Spoiler Digest: Conspiracy to Digest Spoilers

The hits keep coming in Summer 2016 for Magic: the Gathering. After Eternal Masters in June and Eldritch Moon in July, Wizards of the Coast once again ups the ante with Conspiracy: Take the Crown. For those unfamiliar with the original Conspiracy set, it's a set designed specifically for multiplayer drafting, and has some very unique ways of affecting the draft. Primary among these were the namesake card type, conspiracies. Things like Worldknit and Advantageous Proclamation can drastically change the course of a draft, while hidden agendas like Double Stroke and Muzzio's Preparations encourage drafters to collect multiple copies of specific cards that might otherwise not catch their attention. Conspiracy also introduced a line of constructs with draft-affecting abilities, like Cogwork Librarian, Agent of Acquisitions, and Deal Broker. Conspiracy: Take the Crown brings back both of these types of cards, but adds a new twist: colored effects. In addition, it introduces a number of exciting new cards that are playable in Legacy, and has some exciting reprints as well.

It's a Conspiracy

Conspiracies are an exciting card type for drafting, and many Cube owners have included them as well. One of the big reasons that Cube owners cite for not including them is that they're often too powerful. A card like Advantageous Proclamation or Backup Plan makes for a powerful inclusion into any deck, and comes at an extremely small opportunity cost as it does not use a slot in the deck, and even the weaker Hidden Agendas like Double Stroke can be exceptional powerful and pose no limitations on which decks can run them. The new colored conspiracies fix some of these problems. The power level on the whole is a little lower, though they still can provide a solid increase in the right build at a low opportunity cost. The key phrase "the right build" is really crucial. While Hired Heist can add a ton of value, especially when a cheap, evasive creature such as Looter il-Kor is named, it requires that a deck is running blue in order to use it.

Perhaps the most interesting of the new conspiracies revealed thus far, however, is Sovereign's Realm. Much like Worldknit, it effectively forces you to run your entire draft pool, but makes it easier to cast all of those cards, eliminating color as a concern. Unlike Worldknit, however, it allows you to run a 40 card deck, rather than being forced to pad your deck out with lands. This makes it easier to draw your bombs. Additionally, the ability to use any card as a land means that every card drawn can be gas, never having to topdeck a land in the late game. To offset these advantages, however, you have to start down two cards. There are two types of decks that can really take full advantage of this. The first are extremely aggressive decks. A deck whose curve can end at three to four can play lands for the first few turns and then steamroll on the back of drawing pure gas. The other decktype is one with Exploration effects. Because Sovereign's Realm grants the ability to play lands from outside the game for the entire turn, not just the next land drop, that means that effects that provide additional land drops grant an immediate and repeatable source of card advantage and ramp. For those cubes running Fastbond, this effect is magnified even further, allowing for a huge number of land drops to play out the rest of your hand.

I Feel a Draft Coming On

Here we can see a sampling of some of the new draft-altering cards. Some of them require that you draft cards that would not normally be in your deck in order to get the full value out of their abilities. Others, like Pailano Vanguard, allow you to shape the course of your draft. Regicide brings back the Pailano, the High City mechanic from the first Conspiracy.

It's Good to Be King

Conspiracy: Take the Crown introduces several normal mechanics as well. Most interesting among these is the "monarch" mechanic. When a player is the monarch, they draw an additional card at the beginning of their end step. Additionally, any player who can deal the monarch combat damage becomes the monarch themself. The mechanic serves as a unique way to introduce an additional source of card advantage, but at the chance of opening that source up to your opponent as well. Some of the more powerful cards with the monarch mechanic provide some additional effect when you are or are not the monarch.

Don't Goad Me, Bro

Goad is another of these new mechanics. It forces creatures to attack, and in a multiplayer game, those creatures cannot attack you. Its use in single-player games is a bit more limited, but it can force bad attacks. Grenzo, Havoc Raiser is the most powerful card with this new effect, and has some Legacy potential, but mostly for his other ability. Every creature that damages your opponent gets an impulse draw, but from your opponent's deck. This can provide a powerful source of card advantage for an aggressive red deck, like Goblins.

Conspiracy to Empower Death and Taxes

The most interesting of Conspiracy: Take the Crown's new cards have raised an interesting conspiracy theory: someone in Wizards' R&D really likes Death and Taxes. This white Legacy deck runs a slew of disruptive creatures like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Phyrexian Revoker, and Thalia, Heretic Cathar to stall out the opponent's strategy long enough to beat them down with Stoneforge Mystic and her slew of equipment.

Recruiter of the Guard
is first among these. Some Death and Taxes builds have experimented with Imperial Recruiter in the past, as a way to tutor up a slew of situational disruptive creatures like Ethersworn Canonist and Magus of the Moon. This new Recruiter is in color and hits several cards that Imperial Recruiter cannot, including Flickerwisp and Thalia, Heretic Cathar, making it a very interesting inclusion for even those mono-white builds.

As an added bonus, Recruiter of the Guard is playable in the Aluren combo deck, where Imperial Recruiter is currently used. The build needs to switch to Arctic Merfolk from Dream Stalker, but otherwise the deck can follow its normal combo chain of Recruiter for blue bouncer into recast Recruiter for Cavern Harpy, use Harpy to bounce the bouncer, re-bounce and recast the Recruiter, find Parasitic Strix, and then loop Strix and Harpy until your opponent is dead. This has really opened up the Aluren deck, which has been held back by the prohibitive price of Imperial Recruiter. Unfortunately, Recruiter of the Guard cannot replace Imperial Recruiter in its other major application, the Painter's Servant/Grindstone deck.

The other boon to Death and Taxes is Sanctum Prelate. Prelate provides a very powerful effect, similar to Chalice of the Void and Meddling Mage. It locks out your opponent from casting all noncreature spells of a chosen number. While it is not as oppressive against Delver of Secrets decks at one as Chalice of the Void can be, it's much easier to land it with a value of two against Storm, shutting off Burning Wish and Infernal Tutor, or at three against Show and Tell, shutting off the deck's namesake card. It can even be Aether Vialed in at six in response to a Terminus trigger against Miracles. And, as it prevents casting in its entirety, rather than just countering, it means that it cannot just be removed with Abrupt Decay.

Conspiracy to Reprint

Conspiracy: Take the Crown also brings with it a slew of reprints. Some of these, like Show and Tell and Berserk, seemed like they were conspicuously missing from Eternal Masters, and demand huge prices for their Legacy impact. Others, like Inquisition of Kozilek and Serum Visions are powerful Modern staples that have been sorely in need of reprinting. And of course, the set has plenty for casual players, like Ghostly Prison, Burgeoning, Beast Within, and Birds of Paradise, whose prices have all been creeping up over the years.

Join us on Monday for the final cards revealed from Conspiracy: Take the Crown, and be sure to get some drafts of it in when it releases on Friday, August 26th!


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