a fan of green getting new instant speed interaction, even if the color pie is more of a color.. mess at this point. I’m tired of green players being like “lol I’m a helpless baby green has no interaction” this way I get to self-righteously declare “no interaction that you are running”.
FromTheShire: So green can now exile creatures and planeswalkers, at instant speed…..cool. Cool cool cool. Color what now?
BPhillipYork: This is definitely going to be playable to fetch specific creatures for combos, so that’s that. I mean tutors are good. End of story. 4 mana to get rolling with a sacrifice is a lot, but getting what you want and casting it is uh good.
FromTheShire: Another Birthing Pod variant, this one is pretty interesting. There’s a lot of things you can chain together here, and the fact that you cast the card you find can be relevant.
BPhillipYork: Solid card, putting counters on things can be really useful, getting up to 7 power is not difficult if you are doing that with your deck. Obviously pretty edge, but dumping counters onto certain creatures easily is dangerous.
FromTheShire: This one is probably the easiest of the cycle to reliably cast your hidden card, with the tradeoff that the continuous effect you get is pretty underwhelming. The counter isn’t nothing, but one per turn isn’t going to get you there.
BPhillipYork: Well creating treasures is nice, if you set up a way to create a creature each turn that’s potentially pretty strong. The other 2 effects are uh, fine.
FromTheShire: A sampling of solid effects, you’re always going to have a use for at least one of these options.
BPhillipYork: Erm most of these modes suck. If it was enter or attack but 7 mana for this is not impressing me much.
FromTheShire: Speaking of a bunch of useful effects…. Most likely you’re going to want the destroy and the shield counter, but there are cases for the other two. On a solid beater of a body as well.
BPhillipYork: I like the idea of a dinosaur made of topiary but the execution isn’t blowing me away. Compare this to Wayward Swordtooth and you’ll see what I mean. Uh, pass unless you are very serious about dumping basic lands into play for some reason (there are good reasons for that tbh).
FromTheShire: 3 mana for one land isn’t great in a vacuum, but when attached to this body suddenly I’m interested. Wood Elves is something that already sees a good bit of play, and this can be better depending on the deck.
BPhillipYork: So tutors into play are quite strong. Unlike a lot of green’s tutors to play this doesn’t require a green creature to be the target. The mill thing I don’t know, and creating Rhino Warrior tokens is lame to me for commander, though for like “real magic” probably solid. At 6 cost it’s quite an expensive tutor, though it’s repeatable, and another tool in the arsenal of pod style decks.
FromTheShire: The Pod effect is nice but is also threatening enough that you’re only going to get it off once in Commander, the mill can be decent in the right self mill build, the tokens are over costed for what you’re going to get. This is a pass for me in Commander, though in other formats this is quite the bomb.
BPhillipYork: Nope, too expensive.
FromTheShire: A new take on Thragtusk, which used to be very good in some matchups in Modern, and now sees very little play. It’s not a bad card per se but I just don’t think this gets there in the current environment, even if the token it leaves behind is bigger and it draws you a card if you Blitz it. I’ll probably give it a shot in my bad Ponza deck at least for giggles.
Next Time: The Set’s Multicolor and Colorless Cards
That wraps up our look at the monocolor cards of New Capenna. We’ll be back later this week, looking at the multicolor and colorless cards before moving on to the set’s Commander decks. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.