Detours in New Capenna Draft: The Decks that Matter

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The biggest criticism of Streets of New Capenna limited is the dominance of the Brokers Family. There is some merit to this complaint. GW, WU, and the full three-color family have the highest winning percentages in their respective categories. Fortunately, draft is self-correcting. When drafters harvest the available Brokers cards, it forces us to rethink our game plan. The tension between availability and raw power level makes navigating Streets of New Capenna tricky. Let's look at the decks in the format I want to end up in at the end of the draft, and the order I believe they should be prioritized. Hopefully, this guide serves as your GPS, helping you get to where you want to end up in SNC Limited.

1.) Brokers, UW, and GW

Breaking Brokers

Drafters are prioritizing green, white, and blue for a reason. GW can be fine-tuned to optimize citizen synergies. UW can be fine-tuned to optimize counters strategies. Both avenues make Backup Agent a valuable glue-card, improving either deck. Similarly, the archetype has a lot of cheap cards that provide value. The best versions use low-cost creatures and spells to build an early lead, while still providing enough of a late-game advantage. Cards like A-Warm Welcome, Majestic Metamorphosis, Raffine's Informant, and Rooftop Nuisance are all good examples of this effect. At this stage in the format, it's not likely to see them come around on the wheel like they used to.

The top-end uncommons and gold commons are also ahead of the class. You don't need a ton of incentive to find yourself in this family. The power level of Brokers is such that you should start the draft wanting to be in these colors. The premium commons and uncommons are more than incentive enough. When I see a Psychic Pickpocket, Inspiring Overseer, Jewel Thief, or even something like Elegant Entourage, I'm going to take the bait. However, the days of putting on the blinders and committing to those decks have come and gone. Players have learned and adapted.

2.) Rakdos Blitz

Blitz for Damage and Value

On the complete opposite end of the color pie is the second deck I want to play. Avoiding the heavily prioritized Brokers cards, lets you see more playable options later in the pack. While the individual pulls of this deck aren't as enticing as some of the first picks in Brokers, the synergy between casualty and blitz offers a lot of power. I've expounded on why Blitz is such a powerful mechanic in this format, cashing out with a post-combat casualty effect is extremely potent. For this reason, I prioritize the cheaper casualty cards like Grisly Sigil and Light 'Em Up.

The most important card in this deck is Body Dropper. If I'm being honest, I'm not happy unless my Blitz deck has multiple copies of the two-drop. Running out a growing threat on turn two can instantly put the opponent on the defensive. It feasts off both blitz and casualty and can grow very quickly. At uncommon, Involuntary Employment is extremely powerful. Act of Treason variants are always more powerful in racing formats, and this one has sacrifice pay-offs in both casualty and Body Dropper. Finally, this is the best deck for Fake Your Own Death. It works swimmingly with your blitzers, especially the premium uncommon Night Clubber.

These decks might splash for blue or green, but because of their aggressive nature, they do so at a cost. While cards like Caldaia Strongarm or Maestros Charm have upside, I'm a little more reluctant to splash them in such an aggressive archetype.

3.) Big Green Piles

Prioritize Fixing and Let the Power Flow

If the plan is to take advantage of the cards that aren't being taken, then Riveteers (BRG)and Cabaretti (GWR) based packages offer a lot of opportunities. I do think RG is the worst allied-color pair in the format, but one man's trash is another man's Rose Room Treasurer. By prioritizing fixing you can play something that harnesses a very high power level on a per-card basis. While decks like this don't offer the synergy of something more focused, many limited games are determined by independently powerful cards. When you see a late Ziatora's Envoy or Incandescent Aria floating around the table, you'll be able to take advantage.

This is a good way to utilize early white picks when UW isn't open. It is also a good home for early picks like Accessories to Murder or Pugnacious Pugilist. To make this worthwhile, you need to prioritize your fixing. Playing haymaker after haymaker isn't what this format is really about, but it's still strong enough to beat up on the over-drafted colors if they're scraping for playables. Alley Strangler and other early interaction can help you from falling behind, but this deck really relies on the strength of its rares and uncommons. You settle here because you're anticipating being passed bombs. Without premium cards, this deck will struggle.

Even though this format's aggressive nature should prey on this type of deck, zigging while the table zags can be a tactical counter. Unlike the Brokers family, however, I need a good reason to get into this type of deck. That usually means a bomb or a series of especially strong cards.

4.) Maestros-centric Control Decks

Answers, Card Advantage, and a Way to Win

In my heart of hearts, this is probably my favorite deck in the format, but it's not a particularly strong one. If you're playing a long-game deck, you're staking a claim that the pile of cards in front of you is more powerful than the stack of cards in front of your opponent. When both players are going to see a lot of their deck, you want to make sure that favors you. I've splashed Depopulate, Ziatora, the Incinerator and even Toluz, Clever Conductor to get the requisite power level to a satisfactory spot.

Because this format is aggressive, you are going to need a plan to blunt an opponent's early game. The Maestros ability triggers upside for its cards when you have five different mana costs in your graveyard. It's not particularly powerful, but you already need to prioritize cheap interaction, so getting a payoff there is nice. Alley Strangler is great in this deck, but I'm often willing to play a Witness Protection here as well.

The problem is you need the power level to win, as well as a way to stabilize against the incessant pressure that comes from blitz and the Brokers decks. Fortunately, Snooping Newsie is picked fairly late in the pack (currently around pick eight on average). Its winning percentage is far better than that pick selection would imply. Lifelink is a huge boon for a deck that is often playing from behind and it definitely is a key part of the deck.

Arriving at Your Destination

Pack one, Pick one, I still think you're supposed to lean towards the Brokers family. It's deep and has a lot of options. Just be wary of committing too early. Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to a first or second pick, but there are powerful cards in other colors too. While the best versions of the Brokers decks make you feel like a genius, finishing your deck off with Chrome Cat, Halo Scarab, and A-Paragon of Modernity will make you wish you took those powerful cards in other colors. Read the signs. Avoid the dead ends. Because in a world full of Brokers, sometimes it pays off to be anything but. Sometimes.

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