Streets of New Capenna Set Review — Artifacts and Lands
(Luxior, Giada's Gift | Art by Volkan Baga)
Let Me See Your Halo
Welcome to New Capenna. I see your train just got in. How was the ride?
I'll be showing you around these parts. While I'm not at liberty to say exactly what it is I do, let's just say I've worked with all the families here in some way or another, so I know a thing or two about making sure you don't stick your neck out and get Whacked.
The whole place runs on halo, a magical substance made from Angels that keeps the crime lords pockets heavy with dough. Get your 1920s slang ready, as this plane is shaping up to be the bee's knees.
Luxior, Giada's Gift
I always got the feeling that Giada De Laurentiis was Ritzy, based on her coming from a famous dynasty of movie makers and the way she corrects people in pronouncing 'prosciutto.' I guess it makes sense then that her gift to Elspeth was the world's fanciest chef's knife ever.
And, much like a lot of five-in-one kitchen gadgets hocked by former chefs, this thing does a lot for the low, low price of one
This thing will draw you a card in Reki, the History of Kamigawa, is free to cast in Kethis, the Hidden Hand, and just goes infinite with Devoted Druid, since Luxior gives +1/+1 for each counter on that creature, no matter what kind of counter it is, therefore negating any of the -1/-1 drawbacks Devoted Druid accrues in untapping. Skullbriar, the Walking Grave loves all kinds of counters, so getting extra buffs just for having them seems most welcome.
However, the glitz and glam of this thing is what it can do for planeswalkers, allowing you to swing in with them, prevent them from losing loyalty counters from being attacked (since they can't be attacked when they're creatures), or even become Mutate targets. Heck, use your own Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist just to attach this onto an opponent's planeswalker so that it now dies to creature removal!
All in all, this thing is The Real McCoy, and I'm excited to hear all the weird plays and stories that come from this. For me, it might be a long shot, but I'd love to commander damage someone out of the game with Nahiri, the Lithomancer.
Yeah, yeah, it's technically a green card, but a lot of the artifacts in this set have color identities. If I talk about a few cards you've already seen in other reviews, well that's just twice as much content for you!
It really does seem like in every single set, green gets some splashy mythic that generates a lot of discussion, oscillating between "broken" and "meh, it's fine." For me, I see this like I see a lot of those other green mythics (e.g., Nyxbloom Ancient, Cultivator Colossus, etc.): they're splashy, impactful, but not auto-includes, and certainly not ban-worthy. They have high ceilings, but given their man investments, they can also sometimes have lower floors (especially when countered).
To be clear, this card is swanky. I've seen some comparisons with Horizon Stone, Omnath, Locus of Mana, and Kruphix, God of Horizons, since you're effectively investing in something to help future turns carry mana across multiple turns. I think that's a fair comparison, but not completely accurate, as this also allows you to bypass the colorless or green mana restrictions, and essentially mana-fix. Six mana isn't cheap, but in green, it's really not a pipe-dream either. Since it only costs one green pip, it can be splashed pretty easily into any green-inclusive deck (sound familiar?).
Add token doublers, like those famous enchantments (Doubling Season), or even something like Xorn, and your mana generation really takes off.
What I find powerful about Bootleggers' Stash is all the handholding it offers for artifact synergies. In Golgari? Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest or Marionette Master and Disciple of the Vault will love seeing your lands essentially drain your opponents or grow your board. In Gruul? Your lands now help create fodder for Goblin Welder effects and ping on the way in with Reckless Fireweaver, or loot with Quicksmith Genius. In Simic? Feel free to Reshape one of those tokens while also growing your artifact count for Affinity synergies, or keep the board locked down with Junk Winder, who'll likely only cost UU.
That's not even to mention the crazier synergies with 3+ color decks, or big offenders like Korvold, Fae-Cursed King who will happy sip down all the Giggle Juice this stash has to offer. Even colorless cards, like Academy Manufactor, Kuldotha Forgemaster, Altar of the Brood, Clock of Omens, and Inspiring Statuary, all will welcome the Bootleggers' Stash.
Overall, I think this has a lot of potential, and while I certainly don't think it's an auto-include, the decks that want it will generate a lot of value from it.
Here it is: the motherload. Grab a glass and dip in. Even Elspeth tried a sip and noted how powerful it made her feel. It's glamour, excess, and vigor, all distilled, decanted, and to be digested. Cheers!
While halo may be the "good stuff", this card isn't. It's great, don't get me wrong, but it isn't going to be jammed into every white deck like a typical "good stuff" candidate. Rather, this'll make a splash in go-wide decks, like Rhys the Redeemed, Katilda, Dawnhart Prime, and Darien, King of Kjeldor, to name a few. When paired with other colors and/or untappers, this thing really overflows with value, allowing you to untap with Seedborn Muse, Unwinding Clock, or Fatestitcher to get multiple uses out of it. Shorikai, Genesis Engine also seems a great candidate, as you generate Pilot tokens and have a lot of tap/untap potential in the deck as is.
I wouldn't say that this is a removal magnet by any stretch of the imagination. However, as with a lot of cards that say "win the game" in their text box, people's evaluation, both in deck construction and in game, will likely be a bit wide-eyed, especially since it's so telegraphed.
Here's my main thought: is your deck equipped to take advantage of the first two modes? If so, then maybe it's worth a slot. Use it for producing bodies and card advantage. Who knows, maybe you'll be able to pull off the alternate win condition out of nowhere, or once in a while.
My fear, though, is that even if you want it just for the first two modes, people may just remove it anyways out of fear of being zotzed.
If you, like me, ever end up getting extorted by Vinny down at the docks, then trust me, you'll want to consider taking this boiler for a spin. It doesn't take much experience to drive it (Crew 3), and it'll cruise over just about anything (trample), but boy can it bring in the dough in the right circumstance.
It ain't for every occasion, mind you, but you'd be pleasantly surprised to get a cut of that cabbage when this thing does connect. Outside of Depala, Pilot Exemplar, we don't tend to see a ton of red-inclusive Vehicle decks, especially after Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, which helped introduce Azorius Vehicles as a popular archetype.
Even so, I still think we might see this crop up from time to time, especially if you have a lot of non-green players in your meta who don't deploy creatures early, since this will help you ramp off of all their mana rocks.
Take it from Lord Xander, the Collector: all that money and art did him no good when he got whacked by Ob Nixilis, the Adversary (see: Murder). Mob tips for you New Cappenna tourists: always have a Getaway Car.
This thing will get one of your buddies out of a pinch and reset any enter-the-battlefield (ETB) triggers you may want. With such a low Crew cost, pretty much any cool cat can drive this bucket. A slick ride, and bound to show up not only in Vehicle decks, but in some ETB-centric decks as well.
Nice wheels! While limousines are known for being a bit slow, this is a neat flicker engine that can remove opposing creatures in a pinch, or flicker your own to trigger ETBs. I also envision it showing up with the new swath of Azorius Vehicle decks since Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. It seems particularly cool if you can also blink this card right after it flickered something else, to chain triggers left and right.
I do find it odd that it can't 'hold' (flicker) more than one passenger, considering it's a limousine, but oh well!
Gorgeous as this door may be, it's impossible to un-ring the bell that is Birthing Pod. I like the idea of sacrificing a Servo or Thopter token to grab either a toolbox mono-green creature (e.g., Bane of Progress) or your finisher (e.g., Craterhoof Behemoth), but if you're in a mono-colored deck, you'll want a means of reliably creating colorless creatures, since the creature you fetch has to be exactly the amount of colors as the sacrificed creature, plus one. Sacrificing a mono-colored creature in a mono-colored decks virtually does nothing for you here.
Besides, you still have to cast whatever it is you tutored up. That's probably for the best, as getting to sacrifice a Servo token and somehow get a Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur or Avacyn, Angel of Hope for free would be pretty baloney, but I do feel as if cards like this, fair as they may be, will have to pay for the sins of Birthing Pod and all the mayhem it has caused.
I don't want to say this card is bad, not by any means. I just think it will be welcome in very particular multi-colored shells. Perhaps Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter will like sacrificing her colorless tokens to find cool green creatures in her 99, but I imagine most commanders will just go with the easier route and use other tutor possibilities.
If you ever see this thing rolling around, it'd be a good idea to take a look at your surroundings. The last thing you want is to end up in one.
Some graveyard hate for Vehicle decks is probably welcome, as those decks have enough of a task just trying to jam a delicate balance of creatures and Vehicles, ramp, removal, etc., and would benefit from some overlap in those categories. Tthis card is quite slow, and requires a good few activations before becoming the beater Vehicle that you want, and even then, it lacks power steering, and therefore isn't all that maneuverable (evasive). In other words, most decks will probably still use Lantern of the Lost and the like, but Vehicle decks are happy enough to have another option in the garage.
Notable Commons and Uncommons
- Brass Knuckles: Great flavor, and a really neat ability. Getting a copy is already sweet synergy with cards like Puresteel Paladin, but there are plenty of decks that will welcome double strike, particularly outside of red and white, where they were previously limited to either Fireshrieker or Grappling Hook. In addition to all the Boros Equipment decks that want this card, like Wyleth, Soul of Steel, I know Kosei, Penitent Warlord's interest is piqued in particular.
- Cement Shoes: An interesting buff, but if you can work around the untap portion, or only care about your creature being bigger, I could imagine making a slot for this, but there are probably better buffs you could use instead. Personally, I'd love to try and get it to work as a political tool (or hindrance) in an Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist deck.
- Glittering Stockpile: What a great design to remind us that two-mana mana rocks aren't always the best option. I like that this adds mana immediately and helps stockpile mana away for a later, explosive turn. I can see this really going gangbusters in something like a Svella, Ice Shaper that has untap capabilities in the 99 (such as Seedborn Muse). If your deck regularly uses Proliferate then you'd better find room for this one; The Scorpion God and Rowan Kenrith are very intrigued indeed. Plus, the fact it's a Treasure means it also has interesting synergies with cards like Magda, Brazen Outlaw!
- Citizen's Crowbar: While entirely efficient, this seems particularly neat for Tiana, Ship's Caretaker as a recurable means of artifact and enchantment removal.
- Paragon of Modernity: Although this isn't impressive, I have to just take a second to admire the art here. Plus, a colorless Angel that's not terribly high in terms of mana value also ain't too shabby.
- Scuttling Butler: It seems the Scuttling Doom Engine traded in for the service industry. The double strike can help it overcome its one toughness, but that condition is a big ask outside of 3+ color artifact decks.
Three-Color Cycling Lands
Whoopee! The "Triome" (e.g., Raugrin Triome) cycle they started back in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is finished! These are a most welcome addition to any three-or-more-color deck and help round out our shards portion of the three-color combinations.
I was chatting with a pal about them, and he pointed out how it's a little odd that the Triomes, a play on word 'biome' that extends beyond just flora and fauna, where all manner of creatures dwell and multiple forms of mana can be found, produce the same quantities of mana as some cat's garden.
He has a point. Lord Xander, the Collector may be the big cheese, but to think his lounge can produce the same variability of mana found in the entire Zagoth Triome sounds a bit flimflam to me.
But what do I know, I ain't the boss. All I do know is that these are gonna be hot-ticket items, as many have welcomed the introduction of Tri-lands that are searchable with your fetchlands or Farseeks. If Zagoth Triome can show up in over 46,000 decks (that's a 33% inclusion rate among eligible decklists!) then we know these new lands will follow suit.
Three-Color Self-Sacrificing Lands
Well now, that's neat! Think of these asyour Evolving Wilds, or better yet, your Panorama (e.g., Bant Panorama) lands, but they don't have a cost, don't have to tap, and they gain you a life.
I like the design quite a bit, especially for decks that actively want to sacrifice permanents, which Golgari and Jund are particularly poised to do. I've been keen on Landfall variants of Dina, Soul Steeper (running things like Lifegift), and getting to trigger Landfall twice while also gaining at least one life and draining opponents seems pretty swell.
Outside of that, there are other corner cases where these can be interesting, such as when a player has Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth or Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth in play. Since none of these lands come into play tapped, you could technically tap them for a black or green mana with the sacrifice trigger still on the stack, essentially still giving you a man for that turn. All in all, I'm excited to see this as a budget option out there for clever deckbuilders.
Sacrifice Tap Lands
In my late night strolls through New Capenna, I've seen most of these places, and while they're pretty to look at, I think they're tourist traps. You gotta wait in line (see: come in tapped) and even when you get there, it ain't cheap (see: costs 4 mana plus tapping and sacrificing the land itself, effectively costing five mana). If you got nothin' better to do late in the
evening game, I suppose go for it, but as for me, I'll stick to the basics.
Time to Split
Even in that short tour, things seem to have taken a dark turn. The heads of the families are ending up dead, and there's a new goon in town looking to shake things up. I think it's best we split and lay low, or else we'll end up either in a casket in the back of an Unlicensed Hearse, or being questioned along with the usual suspects. Follow me, I know a good speakeasy through this Suspicious Bookcase.
Let me know what you think of these trinkets! Anything strike your fancy out there?