New Capenna Commander – Banger or Clanger?

close up photo of brass bells

Hey Magic people! This is the final installment of my reviews for Streets of New Capenna.

The others are Commons and Uncommons, Main Set Rares, and Main Set Mythics. Check em out!

If you’ve read those, you know how I feel about Bangers vs. Clangers. I am on the side of Bangers. Bangers bang. Like a fireworks display. Clangers clang. Like an alarm clock.

As always, I’m coming at this mostly as a Casual Commander player. And these are the Commander cards, so a lot of these cards should be right in my wheelhouse. Where I keep my wheels. Let’s get to the cards!

Hover over the card names for an image of the card!


  • Anhelo, the PainterBanger – While there’s no specific cards that spring to mind when I read this, I think that’s a positive. I think more about the broad synergies it could enable. Copying spells and sacrifice are both abilities that could be exploited for all sorts of value, especially together. Anhelo feels like the glue that could hold some wicked engines together. Finding a way to get a recurring 2 power creature is a good start. Dawn of the Dead is a favourite of mine, because the creature is only exiled at end of turn, not if it dies. Anhelo’s cost is good, and the body is efficient with deathtouch. Lots to like here.
  • Bennie Bracks, ZoologistClanger – There’s something odd about the types. Elf Druid just seems… out of place. Considering how Zootopia this set is, I feel like Bennie isn’t… animal enough. I keep wanting it to be Dr. Julius Jumblemorph. In theory, Bennie provides easy card advantage providing you make tokens, and can be recast reliably if you keep your board full. There are big drawbacks here for Bennie as a Commander, including the whole ‘mono white’ business. Bennie is also going to struggle after boardwipes, because getting him back is best enabled by a board full of creatures and not white’s usually weak manabase. The biggest issue is perhaps that white’s best token makers (not all, but most) make humanoid tokens. Angels, Soldiers, Humans, Knights, Kor, Citizens, etc. There are some Felidar and Cat options, but not enough, making Bennie more of an Anthropologist apologist than a Zoologist. Probably great in a lot of 99s.
  • Henzie “Toolbox” TorreBanger – While I’m not sure Henzie is that powerful, it immediately makes me wonder which creatures are best as Blitzers. I do love a possible Commander that makes me want to do a deep dive through old cards. They have to cost 4 or more, or have the ability themselves, but they can be reduced slightly by recasting Henzie a few times. That makes sense as a game-long bonus, but not something that could be exploited easily. Henzie’s deck would have to generate a lot of mana to keep pushing out 4+ drops regardless, and while it’s in good colours to do so, it might not be able to keep up unless the creatures it plays make a huge impact. Having creatures with big ETBs and lots of recursion is the place I’d start. Grave Titan makes tons of sense as it will get 2 triggers. Blitz Titans? Sounds like a post-apocalyptic football team. Could be very cool.
  • Kamiz, Obscura OculusClanger – While this reminds me a lot of Raffine, Scheming Seer, it feels like a weaker version overall. Kamiz can give itself evasion, while Raffine already has it. Raffine’s Connive effect goes wider. Raffine is a better blocker (as a flyer) and costs less. Sphinx Demon is slightly better than Cephalid Rogue, though Rogue is rising. The double strike aspect is interesting, but the ‘lower power’ part of that is really restrictive. Just play Raffine and maybe put Kamiz in the 99. Maybe. This would be ideal as a Commander because it needs specific support. Battlebox?
  • Kitt Kanto, Mayhem DivaClanger – Unless you’re winning the game with a single Goad each turn, the big reason to play Kitt Kanto is making that all-important Citizen token. I get what they’re going for: siren-like diva comes with established audience, I just think it’s weak. While Goad is strong, you’re not getting enough impact (1 targetable creature) and removing 2 possible blockers of your own in the process. How many times per turn cycle is that going to work without tons of tokens? Synergy with Halo Fountain is a big plus, but not enough to save this card. Could be fun for some 99s, and is probably great in Cube/Battlebox.
  • Kros, Defense ContractorClanger – This should be great, with both Goad and new cool kid ability Shield counters. But in practice, this seems like it will struggle. The Shield ability is slow, and there aren’t enough great ways to put other counters on opposing creatures without hurting them to the point where the Goad ability is useless. Generous Patron of course is the major exception. No black or red means some of the best -1/-1 counter cards are out. While you could argue that this is political Goad, my experience tells me that targeting the Goading player with whatever’s not Goaded happens a lot. Goad suffers against Haste, activated abilities, and stuff that keeps creatures tapped. Plus, Commander hinges a lot on big swings, untargetable threats, and triggered ‘engine’ abilities. This card wants to play control but doesn’t deal with the stuff that needs a Defense Contractor most.
  • Parnesse, the Subtle BrushClanger – Another card with very appealing text that I think will struggle. While it seems like you’ll drain opponents with the first ability and present them with a non-stop array of painful choices, there isn’t an endless supply of targeted spells and effects around thanks the constant presence of Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots, and an opponent can simply eat some life to push though the ones that matter. The second effect is potentially strong, but opponents can choose whether or not to make the copy, so you can’t use it to kill them with Pact of the Titan. It has to be diplomatic on some level. It also takes enough setup that I question the reliability of any payoff. And Parnesse itself costs 5 to get going without green mana to help get it down early.
  • Perrie, the PulverizerClanger – Rhino smash! If your plan is to make a big Rhino and have it survive a single combat phase or boardwipe, Perrie’s your Rhino. Otherwise this looks pretty tough to make work. Perrie has to attack, and needs support from different kinds of counters on your permanents, to be anything much. The payoff is a slightly larger trampler, which kind of has to be Perrie, because he’s a 3/3 otherwise, and only generates the one shield counter. Perrie seems really easy to deal with, like the comic book Rhino is for Spiderman. Maybe that’s the point. Perrie could be a solid 99er, and would look good doing smashing duties for Rafiq of the Many.
  • Phabine, Boss’s ConfidantBanger – This card is very interesting. It produces tokens and card advantage at a very good rate, and plays a diplomatic game. Opponents have to decide if bothering you is worth giving up the extra cards. You might be their best permanent. Being in green makes getting the 6 mana to play attainable, and even recast if it’s destroyed. That’s a possibility. You’re going to either be aggressive with your Citizens, or amass them, and the haste ability is just one big token generating spell away from an alpha strike. Other players will notice this, and unless you’re planning a crazy ambush, might be drawing the extra cards needed to stop you.
  • The Beamtown BulliesBanger – The internet is already abuzz with the possibullyties. Cards like Bronze Bombshell and Boldwyr Heavyweights have spiked. Eater of Days is the one that could end friendships. That sucks, because the Bullies could be a sweet, but not oppressive, new way to play the game. It’s still sweet, but I’m already rolling my eyes at ‘lock pieces’ and crap like that. Hopefully all of the builders err on the side of fun with this one. The potential is very much there.
  • Threefold SignalClanger – This traffic light probably actually makes a Clanging sound, doesn’t it? What do I say about this card? I want it to be good. It looks like it has potential. What’s the holdup, other than a red light? First, it’s a build-around that’s not a Legendary creature. Second, it’s really really mana intensive. Third, what three-colour spells? Your three-colour Commander is a pretty good start, but figuring out the rest seems nebulous. Charms? Other 3-colour creatures? I feel like this lacks focus and might be clunky. Too bad, because it’s hard to imagine how it would be designed otherwise.
  • Tivit, Seller of SecretsBanger – We got a Vote Commander! I wish the payoffs weren’t treasure and clues, and were something more unique, but what can you do? The ability to add an extra Vote brings life to a whole subset of Voting cards that had no unity. It honestly doesn’t matter if this is good or not, because it fills a big hole, and it’s in strong control colours to back up the Votes anyway. If it’s bad, there’ll be pressure to come up with a better candidate down the line.


  • Agent’s ToolkitBanger – Nothing game-breaking here, but all sorts of synergies stem from four of the best counters to put on creatures. Both +1/+1 and Shield counters love Proliferate, and Shield counters are very strong. This is in the right colours for maximum impact and can even draw a card as a Clue. Blinking or recurring this for another load of counters is a real thing.
  • Angelic SleuthClanger – Not a bad Angel, and could be decent for decks that want to make clues or any artifacts, really, but the need for counters on battlefield-exiting permanents requires a whole other strategy as well. Not to mention that leaving the battlefield is nowhere near as easy to control as entering it. A deck maximizing this card would need to have a lot of moving parts, and since the payoff is Clues, just isn’t worth it.
  • Audacious SwapBanger – This is pretty close to Chaos Warp. That alone should raise eyebrows. Shuffling in is great against sticky abilities like Indestructible. The fact that it can’t hit enchantments sucks though, especially for red. Making up for that, and the increased mana cost, is the ability to copy it with Casualty. There’s another couple of wrinkles to be aware of, that are either features or not, depending on how you play them. Unlike Chaos Warp, the new card is exiled before being played, and if it’s not a land, it’s a ‘may cast’ for free. That goes for any spell, unlike just swapping permanents with Chaos Warp. Among other things, you may counter that spell, or find a way to strand it in exile, like with Drannith Magistrate.
  • Aven CourierBanger – This cute little bird took me a moment to figure out, but the idea here is that you can spread your counters around to your permanents, so long as they don’t already have that kind. The obvious payoff in the current set is Shield counters, but there are plenty of others, including Ikoria’s various keyword counters, and a fair amount of strange old jank, like Sensei Golden-Tail. Within a few of the major counter types, like charge counters and +1/+1 counters, are a few cards that love to have counters on them but don’t start with them. Time to call the Courier! This has an attack trigger rather than a combat damage trigger, so you should get one at least, and it’s a decent chump blocker if needed.
  • Bellowing MaulerClanger – While this might kill more creatures over a few turns than Fleshbag Marauder, it might kill none if opponents can afford to lose the life. Giving them the option isn’t ideal, and even a 4/6 body isn’t enough to offset what could be completely non-impact 5 mana play. There are some aggro Warrior decks that might like this as any of the chunky body, lifeloss and sacrifice help apply pressure to opponents.
  • Bess, Soul NourisherClanger – Bess seems to start off strong, with an interaction with 1/1 creatures. That design space has been touched on with cards like Pendelhaven and could be a cool way to build a deck. But Bess then has a payoff of making herself bigger and requiring her to charge into combat to make your 1/1s bigger. And that’s it. Since Bess only gets bigger per instance of creature entry (one or more) instead of on each individual creature, she’s only going to be so big, and opponents will have plenty of windows to stop her. A cool toolbox of 1/1s could be a good way to build the deck, but you’re probably going to need to flood the board and then swing with Bess for the win every time regardless, and the cool toolbox will give way to the fastest way to do that. I feel like this could have been better or more interesting.
  • Body CountBanger – Simple tech for token decks and other go-wide strats. A totally fine way to turn a bad boardwipe into a hand refill. The spectacle cost isn’t hard to achieve, and many opponents will help you out with Fetchlands, etc. Should not be complicated.
  • Boss’s ChauffeurBanger – I like this card because I play a Nethroi, Apex of Death deck that loves 0-power creatures. This might crack that deck. While it’s a bit expensive at 5 mana, this can get big fast in token or go-wide decks, and will replace your army with citizens in the event of a boardwipe. I expect this to see some play across a variety of decks.
  • Boxing RingBanger – Repeated fight ability is not common, but even the weird restrictions of a card like Arena make the effect worth it. Boxing Ring also has a weird restriction, but if you can make the biggest tokens at the table, you have the only tokens at the table. It’s tougher to set up optimized conditions with any other mana value creatures, but if you’re packing a lot of deathtouch, it’s likely all upside. Making treasure is always great, and the fight could have happened in another venue, for all the Boxing Ring cares, making it an excellent choice for Legendary fighters like Gargos, Vicious Watcher.
  • Bribe TakerClanger – In Christmasland, you’ll have the Bribe Taker enter the battlefield in the perfect window to get a +1/+1 counter, a Shield counter, a Flying counter, a Deathtouch counter, a Double Strike counter, and an Indestructible counter. At 6 mana, that resulting creature is merely decent for green. And that’s best case for the Rhino. At least he doesn’t have a credit card or he’d be charging!
  • Brokers ConfluenceClanger – With reservations. I think 3 Proliferates can be insane in the right deck, like Planeswalker Superfriends. The issue is with the other modes. Both are incredibly timing-dependent, and none of the 3 go particularly well together. It’s more about trying to choose an optimum mode and then compromising. And there’s not much optimum here, especially at 5 mana over 3 colours. At least it’s an instant.
  • Cabaretti ConfluenceClanger – While each mode is strong, and the overall package is flexible, a lot of the combinations of modes aren’t worth 6 mana, and need cards in play to matter at all. The biggest knock is being sorcery speed.
  • Caldaia GuardianClanger – There’s some fun stuff going on here, with Citizens replacing your 4+mana plays when they die, and Blitz, but I feel like it’s too specific and low impact for Commander unless you make at least 4 Citizens. This could be very good in a smaller-scale format, including stuff like Cube, Battlebox, and some Constructed variants where if it’s the only creature enabling the death trigger, it’s still good.
  • Cephalid FacetakerClanger – The dream is to copy something with a really nasty combat trigger, like Phage the Untouchable, Nicol Bolas or Crosis, the Purger, or a Doublestriker while wearing Sword of Feast and Famine. There are simpler effects, like that of Ophidian, which are likely more of what the Cephalid copies. In part because the Cephalid isn’t great for copying Legendaries, unlike similar card Identity Thief. It’s interesting to note that you can copy any creature, not just your own, and there are some definite niches that can be filled here, like with Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator and copying a Pirate, but overall this requires too much help to be reliably good.
  • Change of PlansBanger – This card is very strange, but Connive is strong, and this card has a lot of moving parts. The best time to cast this is likely in response to a boardwipe, but Phasing some of your creatures out can be a combat trick, or just a response to a single piece of removal. The Phasing is even optional, and you can simply leverage the massive draw/discard potential that X Connive offers. Lots and lots going on here.
  • Contractual SafeguardClanger – While you can find some massive upside, like Indestructible counters, lining this up with the right creatures and the right counter needs to be somewhat reliable for a single-use effect like this. The Shield counter helps, but having to cast it during Main Phase stinks. Seems like a card that’ll spend too much time stranded in your hand waiting for the best time to play it and not enough time being worth playing.
  • Crash the PartyClanger – While it does seem cool to swing with a ton of Saprolings or something and then suddenly: Rhinos, this seems like a win-more. The Rhino tokens can be an upgrade on a lot of creatures, but it’s just as likely their lack of evasion will render them no more effective than whatever you already had. Making lots of Rhinos is fun, and this card is far from bad, but it’s low-powered compared to a lot of green 6-mana plays.
  • Cryptic PursuitBanger – It’s a shame this isn’t a Legendary creature, because it would answer a lot of issues spellslinger decks have all at once. It makes blockers, it doesn’t die to a boardwipe, and it still lets you cast the spells that you Manifest. It does that regardless, but having it on a reliable basis would be very strong. It would mean you could make better use of Manifest, though this enchantment uses it well. It pairs nicely with Primordial Mist too. Worth noting the Manifest trigger on casting an instant or sorcery isn’t optional.
  • Currency ConverterClanger – While everything this card does is individually strong, there are some synergy problems. Giving you a ‘may exile’ on discarded cards is cool enough, but only a small amount of decks overall discard cards, and this clashes with Madness, a key discard-based mechanic. Madness exiles a discarded card before it hits the graveyard, and when the card hits the yard after being cast, it’s no longer considered discarded. I’ve been touting Connive, and I have to mention this seems okay for Connive. I say okay because even though it has onboard discard and a token generating ability that’s basically ramp, both suffer for being tap abilities. That means they’re slow, and they can’t both be used in the same turn. I don’t know what deck makes easy use of this, and what other would jump through these hoops for some looting or a token. Could be totally wrong, as it is currently one of the more expensive New Capenna Commander cards.
  • Damning VerdictBanger – This is a boardwipe with a symmetry breaker that will heavily favour some decks. It can whiff badly, but no boardwipe is a certainty these days. The fact that you can play this and have it be Plague Wind as the ceiling is pretty good. Might even be solid in a lot of Voltron Decks.
  • Denry Klin, Editor in ChiefClanger – There is fun to be had here. Get some wacky counters in play, get one on Denry, and then go to town with super-creatures. The obvious dream is Kindred Boon on Cats or Advisors. But the steps required to get together a viable fighting force is a lot, and since Denry is small, isn’t so cheap to cast, and has no protective counters, opponents can single it out and spay or neuter your deck. Starting with +1/+1, Vigilance and First Strike as counter options isn’t great, and the main reason this is a Clanger.
  • Determined IterationBanger – This is an easy choice for a Banger, in very large part due to the mana value of 2. This is cheap enough to come down early and matter a lot. Even if the token it Populates is doomed, it can still get in an attack, trigger your Impact Tremors and be sacrificed for value. The better the quality of your tokens, the better this gets, and it plays well with random stuff like Hate Mirage, Mirror March and even the back half of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. Excellent card.
  • Dodgy JalopyClanger – Another card that makes the sound! Clang clang, putt putt, whoof, clunk. The Jalopy does not win the race. Being a coloured Vehicle is a lousy restriction to start with. Most Vehicles aren’t good enough to survive a lot of restrictions. This one has lots. The colour it’s in is green, which is not a great Vehicle colour. Most of the existing Vehicle Commanders are anything but. The size is not great either. What’s the biggest mana value among creatures you usually play? 7 seems like a lot for a mana cost, but not a ton of power. The crew cost is fairly high, and while the Scavenge ability can be a big boost to a creature, the timing is critical since it’s a sorcery. The best thing it seems to do with this is buff a high mana cost Voltron Commander from the graveyard. Dodgy is really on point for this.
  • Dogged DetectiveBanger – Cheap to cast, great types, decent stats, terrific ETB and easily recurred, making it a solid chump blocker. What’s not to like here?
  • Extravagant ReplicationBanger – This also seems like an easy Banger. Although it can’t copy itself, you can copy it with something else and make all the copies! 6 mana is a lot, but the effect is only limited by your other permanents.
  • False FloorBanger – Sounds about right. Bang. This is a terrific card, combining a slow-down effect on creatures with a decent exile-based boardwipe. Yes, that’s a high, tough-to-attain ceiling, but this is the Floor we’re talking about, and the floor of this card is making sure that creatures can’t do tap-related things on the turn they come in, like alpha-strike-ambush-attacks. Being an artifact means any colour can have it, even no colours at all. Great floor, better ceiling.
  • Family’s FavorBanger – While cards that give opponents a choice often suffer because of that choice, it changes when both choices are really bad for them. Family’s Favor provides them the choices of a Shield counter on your attacker and having to deal with that creature in combat, or letting it through and letting you turn the counter into a fresh card. Considering Shield counters are both strong and stackable, and drawing cards wins games, this is an easy Banger. Any card like Pir, Imaginative Rascal or Winding Constrictor or yes, Doubling Season, will make this even better.
  • First ResponderClanger – While bouncing creatures for value can be a great deal, it’s best to do so in a way that you can replay the creature right after. At the start of end step is not great. Making the Responder bigger is fine, but it has no evasion, and can’t use that boost to attack the same turn it gets it. Everything about this seems so slow, and as an Ogre Citizen, it doesn’t currently have a lot of synergy to take advantage of. I think this card pales beside Temur Sabertooth if you want a bounce effect with a combat payoff.
  • Flawless ForgeryClanger – I don’t like much at all about this card. 5 mana for the effect is okay, but sorcery speed is horrible. It casts an opponent’s spell, which can be powerful, but is really random considering the format. The ability to copy the spell is okay, but requiring a 3 power creature is not easy enough and disqualifies most tokens. At best, this is better than something like Spelltwine but that card is more of a sure thing to cast 2 spells. A flexible spell like Mystic Confluence might be better on average that whatever you get out of either of the Forgery or Spelltwine.
  • Gavel of the RighteousBanger – Could a Gavel be anything but a Banger? That’s what it does! This probably isn’t in the higher tiers of Equipment, because the counters accumulate slowly, but it can be equipped for free, which is something. It also comes in really cheaply which makes it really something once it has 5 counters on it. The counters can be pushed with a Winding Constrictor-type card, or Proliferate, or any of the cards which affect Charge counters, and make this a cheap +4/+4 (or more) Double Strike equip for those decks.
  • Grand CrescendoBanger – This compares really favourably to existing white staples Secure the Wastes and Martial Coup. You can totally play it for WW to make your team Indestructible. The fact that the tokens are also green makes for some fun interactions with stuff like Ivy Lane Denizen.
  • Grime GorgerClanger – As much as a good graveyard exiling effect is always welcome, and Grime Gorger is an awesome graveyard exile effect, being dependent on attacking holds this back. Menace and growing with counters helps, but this might need a lot of help to get an effect you can’t depend on. This needs a deck that wants to mill opponents to keep the targets coming, and that doesn’t seem too likely in the colours. A less precise answer like Bojuka Bog is probably going to do Grime Gorger‘s job while taking up minimal deck space.
  • In Too DeepClanger – While this has some potential due to Split Second, and turning a potential big threat into something much less is great, this is so not in the same league as Imprisoned in the Moon or Darksteel Mutation. Even something like Frogify might be better. Why? These cards do best when they tie up a problem Commander or card that can be recurred easily. Frogify kinda sucks because if you want the frogged Commander back, you get the Frog to die in combat and send the Commander back to the Command Zone. As a 1/1, that’s easy. Imprisoned in the Moon etc., make the resulting permanent really hard to remove, tying it up for who knows how long. Making a problem Commander into a Clue means getting it back costs 2 generic mana and draws that player a card. Too easy and gives them a bonus. Ouch. Better on non-Commanders, but still gives too much of a gift.
  • Indulge // ExcessClanger – Both halves of this card are very strong, but both are considerable ‘win-mores.’ The decks that would make the best use of this, fast token decks like those based around Purphoros, God of the Forge or ones that leverage Impact Tremors or Witty Roastmaster, hardly need the help. The most prolific token decks in red are often Goblin decks, and they won’t make the most out of Citizens. Playing this mostly for Excess in an aggressive deck that goes less wide is an option, because casting Excess and getting 3 or more Treasures is probably worth it, but it means you had to mill, discard or cast the awkward front side for just a few Citizens.

Holy Crap I need a break… how many of these are there? 90 rares??? 17 Mythics?? Oh man. I should have counted first. Oh well, back to it.

  • Industrial AdvancementBanger – A free sacrifice outlet is usually pretty good, and the payoff here is also pretty good. The mana cost is acceptable, and you can easily stack triggers to sac something that’s about to die anyway, like a Blitz creature. This card doesn’t work with tokens on any level other than sacrificing them, and can whiff pretty hard, pretty often, but that’s fixed with any measure of topdeck manipulation like Scry. I think the best application is a deck with larger creatures and reanimation, or a high percentage of enters and leaves-the-battlefield triggers. It would be mad fun in a deck helmed by Squee, the Immortal.
  • JailbreakClanger – I don’t really get the appeal here. The mana cost is very low for returning a permanent from your graveyard to play, but the drawback of having to return a permanent of a higher cost for an opponent is not something I’d want to do, or have to rely on. It’s not that I don’t want to play nice, it’s that there’s possibly no targets. And sorcery speed. Yuck.
  • Jolene, the Plunder QueenBanger – Jolene makes Treasure at a rate of 2 per attack for her controller, and 1 per attack for players that attack someone other than her. The payoff of growing her using your excess Treasure is probably a last resort, as Treasure in high volumes enables your most mana-intensive plays. The ones that win games. Which is good, because it means there’s fewer constraints around building a Jolene deck. And you can do what my friend Phil built for his partner Charlene, and build around Dolly Parton’s infamous song ‘Jolene.’ Or whatever you want. Big fun backed up by big mana.
  • Killer ServiceClanger – I like Food! And Rhinos! And Food that turns into Rhinos! But Food by itself is not amazing, and once you look at the mana you’re putting into this card, it starts to spoil a little. Is 5 mana for a 4/4 and 2 Foods a good deal? 7 for 2 Rhinos and a Food? 9 for 3 Rhinos? That’s the math here. It gets better with the ability to turn any crappy token into Rhinos, but Food is overall a mediocre token, so you’re already peaking on the card.
  • Lethal SchemeBanger – I have always been high on the simple potency of Hero’s Downfall even though it’s looking a little dated these days. Lethal Scheme is the new generation, and it’s so good. While you’ll pay 1 more mana at base mode than Downfall, all the rest is upside. Convoke means there’s a very real chance of playing this card for free with a bunch of tokens, or at least reducing it to well above rate on what it kills. Not only that, you’re rewarded for your Convoking with Connive, which makes this a potential free spell that kills a creature or planeswalker, draws 4 cards, discards 4 cards, and buffs 4 creatures with +1/+1 counters. And that’s not difficult to pull off at all. Wowza. Instant speed. An absolute must-have for black token decks.
  • Life InsuranceBanger – Huge card draw at the cost of your life is now available! Not triggering on tokens means that boardwipe isn’t going to kill you or draw your whole deck as often! But it could still happen because the card draw and life loss aren’t optional. While Extort is a really slow way to win the game, it can add up nicely, especially if you have a lot of extra mana. Not common for black/white, but cards like Black Market and fellow extorter Crypt Ghast can make that a triviality. This goes very very well with cheap creatures and sacrifice outlets. If the creature recurs like Gravecrawler or Bloodsoaked Champion you can set up some serious card advantage engines. Possibly while Extorting.
  • Life of the PartyClanger – This care reminds me both of Party Crasher and Rite of the Raging Storm. I tried Rite, but found the tokens it generated to be too inconsequential, and they often were sacrificed for value instead of attacking. Life of the Party and the token copies can be quite large, and make some scary attacks, but at a single Toughness, die too easily outside of combat. They also shift the focus to you, because their power can be dropped by killing some or all of your creatures. This could be a fun way for go-wide decks to cause some chaos, though, and fun has value.
  • Maestros ConfluenceClanger – With reservations. The ability to Goad all opposing creatures by using the third mode 3 times is not common enough to dismiss lightly. The fact that you can make that ability better by choosing another mode instead for an opponent with minimal creature presence is pretty good. The first mode is okay. The second mode is slightly less than okay, but can be an MVP under the right circumstances. The overall mana cost and sorcery speed kill this card though.
  • Make an ExampleBanger – While this is never going to hit all the specific targets you want, you should get enough of them to make this worthwhile. You’ll at least get each opponent’s best thing, which is pretty good. You’re potentially also going to kill a lot of creatures for 4 mana, and that’s great for cards like Mari, the Killing Quill that want a big body count any way they can get it. Since this is sacrifice, you can take care of some hard targets, like the Indestructible and Hexproof creatures out there. Consider the Example made.
  • Mari, the Killing QuillBanger – I built a Mari deck! Here’s a link! It’s a solid concept that can control the creature scene, but it can draw hate easily and struggles with enchantments, flyers and token armies like many a good mono-black deck has. I would go back and add Detection Tower and Arcane Lighthouse for next time.
  • Mask of the SchemerBanger – Repeatable Connive X, where X is the damage dealt by the equipped creature? Sign me up! This is like Mask of Memory‘s big brother, and that card is awesome. Being blue is a restriction, but it plays well with the unblockable and flying creatures that blue has in abundance. Soooo much synergy!
  • Master of CeremoniesClanger – Not to be confused with Emcee, all these white cards that want to give your opponents resources confuse me. Since they can choose the best way to thwart you via those resources (via chump blocker with the token, via spell using the Treasure mana, or trying to draw an answer) it’s not so much what they give you, but how much they can leverage your card to further their plans. This can be good, and you can draw 3 cards off it each turn, but it’s more likely you’ll get the 1/1s unless your opponents expect to benefit from the other choices more than you.
  • Mezzio MuggerClanger – This costs too much at 5 mana to not give you some discount on the exiled spells. Etali, Primal Storm is the direct comparison, although Grenzo, Havoc Raiser is similar enough too at a much smaller cost. Blitz has potential but eats into the mana needed to cast the exiled spells. I feel like this will whiff too often to be good, and probably die in the first combat it takes part in.
  • Misfortune TellerBanger – With reservations. I think this is too expensive at 4 mana for what it does without some synergy involved somewhere. But it should be easy to get extra value out of it, and as a black Human-type, it’s off to a great start in terms of tribal support and recursion potential. Making a Rogue token is fine, but exiling a Fetch land and making a Treasure is probably the standard play. It might do none of that, but since the ability is also triggered on combat damage, it has worthwhile reach. A 3/1 Deathtouch body is weird but useful. Big potential for something like Meren of Clan Nel Toth.
  • Next of KinClanger – Even though this can amount to a free play of your Commander, it’s pretty situational and it’s an Aura, so an opponent killing the target with Next of Kin on the stack for a 2-for-1 is something you should expect to see. Bringing in a surprise creature from hand is alright, but choose Deathrender unless you have to have the Commander option. The lesser-power aspect of this card really hurts it. It’s not that easy to guarantee this will amount to anything at all.
  • Obscura ConfluenceBanger – Unlike the other Confluences in New Capenna, this is a decent cost, instant speed, and has 3 useful modes. The first, shrinking and debuffing up to 3 creatures, can be a great way to stop sticky threats like Indestructibles. The second, Connive, is amazing by itself and has all sorts of synergies built-in. The third, recurring creatures to hand, is weakest, however it can be used on any player, and potentially disrupt in-graveyard abilities, like those from Wonder or Anger, or something that’s about to be recurred to play. All of these modes require targets, so this is a dead card on a hexproof/creatureless board with nothing in graveyards, but that kind of thing changes fast. This gets better in the hands of a creative player, which is one of the best endorsements I can give a card.
  • Oskar, Rubbish ReclaimerBanger – I think Oskar is good. The two main drawbacks here are the mana cost and the lack of synergy with Madness. There’s also no obvious payoff, but that’s okay. The ability to mitigate the mana cost is decent. I believe that affects Commander tax, so the more numbers you have, the easier it is to keep Oskar in play. Having your engine online as often as possible is important, because this is an engine. It gives all your discards a sort of Madness (minus the exile) and that opens up tons of easy value with cards like Monastery Siege and Sanctum of Calm Waters. Looting is really Oskar’s secret weapon. Looting is also a really common ability in blue. Connive works great too. The colours will hold Oskar back a bit, because it’s going to be really mana-intensive, but that’s something to address while building the deck. Could be a solid 99er for non-Madness discard decks in the colours, too.
  • Park Heights MaverickBanger – There’s actually a lot of really good stuff going on with this little card. Dethrone is okay, and the combo of that and Proliferate means this can grow really quickly. The blocking restriction is decent, though this will run into plenty of chumps. What pushes this into Banger territory is how it’s very possible to get multiple Proliferate triggers out of this card, how it can be a rattlesnake or value play on defense, and how Proliferate itself is really really strong. This card is a solid choice to throw between attackers and your Planeswalkers, and as a Human Soldier, can do work in those Tribal decks too.
  • Prosperous PartnershipBanger – Making a couple of Citizens is great and all, but easy Treasure creation has incredible potential, especially for red/white, which can make creatures no problem, but struggles on mana. Any go wide deck that can cast this should consider it, because simply waiting until the end step before your turn and tapping your untapped creatures for whatever Treasures you can get is awesome. You can do it during your turn too for extra acceleration, or in response to your creatures dying. It’s a natural defense against things like forced attacks and Goad. It even ignores Summoning Sickness, and can tap creatures that just arrived, so if you can somehow get 3 untapped creatures for a single mana, you’ve got a loop. Hopefully that situation is only a dream, because this card is powerful enough already.
  • Protection RacketClanger – When I was a kid, I thought a Protection Racket was something Tennis players carried down dark alleyways. This card looks strong at face, but it gives opponents the ability to deny you lands easily, and Sol Ring, and pretty much any mana card. They can even conspire to stack your deck so you only draw cards you’ll struggle to cast. Ouch. While this could be support for Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos or Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, the high-mana cards in those decks are rarely best in hand, and any smart opponent is going to let you draw them.
  • Rain of RichesBanger – Treasure is really easy to make, and Cascade is a very, very good payoff for using it. Because if you’re making Treasure, you’re probably using Treasure. And this makes Treasure, likely giving you at least 2 Cascade triggers. Amazing.
  • Resourceful DefenseBanger – This seems powerful. While huge +1/+1 counter creatures die to removal as much as any other, and other counter types aren’t in huge supply, there is so much counter synergy out there that this has to be good. Just preserving a few +1/+1s across a few creatures is pretty good. The fact that you can sacrifice your own creatures with powerful counters on them, like Indestructible or Shield counters, and put them on another creature is interesting. You can even do sneaky stuff like loading creature-lands or a Planeswalker up with +1/+1 counters and then Luxior, Giada’s Gift for the big smash. Or play around with all the wacky Charge counter cards, including stuff like Darksteel Reactor. Moving counters around from permanent to permanent has been the dream of black-bordered Magic since the printing of Giant Fan. This is probably great for competitive and casual players alike. I hope it’s not oppressive.
  • Riveteers ConfluenceClanger – With reservations. Playing three lands from hand or graveyard is a big play, but it’s the only one worth the mana. And how often do you have 3 lands in hand and graveyard combined? Seriously. It’d be different at instant speed, but this card isn’t an instant. Playing 3 Fetches from the yard for Lord Windgrace is this card’s Christmasland, and maybe that’s attainable for you. If so, having some draw and damage flexibility could make this one of your favs.
  • Rose Room TreasurerBanger – This seems a little ridiculous. Making Treasure tokens when you play creatures is strong, even though it caps at 2 per turn. This probably shouldn’t trigger on tokens, but Goblins and all sorts of other token decks would love to turn this into crazy mana production. But that’s not all! The third creature you play, and all subsequent creatures, give you an x-damage for x-mana sniper trigger. Perfect for clearing out some chumps, or taking out a big threat. Very mana-intensive, sure, but an easy combat math changer, and how often do ramp and removal get together on one card? Warrior type too.
  • Scepter of CelebrationClanger – With reservations. There aren’t that many Equipment cards out there that grant trample, and this is colour-restricted like most of them. So if that’s critical, like for a Deathtouch-based strategy, this might be a difference maker for you. It can make a crazy amount of Citizens, in theory, but the creature wearing this is going to be a priority target. What’s holding this back are the fact that the base power bonus is small, and how much impact other Equipment pieces grant. Unless you make 4 or more Citizens, say, a trigger that lets you draw a card might be better. And many other triggers don’t hinge on power of the creature. Wins more, but does less.
  • Seize the SpotlightClanger – This is probably really good value for the mana, but there are some huge fails available here. Any player with no creatures, or ones they feel they can give you, will choose Fame. So to do well, this has to be timed well. If all opponents have a creature they can’t afford to give, you’ll draw 3 and make 3 Treasures, which is really good, but it’s nothing to plan on. Sorcery speed holds back the utility of a card based on clever timing, too. The worst part about this card is that it gets much worse the fewer opponents you have. I feel like it’ll rot in your hand waiting for a good time to play it, and then one player will go out, and it’ll be too late for value town.
  • Shield BrokerClanger – A new wrinkle on Control Magic or Sower of Temptation or Mind Flayer. While adding a Shield counter is spicy, the fact that the opponent gets their creature back if it takes damage is a little stupid. Taking an Indestructible creature doesn’t help, because it can still be dealt damage, and that still costs a Shield counter. Time to break out the Bubble Matrix, right? Or just play one of the other, better options.
  • Sinister ConciergeClanger – I want to love this card, but I feel like having Suspend 3 on itself makes the ability happen too infrequently to be anything other than a meme card. Too bad. Super-cool design. At least it can come down early and trigger once or twice per game, which is neat, but not reliable enough to plan around using it. Especially because it has to die. This is the kind of card I’ll try hard to make work, and just get frustrated. I’ll still probably try, though. I’d love to be wrong about this.
  • Skyboon EvangelistBanger – I had to take a second look at this before I realized why it’s good. This is a Banger because flying is a very real need for many creatures with counters on them. Anything from the plants created by Avenger of Zendikar to Hydras to Spikes like Spike Feeder. This also counts things like Shield and Indestructible counters. The Support 6 is pretty crazy for 5 mana, and you do get a smallish flying body as well. This is a decent Blink target. Not getting flying for defense also holds this back, but there are so many counter strategies out there that can use the aerial attack mode that it’s not that big a deal.
  • Skyway RobberClanger – The best-case scenario here is a convoluted draw-5 from your graveyard, and then only being able to play those cards one combat damage trigger at a time, in the combat phase. And that requires the Robber to have Escaped, which is another possibly complicated setup. Blue does not suffer enough for card advantage that this is worth all the effort. It’s not even a good body to withstand much more than a single attack, or even get through a medium blocker, and is a possible Phantom Monster with minimal upside in practice.
  • Smuggler’s BuggyClanger – While the ability to cheat something epic into play via Hideaway is cool, opponents will see the Buggy coming too easily. That’s thematically terrible for a Smuggler’s anything. Cost wise, it’s not bad at 4 mana and a 2 crew cost. But no evasion on a medium 5/5 body makes this too unreliable and too reliant on Hideaway to be good. A Vehicle deck probably gets enough Vehicle value from this to play it though.
  • Smuggler’s ShareBanger – With reservations. This helps you keep up. The more opponents you have, the more triggers you’ll get. But this triggers when an opponent does something really good for themselves. Drawing extra cards and playing extra lands are how those opponents are planning to out-resource you and win. This is very good, but it’s best when opponents are at theirs.
  • Spellbinding SopranoClanger – Discounting spells is a strong move, but attacking with the Soprano is probably going to cost you the Soprano. Encore is great, and should give you a 3 mana discount for a big turn, but relying on a fragile creature and specific timing might be worse than just building a strong mana base you can use every turn. You’re also sinking 4 mana into the trigger, so you have to discount your spells by at least that much or what’s the point? Cards like Goblin Electromancer are probably a better choice, and even though that one specifically is also another colour, so are most of the spellslinger decks that would audition the Soprano anyway.
  • Spiteful RepossessionClanger – Punishing players who have a lot of land in play is something plenty of players would love to do. Those Landfall decks just get crazy. But while this can work out in theory like a sweet combo of Mana Geyser and Price of Progress, it’s depending on a lot of distance between them and you. Commander’s high life totals, and the actual limit of how many lands a player can have more than another, give this a high ceiling but a very low floor. If one player is way ahead of the rest, this will take a chunk off them and give you some Treasure, but it won’t slow them any more than that. If all three others are way ahead of you, that’s a much bigger problem than this card can solve. A fine copy target for spellslinger decks, though, as multiples can really add up, even if they aren’t Bangers individually.
  • Storm of FormsClanger – While this is a potentially strong effect for misc. counter decks, Magecraft decks and even +1/+1 only counter decks that would like a 2-for-1, the fact that the payoff is bounce to hand is not really a solution. It’s useful to bounce your own stuff in a pinch, but the high base mana cost is unappealing unless you’re copying it at least once.
  • Swindler’s SchemeClanger – This feels like somebody was trying to fix Counterbalance and got carried away. Yes, you can counter stuff using your library, but the opponent really gets to cast your card instead? I play a fair amount of ‘bad cards’ but I don’t know if I’d ever want to try and build around this oddity. Reminds me of Dubious Challenge in a way. Not a good way.
  • Syrix, Carrier of the FlameBanger – This just clears the Banger bar. It does so almost entirely on the fact that it enables Phoenix tribal, and give the Phoenixes a very real way to win the game via power-based damage to the face. Bringing black to the party is an unasked-for gift, and gives any deck based around this card an extra dimension that could be removal or discard or non-Phoenix reanimation. Black has plenty of strong stuff to add, not to mention black/red (Rakdos) cards like Theater of Horrors. There is an annoying drawback, and that’s Syrix’s self-recursion ability. As a Commander, it’s not likely it’ll spend a lot of time in the Graveyard, and you can’t cast Syrix outside of your own turn without a lot of help, so a Phoenix dying on an opposing turn is useless for the trigger. It will be somewhat useful during your own turn, however, and you can even do some light sacrifice Shenanigans with it.
  • Tenuous TruceClanger – Drawing an extra card every turn cycle is a proven path to success. Paying 2 mana for an enchantment that gets you there is a huge bonus. Now think of the player who got this for nothing, from you, by playing this card. And you can’t attack them or the bonus goes away. No sweat for that player, not their card. Another white groaner that gives opponents too much just to try and keep up with what the other colours are doing.
  • Turf WarClanger – This card creates a cute little subgame where one player will ultimately end up with all 4 contested lands. If there are several super-hot lands in play, this might be fun, and get players invested, but it feels like the kind of card that’s complicated and low impact, which makes it forgettable. If a card like this is forgotten in the larger boardstates of Commander, are we really going to go back and unravel it unless the lands involved are really high-impact? I will say that contested counters on lands could actually be a thing in a Battlebond-style set if done well. In place of the Monarch, perhaps. At least there’s the idea here, even if the implementation is clunky.
  • Vazi, Keen NegotiatorClanger – There’s too much text here, and not enough impact. Suffice it to say this fairly expensive creature needs you to make Treasure (maybe not too much) so you can give the same amount to opponents. You don’t want to give opponents Treasure unless you’re really benefiting from that. Slowly growing your creatures and possibly drawing cards isn’t worth it. Maybe if this card was in blue so you could Counterspell stuff, but enabling your opponent’s big plays is a recipe for losing to them, and any opponent running a card like Reckless Fireweaver, which isn’t uncommon because a lot of decks play Treasure already, might be doing better with your card than you.
  • Vivien’s StampedeClanger – Best case scenario here is Vigilance, Trample, and +3/+3 to your creatures, with a draw 3 post combat. That’s fine, but as a 6-mana sorcery, gives your opponents time to figure out the best ways to thwart those scenarios and make this card look bad. Even if a single opponent manages to deter you from attacking them, this card starts to look a lot less good. A bad combo of win-more and do-less.
  • Waste ManagementClanger – Exiling stuff from graveyards is good, but best when it’s either repeatable or part of another card you’re going to use anyway, like with Bojuka Bog. Waste management costs a whole card just to exile 2, and may or may not make some ok tokens depending on what you exile. It gets better on kicker, but 7 mana is so much for this, and the graveyard you need to exile might not always be the one with all the creatures in it. Too much needs to line up for this to be good, and that’s fundamentally what a Clanger is.
  • Wave of RatsClanger – Free self-recursion could be really cool, and this card is going to make it possible for a while, but I’d expect to see it stonewalled pretty quick, and the power of a recurring threat is kinda muted by the size of this threat. While it’s a possible target for reanimation Shenanigans, only being able to recur once per turn, and requiring combat damage is too much to make it that useful.
  • Weathered SentinelsClanger – While this a very appealing and fun card, it’s ultimately a Wall creature that becomes a medium-sized beater at best. Since it’s only Indestructible when attacking, opponents have plenty of windows to kill it if it’s going to be a problem. 2/5 is also decent size, but will not survive blocking the kind of monsters that can block its attack form. This has an obvious spot in Arcades, the Strategist and ‘Toughness Matters’ decks, but I’d be surprised to see it anywhere else.
  • Writ of ReturnClanger – Cipher is awkward and confusing, and without it, this is mediocre recursion. Not even an instant.
  • Xander’s PactBanger – This is an interesting design. Some cards that exile cards from opponents’ hands and libraries and let you play them struggle because you also have to make the mana to play them. They usually say you can use mana as if it were any colour, but the amount matters a lot too. Xander’s Pact gets around those types of restrictions, and might even double itself up. Of course you might fizzle, but it’s rarely going to be because you can’t cast one of the spells you revealed.

Well. That was quite the list. I hope nobody fell asleep reading this and went through a red light or something. If you got this far, well done! Take a break. There will be more new cards to review soon enough. And thanks as always for reading!

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