The 92nd expansion for Magic: The Gathering is upon us: The Streets of New Capenna! As we prepare to explore a brand new set filled with epic cards, awesome throwbacks, and exciting mechanics, it only makes sense that we break down one of the biggest fundamental aspects of this whole set: The Five Families of New Capenna!
Every expansion and every new set for MTG always has new toys to play with as all of our fellow Planeswalkers journey towards building the most epic deck (or decks, in many cases) to thwart their foes! This expansion is certainly no different, as we embark into a really exciting and unique setting filled with an amazing cast of characters and a suite of new abilities and mechanics to learn about. Today we're not only doing a quick recap on each of the five families and their backgrounds, but we'll quickly cover their overall theme and general mechanic/playstyle. So let's jump into it!
The Brokers are essentially a group of law firms and law offices run by Demons - pretty wild, eh? Back in the days of "Old Capenna", the Brokers were the Plane's protectors. This started out with the best of intentions, but slowly evolved into a sort of "protection racket". In New Capenna they're relegated to handling public matters and disputes while having a reputation for always having a nose for being around every bad thing that happens in Capenna. For MTG mechanics purposes, they're White/Green/Blue (with a focus on White), and they're all about using shield counters to protect and control the flow of battle. Here's the rule breakdown for the Brokers' special mechanic:
Shield counters - If a permanent with a shield counter on it would be destroyed by an effect, a shield counter is removed from the permanent instead of the creature being destroyed. If a permanent with a shield counter on it would be dealt damage, that damage is prevented and a shield counter is removed from the permanent.
A "cult" of sorts, the Cabaretti crime family are infamous for being the biggest partiers in town. You're not cool unless you're invited to the big Cabaretti feasts, parties, etc. Unsurprisingly, their druidic magic is used to sway and influence people - much like Hotel California, once you're in the Cabaretti fold, you can check out anytime you like, but you might not ever be able to leave! When it comes to playing with the Cabaretti, they're all about using Red/Greeen/White mana cards to create impactful synergies with different creatures, and embracing the "Go Wide" strategy of attempting to overwhelm their opponents with creatures and tokens. The Cabaretti's special mechanic, Alliance, is explained below:
Alliance - An ability word that highlights triggered abilities that trigger whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control. The effects differ per card.
The assassins guild, if you will, of the New Capenna crime families is none other than the Maestros. Picture a bunch of old school vampires sitting on piles of old inherited money that embrace a reputation of art lovers - when in fact these are ruthless killers and assassins willing to do whatever it takes to maintain their power, wealth, and control. But I'll be damned if they don't look good, and stylish, while they do it! Playing the Maestros is not unlike your usual Black/Red aggressive vampire approach, with a splash of blue as well - we're talking creature sacrifice and removal, and using their special Maestros mechanic, Casualty, they can use their own creature sacrifice to feed into their own power on the battlefield. Here's the official ruling of the new Maestros mechanic:
Casualty - As an additional cost to cast a spell with casualty, you may sacrifice a creature with power N or greater, where N is the number that appears after the keyword. If you choose to do so, a triggered ability triggers that copies the spell.
I try really hard not to pick favorites when it comes to these blogs, and just my overall approach to new MTG stuff in general, because I like to go into things with an open mind... That said, Obscura is DEFINITELY my style! The Obscura crime family is filled with the most skilled magic users in all of New Capenna. They wield their epic powers to manipulate and control people with a healthy mix of deception, distraction, and illusion. Their playstyle in-game fits this theme, as they're all about manipulation and control via card draw and spell control - not surprising, seeing as they're Blue/Black/White mana with a major focus on Blue. Their special mechanic, Connive, allows a player to benefit from scrying and card draw in a way you've never been able to before, adding even more potency to the control playstyle:
Connive - If a creature you control is instructed to Connive, you draw a card and discard a card. If you discard a nonland card, you put a +1/+1 counter on the creature that Connived.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Riveteers crime family. If the first four families we've covered play around in dark alleys with subtlety and subterfuge, well... The Riveteers are very much the opposite of that! Think tough warriors, fighters, builders, artisans, blacksmiths, etc. These are the kinds of folk that don't mind breaking a few eggs to make their omelets, if you catch my drift! They employ brute-force to get their way in New Capenna, while embracing the skill and artistry of the Draconic backgrounds as well. Centered mostly around Red mana, but dabbling in Green and Black as well, the Riveteers are all about big beefy creatures wreaking havoc on their foes. Their special mechanic, Blitz, fits this theme perfectly by providing an alternate casting cost for permanents that give the card additional effects, but with some risk/reward drawbacks as well:
Blitz - Casting a spell for its blitz cost has several effects. The creature gains haste and "When this creature dies, draw a card." At the beginning of the next end step, you sacrifice the creature.
And there you have it - a quick dive into the five crime families of New Capenna, their backgrounds, and how they'll play in-game. Which of the families are you the most excited about playing? Let us know on our social channels!