Legendary Encounters – Conspiracy: Take the Crown

Hi guys – Crazy here with a special edition of Legendary Encounters for the new Conspiracy set. For the newcomers in this series of articles I talk about all of the new legendary creatures in a set (Sorry Kami of the Crescent Moon), their viability as a commander and their viability in other formats. Going in collector’s number order:

Grenzo, Havoc Raiser

Hide your kids and hide your wife because Grenzo’s taking everybody out there.

As a Commander?

He’s certainly workable as a commander. His main problem though is that if you’re going red punchy – Which is what Grenzo very much wants to do – you should probably be playing Goblin tribal. And if you’re playing goblin tribal then why are you not just playing Krenko, Mob Boss or Wort, the Raidmother?

That being said, if you were to go a more goodstuff red route with it he certainly fills his niche – Goading all of your opponent’s creatures at once can have some real merit to it at a table with a lot of creature-based decks. “Punisher Red” could be interesting with Grenzo at the top including cards like War’s Toll and Kazuul to punish people for attacking, when you’re forcing them to attack.

In the 99?

Outside of the obvious “Play this in Goblin Tribal” I will play this in literally any Red deck that wants to go punchy – And why would I not? Goad is a pretty powerful mechanic as I mentioned last week and having that on each punch is pretty good. His real merit though I think is the ability to steal spells from the deck – Especially since that can include the unlucky opponent’s mana rocks, allowing you to cast even more of their spells.

One deck in particular that is very excited to see this card is Alesha, Who Smiles at Death – Making this a consistently reanimatable threat that provides value as long as you keep swinging with Alesha.

Other Formats?

Formats this is legal in: EDH, Legacy, Vintage, Tiny Leaders.

I think we can probably all agree this is never going to see play in Legacy or Vintage so we can safely ignore those. Tiny Leaders on the other hand for the people who still follow it could see some waves being made by this card – Especially with each spell being so cheap in the format Grenzo’s second ability could be extremely valuable to a tokens deck.

 

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

A legendary creature that focuses on ramping you and drawing everyone cards – Now where have we seen that before?

As a Commander?

Mono-Green “Group hug” is certainly an interesting prospect but I’m not sure why you’d play this as the commander over the other Selvala or the Phelddagrif. So let’s say we took this in a different direction and went for Mono-Green Ramp – Why are we not playing Omnath, Locus of Mana or Vorinclex? Elves then? I think Ezuri might have us covered. Sadly I just don’t think she’s worth your commander slot. However…

In the 99?

I think that in all of the above decks this new Selvala is a great include in their 99. She’s a bit expensive for a dork but in some decks she’s pumping out mana on par with or even exceeding that of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx – With the added benefit of turning your infinite +1/+1 counters into infinite mana as well. Just make sure you can keep he biggest creature around, don’t want to be handing out card advantage unless you’re on the group hug strategy.

Other formats?

Again, far too slow for legacy and vintage, but also again could make some waves in the not-quite-dead format of Tiny Leaders as some backup for Ezuri – If you have one mana left over at the end of your Ezuri pumps you can tap Selvala to grab another couple of pumps which is pretty good.

 

Adriana, Captain of the Guard

Super Smash Sisters: Melee!

As a Commander?

Nothing new for Boros here but I think it’s a step in the right direction – Namely by supporting the “Boros Beatdown” strategy in attacking everyone at once for more profit. Compared to the other commanders in this area she benefits from being cheaper than Aurelia and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight while also potentially providing a bigger boost to your team’s stats compared to Agrus Kos and Iroas – Although all of these would be great in her 99. It’s worth noting that Melee stacks in multiple instances and over multiple combats, so if you have any way to make those happen then Adriana will love it.

In the 99?

For those of you who are reading the story, you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s hilariously ironic that one of the better commanders for Adriana to be in is probably Queen Marchesa. But more on that later – Other than that she goes in any of the commander decks mentioned above, especially Aurelia for the stacking Melee buffs. Generally if you want to be wide and non-discriminatory in your attacks you probably want Adriana in the 99.

Other Formats?

Literally just no. Too expensive for Tiny Leaders, Legacy and especially Vintage. Even assuming it wasn’t – Melee doesn’t exactly lend itself to 1v1 magic play.

 

Leovold, Emissary of Trest

He’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. Usually it’s “Discard your hand and I’ll let you draw a card”.

As a commander?

So I hear a one-sided Spirit of the Labyrinth in the colour of Windfall is super good – Especially when you consider he makes cards like Howling Mine incredibly one-sided.. And that’s just one way to build this guy – He’s not the first commander in these colours to not be based around the graveyard but being 4 mana cheaper than the other option (Damia, Sage of Stone) makes him at the very least worth consideration. He also happens to counter her and many other big commanders like Azami, Lady of Scrolls just by being on the board. All in all, a pretty top pick as a new Sultai commander.

In the 99?

If you happen to run some instant-speed casting or reanimation a-la Necromancy then flashing a Leovold in response to a big draw spell seems like a pretty cute trick. He’s definitely a power pick for your 3-drop slot, providing a pretty decent restriction by being around – I’d just be concerned you aren’t attracting too much hate. Saying that if I were going to be based solidly in a reanimator strategy I might consider some other bomb picks above him first.

Other Formats?

Time to bang on my Tiny Leaders drum once more – With good reason this time as Leovold is the first and only Tiny Leader available in BUG colours – And with many of the good Leovold pieces being CMC 3 or less (Like Windfall and Howling Mine) he’s set to make some waves with the 12 people still playing. Other than that this could see some very fringe legacy play as an alternative to Spirit of the Labyrinth but that’s probably a stretch.

 

Queen Marchesa

Long live the queen indeed.

As a Commander?

Remember when I said Adriana would be great in this 99? Because here we have a Mardu commander that can enable the Mardu tokens strategy Adriana would love to see. She’s certainly not terrible at other things either – And that brings me to the real reason I think Queen Marchesa will see play – compared to the other Mardu commanders like Zurgo Helmsmasher and Kaalia of the Vast she isn’t incredibly specialised to the point where there’s only 2 or 3 real lists. What the Queen offers is the ability to build almost any Mardu deck and slap her at the helm to generate card advantage through the Monarch mechanic even if you aren’t abusing the ability to make assassins.

In the 99?

Now I certainly don’t think she’d be a bad card in any 99 per se – but I’m not sure what deck she’d go in. She’s got a little too much power for Alesha and doesn’t have any space in a tuned Kaalia or Zurgo Helmsmasher list. As I said though, I don’t think she’s a terrible pick as a card so we’ll see what we get from the two 4-colour combinations she fits in with the new commander set in November – Which there will definitely be a set of articles on.

Other Formats?

Marchesa will be joining her former captain Adriana in the “Commander or Bust” club here – Too expensive for the 3 formats other than EDH she’s legal in and wouldn’t do enough for anyone who did try and play her compared to – say – Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

 

All in all I think that we’ve got some pretty excellent Legendary creatures this set – They certainly all earn their niche in my opinion and I’d expect to see these creatures at a Commander (Or Tiny Leaders) table near you very soon.

Crazy out.

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