Whenever a cycle is announced in a new Magic set, players are extremely eager to see what their favorite color pair will bring to the table. Charms are one of the more common cycles in Magic, making appearances in sets like Return to Ravinca, Khans of Tarkir and Shards of Alara. While there are plenty of charms players can use, not all cards are created equal. Some turn out to be limited all stars. Some even turn out to become eternal format staples. Then there are some that are just better used as bookmarks.
The newest Standard set, Streets of New Capenna, is ushering in five more charms to the format. Each faction has its own charm that represents their unique play style. Every charm has its own use case, but there are a few that truly stand out from the crowd. It’s time to see which faction has the best card out of the New Capenna charm cycle.
5. Cabaretti Charm
Naya colors hold a special place in this writer’s heart. When someone knows a shard well, they are the first to acknowledge when a card is really weak in those colors. Cabaretti Charm is a card that feels like it really only has one mode 75% of the time. It wants to be in a deck with plenty of creatures, because without creatures, players can’t use the first two modes. Luckily it does make creatures itself, but a three mana Raise the Alarm isn’t quite what players want in Standard.
In the right deck, this is a card that can end the game on the spot. A mini Overrun effect is a good way to close out a close game. With just three creatures on board, Cabaretti Charm can kill most aggressive threats – which is sometimes just enough to slow down the hyper aggressive decks in the format. The synergy with the new “alliance” keyword is also nice, however the card appears to be more of a one-of rather than something a player wants to see in every opening hand. Overall Cabaretti Charm is a fine card, but it doesn’t look like it will be a major player in Standard.
4. Maestros Charm
Thankfully this version of Grixis Charm is a bit more relevant to its colors this time around. A little bit of card selection, a little bit of kill spell and a random drain effect stapled into one odd card – Maestro Charm is a tough card to evaluate. Five damage does hit important targets like Brutal Cathar and Goldspan Dragon, but against decks like Mono White and Runes, it may not be enough. The 3-life swing is only sort of relevant and it easily seems like the weakest of the three modes.
The mode that will grab the attention of most players is the card draw mode. Picking the best card from the top five of the library is powerful. The card gains even more value when the deck is able to recur spells from the graveyard. That said, it is a bit expensive in terms of color requirement. Maestro Charm receives a lower rank because it most likely won’t fit in the current control decks as they might not want to force black mana into a list that is already heavily UR.
3. Brokers charm
It is very interesting to see two charms share a very similar “fight” mechanic. If two factions both feature creature-centric traits, which the Brokers and Cabaretti do thanks to their green-white identity, then it makes sense that they may have some overlap. However that really is the only mode the two have in common. Brokers Charm has the benefit of not needing a massive board to get value. In fact it performs a bit better in neutral game states, and even serves as a solid removal spell against the popular Runes deck in Standard.
Overall, Brokers Charm is just a fair card. It doesn’t do anything super special, but it offers plenty of flexibility in it’s play. At the very worst, it replaces itself and nets the caster a card. Broker decks should be happy to have a few copies of this in their list.
2. Obscura Charm
Now this is a card that is worth investigating. Obscura Charm does a lot for three mana, but finding the right deck will be tricky. Players have the option to play some sort of aggressive three-color creature deck that can benefit from each mode. Or players can play a slower, value centric deck that wants to wait till the mid-game to unleash threats and protect it. Players can even just jam this into a three-color control deck that plays a few creatures that have a big impact.
Obscura Charm could push plenty of the low mana value creatures into “playable” territory. However the “multicolored” clause makes this card a bit less flexible then some may expect. Don’t be surprised to see this card pop up in multiple different formats, as there is certainly brew potential in this new charm.
1. Riveteers Charm
One of the best ways to judge a card with multiple modes is to compare it to cards with similar effects. Earlier we saw Cabaretti Charm do a poor Raise the Alarm impression, leading it to trail the other charm cards. Riveteers Charm on the other hand does a great Soul Shatter impression. The biggest difference between two cards with removal modes is noting how often the card is active. Riveteers Charm is always online, where Brokers Charm could be blanked if the opponent removes the target creature.
Better yet, this card allows a player to hold up three mana on the opponents turn to give the option to kill something or draw three cards. Yes exiling the cards is not the same as actually drawing them, but the caster still has access to three additional cards for the entire turn. It’s like a mini-Showdown of the Skalds at instant speed. These two modes along make players want to play multiple copies of this card. Adding an option to exile a graveyard really just feels like gravy on this already powerful charm.
Featured image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast and Ryan Pancoast
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