Streets of New Capenna EDH Set Review: Artifacts and Lands
Streets of New Capenna EDH Set Review: Artifacts and Lands
We've finally made it. Artifacts and lands, my favorite part of any new set. None of those other cards we've talked about this week would matter without lands, and as for artifacts, have you seen that crazy sword?
The Mythic Rares
Luxior, Giada's Gift
Elspeth's armaments have come a long way since the days of Godsend, when the most controversial aspect of it was whether it was a God-Send or a God's-End (turns out it was both). Her new implement of death already has the gears spinning for players across many more formats than just our little corner of the world in Commanderland, and for good reason.
It's already been established that Luxior is a two-card infinite mana combo with Devoted Druid, a card that didn't exactly need more help in that department, but judging the card on its "intended" use, plopping it onto a planeswalker so they can run Hulkamania on opponents, it's still very good and very interesting. Let's just hope you're like me, and when you see a card like Luxior, your first thought is not "how can I break this to go infinite?" but is instead "which planeswalker can I Equip this onto to win with commander damage?"
Not counting the Magic Origins-era double-faced creature/'walkers, we've got 15 options to choose from. If you're looking for size, then assuming you're able to cast the planeswalker, activate the ability that most increases its loyalty counters, and Equip Luxior, Lord Windgrace is the winner. With Luxior, the cat-man will have seven loyalty counters, and thus be a 7/7 on the first turn. But why play Jund when you can play mono-white?
Nahiri, the Lithomancer is the clear favorite, theme-wise, as it already comes with a built-in focus on Equipment.
But that's just for commanders. Saheeli Rai is another option for infinity: just Equip Luxior and activate Saheeli's -2 ability to make it clone itself. The clone will be a creature and an artifact, but thanks to the legend rule, you'll have to sacrifice one. Sacrifice the original and keep the copy, then do it again and again, ad infinitum. Add any number of options that care about creatures or artifacts entering the battlefield or dying, and voila. Win the game on the spot with Reckless Fireweaver or Blood Artist. Gain infinite life with Leonin Elder. Stack your deck with Contraband Kingpin. Lock eye contact while you take yourself out with Dingus Staff. I don't care, I'm not your mother.
The point is that Luxior has applications well beyond what can be seen at a cursory glance, and the weeks ahead will be filled with players discovering new and ridiculous uses for it. Just remember, it doesn't always have to be Devoted Druid.
Until now, what I thought of when I heard the phrase "Halo Fountain" would have been when Jim's mom brought an armful of Mountain Dew 2-liters downstairs during a LAN party in early 2005.
As of 2022, Halo Fountain refers to a public placemaking structure that raises property values with the liquified essence of Angels. It also says "you win the game" on it, so naturally I'm on board.
I have a soft spot for alternate win conditions. Before it was banned, one of my favorite decks was a Golos, Tireless Pilgrim "alt-win-con tribal" deck in which I jammed as many dumb "win the game" cards as I could. Obviously Maze's End was perfect, but did I have Helix Pinnacle, Azor's Elocutors, Epic Struggle, Near-Death Experience and Test of Endurance in there? You bet I did. Did I ever win with any of them? Next question.
Halo Fountain would have naturally slotted right into that deck, and compared to some of its "win the game" colleagues, it would have been much less daunting with which to secure victory. For one, much like Luxior above, it's pretty easy to abuse. Halo Fountain seems to be perfect for the few hundred Emmara, Soul of the Accord players out there (like me), as tapping Emmara then using the Fountain's first ability to untap her will actually net you two tokens. Sacrifice one of the tokens to, say, a Phyrexian Altar, and figure out a way to tap Emmara repeatedly, and you've got the same scenario I just talked about above, albeit with the win condition printed right there on the card itself. Is that combo a convoluted contraption that will likely never be seen during a real game of Commander? Next question, again.
It's likely that Bootleggers' Stash will have the most words of Online Discourse devoted to it out of all New Capenna cards over the next few weeks, and rightly so, although I'd feel remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful irony of that attention being placed on a card with only eight words of rules text of its own.
As soon as the card was revealed, people were hard at work devising ways to punish Wizards of the Coast for their hubris. Do you want infinite turns? Pair it with Time Sieve, and throw Disciple of the Vault in there while you're at it. Need more Squirrels? Build your own Squirrel Nest metropolis with Chatterfang, Squirrel General. Do you want all your lands to become Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breakers? Just play it with Esix, Fractal Bloom.
Since there's very little risk of the possibility that the Magic internet conversation would overreact to something, it's clear that Bootleggers' Stash will be sought-after as soon as the first packs are cracked. Treasures are now officially ubiquitous, for better or worse, so get those Titania's Songs and Magnetic Mines out of the bulk boxes.
We've gotten a glut of Birthing Pod-style cards lately, or at least it seems so. Oswald Fiddlebender is an "artifact pod," Pyre of Heroes is the "tribal pod," Fiend Artisan is the "pod on a creature," and Enigmatic Incarnation is the "enchantment pod." And that's since just the beginning of 2020.
And now, with Evolving Door, we have the "colors pod." One important caveat to note, however, is that with Evolving Door, you don't just get the tutored creature for free: you still have to cast it. That little tidbit will probably limit its usefulness, since you can't watch Crookshank Kobolds go into the building and see an Autochthon Wurm come out. However, a scenario where you're pitching a Deathrite Shaman to go find a Siege Rhino would be strangely nostalgic.
My pick for the card in New Capenna most reminiscent to the 1994 underrated classic The Shadow, Getaway Car is the perfect way to turn your board into clowns by seeing just how many of your creatures you can fit into that coupe.
It's also really good, at least for Vehicle decks. One of the biggest double-edged swords when it comes to Vehicle decks is that the nature of Vehicles lends itself to encouraging the use of board wipes. If all your Vehicles are still in the parking lot, they can avoid getting swept up into a coming Damnation. However, someone's got to be behind the wheel, or they'll end up like the cars in a post-apocalyptic movie, just rusting away in sad disuse. With Getaway Car, however, you can save at least one driver by Crewing, which is by my calculations better than nothing, and if that driver is also a Ninja, the flavor of that is sort of like seeing a guy dressed up like a pirate riding a city bus, but the value will allow for some leniency there.
Will 2022 be the year of people trying to out-Treasure each other? Probably, but I haven't seen any reason to think that that will be a bad thing. I know that red as a color has somewhat fallen out of favor as part of the Vehicle deck de jour, but as someone who still happily loses every game with Depala, Pilot Exemplar, I'll be cutting a random Kaladeshi train to make room. The idea of a Brinks truck full of Dwarves is too good to pass up.
For a limo, there doesn't seem to be a lot of room in there, if only one creature can be in it at a time. That draconian space restriction will likely limit its use on New Capenna prom night, but that's probably for the best, what with all that Halo out there on the streets.
In practice, the card is reminiscent of a Prison Term on wheels if you're using it interactively, and if you're exiling your own creatures, then it plays more like a Conjurer's Closet you need a chauffeur's license to hang your coat in.
Speaking of licenses, the best of the four-member rare Vehicle convoy of New Capenna is Unlicensed Hearse. The more you fill it with dead stuff, the better it gets, and soon you'll be like one of those people who convert their car's engine to biofuel and harass restaurants for their old cooking grease.
All the numbers on Unlicensed Hearse are good -- it's a two-drop, it Crews for two, and it gets incrementally bigger, and it'll be fun to watch people painstakingly add up all the mana values in their graveyards for cards like All-Seeing Arbiter before you go vroom vroom honk honk and ruin it.
With Jetmir's Garden, along with Raffine's Tower, Spara's Headquarters, Xander's Lounge, and Ziatora's Proving Ground, we've got the rest of the missing Triomes. It's been clear since the wedge versions of the lands have debuted that they're pretty dang good in three-color decks. The prices of them would certainly indicate that, at least, so it's safe to assume that now that we've got the shard versions, they'll likely follow a similar trajectory of usage and cost, although likely at an accelerated rate. Get yours now, is what I'm saying.
Consider this review of Brass Knuckles to apply to cards like Arc Spitter, Cement Shoes, Ceremonial Groundbreaker, Citizen's Crowbar, Jackhammer, and Courier's Briefcase as well.
(Insert card name here) is an uncommon or common Equipment that likely registers pretty low on the scale of cards people will seek to use in Commander, but extremely high on a scale of having absolutely no subtlety when it comes to theme. Just look at the flavor text for Jackhammer. They knew what they were doing.
Unless, of course, you were really excited to finally have said Jackhammer to fill out your "municipal sidewalk repair" Commander deck, in which case, just ignore me.
Along with Cabaretti Courtyard, Maestros Theater, Obscura Storefront, and Riveteers Overlook, we get a cycle of common "fetch" lands that immediately replace themselves with a basic land. We can never have too much mana fixing, especially at common if we're being budget-conscious. Just remember that if you're using these, you absolutely have to be that person who plays the land, places it onto the battlefield and removes your hand from it, says the word "trigger" out loud, then picks it back up again to place it into the graveyard. Please, just do that for me.
Paragon of Modernity
There's a card in every set that has a name and art that completely outclasses the card itself. Paragon of Modernity is that card for New Capenna.
That will do it, friends. Another slate of set reviews in the books. This is the part where I ask you to tell me what I missed, got wrong or misassessed. But really, I just wanted a reason to type the word "misassessed." Almost half of the letters are S, that's neat.
But seriously, I'd love to hear your thoughts on New Capenna, so drop me or any of the other reviewers a line. Until next time, see you at Baldur's Gate.