My head is spinning! The Hype Train is already barreling towards Kaladesh station, and I am still trying to get off at Conspiracy Junction.

There are so many sweet new cards and awesome reprints, Conspiracy has enough gas to keep my brewers brain running for months. I honestly had a hard time choosing which spicy deck I wanted to talk about today, but ultimately I settled on an old favorite, [casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven].

Look how friendly it is! Who would guess instant speed death is right around the corner!

Look how friendly it is! Who would guess instant speed death is right around the corner!

The wonderful Kate Donnelly wrote about traditional [casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven] a few weeks ago in her Hope Eternal column. If you are looking for a rundown about how the combo functions, I highly recommend you check that article out. Today we are going to look towards the future to see what changes are in store.

"I'm sorry I.P. but I have found someone else, we need to break up"

“I’m sorry I.P. but I have found someone else, and we need to break up”

A huge factor that has always held [casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven] back from being more common in the metagame is the price tag. [casthaven]Imperial Recruiter[/casthaven] is a mandatory part of the deck, and also desperately in need of a reprint. It’s only printings are in a 1999 supplementary product (Portal:Three Kingdoms) and a 2013 Judge Promo. There are not a lot of these cards in existence, so they fetch a pretty $330 each on the market. While Legacy players will grudgingly pay $330 for an [casthaven]Underground Sea[/casthaven] that will fit into several dozen different decks, few are willing to shell out that kind of money for a card that goes into [casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven], [casthaven]Painter’s Servant[/casthaven], and nothing else.

“I'm not the reprint Gotham needs, I’m the Reprint Gotham Deserves”

“I’m not the reprint Gotham needs, I’m the reprint Gotham Deserves”

While it is not the reprint we begged for, [casthaven]Recruiter of the Guard[/casthaven] is close enough that it gains our attention. We get to swap the red Recruiter for a white Recruiter and shave about $1250 off of the cost of the deck. Not too shabby. As an added bonus, switching colors allows us to pivot the deck from a red splash, to a much more versatile white splash.

Let’s take a look and see what new [casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven] may end up looking like.  


Land (21)
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Verdant Catacombs
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Windswept Heath
Volrath's Stronghold

Creatures (20)
Deathrite Shaman
Noble Hierarch
Stoneforge Mystic
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
Eternal Witness
Shardless Agent
Baleful Strix
Cavern Harpy
Parasitic Strix
Arctic Merfolk
Recruiter of the Guar

Spells (20)
Umezawa's Jitte
Sylvan Library
Abrupt Decay
Force of Will
Cabal Therapy

First of all I want to say thank you to Andrew Wright and Sean Calvo for their help brewing up this list. Both of them are among the rare breed who have been playing traditional Imperial Aluren for some time now. They let me in on a few tricks and secrets that I want to now share with you.

The Combo

In its most simple form, the deck is a two card combo. Find [casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven], find [casthaven]Recruiter of the Guard[/casthaven], win the game. Getting to the win can get a bit complicated though. Here is a quick rundown for the deck once you have [casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven] in play and [casthaven]Recruiter of the Guard[/casthaven] in hand.

See its an easy too card combo guys! ...Guys? ....Guys!?

See its an easy two card combo guys! …Guys? ….Guys!?

Recruiter –> Recruiter –> Recruiter –> Recruiter –> Arctic Merfolk (picking up Recruiter) –> Recruiter –> Cavern Harpy (picking up Arctic Merfolk). Here you pay 1 life and put Harpy in your hand. –> Merfolk (picking up Recruiter) –> Recruiter –> Parasitic Strix –> Cast Harpy, return the Merfolk. Now cast the Strix, always with Merfolk in hand to avoid removal –> Chain Harpy and Strix to win the game.

Because [casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven] gives all your cheap creatures flash, you should never really have to worry about removal as long as you chain your bounce creatures correctly. Most inexperienced opponents will try to kill the [casthaven]Cavern Harpy[/casthaven] or [casthaven]Parasitic Strix[/casthaven] to disrupt your combo. By this point it is too late, [casthaven]Cavern Harpy[/casthaven] can bounce itself at any time for just one life, and at this point you should have [casthaven]Arctic Merfolk[/casthaven] in hand to save Strix from any removal. Even if your opponent is smart and kills the [casthaven]Arctic Merfolk[/casthaven] at the beginning of the combo to disrupt you, you can just use the Recruiter to find [casthaven]Eternal Witness[/casthaven] and restart the chain.  

Bird Law at its finest.

Bird Law at its finest.

Plan B

[casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven] is my favorite type of combo deck: one that can win without ever getting off the combo. When we are unable to find [casthaven]Aluren[/casthaven], or our opponent has a way to shut down the combo, the deck can easily shift into a Bant-style beatdown deck.

[casthaven]Deathrite Shaman[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Noble Hierarch[/casthaven] provide much needed ramp. While providing an annoying threat to our opponents in protracted games. The addition of white to the deck allows us to add in a [casthaven]Stoneforge Mystic[/casthaven] Package. [casthaven]Noble Hierarch[/casthaven]s look a whole lot more scary when they are holding an [casthaven]Umezawa’s Jitte[/casthaven].

Pay 1 life to bounce itself turns out to be preeeeeety good

Pay one life to bounce itself turns out to be preeeeeety good

[casthaven]Baleful Strix[/casthaven] is a great wall that can be combined with [casthaven]Volrath’s Stronghold[/casthaven] to form a blocker that keeps coming back, or with [casthaven]Cavern Harpy[/casthaven] to draw all the cards. [casthaven]Shardless Agent[/casthaven] acts as [casthaven]Recruiter of the Guard[/casthaven] numbers five and six. [casthaven]Shardless Agent[/casthaven] is not as accurate, but with [casthaven]Cavern Harpy[/casthaven] you can cascade through your deck over and over until you find what you need.   

[casthaven]Cabal Therapy[/casthaven] is a bit of a flex spot. It is a great addition as the creature density in this deck will allow you to flash it back whenever you want. This helps clear the way for the combo and give much needed information. But if your metagame is much more aggro focused and you find yourself getting run over by creature decks, I suggest switching out some number of [casthaven]Cabal Therapy[/casthaven] for [casthaven]Swords to Plowshares[/casthaven] to supplement [casthaven]Abrupt Decay[/casthaven] in the removal department.

Sideboard Considerations

Adding white opens up many possibilities in sideboard considerations. [casthaven]Swords to Plowshares[/casthaven] most certainly will be taking up a few slots. I think it might even belong in the main deck. Taking full advantage of Recruiter of the Guard gives you a suite of value creatures: [casthaven]Meddling Mage[/casthaven], [casthaven]Snapcaster Mage[/casthaven], [casthaven]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/casthaven], [casthaven]Kira, Great Glass-Spinner[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Flickerwisp[/casthaven] all jump to mind as spicy silver bullets.


The Spicy 61st

I could not limit myself to just one awesome Conspiracy card this week. [casthaven]Leovold, Emissary of Trest[/casthaven] is a sweet new card that looks like he will make a few waves in Legacy. He is a prime example of a card that is actually much better than at first glance. His first ability is pretty huge in Legacy considering all the [casthaven]Brainstorm[/casthaven]s, [casthaven]Ponder[/casthaven]s, [casthaven]Sensei’s Divining Top[/casthaven]s, and [casthaven]Griselbrand[/casthaven]s running around. His second ability is where he earns his salt, though. At his very worst he will replace himself with a fresh card if your opponent tries to kill him. At his best he makes [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven], removal spells, [casthaven]Rishadan Port[/casthaven], and pretty much all discard spells a losing strategy for your opponents. He certainly will be interesting to watch in the months to come.

Thanks for joining me today as we dive into Aluren. I hope you are as excited about the deck’s future as I am. Who knows what the deck will evolve into, but I for one can’t wait to find out.

Jerry Mee is a Boston native who has been playing Magic since Onslaught Block. Primarily a Legacy player, he co-hosts the weekly Leaving a Legacy Podcast found on He can be reached on Twitter at @Jmee3rd


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