We’re coming up fast on the release of MTG’s next Standard set, Streets of New Capenna, and preview season is really starting to heat up. The set will be continuing MTG’s exploration of some less-traditional settings, straying somewhat from the game’s usual fantasy worlds. MTG’s previous premier set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, featured a futuristic, cyberpunk-inspired cityscape that blended technology with magic. The contrast between progress and tradition was a primary theme of the set.
Streets of New Capenna, which is set in the titular city, has less of a high-tech setting, but it’s an unusual one for MTG nonetheless – the world’s design is heavily influenced by the “Roaring 20’s” and film-noir aesthetic, and the city is ruled by five mob-like crime families. We’ve already learned quite a bit about New Capenna through Wizards of the Coast’s Pre-beat stream and the Debut Stream that kicked off the official preview season earlier this week:
The five families of New Capenna are not only at the center of the set’s accompanying story, but are also core to the its mechanical design: Streets of New Capenna is a three-color set, and each of the five families represents one of the allied three-color combinations. Additionally, each of the crime families has been given an all-new representative mechanic.
We’re going to dive in to some of the card spoilers, specifically taking a look at the family that we’ve seen the most of so far: The Maestros.
We’re also taking a closer look at each of the other families as we get closer to the end of previews – check out the other articles here:
Who Are the Maestros?
The family associated with blue, black, and red – the color combination traditionally referred to as Grixis – is the Maestros, an organization made up largely of “old money” vampires with a taste for the finer things in life. Posing as patrons of the arts in their public lives, the Maestros are also a shadowy organization that operates as the city’s most elite assassin’s guild.
Lord Xander, Head of the Maestros
The leader of the Maestros is an aging vampire-demon named Lord Xander. In his youth, Xander was one of the best assassins, but now he’s past his prime and yearns to relive his earlier years. Nevertheless, Xander is still a powerful man and savvy agent, highly knowledgeable about the city and its workings.
Mechanically, the Maestros are heavily based around sacrifice and discard effects, and Lord Xander’s card is no exception.
We’ve also seen a number of other legendary creatures from the Maestros thus far, plus a particular returning demonic planeswalker:
The Maestros Mechanic: Casualty
The Maestros’ unique mechanic in Streets of New Capenna is Casualty, an ability that allows the player to sacrifice a creature (with a specified minimum power) in order to copy the spell. The explainer text that appears for casualty is as follows:
Casualty X (As you cast this spell, you may sacrifice a creature with power X or greater. When you do, copy this spell.)
Decks like Orzhov and Rakdos Sacrifice are already popular in Arena’s rotating formats thanks in part to great sacrifice targets like Eyetwitch and Shambling Ghast. The casualty mechanic should be very appealing to players who have been exploring the sacrifice archetypes in Standard and beyond, and seems like casualty will play quite nicely with the sac-fueled cards that already see lots of play like Deadly Dispute and Oni-Cult Anvil.
Here’s a list of the cards we’ve seen with Casualty thus far:
Other Maestros Cards
There are also plenty of interesting cards that represent the Maestros family without specifically using the casualty mechanic. In particular, there are a number of cycles, such as the Charms and the Ascendancy enchantments, that are representative of each family. Here are some of the other cards that bear the Maestros watermark:
Streets of New Capenna is scheduled for release on MTG Arena on April 28, with the worldwide release following just after on April 29. We’ve got a lot more spoilers to go, and in the next few days, we’ll be taking a look at cards representing the other four families of New Capenna. In the meantime, be sure to also check out our full spoilers gallery to see all of the cards that have been revealed so far.