I am excited to play this set. Conspiracy 1 was so much fun, and this one looks to have a lot of the same feeling and ideas, which is cool. I really want to build a Voting/Monarch deck, it looks like a fun, political style deck.
I'm almost tempted to test replacing Alesha with Queen Marchesa to see how that goes without changing the decklist (maybe move something out and Alesha to the 99), but there's something about the Monarch/Draw a Card that screams "defend" instead of "attack" and Marchesa having haste just feels awkward (it's like she's encouraging yourself to lose the Monarch position by attacking with her and leaving an empty field otherwise).
On the other hand, she carries the "curse" of Power3 and that means that she can't fit into the 99 quite as well either. She's just that 1 power more of being the dream card-draw provider for the deck, hence tempting me to just put her as Commander without changing the theme, but that brings about another whole issue of awkwardness.
EDIT: Never mind. Just when I posted this, Protector of the Throne was previewed and that's what I needed in Alesha for my card-drawing fix. Power 2 for the win!
So with Conspiracy 2 spoilers comes a new Marchesa and think that she is Very interesting.
As she isnt up on the Con2 spoiler page here yet I'll put her stats in here then delete/ autocard when available.
Queen Marchesa 1RWB
Legendary creature - Human Assassin
You become the Monarch on ETB. At the beginning of your upkeep if you are not the Monarch you get a 1/1 B assassin creature token with Haste and Deathtouch.
So the first properly open ended mardu commander and with becoming the monarch involved it will get you drawing cards too, the haste and deathtouch is also pretty sweet. Then when you loose the card advantage you get hasty deathtouch tokens which is icing at this point.
What direction would you take a deck with new Marchesa as the commander? Personally I would think of a token based strategy so that you can keep hold of the card advantage for as long as possible but mardu colours also have access to some of the sweetest abilities and creatures in the game so im torn.
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EDH BRGKresh the BloodbraidedBRG, A box of lands and ideas.
Modern: RG Titanshift. A deck made of cards too stupid for EDH.
Retired: Lots. More than I feel you should suffer through or I should type out.
The perk of being a Monarch is the extra draw, which allows you to play control. I'd say that these colors are well suited to keep others from damaging you. All 3 colors have quality mass and targeted removal, plus white can pillow fort you with damage redirection like Comeuppance and Ghostly Prison, etc.
Use the time and card advantage to play lots of removal and wait for your chance to slam some sweet titans.
I like Adriana a lot at first glance, but I really wish she was 4cmc instead of 5. As a curve topper in a weenie or token deck she seems like a fun option. She's no Marton Stomgald, but who is? I'm sure she will see criticism for being "boring" or just being another Boros red zone legend, but at least she's a decent one at that.
Recruiter of the Guard is pretty nuts. I'm glad it's just a rare. Lots of EDH decks will be really happy to get their hands on this guy.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you've got the text of Marchesa wrong. The correct text from the spoiler actually reads:
When Queen Marchesa enters the battlefield, you become the monarch.
At the beginning of your upkeep, if an opponent is the monarch, put a 1/1 black assassin creature token with deathtouch and haste onto the battlefield.
From my understanding, I don't think her second ability will work in EDH unless your oppoonent somehow becomes the monarch.
Some fairly nice reprints in this set that I wasn't expecting, especially Desertion of all cards. Then again, I feel like conspiracy 1.0 did a better job at getting reprints into circulation than most of the masters sets have, so it's not unsurprising. The urge to rare draft is strong in this set. As for the new cards:
Ballot Broker: An additional Brago's Representative for the votes matter/advisor tribal decks. I'd probably play the broker over the representative, as an extra point of power goes a long when when looking to trade creatures or poke a planeswalker. It's also worth noting that you don't have to use the additional vote with the Broker, which is useful if other people in your playgroup start tinkering with the council's dilemma cards.
Protector of the Throne: We've had this effect several times over by now, and on creatures with better stats, but playing with the monarchy means it's also a delayed cantrip of sorts, which is a nice bonus to have on a card whose purpose is jump into the line of fire for you.
Custodi Lich: I have to wonder now if you can become the monarch again while being the monarch, as it would make for a reasonable recursion target if true. Played fairly, he's a 4/2, a sacrifice effect, and a cantrip, all of which together seem worth the initial investment, though trying to keep him alive while also passing around the monarchy seems less worthwhile for him than it does Marchesa or her knights.
Throne Warden: Has the potential to build up fairly largely if you can reliably grab the monarchy when you need it, though without any combat abilities of his own, and only triggering on your own end step, it seems like he'd take far too long to build for what he promises. At least in limited he's a bear with upside, which is always solid.
Wings of the Guard: The common melee cards aren't really designed for Commander, which is perfectly fair, as this is already above the curve for limited formats even if it wasn't a multiplayer focused set. Still, it will be nice to see some of the more potent melee cards down the line, as any creature that can give itself +3/+3 almost at a whim probably warrants more than a casual glance at the least.
Adriana, Captain of the Guard: I mean, speaking of which, yay for a Melee Commander. Commander damage looks to be the rule of the day with her, as she hits the magic number of 7 in any four player game, and making it so all the creatures you needed to use to trigger melee also get the bonus is a good way to avoid them just becoming easy blocks for your opponents. Assemble the Legion and Odric feels like they've made a new friend. Also, melee stacks with melee, so turning a 1/1 bird into a 7/7 bird is a thing that can happen...
Recruiter of the Guard: Okay, so I didn't ask for a Karmic Guide tutor that can be recurred by Reveillark or Sun Titan but I'll take it. I mean, how many of us were expecting to get a colorshifted Imperial Recruiter this set, let alone in any set? I don't know where this guy will end up going (though at the least in Saffi for my above-mentioned shenanigans), but it seems hard to believe that he'll be hard pressed to find a home in any deck that plays W.
The new white tutor is completely bonkers. I cant wait to get my hands on that. Sadly I will want to get like..... 3+ of them and I suspect that it might be idealistic to think it will only be a $30.00 card. It all depends on what else shakes out in this set I guess.
The new Recruiter of the Guard is bonkers. Sucks for the Animar decks, but now the rest of us that don't have many red decks have a functional sort-of-a reprint.
So, what's the tradeoff? I guess it can't find something like Gray Merchant of Asphodel, but, as Hunding Gjornersen mentioned above, it finds a variety of 3/2 creatures instead. Are we gaining more than we are losing with this pseudo-reprint?
I mean, with Prophet of Kruphix banned, this may actually be better than Imperial Recruiter for most decks. This just became a white staple, imo.
Great things ahead for the format with these reprints/pseudo-reprints. WotC does care!