Best New Capenna Commander Cards – White and Blue

It’s time to step up to the Streets of New Capenna! With the prerelease starting up this Friday and the Arena and MTGO releases following a week later (an order I think is quite good for local game stores), we’re heading into a very exciting time for Magic players across all formats. While I love Limited, Modern, Pauper and most every format, today I’ll be focusing on my favorite format of all-time, Commander, with a look at the best New Capenna Commander cards!

As a reminder, my focus is on social Commander rather than competitive EDH. These days, I’ve been leaning more toward a desire to play three 40-minute games in lieu of one two-hour slog, but I’ll be talking about cards from the wider social perspective. My goal when playing Commander is for everyone to have fun but also for me to have a good shot at winning the game – or at least doing the thing my deck set out to do – so if that’s your mindset as well, these reviews will probably resonate with you. I won’t be reviewing reprints, so you can just assume I feel the same way about Disdainful Stroke as I did before we found out it was in this set. I also don’t review every card – if I feel they’re not worth mentioning, I don’t give them a write-up, but we all know there’s a deck out there for every card. In particular, if I don’t mention a card with one of the set’s core mechanics, my thoughts can likely be summarized as “Decent in a deck focused on that mechanic, not great outside of it.” When you inevitably disagree with a review (or think I skipped something good), please feel free to tweet at @RagingLevine with your thoughts!

This time around, we’ll start with the eligible commanders and then move on to the rest of the set. Please note that all of the cards in this review are from the main set with code SNC – the commander cards, with set code NCC (New Capenna Commander) will be in a separate article. Most of the commanders are within the three-color family identities: Obscura (WUB), Masetros (UBR), Riveteers (BRG), Cabaretti (RGW) and Brokers (GWU), but a few are monocolor cards.

Main Set

The Commanders / White & Blue / Black & Red / Green and Other

Commander Set

The Commanders / White & Blue / Black & Red / Green and Other

 

 

Header - White

Boon of Safety

Boon of Safety
Shield counters are an exciting take on reactive spells that give creatures indestructible/regeneration shields/etc. The counter sticks around until it’s used, which makes Boon of Safety a little stronger, and the opportunity to proliferate the counter or benefit from its existence with other Brokers cards adds some fun, but the creature will still be weak to exile and bounce effects. I think this is a great way to protect your commander or another key creature at a low cost in a deck where you care about the counter outside of this effect alone.

Buy Your Silence

Buy Your Silence

Players with rarity or budget restrictions might be interested in this, but paying a lot of mana to exile something at sorcery speed and giving up a Treasure is not something I want to be doing most of the time.

Depopulate

Depopulate

We’re almost at the point where I stop talking about Day of Judgment variants. Yes, it’s another wrath! Yes, it’s often worse than a regular wrath! Yes, it’s fine to play. 

Elspeth Resplendent

Elspeth Resplendent

I almost typed “Elspeth, Dressed to Kill” here, but it turns out we had a “Chandra, Dressed to Kill” planeswalker recently. Cards go by so fast. A high starting loyalty is a good sign, and the +1 having vigilance as an option makes self-defense somewhat of an option (the best self-defense is a good, vigilant offense?) These effects seem much more tailor-made for Standard, but the -3 looking through seven cards for an eligible permanent provides you good value for mana if you can get that ability done twice.

Extraction Specialist

Extraction Specialist

Bringing back something small in an Orzhov sacrifice deck that you can simply hurl back into the graveyard is great – your Stitcher’s Supplier doesn’t really need to attack or block. That said, you may not need a second Unearth-style card this badly.

Halo Fountain

Halo Fountain

Cards like Glare of Subdual that let you tap creatures with impunity let you use your Halo Fountain more easily, but the real winners are creatures that untap other permanents like Vizier of Tumbling Sands and Clever Conjurer. Throw in a Phyrexian Altar and you have a real ETB/dies bonanza on your hands, of course, but involving an Avacyn’s Pilgrim and an Intruder Alarm instead sounds like more fun to me. Tap Pilgrim for W and use that to activate Halo Fountain, untapping Pilgrim and creating a 1/1. Intruder Alarm triggers – tap Pilgrim for another W and Clever Conjurer to untap Halo Fountain in response, then untap them both when the trigger resolves. You’re up W and a 1/1, and your Halo Fountain and all your creatures are untapped. Go as hard as you want making 1/1s, then tap them all with Glare of Subdual (or just crew a Vehicle!) before using Halo Fountain’s last ability to win the game. Turning the Halo Fountain into a creature with something like Ensoul Artifact gets you a cleaner combo, and there are ways to draw your deck in here too. If you like janky combos, this is the place to be.

Illuminator Virtuoso

Illuminator Virtuoso

I like the idea of using this as an Aura carrier and discarding cards like Gryff’s Boon to the connive trigger in order to add +1/+1 counters. Of course, putting a shield counter on this with Boon of Safety is sweet too.

Inspiring Overseer

Inspiring Overseer

This is just a nice little addition for Angel decks looking for solid low drops as well as any decks that want more cantrip creatures.

Mysterious Limousine

Mysterious Limousine

This is an interesting cross between Teleportation Circle and a removal spell. I expect this will mostly be used as a repeatable blink effect – when the limo shows up, one of your creatures gets in. Then, when it’s attack time, that creature hops out with renewed energy, ready to party with its enter the battlefield effect, while another hops in. It’s not as good as Teleportation Circle or Conjurer’s Closet for raw blink purposes, but the flexibility helps, and redundancy is rarely bad. Try this in a Brago or other blink deck.

Rabble Rousing

Rabble Rousing

There’s a full cycle of enchantments with hideaway, and I think this is my favorite of the five. This looks fantastic in a Jetmir deck or any deck that can produce a few tokens and wants to go seriously wide. 10 creatures seems like a lot, but if you think about it in terms of token generators, it only takes a Sram’s Expertise plus another token generator cast for free to get to five, followed by a single attack to get to 10. Want to go instant speed? Try Secure the Wastes or Call the Coppercoats to get your daily dose of tokens all at once! 

Rumor Gatherer

Rumor Gatherer

Scry 1 every time a creature enters is fine until you hit a card you want, but the fact that you get to mix a draw into the process partway through changes things a lot. That means you can dig quite a lot deeper into your deck if you’re minded to do so. Bulk token generation is the name of the game here, especially on opponents’ turns – popping off with Arachnogenesis or March of the Multitudes never felt so good. Jetmir decks and other high-commitment go-wide decks will be interested.

Sanctuary Warden

Sanctuary Warden

Two shield counters? That makes me feel a lot better about investing six mana. If you don’t have any other counters you want to remove, you can throw one of them away to get a draw and a 1/1 without going fully shields down. Emiel decks are a good home for cards like this, and any deck with Ishai as a partner will have plenty of counters to toss aside, but the possibilities are pretty much endless. I would try to hang on to the shield counters as long as possible and use repeatable counter generators as part of a draw engine.

 

Header - Blue

All-Seeing Arbiter

All-Seeing Arbiter

Two six-mana mythic rare creatures in a row that do something the turn you play them? On the one hand, I’m hyped, and on the other hand, I’m sad for all the sweet six-mana creatures I love that are getting more and more behind the curve. Progress is a double-edged sword. This is card-neutral the turn you play it, so if it gets blown up, it’s not the worst thing in the world. The second ability is interesting in a cycling or discard-focused deck, and since the debuff lasts until your next turn, it’s useful from a defensive perspective. That said, for six mana, there are many better things to do in a multiplayer game.

Cut Your Losses

Cut Your Losses

Tack one extra mana onto Traumatize and you get the opportunity to sac something for another copy! The second copy of Traumatize isn’t as good as the first, but when you imagine this as “target player mills about three-fourths of their library”, it starts to sound a lot better as long as you’re casting it early. It is another Traumatize for Bruvac decks, and if you’ve got a two-power or greater creature to sac, you can mill two players out at once (or come close if their library counts are odd).

Even the Score

Even the Score

The discount is asking a lot, but if you’re up against people who love to copy draw spells with Riku or similar commanders, you might be able to draw X cards for X mana once in a great while. The easier way to make this happen is probably in decks that want to play Howling Mine effects – if you’re in the Xyris or Nekusar mood, you might want to use this to take advantage of your own symmetrical draw effects on an opponent’s end step. 

Expendable Lackey

Expendable Lackey

Someone needs this as a combo piece in a self-mill deck. I’m not sure what it’s going to do for you, but now you know it exists. 

Hypnotic Grifter

Hypnotic Grifter

If you’re looking for a solid mana sink that lets you loot multiple times per turn cycle, you could certainly do worse. It’s also a good way to turn infinite mana into an empty library, so Thoracle/LabMan fans should take note of this card’s low cost and generic mana activation cost – it’s genius.

Ledger Shredder

Ledger Shredder

This is an interesting way to push through your deck faster in a spellslinger deck, but the defensive applications are interesting as well. If opponents are taking double spell turns, you get to loot! Stick this early and it’ll turn into a threat at remarkable speed. 

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

An Offer You Can't Refuse

A one-cost Negate is an incredible deal, but giving away two Treasures? It’s sort of a reverse Spell Pierce. Swan Song is going to be better most of the time, but this spell catches a lot more threats than Swan Song does. That said, if you’re using this to protect your game-winning spell or combo, the low cost is much more important than the Treasures. I’ve seen some folks mention that you can also play this in a Lier list and use it to “counter” your own spells for Treasure value.

Public Enemy

Public Enemy

Reverse Lure, you say? Don’t mind if I do. Play this in your second main phase and watch the havoc begin. I love cards that play into table politics while also not being terrible from an outcomes perspective, and since this replaces itself when the creature dies, it’s not as much of a feel-bad as some similar cards. Play this on a tapped creature controlled by the player on your right and watch the fun begin. You can also put this on a utility creature to use this as pseudo-removal!

Reservoir Kraken

Reservoir Kraken

This is interesting in monarch strategies – it creates kind of an unwinnable scenario for opponents, especially in the early game when a four-mana 6/6 trampler is going to rule the board. Ward 2 makes this even more obnoxious! I’m sure this will show up in sea creatures lists too, but don’t sleep on this fish generator if you’re trying to play Ninjas, either. 

Run Out of Town

Run Out of Town

Just noting that cards like this are amazing in response to fetchland activations. It costs a ton, but depending on your playgroup and/or budget/rarity restrictions, you may want to try it out.

Undercover Operative

Undercover Operative

A clone that gives you an incentive to copy one of your own creatures? Very cool. This is an interesting way to give one of your key players some wrath/removal protection. Of course, this means proliferate and counter-focused decks are going to be interested – Vorel of the Hull Clade comes to mind, as do Pir and Toothy, since both work well with wacky counter types.

Wiretapping

Wiretapping

A five-mana card that wants you to have a full grip of seven cards before your draw step is asking a lot. That said, if your deck is full of Aeon Chroniclers, Phyrexian Arenas and other upkeep draw effects, or if you’re consistently overcapped on cards due to your Reliquary Tower or Thought Vessel, this could be worth a try. I think this card looks really fun, but it’ll end up being disappointing a large percentage of the time.

Witness Protection

Witness Protection

Hello, it’s me, Legitimate Businessperson! I wish cloning the enchanted creature would result in more Legitimate Businesspeople, but sadly that’s not how anything works. This is an interesting piece of blue “removal” that messes with indestructible creatures in a way Pongify/Rapid Hybridization cannot, but I don’t think an Aura is going to be the answer to your problems most of the time.

 

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