Streets of New Capenna Set Review - Riveteers and Red
(Ziatora, the Incinerator | Art by Chris Rahn)
AY, I'M WORKIN' 'ERE!
The Riveteers came to work, not to play! Let's see what they can do!
Riveteer Mythics and Rares
Ziatora, the Incinerator
Leading off with the head of the Riveteers, Ziatora is being called a less powerful version of one of Jund's most infamous commanders, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King.
Good! That means they won't see the Ball Lightning or Lightning Skelemental coming. In this shard, there are some powerful ways to reanimate creatures, temporarily get them into play for cheap, and to double the number of Treasure tokens that you make. Throw in a Mirror March for a little jank, and you've got yourself a fun deck that threatens to take your opponents down if your general sticks around. It even gives you the mana to do it all over again the next turn!
With Korvold leading 7,469 decks and many players saying that they don't want to be targeted immediately for their choice of deck leader, I'd say we'll see more than a couple players opt for the fearsome Ziatora for Jund sacrifice shenanigans instead. A new Fling-esque commander à la Brion Stoutarm, and a new option for Fling-happy Kresh the Bloodbraided players, I strongly believe that this Jund Demon Dragon will make big waves by tossing Lord of Extinction, Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Greven, Predator Captain, and Malignus at your opponents' faces. Throw in some doubling effects like Xenagos, God of Revels or Unleash Fury for even bigger surprises, and don't forget to pack your Soul's Fires and Essence Harvests!
Black Market Tycoon
Donate this to the Smothering Tithe player and watch them get bummed out. I don't think you should use this card if you just need a mana dork. If you run Reckless Fireweaver or token-doublers, go nuts! Korvold, Fae-Cursed King prefers this to regular mana dorks for sure. However, there are better options if you just want the mana. There are a lot of cards that make Treasures these days, and this is just another one.
It's a Cat for your Rin and Seri, Inseparable decks, and Naya damage-redirection decks like Jared Carthalion, True Heir could keep a stockpile of Treasures while wearing Pariah's Shield to make the big beefy guy get swole (as long as you kept the crown). If a Stuffy Doll is behind the Shield, our little Tycoon friend here will be indirectly responsible for the demise of your enemies. And heck, if you're worried about the downside, you could always give the kitty lifelink!
What an incredible name for a card! Damage-based board wipes are some of my favorites in my Sevinne, the Chronoclasm list, which focuses on Brash Taunter effects. I would play this one in that list if I could, though I expect that a lot of decks out there prefer their board wipes to have more of a guarantee, and less restriction. Still, there's some saucy stuff you can pull off with this one. For instance, get Toralf, God of Fury into play and give everybody tokens with Tempt with Vengeance or Infernal Genesis, then slam a Corpse Explosion with Draco in the 'yard. Now that's spicy! Have fun, damage fiends! Just don't run this in your Nicol Bolas, the Ravager planeswalker tribal decks!
I think this card doesn't make a wave in EDH yet. I believe it's just a matter of time before we get another legend who grants a keyword ability to instants and sorceries. With Radiant Scrollwielder, Firesong and Sunspeaker, and Pestilent Spirit wandering around out there, there's a Mardu deck here just waiting to be brewed.
Ognis, the Dragon's Lash
There are plenty of ways to give your board haste in these colors. It's a good thing these Treasures enter tapped, or else we'd have another Aggravated Assault combo commander on our hands. This commander is perfect for anybody who's played Grand Warlord Radha and is looking to switch things up. I'm glad Streets of New Capenna has given aggro players a new poster child, one that has additional upside to let those players keep up with the rest of the table in the late game.
Here's an interesting thing this commander can do to whittle down life totals: get Impact Tremors or Purphoros, God of the Forge in play with Reckless Fireweaver and Titania's Song. Now every Treasure you create is also a creature that dies immediately, triggering stuff like Marionette Master, Blood Artist, and Disciple of the Vault.
Okay, yeah, I'm totally into this.
It's like Scrap Trawler for creatures! It only triggers when you sacrifice the creature, so you don't have to worry about an opponent sniping away a creature to trigger this on something you don't want. This card's got a lot of fun potential, and I want to try to break this in half with sacrifice outlets that I can activate on my opponents' turns. Henzie "Toolbox" Torre and other Sneak Attack decks in the colors live for this enchantment, and so do I.
What kinds of chains do you want to set up? Massacre Wurm into Puppeteer Clique getting a creature that just hit the bin? Or a Phyrexian Delver, or Cavalier of Night, or Doomwake Giant, or Gray Merchant of Asphodel, or...? Wow, there are a bunch of great five-drops, and that's just in black! Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire windmill slams this card this without second thought. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and the new Ziatora, the Incinerator both already have payoffs for sacrificing creatures, so why not add a little gravy that gives them more fodder?
Unleash the Inferno
Get your spot removal to do double duty for you! Is there a pesky Oracle of Mul Daya and Smothering Tithe across the table, but you can't decide which to pop? Get them both! Did someone resolve a Narset, Parter of Veils and their commander is wearing Lightning Greaves? Get. Them. Both!
There's a fun tension built into this card. Instant speed is nice and there are only 6 creatures in the top 100 on EDHREC in the past year that cannot be killed by this, not to mention that a lot of them have 1 or 2 toughness, which means that you could very well wreck two permanents on the table pretty regularly. I wish this card was only red and green, because Wort, the Raidmother players would be salivating.
The Blitz mechanic is incredible design. This one hits hard, and at minimum draws you a card when it connects with a player. If Blitzed, it draws another card when it dies. Play with a Scroll Rack or Sensei's Divining Top to get the most out of your hit with the Envoy. Make it hit twice with Berserkers' Onslaught and Psychotic Fury. Embrace multiple combats with Relentless Assault. Heck, do both with Savage Beating! Either way, after you smack your opponents around a few times with Ziatora's Envoy, you'll pull way ahead with free casts or have a huge grip of cards. If you can get the table to do a drum roll as you reveal the top cards, that's just added fun.
Riveteer Uncommons and Commons
Fatal Grudge: A flexible removal spell if you've got a card that shares a type with the thing you're trying to kill. I'm mostly looking at enchantments, since red and black don't have much going on in that removal department. Phyrexian Reclamation not doing much for you anymore in your Rakdos deck, but an opponent's got Rhystic Study annoying the table? Fatal Grudge time! Be careful not to sacrifice something with two types, because your opponents control what they lose.
Forge Boss: The Boss ain't no Mayhem Devil, but when you sacrifice your tokens from Ophiomancer or Dragon Broodmother every turn, that's eight damage to each opponent in one turn cycle. Keep your head on a swivel, cuz the Boss packs a punch. Aristocrats archetypes have a lot coming in this set!
Mr. Orfeo, the Boulder: This one got a lot of hype when it was spoiled. Doubling a creature's power whenever you attack can be very strong - see Xenagos, God of Revels - and that's especially true if you treat this as a Jund Voltron commander. Give Orfeo double strike, or a Mage Slayer? What about sending in a big beefcake like Ball Lightning (yes, another Ball Lightning commander) and doubling its power, targeting it with Berserk, dealing a load of damage, and then immediately sacrificing it to Greater Good or Life's Legacy. How about doing that with a Malignus or a Putrefax? Or a Yargle, Glutton of Urborg??? The Boulder is no longer conflicted!
Riveteers Charm: Instant-speed modal spells are very powerful. A single-target Soul Shatter, a twist on Act on Impulse, and a Tormod's Crypt activation aren't bad options to squeeze onto a single card. Each mode will have its time to shine from game to game, especially the impulse effect, which you can cast on the end step before your turn for an out-of-nowhere boost on your own turn. Is there a Jund spellslinger out there? Yurlok of Scorch Thrash, are you ready for that mantle?
Stimulus Package: Turn those Treasures into creatures and end the game already! This is a strong effect, although I believe most players would like to see that sacrifice trigger go the other way instead. Once again, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King gets to play big time. Play Stimulus Package and Dockside Extortionist with a Phyrexian Altar while Korvold is on the field, then you've got the closest thing to money laundering in the game. Ognis, the Dragon's Lash is very intrigued, and Jolene, the Plunder Queen from one of the precons is definitely interested. Turn your Treasures into Impact Tremors triggers whenever someone threatens a board wipe and just ruin somebody's day!
Red Mythics and Rares
A spellslinger chaos card reminiscent of Eye of the Storm, this enchantment will see play in all manner of Izzet or UBx decks. Zaffai, Thunder Conductor loves when you copy spells and Veyran, Voice of Duality doubles abilities triggered by instants and sorceries. Was this a holdover from Strixhaven?
This enchantment is extremely powerful, and will make for moments of gameplay that people will talk about for a while. With light chaos effects like these, playgroups either love them together or fear the archenemy. I'm hoping to see this in play and have the gang act like the Bombardment player is Supa Hot Fire.
Of course, players will be tempted to play this card with Time Warp, and it'll be easy to get it out with a Grixis list, since Entomb and Oriq Loremage are in the mix there. Don't forget that it triggers off the first instant or sorcery you cast each turn, so if you have Brainstorm or Lightning Bolt during an opponent's turn, you can copy that Time Stretch you exiled with Arcane Bombardment. Yowza!
Urabrask, Heretic Praetor
In keeping with the storyline showing the return of the Phyrexian Praetors, we find Urabrask on New Capenna. Prosper, Tome-Bound, Bell Borca, Spectral Sergeant, and Laelia, the Blade Reforged decks will very likely make room for him. A one-time Uba Mask for your opponents on each of their turns and an Outpost Siege for you, Urabrask is going to mess with your opponents big time, and you'll reap the rewards. The exiled cards are revealed, too! That's information, which I hear is very valuable on New Capenna. This is another solid step forward for red card advantage and some light disruption that will be annoying, but not enough to incur the table's wrath.
Devilish Valet was our first look at the new Alliance mechanic, which seems like the closest thing to a creature Landfall effect we're ever going to get. Aside from being a beautiful piece of worldbuilding - truly, hats off to Wizards of the Coast on this set, I love it - this Valet prompts the second Mirror March mention of the article. Send this card into the red zone next to a Tilonalli's Summoner and even if you make just five tokens, you'll swing for 32 damage. (Then have Ziatora, the Incinerator "fire" the valet at another player!) Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second and indeed Jetmir himself have got to be interested in this creature, since they put so many bodies on the board.
If you really want to watch the world burn, it looks like we found the highest power a creature can have with just three cards! Army of the Damned, Fungal Sprouting, and the Valet gives you a math equation that I am not smart enough to understand! What the heck is 2^2^26???
"Get in, Depala, we're going for a drive!"
This card makes me laugh so much. I really love it. Hit the Breya, Etherium Shaper player or the Dockside Extortionist player and enjoy a windfall! The trample on this is so wonderful, adding tension to your opponents' board states as they evaluate not just their artifacts, but also the blockers they're willing to risk. This could really get you to pull ahead - or maybe this forces a Treasure-greedy player to sacrifice them in response to the hit! Depala, Jolene, and Magda, Brazen Outlaw seem like the most likely future homes for this card, but even if you're not going for theme, it's still decent value; five to the face plus a pile of resources sounds like upside to me!
Jaxis, the Troublemaker
This is awesome. Delina, Wild Mage, Rionya, Fire Dancer, and now Jaxis all do interesting things by creating token copies of your creatures. Not only does Jaxis turn any card in your hand into a Blitzed token version of a creature you control, but you also get to draw once that token dies. Discard a land, play the land thanks to Crucible of Worlds, then get a free copy of your Dockside Extortionist or Combustible Gearhulk. Hey, Solemn Simulacrum, it's time to shine again! Suit up the 99 with Panharmonicon, Thousand-Year Elixir, Sundial of the Infinite, Blade of Selves, and Sneak Attack - dang, I'm already brewing! If you're putting this in the 99, then Ghired, Conclave Exile decks already love playing Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and I think Jaxis, the Troublemaker will fit in perfectly. After all, what is mirror breaking if not troublemaking?
Oh, no! We've found a way to break Dockside Extortionist!
This card is already making waves online as a new EDH staple. It's hard to argue with that, too, because for some reason, WotC decided that everything in this set should make Treasures! I remember that Gavin Verhey once said something along the lines of, "One of the most powerful things a card can do is trade a resource for another." In this case, we're ostensibly trading one mana for a card.
Grim Hireling has already proven to be a strong card, and it has a similar ability. Kalain, Reclusive Painter and Juri, Master of the Revue Treasure decks are delighted. Every single legend from this set that makes Treasures already knows they want this. Prosper, Tome-Bound decks are absolutely spoiled, now able to chain Treasures into impulse draws, which will just produce more Treasures, which can produce more impulse draw....
And hey, this is a Warrior! It doesn't quite go infinite with Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, but it goes pretty dang far!
This card is bonkers. Pick them up when they're inexpensive, if they ever are. You'll want them for most, if not all, of your red decks.
After all the Treasure this set has given us, it's nice to see some Treasure hate. Even if your opponents sacrifice those Treasures first, Structural Assault still counts them. I love that it was designed this way - it addresses a growing issue in the game, and says, "You got greedy, so this is how you'll pay."
That said, Structural Assault hitting your own mana rocks is an absolute bummer. Gruul decks won't mind so much, but if you're playing a color combination that gets its ramp from mana rocks, then this card comes with collateral damage.
I'm personally going to give this card a shot in my Sevinne, the Chronoclasm deck, which runs every Stuffy Doll effect that's available. Play this while you've got a Vigor in play and you'll stampede your opponents. Similarly, you can set up a great Voltron kill with Jared Carthalion, True Heir. Play it in Toralf, God of Fury to go completely wild on your enemies. Use Aegar, the Freezing Flame to draw extra cards. Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer and Firesong and Sunspeaker, eat your hearts out. I look forward to seeing more cards like this from WotC to help keep Treasures in check.
Red Uncommons & Commons
Big Score: Unexpected Windfall is a powerful card, and now it costs 3R instead of 2RR. Minor power creep, but both cards will end up in the decks that want one. Any deck that doesn't mind a discard outlet or that values artifact creation will be glad to have another version of this effect. Daretti, Scrap Savant wants to offer you a trade for his -2 loyalty ability: one of these new shiny Treasure tokens for that Wurmcoil Engine you just discarded.
Exhibition Magician: A Plundering Barbarian variant for decks that care more about creating creature tokens than destroying artifacts. It's also a Human Wizard, so Inalla, Archmage Ritualist decks will look to casting this as a stockpile ramp up the chain and Jirina Kudro decks won't mind a 4/1 for essentially two mana.
Glittering Stockpile: It's like the ritual version of Empowered Autogenerator that doesn't enter tapped. Spellslinger decks looking for that big X turn like Zaffai, Thunder Conductor will eat this up. Decks featuring red that run incidental Proliferate effects like Vadrik, Astral Archmage will swap out their Commander's Spheres for this, since those counters piling up means a big payday down the line.
Pyre-Sledge Arsonist: When I saw this card, my jaw dropped. I am an Aristocrats fiend. Sacrifice is my jam. Plus, as mentioned earlier, Treasure tokens are everywhere. There are plenty of things for you to sacrifice in Commander, and this guy just needs one bonkers turn to dome an opponent for an absurd amount of damage. My Lyzolda, the Blood Witch deck regularly chains upwards of ten sacrifices a turn, and this card offers a way to take aim right at an opponent without having to send an army. It's such a divine feeling! I hear Dargo, the Shipwrecker has become quite the popular cEDH commander, and I'm certain this fiery Viashino can be the cherry on top of that chain.
Riveteers Requisitioner: This reminds me of Impulsive Pilferer, and with red getting more ways to make token copies of your creatures, a Blitzed version of this creature could mean a new grip of cards and mana to play them. Jaxis, the Troublemaker says hello and Blade of Selves fits very nicely in this guy's hand as long as you've got a sacrifice outlet on board. Shattergang Brothers can appreciate a two-for-one when they can force the table to sacrifice a creature and an artifact for six mana, all thanks to one reckless rogue.
Rob the Archives: Reckless Impulse buys you a turn to play the cards you exile. Rob the Archives lets you dig deeper for this turn if you've got the mana and a creature to let go. I'll definitely be running this in Prosper, Tome-Bound and Grand Warlord Radha! Token decks looking to dig a little deeper like Krenko, Mob Boss or Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin or Krenko, the Eventual Third One are going to love being able to trade a Goblin for an extra two cards.
Unlucky Witness: Speaking of Reckless Impulse, this poor soul kind of gives you one when it dies. It's an excellent uncommon that I absolutely cannot wait to abuse in my aforementioned Lyzolda, the Blood Witch deck. Having ways to recur a one mana 1/1 creature regularly like with Abiding Grace means that you can find yourself "drawing" an extra two cards a turn cycle. Heck, with Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker and a sacrifice outlet on the battlefield, you'll find yourself seeing an extra potential eight cards in exile for you to cast before your next end step! This card is cracked! Just remember to keep them in the correct piles of cards, because for each two exiled, you can only cast one.
Witty Roastmaster: Alliance is strong as heck when you see a card like this. Impact Tremors on a creature? That's fantastic! There's no shortage of cards that make you a whole ton of creatures at once: Tempt with Vengeance, Empty the Warrens, Secure the Wastes, Avenger of Zendikar, and so on. You make tokens, the Roastmaster dings everybody for all of them, you're laughing because it's a good time and the roast is hilarious. A lovely night out for you!
I love this set. I love this plane. It's fun and fresh! It oddly feels a little like an Un-set, and that's the kind of levity I can get behind in our Commander-legal cards.
What do you think? Is there a new commander from the set that's making you An Offer You Can't Refuse? Let us know in the comments below!