Hello, and welcome to New Capenna Draft Guide! Today, we’ll talk about everything you need to know to win more games in your New Capenna drafts. If you’re one of our regular readers, you’ll notice that this time the structure is a bit different. Since the New Capenna draft format is an unusual one, we decided to fresh things up a little.
For example, we’ll start with the archetype breakdown, as it’s the most important thing to understand about the New Capenna draft format. We’ll also talk about the mechanics in that same section, as they are closely tied to the New Capenna three-color families. We’ll continue with the best commons, then wrap everything up with some final tips and power rankings.
As you can see, we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get right to it.
New Capenna Draft Archetypes
The main feature of New Capenna are the five three-color families. Each of one of them is naturally a viable archetype in New Capenna draft. However, these are certainly not the only archetype that you could be drafting.
Allied color pairs are also supported. Each one fits into two of the three color archetypes. This means that you’ll usually start with a two-colored allied pair, and then branch into one of the two possible three-color combos.
How to Draft New Capenna
So to recap, your average New Capenna draft should go something like this:
- Start by finding out which two-color allied pair is open (unless you open a three-color bomb).
- Find out which color you should splash – if any, to get a three-color archetype.
- Perhaps even splash a fourth color.
This way you can end up with:
- a 2-color deck (in allied colors)
- a 3-color deck (with one of the colors being a light splash)
- a full on 3-color deck (preferably with lots of mana fixing)
- a 4-color deck (with two main colors being allied, and two very light splashes)
- a 5-color deck (with all the bombs, and tons of mana fixing)
All of these options are at least somewhat viable, although the most common one will probably be the 3-color decks with one of the colors being splashed.
So what does it mean to splash a color? It means that you play just a few cards in a color that’s not one of your main colors, and support it with just a few sources of it. For example, you could splash a Red in a White-Green deck. This means that most of your cards are in White and Green, but you play two White-Green-Red cards, and a single Red card. Most of your lands are Plains and Forests, but you’re playing a couple of Mountains and three cards that make Treasures.
With that said, let’s start with an overview of the three-color families, what are their mechanics and what they’re trying to do.
- Colors: White, Blue, Black
- Supported Allied Pairs: White-Blue, Blue-Black
- Mechanic: Connive
Obscura mechanic is connive. Whenever one of your creatures connives, you get to draw a card, and discard a card. If you discard a nonland card, you get to put a +1/+1 counter on that creature. You can read more about connive rules here.
Blue-Black has a self-mill theme, which can be helped with discarding cards with connive. White-Blue, on the other hand, cares about counters on creatures. This also takes advantage of connive, as it provides +1/+1 counters.
What this deck has is a very good advantage in the late game. With so many connive effects, you’ll very rarely get flooded. So the important thing with this deck is to ensure that the game goes long enough. This means that you’ll want to play cheap creatures like Raffine’s Informant, Illuminator Virtuoso and so on.
You can also approach this deck as a flyers deck, thanks to many creatures in these colors having flying. This means that you want to establish a ground defense, with good removal spells, and deal some damage in the air.
This color combo is the only one that doesn’t get access to Treasures, except a few colorless ones. So with this archetype it’s perhaps even more important that you have two main colors, and just splash the third one.
- Colors: Blue, Red, Black
- Supported Allied Pairs: Blue-Black, Black-Red
- Mechanic: Casualty
Maestros use casualty as their mechanic. If you cast a spell with casualty X, you can sacrifice a creature with power X or greater, to copy that spell. Additional information about casualty mechanic is available here.
This color combo will prefer that you start with Red-Black base more than with Blue-Black, as it offers more support for the sacrifice theme. An interesting thing about casualty is that there aren’t that many spells that have a high number associated with it.
Apart from Cut of the Profits and Illicit Shipment, all other ten cards with casualty can be copied by sacrificing a creature with power 2. Out of them, six allow a creature with power 1 to be sacrificed. So you don’t need your sacrifice fodder to be big.
Some of the best non-rare cards with casualty include:
- A Little Chat (as an instant, it can be used against opposing removal spells)
- Rooftop Nuisance (can make a real problem for your opponent if you’re aggressive)
- Rob the Archives (very powerful effect in the late game)
So what are we sacrificing, to copy our spells? Creatures like:
- Brokers Veteran
- Expendable Lackey (gives you two uses)
- Girder Goons (its token or itself when blitzed)
- Unlucky Witness
All in all, Maestros looks like a tricky archetype to draft and play perfectly, but the rewards are certainly there.
- Colors: Black, Red, Green
- Supported Allied Pairs: Black-Red, Red-Green
- Mechanic: Blitz
Riveteers have an interesting mechanic called blitz. It’s an alternate cost that creatures can have. If you pay the blitz cost, the creature gets haste, and you have to sacrifice it at the end of combat. Whenever that creature dies this turn, you get to draw a card. Learn more about blitz rules here.
In order to take full advantage of blitz, you want to be more aggressive than most other archetypes. Often you’ll be able to surprise an opponent with a hasty threat out of nowhere, and the damage does pile up quickly.
However, blitz is certainly a skill-testing mechanic. You’ll have to decide what it’s better to just blitz the creature in, and when to play it for its regular cost. The best way to decide is to think about when you’d get the most value out of it, and how likely it’s for your opponent to remove it. It’s hard to stay what’s better in a vacuum, but after a couple of weeks of drafting, we’ll probably have a better answer to that question.
Best Blitz Creatures
No blitz creature is simply bad, as every once can be at least replaced for a new card by blitzing it. Besides the obviously powerful rares, here are some other good creatures with blitz:
Riveteers certainly look interesting to play, as they’ll enable a lot of synergies with the sacrifice theme, as well as just having cards with good rates.
- Colors: Red, Green, White
- Supported Allied Pairs: White-Green, Red-Green
- Mechanic: Alliance
Cabaretti’s mechanic is alliance. It’s like landfall but for creatures. Whenever you play another creatures, your alliance abilities triggers, and you get a bonus. More about alliance rules here.
Thanks to their mechanic, the Cabaretti are quite straightforward to build. You need lots of creatures to trigger your alliance effects, of course you’ll also want good creatures with alliance. Some of the best ones are:
Multiple Creatures, Multiple Triggers
As you might imagine, cards that make multiple creatures are very good here, such as Exhibition Magician, as you get two triggers with one card. If you have creatures with flash, or instants that make them, like Cabaretti Charm, that’s also very good, as you can surprise your opponents with unexpected alliance triggers.
So pack your deck full of good creatures, and some removal, and you probably have a good enough Cabaretti deck.
- Colors: Green, White, Blue
- Supported Allied Pairs: White-Green, White-Blue
- Mechanic: Shield counters
Brokers use shield counters. These counters protect your creatures from damage or from being destroyed. But only once – then they’re removed. You can find more information about shield counters and how they work here.
There are some synergies with the shield counters, as you’ll see in the White-Blue Archetype below. However, there isn’t a clear direction of where you want a Brokers deck to go. You’ll mostly pick up good cards, good removal spells, and have some incidental synergies now and then.
Good Old Midrange
Mostly you’ll want to draft your regular midrange deck, with good curve, good mana base and lots of two-for-ones, with which you’ll win the long game.
Anyway, that’s it for the three color archetypes, let’s take a look at the two color pairs, that are your starting points to drafting a three color deck – or they can also be played on their own.
White – Green: Citizens
- Expands to: Cabaretti, Brokers
- Theme: Citizens
White-Green is your average midrange deck. The twist is that it cares about the Citizen creature type, and it can go wide. There are 24 Citizen creatures in the set, not all of them are in Green and White, though. There’s some in Blue and Red, which makes sense – with these two colors you get access to Cabaretti and Brokers.
So what are the payoffs for getting some Citizens in your deck? First up, there’s Civil Servant, which can attack as a 3/3 lifelinker. At two mana, that’s an absurd rate!
Ceremonial Groundbreaker can make your random 1/1s into real creatures. If you get an army of Citizen tokens, there are multiple other ways to buff them, with cards like Darling of the Masses and Take to the Streets.
As you can see, payoffs are really amazing here, as they allow you to either go wide (with mass pump spells) or going tall (equipping multiple Groundbreakers on a single creature). As such, Green-White really looks like a good archetype to draft in New Capenna.
White – Blue: Counters
- Expands to: Obscura, Brokers
- Theme: various counters, flying
White-Blue is a really interesting archetype, albeit a weird one. It cares about various counter on your creatures. As expected from these two colors, there are a lot of flyers, although that strategy doesn’t receive additional support apart from flyers being good.
The two most common type of counters in the set are shield counters and +1/+1 counters (can be received via connive). Both counters come from the White-Blue families, Brokers and Obscura.
The counters are quite good on their own, which means that there isn’t that much additional support for them. Nevertheless, the three cards that you saw above are all good payoffs for consistently having creatures with counters in play.
So this is the type of deck that you simply draft the good cards in these colors, and you’ll naturally hit some synergies along the way. Of course, you might get very lucky and open Falco Spara, Pactweaver. In that case, go ahead and draft a deck full of counters.
Blue – Black: Self-Mill
- Expands to: Obscura, Maestros
- Theme: self-mill, 5 different mana values in graveyard
Blue-Black has a strange theme. It rewards you for having at least five different mana values in your graveyard. The problem here is that getting to five cards with different costs is a big hurdle, and the payoffs just aren’t that amazing.
This means that you shouldn’t go out of your way to support this theme. Thankfully, as you can see from the three cards above, they’re all perfectly playable, even if you don’t enable the graveyard shenanigans.
So in this archetype, you simply want to play the good cards in these colors. As it turns out, a lot of these are accidental enablers. Here are some examples of such cards:
- Sacrifice lands, like Obscura Storefront, give you the mana value zero.
- Connive helps you get stuff in your graveyard.
- Some cards, like Deal Gone Bad allow you to mill yourself.
With such cards, you’ll be able to unlock this bonus in the late game.
As we mentioned, payoffs here simply aren’t spectacular. Besides the ones you saw above, there’s also Sewer Crocodile at common and Graveyard Shift at uncommon. At higher rarities you have Sanguine Spy and Aven Heartstabber.
So, to recap – draft good cards in Blue and Black, and don’t chase the “five differently costed cards in your graveyard” bonus.
Black – Red: Sacrifice
- Expands to: Maestros, Riveteers
- Theme: sacrifice
Red-Black has its signature theme, sacrifice. As you can see above, there are some quite nice payoffs available.
Body Dropper is probably the most important payoff for the archetype. It grows whenever you sac a creature, and it’s a sacrifice outlet itself. If you have five mana, it becomes even better paired with Involuntary Employment.
Pyre-Sledge Arsonist is a brutal card in this deck. Important thing to note here is that it cares about any permanent that you sacrificed – not just creatures. That counts Treasure tokens, sacrifice lands, etc.
There are so many enablers for this strategy, as it plays nicely with both families’ mechanics. Riveteers have blitz, which lets you sacrifice creatures for value. On the other hand, Maestros have casualty, which is another way to sacrifice creatures.
So you only need to get some fodder in your deck, and you’re good to go. Exhibition Magician is an excellent example of such a card. It can either give you two bodies to sacrifice, or a Treasure token if you need one. You could also use Unlucky Witness, which can provide lots of value when it dies, and similar cards.
Red – Green: Treasures
- Expands to: Riveteers, Cabaretti
- Theme: treasure tokens
Red-Green’s theme is Treasures. One would therefore expect that there are Treasure makers, and Treasure payoffs. As far as Treasure makers go, you’d be correct. There are a ton of them.
You have Prizefight and Jewel Thief, two very good green commons. Furthermore, there’s Exhibition Magician, Big Score and Glittermonger. These are just commons, and the list goes on and on with Treasure makers of various qualities.
Where Are the Payoffs?
However, once you get to the payoffs, you might be a bit disappointed. It’s true, there’s Stimulus Package and Jetmir’s Fixer – both of which can be quite good. Hopwever, something like Capenna Express and Security Rhox isn’t that spectacular as a payoff. (They are still good cards on their own, though.)
What can be easy to forget here is that the Treasures themselves are a big enough reward. They fix your mana, and ramp you, both of which are incredibly useful in the Streets of New Capenna draft.
It means that in these colors, you’ll easily splash, even for multiple colors. The two most common colors to splash for would be White and Black. These would give you a four color deck with all the good Cabaretti and Riveteers cards. If you’re feeling particularly risky, you could also do a five color monstrosity with the base of Red and Green with Treasures.
However, you can also do just fine with a Red-Green deck with a single splash and use Treasures to get your threats out ahead of schedule.
Best Commons for New Capenna Draft
Since we’ve already talked about the multicolored commons in the archetype breakdown, we’ll now discuss the best mono colored common for the New Capenna draft format. These are still important, since they can be used in multiple archetypes.
1. Inspiring Overseer
Creatures that draw cards are always good. Overseer has a very playable stats on top of that. If you’re playing white, you’re playing every copy of this card that you managed to draft. It’s just that good, and it doesn’t need any special synergies.
2. Hold for Ransom
This is an interesting Pacifism variant. It’ll mostly lock down early threats, and while it isn’t that good at keeping the best creatures at bay, your opponent still has to pay 7 mana, and you get your card back. You’ll want to play these, and you won’t mind firing them off early.
3. Kill Shot
Kill Shot is a clean removal spell, although it’s not great for aggressive decks, as it can’t remove a blocker. It does get worse if you play against more experienced players, as they could see it coming and play around it.
Buy Your Silence is a clunky removal spell, but sometimes you need to get rid of a problematic permanent, and it gets the job done.
Raffine’s Informant is a fine two drop, which isn’t dead in the late game.
Speakeasy Server if a fine flyer that can give you some life back – certainly a useful card.
Gathering Throng gets better the more copies you have in your deck. However, it isn’t good against any type of deck. If you’re playing against a deck with 1/1 Citizens, it gets significantly worse.
1. Echo Inspector
Connive is a good ability, especially on a body that’s already almost playable. Thankfully, you get to choose what you want. If you just want to exchange a useless land for a new card, you can do so. If you need a 3/4 flyer, just discard your worst nonland card. All in all, this is a great play for four mana.
2. Obscura Initiate
2/2 flying lifelink for three would be very good. This is not quite there, but the activation cost is low enough to use it when needed, particularly once you get a +1/+1 counter or equipment on it.
3. Run Out of Town
Although a bit clunky, this type of effect can have a big impact on the game if timed correctly.
Rooftop Nuisance can present a big problem for your opponent in the right scenario. You can potentially remove two blockers for two turns, and draw two cards.
Security Bypass can do a lot of work, if your creature doesn’t just die quickly. You get an unblockable threat that can also filter through your deck and get bigger. What’s not to like?
Wouldn’t be a mafia set, without a Murder, which is common in this set. It gets a bit worse, thanks to shield counters and costing two black mana in a multicolored set. Nevertheless, it still cleanly deals with most of the creatures for just three mana.
2. Girder Goons
Possibly the best common blitz creature. You’ll often just slam this down for four mana, attack your opponent and get a 2/2 and draw a card for your troubles. It’s also flexible, as you can pay five to keep it around for longer.
Every black deck will happily play multiple copies of this, as it also enables various synergies, as well as being a good card on its own.
3. Deal Gone Bad
Different from Murder, but not necessarily that much worse deal. This card gets around shield counters, and is one of the rare cards that cleanly deals with Rhox Pummeler.
One thing to note – even if you don’t have self-mill payoffs, it’s usually better to mill yourself. This way, you won’t unnecessarily enable something that your opponent might have.
Corrupt Court Official is a two for one, albeit a bit weak one. However, it does get better once you account for potential sacrifice and casualty synergies.
Demon’s Due is perhaps a bit clunky, but you get to go four cards deep in your deck, and get some real card advantage.
1. Exhibition Magician
Magician is just so versatile, and helps so many synergies in this set. It works nicely with both Citizen and Treasure payoffs, as well a casualty fodder. Besides, it can simply ramp you to your five drop a turn earlier, or it can allow you to more consistently splash. It just does a bit of everything, which means that many strategies will want this common.
Efficiency here is incredible! Sure, sorcery speed isn’t that great, but you’ll still be able to kill lots of things with this, and play another spell in the same turn, which is always a good thing in draft.
3. Witty Roastmaster
Witty Roastmaster has an okay body, but most of the power comes from its ability. Just play creatures, and ping your opponent. It naturally gets better in multiples and works well with tokens.
Light ‘Em Up is surely an interesting removal spell, which works nicely in the right shell.
Ready to Rumble is a more on the clunky side of things, but sometimes you still need those effects, and five damage is a lot.
1. Jewel Thief
Three mana 3/3 with vigilance and trample is already great, and you also get a Treasure token on top of that! This card is absurdly good for a common. Every Green deck will happily play multiple Jewel Thiefs.
2. Warm Welcome
You can look at this card as a 1/1 with flash, that draws you a creature. Of course, you’ll want a pretty high creature count (at least 15) before you include this in your deck, but once you do, it’ll preform amazingly. It’s especially good if you have a creature that’s extremely powerful, as it’ll dig you deeper to it.
The problem with this card is that it doesn’t offer any boost to your creature, and your creature also gets damaged in the fight. So you’ll want to have big creatures in your deck before you play this, but hey, Green is known for big creatures. Plus, you’ll get a Treasure for your troubles, and it’s a cheap instant which allows for some tricky plays.
Caldaia Strongarm can certainly be useful with its versatility. It can make one of your creatures a big threat, and you get a card back, or you simply add a 4/5 to the board.
Rhox Pummeler costs six mana, but it can be very hard to deal with, and an amazing blocker, if an opponent doesn’t have a perfect removal spell for it.
New Capenna Draft Power Rankings
As always, take these with a grain of salt – at least at the beginning of the format. If a color or an archetype is at the bottom it doesn’t mean that’s unplayable, just that in a vacuum, it looks a bit worse than the others.
All the colors seem quite well-balanced, with Blue lagging a bit behind the first four.
Best Archetypes in New Capenna Draft
The two strongest families early on look to be Cabaretti and Brokers, both with a Green-White color combination. The two color pairs will be added in a couple of days, once we get more drafts under our belts.
Additional Tips for New Capenna Draft
Before we wrap up, let’s take a look at a couple of tips for the New Capenna Draft format.
There are many mana fixers in the set, and most of them are good. You’ll happily play any of them in your decks, but lands are especially important, as they improve your basic land slot.
There are multiple cards that produce Treasures. These are good fixers, if you don’t have too many splashed cards.
Common Creature Cycle
There are five three color creatures, that can enchant one of your lands for mana fixing, and then later be played as creatures. All of them are playable:
Some things to note here. You can use their 2 mana effect at instant speed. You don’t want to use it if you won’t use the fixing, as you’d just give free information to your opponent. Finally, the land that you target can help you cast them.
These are similar to Evolving Wilds, but you have to use them immediately, and search for one of the three basic lands. You gain a life for your troubles, which does matter occasionally. Each family gets this type of a land.
Draw a Card Duals
These lands provide two colors, and can be sacrificed in the late game to draw a card. These are very useful, and perhaps a tiny bit better than the previously mentioned cycle. There are five such duals, one for each allied colored pair.
How Many Lands to Play in New Capenna Draft?
We’d recommend that you start with 18 lands. There are a lot of ways to use your mana, and you won’t get flooded very often. It’s very important to hit your land drops, and the right colors, and having an extra land than usual helps you with that.
It’s always good to know which mass removal spells are in the format, so you can play around them if you can, and if you suspect that your opponent has one in hand.
Explore Streets of New Capenna!
This is the end of our New Capenna Draft Guide. However, if you want more New Capenna content, there are some articles that might interest you.
First up, some news for Commander players. We’re getting five 3-color precons with this set. Of course, there’s one for each family. You can read all about New Capenna Commander decks here.
Do you want to organize a draft at home? If so, you’ll want to get a New Capenna Draft Booster Box.
Are you playing on Arena? In that case, you’ll surely want to check out MTG Arena codes. This way, you can get various free stuff like cosmetics, free packs and so on – also including three packs of New Capenna.
Don’t want to miss another draft guide, or the update to this one? Follow us on Facebook or Instagram. This way, you’ll get reminders for all of your favorite articles. Including a New Capenna Draft Tier List, which is releasing later today.
Until next time, have fun, and may you consistently get to the seven wins in your New Capenna drafts.