It's day two of Magic The Gathering's Streets of New Capenna previews, and today we're taking a closer look at the Maestro crime family. A family of art hoarding vampires, the Maestros crave only the upmost decadence and are more than willing to slit a few throats to get them. The best assassins in New Capenna all belong to the Maestros, which is (or was, thanks to Ob Nixilis) overseen by its vampire demon boss Lord Xander.
Today's previews include a few more Commanders, a powerful tutor, and lots for spell-slinging decks to enjoy. Here is everything revealed on day two of the Streets of New Capenna spoiler season.
Two generic, one white Creature – Cat Rogue:
When Mage's Attendant enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 blue Wizard token with: "Pay one generic, Sacrifice this creature: Counter target noncreature spell unless its controller pays one generic mana".
A little bit Cabaretti with the token generation, a little bit Obscura with the counterspell ability, Mage's Attendant is a flexible piece in a large number of decks. Finding ways to copy that token could be an easy way to shut down a game as well.
All-seeing Arbiter (translated name TBA)
Four generic, two blue Creature – Avatar:
Flying. Whenever All-seeing Arbiter enters the battlefield or attacks, draw two cards and discard a card. Whenever you discard a card, target creature an opponent control gains -X/-0 until your next turn, where X is the number of different mana values of cards in your graveyard.
Mana value effects like this are always a pain to track, but they're certainly effective. Load up your graveyard with lots of different mana values with mechanics like connive and casualty and you could be severely nerfing big threats on the board every turn.
One generic, one blue Instant:
Casualty 1. Counter target spell unless its controller pays two generic mana.
Conditional counterspells like this are always a little bit disappointing, but this one manages to use the casualty mechanic to turn it into something promising. You could double up the counterspells and force an opponent to pay four mana (which is effectively a hard counter in a lot of situations), or you could do a bit of stack management and target multiple spells at once.
Cut Your Losses
Four generic, two blue Sorcery:
Casualty 2. Target player mills half their library, rounded down.
This is probably meant to be the Maddening Cacophony replacement for when Zendikar Rising rotates out of Standard in a few months, but the ability to copy it and force an opponent to mill 75 per cent of their library is terrifying. As an aside, Dominik Mayer is a relatively new artist for Magic and he has been killing it in every set he's done art for.
Unauthorised Shipping (translated name TBA)
Three generic, two black Sorcery:
Casualty 3. Search your library for a card, put it in your hand, and then shuffle your library.
We haven't had a black tutor this powerful for a little while. Completely unconditional, and can easily be copied to let you search for two cards instead. It's expensive and at sorcery speed, but the promise of two cards makes it worth it.
Two generic, one black Creature – Human Citizen:
Pay four generic, one blue or red mana, and exile Maestros Initiate from your graveyard: draw two cards, then discard a card.
This is prime casualty fodder. It's got the high power to make it an effective sacrifice, and then have a graveyard ability to give it even more value after death. Unfortunately, that hybrid mana locks it out of a lot of Commander decks and means it likely won't see much play outside of Standard.
One black Sorcery:
Casualty 1. Choose target creature or Planeswalker. If it was dealt noncombat damage this turn, Grisly Sigil deals three damage to it. Otherwise, Grisly Sigil deals one damage to it and you gain one life.
We've had a few slightly worse versions of Lightning Bolt in this set already, but putting one in black is a genius move. It's a sacrifice outlet that can deal between four and six damage to any one creature, or between one and three to two instead. It might be sorcery speed, but, again, it not being red turns what would've been a disappointing spell into something fantastic.
Join The Maestros
Four generic, one black Sorcery:
Casualty 2. Create a 4/3 black Ogre Warrior creature token.
Five mana for a 4/3 vanilla token is a bit rubbish, but five mana for a sacrifice outlet and two 4/3 vanilla tokens? That's not bad at all, especially at common.RELATED: The Best Infinite Creature Token Combos In Magic The Gathering
Dig Up The Body (translated name TBA)
Two generic, one black Instant:
Casualty 1. Mill two cards, then return a creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
A nice bit of self-mill for graveyard decks with the added bonus of being an easy sacrifice outlet. This one could be a surprise player in some formats.
Four generic, two red Enchantment:
Whenever you cast your first instant or sorcery spell each turn, exile an instant or sorcery card at random from your graveyard. Then copy each card exiled with Arcane Bombardment. You may cast any number of copies without paying their mana costs.
One of the first big, splashy mythic rares we've seen from New Capenna, this is a powerful card in virtually any deck. You may need to put work into protecting it from removal, as it feels very much like a kill-on-sight kind of card, but double this up with something like magecraft or storm and you'll be rolling in value.
Two generic, one red Creature – Human Warrior:
Menace. Whenever one or more creatures you control deals combat damage to a player, create a Treasure token. Sacrifice a Treasure: exile the top card of your library. You may play that card this turn.
While the "one or more" clause really limits how many Treasures you can make through Professional Face-Breaker, it's not as though Magic is struggling for ways to make an absurd number of them right now. Sacrificing them for impulsive draw is a neat change to their functionality, too.
Rob the Archives
One generic, one red Sorcery:
Casualty 1. Exile the top two cards your library. You may play those cards this turn.
Some more impulsive draw. This could work very well alongside cards like Maestros Diabolist to give you an easy four extra cards that turn, but exiling lots of cards at once also runs the risk of accidentally locking yourself out of something you'd have wanted to play later.
Two generic, one green Enchantment:
Hideaway 5. At the beginning of combat on your turn, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control. Then if you control a creature with power seven or greater, you may play the exiled card without paying its mana cost.
There is so much to love about this card. It puts counters on stuff, but it triggering at combat also means you could just be paying three mana to get a much bigger card out into play that same turn. It's so easy to hit that seven power requirement in a stompy green dec, so this has virtually no downsides.
When Maestros Theater enters the battlefield, sacrifice it. When you do, search your library for a basic Island, Swamp, or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle and gain one life.
People have been describing this as a 'worse Evolving Wilds', which feels a bit harsh. This set is trying to balance having an accessible Standard format for newcomers with being a complicated three-colours-matter set, so having something you can't forget to sacrifice is a good way of making sure new players don't get too overwhelmed with juggling three colours.
Kros, Defense Contractor
One generic, one green, one white, one blue Legendary Creature – Cat Advisor:
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a shield counter on a target creature an opponent controls. Whenever you put one or more counters on a creature you don't control, tap that creature and goad it. It gains trample until your next turn.
More goading, and more shield counters from the secondary Commander for the Bedecked Brokers deck. The interesting bit is that you goad creatures when you put any kind of counter on them and not just shields, which makes -1/-1 counters through poison or even +1/+1 counters with Sheltering Ancient a viable strategy.
One blue, one black, one red Creature – Vampire Warrior:
Deathtouch, haste. Whenever Maestros Diabolist attacks, if you don't control a Devil token, create a tapped and attacking 1/1 red Devil creature token with "When this creature dies, it deals one damage to any target".
Creating only one creature token at a time is a bit rubbish, but Maestros Diabolist has high enough toughness and Deathtouch to make him an intimidating presence on the battlefield. You could use the devils as casualty fodder, at least.
Cormela, Glamour Thief
One generic, one blue, one black, one red Legendary Creature – Vampire Rogue:
Pay one generic and tap to add one blue, one black, and one red mana. Spend this mana only to cast instant and/or sorcery spells.
When Cormela, Glamour Thief dies, return up to one target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand.
It feels like there's a bit of a disconnect between the Maestro's flavour and its mechanics. They're meant to be art thieves and assassins, but a lot of their strategy revolves around graveyard recursion of instants and sorceries. Regardless, it's awesome to see more uncommon rarity Commanders, as they often have slightly less splashy but incredibly interesting designs.
Evelyn, the Covetous
Two generic, one blue or black, one black, one black or red Legendary Creature – Vampire Rogue:
Flash. Whenever Evelyn, the Collector or another Vampire enters the battlefield under your control, exile the top card of each player's library with a collection counter on it. Once each turn, you may play a card from exile with a collection counter on it if it was exiled by an ability you controlled, and you may spend mana as though it were any colour to cast it.
Evelyn, the Covetous introduces another new type of counter for Streets of New Capenna, with collection counters being used to mark cards you can play from exile. The cool bit is that the effect doesn't wear off when Evelyn dies; they'll still have counters on them, and they'll still have been exiled by an ability you controlled, so you can just recast Evelyn to keep things going. She feels kind of like Kianne, Dean of Substance//Imbraham, Dean of Theory from Strixhaven.
Maestro's Domain (translated name TBA)
One blue, one black, one red Enchantment:
Once during your turn, you may cast an instant or sorcery from your graveyard by sacrificing a creature in addition to its other costs. If a spell cast this way would be placed in your graveyard, exile it instead.
Instead of having casualty copy spells on the stack, Maestro's Domain uses a pseudo-casualty to cast them from your graveyard instead. For once, the "only once per turn" limitation doesn't feel too harsh, as this could get very oppressive, very quickly.
Two generic, one red, one green Creature – Rhino Warrior:
You may pay one red and one green rather than pay this spell's mana cost. Spend only mana produced by Treasures to cast it this way.
Treasures are a substantial theme of Streets of New Capenna, and it's nice to see more spells care about being cast from Treasures after that was introduced in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Once it's on the battlefield, though, Security Rhox is just a vanilla creature.
Phabine, Boss's Confidant
Three generic, one red, one green, one white Legendary Creature – Cat Advisor:
Creature tokens you control have haste.
Parley: at the beginning of combat on your turn, each player reveals the top card of their library. For each land card revealed this way, you create a 1/1 green and white Citizen creature token. Then creatures you control get +1/+1 until the end of turn for each nonland card revealed this way. Then each player draws a card.
The secondary Commander of the Cabaretti Cacophony precon brings back the parley mechanic from Conspiracy. Making tokens, buffing up your creatures, and drawing cards all just by going to combat is very nice, although it does also help your opponents build card advantage.
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