Wizards of the Coast have once again graciously sent us a lovely sample pack for the new Magic The Gathering set, Streets of New Capenna. What struck me as odd, however, is that on some of the packaging art, the character appeared to be driving a car. Intrigued, I quickly opened the box, tore open my first booster pack, and drooled over the ever-beautiful art.
Set around the crime-infested streets of New Capenna, the set focuses quite heavily on gangster-inspired iconography with a good amount of magic thrown in, and it seems to draw a little inspiration from the likes of the Bioshock and Fallout franchises when it comes to scenery. You can expect to see vampires and goblins rubbing shoulders with each other, dressed in 50’s inspired suits and travelling in some very extravagant vehicles, hurling magical bolts of energy at each other or making use of five new and one returning game mechanic.
Each starter deck represents one of the 5 families, and these decks use 3 different colours to synergise properly:
- The Obscura are a white-blue-black deck, focusing on manipulation and distraction to win battles. The Connive mechanic features heavily with this crime family, allowing players to draw a card, discard another, and depending on the discarded card, place a +1/+1 counter on the creature that used the mechanic.
- The Maestros are a blue-black-red family focused on Casualty. By having “A Little Chat” with an underling you can make them swim with the fishes, and in return, the spell that contained the Casualty keyword can be copied and cast again – but you can only do this once per spell.
- The Riveteers are the black-red-green gang and are vaguely represented by the factory workers who have come together to try and overthrow the corrupt system. Using the Blitz mechanic, they can quickly and cheaply join the battle, hitting hard and fast before vanishing from the field.
- The Cabaretti almost sounds like they should be a real crime family. Using red, green, and white cards, they’re all about their connections, hence the Alliance mechanic. The mechanic focuses on having multiple creatures with triggered abilities. Even non-Alliance triggers will benefit here, so some truly horrific combinations could be created.
- Finally, we have The Brokers – the green-white-blue deck, and these guys sound like they play in a way to the old white deck I used to play in high school. Their signature ability is Shield Counters, and this helps to keep them on the table longer. Creatures will enter the field with a shield counter, and should they take damage, that counter is removed instead of the card itself. Your opponent will have to spend more time focusing on single targets if they want to clear the path and deal damage to you.
I also mention a sixth mechanic – Hideaway. It’s a returning mechanic not associated with any one family – they can all use it. It’s been updated now, in that the card will tell you how many extra cards you can draw, exile, and place back at the bottom of your deck. It’ll also tell you what requirements you’ll need to meet to have the exiled card come into play.
While I haven’t played a game of Magic The Gathering in nearly 20 years, I am still in awe of the artwork used to denote the different characters, spells, and land types. I’ll often find myself just staring at the cards, mesmerised by the detail the artists have crammed into a trading card. The Streets of New Capenna release has done this once again, but in a way that feels more relatable given the gangster-like flare that they all have. I strongly suggest you head on down to your local gaming store and at least pick up a booster – the new mechanics seem like a world of fun!