Magic: the Gathering has at all times been about wizards who cross the multiverse, although they normally appeared to finish up on commonplace medieval fantasy worlds. That is modified lately, and I do not simply imply with crossovers just like the upcoming Warhammer 40,000 set, or limited-edition Street Fighter and Fortnite cards. Earlier this 12 months, Magic went cyberpunk within the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty enlargement, and its model new set explores a Prohibition-era city fantasy setting.
Streets of New Capenna is the roaring ’20s with demons, merfolk, and cat individuals, most of whom costume in fur-lined coats and pearls or pinstripe pants and suspenders (fedoras and flat caps are non-compulsory). The elves appear to be flappers, and the buildings look straight out of 1927’s Metropolis. The brand new sea beasts to your blue decks? Sewer Crocodile and Reservoir Kraken.
The theme continues with playing cards representing the 5 legal teams vying for management of New Capenna. That is why Wizards of the Coast hilariously promoted it with a fake documentary hosted by Ross Kemp, the British cleaning soap star who made a present the place he traveled the world infiltrating gangs.
Philip’s already damaged down how every of the 5 factions has its own mechanics tied to their theme. These themes are neat: the Brokers are a agency of shady demon attorneys; the Maestros are stylish assassins who additionally occur to be vampires; the Obscura use divination magic in elaborate blackmail schemes; the Riveteers management building beneath orders from a dragon; the Caberetti are glamorous dancehall druids. These are all cool issues to construct a deck round, and I received to see a few of them in motion at a preview occasion the place my Brokers managed to complete off some Riveteers, then received trounced by Cabaretti.
Three’s a celebration
I’ve at all times most well-liked decks constructed round one or two colours, partly as a result of worrying about drawing the appropriate land is unhealthy sufficient with two, and partly as a result of I received into Magic due to Shandalar, the 1997 Microprose game. In Shandalar you’d begin with one colour and add extra later, normally arriving at three solely while you have been gearing as much as tackle the ultimate boss with a deck that was horrendously degenerate. They’ve felt a bit improper to me ever since.
However Magic’s been encouraging gamers to experiment with tri-color decks for some time now. You want one to play gold playing cards like Minsc, Beloved Ranger from Adventures within the Forgotten Realms, or a number of the legendary creatures from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Tri-color decks like Naya Enchantments and Temur Midrange sit close to the highest of the present meta. The Ikoria enlargement added triome lands that allow you to select between three sorts of mana when tapping them, and Streets of New Capenna provides much more of these.
Land playing cards have been reimagined for different settings earlier than (Ravnica’s city plains, as an example), and so they’ve clearly had enjoyable doing that for New Capenna. The artwork for Mountains exhibits Fritz Lang skyscrapers, different land playing cards depict hideouts, theaters, and a racetrack for chrome horses owned by colorful racing identities, because the Australian newspaper euphemism for rich gangsters goes.
The brand new tri-color lands embody a warehouse boxing ring for the Riveteers (black/purple/inexperienced) and a lounge in a John Wick murderer resort for the Maestros (blue/black/purple). Like different land playing cards that allow you to select a unique colour every flip, they enter the battlefield tapped, so a primary land you need to use instantly will nonetheless be higher short-term. What they offer you is extra freedom to diversify when deckbuilding—discovering synergies in a broader pool and making it extra doubtless any given booster pack can have playing cards value including to your present deck.
You do not have to construct a tri-color deck for Streets of New Capenna, after all. When Alan played it he went mono-green, simply to be obstinate, and had some success in opposition to tri-color decks. “I did take a couple of down,” he mentioned, “simply by advantage of having the ability to play all of the playing cards in my deck simply. I did lose to a few of these stronger gold playing cards although once I could not overpower my opponents fast sufficient.”
You possibly can keep on with your mono- or dual-colored weapons in order for you. Streets of New Capenna has loads of colorless artifacts just like the Getaway Automobile, Brass Knuckles, and Cement Footwear, and solely half a dozen of the playing cards primarily based on every faction really price three colours—Brokers Provoke is a pure white card whereas Brokers Veteran is blue, as an example—nevertheless it’s lastly motivated me go Krzysztof Kieślowski.
The opposite factor Streets of New Capenna has me fascinated about for the primary time is the Commander format. I play Enviornment, which does not assist this kitchen-table informal format normally performed by 4, however the paper launch of Streets of New Capenna contains prebuilt Commander decks that make handy on-ramps into the mode.
The format’s named for the Commander card that represents your deck’s chief and, quite than being shuffled into it, sits to the aspect and could be performed as quickly as you possibly can afford to. Everybody begins with 40 life as a substitute of the common 20, and that is a part of what makes it extra informal than common Magic. The opposite half is that having 4 decks on the desk without delay makes it cheerfully unpredictable.
In a two-player recreation you retain monitor of the whole lot your opponent performs, the altering math of the following fight section at all times held in your thoughts. No one expects you to do this with 4 gamers every doing their very own factor (the winner is the final standing, so alliances are short-term at finest). As soon as the preventing begins, enormous quantities of harm fly backwards and forwards. Immediately getting slapped for 15 factors is nothing uncommon, and in my first recreation I received taken out by an assault that hit me for 33 abruptly. (I managed to dam, er, 3 of these factors.)
Magic has develop into a primarily on-line recreation for lots of gamers over the previous few years, however in-person play is ramping up once more. The cheerful chaos of Commander looks like a pure match for the form of pleasant video games I might prefer to play in-person, and whereas Streets of New Capenna fits the format, the following Magic crossover is explicitly designed for it. It might be primarily based on a extra conventional medieval fantasy setting, however Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate appears prefer it’ll embody some acquainted faces from the Baldur’s Gate videogames and that turns it right into a tempting proposition. Make Mazzy Fentan a Commander like she deserves, or not less than give me a card primarily based on Wilson the recruitable bear, and I will use no matter deck it takes to play them.