I’ve been sick and very busy this weekend, so I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to play Vintage Masters yet. I however did manage to 4-0 Tuesday Night Modern and draft this beauty:

Conspiracies (4)
Power Play
Secret Summoning
Double Stroke
Secrets of Paradise
Lands (16)

Creatures (18)
Courier Hawk
Reckless Scholar
Deal Broker
Apex Hawks
Crookclaw Transmuter
Peace Strider
Custodi Squire
Lurking Automaton
Twisted Abomination
Noble Templar
Shoreline Ranger

Spells (7)
Favorable Winds
Reito Lantern
Rousing of Souls
Spectral Searchlight

Lurking Automaton was 8/8.

Secret Summoning named Custodi Squire.

Secrets of Paradise named Reckless Scholar.

Double Stroke named Rousing of Souls.

That’s right. 41 cards, 16 lands, some greedy splashes, and a less-than-stellar curve. What was I thinking? That I wanted to win.

Trade Secrets

My plan was simple. In the early game, I wanted to be unassuming. I was going to try and hit my land drops, take a few hits from the more aggressive players, and ramp/loot/fix with Reckless Scholar. When the dust of the initial assaults settled, I’d offer my Spectral Searchlight and Reckless Scholars to whomever wanted them. I’d keep all my promises and hold no grudges. I wanted to make friends and be helpful to any player that asked. I wanted to enjoy the politics by being central to them. I wanted every player to stay in the game to be a check on everyone else’s board.

My ultimate goal was to live as long as possible. My deck had a very strong late game and the ability to deal with almost any threats. I was also nearly immune to being decked, thanks to Reito Lantern and a trio of Custodi Squires (that were also Squadron Hawks) that could recur it if destroyed. Three Reckless Scholars are pretty good at decking opponents, after all.

Master Warcraft

It’s delightful was a conspiracy comes to fruition. In my first game, I almost immediately went to ten life, only to come to the defense of the opponent who’d been so hurt me (because I offered, and he said yes). I never attacked a player until the endgame, when each of my attacks eliminated a player from the game.

In game two, I switched gears and opted for a very aggressive start with a rather vicious air force (making five spirits with Rousing of Souls can be brutal, particularly when combined with Squadron Custodi Squires). I eliminated a slower player rather quickly, and after that, it was just me and one other opponent. As it turns out, Spiritmonger is still quite, quite strong in head-to-head Magic.

Just like that, I’d gone from 0-3 at Conspiracy to 2-3, and continued to be nothing but impressed by the set.

Rule of Law

If you haven’t drafted Conspiracy yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. Even if you don’t like multiplayer Magic, it’s a lot of fun to play with cards that interact with the draft itself. If you are cracking some more Conspiracy packs, I’ve a few words of advice for you:

  • Take “draft matters” cardsCogwork Librarian, Canal Dredger, and their ilk open up entire veins of strategy that you’ll never have access to elsewhere else. They’re both a ton of fun and very, very powerful.
  • Take Conspiracy cards. Cube players know how powerful it is to draft nonbasic lands (in cube draft, there are so many playable cards that drafters are always cutting cards from their decks; nonbasic lands don’t take up spell slots in a deck and open up deckbuilding options with little to no opportunity cost). Conspiracies are exactly the same as nonbasics in cube: they don’t take up any space in your deck and can turn an otherwise unimpressive Lizard Warrior into a slightly better Vulshok Berserker… or a one mana 5/3 haste… that you have seven copies of. Draft them and draft around them, ’cause they’re nuts.
  • Don’t eliminate opponents early. It’s just plain mean to eliminate someone from the game, then play on for another half hour. You make them wait as you and your fellow players have fun. It’s much better to threaten someone with elimination and then recruit them to your cause, or save someone from elimination if they help you in return. That way, you get to secure a stronger position in the game, get to feel like you’re crafting your own conspiracy, and don’t spoil someone’s fun.

Future Sight

That’s all for this week. We’ll return next week once M15 previews have officially begun (even though a large quantity of the set has already been spoiled). As always, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!

—Zachary Barash

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Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner and performer, improvising entire musicals every week with his team, Petting Zoo. Zach has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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