Welcome welcome! Prismatic Vistas is a column mainly devoted to talking about queerness in Magic storytelling and culture, but this week I’m excited to bring you a brand new preview card provided to Hipsters by Wizards of the Coast. Say hello to Caparocti Sunborn!

Caparocti Sunborn, with art by Donato Giancola. The rules text reads “Whenever Caparocti Sunborn attacks, you may tap two untapped artifacts and/or creatures you control. If you do, discover 3.

Caparocti Sunborn, by Donato Giancola

Discover away

Caparocti Sunborn is an OK body at 4/4 for 4 mana, but obviously the interest lies in his ability, which involves everyone’s favorite new mechanic which is totally not cascade, discover. Caparocti Sunborn does complicate the comparison between cascade and discover a little, though, because Caparocti is the first card we’ve seen where discover isn’t triggered when the card is cast (Hit The Mother Lode) or enters the battlefield (Geological Appraiser). Presumably it will play a little like digital-only cards that use seek such as Cerise, Slayer of Fear.

[Editor’s note, the author submitted this before Digsite Conservator or Chimil, the Inner Sun were previewed.]

Since he triggers discover whenever he attacks–meaning, potentially every turn–in theory you could leverage Caparocti’s ability into a substantial card and tempo advantage, filling your board with threats and your hand with answers (so long as they cost three mana or less). Caparocti Sunborn also synergizes well with two white/red mechanics currently in Standard, Celebration and Alliance, since it gives you an easy way to place creatures on the board every turn.

Of course, Caparocti Sunborn’s ability comes with some caveats in the need to have spare artifacts or creatures to tap, and the need to attack each turn; after all, you’re not likely to get a 4-drop on the board before your opponent has some sort of blocking solution in place (take it from someone who really, really loved Tori D’Avenant, Fury Rider).

Race to the Core (Workout)

Caparocti Sunborn comes in two art treatments: the art in the base style, drawn by Magic veteran Donato Giancola, is a moody scene that shows Caparocti doing what he does best, leading a group of Sun Empire warriors in battle (probably against the forces of the Mycotyrant, given their surroundings). I love the calm resolve on Caparocti’s face during what’s obviously a tense situation, and the general wash of gloom to communicate this is clearly underground; also, the wonderful detailing on his distinctively Sun Empire armor and accessories. And check out those abs. Not my thing, but woof.

Legends of Ixalan treatment of Caparocti Sunborn by Cabrol

Caprocti Sunborn, by Cabrol

Caparocti Sunborn will also receive a Legends of Ixalan treatment from Cabrol, a recent favorite for special art treatments for sets like Midnight Hunt, Crimson Vow, and All Will Be One. (Check out his Nissa, Ascended Animist!) Cabrol has also done a Legends of Ixalan treatment for Abuelo, Ancestral Echo; traditionally, his Magic work has always been lavish and elaborate, and his pieces for this set seem more restrained, bringing careful craftsmanship to simple, elegant portraits. Cabrol’s Caparocti is in repose, looking forward–and probably plotting trouble for your favorite Ixalan and mine, Huatli the warrior-poet.

Huatli Facepalm Emoji

Caparocti’s mechanical abilities as a gameplay reflect his role in the story pretty nicely: aggressive, and very much a general interested in strategic options and leading troops, not a lone warrior riding off to save the day himself.

You know that scene in an action movie where our hero meets with the president, and some experienced general advocates for a plan of action that seems generally sensible, but you know it must be wrong because the hero doesn’t like it? Poor Caparocti is that experienced general, and he has the misfortune to be the foil for one of the most charismatic leading ladies in Magic, the former planeswalker Huatli. Still, he’s a capable general and warrior, both a valuable ally to the warrior-poet and, at times, a major thorn in her side.

Caparocti was introduced in the excellent March of the Machines side story, “Three Hundred Steps Under The Sun”. Huatli admires his level-headedness and composure as he presents bad news to the Emperor, but disagrees with Caparocti over strategy. He favors a cautious, conventional approach and Huatli asks the Emperor’s permission to go on a risky mission to summon Ixalan’s elder dinosaurs. Huatli gets her way, of course, and of course it turns out to be a good thing that she does.

He’s back in the Lost Caverns of Ixalan side story, promoted to Emperor’s Champion and presenting a more serious threat to Huatli and her vision of the Sun Empire’s future. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan stories–and in particular this set’s one side story, Pawns–set up a political conflict that will likely play out in future sets. Huatli and her lovely partner Saheeli favor the peace-loving priestess Caztaca Huicintli’s faction, who want to focus on rebuilding in the wake of the Phyrexian invasion. Caparocti is the main voice we hear from the other faction, led by the imperial courtier Atlacan Huicintli, who believe that the Sun Empire’s enemies have to be destroyed once and for all to prevent future conflicts. During the Lost Caverns of Ixalan plotline, the war faction is ascendant, and when they quarrel in the last story, it’s Huatli who storms off in frustration, while Caparocti is left to gloat.

It all points to the fact that we’ll probably see Caparocti again in future storylines, and probably as a villain next time (I mean really, what kind of monster would be rude to Huatli?!?!)–and likely, we’ll see another Caparocti legend the next time Ixalan has its time in the spotlight.

That’s all for now–hope you’re enjoying Huatli/Saheeli season and the swoony way Valerie Valdes writes them (“I need to take my fill of you before we depart” mmhmm same page Ms. Valdes), and I hope you’re excited to see our ladies and their new frenemy Caparocti in a few weeks!

Dora Rogers (she/her) is a writer, game designer, and heart-eyes lesbo from Montreal. She is one half of Gal Pal Games, and you can find her solo TTRPG and interactive fiction projects on itch.io. Follow her in all the places, or catch her on Arena playing questionable Vorthos decks in Standard.

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