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Streets of New Capenna Prerelease Primer

April 20, 2022
Gavin Verhey

Who's your family?

In Streets of New Capenna, you pick between one of five different crime families and rule the streets.

Will you pick the blue-black-red Maestros, the old-money assassins who love art?

Maestros
(Blue-Black-Red)


How about the white-blue-black Obscura, sneaky mystics and fortune tellers?

Obscura
(White-Blue-Black)


Maybe the white-green-red Cabaretti, who love to party?

Cabaretti
(Red-Green-White)


What about the green-red-black Riveteers, who can build you up just as easily as they can tear you down?

Riveteers
(Black-Red-Green)


Or, finally, the white-blue-green Brokers, the lawyers of New Capenna?

Brokers
(Green-White-Blue)


No matter who you pick, the Prerelease at your local game store is going to be the best place to try out the new cards and see what's up!

But what is a Prerelease? What can you expect? How do you build a sealed deck?

If you'd prefer to watch some of this information in video format, you can check out my episode of Good Morning Magic here:

Otherwise, if you want to read all about it, let's continue onward!

The Not-so-Mean Streets

Prereleases have always been my favorite Magic weekends of the year.

During Prerelease weekend, you have your first chance to get your hands on the new set and—for me—the heart and soul of the Prerelease experience is the energy of getting those first new cards and playing with them. Wherever you participate, you'll still be doing it with so many other people around the world as part of the global experience and conversation. Thanks to the internet, and the hashtag #MTGCapenna, we're all connected!

The Prerelease of a set is great because the set is new and everyone is on equal footing as they play with the cards for the very first time. The event is designed for you to enjoy exploring them. There are laughs, lessons learned, and great games—fun for old and new players alike!

If you're a Sealed Deck veteran, you may want to skip ahead to the next section, where I talk about what you can expect for Streets of New Capenna. But if you're new to the world of Magic or Prereleases, read on!

So, let's go over perhaps the most important part: finding your Prerelease! After all, you can't play if you don't know where to get the supplies you need.

You'll need to get in touch with a local game store. That store may even offer preregistration for the event! Prereleases are some of the most popular events we put on, so plan ahead.

Additionally, with Streets of New Capenna, there are Prerelease Packs for each of the families. Be sure to talk with your store to see if you can reserve the family you want to play most!

Not sure which family to pick? Try the Streets of New Capenna quiz to find the family that fits your style!

Stores will be running in-person events, and others will be running virtual ones. In different areas of the world, different rules and restrictions may apply to what can be open—so please take appropriate precautions, be aware of government-level requests, and do only what you feel comfortable with.

With your store selected, take a look at all the awesome cards you may find in the Streets of New Capenna Card Image Gallery.

Now it's time to open some of those cards!

Chosen Family

What does a Prerelease Pack for Streets of New Capenna look like? Well, they'll look like one of these:

Obscura Prerelease Pack


As I mentioned earlier, Streets of New Capenna has a Prerelease Pack for each of the five families. Inside, one of your packs will be replaced by a special Family Booster that will help lean your card pool toward playing the family you chose. (Though you don't have to! If you open great Brokers cards in your Cabaretti Prerelease Pack, nobody is going to stop you from becoming a turncoat!)

Let's crack one of these open and see what's inside:

  • 1 Family Booster containing a rare or mythic rare, 3 uncommons, 8 commons, and 2 lands from Streets of New Capenna matching your chosen family, plus 1 traditional foil rare or mythic rare from Streets of New Capenna with a year stamp
  • 5 Streets of New Capenna Draft Boosters
  • 1 20-sided spindown die
  • 1 Reusable deck box with divider
  • 1 MTG Arena code card (where available)

If you want to see me open one up, and learn all the fine details, you can check out my video above!

Front and center are those booster packs. First thing's first: crack them open! Then, you'll have a stack of cards.

So . . . what now?

It's time to build your deck, of course!

Sealed Deck is a little different from normal deck building. You get to build a deck of at least 40 cards using only the cards in front of you, plus as many basic lands as you'd like.

The first thing you're going to want to do is figure out a method to pick which colors you'll be playing. You're going to be playing about 23 nonland cards and 17 lands, so you only need to narrow it down to 23 cards. Because of the three-color elements of the set, and the Family Booster, you can play three colors here—though there's nothing wrong with sticking to two. I wouldn't recommend playing four or five unless you're more experienced (and you open lands and spells that help you do that).

In general, my recommendation with colors in Streets of New Capenna Sealed is to pick two colors as your base colors, and then "splash" the third color of your family. What this means is that the core of your deck (at least 18 cards) will be of those two colors, and then you can play the best of the best of that third color.

The problem with splitting them evenly is that, unless you opened the right kinds of spells and lands, you risk not drawing the right mix—and then being unable to cast anything. This is especially true if you're trying to play things on a curve: if you have a 6 Islands, 6 Mountain, and 5 Swamps, your failure rate is pretty high. It's often a safer bet to just play the removal spells and one or two expensive-to-cast creatures from your splash color. Then you can play three or so lands of that color, and the odds you'll have found the land by the time you need to cast the spell are much higher.

Additionally, if you're playing three colors, you'll really want to play all of your "color fixing." Any land, like a Maestros Theater or Jetmir's Garden, is going to help make things easier on your mana.


The more of those kinds of cards you have, the more you can play three colors. Your sealed pool should have several cards that can help "fix" your mana, so try and play them if you can.

Keep in mind that in a format full of slow three-color decks with lands that enter the battlefield tapped, building a consistent two-color aggressive deck can be plenty powerful. Feel free to take that "turn them sideways" strategy and try to steamroll over people!

Now, all that said, how do you choose your colors anyway? Well, some things that may draw you into specific colors are:

  • A really strong rare you're excited about playing
  • Having plenty of "removal"—cards that can destroy, exile, or keep an opponent's card tapped
  • Opening many cards in that color
  • A good "mana curve" in that color—creatures of different mana values, more on the 2, 3, or 4 end than on the 5 or greater end
  • Several multicolor cards in those colors—cards that have multiple colors are often more powerful than those with just one color

Ideally, the colors you pick will have all four of those features, but if only two or three of those are true, that's plenty good.

Now you have your colors down. From there, how do you take everything you have and figure out which 22–23 cards you're going to want to put in your deck?

Here's one process that may help!

First, lay your creatures out in mana value order. This helps you see what creatures you're going to potentially be able to cast at each part of the game. (Don't lay your noncreature cards out at this point unless they're cards you are planning to play as soon as you have that much mana—for example, you will generally cast a Raffine's Informant on turn two, whereas Refuse to Yield isn't usually a turn-two play.)


A good "mana curve" of creatures is crucial to a successful sealed deck. You don't want to have a ton of cards at any single spot in the curve. It's important for you to have a good mix so you can play your cheap spells in the early game and your expensive spells in the late game. As a very general rule for Limited, I would look to play something like this:

  • 1 mana: 0–2
  • 2 mana: 4–6
  • 3 mana: 3–5
  • 4 mana: 2–4
  • 5 mana 1–3
  • 6+ mana: 0–2

That's far from hard and fast, but it's a good place to start. Cull your creatures down to these numbers by choosing your favorites.

Now that you have your core creature base figured out, it's time to add in spells! Pick your favorites among your colors to bring your deck to 22 or 23 cards, and then you're good to go from the spell side.

The spells you're going to want most are what are called "removal spells." These are the spells that permanently neutralize your opponent's creatures by either dealing damage, keeping them tapped, or just straight up destroying them. Sealed Deck Magic is all about creatures, so you'll want to play most of the cards in your colors that can get rid of your opponent's creatures.

If you want to learn more about mana curves, you can also check out my article on how to build a mana curve.

Interested in more tips? Here are a few more things to keep in mind for deck building:

  • You can play more than 40 cards, but you really should stick to 40 if possible. Every card you play past 40 just means you're less likely to draw that awesome rare you put in your deck!
  • The land ratio you're looking at should be about 17 or 18 lands to 22 or 23 nonlands. This isn't right 100% of the time, but most Limited decks end up looking like this, and, in general, it's what I would want to have.
  • Play a mix of cheap-to-cast and expensive-to-cast cards. If you have all cheap, small creatures, then a single big creature can shut you down. If you have all large, expensive creatures, you risk getting run over first. Stick to a mix that focuses on creatures with a casting cost of two, three, four, and five. More games of Sealed Deck are won by casting a creature every turn, starting on turn two or three, than any other way.
  • Evasion is important! Often, Sealed Deck games will get into stalls where both players have a lot of creatures and neither player can attack very well. Creatures with abilities like flying ensure that you can break through these creature stalls.
  • Unlike most Magic formats, Sealed tends to be a little slower. If your deck is on the slow side, choosing to draw (go second) rather than play (go first) can be reasonable to give you that extra card.

All Dressed Up

People are dressed to the nines in Streets of New Capenna—and so are our cards! We have several cool card treatments for this set. Let me tell you about some of them!

First, there's the golden age showcase treatment, found on all the three-color cards in the set and each with its own art piece. They look like this:


Sometimes they even show up as gilded cards you have to see to believe how beautiful they are.

More of an art deco person? We have you covered, with a handful of cards looking glamorous:


They even can show up as foil-etched cards to boot!

And speaking of planeswalkers, of course we have those in borderless alongside other cards, too, including the new tri-lands!


If you love lands, we have some lands, including those tri-lands, in our skyscraper treatment:


Even basic lands are joining the fun with the metropolis treatment:


And finally, not to be left out from his fellow Phyrexian Praetors, Urabrask appears in Phyrexian here, too!


There's a ton of pretty cards to discover. For a much more comprehensive overview, feel free to check out the Collecting Streets of New Capenna article.

What's in the Box?

While you're at your store to pick up your Prerelease Pack, you can also buy other things like display boxes of Set and Collector Boosters! Be sure to call ahead to preorder one, and while supplies last, you should be able to pick one up.

Streets of New Capenna Set Booster Display


Streets of New Capenna Collector Booster Display


When you grab a box from your local game store, you may also receive one of these Buy-a-Box promos (while supplies last):


Set Mechanics

Casualty? Connive? Blitz? How do they (and the other pieces) of Streets of New Capenna work? Watch these mechanics videos to learn more!

Hitting the Streets

We've wanted to do this world for a while, and I'm so glad we finally brought it to life! I can't wait to see what you think about all of it, and which family ends up the most popular!

But what do you think? If you have any questions at all, feel free to hit me up on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube or even by sending an email to BeyondBasicsMagic@gmail.com. I'd be happy to hear from you!

Have a blast playing, and I look forward to talking with you again soon. And pick whatever family you want, though if you're not sure, might I recommend the Maestros?

Gavin

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