Streets of New Capenna EDH Set Review - Brokers & White
Falco Spara, Pactweaver | Illustrated by Kieran Yanner
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Streets of New Capenna EDH Set Review: Brokers
My name's Michael Celani, and welcome to the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan set review! We'll be reviewing all the new cards for each of the game's nine classes, as well as ranking all the new neutral minions. I'm so glad that it's 2016, and that there's no horribly distressing problems at Bli-
Wait, hold on, this isn't right...
It's a shame that no matter how resplendent Elspeth gets, she's doomed to live in the shadow of Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Not only is Fun in the Sun the best Elspeth planeswalker, she's the best white planeswalker; she's even more popular than Teferi, Time Raveler, a card serial killers look at to convince themselves they're not that bad.
There may not any escaping the truth, Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis aside, but Resplendent really is as roaring as were the twenties that this set's based on. Her +1 ability grants a creature a small buff plus relevant keywords that work well to protect her. First strike on a large dork almost guarantees that your enemies aren't taking her down without losing something of their own. If you need to go in swinging, you can also make your commander a flapper that flies over scores of tokens. I'm less keen on lifelink and vigilance, but they're good secondary keywords once flying's no longer an option.
The -3 ability is no slouch either. You're getting essentially a less-consistent Sun Titan activation with a bit of extra protection for your trouble. I'd even consider it soft ramp, because in the decks that want to play this card, you're unlikely to completely whiff on permanents without hitting at least a land. In fact, lands are so unlikely to be blown up or damaged in the regular course of play that you could nonchalantly grab three or so basics with shield counters on them, then throw down an Armageddon.
Unfortunately, this card ends much like the actual 1920s did. Your reward for painstakingly protecting Elspeth is... five middling tokens. Better luck next time, Elspeth.
Halo Fountain has some pretty interesting and varied effects for the decks that want to play fair, which is a shame because all anyone's ever going to care about is the fact that this card is a turbo Thousand-Year Elixir. If you've got something like a Kiora's Follower and an Incubation Druid, the game's just over. You're worried about decking yourself? Well, it turns out that untapping your creatures is part of the cost--so you can activate their abilities again in response.
Oh, and I guess Darien, King of Kjeldor can use this to win out of nowhere, too.
This'll probably have the same fate as Dream Trawler, in that it slots into some tribal and flying synergies and nothing else.
Falco Spara, Pactweaver
Falco Spara, Pactweaver is the thinking man's Nethroi, Apex of Death. They both want the same kind of creatures: those whose total power and toughness comes from the +1/+1 counters they enter with. Whereas Nethroi wants to resurrect them all for a devastating combo-kill, though, Falco Lombardi would rather play the slow value game and win by simply being able to do more than your opponents. Other than that piece of the puzzle, this commander is surprisingly open-ended and can effectively play a range of archetypes.
The only drawback is that you can't remove the counters to play lands, so make sure you have some way to scry or shuffle them away.
This'll probably have the same fate as Shatter the Sky, in that it slots into some multicolored synergies and nothing else. What is it with this set and Theros: Beyond Death similes?
I've complained before about two-mana resurrections being underwhelming, but Extraction Specialist makes up for it by being so dang cheap. Three mana on a zone-change triggers gets you your Mother of Runes, your Cathar Commando, or even your Esper Sentinel, and since nobody attacks or blocks with those dorks in this format anyway, the downside is basically irrelevant. This is the perfect small-potatoes resurrection spell for a blink deck, and even when you're not abusing its trigger, you've got a 3/2 lifelinker.
Giada, Font of Hope
Going wide has never struck me as a particular strength of the Angel tribe, but there's actually a surprising amount of cards that make Angel tokens. Court of Grace, Luminarch Ascension, and Divine Visitation will certainly show up in Giada, Font of Hope's decks, and with enough incidental lifegain, you might even be able to trigger Angelic Accord a couple times. All put together, you'll get a board of beefy flyers to smack your opponents with.
Few of the token-making strategies synergize with Giada's mana ability, which only works on Angel spells. At the very least, it might be enough to push you over the edge when paying for Reya Dawnbringer, but one measly mana is unlikely to make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, especially when it's that restricted. I wish Wizards had added some sort of lifegain ability instead; that would offset the slow startup of the tribe and help trigger some relevant abilities.
Mysterious Limousine is flexible as temporary removal or as a blink strategy, but five mana is just too much. I don't think even Vehicle decks would pay the fare on this overpriced Uber. For comparison, this is two mana more than Touch the Spirit Realm, which has the same level of flexibility, and four mana more than a regular Swords to Plowshares. I keep rereading this to see if I missed something, like flash or a way to permanently exile something, but nope.
Rabble Rousing is a token-maker that feeds into itself, like Krenko, Mob Boss or Rhys the Redeemed. Don't worry; it makes up for that by also giving you a free spell for doing what you want to be doing anyway. Imagine ripping Craterhoof Behemoth off of this.
The lawyers that make up the Brokers should have learned a bit more about copyright law, because they've infringed on Ajani, the Greathearted's -2. This is obviously sublime in the token decks they want you to build, and it even incentivizes you to play a bit more defensively to hang back with them to defend a planeswalker that's close to its ultimate. Not bad for three mana.
This is the ultimate removal spell. It gets rid of just about everything! The only way this could be improved is if it exiled the target in question, was easier to cast, or handled lands. If Generous Gift and Beast Within still see play, though, this is a no-brainer for Brokers.
Park Heights Pegasus
I like this as an irksome Limited clock, but Park Heights Pegasus is underwhelming for Commander. You'll only draw a card if you've made a couple creatures and hit someone in the face. If this was in Simic, then we'd be getting somewhere; it'd be a house in all those annoying small fliers decks.
Rigo, Streetwise Mentor
Rigo, Streetwise Mentor feels like a combination of Edric, Spymaster of Trest and Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive, but he takes the worst parts of both of them. You're limited to merely one card per attack, you get no evasion on your attacking creatures, and the creature's power has to be 1, not either power or toughness. With that in mind, I think either of those two commanders do what you would be doing with Rigo better; you just have to pick which style you want to play.
Rigo is hilarious in the ninety-nine for Arcades, the Strategist, though: most Walls have 0 power.
Johnny card alert! Scheming Fence is a Pithing Needle that steals the activated abilities of its victim. The obvious play pattern is to cause someone to resign by targeting their stupid Tree of Perdition, but it goes so much deeper. This is simplest way so far to get the activated ability of a noncreature permanent onto a creature, so let's take a look about fencing our own permanents.
Mimic The Book of Vile Darkness and make an indestructible Scheming Fence Vecna. That Halo Fountain I mentioned earlier? The Fence can tap himself and untap himself in the same cost, meaning you can make 1/1s for a single mana. Combine that with a Phyrexian Altar and you're laughing.
That's amateur hour, though.
Play Scheming Fence fencing Genju of the Realm, then put a counter on him with Experiment Kraj. Since you also (obviously) have a counter on a Transmogrifying Licid, you can transform Kraj into an Aura enchanting Scheming Fence, and then use the ability it's copying from Scheming Fence, which it's stealing from Genju of the Realm, to transform the Fence into an 8/12 despite the fact it's not a land. The sky's the limit when you're not trying to do something powerful!
Soul of Emancipation
Like Terastodon? Here's another one.
Mage's Attendant is a mono-white counterspell in the same way Desert Twister is mono-green creature removal: it's bad. I do like the idea of Populating the token, though.
Wow! Patch Up is three Unearths stacked--
Wait a second.
Oh, total mana cost 3 or less. Alright, Sevinne's Reclamation, you get to live for a few more months.
I like this new trend of giving white slightly unwieldy Beast Whisperers at three mana. The second creature that enters the battlefield in a turn draws you a card, and for dedicated token and small creatures decks, this shouldn't be a problem at all.
Esper Charm, but with a much more relevant third mode. With a big enough creature, Brokers Charm is essentially a Hero's Downfall stapled to an instant-speed Divination, and it can also knock out a game-ending enchantment, like Omniscience, in a pinch.
Obviously good in the ability-counters decks, but I can't wait to load 'em up with charge counters, gold counters, javelin counters, magnet counters, filibuster counters...
Lagrella, the Magpie
Whoever copywrote this card should be fired. It feels like you get to exile any number of your opponents creatures, but you actually only get to exile one per player. This makes Lagrella, the Magpie comparable to Grasp of Fate, except that Lagrella can be your commander.
I like this better as part of the ninety-nine in a dedicated Bant blink deck, like Roon of the Hidden Realm. Have Lagrella exile your opponents' creatures, Cryptic Cruiser them into their graveyards, and then blink Lagrella to do it all over again. Your opponents will hate you almost as much as I hate myself!
Buy Your Silence
Swing, and a miss. Can I get a flexible sorcery-speed removal in white, like Reduce to Memory, again?
"Why yes, I will draw my entire deck and also kill an opponent."
That's it for my review of Pokémon Team Rocket, the new expansion for the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Make sure you stay tuned for my coworker's set reviews and remember to catch 'em all!