Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming set, Streets of New Capenna, has already promised a deep dive into a far more modern plane than the trading card game normally visits, and it’s one awash in the aesthetics and politics of the US’ Roaring ‘20s - complete with five crime families vying for control. Now, players have a clearer look at New Capenna’s power structure and how those syndicates translate into card mechanics.
Outlined in a bevy of articles on publisher Wizards of the Coast’s website, as well as a video and accompanying livestream, the cards in Streets of New Capenna will focus on the five crime families that each control a different resource in the city’s criminal underbelly. The mechanics for the set will comprise one new keyword for each of the organisations and their three Mana-colour identities, along with one returning mechanic thematic to a world rife with criminal dealings - Hideaway.
Magic’s ongoing story didn’t suffer the short shrift amid the excitement. The planeswalker Elspeth Tirel, fresh from an arduous death and rebirth on the plane of Theros, is searching for confirmation that New Capenna is her original homeworld. To accomplish that, she will have to align with some unsavoury elements, investigate the truth behind the magical enhancement Halo and discover how New Capenna seemingly fended off a Phyrexian invasion in the past. She will find a friend in Vivien Reed and an enemy in the classic MTG villain Ob Nixilus, the two other planeswalkers included in this set.
Five new keywords is a lot to throw at players all at once, but the individual ties to the crime families helps ease the mental load and accomplish a neat worldbuilding trick at the same time. Here’s the rundown:
Connive: The information hoarding Obscura (white-blue-black) will feature Connive on their cards. When triggered, the controlling player draws a card from their deck and then discards any card from their hand. If it was a non-land card, the conniving creature receives a +1/+1 counter
Casualty: The blue-black-red Maestros excel in doing bad while looking good, and their signature mechanic reflects that. Casualty asks that a player sacrifice one of their creatures as an additional cost when casting a spell. If they do, that spell is copied and can choose new targets.
Blitz: Gutsy and loyal, the Riveteers (black-red-green) respect their labour but also respect clocking out on time. Cards in their family will have Blitz, which allows a creature to be cast for a lower mana cost and gives it haste. In return, that creature is sacrificed at the beginning of the next end step and lets their controller draw a card when they die.
Alliance: The Cabaretti (red-green-white) live in a near constant revel and love it when the guest list contains as many names as possible. Their Alliance mechanic reflects that, triggering any time another creature enters the battlefield on the controlling player’s side. The effect will differ, but Alliance only cares about more people on the dance floor.
Shield Counters: Those needing protection - legal, fiscal or otherwise - turn to the green-white-blue Brokers. Creatures and other permanents with their ability will enter with shield counters, which protect that card from sources of damage or anything that might destroy it, instead removing the shield counter.
Every crime family worth its ill-gotten riches needs a capo, a leader at the top calling the shots. Wizards previously revealed three of them - Jetmir, Nexus of Revels; Raffine, Scheming Seer; and Lord Xander, the Collector. We now know that The Riveteers take their orders from Ziatora, the Incinerator, a dragon demon whose ability to sacrifice creatures for raw damage and treasure synergises well with her family’s Blitz ability. The Brokers’ boss, Falco Spara, Pactweaver, trades counters on other creatures for the ability to cast spells from the top of a player’s deck.
Those familiar with gangster narratives might be wondering about these families’ lieutenants, those trusted advisors, muscle and confidants that protect the boss from harm. Those characters will be the face cards in the five preconstructed Commander decks that will be released alongside the full Streets of New Capenna set. Each deck of 100 cards will include 15 newly designed cards alongside two legendary creatures meant to fill the commander slot. A full list of what’s included has not yet been provided, and Wizards announced last month that the first shipment of decks will be in short supply due to supply chain disruptions.
Those Commander decks will also include what the publisher is calling a collectors booster sample pack, which contains cards with the special treatments and alternate art normally reserved for the more expensive booster option. Speaking of alternate art, the box topper included in every booster box, Gala Greeters, will feature artwork unique to the region in which the box is sold. The artwork is meant to celebrate the cultural history of that region by depicting a time of historical prosperity to align with New Capenna’s appearance of universal wealth.
One of the included regions is Russia, drawing attention to the fact that Wizards of the Coast has not made any effort to stop selling to and distributing its card game within Russia during the ongoing military invasion of Ukraine. Several high profile tabletop companies, including Warhammer publisher Games Workshop, have cut off Russia or otherwise moved their business outside of the country as an act of protest. Dicebreaker has reached out to Wizards of the Coast regarding any plans to do the same but did not immediately receive a response.
Streets of New Capenna spoiler season has officially begun, and more cards will be cropping up on Wizards of the Coast’s site and elsewhere online, leading up to the official paper launch on April 29th. The set will arrive digitally to Magic Arena and MTG Online on April 28th.