My friends, I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse: how does an entire article of The Godfather quotes disguised as a Prerelease Guide sound? The alternative is sleeping with the fishes, so I hope you’re ready to join me.
Sleep with the fishes card

Streets of New Capenna prereleases are happening around the country this coming weekend April 22-24 and oh boy am I excited. Whether it’s the ‘20s art deco art style, the crazy 3-colour limited format, the many whacky buildarounds for Commander or 60-card constructed formats, or the opportunity to produce your worst Marlon Brando impressions, there’s something to be amped about for just about everyone in this set.

I’m here to get you ready for what to expect from the prerelease. Let’s talk business.

(If you’ve never been to a prerelease before, I’d recommend checking out my last prerelease guide where I go into what to expect at a prerelease)

Contents

Allies and Enemies
Obscura (White-Blue-Black)
Maestros (Blue-Black-Red)
Riveteers (Black-Red-Green)
Cabaretti (Red-Green-White)
Brokers (Green-White-Blue)
Fixing
Conclusion

Allies and Enemies

Meeting of the five card

Streets of New Capenna is built around five 3-colour crime families. The 3-colour factions are based in the “shard” groupings that some of you fogeys might remember from Shards of Alara, in contrast to the “wedge” groupings from Kahns of Tarkir. Each “shard” contains three possible colour pairs: two allied and two enemy (“allied” colour pairs are those that are next to each other on the back of a Magic card). For example, Obscura is the white-blue-black faction, which means it contains two allied pairs (white-blue and blue-black) and one enemy coloured pair (white-black).

“I thought you were here to tell us about the prerelease, Sam, not give us esoteric colour combination facts”

Times have changed my friends, it’s not like the old days—let me explain. The reason we care about allied versus enemy pairs is when you open your sealed pool at the prerelease (or later when you start drafting), you want to look for allied combinations to be in, rather than enemy. This is because each allied colour pair fits into two different 3-colour families, while each enemy colour pair only fits into one. The set design drives this home nicely, with clearly defined archetypes for each allied colour pair (including multiple signpost uncommons), but nothing for enemy coloured pairs.

Ok, you’ve all been attentive students. That’s all for colour theory, let’s look at some cards.

Obscura (White-Blue-Black)

Raffine card

Aside from sharing the name of my favourite band, the Obscura are the wielders information in New Capenna, using their magic to manipulate, deceive, and blackmail. The Obscura are white-blue-black and their family’s informational wheeling and dealing is represented through the connive mechanic. For a creature to connive, you draw a card, then discard a card, then put a +1/+1 counter on that creature for each nonland card discarded that way.

Raffine Informant CardHypnotic Griffer CardRaffine's Silencer Card

Within Obscura, the blue-white colour pair is all about having different kinds of counters on your permanents. It has two signpost uncommons: Metropolis Angel and Exotic Pets.

Metropolis Angel cardExotic Pets card

Notably, this is a little different to how we’ve seen “counters matter” in the past, since this is interested in accumulating different types of counters. This has obvious synergy with the +1/+1 counters that you can generate with connive but also works with the shield counters from the Brokers family (more on that later).

Backup agent cardBrokers Veteran CardCelestial regulator card

To make this archetype work, you’re going to want a couple of payoffs for having counters, such as the two uncommons above or Celestial Regulator, together with ways to create either +1/+1 counters or shield counters. The great thing here is that those counters are just great to have anyway, so you’re not really going out of your way to enable the synergies.

The second allied colour pair in Obscura is blue-black, which is all about having five or more mana values among cards in your graveyard. Its two signpost uncommons are Syndicate Infiltrator and Tainted Indulgence:

Syndicate infiltrator cardTainted indulgence card

Once again, this synergises nicely with connive as an efficient way to get cards into your graveyard. While the graveyard will naturally fill up as a game progresses, to make this archetype work, you really want to pick up some fuel to accelerate your game plan, particularly in the form of self-mill, as well as cards that work well in the graveyard.

Expendable lackey cardSnooping newsie cardDeal gone bad card

Tip: there is a common cycle of lands that sacrifice themselves in this set—try to pick up some of those to get these cards going, as they are a free way to get a 0-mana-value card in your graveyard.

Obscura storefront cardMaestros theatre card

Maestros (Blue-Black-Red)

Lord Xander card

The Maestros are professional assassins, taking the art of the hit to proud new heights. The Maestros hang out in blue-black-red and are defined by their casualty keyword. Casualty X appears on instants and sorceries and means that you may sacrifice a creature with power X or greater, and if you do, you copy the spell. Note that you can only do this once—you can’t casualty on the copies as well.

Rooftop nuisance cardJoin the Maestros cardLight 'em up card

Casualty also synergises nicely with the blue-black archetype as you can sacrifice your creatures to fill spots in your graveyard curve. This means each casualty spell can potentially add two mana values to your graveyard: the spell itself and the creature you sacrifice.

The second allied colour pair in Maestros is black-red, which is all about sacrificing creatures for value. It has two signpost uncommons: Forge Boss and Fatal Grudge.

Forge boss cardFatal grudge card

(Is it just me, or does Forge Boss look a lot like Colin Farrell? I smell a conspiracy…)

For this archetype to come together, you need three things: sacrifice payoffs like Forge Boss or Body Dropper, cheap fodder that you’re happy to throw away like Corrupt Court Official, and a sacrifice outlet like any card with casualty!

Corrupt court official cardBody dropper cardDig up the body card

That makes the sacrifice theme quite interesting—we’ve seen sacrifice decks before, but it has normally involved pairing a repeated sacrifice outlet with fodder and a payoff. Instead, your sacrifice outlets are mostly going to be spells with casualty. This looks very cool, I’m excited to play this one!

Involuntary employment card

Hot tip: if you’re in this archetype, keep an eye out for Involuntary Employment for some sweet steal ‘n’ sac shenanigans!

Riveteers (Black-Red-Green)

Ziatoria the incinerator card

The Riveteers are the builders and tradesmen of New Capenna, known to turn their tools to violence when the mood strikes them. The Riveteers are in black-red-green and are defined by their blitz mechanic. Blitz is an alternative casting cost which gives the creature haste, “when this creature dies, draw a card”, and “at end of turn, sacrifice this creature”. So the creature comes in, punches the opponent, and if it didn’t die in combat or to your own sacrifice effects come end of turn, it gets sacrificed…and no matter how it dies, you draw a card. 

Girder Goons CardPlasma jockey cardCaldaia Strongarm card

The Riveteers are the builders and tradesmen of New Capenna, known to turn their tools to violence when the mood strikes them. The Riveteers are in black-red-green and are defined by their blitz mechanic. Blitz is an alternative casting cost which gives the creature haste, “when this creature dies, draw a card”, and “at end of turn, sacrifice this creature”. So the creature comes in, punches the opponent, and if it didn’t die in combat or to your own sacrifice effects come end of turn, it gets sacrificed…and no matter how it dies, you draw a card.

Some blitz cards give you an additional effect when they die, like Girder Goons, some have an effect when they attack, like Plasma Jockey, and others give you an effect when they enter, like Caldaia Strongman.

The Riveteers’ blitz cards have obvious synergies in the BR sacrifice archetype. I can just imagine blitzing out a creature, attacking, laughing as your opponent doesn’t block—because why would they?—and then post-combat you sacrifice the creature to a casualty spell, copying your spell and drawing a card for the privilege.

That is hot.

Jaxis the troublemaker card

The other allied colour pair in the Riveteers family is RG, which is all about treasure. And let me tell you, this set is loaded to the gills with treasure, which I think is going to make RG a popular base colour for crazy multicolour soup decks. So keep an eye on your treasure count if you want to go a bit crazy. RG has two signpost uncommons, Security Rhox and Stimulus Package:

Security Rhox cardStimulus package card

For this archetype to work, you’re going to want any card that makes treasures, like, say, Sticky Fingers, and cards that synergise with treasures, like Jetmir’s Fixer or Capenna Express.

Sticky finger cardJetmir;s Fixer cardCapenna express card

However, as mentioned, I also expect RG treasures to be a popular base archetype for five-colour craziness, so if you’ve got plenty of treasure makers in your prerelease sealed pool, feel free to get creative and just play all of your best cards.

RG treasures doesn’t have any obvious synergy with the Riveteers’ blitz mechanic, but I can see it having some hidden synergy in that it can give you a burst of mana that might enable to you blitz a creature and cast a casualty spell in the same turn.

Cabaretti (Red-Green-White)

Jetmir Nexus of Revels card

The Cabaretti are known for their big family and their lavish parties. They hang out in red-green-white and are characterised by their alliance mechanic. Alliance is an ability word that means a creature triggers every time another creature enters the battlefield under your control (Zendikar fans might prefer to think of this as creaturefall). Some alliance creatures just have a single trigger, like Witty Roastmaster, while others give you a greater benefit on the second trigger each turn, like Venom Connoisseur or Rumor Gatherer.

Witty roastmaster cardVenom Connoissuer cardRumor gatherer card

RG Treasures also doesn’t seem to have any obvious synergy with the Cabaretti’s alliance ability, aside from perhaps giving you a mana boost and enabling more turns where you can get multiple creatures down in the same turn.

However, the other allied colour pair in Cabaretti does. GW is all about Citizen tribal, with several of the cards creating Citizen creature tokens which can help get multiple alliance triggers per turn. GW has two signpost uncommons, Darling of the Masses and Ceremonial Groundbreaker.

Darling of the Masses cardCeremonial groundbreaker card

There are a total of 24 creatures with the type Citizen, plus a whole bunch of others that create Citizen tokens. That’s a surprising density in a set that already has so many other things going on. Then there are a bunch of cards that benefit from having as many of these Citizens in your deck as possible, for example Take to the Streets, Civil Servant, and Angelic Observer

Take to the Streets cardCivil Servant cardAngelic Observer Card

With so many Citizens in the set, my feeling is that the payoffs for this archetype will be easy to turn on. However, with the exception of Civil Servant, it looks like all the payoffs are uncommon, so it might not come together all too often.

Brokers (Green-White-Blue)

Falco Spara card

Finally, the Brokers are the demonic law firm of New Capenna. I guess bloodsucking vampires didn’t fit thematically, but demons are a pretty good choice too. The Brokers are green-white-blue and feature shield counters, a new type of counter that grants a creature a one-shot protection from damage or destruction. Specifically, if a creature with a shield counter would be dealt damage or be destroyed, instead prevent that and remove the shield counter. Now, note that this triggers off any amount or type of damage, so your shielded creature being chump blocked by a 1/1 will be enough to break its shield.

Voice of the Vermin cardBoon of Safety cardBrokers veteran card

Some creatures come in with shield counters and may even have an ability that works with them, such as Voice of the Vermin which can have a free chump attack thanks to its shield, and some grant shield counters to other creatures, such as Boon of Safety or Brokers Veteran.

There is no obvious synergy between shield counters and the Citizen tribal of GW, except for the fact that some of the creatures that have or grant shield counters happen to be Citizens.

Swooping Protector cardDiscipline Duelist card

And to bring us full circle, the final allied colour pair in Brokers is white-blue, which, as we discussed at the very start, is all about different counter types. The shield counters are a core part of making this archetype work—indeed, I don’t think it can work without it.

Backstreet Bruiser cardRevelation of Power card

Fixing

Before we wrap up, I need to draw your attention to one of the most important things to look out for in your prerelease sealed pool and in your drafts: fixing. There are three cycles of fixing for each family:

Allied-colour dual lands with a sacrifice ability to draw a card:

Skybridge Towers cardTramway station card

Racers' Ring cardBotanical Plaza card

Sacrifice lands that can fetch one of three different basic lands:

Obscura Storefront cardMaestro Theatre cardRiveteers Overlook card

Cabaretti Courtyard cardBrokers Hideout card

And a cycle of tri-coloured creatures that can be exiled early to grant a fixing ability to your lands and then be cast later:

Shattered Seraph card Glamorous Outlaw cardMasked Bandits card

Rakish Revelers cardSpara's Adjudicators card

These cards will determine how easily you can play three colours or just splash around, so prioritise looking out for them in your sealed pool and don’t be afraid to pick them highly in draft.

Conclusion

That’s it! Best of luck at your local Good Games prerelease – you can find your nearest prerelease event here.

This set looks like it will be an absolute blast to play, I seriously cannot wait. If you’ve got any questions about the new set or would like to share your sweet sealed decks or sick rips from the prerelease, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on Twitter!

You can reach me on Twitter @Calm_Mirror and I also co-host a drafting channel on Youtube called Draft Punks, so if you’d like to see some New Capenna draft videos the moment the new set drops, we would love to have your subscription there as well!

Til next week!