Hi all, Crazy here and welcome to the second series of Careful Consideration. For the newcomers, we put this series out once per set and do a quick analysis of a few of our favourite common and uncommon cards for draft in each colour. It’s worth noting that these won’t be the best cards in the set but ones that could be interesting to see.
I’ve been looking forward to this set since we had the first Conspiracy set a few years back and I’ve got the most limited and Conspiracy draft experience on the team (Read: Only one to have done more than one Conspiracy draft) so you’ll be seeing a lot of me talking about this set in the coming weeks. We’ll be going in colour order and then I’ll pop in some bits about the Conspiracy cards themselves too. From the top:
And we’re starting with one of my two favourite mechanics from this set: Melee. For the sake of anything else in this article with Melee I’ll be assuming you’re at a 4-player table and therefore have 3 viable targets for your attacks. Now what this means is that more often than not you’ll have your melee creatures at around +2/+2 apiece, which means we can judge this creature’s offensive statline at around 3/4, with a guaranteed 2/3 at least – Which for 3 mana is pretty good. The real bonus of course is that with every swing you get to reanimate a weenie, so this is a great play either early or late game.
Lieutenants of the Guard
No matter what way we twist the votes on this card, you’re paying 5 mana for 6/6 worth of stats at a 4 player table – and for a common that is bonkers. The only thing I’d be careful of is “Red Boardwipes” like Hurly-Burly or Sulfurous Blast that will definitely kill all of the tokens, so it’s a reasonable suggestion that you should probably vote Strength and then let whatever other votes happen.
Tappers are good. A tapper that can attack and block well is better. A tapper that can’t block large things is… less good. Although if you take this anywhere near the end of the pack it probably shouldn’t be a massive issue – Which adds an interesting dimension to the draft since tappers are normally a pretty high pick.
Now this is a pretty choice reprint – I was very surprised to learn this card was $10+ up until now but I expect this reprint will crash the price a little. In the game, this is a nice pillowfort effect that will generally keep people away from you unless they NEED to swing at you. Also happens to really hurt opposing Melee decks.
This is an incredible mix between an amazing loot engine and a powerful flyer at common. You probably always want to vote for the counter yourself so you don’t end up with only a 2/1 flyer for 5. With the counter from you the bird ends up somewhere between a 6/5 flyer and a 3/2 flyer with Cephalid Coliseum stapled to it.
Time to talk about the Monarchy. Not the Queen Elizabeth one, the new Conspiracy mechanic. What this does is create an emblem that draws you a card each of your end steps – the catch being that your opponents can remove you from the throne by either hitting you with a creature or by playing a card that says “You become the Monarch”. This card helps you use both of those catches for fun and profit – Having you become the monarch on entry and then being able to become unblockable to steal it back from others if need be.
Oh man I love this card. If you’ve managed to correctly identify what the next player is drafting you can play some great mind games with this card – given that if you guess correctly all of the copies of Spire Phantasm you’ve picked up get much better. A cantripping 3/2 flyer is pretty great in limited.
Ah the OG looter. Great card selection from turn 2 until someone finds this unassuming 1/1 worth killing. Just don’t do it too much – Multiplayer games can end up in some pretty fierce stalemates so milling out could be a very real issue.
In the monarch deck this can be a very real threat – Gaining you life each turn while your opponents get weaker and weaker with each passing turn. Just make sure you’ve got ways to regain the monarchy if you lose it – a 1/4 for 3 isn’t great.
I smell politics. 12 mana total to kill 2 creatures is really not great. But when you’ve only paid 6 or so of that mana? Oh yeah, this is a nice card. Destroys the two biggest threats to you at the table and the real cost is “Pay about 4 mana and then smooth talk your opponents into paying the rest”.
In regular 1v1 magic this card is only alright. In multiplayer magic? At a 4 player table this is 3 mana to kill 3 creatures – Even if you don’t get the choice that’s some pretty serious value.
Archdemon of Paliano
It might be a rare but I love the design of this card so much I couldn’t NOT talk about it. A traditional “Downside Demon” but with the downside occurring during the draft. The real discussion is “When should I take this?”. Assuming you’re in an 8-person draft and you’re the guy who opened this you have a real issue – Because chances are it will wheel the first time, but then if it wheels the second it will be the last card in the pack. At which point you’re stuck with random cards for your first three picks of the next pack. On the other hand – if you get it with only 4 cards left in the pack that could also be the best time to take it – leaving you with random picks for realistically the three worst cards in the end of the pack.
This card is brutal if any of your opponents are undefended – With full melee at a 4-man table that’s 5 to each opponent if he lands a hit. Just be prepared for the crackback from the table for Lava Axe-ing all of them. Of course if you’re good enough at talking you might even be able to turn it on the guy who let it through unblocked.
Now for my favourite mechanic of the set – Goad. Goad makes the creature you stick with it have to attack if able on it’s turn – The best thing about that being that they can’t attack you with it. Especially good with this card since you take control of it and attack someone, then it untaps on it’s owner’s turn and is forced to attack again.
For the aspiring spellslinger player Kiln Fiend is one of the most powerful creatures you could play. If you can even chain together just 2 spells before punching an undefended player that’s 7 power straight to their face.
Aside from being my vote single best card name of the set if you manage to grab it late enough it’s almost unconditional removal in red. As always with these cards though you need to really question whether or not it’ll wheel – someone might have a lower threshold for value than you.
Fang of the Pack
So take everything we already said about Melee and then apply it to any creature you happen to have on-board. What we get is essentially an 8/6 for 6 that gives another creature +3/+3 each time it attacks. This card is SUPER value.
This card is 200% bonkers for a common. Assuming you vote for counters (Which you should about 90% of the time) this will be somewhere between a 4/4 that gains you 9 life and a 10/10. And as I’m sure you know either of those is incredible in a multiplayer format.
This is probably the best green removal. And I’m not just talking about in this set. The ability to destroy ANY permanent in green – at instant speed no less – is not something to be underestimated, even if it leaves a 3/3 beast behind. Definitely a great reprint.
Animus of Predation
Let me say before I go into this card that Cogwork Grinder was one of my favourite cards in the original conspiracy set – While this won’t provide as much value in pure stats it wouldn’t be difficult to make this an incredible play nonetheless. There are more than enough creatures in the set with Flying, Deathtouch and Trample that you’ll likely end up with at least two of those. In terms of other common mechanics notably there aren’t any haste creatures in the set below Mythic rarity (Queen Marchesa) so it’s unlikely you’ll get that one.
Outside of hilarious jank, in the conspiracy format this will allow you to apply your Hidden Agenda conspiracies to any creature you equip it to, allowing this equipment to be incredibly versatile and potentially incredibly powerful as well. It also has the interesting benefit of being an equipment that can become more powerful out of nowhere by flipping more hidden agendas.
This is one of those “Political plays” that will make people like you – People tend to like drawing cards. On top of that, there’s nothing wrong with a bear you can pop in any deck.
The most interesting note I can make about this card in this format is that it will let you basically steal the monarchy at will. Also can throw off people’s combat math – I’ve noticed people tend to miss lands when adding their maths up.
Speaking of which, Manlands throw off people’s math even more. Can also be a surprise blocker if you need to hold on to the Monarchy for a little longer.
Knights of the Black Rose
4/4 for 5 – Not terrible. 4/4 for 5 that makes you the monarch – Pretty great. 4/4 for 5 that makes you the monarch and also punishes people for taking it from you? Oh HELL yeah. This card wheeling is a signal that you should probably be in the BW Monarch deck.
I used to run a RB aggro deck with a couple of these at the top back in INN/RTR Standard and I suspect it will be even better here. For one, it’s not just when you attack, it’s when anyone attacks – making this much more valuable here. Just be careful it doesn’t turn the table on you.
Well there’s nothing wrong with a UG cantrip as it is – but this one has the upside of potentially ramping you a little too, it’s generally a pretty great card.
Juniper Order Ranger
Most GW token decks have to choose between going Wide and going Tall. Juniper Order Ranger says “Why choose”?. This gets especially ridiculous with the Lieutenants of the Guard we mentioned earlier.
There’s going to be more rares in this section for the sake of having interesting things to say.
Worldknit! You look different! Here’s the biggest question you have to ask when you go to take this card: “Would I mulligan to 5 in exchange for perfect mana control?”. The answer should probably be “Yes”. Especially since the lack of hand size can be mitigated through liberal use of the Monarch mechanic.
Hold the Perimeter
This is honestly pretty great – You basically get to give everyone else a 1/1 goblin that they can’t attack you with and that they have no incentive to not attack with due to their inability to block. It almost lets you start with an extra life or two on each opponent and a free chump block later.
This conspiracy and Spy Kit are best friends in a deck with a reasonable number of combat tricks, it basically multiplies them all by two. Even better with tricks like Coordinated Assault which target multiple creatures anyway.
Another one that’s great with Spy Kit – but outside of that if you can name a creature that’s hexproof or has some evasion (Looking at you Ascended Lawmage) and have the ability to constantly grow it you can make a real threat out of this conspiracy.
And that’s all from me – Be sure to stay tuned this week for your regularly scheduled Wednesday Jank Bank and a special conspiracy edition of Sowing Salt on Friday.