Greetings, readers! This week, I’m going to be talking about Magic’s newest multiplayer-inclined endeavor, Conspiracy. With the set fully spoiled and a number of goodies from both new cards and reprints alike, I’m going to take a look at the set as a whole and review some individual cards. Unlike the usual set reviews I do, Conspiracy won’t have a large string of content attached to it–I might do a Let’s Build on one of the new generals, but for the most part, this set is largely reprints and cards that are either illegal in EDH or just terrible in formats that aren’t the draft format.
That’s something I will say devalues the set; opening something like a Lore Seeker is interesting enough in the draft format, but it’s not a set you ever want to just crack a box of for the sake of getting product to sell. Sure, money’s in the set; from Exploration to Stifle to a foil Brainstorm, but opening any of the conspiracies as your rares makes them worth even less than most bulk bin rares, for the most part, which could wind up being a mistake on Wizards’ part.
Regardless, there are a lot of cards, new and old, to cover when talking about this set, so let’s start with the new ones:
For the most part, I find the conspiracies are hit or miss. The rare ones are obviously both useful, but this one, Brago’s Favor, Secrets of Paradise and Sentinel Dispatch (especially together) are the ones I find the most useful. For the most part, it’s hard to really evaluate how valuable they are when you take old cards and the fact that it’s a multiplayer draft format into account.
This cycle is all pretty damn useful, for the most part. Realm Seekers has the most potential, imo, as it’s one of the better Maro variants printed. Being able to Sylvan Scrying multiple times makes this a superior, albeit more expensive alternative to both Scrying and Expedition Map in decks that can support it. Obviously, having to untap with this thing in most situations is rather subpar, but there’s potential for this thing to be absolutely massive, and most Prime Speaker Zegana and Kresh the Bloodbraided strategies–decks where the power of your creatures matter–will welcome this with open arms.
I think Will of the Council has a lot of variance as a mechanic, but this is an example of how the mechanic can screw with you. There’s a lot of power in being able to exile any nonland permanent with no upside for your opponents, but when you’re public enemy #1, you’re likely going to just end up exiling a Signet or something. There’s definitely the potential for you to exile even two permanents, which can make this card an absolutely amazing 2-for-1, but when everyone is an equal threat, you have the potential to snipe multiple permanents, making this a card with a phenomenal best-case. It’s definitely a card with a lot of political power, which is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness.
Control Draco, win the game!
I kid. This thing is by far a better crack at a fairer artifact general, as being a Mayael the Anima more than an Arcum Dagsson helps people not just target you right off the bat. Mind you, going Umbral Mantle into Long-Term Plans into an activation for Blightsteel Colossus is just rude. Overall, there’s a lot of potential for this to actually be a fair card. Of course, nobody will run it like a fair card, so if you ever run into this, be prepared for Nevinyrral’s Disk into Darksteel Forge.
This one’s actually quite hilarious. I like it in shells without many artifacts in your deck, or few valuable nonbasics, but it has a lot of potential to be a powerful political tool to dismantle those who have a grip on the table. Keep in mind, you can’t respond once the guy to your right targets something you control, as the spell is already resolving when that happens and nothing is put on the stack to give you priority to respond with. I really do like what this does, and even if it’s just blowing up stray Sol Rings or whatnot, there’s a lot of power and political makings here, which I can certainly get behind.
Innocent Blood and Barter in Blood are incredibly powerful tools in black control shells, as they get around both hexproof and indestructibility. This card is no different, but it’s the removal spell that generates a potentially terrifying win condition, which makes it difficult to outright ignore. Of course, in cluttered or empty board states, it’s easy to get a 5/5 or less, but at the same time, you’re paying 6 mana for a 5/5 flier, in and of itself powerful, but then you’re also making each player sacrifice a creature, which makes it all the more powerful. Even if you don’t sacrifice a creature to this, the thought of catching someone who’s riding one sole creature to victory seems extremely tempting.
Now, I’ve always been iffy on running Concentrate in EDH–I’ve always preferred Careful Consideration or Compulsive Research, myself–but this one seems like it could be the real deal, just because there will be situations where some people will actually vote for the extra turn, which can make it a multi-purpose goodstuff card. I don’t think there’s a type of card in Magic I enjoy more than that. Granted, paying 4 mana for what’s essentially Explore in certain situations can be really unproductive on the surface, but when blue decks have access to acceleration, that’s when things can get dangerous.
Okay, I had initially touted this as the mono-red Aurelia, the Warleader, but after thinking about it, it’s really hard to make this trigger more than once in a game, making it hard to use effectively. That being said, it has the potential to be Aurelia in certain situations, which makes it something worth considering, to say the least. Having a free Relentless Assault makes it incredibly powerful, as decks that want this will treat that effect like a free Time Walk. However, as mentioned, when you start attacking people who have the highest life, you’ll find very quickly that you’ll be the one with the most life, and unable to trigger this thing without help from an opposing Oloro, Ageless Ascetic or a Necropotence.
I, for one, will always welcome new colorless sweepers, as they allow colors with the inability to sweep enchantments, artifacts or creatures that ability, which is always extremely welcome if your meta has a particularly annoying permanent or strategy that a good sweeper will deal with. Of course, there will be times when your opponents will not want their permanents destroyed, which is when you’ll just sit there and slowly draw your way to a point where you’re going to be in a better position to not die to the board being swept than everyone else. Such is the mark of a well-designed card; but of course, there’s going to be that guy who’s like “but it blows up my Sol Ring so I don’t want that to happen!!!” when there’s a 21-power general breathing down the table’s neck.
Dack Fayden is honestly hard to evaluate. As an engine of Faithless Looting every turn, he’s pretty great–Sedris, the Traitor King and Nekusar, the Mindrazer love him equally–but what I find is that his other two abilities are much less useful by comparison. Stealing a Sol Ring is fine, but past that, it’s hard to get really good value from him.
That leads me to my next point with Dack; his emblem. Unless you’re playing Comet Storm, Clan Defiance or other such burn that targets multiple creatures, it’s very difficult to cast a spell at something and actually gain control of it. Most spells that target things in EDH will more than likely remove from the board in some fashion, making his emblem rather awkward. He’s in one of the better colors to make it work–red, that is–but not being green makes the suite of spells that make him useful very narrow.
HASTE CLONE AWWWWWWWW YISS. It has Dethrone, too, which makes it all the sweeter, but I’ve been wanting a haste clone since the days of Scars of Mirrodin, and I’m really happy they finally got around to printing one. Not much else to say, Clones are great and one with haste and dethrone on it makes it one of the better ones at 4.
Grenzo has a fair amount of potential as a general and as a creature in the 99. As a general, maximizing his usefulness becomes a little more difficult, as things like Vessel of Endless Rest and Reito Lantern become your unfortunately clunky enablers for him, but white grants him Mistveil Plains, blue affords him various Impulse variants, and green gets him Bow of Nylea.
One thing I really do enjoy about Grenzo is his utility as a reanimator creature; unlike most cards that will bring things back from the graveyard, Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace are the only real counters to the ability, as you don’t just sit there with a fat graveyard and then run an activation into a live Relic of Progenitus. Once you put the creature in the graveyard, Grenzo will check it before your opponent can remove it. In addition, he doesn’t require aggressive building around, making him a fairly goodstuff creature overall.
The printing of Marchesa made me think that the other four shards would also get a legend, which is rather disappointing, but Marchesa is on her own a fantastic card. Being able to basically make your army immune to sweepers is absolutely absurd, and Marchesa herself is also subject to this ability. Add to that that she only costs 4 mana and produces a 3/3 makes her a superstar. Her interactions with undying and other such shenanigans make her absolutely absurd, and I look forward to see what people come up with for her. I know someone who’s already planning to build her on release, and I don’t blame them; she’s quite good as a general, considering how hard she is to actually remove from the table.
The original Conspiracy spoiler, Magister of Worth still holds up as a wonderfully powerful political tool, as most of the Will of the Council votes are a lesser of two evils situation. The Magister changes this by offering two equally frightening choices; lose all their creatures, or deal with even more creatures. Obviously, this thing has absolutely ridiculous potential lategame, as you can offer to make the board an absolute mess of creatures, or start over on a clean slate. I really like either option, and this is still one of my favorite cards from this set just based on how it can do multiple things, and do both really well.
Brago is the blink general done right, if you ask me. For one, it flickers permanents, rather than creatures, so it has insane potential with Venser, the Sojourner, as well as many other permanents I can’t even think of at the moment. For two, it flickers permanents, rather than blinks them, which is the problem Roon of the Hidden Realms had; being until end of turn meant that specific effects were difficult to abuse. Its weakness is the fact that you need to hit a player with Brago in order to flicker things, and you lack the ability to do it at instant speed, making you still extremely vulnerable to sweepers. Regardless, there’s a ton of potential for Brago to be incredibly powerful as both a general and a 99 creature, so I’m looking forward to see what the community comes up with for him.
I understand the fact that it’s absurdly powerful in its native draft format, but this being mythic is still hilarious. I also understand that it currently stands at $12, but still, I can’t help but laugh over the fact that this thing is now suddenly a mythic. I suppose draft testing made it really oppressive as a regular rare and wanted it less commonly in their drafts, but I don’t ever want to open this when I have mine already. A foil wouldn’t hurt, in theory, I suppose…
F O I L P L E A S E .
The art is also gorgeous, so I’m glad to see this one get a facelift and a reprint. Just…foil pls.
F O I L P L S
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, as well as other noteworthy legends from days past, make their appearance in some of these new pieces for this set. Rout got an absolutely beautiful facelift here, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what a foil of this looks like.
yay not $100 foil
Specifically, though, the fact that it gets printed with this specific art is just a dream come true for foil hunters. I remember joking with a friend over what it would be like for this art to get a foil, and I guess that will now be a reality.
Thank God this is getting reprinted. Not only does it have fantastic art, but its price is likely going to drop, and a foil won’t be terribly difficult to find.
Like Brainstorm, I’m happy that Wizards chose to reprint Fact or Fiction with its best art. A foil of this art is going to undeniably be gorgeous. The FNM foil is cheap, as well, so this shouldn’t be that much more expensive by comparison.
Now to reprint Counterspell with the Jace vs. Chandra art at foil as well. A man can dream…
Even though I have my foil through Commander’s Arsenal, I’m grateful that this card got the nod as well. It’s a near-universal staple in Selensya-aligned EDH decks, so seeing it get a reprint is welcomed.
Okay, I’m equal parts jubilant and indignant over this. I’m jubilant because it’s a freakin’ Pernicious Deed reprint, which is amazing–two of my EDH decks will enjoy having this–but I’m really pissed that they didn’t use this art for it, which ruins it because the Apocalypse art looks absolutely awful:
F O I L P L S
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed IS IN THE ART. YOU COULD NOT HAVE PANDERED TO ME ANY MORE.
I didn’t even know this wasn’t the first use of this piece. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and I’m really glad they brought it to this set. It’s arguably one of the better pieces of art for the set in general.
F O I L P L S
I’m really happy they reprinted this land, to be honest. It’s one of my absolute favorite color enablers in 3+-color decks in EDH, so I’m really looking forward to getting more copies of it, and I’m torn on which I want a foil of more; this or Decimate.
There you have it, my brief discussion on Conspiracy spoilers! Next week will be my return to the Top Soldiers Of series. Until then!
Check out my previous articles here:
Adapting to EDH Metagames:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1177
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1252
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1317
Part 4 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1370
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1454
Building on a Budget:
Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Weekend:
Hits & Misses of:
Dragon’s Maze -http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1870
Innistrad - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2586
M14 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2295
Theros - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2508
Born of the Gods - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2800
Journey into Nyx - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3101
Legen-Wait for It-Dary:
Part 1 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1606
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1595
Part 3 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2214
Part 4 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2278
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2303
Part 6 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2310
Part 7 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2323
Part 8 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2336
Part 9 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2341
Part 10 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2525
Part 11 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2617
Part 12 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2691
Part 13 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2822
Part 14 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2933
Part 15 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3086
Part 16 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3134
Let’s Talk M14:
Oh My God:
Painting a Target:
Planeswalking and You:
Stacking Up Commander 2013:
The Slippery Slope:
The Top Soldiers Of:
Azorius - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2640
Bant - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2907
Boros – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2854
Dimir - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2653
Esper - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2957
Golgari - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2760
Grixis – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2984
Gruul - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2669
Jund - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=3124
Orzhov - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2681
Rakdos - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2663
Selesnya - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2677
Simic - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2900
Trial & Error: