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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Conspiracy Theory – The New Age Tech

October 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Conspiracy Art

Plot Against Plot, Scheme Against Scheme

During 6th June 2014, a “Draft-matters” set was released by Wizards and this set was the first set to interact and has mechanic to interacts with Draft. Story wise, the whole set takes place on the plane of Fiora, which is the home of Dack Fayden, the interplanar thief. Most of the characters depicted live in Paliano, the High City. Although this set was design to focus on Draft; it does have some very good cards for EDH too. There are a couple of new mechanics and also new Legendary Creatures to work with here. For the whole set, we will review it with a series of articles talking about the new mechanics and the new Legendary Creatures. We will however not be touching too much on the Draft oriented cards; like the set of Construct Creatures and a Land which directly interact with drafting (see below table); since those cannot be incorporated into EDH games at all. So without further ado, let us begin.

 

Æther Searcher

Cogwork Tracker

Agent of Acquisitions

Deal Broker

Canal Dredger

Lore Seeker

Cogwork Grinder

Lurking Automaton

Cogwork Librarian

Whispergear Sneak

Cogwork Spy

Paliano, the High City

 

Hidden Agenda

Iterative Analysis

To Overthrow Higher Powers, Study Their Lowest Point.

There is a new card type called Conspiracy in the set. Conspiracies are not included in your deck or count as a card in your deck. Instead before starting the game, each player can choose any number of Conspiracies; depending on how many everyone agrees to play with; and set them aside in the Command Zone. This is not a must but can only be determined once at the start of the game. Players can’t put or remove Conspiracies when the game had started. Conspiracy starts out in the Commander Zone either face up or down and they are only in effect when they are face up. Players can only look at face up Conspiracies. Face down Conspiracies can only be look at by their controller. Hidden Agenda is a keyword mechanic printed for Conspiracy cards. Conspiracies with Hidden Agenda are also the ones which start the game face down. The rest without Hidden Agenda start the game face up. The mechanic basically requires the player using the Conspiracy with Hidden Agenda to name a card secretly and only reveal the named card at the time of turning the Conspiracy face up when the player has priority. Below are all the Conspiracies.

 

Name

Ability

Advantageous Proclamation

Your minimum deck size is reduced by five.

Backup Plan

Draw an additional hand of seven cards as the game begins. Before taking mulligans, shuffle all but one of your hands into your library.

Brago’s Favor

Hidden Agenda

Spells with the chosen name you cast cost 1 less to cast.

Double Stroke

Hidden Agenda

Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell with the chosen name, you may copy it. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Immediate Action

Hidden Agenda

Creatures you control with the chosen name have haste.

Iterative Analysis

Hidden Agenda

Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell with the chosen name, you may draw a card.

Muzzio’s Preparation

Hidden Agenda

Each creature you control with the chosen name enters the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it.

Power Play

You are the starting player. If multiple players would be the starting player, one of those players is chosen at random.

Secret Summoning

Hidden Agenda

Whenever a creature of the chosen name enters the battlefield under your control, you may search your library for any number of cards with that name, reveal them, put them into your hand, then shuffle your library.

Secrets of Paradise

Hidden Agenda

Creatures you control with the chosen name has “T: Add one mana of any color to you mana pool.”

Sentinel Dispatch

At the beginning of your first upkeep, put a 1/1 colorless Construct artifact creature token with defender onto the battlefield.

Unexpected Potential

Hidden Agenda

You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast spells with the chosen name.

Worldknit

As long as every card in your card cool started the game in your library or in the command zone, lands you control have “T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.”

 

Interestingly Conspiracies although designed mainly with Draft in mind, I find that they can actually add in some element of challenge to EDH games. Much like how the challenge decks (Face the Hydra; Battle the Horde; Defeat a God) could be used as an extra opponents adding an element of challenge in an EDH game, Conspiracies could also be chosen at random at the start of the game and add some level of difficulty or strategic thinking to the game. However it is to be noted that two of the Conspiracies are too focused on Draft that they really cannot be used in EDH. They are namely Advantageous Proclamation & Secret Summoning which deals with the deck building part of drafting; and Worldknit which deals with drafting your card cool. Since decks are already built for EDH games, both Conspiracies would not make any sense at all and are hard to incorporate into the game. An initial thought of incorporating the rest of the Conspiracies into EDH was to just have the players choose one Conspiracy to use; and if they had chosen Conspiracies with Hidden Agenda then they are allow for named more than one card secretly as in EDH there could only be one of each card except basic Lands in the deck.

Otherwise Conspiracies could also be used together with the Theros Hero cards as rewards. One way I had thought of would be to pairing up challenge decks and the rewards. For the player who completed either of the challenges will be rewarded with the Hero, Hero Equipment, or Conspiracy. For eg. player who completed Face the Hydra will be awarded a random Hero card; player who complete Battle the Horde will get a Conspiracy random; and player who Defeat a God gets a Hero Equipment; whichever order your play group see fits will do.

As our play group had yet to fully try the methods out, we also do not know what are the numbers and the best balanced way to go with the ideas. If anyone had tested it out and found a good method, please do share with us how you would had gone with the idea otherwise.

 

Dethrone

Scourge of the Throne

Send the Big Ones to Take out the High Ones

Speaking of the set setting plane, Fiora, it is a place filled with politics. Lord Bargo, the ruler of Paliano, the High City, had fought his way up from a minor house to nobility for his power to rule among the big players. That is very similar to EDH. The person with the highest life and power is usually the target of everyone at the table. Conspiracy brings in the new keyword mechanic Dethrone to help us deal with that. Basically a Creature with Dethrone gets a +1/+1 counter when it attacks the player with the most life or tied for the most life. So who these Creatures attack really swings around since they need to attack the player with the highest life in order to gain the benefits they provide. With your constant beating with the Dethrone Creatures, the player with the highest life will also change around too. Nevertheless, these Creatures are really good beaters in EDH multiplayer strictly for the Dethrone ability which keep them growing as they attack whoever has the highest life at that moment. Below are all the Dethrone Creatures printed.

 

Dack’s Duplicate

A Clone with Haste and Dethrone.

Enraged Revolutionary

Basic Dethrone Creature.

Grenzo’s Cutthroat

Dethrone Creature with First Strike.

Marchesa’s Emissary

Dethrone Creature with Hexproof.

Marchesa’s Infiltrator

Dethrone Creature which draws you card as it connects with the opponent.

Marchesa’s Smuggler

Make a Creature you control unblockable till end of turn with each of its ability activation.

Scourge of the Throne

Relentless Assault for all your attackers on its first attack each turn whenever it Dethrone.

Treasonous Ogre

Red mana producer with Dethrone.

 

Dethrone the Queen

On top of all those Dethrone Creatures is the Queen of Dethrone, or what we have come to call the Dethrone Lord, Marchesa, the Black Rose. Now before we go any further let’s have a look at her stats.

Card Name: Marchesa, the Black Rose

CMC: 1UBR

Types: Legendary Creature – Human Wizard

Card Text: Dethrone

Other creatures you control have dethrone.

Whenever a creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it dies, return that card to the battlefield under your control at the beginning of the next end step.

P/T: 3/3

Marchesa brings the revolution to a whole new level. When she stages a rebellion, she brings the whole village along with her. Anyone with the highest life is not safe with her around. Your whole army will keeps growing bigger and bigger as you attack the player with the highest life. As if adding more insult to the injury, it is to be noted that double instances of Dethrone stack up, thus the Creature will get a +1/+1 counter from each Dethrone it has. The last ability is what makes Marchesa the worthy Commander. Creatures you control return to the battlefield at the end of turn when they die as long as they have a +1/+1 counter on them. That counter can be put onto the Creatures through any means. Marchesa will bring them all back as long as they have a +1/+1 counter on them. Marchesa is also kind enough to provide a way for your army to get the +1/+1 counter by giving everyone Dethrone; a truly magnificent combination of abilities there.

 

Bringing Down the Empire

Marchesa, the Black Rose

“Political competition is easy to overcome. Just kill your opponents.”

Marchesa is in my opinion a very powerful Commander for her sets of abilities. She is one of those Commanders which provide you with a win more situation if her presence on the battlefield is not dealt with. Of all her abilities, perhaps the one which return your Creatures with +1/+1 counter on them to the battlefield when they die is the best of the lot. With this ability, your army will never really die. Her other abilities really just plays into it; assisting to enhance and aid your army to the returning ability. With Dethrone that +1/+1 counter needed to return will be easily gotten. Opponents will have to either board sweep more to really wipe out your army or exile the graveyard before they return. Having seen her in action, unless being exiled, I had not seen her ever staying in the graveyard for long. Below are some combos which work very well with Marchesa.

 

Marchesa + Oona’s Blackguard / Rage Forger / Sage of Fables

The “class” lords from Morningtide works in a way that they provide their +1/+1 to their peers through +1/+1 counters so that the boost will be a permanent even when they leave the battlefield. Each of these lords also provide something extra to all your Creatures with +1/+1 counters on them regardless of their Creature type. The three such lords in Marchesa’s color identity are each in their own way very deadly combo when executed. In Oona’s Blackguard combination, any Creature you control getting through to the highest life player will makes him or her discard as those Creatures will get a +1/+1 counter due to Dethrone. Marchesa’s Dethrone to all also give your Creatures the way to gain the +1/+1 counter needed to discard players. In the Rage Forger combination, your army might be able to kill multiple players with one attack; attacking the highest life player and deal damage to other players with Rage Forger ability. Lastly Sage of Fables combination lets you draw cards if needed with all those +1/+1 counters. As a bonus combo, Sage of Fables also works well with Undying Creatures allowing them to return again through Undying.

Marchesa + Pentavus / Triskelavus / Triskelion

Each of these Artifact Creatures can do something with their +1/+1 counters. Dying will reset those counters. Just remember to leave at least one counter on them.

Marchesa + Mer-Ek Nightblade

Access to Deathtouch from Nightblade.

Marchesa + Stingmoggie

Stingmoggie’s ability is utility removal against Artifact and Land. Marchesa will give it more +1/+/1 counters to use with Dethrone and refresh it by returning it when it dies.

Marchesa + Modular Creatures

These Artifact Creatures enters the battlefield with +1+/1 counters ready to be return by Marchesa when they die. Also the Modular Creatures benefits from Dethrone. Most notable few Modular Creatures are; Arcbound Crusher which grows bigger whenever another Artifact enters the battlefield; Arcbound Fiend which has Fear for evasion; Arcbound Ravager the combat trick master; Arcbound Reclaimer the Artifact retriever.

Marchesa + Undying Creatures

This combo creates an army of Creatures that do not die. The rationale behind this is that Undying Creatures who die will return to the battlefield with the +1/+1 counter; and with that counter Marchesa will allow them to return when they die again; after that Undying will take over again to return the Creatures when it die again. This combo becomes even more deadly with Mikaeus, the Unhallowed which let all your non-Human Creatures gain Undying, effectively creating an army of Undying horde. Notable powerful Undying Creatures are; Flayer of the Hatebound which is a mini Pandemonium for your Creatures returning from the graveyard; Geralf’s Messenger which makes an opponent loses 2 life every time it returns; River Kelpie which is a ton of card advantage with all the returning from graveyard to battlefield actions.

Marchesa + Unleash Creatures

This group of Creatures sacrifices their blocking ability to hit harder. It maybe a risky move when versa multiple opponents but it is their “lord” which makes it worthwhile to use them. Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch grants Haste to all your other Creatures with +1/+1 counter, allowing your beatdown to be faster. Another notable Unleash Creatures is Hellhole Flailer a damage source which you can sacrifice over and over again when combo with Marchesa.

 

Dethrone doesn’t work if you are the highest life player. If you are planning to capitalize on Dethrone, you got to ensure that. Below are some common ways I had observed that are commonly used to ensure that.

 

Erebos, God of the Dead / Greed / Phyrexian Arena

Enchantments which draw you extra cards at the same reducing your life to ensure you are not the highest life player.

Phyrexian Reclamation

Return crucial Creatures in the graveyard and keeping your life low.

Unspeakable Symbol

Use the Enchantment to keep your life low and beatdown the highest life player with the pumped up Creature.

 

Erebos, God of the Dead

“You have too much life. Come let me take some for you.”

 

Conspiring Against the Odds

Power Play

“Power is addictive. The more you have the more you want.”

Overall Conspiracy offers some new elements which can really add to the fun for EDH. The new Conspiracy cards can really spice up the game adding a new level of play to the game. As for the Commander Marchesa, she is a very powerful Commander in my opinion. With all her abilities, games can really swing in flavor to you. Her color identity of Grixis also contributes as one of the factors that makes her a powerful choice as Commander considering the amount of control and disrupt cards in the colors. Do you consider her as a worthy Commander to build a deck around? What do you think of the new Conspiracy cards and how will you play with them in your play group? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below. That is all I have for the Dethrone Queen. Thus till the next article.

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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  1. […] of benefits, we mentioned earlier that the Conspiracies can also be used as special or additional rewards for the new mechanic, Monarch. We can add more flavor to the game by adding in Conspiracies here. […]



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