Magic The Gathering’s Streets Of New Capenna Draft Archetypes, Explained
- Green/White/Blue: Brokers
- White/Blue/Black: Obscura
- Blue/Black/Red: Maestros
- Black/Red/Green: Riveteers
- Red/Green/White: Cabaretti
- White/Blue: Counters
- Blue/Black: Graveyard Mana Values
- Black/Red: Sacrifice
- Red/Green: Treasure Tokens
- Green/White: Citizens
For Magic The Gathering’s next set, we’re headed to the glamorously dangerous Streets of New Capenna. A city overrun by the five demonic mobs who call the shots, life on the plane is a careful balancing act as they all duke it out for control over their various sectors of the towering city.
Like most sets, Streets of New Capenna features ten limited archetypes. Though you don’t have to rigidly stick to these, archetypes help make your drafting session go a bit smoother, and knowing what each colour does in the set can improve your game significantly. In New Capenna there are two tiers of archetypes: the five three-colour decks based on the five families, and five two-coloured decks that have more of a mechanical focus. Here is everything you need to know about playing Streets of New Capenna in limited.
The green, white, and blue archetype plays with New Capenna’s family of corrupt lawyers and blackmailers, the Brokers. The Brokers like to leave their mark and set the rules through the numerous counters they can put on creatures – in particular their family’s set mechanic, Shield counters.
There are lots of ways to give creatures Shield counters – which function as one-off indestructibles that fall off the creature if it takes any damage or would be destroyed. Titan of Industry, Disciplined Duelist, Boon of Safety, and Rhox Pummeler all either enter with shield counters or have further payoffs if one is on them.
Of course, Brokers Ascendency is definitely a card to keep an eye out for. It puts a +1/+1 counter on every creature you control at each of your end steps. More than just having big attackers, though, the Brokers synergises a lot with simply having any kind of counter, thanks to cards like Luxior, Giada’s Gift, Sanctuary Warden, and Revelation of Power.
As the lawmakers of New Capenna, the Brokers also have something of a control theme to them. They’re very good at removing permanents from play through tools like Brokers Charm, Endless Detour, Soul of Emancipation, and Lagrella, the Magpie.
One of the interesting things about Streets of New Capenna’s limited environment is its three-colour matters theme. It’s usually not recommended to play more than two colours in limited formats because of the risk of being without the mana you need, but here there are plenty of ways to smooth out your resources. Cards like Spara’s Adjudicators, Spara’s Headquarters, and Brokers Hideout all help ensure you have the green, blue, and white mana you need.
As a family of psychic spies and clairvoyant thieves, the Obscura are a control-focused family who seek to always have an answer to their opponent’s gameplan with the masses of hand advantage their connive mechanic can build.
Control decks are always about having more solutions than your opponents and connive is an excellent way to do it. Connive (draw a card, discard a card, if the card was a nonland card, put a +1/+1 counter on the conniving creature) is found all the way through New Capenna, from one-off sources like and Echo Inspector to more powerful tools like Hypnotic Grifter, Body Launderer; and Raffine, Scheming Seer. Though it isn’t conniving, you could also make good use of cards like Even the Score, All-Seeing Arbiter, and Case the Joint to build up your hand.
It isn’t just card advantage that makes a control deck, though. Being able to answer challenges both on the battlefield and on the stack is the Obscura’s key strength, and it has lots of ways to do it. New Capenna is full of cards with high mana values, which makes Disdainful Stroke a great counterspell. There’s also stuff like Depopulate, Kill Shot, Out of the Way, An Offer You Can’t Refuse, Make Disappear, and Murder to get around anything your opponent throw at you.
For mana smoothing, keep an eye out for Raffine’s Tower, Obscura Storefront, and Shattered Seraph.
The Maestros represent the ‘old money’ of New Capenna. A family of vampires who use their long lives and a cabal of thieves to horde the finest art in the whole city, they’re also a clan of ruthless assassins who are happy to kill to get the trinkets they so desperately want. This blue, black, and red mob uses the casualty mechanic to copy their spells – after all, they’re happy to step over a few bodies for some extra value.
Although casualty is the family mechanic for the Maestros, it isn’t really the key focal point of their decks. Instead, it’s more of a means to an end – sacrificing creatures and filling up your graveyard. By using casualty spells like Make Disappear, Cut of the Profits, and Grisly Sigil, you can easily get lots of death triggers off of creatures like Grinder Goons, Unlucky Witness and Body Dropper.
Of course, having ways to copy spells makes casualty powerful on its own, and there are some amazing spells that have it. Pay casualty on Cut Your Losses and a player will be milling 75 per cent of their library. Join the Maestros can make two 4/3 Ogre creatures, and there’s even a Planeswalker who can casualty to make a token copy of itself with Ob Nixilis, the Adversary.
With so many things hitting your graveyard in pursuit of victory, having a few ways to use your graveyard is also a big Maestro strategy. There is lots of creature reanimation through Rogues’ Gallery, Graveyard Shift, and Body Launderer. There are even ways to exile from the graveyard for a bonus with Maestros Initiate, Expendable Lackey, and Corpse Explosion. Maestros Ascendancy is a really powerful enchantment that lets you sacrifice a creature to cast an instant or sorcery from your graveyard.
Like the other three-colour archetypes, you’ll need lots of mana smoothing to keep things dying and copying. Don’t pass over cards like Glamorous Outlaw, Maestros Theater, and Xander’s Lounge.
Lead by the draconic demon Ziatora, the Riveteers are the construction workers who build New Capenna. Left to their own devices in the lowest levels of the city, they’ve become a thrill-seeking gang of fighters, ruffians, and hoodlums backed up by enough construction equipment to tear a building down. Fast and ferocious, they use the blitz mechanic to gain short-term advantages at the cost of a longer-term strategy.
The Riveteers are easily the most aggro-focused of the families. Whether it’s by blitzing creatures like Tenacious Underdog; Jaxis, the Troublemaker, Pugnacious Pugilist, or Ziatora’s Envoy, or using more traditional hasty creatures like Devilish Valet, Crew Captain, and Ognis, the Dragon’s Lash.
Unlike usual aggro strategies that play lots and lots of cheap creatures, the Riveteers have a surprisingly high mana curve, bolstered up with Treasure tokens. By using cards like Riveteers Requisitioner, Big Score, Fake Your Own Death, Jewel Thief, and Prize Fight, you can make enough treasures to play your heavier hitters.
The Riveteers also have a lot of combat tricks to make its creatures hit harder than anticipated. Cutthroat Contender can trade life for a temporary boost in power, Fake Your Own Death gives +2/+0, Antagonize a whopping +4/+3, Daring Escape +1/+0 and first strike, and Riveteers Initiate can gain deathtouch. A great card for hitting hard is Mr. Orfeo, the Boulder. Whenever you attack, you can double a target creature’s power until the end of the turn – for example, turning a Pugnacious Pugilist into a scary 8/4.
The Riveteers don’t have the scheming complexity of the Obscura – if you like big damage and turning cards sideways, they’re the family for you. Look for Masked Bandits, Ziatora’s Proving Ground, and Riveteers Overlook to smooth out the mana even further than Treasure tokens.
Arguably the most beloved of all of New Capenna’s families are the red, green, and white Cabaretti. Ruled over by the fun-loving party animal, cat demon Jetmir, they serve as the city's entertainment. A Cabaretti party is one nobody can miss, a Halo-fueled romp that can last for days or weeks at a time. Loved by even those not pledged to them, the Cabaretti are all about generating creature tokens and triggering their faction mechanic, alliance.
There are so many ways to make creature tokens within the Cabaretti colours. Halo Fountain, Rabble Rousing, Exhibition Magician, Pugnacious Pugilist, Courier’s Briefcase, Workshop Warchief, Titan of Industry, Cabaretti Charm, and Jinnie Fay, Jetmir’s Second can all be used to make tokens. Even Stimulus Package can turn any Treasure tokens you make into 1/1 green and white Citizens are instant speed.
With all those creatures entering the battlefield, using the Cabaretti alliance mechanic could be enough to drown your opponent under lots and lots of enters the battlefield triggers. Whether you’re gaining life with Social Climber and Gala Greeters, buffing creatures with Attended Socialite, Venom Connoisseur, and Elegant Entourage, or dealing damage to your opponent’s face with Witty Roastmaster, you’re going to want to prioritise getting as many alliance creatures out as possible before generating your tokens.
On top of ETB triggers alliance gives you, the Cabaretti have cards that use the creatures you already have out for bonuses. One of its biggest beaters is Freelance Muscle, which gains +X/+X whenever it attacks, with X being the greatest power or toughness from your other creatures. Cabaretti Charm can give +1/+1 and trample to all your creatures for a win condition, and even the boss himself; Jetmir, Nexus of Revels; gives boosts depending on how many other creatures are out under your control.
To keep the party going, you’ll need to look for the Cabaretti mana smoothing cards Rakish Revelers, Cabaretti Courtyard, and Jetmir’s Garden.
Though the five families are the key focal point of New Capenna, those wanting an easier drafting experience can choose to pursue one of the five two-colour archetypes baked into the set. These tend to have similarities to their three-colour family counterparts but have a narrower focus.
Azorius (white/blue) focuses entirely on counters. Combining the Obscura’s love for conniving with the Brokers’ fondness for shield counters, it doesn’t matter what kind of counters you use as long as you have a lot of them.
As white and blue are usually the colours of control, there are still ways to get plenty of card advantage thanks to creatures like Metropolis Angel and Rigo, Streetwise Mentor. From there, you can use cards like Celestial Regulator to tap down your opponent’s creatures or build up Faerie Vandal with +1/+1 counters every turn.
One of the splashiest cards for this archetype is Sanctuary Warden. A 5/5 with flying that enters with shield counters can also remove counters from creatures and Planeswalkers you control to draw a card and make a citizen token. Considering how easy blue/white can put counters on stuff, you’ll have no trouble at all paying for this every turn.
Balancing two colours is a lot easier than three, so you can let up a little bit on the mana smoothing. You’re still welcome to use cards like Brokers Hideout, Obscura Storefront, Raffine’s Tower, and Spara’s Headquarters, you could get along just fine with cards like Skybridge Towers as well.
Blue/Black: Graveyard Mana Values
Leaning into both connive and casualty, the blue/black archetype is the most graveyard-centric of all. In an interesting twist to other sets’ limited formats, though, New Capenna cares about the mana value of cards in your graveyard.
Specifically, there are lots of cards that check if you have five or more different mana values in your graveyard, like Sanguine Spy, Sewer Crocodile, Aven Heartstabber, All-Seeing Arbiter, and Snooping Newsie. The cool thing about them is their abilities are always online as long as you have your graveyard primed, making it difficult for your opponents to deal with without graveyard hate.
Arguably one of the best creatures for this archetype is Syndicate Infiltrator. Flying can be harder to deal with in limited than in other formats, and this can become a 5/5 flier for just four mana once your graveyard is online.
Filling your graveyard is where the two blue and black families’ faction mechanics come into play. By using the Obscura’s connive to discard cards with the right mana values, and the Maestros’ casualty to sacrifice creatures on the board, you can easily fill your graveyard and get it set up for the above effects very quickly.
You can also go for the self-mill route. Things like Aven Heartstabber, Snooping Newsie, Deal Gone Bad, Cut Your Losses, Cemetery Tampering, and Dig Up The Body all help dump a lot of cards into your graveyard. Angel of Suffering also prevents damage dealt to you and turns it into mill instead, which could be a scary tool. The problem is that once you’ve got your graveyard set up with five mana values, you don’t really need to put any more in there unless there’s graveyard hard going on. Having an effect your opponent can use like Angel of Suffering’s has a significant chance of backfiring.
For this deck’s mana source, you can use both Xander’s Lounge and Raffine’s Tower, but Waterfront District will also do the job and is more easily found during a draft.
In true Rakdos fashion, black and red are focused on sacrificing your permanents in your pursuit of victory. It’s the go-to draft archetype for the colour pair, but in New Capenna there are a few new ways to kill off your own minions that makes it feel fresh.
Black and red are the shared colours of the Maestros and the Riveteers, and both the casualty and blitz mechanics are great for sacrifice. You’re not using these for their inherent value – instead, you’re turning the downsides of them both requiring creatures to be sacrificed into your main game plan. Stock up on mono-colour cards for each mechanic, like Pugnacious Pugilist; Jaxis, the Troublemaker; Tenacious Underdog, Join the Maestros, and Grisly Sigil.
There are other, more traditional sacrifice outlets in New Capenna as well. These are cards like Sanguine Spy, Incriminate, Dusk Mangler, Goldhound, Fatal Grudge, and Ziatora, the Incinerator.
Graveyard recursion is also important. Some have it built-in, like Tenacious Underdog, but there are plenty of other ways to pull things out of the graveyard, such as Graveyard Shift, Rogues’ Gallery, and Dig Up The Body.
Once you've got a good loop of creatures being sacrificed set up, there are some powerful payoffs for it. Body Dropper gets a +1/+1 counter for each creature you sacrifice and can gain menace (while also being a sacrifice outlet himself), while Forge Boss deals two damage to each opponent once per turn whenever you sacrifice a creature. The most powerful is Pyre-Sledge Arsonist, who deals damage to any target equal to the number of permanents you’ve sacrificed this turn.
When choosing your mana base, the black/red land for this set is Tramway Station. These aren’t the best dual lands ever printed in Magic, but they can be sacrificed for a desperate card draw if needed, so they’re worth picking up if you see them in a draft.
Red/Green: Treasure Tokens
One of the most controversial aspects of Streets of New Capenna has been its Treasure token subtheme, but it does make for an incredibly fun new take on Gruul (red/green) in drafting.
Though this deck does inherent some of the aggro properties of its Riveteer parent, it is more about generating lots of Treasure tokens and using them in different ways to secure a victory. Unlike the other two-colour pairs, there isn’t a lot of synergy between the treasures theme and the Cabaretti alliance and Riveteer blitz mechanics. You can get by just fine without focusing on either of them.
To make all those Treasures, you can use things like Riveteers Requisitioner, Sticky Fingers, Big Score, Jewel Thief, and Gala Greeters. Black Market Tycoon is an option, as it taps to produce a Treasure, but it deals damage to your equal to double the number of Treasures you control, which is a huge drawback in limited play. Of course, if you see the absolute bomb of an artifact Bootleggers’ Stash, which can tap lands to produce Treasure tokens, you’ll be sailing ahead of your opponents.
In this set, Treasures aren’t just used for mana. Professional Face-Breaker can use them for impulsive draw (exiling and playing off the top of your library), Capenna Express can skip having to be crewed if you sacrifice a Treasure, and Stimulus Package can turn them into 1/1 Citizen creature tokens.
There are two cards you really want to keep an eye out for: Jetmir’s Fixer, which can gain a +1/+1 counter at instant speed if you pay two mana and at least one of them came from a Treasure token. The second is one we saw in the black/red archetype, with Pyre-Sledge Arsonist. It cares about when you sacrifice any permanent, and you’re going to be cracking a lot of Treasures.
Like the Riveteers deck, you’re going to be making so many Treasures that you can relax a bit on the mana smoothing. Just a few Racers’ Rings, Riveteers Outlooks, and Maestros Theaters should be enough, but if you do come across a Jetmir’s Garden or Ziatora’s Proving Ground, it’s worth grabbing them too.
The final draft archetype focuses on the normal, law-abiding Citizens of New Capenna. Though they’re often found at the Cabaretti’s parties, these people don’t pledge their loyalty to any of the five families. Living under their rule, they’re prone to band together and rise up against their demons overlords, making green and white the go-to colours for a mean token deck.
On the whole, Citizens are small, 1/1 creatures. But there are lots of ways to produce them, like Halo Fountain, Rabble Rousing, Luxurious Libation, and Darling of the Masses. Sanctuary Warden is also a great tool, although you’ll need to find ways of putting counters on things to ensure you’re always able to pay its triggered ability.
You’re not going to win with a just an army of 1/1s, though, you need ways to get the most out your Citizens. The first route uses Cabaretti’s alliance mechanic, with Rumor Gatherer, Attended Socialite, Social Climber, and Elegant Entourage all triggering whenever any creature – including a Citizen – enters the battlefield. While not having alliance, Speakeasy Server is also a great card to include, as it’s a Citizen itself and gives one life for each creature you control. If you’re playing with a lot of tokens, dropping this could pull you well out of harm’s way.
Rigo, Streetwise Mentor is an excellent card to include. It draws you a card whenever a creature with power one or less attacks, which means your Citizens can be used in the early and mid-stages of the game to draw until you hit a win condition.
To close out the game, the main card you’ll want to keep an eye out for is Take to the Streets. It gives all your Citizens +3/+3 and vigilance until the end of the turn, giving you the safety to swing in with everything and swamp your opponent under a stampede. There are a few other Citizen buffs, like Darling of the Masses and Ceremonial Groundbreaker.
You’ll want Cabaretti Courtyard, Brokers Hideout, and Botanical Plaza for this deck's mana.
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