Despite the fear many players had for Ob Nixilis, The Adversary, Magic: The Gathering's Streets of New Capenna dropped into Standard with more of a drip than a splash. Of course, there have been a handful of cards that have burst into the metagame including Raffine, Scheming Seer, Make Disappear, and Evelyn, the Covetous.
On the whole though, there are a ton of sleeping giants in Streets of New Capenna that have yet to see the proper play they deserve. Once Standard rotation hits in September, you can bet that some of these cards will become integral players for certain strategies. All that being said, let's take a look at some cards you ought to be keeping an eye on.
8 Extraction Specialist
Extraction Specialist sees some niche play at the moment, but it certainly offers enough to support a blink strategy, play a useful sideboard option, or maybe even become a part of a future aggressive deck. This Specialist's lifelink ability makes it a great blocker against aggressive decks, and the fact that it brings back another creature provides you with double the value.
Of course, you're going to get the utmost value out of this card when you return a creature card with a good enter the battlefield ability. Alternatively, Extraction Specialist could act as recursion for the alliance ability on cards like Gala Greeters. Lastly, Extraction Specialist's Human creature type could become relevant looking at the total number of good Human cards that will remain after rotation. After all, Sigarda, Champion of Light already provides one benefit for going Human tribal.
7 Elspeth Resplendent
As things stand, it seems that Elspeth Resplendent is a tad too slow to perform well in current Standard. However, rotation will remove key cards including Luminarch Aspirant, Legion Angel, Roil Eruption, Werewolf Pack Leader, and more from a lot of aggressive strategies. Furthermore, control decks will lose the power of Goldspan Dragon, Magma Opus, and Hullbreaker Horror.
As a result, midrange decks will likely be much more viable. There's no doubt that Elspeth fits best in either a midrange shell or at the very top of an aggressive deck, so the changes to the format that will happen as a result of these cards going away will likely provide the perfect environment for Elspeth to make her grand entrance. Besides, planeswalkers that can protect themselves almost always become format staples.
6 Sanctuary Warden
Considering the sheer power of this card, it's honestly surprising that Sanctuary Warden hasn't already made itself known in the Standard format. Nonetheless, the sun will soon shine for this Angel value engine. Sanctuary Warden checks a number of boxes as to what a control deck wants from its late-game threats. Namely, it's evasive, difficult to kill, a great blocker, and does something immediately when entering the battlefield.
Additionally, Sanctuary Warden is a great finisher for a counters matter build-around deck. For example, it's not hard to imagine the kinds of shenanigans that combining Sanctuary Warden with Gala Greeters might lead to.
5 Ledger Shredder
If a card's good enough to see play in Modern and Legacy, surely it has got to be good enough to see play in Standard as well. Granted, the increased speed of these older formats is part of the reason that Ledger Shredder works so well in them. Regardless, it's almost impossible to imagine a world where Ledger Shredder isn't a key part of an emerging Izzet (red/blue) or Azorius (blue/white) aggressive strategy. Bird's the word.
4 Arcane Bombardment
If you've had the pleasure of playing Arcane Bombardment in Limited, you know just how ridiculous this card can be. In case the text of the card isn't completely clear, Arcane Bombardment exiles an instant or sorcery from your graveyard at random every turn you cast a spell. Those cards stay in exile, and you can cast copies of them again and again turn after turn as long as you cast one spell from your hand.
In other words, the first turn after you resolve Arcane Bombardment you get to cast a free spell at random from your graveyard. Then, the second turn you get to cast the same spell and another one from your graveyard at random. This continues as long as you retain control of Arcane Bombardment, allowing you to unload a machine gun of spells on your opponent. Also, take notice that Arcane Bombardment doesn't specify that it has to be your turn for it to trigger.
3 Professional Facebreaker
Professional Facebreaker is a great source of treasure tokens and card advantage: two things that have been proven as valuable components for any constructed deck. Consequently, it's hard to imagine that this Facebreaker won't find its way in to some sort of aggressive deck. Card advantage is one thing that aggro decks have a hard time getting their hands on, so if Facebreaker doesn't make it into the mainboard it might just have a chance as a sideboard notable against control as well.
2 Topiary Stomper
It's hard to see the value in a three mana creature that can't attack or block until you have seven mana, but at least Topiary Stomper helps you get there thanks to its enter the battlefield trigger. The playability of this card will heavily depend on whether or not we get any ramp (fast mana) tools with the release of Dominaria.
That being said, Vastwood Surge is already a playable card from Zendikar Rising, and it hasn't led to the Plant Dino making any kind of showing. It could also be that there's just not enough big mana pay-offs to ramp into at the moment. Whatever the case, rotation should show us once and for all whether Topiary Stomper really has the goods.
1 Tainted Indulgence
Last but certainly not least, say hello to your new Expressive Iteration. The presence of Expressive Iteration is a large part of why Tainted Indulgence hasn't seen a ton of play so far. After all, Iteration has already been banned in Pioneer which definitely tells you something about its power level.
Furthermore, the current presence of very powerful aggro decks in Standard makes it difficult to spend a single turn sifting through your deck. This too is likely to change come rotation for reasons mentioned above. Then, we'll all be indulging in the taint. Or at least, those of us who play control will be.
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