Wiretapping – Streets of New Capenna
Date Reviewed: April 18, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 2.50
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
If you had asked me a few weeks ago, I would have said that “Wiretapping” was high on the list of words that would never be a Magic card name. But this is 2022, and almost a hundred years after Frankie Drake did her thing, Elspeth is following in her footsteps, and Streets of New Capenna is bringing back the hideaway mechanic. I always liked hideaway, even though it wasn’t well received in constructed tournaments or those Wizards of the Coast marketing surveys that close after a day and a half.
This is an interesting card and has some good abilities, provided it has the time to work. Like many Howling Mine variants, you have to wait a full turn cycle to get your first payout from it, although at least it doesn’t have the risk of your opponent/s getting more from it than you do. That does put the brakes on somewhat, although if you can get it into play when you’re already on top or close to it, you can deal with it, and the extra resources can help you stay on top. I suspect, though, that you’re not playing Wiretapping unless you feel you can take advantage of casting something for free with it; that means something big and impactful, and probably costing more than five mana as well. That’s tempting in every format, but probably too fiddly at five mana for most constructed formats – yet slower casual tables and Commander settings will love it, as it’s a one-card combo that’s not dead even if you never quite have nine cards in hand.
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
In we go to Streets of New Capenna, and it turns out what’s old is new again with the return of hideaway, this time in the form of “hideaway X” replacing the old flat four cards (of note, the old hideaway lands and creature have been errata’d to have “hideaway 4, but that’s neither here nor now). In effect, if you meet a specific criteria, you get to play a tucked away card for free.
Wiretapping is, in effect, a blue way to draw an extra card, with a bonus if you have nine or more cards in your hand. The problem is that five mana is a lot for that extra card, and while it doesn’t cost you anything else, you generally want effects like this earlier in the mana curve. That said, it is a nice way to get more gas, even if the hideaway trigger is more fanciful than anything else, and control might like an extra card each turn.
It’s a weird card to evaluate: hideaway is potentially potent, just not in this card (you have to end a turn cycle with at least 7 cards to get the free cast), and while one more card each turn is nice, it’s still five mana for that, it needs to sit and do nothing before you can accrue value. I might be underrating this card, but I’m not sold.
Constructed: 2.5 (takes too long, with too little benefit)
Commander [EDH]: 3.5 (if nothing else, an extra card each turn is nice in lower-powered formats where this can fire)
Not a fan of this card one bit, too expensive for a dud rare. Hideaway itself is a bad mechanic in my opinion, and on this card it is a perfect example why. It’s just too difficult to cast by having nine cards in hand, if Library of Alexandria was legal I’d say sure this is useful but alas it is not. I can’t see you getting many cantrips and draw abilities in limited to make this useful, it’s a hard pass card. Commander it is just as bad as constructed, if you’re a Justin/Justine and like making weird commander decks like Hideaway Tribal then you might see some benefit to this card but I highly doubt that. Maybe it’ll have a home in vintage? LOL.
Commander [EDH]: 1/5
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