Magic: the Gathering is going to strange new places these days. Following a wild ride through the cyberpunk streets of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the popular collectible card game is soaring to new gilded heights with the upcoming release of Streets of New Capenna. This new expansion, set for release on April 29th, brings players to a world inspired by Art Deco and the fabulous bacchanals of 1920s America. On New Capenna, crime is law, and five major families of demons are vying for control over the plane’s most rarified resource– a mysterious consumable called Halo– that holds great power and perhaps even the secret to defeating the Multiversal threat of New Phyrexia.
To prepare you for your adventure into the back alleys and lavish celebrations omnipresent throughout New Capenna, here are five key points you need to know.
1. Family Matters
In New Capenna, family loyalty comes before all else. Five factions, each aligned with three of Magic’s five colors, rule different parts of the world.
First off, we have The Maestros, a brutal yet precise family of assassins who see murder as self expression. The Maestros front their assassination business by acting as the conservationists of fine art and culture throughout New Capenna, preserving both modern day masterpieces and artifacts from the ruins of Old Capenna.
Their key mechanic is Casuality, which allows players to sacrifice their own creatures to reap an additional copy of a Maestro spell or permanent.
Then, we have the Brokers. This family is a faction of lawyers who ostensibly pay the rent by resolving administrative and property law cases. However, in truth, they tend to act more like ambulance chasers and intermediaries for backroom deals. They might even be a doomsday cult in disguise…
The Brokers’ key mechanic is Shield counters, which protect your permanents from death and injury.
The Riveteers are a bit less subtle in their ways and means than the previous two houses we discussed. Known primarily as the construction workers of New Capenna, Riveteers are as good at destruction as they are at building, performing shakedowns and beatings to get what they come for.
This house has claimed the Blitz mechanic for their own, giving their biggest soldiers the opportunity to come in for a quick body slam before grabbing their treasure and disappearing into the night.
On their face, the Cabaretti are perhaps the most easy-going of the five houses. They’re party animals who use druidic magic to keep the vibes fresh at their dance halls and feasts, and they’re capable of using that same magic to sway public opinion as well.
The Cabaretti always welcome a new face, so it’s only fitting that cards aligned with their faction scale whenever a new creature enters the battlefield thanks to the Alliance mechanic.
Finally, the Obscura are just as they sound– well hidden. A family of adept wizards and other magic users, Obscura members tend to blend into the background of New Capenna’s crowds more than members of other houses. That’s what makes them great at deception and blackmail.
The Obscura mechanic, Connive, reflects the constant scheming and well-timed manipulations of their agents.
2. The Mysterious “Adversary” is a Familiar Face
As one might expect from a plane run by demons, order is a bit of an elusive thing. The balance between the five crime families of New Capenna is fraying as the set’s story begins thanks to a battle for control over a mysterious new source of Halo, the elixir that fuels New Capenna’s parties, machinations, and economy. And as the houses begin to move against one another, a new demon, known to the families as the Adversary, has come to take advantage of the instability in order to assert his own authority. Established players might recognize the Adversary as Ob Nixillis, Planeswalker.
3. Heroes Have Come to New Capenna for Halo…
Ob isn’t the only planeswalker on New Capenna, however. The recently returned-from-the-dead hero Elspeth Tirel has travelled to the plane because of rumors she’s heard that it might be her home world, which she thought had been destroyed by the monstrous Phyrexians long ago.
Phyrexians as a species are known for compleating the lifeforms on other planes, turning them into hybrid machine beings who all naturally work towards a singular grand design: all will be one. For a long time, it was presumed that once Phyrexia had compleated a plane, it was lost forever. However, New Capenna, if the rumors Elspeth has heard are true, is proof of otherwise. But how were they fought back? What does Halo have to do with the defeat of Elspeth’s greatest enemy?
4. …But the Hidden Praetor Has Come to Party Too
Over the last several years of Magic, we’ve seen New Phyrexia begin to send its leaders out to other worlds. Vorinclex, a monstrous predator from the plane, was seen on the Nordic world of Kaldheim in search of a life-giving elixir. And Jin Gitaxias managed to kidnap a Planeswalker from Kamigawa for sick experimentation. Now, Urabask has been discovered deep under New Capenna in the ruins of the old world. But for some reason, it seems like his plans may involve fighting New Phryrexia rather than helping them exert control over the rest of the Multiverse…
5. Gilding Over All
The collectible side of Magic has always been a key part of the game’s appeal, but design studio Wizards of the Coast has turned that knob up to eleven in recent years with the introduction of new card frames, special art treatments, and new foiling techniques. Many of these “bling” elements return in Streets of New Capenna, including etched foils, borderless art cards, and showcase frame cards. However, New Capenna has some unique tricks up its sleeve as well.
First off, the set is introducing “Gilded Foils.” Found in a low percentage of all types of booster packs, Gilded Foils feature a standard layer of rainbow iridescent foiling. But on top of that, they also have gold embossed borders that lend parts of the card an additional metallic sheen that’s stunning to look at.
And on top of all this, Streets of New Capenna is welcoming the whole world to its party through the release of special editions of the Gala Greeters card, with unique art for 11 different languages Magic cards are printed in. These Gala Greeters are box toppers where each language’s version is included with the purchase of a booster box of that respective language cards.