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Welcome to our Limited Primer: Sealed & Prerelease Guide. Today we are diving into Streets of New Capenna sealed, getting prepared for the upcoming prerelease weekend as well as the forthcoming sealed events on Magic Arena.

The Streets of New Capenna have brought us five new mechanics and ten archetypes, existing within five multicolor criminal families. These are super flavorful and a ton of fun, however we won’t be detailing them today. If you need to brush up on the set mechanics then check out our Draft Primer: Limited Mechanics article. If you're more interested, however, in the crime families, their underlying themes and associated gold cards, then check out our Draft Primer: Limited Archetypes for those details.

Designed to get you ahead, specifically in the sealed format, the first part of this guide takes you through the differences between sealed and draft and the implications this has on deck building in the format. Next we get into the specifics of the new set, highlighting the biggest bombs and best removal spells before taking a look at the available mana fixing. Finally we examine the card draw on offer and take a look at some potential sideboard cards before taking note of the sweepers in this format. Let’s get into it.

The Differences between Sealed and Draft

A slower format than draft, sealed is typically dominated by game warping bombs. Due to the higher prevalence of rare and mythic rare cards, a sealed player can expect to be playing with and against these powerful cards much more frequently.

This impacts the format in a few ways. Firstly, it means that mana fixing becomes very important, often essential, as players attempt to cram as many bombs as they can into one deck, regardless of the color requirements.

Secondly removal goes up in value since it’s key to be able to interact with your opponent’s bombs. In fact it’s often the correct strategy to hold removal in hand, waiting for a bomb to drop, rather than firing it off on a less serious threat.

Finally, due to the power level of the cards but also thanks to the slower speed of the format, card advantage goes up in value when compared to draft. With a higher chance of drawing into a bomb and a little more breathing room in which to do it, casting draw spells becomes a higher value proposition.

The Biggest Bombs in Streets of New Capenna Sealed

Given how important Bombs are to the sealed format in general, it seems sensible to kick off this guide with a discussion of the most powerful cards available in Streets of New Capenna.

Please note that, whilst the top sealed bombs and top draft bombs will have a lot of overlap, they won’t be exactly the same. Being able to hand pick cards means that build around effects are intrinsically more powerful in draft than in sealed. Additionally, the slower nature of sealed allows very high mana cost cards to be more competitive in this format.

So in no particular order, here we have the seven biggest sealed bombs of Streets of New Capenna.

vivien-on-the-hunt MTG Card

First up, Vivien on the Hunt is clearly in the running for most powerful card in the set. Lack of an ultimate isn’t going to hold this planeswalker back, as her -1 loyalty ability creates 4/4 bodies. Frankly, if that’s all this card did, it would still be a powerhouse, however her +1 is also extremely strong, capable of drawing you a fistfull of cards. Whilst, Vivien’s +2 is likely better in constructed than in limited, it’s not something to be ignored and could potentially reward players who have a second bomb to search up.

sanctuary-warden MTG Card

With two shield counters, Sanctuary Warden is a 5/5 flier that’s almost impossible to kill. On top of that it’s capable of drawing you cards and creating additional bodies, talk about powerful. Of course this card is at its best in a deck with lots of counters but even in sealed we should be able to trade some in for a card or two.

all-seeing-arbiter MTG Card

Although All-Seeing Arbiter lacks the shield counters of the Sanctuary Warden, it’s able to draw cards without the same constraint. Whilst its last ability might seem like trinket text at first glance, it can really swing a race in your favor by effectively neutralizing your opponent’s biggest threat.

titan-of-industry MTG Card

Whilst getting to seven mana can be tricky in draft, in sealed it’s a lot more attainable. Titan of Industry is a 7/7 body with reach, trample and an insanely powerful ETB. Being able to choose two of the four options means that this card will never struggle to stabilize your board or help you pull ahead when at parity. The value inherent in this card is incredible and the flexibility of the ETB means that you will be able to dominate almost any boardstate after casting this.

lord-xander-the-collector MTG Card

Even though Lord Xander, the Collector’s ETB won’t usually nab a card, don’t let that fool you into thinking this is anything but busted. Threatening to mill the opponent out pretty quickly, if left unchecked, this 6/6 will also decimate their board when it dies. Either way, things will be looking pretty rough for any player on the wrong end of this card.

workshop-warchief MTG Card

The only non-mythic card on this list, Workshop Warchief could be described as a mini Titan of Industry. This doesn’t mean it’s a less desirable card, however, as a five drop is so much easier to cast. Sure, you only get the second body when the first one dies but the sheer amount of stats you get for five mana is off the charts.

elspeth-resplendent MTG Card

Finally we have Elspeth Resplendent. Starting with 5 loyalty, Elspeth could potentially activate her game winning ultimate within three turns. Able to throw counters around, she should be able to protect herself and stabilize a game by providing flying, first strike, vigilance or lifelink as needed. Be warned however that her -3 loyalty ability is less powerful in sealed than in draft. With the high curve of an average sealed deck, there’s a chance that this ability will miss and using it could be risky depending on your deck composition.

Dual lands and Other Fixing

Assuming you’ve opened some powerful cards in your pool, ideally some of the mythic rares detailed above, the burning question is - will you even be able to play them? With the right fixing you can splash cards from any color, ensuring that your bombs don’t get left on the sideline.

botanical-plaza MTG Card racers-ring MTG Card skybridge-towers MTG Card tramway-station MTG Card waterfront-district MTG Card

The first three color set in sometime, unsurprisingly fixing lies aplenty on the streets of new capenna. Firstly we’ve been granted a half-cycle of dual lands at common, in each of the five allied colors pairs. An excellent way to fix your mana early, even in a two color deck, being able to sacrifice these to draw a card makes them really powerful.

cabaretti-courtyard MTG Card maestros-theater MTG Card obscura-storefront MTG Card riveteers-overlook MTG Card brokers-hideout MTG Card

Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, is the half-cycle of three color search lands also available at common. There’s one of these for each crime family, allowing you to search up any one of the three basic land types in that shard.

glamorous-outlaw MTG Card masked-bandits MTG Card rakish-revelers MTG Card shattered-seraph MTG Card spara-s-adjudicators MTG Card

In addition to this, there’s also a cycle of mana fixing common creatures, one for each family. These all have the same effect, which allows you to exile the creature for two colorless mana. Whilst the creature remains exiled this way, a land of your choice is able to tap for any of the family's colors.

ominous-parcel MTG Card

As if that weren't enough, throughout the set there are numerous ways in which to create treasure tokens, mostly centered in red and green, and plenty of colorless fixing too. Take a look at Ominous Parcel, which not only provides fixing when needed but can act as a removal spell later.

The Top Removal Spells (and Ones to Avoid)

One thing you can expect, when playing sealed, is to be facing powerful cards on the other side of the battlefield. Having ways to deal with these bombs is crucial and, as such, removal goes way up in value. The most premium removal spells are those which can deal with any threat.

murder MTG Card

Although Murder can’t deal with planeswalkers, it could be the most premium common in the set and certainly one to hope for in your sealed pool. Capable of destroying any creature, baring shield counters that is, murder is the perfect instant speed answer to almost any threat.

strangle MTG Card

Not quite Lightning Bolt but oh so close, Strangle is red’s premium common removal spell. Since around 70% of creatures in the set have toughness three or less, you can see that this card is not only effective but hyper efficient as well.

ready-to-rumble MTG Card

Ready to Rumble won’t be a high pick in draft, however this type of effect becomes considerably more desirable in a game of sealed. Capable of destroying most creatures or planeswalkers, this card provides real insurance against opposing bombs.

grisly-sigil MTG Card

At first glance Grisly Sigil might look too fussy to be really good. However, please note that copying the spell enables the original, allowing it to deal four damage (and gain you four life). Be careful however, using this card against creatures with shield counters. As the copy will be countered, the original will not be enabled and will only deal 1 damage.

deal-gone-bad MTG Card

Although it might seem inefficient at four mana, Deal Gone Bad, is actually an excellent way of dealing with shield counters, which can’t save creatures from this type of effect. Just remember to point the mill at yourself, in this set milling your opponent is like giving them a free gift.

It should be strikingly obvious at this point, that all the premium removal offerings are in black or red. This isn’t unusual and, whilst the other colors do have options, they are a little lower down in the power rankings.

buy-your-silence MTG Card

Buy Your Silence is white’s best option. Yes, giving your opponent a treasure is clearly a downside, especially in a multicolor set, however the ability to exile any nonland permanent is too good to pass up. Running multiples of these in a sealed deck wouldn’t be a mistake.

hold-for-ransom MTG Card witness-protection MTG Card

Unfortunately white and blue are otherwise not well served with removal spells. Pacifism effects such as Hold for Ransom and Witness Protection will be worse than usual, due to the casualty mechanic, which may allow your opponent to sacrifice their own creature for value. In addition to that, there are a couple of bounce effects in blue which will simply embarrass these cards further.

disdainful-stroke MTG Card make-disappear MTG Card

What blue does do well, however, is counter magic and this set is no exception. With the value of counterspells also going up in value in sealed, for the same reason as removal, blue players will be pleased to see two playable options. Often thought of as a sideboard card, Disdainful Stroke is perfectly main-deckable in sealed where large threats abound. Make Disappear is another solid option, able to counter most spells early in the game, even without casualty, this will also deal with important threats later on.

prizefight MTG Card bouncer-s-beatdown MTG Card

Green’s only removal option at common is Prizefight. Unfortunately fight spells which don’t bump power or toughness just don’t make the grade in modern limited environments and executing this effect successfully can be trickier than you might think. A much better option is Bouncer's Beatdown at uncommon which has the added benefit of exiling a creature it destroys.

How to Gain Card Advantage in Long Games

Since many games of sealed come down to top decking, having access to some card advantage can help you pull ahead in a long game. With the connive mechanic available in white, blue and black, looting away excess lands in exchange for fresh cards should be fairly easy in those colors.

case-the-joint MTG Card demon-s-due MTG Card

Additionally Case the Joint and Demon's Due at common can keep the gas flowing.

big-score MTG Card rob-the-archives MTG Card

Red is lucky to have a couple of options, such as Big Score which allows you to loot and Rob the Archives which can be copied with casualty. Bear in mind here, however, that the exiled cards can only be played this turn so you will require a lot of open mana in order to make good with this card.

warm-welcome MTG Card

Whilst green doesn’t typically get raw card draw, Warm Welcome is a reasonable way to draw towards a bomb in a creature heavy deck.

Where Are All The Sideboard Cards?

With games at pre-release being played best of three, having access to relevant sideboard cards can really swing a match in your favor. That said, Streets of New Capenna has far fewer sideboard only cards than most sets. This space is instead largely taken up by two cycles of uncommons.

knockout-blow MTG Card out-of-the-way MTG Card whack MTG Card torch-breath MTG Card bouncer-s-beatdown MTG Card

The first of these is a powerful cycle of color hosers. Whilst these may become constructed sideboard cards, they are all strong enough to main-deck in limited where cost efficiency is less important.

brokers-charm MTG Card obscura-charm MTG Card maestros-charm MTG Card riveteers-charm MTG Card cabaretti-charm MTG Card

The second cycle of cards, the Charms, also make some of the sideboarding space redundant given that they provide a high degree of modality. Riveteers Charm for example can exile the graveyard whereas Brokers Charm can destroy an enchantment. All of these cards are very strong, due to the flexibility they offer rather than an extreme power level of the individual effects.

broken-wings MTG Card

Reprinted once again, Broken Wings is a classic green sideboard card. Able to take care of any pesky artifacts, enchantments or fliers, we still prefer a handful of targets for this before bringing it in.

Board Wipes to Watch Out For

Finally we want to take a quick look at the sweepers available in this set. Following on from Kamigawa Neon Dynasty, which had very few such effects, it’s important to note that Streets of New Capenna is chock full of board wipes. Luckily these are all rare, barring one mini sweeper, however we counted five cards with the potential to wrath the board. As such, if your opponent starts passing the turn and refuses to commit to the board, then one of these devastating spells might be lurking around the corner.

structural-assault MTG Card

The first of these potential sweepers is Structural Assault. Whilst no doubt a powerful effect, this will be difficult to make work in limited where controlling the number of artifacts on the board may not be easy. Exceptions to this might be in a red / green treasure matters deck or as a sideboard card against such a deck.

corpse-explosion MTG Card

An easier card to take advantage of, Corpse Explosion provides a similarly flexible effect but with a much more manageable condition. Between blitz and casualty, it won’t be difficult to get a creature card in the graveyard in these colors and the option to tailor the scale of the damage makes this card very powerful.

incandescent-aria MTG Card hostile-takeover MTG Card

Incandescent Aria and Hostile Takeover are both cards which deal three damage to each creature. However the Takeover has the ability to save your own most important creature whilst ensuring you destroy your opponent’s strongest threat. This effect is easily worth the extra mana however, we’d be happy with either in our sealed pool.

depopulate MTG Card

Of all of these sweepers, Depopulate is the one that’s closest to being a true Wrath of God. An extremely powerful effect at four mana, this does have the slight downside of letting each player draw a card, if they control a multicolored creature. Given the three color nature of this set this is highly likely to mean both players draw a card, which does reduce its power level just a little.

night-clubber MTG Card

The only mini sweeper effect in the set is Night Clubber and, although it’s one sided, it’s as mini as they come. Whilst -1/-1 might not seem like much, it’s worth bearing in mind that 2/1 is a fairly common statline in this format. Additionally this effect isn’t negated by shield counters, which can be tough to deal with otherwise.

Dave ‘Angri’ Warner

Angri started playing Magic The Gathering during the Ice Age expansion. Proud to have collected a full set of 4th Edition, he was horrified to discover that, whilst he was away at college, his mom had donated his cards to a thrift store! With two mathematics degrees safely under his belt, Angri turned his attention to the world of online poker. Following a 10 year stint as a professional poker player, he finally returned to the glorious game of his youth. When not found playing or writing about MTG, he enjoys hanging out with his small family or riding an electric bike around the polluted English city he calls home.

eagle butler MTG pic elspeth running MTG pic lion-lady MTG pic