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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Conspiracy Take the Crown – The Loyal Guard and Friend

November 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Brago, King Eternal

“If you don’t live, you won’t die.”

Thought to be timeless and immortal, many had assume that the Eternal King will rule forever since ghosts cannot be harmed or killed by any ways known to the people of Fiora. Then came the tragic news that the King was assassinated right in his own chambers in front of his royal bodyguard. Following that the throne was succeed by Queen Marchesa and with the dismissal or imprisonment of the former King’s loyal subjects. This chain of events bring to light two characters who were caught up in the whole plot.

 

The Loyal Guard

Adriana Conspiracy Take the Crown

Lost without a Cause.

One of the new characters introduced in the story of the set, Adriana Vallore was the Captain of the Guard under King Brago. She had previously questioned the need to guard someone who cannot be harmed or die. All that was toppled when the ghost hunter Kaya infiltrated the palace and assassinated the King right in front of her. She took his sword after his death and quit her job on the day of Queen Marchesa’s coronation. Inspired by Kaya’s parting words, Adriana plots to overthrow the monarchy of Paliano and build a republic with the King’s old friend Selvala as the figure head.

Kaya, Ghost Assassin Alt

“As long as tyrants die, the chance for freedom lives.”

 

To this end, Adriana had staged some daring rescues for her former colleagues as the city guard was thrown over and imprisoned in favor of troops loyal only to Marchesa. She is slowly gathering force and also the Queen’s attention to her side.

 

Melee

Grand Melee

All Brute Force with No Spells.

The former guard brings with her, along with other cards from the set, a new keyword ability that is very much suited to EDH multiplayer game play. The new keyword ability is called Melee and it gives +1/+1 boost to the Creature with it for each opponent the controller attacked with a Creature this combat. This ability actually promotes the controller to attack multiple players each combat to make the Creatures bigger. The ability counts each opponent you attacked each combat and does not matter even if the Creature is still attacking or even if it is still on the battlefield after that.  However it doesn’t matter how many Creatures you attacked an opponent with as that only counts as one opponent. For example, attacking opponent A with five Creatures and opponent B with four Creatures will only give Melee Creatures a total of +2/+2 till end of turn. The ability will still trigger though if you attack a Planeswalker counting that as one opponent. Sadly though Creatures which enters the battlefield attacking were never declare as an attacker and therefore will not trigger Melee or count towards Melee’s effect. Last but not least it is to be noted that multiple instances of Melee will stack up as each triggers separately. That reminds me of Flanking another age old ability which also trigger on attack and stack with multiple instances. Below are all the cards with Melee in the set.

Adriana, Captain of the Guard The Melee Lord.
Custodi Soulcaller Whenever it attacks, return a Creature with cc X or less from the graveyard to the battlefield, where X is the number players you attacked with a Creature this turn. An interesting twist of reanimating to Melee.
Deputized Protester / Menagerie Liberator / Wings of the Guard Basic Melee Creatures.
Fang of the Pack Gives Melee till end of turn to another target Creature you control at the beginning of combat.
Grenzo’s Ruffians Deals same amount of damage to each other opponent when it deals combat damage to an opponent. Throwback to Hydra Omnivore.

 

Menagerie Liberator

“It’s Melee Time.”

 

Free for all Royal Rumble

Melee is very Aggro ability as it encourages you to attack more opponents to get a bigger boost out of it. All of the few Creatures with it in the set are quite playable as an attacker for any decks that need one. On top of them all is the Melee lord, and one of today article’s featured Commander, Adriana. Before we go any further though, let us have a look at her stats below.

Adriana Captain of the Guard

Card Name: Adriana, Captain of the Guard

CMC: 3RW

Types: Legendary Creature – Human Knight

Card Text: Melee

Other creatures you control have melee.

P/T: 4/4

 

Overall Adriana does not disappoint as a Melee lord. As if seeing that there are not enough Melee Creatures in the set, Adriana fulfil our need for more Melee Creature by giving all other Creatures Melee.  This is especially a huge boost to Melee Creatures as Melee will stack on multiple instances. Melee is an ability very well suited for alpha strike attacks, where every point of damage counts. With Melee added in, that alpha strike may even be able to take out more than one opponent. As the ability requires attacking multiple opponents to trigger, it clearly be seen that it is designed with multiplayer games in mind. The cool thing is that even zero power Creatures can deal 1 damage when you attack more than one opponent with them. As Adriana gives Melee to everyone, that will make your attack all the more aggressive. Thus it is a good idea to create an army of tokens and attacking with them with Adriana. This can help to ensure Adriana will not die in combat while you put pressure on your opponents. If that strategy is good for you, maybe you can consider the below ways to create multiple tokens at once to get your army start up early.

Angel of Invention / Visionary Augmenter Fabricate 2.
Battle Screech Create two 1/1 White Bird tokens with Flying. Those Bird tokens could then be used along with one more White Creature to Flashback Battle Screech for two more Bird tokens.
Beetleback Chief / Belfry Spirit / Cloudgoat Ranger / Geist-Honored Monk / Hearthcage Giant / Knight-Captain of Eos / Myr Battlesphere / Pia and Kiran Nalaar / Precursor Golem / Siege-Gang Commander Creatures which have ETB trigger that create multiple tokens.
Blaze Commando Creates two 1/1 Red and White Soldier tokens with Haste whenever an Instant or Sorcery spell you control deals damage.
Blight Herder Creates three colorless 1/1 Eldrazi Scion tokens if you put two card you opponents own from exile into their owners’ graveyard when you cast it.
Captain of the Watch Soldier lord. Creates three 1/1 White Soldier tokens when it enters the battlefield.
Cenn’s Enlistment Retrace spell that put two 1/1 White Kithkin Soldier tokens onto the battlefield.
Chancellor of the Forge Creates a 1/1 Red Goblin token at the beginning of your first upkeep if it is in your opening hand and you revealed it.
Creates X 1/1 Red Goblin tokens with Haste when it enters the battlefield, where X is the number of Creatures you control.
Conqueror’s Pledge / Goblin Scouts Spells which create multiple tokens.
Darien, King of Kjeldor Creates a 1/1 White Soldier token for each damage dealt to you.
Decree of Justice Option of either creating 4/4 Flying White Angel tokens when casted; or 1/1 White Soldier tokens when cycled.
Devout Invocation Use the smaller Creatures to tap and create 4/4 Flying White Angel tokens.
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion / Elspeth Tirel Versions of Elspeth which create multiple 1/1 White Solder tokens.
Evangel of Heliod Creates a number of 1/1 White Soldier tokens equal to your Devotion to White when it enters the battlefield
Firecat Blitz / Goblin Offensive / Rise of the Hobgoblins / Tempt with Vengeance / Warbreak Trumpeter Late game plays to make full use of all those abundant mana. Tactic is especially deadly with Tempt with Vengeance as whoever you are attacking will not have enough Creatures to block your Elemental tokens even when that person had taken up the Tempting offer.
Goblin Marshal Creates two 1/1 Red Goblin tokens as it enters the battlefield or dies.
Goblin Trenches / Goblin Warrens Enchantments which make multiple tokens.
God-Favored General Inspired – Whenever it becomes untapped, you may pay 2W. If you do, create two 1/1 White Soldier Enchantment Creature tokens.
Hallowed Spiritkeeper / Mausoleum Guard Creature which creates multiple tokens when they die.
Hanweir Garrison // Hanweir, the Writhing Township Create two 1/1 Red Human tokens // 3/2 colorless Eldrazi Horror tokens that are tapped and attacking whenever they attack. Do take note that these created tokens do not trigger Melee or any other attack triggers.
Hellion Eruption / Mogg Infestation Convert all creatures into bigger or more tokens.
Hero of Bladehold Creates two 1/1 White Soldier tokens that are tapped and attacking whenever it attack. Although Melee do not trigger for the created tokens, they and your army are instead pumped by the Hero’s Battle Cry.
Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician Sacrifice two Mountains to create two 1/1 Red Goblin tokens.
Icatian Crier Spellshaper. Creates two 1/1 White Citizen tokens.
Kirtar’s Wrath / Martial Coup Board Sweep + Token Producer.
Krenko, Mob Boss T: Create X 1/1 Red Goblin tokens, where X is number of Goblins you control.
Nearheath Chaplain 2W, Exiles it from your graveyard: Creates two 1/1 White Spirit tokens with Flying.
Ornitharch Creates two 1/1 White Bird tokens with Flying when it enters the battlefield and its tribute wasn’t paid. Political tool, you can choose your allies to pay the Tribute.
Rapacious One Creates a 0/1 Eldrazi token for each combat damage it dealt to a player.
Spawnsire of Ulamog 4: Creates two 0/1 colorless Eldrazi Spawn tokens.
Thopter Assembly At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control no other Thopters except Assembly, return it to owner’s hand and create five 1/1 colorless Thopter tokens with Flying.
Twilight Drover 2W, Remove a +1/+1 counter from it: Creates two 1/1 Flying White Spirit tokens.

 

Devout Invocation

“Who to attack you asked? All of them.”

 

At the end of the day, Melee is very straight up attack ability. Using it as part of your strategy means your deck is more gear towards attacking most of the time and at multiple opponents each time. An interesting fact regarding Melee is that the +1/+1 gained last till end of turn. That means as long you did not end the turn you attacked with the Melee Creatures, the Melee bonus will still be there. How that is important you may ask since you already attacked. Well, the answer is very simple. MtG has a set rules in place to keep the game play balance in check. Wizards had in the long history of the game printed cards which break those rules. In normal game play, there is only one combat phase. Wizards had once in a while printed some spells which grant extra combat phases. Melee Creatures will get the Melee pump again if they will to attack again in the new combat phases. There are a lot of such instances with abilities that you can abuse with the extra combat phases. Below are some examples of such abilities and the Creatures or cards which have it.

Ability Name Remarks Cards with it
Annihilator Not exactly a pump but forces defending players to sacrifice permanents for each attack. Artisan of Kozilek / Eldrazi Conscription / Hand of Emrakul / It That Betrays / Kozilek, Butcher of Truth / Pathrazer of Ulamog / Spawnsire of Ulamog / Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre / Ulamog’s Crusher
Battalion Gets bonus for attacking with Creature with Battalion and at least two other Creatures. Great team work with Melee as both abilities encourage attacking with more Creatures. Bomber Corps / Boros Elite / Boros Mastiff / Daring Skyjek / Firefist Striker / Firemane Avenger / Frontline Medic / Legion Loyalist / Nav Squad Commandos / Ordruun Veteran / Tajic, Blade of the Legion / Warmind Infantry / Wojek Halberdiers
Battle Cry Gives each other attacking Creatures +1/+0 for each attack. Accorder Paladin / Goblin Wardriver / Hero of Bladehold / Hero of Oxid Ridge / Kuldotha Ringleader / Loxodon Partisan / Signal Pest
Exalted Pumps the Creature attacking alone with +1/+1 till end of turn for each instance of the ability for each attack. Good for Voltron style kills. Akrasan Squire / Angelic Benediction / Aven Squire / Battlegrace Angel / Cathedral of War / Guardians of Akrasa / Knight of Glory / Sigiled Paladin / Sublime Archangel
Provoke Force Creature to block Creature with Provoke during each attack. Great way to get rid of Creatures which do not attack but presences on the battlefield is dangerous. enough Crested Craghorn / Deftblade Elite / Goblin Grappler / Hunter Sliver / Lowland Tracker / Swooping Talon

 

Eldrazi Conscription

Disasters along with attacks.

 

With the above in place, it’s time to execute the ultimate alpha strike. Below are the extra combat phases we were talking about. If you like the idea of an annihilating attack, then consider the cards below.

Aggravated Assault Take as much extra combat phases as you can afford the activation cost.
Aurelia, the Warleader Get an extra combat phase after attacking for the first time each turn.
Breath of Fury Aura which gives extra combat phase when enchanted Creature deals combat damage to a player. Enchanted Creature is sacrificed once Aura ability is triggered and Aura is attached to another Creature for repeat process.
Fury of the Horde The “free” extra attack.
Hellkite Charger Dragon with attack trigger that gives extra combat phase. Repeatable if you can afford to pay the trigger again.
Relentless Assault The very first extra combat phase spell.
Savage Beating Entwine spell which gives Double Strike and extra combat phase. Possibly the most deadly alpha strike if entwined.
Scourge of the Throne Get an extra combat phase after attacking the player with the most or tie for most life for the first time each turn.
Seize the Day Flashback spell which gives extra attack phase. Only untaps one Creature though. Works with Exalted.
Waves of Aggression Retrace spell which gives extra attack phase.
World at War Rebound spell which gives extra attack phase.

 

Seize the Day

Just keep attacking. Just keep attacking. Just keep attacking.

 

The Figure Head

Our article other featured Commander was an old friend of the late King Brago before she was charged for his murder which she did out of mercy for her suffering friend. After all the events, she had left the High City to the wild places far below and far beyond living her life away from the politics of the High City. Things would have been all good with her living her life out in the nature with the wild life if not for the recent usurp of the crown by the Black Rose Marchesa. Since the King no longer reigned Selvala was able to live unimpeded in Paliano again. Due to Muzzio’s attempt to bid for power, King Brago had shut down the academy and exiled Muzzio. This had caused the use of artificial servants to be abolished and banned outright. This caused Selvala to be drawn to the city’s affair again as the nobles of Paliano took to use exotic Beasts as replacement for their artificial servants. She was at this time approached by Captain Adriana of the Guard to be a figure head to help them get rid of the monarchy and help build the Republic of Paliano.

 

As with Marchesa, the resurfacing of Selvala also brings us another version of her. Below is the stats of Selvala v2.0.

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

Card Name: Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

CMC: 1GG

Types: Legendary Creature – Elf Scout

Card Text: Whenever another creature enters the battlefield, its controller may draw a card if its power is greater than each other creature’s power.

G, T: Add X mana in any combination of colors to your mana pool, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control.

P/T: 2/3

Elves had always been the poster child of mana ramp in MtG.  They are also attuned with nature, usually preferring the wilds more than the civilized world. Selvala v2.0 is the same here. She is one with nature even more than when she first debuted. She is still quite a political tool like before with her draw card ability of giving a card draw to the controller of another Creature which enters the battlefield if its power is greater than the other Creatures’ power on the battlefield. It may seems quite political but with most Green decks, the Creatures tend to be bigger than others. The card draw might just end up always be on your side. With all these bigger Creatures entering the battlefield, we can also use Evolve Creatures to gain even more benefits from the whole thing. In that process, you get to draw a card and also get a bigger Creature to beat your opponents with. Not too bad of a deal if you ask me. Below are the Evolve Creatures you may consider to use.

Adaptive Snapjaw High power Evolve Creature which mainly Evolve through having lower toughness.
Battering Krasis / Crocanura / Experiment One Evolve Creature with extra abilities.
Gyre Sage Evovle mana ramp.
Renegade Krasis Evolve lord. Evolve other “evolved” Creatures as it evolved itself.

 

Gyre Sage

Growing with the gang.

 

Having big Creatures is just half of Selvala capabilities. Her mana ramp is what impressed me more. The ability of getting an amount of mana in any color combination equal to the greatest power among Creatures you control is an amazing ramp. There are a lot of things you can do with so much mana; from getting a bigger Creature to firing up a huge X spell. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination. You can get more mana out of her by untapping her though. Since the mana she produced is in any combination, you can make sure that there is always G to activate her ability. If you like a big mana theme, then maybe you can consider the below ways to untap and use her again and again.

Aim High / Burst of Strength / Colossal Heroics / Dragonscale Boon / Emerald Charm / Ornamental Courage / Ruthless Instincts / Savage Surge / Spidery Grasp / Touch of Vitae / Vines of the Recluse Spells which untap Creature(s).
Elder Druid 3G, T: Tap or untap target Artifact, Creature, or Land.
Fyndhorn Brownie / Quirion Ranger / Scryb Ranger / Seeker of Skybreak / Wirewood Symbiote Creatures which can untap other Creature.
Great Oak Guardian ETB untap all Creatures.

 

Great Oak Guardian Full Art

Waking the whole village.

 

The Opposition

Concluding the whole article for the two representatives of the opposition party. Adriana, the new Melee lord, is quite a good Commander to build around. Due to the Aggro nature of her abilities, you can build quite an aggressive decks with the ideas recommended in this article. There are many other cards which you can add with her Boros color identity; all of which aid attacking. Even the God of Boros colors, Iroas, God of Victory, has a deadly combination with Adriana; giving them Menace to your attacking troops and preventing damage to them to make life even harder for the defending players. The fun thing about building a deck around Adriana is most of the Commanders who have the same color identity with her actually fits into the theme, making them all interchangeable as you see fit. Otherwise, she is still good Creature to add to the deck to aid in attacking.

Adriana, Captain of the Guard

For freedom. It’s all worth it.

 

Selvala on the other hand is a Big Mana card regardless that she is used as the Commander or normal Creature. I see her more of normal Creature as a mana Creature to the deck. There is more flexibility to that build as not only is she a ramp; she is also a mana fixer since the mana she produced can be in any color combination. There are many possibilities here but notably I would like to mention is with Ruric Thar the Unbowed. Build right, every Creature in the deck can be a spell. And because it is EDH, we all like to use big spells. With Ruric Thar build the next Creature is just going to be bigger, cooler, and better than the last one; mainly the bigger part is important here. Even if you do not control anything bigger than Ruric Thar, he will provide 6 power for Selvala to use for her ability. You can then use that to cast something bigger. If your deck is a Creature based one and is in need of a mana ramp, then you cannot go wrong with Selvala in it.

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

The Wild Heart.

 

What do you think of the two representatives of the opposition party? Would you build a violent beatdown deck around Adriana? Or use Selvala to ramp out big spells in your deck? Share with us your ideas and thoughts in the comments below. And with that, we shall end it here for now. Do stay tune for more upcoming article for the sequel set to the Conspiracy set. Till the next article….

 

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

:D~

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