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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Conspiracy Take the Crown – The Deepening Conspiracy

October 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Conspiracy Art

Politics. The Way of Life in the High City

Back during 6th June 2014, we were showed the “Draft-matters” set by Wizards. To most of the MtG community it was a chance to get their hands on some older cards as there were many reprints in the set along with some Conspiracy exclusive cards. To us EDH-ers, those were also power level ups to our decks too. All rejoiced for each of their individual reasons for the set.

Conspiracy The Reign of Brago

Eternal Reign (?)

 

Fast forward from then to 26th Aug 2016, we were given the sequel to the set, named Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Continuing the story from the previous set, the iron rule of the ghostly Brago, King Eternal was usurped. Initially thought impossible, he was assassinated by the Planeswalker, Kaya, a plot by Marchesa, the Black Rose so that she can succeed the throne. Discord once again descend upon Paliano, the High City as those who were loyal to the King try to avenge the old King and overthrow the new Queen. With all these going on, we will introduced to some new colorful characters and also some old characters are back from the old set with some new changes. So sit back and let us go through with what is new in the set.

Regicide

King’s Down.

 

Double Agenda

Back then we were introduced to the new card type Conspiracy. Conspiracies are not excluded in this set. In fact there are some new ones too. Besides the normal and Hidden Agendas ones, there is a new Double Agenda Conspiracy which like the older Conspiracy cards also name cards. The slight difference here is as per the ability name implies; you get to name two cards instead of one. Otherwise all Conspiracies pretty much still works the same way. Weirdly, there is only one Double Agenda in the set for a new mechanic. Below are all the new added Conspiracies.

 

Name Ability
Adriana’s Valor Hidden Agenda
Whenever a Creature you control with the chosen name attacks, you may pay W. If you do, that Creature gains Indestructible until end of turn.
Assemble the Rank and Vile Hidden Agenda
Creatures you control with the chosen name have “When this Creature dies, you may pay B. If you do, create a tapped 2/2 Black Zombie Creature token.”
Echoing Boon Hidden Agenda
Whenever you cast an Instant or Sorcery spell, if it targets a Creature with the chosen name, you may copy that spell and choose new targets for the copy.
Emissary’s Ploy Before drawing your opening hand, choose 1, 2, or 3.
You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast Creature spells with converted mana cost equal to the chosen number.
Hired Heist Hidden Agenda
Whenever a Creature you control with the chosen name deals combat damage to a player, you may pay U. If you do, draw a card.
Hold the Perimeter At the beginning of your first upkeep, create a 1/2 White Soldier Creature token with Defender.
At the beginning of each other player’s first upkeep, that player creates a 1/1 Red Goblin Creature token with “This Creature can’t block.”
Hymn of the Wilds The first Creature spell you cast each turn costs 1 less to cast.
You can’t cast Instant or Sorcery spells.
Incendiary Dissent Hidden Agenda
Creatures you control with the chosen name have “R: This Creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.”
Natural Unity Hidden Agenda
Creatures you control with the chosen name have “At the beginning of combat on your turn, you may pay G. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on this Creautre.”
Sovereign’s Realm Your deck can’t have basic Land cards and your starting hand size is five.
Exile a card your hand: This turn, you may play basic Land cards from outside the game.
Basic Lands you control have “T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.”
Summoner’s Bond Double Agenda
Whenever you cast a Creature spell with one of the chosen names, you may search your library for a Creature card with the other chosen name, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
Weight Advantage Each Creature you control assigns combat damage equal to its toughness rather than power.

 

Summoner's Bond

Agenda within Agenda.

 

As with the older Conspiracies, these new Conspiracies can also be incorporated into our EDH games with some minor house rules added to them. After all EDH started out as a casual format so why not create some rules along the way. One way we had made up in the past was to use the Conspiracies as rewards for defeating the Theros Challenge decks (Face the Hydra; Battle the Horde; Defeat a God). To make it more fun, you can also omit the “chosen name” part from the Conspiracies so they will be much more effective and more appealing as rewards for defeating the Challenge decks. Speaking of which, the Conspiracies can also be used as special or additional rewards for another new mechanic of the set which is also the major theme to the set.

Claim your Prizes.

Claim your Prizes.

 

Monarch

The Monarch

 

The new mechanic keyword, Monarch, is a player designation introduce in the set. The basic rule here is only one player can be the Monarch and that player will have the ability “At the beginning of the Monarch’s end step, that player draws a card.”; a great card advantage to keep yourself ahead. There are three ways that a player can become the Monarch. The first and most basic way is by playing the numerous new cards in the set which makes you the Monarch as they enters the battlefield. Following that, having a Creature you control deals combat damage to the Monarch will make you the Monarch in the process. Pretty much in theme with the name of the set in sense of taking the crown. The last way to becoming the Monarch is to kill the current Monarch. When that happens, the player whose turn it is now becomes the new Monarch. If the Monarch is to leave the game on his or her turn, then the next player in turn order will becomes the Monarch instead. This bears in question that with all the attention of being Monarch can draw to you in regards to how “easy” one can snatch the designation from each other; it makes people wonder why one would want to get all those attention. As a matter a fact, it can be quite advantageous if you went full theme with the Monarch mechanic. Besides the additional card draw every end step, there are also some cards which grant additional benefits if you are the Monarch while controlling them.

 

Speaking 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. You can set the Conspiracies as rewards for being a Monarch. What I have in mind is to have Conspiracies attached to different Monarch tokens. These Conspiracies will not be shown to the players. When a player becomes a Monarch, he or she will choose from the Monarch tokens and get the “hidden” Conspiracy as reward. For the “hidden” Conspiracies, I will recommend those that has continuous effects. This Conspiracy reward will however be lost if one stop being the Monarch. The new Monarch will then choose a new “hidden” Conspiracy. We can also take this to a level higher by rewarding the player who stays as the Monarch for three or more turns continuously. He or she may choose one more Conspiracy. For this purpose, I would recommend the five new Conspiracies which require colored mana to use for their trigger abilities. These are recommended as “chosen rewards” due to EDH decks having color identity and ensuring the Monarch will not be having a Conspiracy which he or she cannot use. The Monarch can also choose one more of such Conspiracy if he or she stays the Monarch for another three turns and beyond. Although that would means the target board on his or her head becomes much bigger as he or she becomes a bigger threat to others at the table.

 

This can all be fun only if someone plays the Monarch theme. If no one plays it, then no one will becomes the Monarch. There are several ways we can alter the rules here to facilitate it into the game. One way is to award the player who had fulfil certain criteria to become the first Monarch. The criteria can range from missing a Land drop for three consecutive turns so as give the person a chance to draw into a Land; having life total of 50 or above; took another player out of the game; etc; all to get the Monarch ball rolling. Our play group has yet to find an alternate clean house rule besides the designated rule from the game to become Monarch. Please do share with us in the comments if you have found an easy clean way to go with it.

 

As a quick reference, below are all the cards related to the Monarch mechanic.

Canal Courier ETB you become the Monarch.
Becomes unblockable if it and another Creature attack different players.
Crown-Hunter Hireling ETB you become the Monarch.
Can only attack the Monarch.
Custodi Lich ETB you become the Monarch.
Target player sacrifices a Creature whenever you become the Monarch.
Entourage of Trest ETB you become the Monarch.
Can block an additional Creature each combat as long as you’re the Monarch.
Garrulous Sycophant Each opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life if you’re the Monarch.
Keeper of Keys ETB you become the Monarch.
Creatures you control are unblockable this turn at the beginning of your upkeep, if you’re the Monarch.
Knights of the Black Rose ETB you become the Monarch.
Whenever an opponent becomes the Monarch, if you were the Monarch as the turn began, that player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
Marchesa’s Decree ETB you become the Monarch.
Whenever a Creature attacks you or a Planeswalker you control, that Creature’s controller loses 1 life.
Palace Jailer ETB you become the Monarch.
ETB exiles target Creature an opponent controls until an opponent becomes the Monarch.
Palace Sentinels ETB you become the Monarch.
Protector of the Crown ETB you become the Monarch.
All damage that would be dealt to you is dealt to Protector instead.
Regal Behemoth ETB you become the Monarch.
Trample. Whenever you tap a Land for mana while you’re the Monarch, add one mana of any color to your mana pool in addition to the mana the Land produces.
Skyline Despot ETB you become the Monarch.
Create a Flying 5/5 Red Dragon token at the beginning of your upkeep, if you’re the Monarch.
Thorn of the Black Rose ETB you become the Monarch.
Deathtouch
Throne of the High City 4, T, Sacrifice: You become the Monarch.
Throne Warden Put a +1/+1 counter on it at the beginning of your upkeep, if you’re the Monarch.

 

Throne of the High City

Grab the Throne.

 

Age of the Queen

Marchesa, the Black Rose

“No more playing games like Old Times.”

Amidst all the cards that help you to be the ruling Monarch there is the Queen among them which we left out from the above so as to look at her in more detail here. When she first debut in Conspiracy, Marchesa was from a noble family trained in the King’s court at Paliano from an early age. Despite her talents, she was edged aside for the throne by her less competent brothers. She resentfully left the court and gain influence over revolutionaries and Assassins who appreciated her genius; gathering the like-minded under her cause. Her network of spies and Rogues soon controlled much of the High City making her one of the main players vying for control of Paliano. She was the one who staged the assassination of the old King Brago; finally fulfil what she had set out to do in the first Conspiracy set. The Custodi were initially afraid that they would lose power due to the succession of King Brago, which was what prompted them to keep him alive but unexpectedly kept his Spirit around back then. Marchesa bribed a couple of the Custodi to crown her the Queen instead and convincing them that in return she would keep them in power. With the deal agreed, Marchesa would went on to hire the Planeswalker Kaya, who is famed as a ghost hunter, to assassinate the Spirit King. With the King out of the picture, Marchesa becomes the Queen as planned and they went on to eliminate the rest who are still loyal to the King.

 

Story of the new Queen aside, let’s have a look at the new Queen’s stats before we moved on.

Queen Marchesa

Card Name: Queen Marchesa

CMC: 1RWB

Types: Legendary Creature – Human Assassin

Card Text: When Queen Marchesa enters the battlefield, you becomes the monarch.

At the beginning of your upkeep, if an opponent is the monarch, create a 1/1 black Assassin creature token with deathtouch and haste.

P/T: 3/3

 

Marchesa v2.0 is as ruthless as she was before. She has dropped her previous controllish Grixis shell for a more violent Mardu shell. There are still elements of Control with the new color identity but she is more gear towards Aggro now with Mardu. As before she was the lord of Dethrone, she is very much the Queen of Monarch as well. Like the other Monarch cards in the set, she also makes you the Monarch as she enters the battlefield. What I really like about her is her ability to help you snatch the throne back if you lost it along the way. Since one of the way to become the Monarch again is to deal combat damage to the Monarch with your Creatures, Marchesa gives you the Creature to do the job if you are not the Monarch. This is very flavorful with her hiring Assassins to kill King Brago for the throne. This is very good in many ways. She will not run the risk of dying in combat this way as the Assassin token she creates will do the dirty deed for her. The Assassin token also conveniently comes with Haste so it can immediately go for the throne when it enters and Deathtouch to discourage blockers. If power is not what you seek, the Assassin also makes a good blocker as it can kill anything it can block with its Deathtouch; unless the attacker has Indestructible. You can even build an army of Assassin tokens if you chose to continue on not being the Monarch.

"You need this one kill too, Boss?"

“You need this one kill too, Boss?”

 

High and Mighty

Being the Monarch can be stressful as everyone will have their eyes on your progress. The extra end step card draw can draw a lot of attention from the table. And if you use my suggested house rules to play the Conspiracies, the advantages become even greater along with the target board on your head. If you are not willing to give up that advantage, you must be ready to face down the hordes of attackers that is going to be send your way since that is the easiest way to grab the throne besides using the Monarch cards. This can however be counter easily by restricting or preventing attackers totally. Below are some ways to control the horde which you may consider.

 

Angelic Arbiter Force opponents to choose only attacking with Creatures or only casting spells each turn.
An-Zerrin Ruins / Arena of the Ancients / Crackdown / Energy Storm / Juntu Stakes / Magnetic Mountain / Marble Titan / Meekstone / Mudslide / Rimescale Dragon / Smoke / Static Orb Prevent Creatures from untapping. Tapped Creatures cannot attack.
Archangel of Tithes / Ghostly Prison / Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs / Koskun Falls / Norn’s Annex / Sphere of Safety / Windborn Muse Tax opponents for attacking you.
Azorius Arrester / Azorius Justiciar / Lyev Decree / Martial Law Detain potential attackers.
Blazing Archon / Peacekeeper Creatures can’t attack you.
Bound by Moonsilver / Calming Licid / Captured by the Consulate / Faith’s Fetters / Kirtar’s Desire / Pillory of the Sleepless / Prison Term / Recumbent Bliss / Serra Bestiary / Spectral Grasp / Weight of Conscience Auras which prevent enchanted Creature from attacking.
Chronomantic Escape Sorcery with Suspend which will Suspend itself after being cast. Creatures can’t attack you until your next turn.
Caverns of Despair / Crawlspace / Silent Arbiter Restrict number of attacking Creatures each combat; making it easier to deal with the attackers.
Ensnaring Bridge Creatures with power greater than your hand can’t attack you; effectively saying no hand equals no attack.
Form of the Dragon Only Flying Creatures can attack you. High risk life range of 5.
Halls of Mist Prevents Creatures from continuously attacking the same player. Political tool.
Island Sanctuary Skip a card draw during draw step to until your next turn allow only Creatures with Flying and/or Islandwalk to attack you. Skip draw is nullified by Monarch draw. Good combo with Gravity Sphere and Mystic Decree.
Kulrath Knight Stop opponents’ Creatures with counters on them from attacking or blocking. Give counters to Creatures through Wither.
Magus of the Moat / Moat Creatures without Flying can’t attack.
Portcullis Restrict the number of Creatures on the battlefield; effectively shutting out other Creatures if the two Creatures are controlled by you.
Reverence Creatures with power less than 2 can’t attack you.
Vow of Duty / Vow of Lightning / Vow of Malice Auras which enhances the enchanted Creature and prevents it from attacking you or a Planeswalker you control. Political tool.

 

Island Sanctuary

Take an Island Vacation away from all the Battles.

 

Preventing Creatures from attacking you is the most straight forward strategy to protect your Monarch status as combat damage is the fastest way to get it from the Monarch. Another way is to prevent the combat damage from being dealt. Along that line, below are some of such ways to consider.

 

Beacon of Destiny / Kjeldoran Royal Guard / Opal-Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo / Shaman en-Kor / Veteran Bodyguard / Weathered Bodyguard Creatures which redirect damage or combat damage that would be dealt to you to them.
General’s Regalia / Nova Pentacle Redirect damage that would be dealt to you to your Creatures. The Pentacle serves double duty as political tool; team up with allies to redirect damage to other Creatures.
Glacial Chasm Prevent all damage including combat damage that would be dealt to you.
Pariah / Pariah’s Shield Aura and Equipment respectively to help absorb all damage would be dealt to you to enchanted and equipped Creature. Good combo with Creatures who can prevent damage to themselves or with Indestructible.
Solitary Confinement Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you.
Spirit of Resistance + Transguild Courier Combo to prevent all damage that would be dealt to you.

 

Solitary Confinement

“I’m safe as long as I’m here.”

 

Long Live the Queen

Queen Marchesa

All Hail the Queen.

The sequel to the Conspiracy set brings in even more new fun elements to EDH like how Conspiracy did before it. The new Conspiracies open some new ideas and perspective to me which I think will add more dimension to the game if your play group will to use in your game play.

 

For the new Commander, Marchesa v2.0 takes a departure from her heavy control and disruption Grixis shell to a more Aggro / Control hybrid color identity. This is a little setback as you lose the countering power of Grixis. That is in turn change to more board control cards with the Mardu shell. She is also card advantage by letting you become the Monarch as she enters the battlefield; she also ensure you stay being one by giving you Assassin tokens to get it back if you should lose the designation. You can even build an army of Assassin tokens over time by not being the Monarch; an army of Assassin tokens with Deathtouch at that. Overall although not as strong as v1.0, I still consider Marchesa v2.0 a powerful Commander given her abilities package.

 

Do you consider the new Queen a worthy Mardu Commander to build a deck around? What do you think of the new added 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 new Queen for now. Do stay tune for more articles for the set to come. Till the next article.

 

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

:D~

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