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Streets of New Capenna Pauper Review: Red, Green, Gold, and Colorless

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It's Pauper set review time once more, talking about all the sweet new cards coming out with Streets of New Capenna. As this article drops, prereleases will be starting up and players will finally be able to get their hands on several of the cards for the first time. The set won't release digitally until next week, but hey, that just means more time to chat it up about all the brand new cards! On Wednesday I discussed the first part with the White, Blue, and Black cards as well as a handful of noteworthy cycles. Today, we're talking about all of the rest.

There's a whole ton to talk about so let's dive straight in starting with the Red cards!

Antagonize

Antagonize

It's a bigger Brute Force in Pauper! Well, not really. Two mana over one mana is a real big deal. I imagine some people will look at the bigger and beefier stats - which are a bit unusual in Red - and think this is good. Ultimately, it really isn't, and you're better just playing Lightning Bolt variants instead a lot of the time for a myriad of reasons.

Big Score

Big Score

Four mana is a lot, but a bit of rummaging and coming up with two treasures is actually a pretty solid bargain. This is the kind of card Red-based control decks can definitely take advantage of by enabling card draw while still ending up with spare mana for later. This can be useful if you need to draw into a counterspell or a removal spell, or you can just stockpile it as an end-of-turn play. It's a lot better than it might seem at first glance and I definitely think we'll see this one popping up a decent bit in the future.

Exhibition Magician

Exhibition Magician

Admittedly, we haven't been seeing a ton of treasures in the format until recently, and even then they've largely shown up as a result of Deadly Dispute. That makes cards with treasure tokens a little bit more difficult to evaluate in the grand scheme of things. That said, I don't really think getting a treasure and a small and fragile beater is ever going to be worth three mana, and certainly not if you want another body instead of the treasure. I like what's happening here, but it's just not quite good enough.

Goldhound

Goldhound

This card's small, but there's a lot going on with it. It can be cashed in for mana later, gets in for small points of damage, and is an artifact - which goes a long way in the format nowadays. It's a pretty simple card that does a lot more than it looks like it does at first glance. Definitely a card to watch in the new format.

Mayhem Patrol

Mayhem Patrol

This is, in a way, a one-shot hasty 2/2 that dies right away and draws you a card. It'll likely deal two damage to your opponent or it'll take out a creature or two from your opponent's side. It's not the worst deal for something like Red Deck Wins which already relies on a swath of small hasty creatures like this, but it feels like it's too small for a decent one-shot strike. I'd almost rather have any of the other hasty creatures the deck offers since they actually stick around or just use a Bolt variant that will go where I want it to.

Plasma Jockey

Plasma Jockey

I saw some people excitedly calling this a new Goblin Heelcutter. Unfortunately, Heelcutter this is not. The reason Heelcutter is so good is that you can use its dash ability to repeatedly bring it onto the battlefield and have it evade spells and abilities by going back to your hand. What's more, repeatedly dashing offers bonuses to cards like Foundry Street Denizen. Here you get to use this one time and then your creature dies. You can draw a card, but at the point in the game where you want this effect (remember that Heelcutter was often used to close games out) you'd rather just have the repeated dash of Goblin Heelcutter instead.

Riveteers Initiate

Riveteers Initiate

This isn't a really exciting card, honestly. However, it's rare that we see a deathtouch ability on a pseudo-Mono-Red card, so I feel it's at least worth mentioning. Even if the card doesn't go anywhere - which I doubt it will - seeing this kind of design is notably different, and it wouldn't be surprising if we see this sort of thing revisited in the future on a better card.

Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers

So now we get an aura that makes a creature more evasive, lets it make treasures, and cantrips when the creature dies, and it's just one mana. That's incredibly good. The question becomes where to put it? Bogles doesn't really want this effect. The menace is negligible and a lot of times the treasures will feel irrelevant with how fast the deck usually goes through its resources as is. If this slots anywhere right now, I'd guess it might be in the Mono-Red Kiln Fiend deck that's running around. Making your Kiln Fiends and Festival Crashers more evasive is sweet, and some lists have started running Akroan Crusader which this makes a great target for as well. It feels like a good fit there and I can see it sneaking into other lists strictly for the value it grants when you utilize it. It's really hard to go wrong if this sticks on a creature.

Strangle

Strangle

This is some really bad removal for Pauper when we have access to so much of the great burn and removal spells the game has had to offer us across nearly 30 years. As is, this might be good enough in Arena Pauper, and that's probably it. For your average player's Pauper, though (LGS and MTGO), stay away from this.

Witty Roastmaster

Witty Roastmaster

Impact Tremors shows up once in a Blue moon and this is some redundancy on a creature with fairly solid stats. This is the kind of card that won't necessarily slot as well into something that already exists, but rather can inspire a new deck all its own. These not only trigger other Roastmasters when they enter the battlefield but copies of Impact Tremors as well. Throw some other creatures and/or token makers in the mix and it's not hard to see a stew starting to form. It'll be interesting if this card really has what it takes to make the cut.

Attended Socialite

Attended Socialite

It's an Elvish Vanguard that doesn't only trigger off of elves, but its trigger is only temporary. This is a card that's close to good enough for Stompy, given how a single Nest Invader or some Burning-Tree Emissaries can make this really large really quick. As is usual with Stompy, though, the lists are fairly tight and I'm not sure this will end up making the cut. The swings it can make in a deck like that are gigantic, though, so it may yet find its way into the deck.

Caldaia Strongarm

Caldaia Strongarm

Unlike Girder Goons - which I talked about on Wednesday - four mana doesn't give you a whole ton with this card. The Blitz seems enticing, but pumping a creature once, getting in for two damage, and then drawing a card when this creature dies just isn't that great. The reason the Goons are good is because the initial point swing is so large and then you get an extra body guaranteed. Here, you might not be putting counters on an ideal creature, or you may even need to put them on this and then just have it die. The whole package on this one just doesn't feel great and there are plenty of better ways to pump your board and go for big damage in Green. Stick with those instead.

Capenna Express

Capenna Express

A big, cheap beater that gets crewed off of treasures? That's huge and is a really easy way to get this going in for big damage. Right now, it doesn't feel like we have quite enough to make this work, but it's clear that Wizards is leaning further and further into treasures. Even if this card doesn't make the cut now, it's only a matter of time before we have enough treasure makers that this card ends up being an absolute powerhouse.

Civic Gardener

Civic Gardener

It's not exactly that common where we see abilities that untap lands or creatures like this on a reasonable body. The problem, though, is that it has to attack. If the untap effect was a general tap-to-activate kind of effect, this would be far better. As it is, it's really not that great and simply won't make the cut for the format.

For the Family

For the Family

One-mana pump +4/+4 is really big, and the four or more creatures incentive isn't hard to meet. The problem is that I don't think most decks are really going to want this sort of thing. It's been a very long time now since Groundswell saw any play anywhere and the one deck that actually wants that effect - Infect - doesn't play the critical mass of creatures needed to get the +4/+4 buff out of this. It's a great card that's definitely got the potential, but I simply don't see it finding a home.

Glittermonger

Glittermonger

Glittermonger is a card with a bunch of good and bad to it. This is the first easy way to repeatedly make treasures and is kind of ridiculous on that front alone. It's also an elf and it's a 1/4 - meaning it dodges Lightning Bolts and several other notable pieces of removal. It blocks well and is just an all-around solid card. The problem with it, however, lies in its mana cost. Four mana is a really tall ask, and if you're paying that for this kind of card then you realistically probably don't need all that extra mana from the treasures. This is largely a Commander card but for Pauper that mana cost is just going to be too much of a barrier to it entering the format in any realistic manner.

High-Rise Sawjack

High-Rise Sawjack

This is largely worth mentioning as a large reach elf that goes will kill just about any flier that comes in its path. It's probably arguable that Lys Alana Bowmaster is generally just going to be better - which is a very fair argument to make - but the 3 toughness isn't nothing. I doubt this ultimately makes the cut when Bowmaster, Scattershot Archer, and Spidersilk Armor already exist, but it makes a fine enough budget and/or accessibility option if you need it.

Jewel Thief

Jewel Thief

There sure was a lot of buzz when Jewel Thief got previewed. It's not hard to see why. There is a lot going on with this card. A 3/3 for three mana is already solid stats, but then it gets a couple keywords stapled to it and makes a treasure, meaning it might as well be a two-mana 3/3. It really is all that and a bag of chips! The problem ends up being what kind of deck wants this card.

When most people see this card, their minds will immediately jump to Stompy. However, Stompy almost never wants 3-drops. It's basically been Elephant Guide at that slot and that's it. Even then, the deck can oftentimes have trouble even reaching three mana to cast it, so this card can become a risk to play. The potential's there, but I don't think it'll make the cut, and as such Jewel Thief becomes the typical "close for Stompy, but probably ultimately not good enough" that we see in a lot of sets. I could be wrong, and maybe it does make the cut after all, but I'm very wary given how the deck has tended to play over the years now. If it does see play, I think it's more likely it shows up in something new either soon or later down the road than anything that currently exists in the format.

Most Wanted

Most Wanted

The stats on this aren't entirely the most exciting in the slightest, but it's more about the whole package that's really interesting. You can flash it in to surprise your opponents with a bigger attacker or blocker than they may have expected, set up a trade that nets you treasures, or even put it on an opponent's creature you'll kill in combat anyways to still get the treasures. Basically, it has a decent bit of versatility to it that makes it a solidly interesting option. However, the three-mana cost is a big drain on its playability and makes it an ultimately difficult sell for almost every deck.

Prizefight

Prizefight

An instant speed fight spell that basically costs one mana thanks to the treasure token rebate makes this a lot better than, say, Prey Upon by a lot. It's hard to say if it's better than something like Savage Swipe which pumps your creature as well, but leaving a treasure behind is pretty huge. I'm not sure this makes the cut given how few fight options are out there, but like I mentioned with Fake Your Own Death on Wednesday, Deadly Dispute made a meh effect way better, and this could very well do similar. Keep your eyes on it.

Rhox Pummeler

Rhox Pummeler

A big beater that comes in, smashes your opponent's face, and is hard to kill right out of the gate is a sweet bargain, even at six mana. Still probably far too rich for a format like Pauper, but I've been wrong with cards like this before and I'm going with the never say never sentiment here. It's powerful and hard to deal with. That alone should be making people give it a try.

Social Climber

Social Climber

If you wanted a bigger, more expensive Essence Warden that's also not an elf, here you go I guess. I don't see this making the cut anywhere except in dedicated Soul Sisters type strategies and there's already so many better and cheaper options available that I don't see this ever making the cut at all.

Warm Welcome

Warm Welcome

Look... just stick to Lead the Stampede and Winding Way. You'll be far better off for it. Instant speed and getting a chump blocker just isn't worth the three mana for only taking one card compared to how many relevant cards you'll get out of the other two cards.

Body Dropper

Body Dropper

A repeatable sacrifice outlet is excellent, as is the fact that this gets evasion too. I saw a number of people comparing this to Mortician Beetle to say it's a bit unexciting, and I get that, but the Beetle can't do the sacrificing on its own. Sacrifice decks have always been fringe players in the meta, so cards like this are extremely welcome even if they don't push the deck into truly playable status just yet.

Celestial Regulator

Celestial Regulator

We got Frost Trickster last year, and this is basically the same thing and generally will end up being a bit worse. However, this does have 3 toughness which can actually be a big deal as it helps it block far better than the Trickster does. That alone makes me have a gut feeling that this can end up being more playable than that card ended up, but I'm still not sure it's good enough to be actually playable.

Civil Servant

Civil Servant

This is the first time we've seen citizen creatures come back in quite a while. They've made a few occasional appearances in recent years but usually on rares like War of the Spark's Planewide Celebration. Right now, we don't have the mass of them to really make this a stellar card, but as more sets come out, it's not hard to see this being a lifelinking Watchwolf in a way. That's some pretty solid stats that make me want to keep an eye on this, but if it sees play, it won't be until we get more citizen token makers, which I imagine will come in the near future.

Jetmir's Fixer

Jetmir's Fixer

Repeat pumping is great and the stats here are fairly reasonable. This could make for a decent little mana sink for Gruul aggro decks, but probably nowhere else. Even if does make the cut, it'll be in small doses most likely.

Snooping Newsie

Snooping Newsie

If you're playing a deck that can get a ton of different mana values in the bin - something that shouldn't be too difficult with Dimir colors - then this can easily turn into a two mana 3/3. Even as a 2/2 it's not the worst, and the fact that it mills can be used to your benefit as well. Reanimation decks and delve strategies love that, so it's a pretty solid package overall. Very much see potential with a card like this.

Gilded Pinions

Gilded Pinions

Cobbled Wings was never super great, but this is Cobbled Wings that makes you a treasure as well. Doubling up on artifact tokens like this is a big deal, as we saw with cards like Blood Fountain before, as it can really turn Affinity on hard. What's more, even though its equip activation is more than Cobbled Wings, the fact remains that it makes your already giant beaters able to fly. That's a huge deal and so the whole package may make this good enough to see some play. It won't see many copies, but I could definitely see it show up in some small number all the same.

Halo Scarab

Halo Scarab

A reasonable little creature that can turn into a treasure is pretty solid. It's not the most exciting card, but it attacks for a bit and then becomes a Lotus Petal later? That's good enough for me. I don't think it's quite good enough for play, but treasures are becoming more and more of a big deal that I could see this being better than it looks as well.

Ominous Parcel

Ominous Parcel

This is basically either a slightly expensive Traveler's Amulet or an expensive removal spell. It makes up for the cost in its versatility and that it comes down cheaply, meaning it can work in a variety of decks. Unfortunately, most decks still probably won't want it because there's other things that just do both sides better and most color combos don't necessarily want both in one package. It's a good design, though, and I welcome more effects like this.

Paragon of Modernity

Paragon of Modernity

It's a good evasive beater that gets real big and can get pumped with counters regularly. The problem here is that there aren't exactly a lot of three-color decks in Pauper and the ones that do exist don't really want to play this. I mean, what, you're ultimately paying seven mana to get a 3/3 flier where that power and toughness are most likely to be temporary? Seems like a bad deal to me. Stick with other options instead.


And that wraps it up for yet another round of awesome cards for this set! Streets of New Capenna looks like a sweet set, and while it may not be quite as impactful as the last few releases, that's probably a good thing in the end. There's still lots of sweet things to do and lots to try out. I know I'm definitely looking forward to trying a copy or two of Security Bypass in Bogles myself! With a little over a month until Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate, there's tons of time to try these cards out before we start getting some more serious spice. And shortly after that will be Double Masters 2022 where we'll no doubt have tons of downshifted goodness to discuss. It's a good time to be a Pauper player.

What cards are you most looking to try out from Streets of New Capenna in your Pauper decks?

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: TheMaverickGal

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