Even if Magic didn’t have a policy of spoiling their new sets in advance of their release, I have no doubt that some details of Conspiracy would leak out. The set just has so much going for it. It’s got weird draft interactions, interesting new legends, a ton of relevant reprints, and then its namesake: cards with the conspiracy type. And while we don’t yet know the full rules restrictions on those cards (because I doubt you’ll be able to jam them all in a single game/deck), the seven revealed cards of this type are already giving me some agita.


Although, it’s worth pointing out that they seem to be exactly what some people were suggesting in our conversation on revitalizing EDH a month or two back.

It’s [casthaven]Advantageous Proclamation[/casthaven] that worries me the most. I like it in limited and even 75 card casual formats, but those are all formats in which you do occasionally see non-standard deck sizes. Commander decks are all the same size, though, and I worry about what losing that specific aspect of the format might do. Maybe no one will even notice it, and trading off a conspiracy slot for five less cards won’t be overpowered. But, as it stands, if I see one of my opponents playing that card, my first assumption is going to be that they’re pushing a combo, because those are the decks that really don’t want to be the full 99 cards.

The rest of them are less offensive to my sensibilities, although I suspect they are not in fact less powerful. Conspiracy cards seem like Hero’s Path cards but for EDH players, and since I’ve never felt particularly compelled to play with the Hero’s Path cards either, I don’t feel like this is something Commander particularly missed. But, so long as you’re playing with people you can trust, the Hidden Agenda cards seem like they’re the right balance of power and novelty. Even though [casthaven]Muzzio’s Preparations[/casthaven] is a perpetually accessible piece of the Melira-pod base combo, and [casthaven]Immediate Action[/casthaven] worries me in conjunction with [casthaven]Blightsteel Colossus[/casthaven]. Still, nothing we’ve yet seen is so obviously overpowered as to break the game, and that trust issue might be something endemic to Conspiracy anyway, given all the different draft shenanigans that will be going on.


But enough about that; this is, after all, a Commander column. Let’s talk legends. So far they’ve only spoiled three new ones, and while I’ll talk about them in more detail below, my guess is that this set is going to include 15 legendary creatures: five new shard generals, such as [casthaven]Marchesa, the Black Rose[/casthaven], five new allied-color generals, such as [casthaven]Selvala, Explorer Returned[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Brago, King Eternal[/casthaven], and then reprints of the five enemy-color generals from the original Commander deck set, as seen in the confirmation of [casthaven]Basandra, Battle Seraph[/casthaven]. This way they only have to come up with ten new and interesting general abilities, while giving people access to foil copies of some of the more interesting Commander generals.

And [casthaven]Nin, the Pain Artist[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Edric, Spymaster of Trest[/casthaven] both seem like they’d be really strong inclusions in a set intended to be played with more than two players!

But that’s just a theory, even if I do think it’s a rather good one. Specifically because that leaves design space open for Conspiracy 2 if this one is a hit, which could include the five wedges, five new enemy-colored generals, and then five reprints that look fun. It would be a nice balance, without totally ignoring valuable design space in case this product is poorly received. I mean, I doubt it will be, but it’s probably better for them to plan for the worse.

Anyway, the new legends look pretty hot so far. [casthaven]Marchesa, the Black Rose[/casthaven], is going to let all those [casthaven]Mikaeus, the Unhallowed[/casthaven] combo decks stretch into red and blue for ancillary support. While Marchesa is slower with [casthaven]Triskelion[/casthaven], and doesn’t allow for the same type of instant combo kill, it does still work, and in a fashion that likely causes a lot less panic when the pieces are falling together. Often, I find, a slow cinch is more likely to win than the instant combo, because people play interaction, and they’re often slower to use it if you can convince them someone else is the greatest threat. Marchesa is going to help those base-black combo decks do that, while still allowing for many different fun builds.

[casthaven]Selvala, Explorer Returned[/casthaven], will probably be a solid GW tribal elves general, a niche that [casthaven]Rhys the Redeemed[/casthaven] never quite filled. Rhys always cries out to be put in a tokens deck, due to his “ultimate,” and his base ability gives you a pretty crappy rate of return. Selvala, on the other hand, ramps you, gains you life, and draws cards. Since tribal elf decks like mana and tend to play cards like [casthaven]Thousand-Year Elixir[/casthaven] already, this seems like a pretty solid ability to abuse. I’m excited for this one, and I hope to pull a foil of it for down the line.

This leaves [casthaven]Brago, King Eternal[/casthaven] (at least as of Sunday morning, in case I miss one between now and when the article posts). Brago is exciting, for fairly obvious reasons. Of the 21 pre-existing Azorius generals, the closest thing that exists for a good [casthaven]Mulldrifter[/casthaven] general is [casthaven]Ephara, God of the Polis[/casthaven]. Brago, on the other hand, works in direct synergy with that style of deck, while also giving blue white a general for one of its main overlapping color identities: the flicker. It’s shocking to me that this is the first flicker general in those colors, especially since [casthaven]Venser, the Sojourner[/casthaven], is a card that highlights the overlap in the color identity. But they didn’t, and now they do, and that’s going to be a good thing in the long run, I am sure.


Anyway, there’s plenty more to discuss, but this is a good place to stop until we get some more spoilers. I am interested to see if my predictions regarding the legends turns out to be true, but I suspect we’ll know for sure in a week or two. Until then!


ETA: By the way, all the information in this post traces its way back to this video of a Conspiracy draft in action. It’s surprisingly enjoyable, for a 30 minute Youtube vid. Definitely worth checking out, if these shenanigans are your jam!


Jess Stirba is probably fairly average when it comes to keeping secrets.

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