First Look at Streets of New Capenna Has Much To Reveal
On Thursday, Weekly MTG over on Magic's Twitch channel gave us our first look at the setting and some big-picture elements of the next premiere Magic release. Let's explore what was revealed, and extrapolate from there to make some predictions about the set.
The set symbol for Streets of New Capenna (SNC) is a set of brass knuckles with what looks like angels' wings. We know a couple of important things about the setting of SNC from the Magic Showcase 2021. One is that the city has special significance to Elspeth. Two, that the city was built by angels, but is now run by three-color demon crime families. In that context, the set symbol makes sense. (More on Elspeth later). What happened to the angels, and how the demons came to control the city will likely play a huge part in the forthcoming story beats revealing the world to us. What do we know about these demon crime families?
There are five three-color crime families in SNC. The crime families are allied colors, creating factions similar to what we saw back in Shards of Alara.
- Obscura - Black, Blue, White
- Maestros - Blue, Black, Red
- Riveteers - Black, Red, Green
- Cabaretti - Red, Green, White
- Brokers - Green, White, Blue
In the process of unveiling these crime family factions, several cycles of cards from the upcoming set were revealed, partially revealed, or strongly hinted at. The first is that each faction will receive a Triome-esque land corresponding to its colors.
These long-awaited allied-color lands not only complete the cycle, but they also hint at other possibilities for SNC. First, each land is named after an individual we can only assume to be the leader of their respective faction. We learned today that each crime family is led by a demon that is also another creature type, and demons will appear in the set in colors other than black and red. It's safe to assume that each of these lands will have a correspondingly named legendary creature to go with them.
The appearance of these cards also gives us a hint that cycling may be one of the returning mechanics in the set. While it is possible that the lands would be the only ones in the set with the ability, I find that extremely unlikely to be the case in a premiere set. I'm betting on cycling. The triome-lands were not the only cards revealed today though.
It was revealed that each faction will be getting its own Ascendancy card, riffing on the Ascendancy cycle from Khans of Tarkir. If we learned anything from that cycle, it's that each of the Ascendancy cards will lean in heavily to the theme of their related faction. For example, the above spoiler is a strong indicator that the Brokers faction will likely be counters-based.
Further details about the set can be found either by watching the Weekly MTG video on Twitch or by reading the intro article over on Daily MTG. This includes the complete schedule of previews and releases for the set, art previews including the fabulous Art Deco basic lands, and more.
Back in August when the 2022 release schedule for Magic was revealed, the only info we had about Streets of New Capenna was the following description from Magic Showcase 2021:
"Streets of New Capenna—a city with special significance to Elspeth, built by angels now run by three-color demon crime families," and this picture:
I could be wrong, but that looks a lot like Ob Nixilis in some swaggy suit/armor combo. Based on these pieces, I'm confident in assuming both Ob Nix and Elspeth will appear as Planeswalkers in the set. Perhaps Elspeth will come in spells blazing like Kevin Costner in The Untouchables?
Other Predictions and Speculations
I Tweeted this tongue-in-cheek list of things I wanted to see from SNC shortly after seeing the Showcase:
Things I want to see in Streets Of New Capenna:
A spell named: "An Offer You Can't Refuse"
A flavor word: "Take the cannoli"
An artifact: The Maltese Lotus
Flavor text: "Come out to play"
Creature types: Gangster.
— Paul J. Comeau (@ComeauPaulJ) August 25, 2021
Now that we've seen Kamigawa Neon Dynasty, and have our first hints of what's in store in SNC, I don't think we will see a gangster creature type in the set. We will likely see plenty of rogues, and possibly a ninja or two, though without the ninjutsu mechanic.
My first thoughts when envisioning SNC were that it would be akin to a crime/gangster film like The Godfather meets The Untouchables or The Italian Job. With that in mind, I was hoping for the set to have a heist mechanic. With the Art Deco style we've seen, I think it's more likely the set will have a noir vibe.
It's far more likely we will see a mechanic like Investigate make a return if the set is noir-flavored. We might not get a heist mechanic, but I'm still holding out for an Act of Treason-style card named An Offer You Can't Refuse. Even a Sign in Blood effect would suit the flavor, though that too could see a reprint here on its own.
Those Pesky Praetors
We've seen Phyrexian praetors Vorinclex and Jin Gitaxias lurking on other planes in recent Magic sets. It wouldn't be inconceivable to see Elesh Norn or one of the other Praetors we haven't seen recently making an appearance in New Capenna. Perhaps it would help explain where the city's angel-founders went?
Here's a rundown of my predictions for Streets of New Capenna:
- Potential returing mechanics: Cycling, Investigate
- Elspeth and Ob Nixilis planeswalkers (EDIT: this has pretty much been confirmed here and here).
- Creature types: lots of rogues, possibly a ninja or two. Possibly some angels?
- Ascendancy cards leaning into the mechanics of their related factions
- Brokers faction likely to have a counters-based mechanic
- The appearance of another Phyrexian Praetor
- An Act of Treason-style card named An Offer You Can't Refuse
Do you agree with my predictions? What else do you think we will see in the set. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter. After the set is revealed, I'll likely do a follow-up article checking in on what I got right and wrong.