Welcome back, friends! Last time here on Cardsphere we reviewed the main set for Streets of New Capenna and all the new cards destined to have an impact on Commander. But we’re not done with New Capenna just yet. There are also 5 Commander decks with a bunch of great new cards in each of them that I’m excited to play with. So today, we’re going to look at my top 10 new cards from those decks. Enough talk. Let’s rank.
Cards like this can be difficult to evaluate. Whenever a spell can be really bad or really good depending on how many creatures you have, it’s important to judge it with care. It’s easy to imagine a turn where your board is covered with tokens getting taken out by a board wipe, or preferably, being sacrificed for great benefit. But you’re also just as likely to draw it on a turn when it’s of no benefit. However, with the right deck and a little patience, the payoff for
Body Count can be tremendous. We also need to factor in the cost here. There’s the potential to cast it for just one mana for the Spectacle cost, of course. But assuming we’re paying full price, we’d only need to draw three cards off of it for it to be worth a slot over something like
Read the Bones. And if your deck excels at making creatures, I think this one’s worth it.
I’m considering it for my Kodama/Szat deck where I make a lot of tokens. Would also be great in
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, or
Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver.
Change of Plans
Versatility is something we always need more of, which is why I frequently advocate for running more modal spells. But versatility doesn’t just mean having choices, it also means a spell having a different impact based on timing.
Change of Plans is definitely this type of versatile. Much like
Body Count, it does require you to have at least a couple of creatures on the board to have a real effect, but why it’s still worth the slot is that it can be played defensively against any kind of threat. You can do it in response to a board wipe, or to save your creatures when they’re about to die in combat, or when an opponent targets them with an unfriendly spell. It can even be protective against your own board wipes. The Connive effect adds incredible value to the spell, but the drawback to that is you need to have cards to discard.
I’m making room for this in my budget Braids, Conjurer Adept deck. Also try it out in
Zaxara, the Exemplary,
Muldrotha, the Gravetide (Connive puts stuff in your yard), or
The Scarab God (save your creatures to survive to your upkeep).
I was a little hesitant on this one, but if I keep reminding myself that “life is a resource,” I can see huge value in it. Losing a life any time a creature dies is a huge toll, but as we’ve seen in the past, Extort is a very powerful ability and an easy way to gain that life back. With this effect being on an enchantment instead of a creature, you’re far more likely to be able to keep it around for a long time and continually drain your opponents. Pair it with a
Disciple of the Vault, and your insurance policy is going to really pay off.
I sadly don’t have a deck for this, but we’re definitely looking at
Teysa Karlov again, as well as
Athreos, God of Passage, and
Elenda, the Dusk Rose.
Parnesse, the Subtle Brush
The only legend on this list, and certainly not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Cards like Parnesse are why I love playing Commander. I adore janky political effects like this that can help your opponents with one hand, and drain their life with the other. The copy effect being optional is a big safety net that I kind of wish wasn’t there, but I’m sure will come in handy at times when hurting you would be your opponents’ only or best option.
I’m definitely making room for this in my budget Kess, Dissident Mage deck. Great for almost any Grixis deck, or just make her your commander!
Is this an upgrade on
The Ozolith? Let’s break it down into pros (better than Ozolith) and cons (worse than Ozolith).
- Moves counters onto any permanent instead of just itself
- Moves counters at any time
- Moves counters to/from any permanent, not just creatures
- Harder to cast, as it requires white and two more mana
- Not free to move the counters
I think as long as you’re in white, the pros greatly outweigh the cons here. If your whole board of creatures gets wiped, you can put all those counters on your lands to keep them safe until you can build back up. With
The Ozolith, they all go on the Ozolith, making it a bit more vulnerable.
I wish I could put this in my Heliod, Sun-Crowned deck, but it’s a bit too pricey for that budget deck. You should consider this in
Felisa, Fang of Silverquill,
Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, or the new
Giada, Font of Hope.
When it comes to protecting your board, there are only two better cards than
Flawless Maneuver and
Heroic Intervention. But where Crescendo excels is in its versatility (there’s that word again). You can cast it in response to a board wipe, sure. But you can also just cast it for the tokens. Maybe you want to have an army to swing with on your next turn, or perhaps you need blockers against someone else’s attack. Either way, if you’ve got the mana,
Grand Crescendo has got you covered. At the very least it’s a 2-mana spell that gives your creatures indestructible for a turn. And that’s a solid return.
I’m jamming this into my Random Rainbow Bridge deck, and it should find a home in any creature-heavy white deck.
Seize the Spotlight
What this spell does for just 3 mana is incredible. Of course, your opponent is going to choose whichever option is worse for you. So for instance if all they have for creatures is a mana dork, they’ll probably have no worries about lending it to you. On the other hand, if they’ve got a seriously powerful creature, they’re likely to just give you the card and treasure. But don’t forget to flex those political muscles! If they’ve got a big beater they’re afraid to give you, just tell them you’ll swing it at someone else.
I can’t wait to run this in my Rionya, Fire Dancer deck! Play it in your red spellslinger decks looking for high value/low cost, like
Kess, Dissident Mage or
Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Or try it in the new
Jetmir, Nexus of Revels to bump up that creature count.
Master of Ceremonies
MC Rhino is one of the coolest group hug cards we’ve seen in a while. It may look like you’re giving your opponents a lot, but keep in mind that for every one thing they’re getting, you’re getting 3. That’s a 3:1 ratio on benefits! I’m not great on math, but I think you’re coming out very much ahead.
This card is joining the Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis party. But you can add it to
Kwain, Itinerant Meddler,
Kenrith, the Returned King, or
Roon of the Hidden Realm rhino tribal. (That’s a thing, right?)
This bird should be getting serious consideration in every single blink deck that exists. Why? Because the permanent doesn’t come back when the Extortionist leaves the battlefield, that’s why. That permanent stays gone until they recast it. If you’ve got a blinking mechanism on board that can go off every turn, you’re going to be able to keep threats off the board indefinitely. Also, the card draw tacked on at the bottom…*chef’s kiss.* You’ll be drawing a card whenever an opponent casts their commander. And then some.
Slam dunk into my Amareth, the Lustrous deck. Drop it in for
Brago, King Eternal, or, again,
Roon of the Hidden Realm.
This isn’t an instant staple, goes-in-every-red-deck, kind of card. And that’s good. We don’t need more
Jeska’s Wills. We need more cards that do kinda niche things but very effectively. I love
Industrial Advancement because you might miss big, or you might hit big. And it can be played with so many different themes. It adds excitement to the end of every turn. Like Xmas morning, you’re excited about what you might get.
This is going in my Rionya, Fire Dancer deck. Try it out in
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King,
Atla Palani, Nest Tender, or
Marchesa, the Black Rose.
What’s missing from my list? With just a little sleuthing, you can deduce that this list is very heavy on white and red, especially in the top 6, and has zero green cards. Why is that? I think it’s safe to say that the designers for New Capenna went out of their way to make white the best color. Most sets will have 1, or maybe 2, really great white cards for Commander, but this set (full set and commander decks), has at least a dozen white cards that I’m excited about. And while green certainly has some powerful cards, it’s hard to get excited about them when they’re really just more of the same. White is finally getting its time to shine, and I sincerely hope they keep that going. I’ll be very disappointed if the next few sets don’t give white as much love as Capenna has.
What are your favorite cards from the New Capenna Commander decks? Which pre-cons did you pick up? Come chat with me on Twitter at @AndyZupke, or catch me streaming with the Scrap Trawlers Sunday nights at 7:30 at twitch.tv/scraptrawlers.
Check back here in two weeks for more Commander fun. Until then, take care. And play lots of games!