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Streets of New Capenna Limited Set Review: Black and Red


Welcome back for day two of the Streets of New Capenna Limited Set Review! Today we will be looking at Black and Red, the two removal colors. A card's power level is often based on how it lines up with the set's removal, so today is the day we get to see if shield tokens are actually good and how much having 3 vs 4 toughness affects the format. Here we go!

This article is the second of four, and in it I will be evaluating every Black and Red card - scoring them on a scale of 1-5. These ratings are purely based on Limited formats and have no bearing on Constructed play. I would also like to note these ratings are based on how I believe the card will perform in an AVERAGE Sealed or Draft deck. Often this means a lower score for cards with great potential in a highly synergistic deck.

Rating - Explanation

1- Ideally not making the cut in any of my Limited decks.

2- Not good, but a necessity for curve filling and smoothing out draws.

3- Value cards I am happy to fill my deck with.

4- Cards to get excited about and Premium Removal.

5- Reserved for cards that will win the game if left unanswered.


Angel of Suffering
Angel of Suffering - 4 - Angel of Suffering is an interesting creature in Limited. Getting to mill cards rather than pay life will help when behind on life, but late in the game, be careful because 8-10 damage could just be your whole deck. At the end of the day this is still a 5-power flier for 5 mana and it will end games quickly if the opponent does not have an answer for it.
Body Launderer
Body Launderer - 4 - The card advantage offered by Body Launderer is amazing. It takes a few turns to really get going, but this is still a game winning card.
Cemetery Tampering
Cemetery Tampering - 1 - Self-mill is a theme in Limited from time to time, but this is definitely not what is happening here. I expect this to see 0 play in Limited.
Corrupt Court Official
Corrupt Court Official - 2.5 - Two-mana creatures that force the opponent to discard a card have proven to be great in Limited. With casualty in the format, any small creature that leaves a lasting impact is great to have access too.
Crooked Custodian
Crooked Custodian - 2.5 - Coming into play tapped is not a massive downside when the stats are above rate. There will be some games where you really need a blocker and top deck Crooked Custodian, but there will be lots of games where the deck curves out and kills people too.
Cut of the Profits
Cut of the Profits - 3 - Card draw is always worth playing. Given that this can be cast for anything I am not likely to use the casualty ability very often, but it's a nice bonus to have access to with blitz the cards in the format.
Cutthroat Contender
Cutthroat Contender - 1.5 - There are definitely decks that want 1-drops, but the average deck will find Cutthroat Contender to be too low impact to be worth playing.
Deal Gone Bad
Deal Gone Bad - 3.5 - The removal seems to be weaker in this set than we have seen from the last few sets, but this is still worth playing. Though it only gives -3/-3 it is still at instant speed, and the set as a whole does not seem to have a lot of large creatures. There is also a fair amount of upside against shield counters. Overall, this is a decent removal spell and will see a lot of play.
Demon's Due
Demon's Due - 3 - Instant speed removal is by far my favorite type of spell to have access to. Getting to hold open counter magic or removal is a nice option without ever needing to waste a turn if you don't need it. The scry here is a nice bonus we typically don't see as well.
Dig Up the Body
Dig Up the Body - 2 - Most sets have a three-mana, return two creatures to your hand, card, so I have no idea why they decided to make this one so much worse... With a few 1/1 token generators this might be playable, but I am never happy about it.
Dusk Mangler
Dusk Mangler - 2.5 - I love that Dusk Mangler does so much when it enters the battlefield. It is flexible when cast and works well with cards like Fake Your Own Death and Graveyard Shift.
Extract the Truth
Extract the Truth - 1.5 - Cards that can look at an opponent's hand and remove cards are often not worth playing in Limited. When drawn late in the game they can be dead cards, and only hitting creatures means you will often not even be getting the best spell out of their hand.
Fake Your Own Death
Fake Your Own Death - 2 - We see a Black combat trick similar to this in every set. The power level is always mediocre but fine to play when short on playables.
Girder Goons
Girder Goons - 3 - Casting this Girder Goons for the full 5 mana is a decent rate when you consider the extra creature it leaves behind. Getting to cast it for the blitz ability when needed is a nice bonus as well. Flexible cards are always worth playing.
Graveyard Shift
Graveyard Shift - 3 - The power level of reanimator effects are always based on the quality of creatures the deck has. The more high value creatures you have the more likely you are to play this card.
Grisly Sigil
Grisly Sigil - 2 - There are a surprising number of 1/1 tokens and X/1 creatures in the format. This is playable as a 23rd card when short on removal. Ideally you will be able to find better.
Illicit Shipment
Illicit Shipment - 1.5 - I can think of very few cards I am willing to pay an extra 5 mana to cast. You also risk drawing this after the bomb itself making this a mostly dead card. Tutor effects are rarely worth playing in Limited.
Incriminate - 2 - The more I read the card the more I don't like it. If an opponent has only one creature this is a dead card... if they have a massive dragon and a mouse token you get to kill a mouse token.
Join the Maestros
Join the Maestros - 2.5 - When I got Join the Maestros for a preview card I was a little disappointed because I thought it would not see much play, but as I look at the set as a whole it is looking better and better. I have come to realize that with the number of tokens and blitz creatures in the format this will likely offer a decent rate. Nothing exciting, but certainly playable.
Maestros Initiate
Maestros Initiate - 2.5 - Though this creature is slightly below rate I still like it a fair amount. Getting a built in Catalog is a great perk for any creature.
Midnight Assassin
Midnight Assassin - 2.5 - Deathtouch on flying creatures always seems a bit silly to me. Why would I want to pay extra for an evasive creature to throw it under a large bus...? Either way it's a decent creature. I don't have to like it.
Murder - 4 - Murder is a reprint we have seen several times. It was always good then and I fully expect it to be a removal all-star once again.
Night Clubber
Night Clubber - 3 - A three-mana 2/2 needs a relevant ability to be good and this one has it. -1/-1 across the board to your opponents' creatures can be used precombat to knock off tokens and X/1s or after combat to finish things off.
Raffine's Silencer
Raffine's Silencer - 2 - A creature that ETBs with a chance to kill a creature would often get a higher rating but the power level on this is just too low. To get a real target you need to discard a spell with the connive and then you may not really be generating card advantage, leaving you with an overpriced 2/2. Playable, but not exciting.
Revel Ruiner
Revel Ruiner - 2.5 - Menace is a useful ability, particularly on creatures with high power/low toughness as it helps to mitigate their weakness of often trading down otherwise. Conniving on ETB is a nice bonus.
Rogues' Gallery
Rogues' Gallery - 3 - This is the Raise Dead effect I want to be playing in this format. The tri-color focus of the set means that it will be easy to create scenarios where this is a 3-for-1 and not unheard of to be able to hit a 4th creature with hybrid mana or splashing due to the abundant fixing in the format.
Sanguine Spy
Sanguine Spy - 4 - Always happy with a 3 mana 2/3 with two relevant keywords, the extra abilities on this card push it up the ratings. You won't often be looking to use the sacrifice ability but it can be nice when chumping or in response to removal, and it fuels the second ability to let you start refilling your hand.
Shadow of Mortality
Shadow of Mortality - 2.5 - Shadow of Mortality is a tough card to evaluate. If you are low on life this is a great creature to play, but it might be too late to matter at that point. This is likely a fine creature in the mid to late game when there is a board stall. If you are winning or losing badly this really doesn't do much.
Shakedown Heavy
Shakedown Heavy - 4 - Everything about Shakedown Heavy is great. Three-mana creatures that are well-above rate and offer card advantage is a great addition to any deck. Though this is easy to kill it can certainly win games very quickly.
Tavern Swindler
Tavern Swindler - 2 - Tavern Swindler has been printed a few times and its power level has always had a wide range. Heavy life gain sets love this bear with upside, however, Streets of New Capenna is not one of those sets. This is a reasonable 2-drop when looking for filler and has some upside with Vampire Scrivener.
Tenacious Underdog
Tenacious Underdog - 3.5 - Solid aggressive creatures that also offer card advantage are always a wonderful addition to any deck. Tenacious Underdog also makes a great casualty target.
Vampire Scrivener
Vampire Scrivener - 1 / 3.5 - 5 mana is not something I am willing to pay for a 2/2 flier. With some life gain or loss synergy this becomes a lot more playable. Cards like Tenacious Underdog, Inspiring Overseer, and even Tavern Swindler make Vampire Scrivener a lot more exciting!
Whack - 3.5 - Similar to Deal Gone Bad, Whack kills creatures with shield counters on them. Whack is a sorcery but it also removes slightly larger creatures and will sometimes be given a discount to cast. Overall, this is a solid removal spell.

Top 3 Black Commons:

  1. Murder
  2. Deal Gone Bad
  3. Girder Goons


Antagonize - 2 - This is a lot of stats for only 2 mana. Sadly, this doesn't have trample like Run Amok. The most aggressive decks will be happy to run one or two of these, but I do think it is just worse than Run Amok.
Arcane Bombardment
Arcane Bombardment - 1 / 3 - The token weird expensive mythic Red enchantment of the set. This will be unplayable in the vast majority of decks...but there might just be a Maestros deck out there with enough good removal and card draw where this is worth it. It needs a lot of work but there is a huge ceiling with this card.
Big Score
Big Score - 2.5 - A slightly easier to cast Unexpected Windfall is great. With all the treasure synergy in the format this will likely see a fair amount of play. Getting to replace extra land late in the game with fresh cards can be huge.
Call in a Professional
Call in a Professional - 4 - 3-damage removal spells are very common in red. This one is 1 mana more than we typically see, but it is still very playable and has some great upside when it gets around shield counters.
Daring Escape
Daring Escape - 1 - The ability is fine for 1 mana, but it is just too low impact for me to put in most decks. Against other creature heavy decks this will be worth bringing in from the sideboard.
Devilish Valet
Devilish Valet - 2.5 - Devilish Valet will be an aggressive game ender in some decks, and a curve filler in others. The more creatures you can create the better. If the deck can make any creatures at instant speed this card becomes absolutely nuts.
Exhibition Magician
Exhibition Magician - 3 - I love everything about Exhibition Magician. When you need ramp and fixing it gives it to you, and when you need more creatures for a wider board it gives it to you. This is a beautiful curve filler that offers a ton of flexibility.
Glittering Stockpile
Glittering Stockpile - 1 - To be perfectly honest I cannot think of a deck in Limited where I would want this card. Most cards, even the worst ones, have value in specific situations... But not this one. Likely the most unplayable card in the set.
Goldhound - 2 - As far as 1-drops go, Goldhound has a lot to offer. Two key words and a bonus ability is a lot for only 1 mana. Decent in any aggro deck but nothing to get excited about.
Hoard Hauler
Hoard Hauler - 3.5 - The vehicles seem to be getting better in each set. What's not to love here? This massive vehicle is above rate and helps enable all of the treasure synergies in the format in addition to the typical ramp and fixing. Definitely 1st pickable.
Involuntary Employment
Involuntary Employment - 2 - Might still be traumatized from the DnD set but I think Involuntary Employment will be more playable than cards like it in other sets. With so much casualty and sacrifice outlets in Rakdos this might be a viable strategy again.
Jackhammer - 1.5 - Both the casting and equip costs are reasonable, but Jackhammer simply does not do enough to make it worth playing in most decks. There might be a creature heavy token deck that will find a home for this.
Jaxis, the Troublemaker
Jaxis, the Troublemaker - 4 - Jaxis will win games if left unchecked as long as you have something else to target. Pitching a card to get a blitz copy of your best other creature that gives you a card back at end of turn for only 1 mana is very powerful...and it even comes with blitz itself for a little added flexibility, even if it won't get blitzed often.
Light 'Em Up
Light 'Em Up - 2 - After so many sets of getting different versions of Shock+ I am truly disappointed. There will be times where you want to cast it twice and can kill off a creature to do it... Whoo... Hopefully you can find better removal.
Mayhem Patrol
Mayhem Patrol - 2 - Attacks as a slightly better bear, but blocks worse. The blitz flexibility is a nice bonus. Playable curve filler.
Plasma Jockey
Plasma Jockey - 2.5 - Plasma Jockey might not look like much, but when I think back to Goblin Heelcutter I am reminded of just how good this ability can be. This wont be an all-star, but it will likely be playable.
Professional Face-Breaker
Professional Face-Breaker - 4.5 - Professional Face-Breaker is amazing. I love everything about this card. The abilities are great and the name is even better. This is insanely powerful for only 3 mana.
Pugnacious Pugilist
Pugnacious Pugilist - 3.5 - As far as 5-drops go this one packs a punch! Thank you! I'll be here all week! In all seriousness Pugnacious Pugilist is a great top end card that will give a ton of impactful creatures for any of your Rakdos and casualty needs.
Pyre-Sledge Arsonist
Pyre-Sledge Arsonist - 1 / 3.5 - Unplayable outside of decks with a decent number of treasures... but there are a lot of treasures in this set. It will not be hard in heavy treasure decks to sacrifice 3 treasures, shoot something for 3, and still play a 2-drop.
Ready to Rumble
Ready to Rumble - 2.5 - 5 mana deal 5 damage is a common removal spell in most sets. The upside here of getting to also kill an artifact is actually really nice with the number of vehicles in the format.
Riveteers Initiate
Riveteers Initiate - 3 - Riveteers Initiate has a lot going for it. This 2/2 for 2 mana is a relevant creature type and can trade up with anything. This will definitely see a lot of play in Limited.
Riveteers Requisitioner
Riveteers Requisitioner - 3 - One of those creatures that you just don't feel good about trading with unless you can snipe it with a 1/1. A treasure doesn't seem like much but leaving them a chance to ramp early just feels bad. This will be a free 3 damage early for the blitz cost if you are in the market for that as nobody will want to trade with this and give you a 2-for-1 plus a treasure.
Rob the Archives
Rob the Archives - 2 - Without something to sacrifice this is just a strictly worse Reckless Impulse. If you can sacrifice something, then you get a slightly better version of the card... but at a cost that will often be too high. Playable but not much more than a 23rd card.
Sizzling Soloist
Sizzling Soloist - 2 - If you have a few ways of making multiple creatures with one card like Exhibition Magician then this card goes up in value. Often stopping one thing from blocking doesn't give you good enough attacks but stopping two things and making the second one attack into you the next turn can let you eat a creature. A little too inconsistent and pricey but it can be good in the right deck.
Sticky Fingers
Sticky Fingers - 2.5 - Auras are always risky as they invite 2-for-1s but at least if this resolves, it has a good chance of replacing itself. Still vulnerable to bounce or exile effects, but it is cheap and can help fix your mana with a few treasures.
Strangle - 4 - Give us Lightning Bolt! No. Ok, how about Lightning Bolt but sorcery speed? Nope, still too strong. Fine... it also can't hit players? Deal, you can have that... and it's still great.
Structural Assault
Structural Assault - 1 - With enough Treasure tokens on board this can be a board wipe, but it requires a ton of work for it to be viable and will be dead most of the time. Not reliable enough to see any Limited play.
Torch Breath
Torch Breath - 4 - Heat Ray is always a great Limited card and in the rare times it comes up, this can hit Planeswalkers as well. Not the most mana efficient, but this is outweighed by its ability to scale up in the late game and occasionally, get a discount if you're hitting something Blue (easier to do in a three-color set than most).
Unlucky Witness
Unlucky Witness - 2.5 - 1-drops often don't make the cut but this one replaces itself with some choice and is a relevant creature type. Also being in a color that is part of the sacrifice color pair makes this worth playing.
Urabrask, Heretic Praetor
Urabrask, Heretic Praetor - 4.5 - A personal Howling Mine is great. One stapled to a solidly costed threat - better. One that also messes with your opponents' draw step... even better. Only reason this isn't a 5 is that it can be answered with no lasting effect...but if you get to untap with it....
Widespread Thieving
Widespread Thieving - 1 - The Red entry in this cycle of Hideaway enchantments is disappointing. Getting Treasures is nice but if you're already casting multicolored spells you at least have two colors of mana already. This just doesn't do enough to justify a card.
Witty Roastmaster
Witty Roastmaster - 3 - We see a card like this in Red in many sets. Slightly overcosted for its stats, no keywords, and a new ability from the set that pings an opponent when it triggers. This one is better than most as Alliance seems to be an ability that is easier to rack up triggers than some of the ones we've seen in the past.
Wrecking Crew
Wrecking Crew - 3 - I wish this card had haste just so saying that it came in like a wrecking ball would be more flavor-appropriate... but it hits hard enough to do so. This is the lead candidate for "sneaky reach" in the format and will definitely eat some opponents' fliers that don't quite realize this guy can block them.

Top 3 Red Commons:

  1. Strangle
  2. Call in a Professional
  3. Exhibition Magician

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